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C is for Cake

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I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is open-ended. My goal is to write daily posts using each letter of the alphabet in April (Sundays off for good behavior and to make it work for the alphabet). I’ll be writing family stories, memoir or journal prompts, reviews about theatre and food, maybe a visit from my sock puppet characters Millie and Willie, and using photos I’ve taken along the way. Enjoy!

CIn addition to the marathon challenge, it is also the first Monday of the month which means we have the Question of the Month, posed by Michael D’Agostino at A Life Examined. He made it easy for us A-Z’ers: What is your favorite thing that starts with C? Even easier, my favorite thing is Cake, more specifically Chocolate Cake, and we had a birthday Celebration for my mom yesterday. She’s turning 80 in April. As an Octogenarian, she’s entitled to spend the octave of her birthday celebrating. What’s the octave of your birthday? The 8 (or more) days that surround your birthday. I think that when you have those milestone birthdays, you can celebrate the whole month, or as long as you want!

My sister Joy made a four layered chocolate cake for our Dad's 80th Birthday party, two years ago. That was the biggest and best chocolate cake, ever!

My sister Joy made a five-layered chocolate cake for our Dad’s 80th Birthday party, two years ago. That was the biggest and best chocolate cake, ever!

April is the birth month of my mom, Jane (Siberg) Aalgaard. One Mother’s Day, several years ago, she posed the question, What will you remember about your mother? (I wonder the same thing about my kids.) My oldest brother Nathan said something like, “You are a healer. You heal people physically, mentally, and spiritually.” At least, that’s how I remember it. I agree. My mom is kind and giving. She said she wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a littleimg021 girl. She went to nursing school, and talks about that time often. She didn’t work in a hospital. She raised us. She also was the nurse on call for the neighbors in our farming community. She did home health care and has always been someone who cares for the elderly. She brought us to nursing homes to play piano, sing, and interact with the residents. Her parents ran a nursing home after she had left the house. (We have some vivid memories of visiting that facility.) She still volunteers to read to residents at a local nursing home. When an elderly woman fell on her way into a church for one of my dad’s choir concerts, mom was the first one to help her out. She brought her into the bathroom and helped clean her up and talked to her.

My mom is very welcoming. I always felt free to bring friends home, had birthday parties and sleepovers while I was a school girl, then brought home college roommates, and friends who wanted to visit the farm. If you were to come home with me, she’d ask you if you want some tea or something to eat. She’d sit down at the table and talk to you, and more importantly listen to what you had to say. My mom is interested in people and who they are. She loves talking about health and God. She’s deeply spiritual. I think that if she were a young person today, she might go into the ministry. She likes classical music, a good story book (as she calls them), tea, intelligent conversation, and quiet time. She told me once that while raising all six of us kids on the farm, that when it got overwhelming, she’d sit down and read a book. I understand now that it was overwhelming to raise a big family with a husband who was a farmer first and life revolved around his schedule. She had her Bible study and church socials. She quilts and bakes, does kind things for others, and loves gardening.

Mom and her three daughters.

Mom and her three daughters.

Dad and sons. I wasn't able to get all eight of us in a picture. It's hard to do even when on the rare occasion that we're all together!

Dad and sons. I wasn’t able to get all eight of us in a picture. It’s hard to do even when on the rare occasion that we’re all together!

Grandma makes the best cinnamon bread. My boys love it. When they were small, and we were on our way to my parents’ house, Charlie (one of the twins) piped up from the backseat and said, “I’m hungry.” 

“Okay, honey. We’re almost there. What do you need?”

“I’m hungry for cinnamon bread.”

A few more pictures from Mom’s Birthday celebration.

Games with Grandpa

Games with Grandpa

Mom's favorite cake is white cake with lemon filling and seven minute frosting.

Mom’s favorite cake is white cake with lemon filling and seven minute frosting.

DSC_0176Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope we have many more celebrations with you.

Even though it was Mom’s Birthday, great-granddaughter Maddie got much of the attention!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: How will you (do you) remember your mom?

  1. Your mom sounds like a gem!

    My mom is also an April baby. She will turn 87 years old on 06th April. She’s the eldest of 14 children and has always played mom to her younger siblings (most of whom have passed on…)
    I’ll remember my mom as an upright, God-fearing and exceptionally strong woman. As the woman who ALWAYS made sure that we had books in the home, and encouraged me to go to piano lessons…even though we may have been socio-economically disadvantaged.
    God bless her!

    I’m don’t really have a sweet tooth. I’m more of a savory gal!

  2. Happy birthday to your mother! Yes, she’s entitled to celebrate all month. That’s wonderful that healer is what came to your brother’s mind.
    And that is one huge cake.

  3. Wow! That is a giant chocolate cake! Love it!

    And I agree, your mom does sound like a gem. I hope she had a wonderful birthday.

    I will remember my mother as a woman wholly devoted to her family. She would do anything for her kids…even have a dog when she doesn’t even like them. (Among other things, of course…)

  4. You have a lovely family, Mary. I’m not a big fan of cake (or of sweet things in general), but I would definitely give that big chocolate cake a chance 😉
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs (and member of co-host Damyanti’s team, D’s Company )

  5. Lynn Proctor says:

    happy birthday to your mom—love the cakes—my grandmother was a nurse too!

  6. Love that First Photo, and the one with mom and her kids. She sounds like such a lovely person — warm, loving. And yes, she is entitled to celebrate for as long as she wants and enjoy cake. Love, love chocolate cake. Ice cream and chocolate cake are the best.:) Happy birthday to Mom!

  7. I love these memories of your mom. Thanks for sharing them. She really seems like a lovely, special lady. (And I love the phrase, “celebrating the octave of your birthday.” I’m all about that!
    @DoreeWeller from
    Doree Weller’s Blog

  8. It sounds like you have an amazing mother, Mary. What a lovely portrait of her–I hope you share this post with her.

    I have to say, whenever I see you smiling, I smile. It’s infectious.

    My mother and I have had our challenges, but I’ll remember her as my best friend, the woman who instilled a love of reading and books in me, the woman who taught me how to cook, and the one who always believed in me–even if she didn’t always show it so well.

    • One of my favorite gifts that I received from my mom is a book that she enjoyed reading. She said that over the years she had read it several times. When I read it, I thought of her and how she might have reacted to certain parts.

  9. You know that book by Lewis Grizzard, “Don’t Forget to Call Your Mama (I Wish I Could Call Mine)”? It’s great your mom is still alive; enjoy her while she’s still around. Happy birthday to her!

  10. What a lovely tribute to your mother. I hope you share this with her. The photos are wonderful. Glad you all had a grand time!

  11. It’s hard for me to find a cake I really love. I’m a much bigger fan of chocolate.

    Happy birthday to your mum 🙂

  12. I’d love to have my mom around so I can tell her again and again how much I love her and how much she was well loved. This is a lovely post Mary, happy birthday to your dear mother! may she celebrate as long as she likes with her loving family around her! Thanks for the photos that have me fairly salivating ..

  13. You’ve got some serious cakes going on there. My wife doesn’t eat cake, but she does bake them for me on occasion. I’ll resist the temptation to talk about cakes, although I have difficulty not eating them.:)

  14. Mary, I wanted to circle back to this post because I saw the photo of your mom and just love her. But I learned a few things. My mom, Jane, also has an April birthday (21st) and took us to the nursing home as kids to sing, play Bingo and interact with the residents. She was a teacher rather than nurse as you know, but just as caring, and faithful as your mother. Now I see even more what drew us together. Please hug your mama from me! And wow, that chocolate (and the other) looks like it came straight from heaven!

    • Mary Aalgaard
      Mary Aalgaard says:

      Heavenly delight, for sure. I have great bakers in the family. Thanks, about all the mom stuff. And, yes, our moms have much in common.

  15. Beautiful post celebrating your Mom. She sounds like a wonderful person. Those cakes looks delicious, and now I’m hungry for cinnamon bread.

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