Mom’s Birthday: A Celebration of a True FRIEND

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas – and enjoyed the monster snow storm that hit Northeast Ohio earlier this week. Whoever is praying for the snow, I ask that you please stop. Immediately. 🙂

The end of December is huge in the Harkcom household: not only do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, we also honor the day my wonderful mother was born on December 27th.

I’ve been looking forward to Mom’s birthday get-together for weeks. My sister and I came up with the PERFECT gift, and the anticipation of seeing Mom’s reaction was just about killing me. But more on the gift later…

Ryan, Sarge and I spent December 22 – 25 out of town, visiting friends in Columbus and Ryan’s family in Lima. All that fun had about worn out when we got home – but there was much to be done to get ready for the birthday par-tay! The snow storm all but forced me to stay inside on Wednesday, so while the errands I needed to get done had to wait, I had 8 miraculous hours to dedicate to everything that needed done. Gifts were wrapped, dinner reservations were made…and I pretended I know how to bake for an hour.

To be fair, I’m being pretty fast and loose with the word “bake”. Things are rarely made from scratch in my kitchen, which is especially true in the case of baked goods. Convenience is king for me – which is why I love making this “skinny” cupcakes. I first shared them with you here, but today I made a spice cake version with diet cola.

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All it took was two ingredients to make yummy, moist cupcakes that are under 100 calories. That is, until I added the frosting, smashing that 100 calorie mark. But oh well – frosting is what makes a great cake fantastic (in my opinion). And judging from the smiles and finger-licks later, I think they turned out well:

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Anyway, for dinner, Mom picked the House of Hunan, one of our family’s favorites. After we ordered, we got right to the important part of the evening: presents!

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Dad got Mom a beautiful charm for her Pandora bracelet. Vance loved it too!

Now – for THE present I could not wait for Mom to open. Kendall and I were so giddy waiting for her to open it…

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Vance wanted to help Grammie Jo open her present…

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I think she likes it! 🙂

For years, Mom, Kendall and I enjoyed the heart-warming, laughter-inducing wonder that is Friends. When the show ended, we felt like we had lost actual friends in our lives. I know that sounds a little strange, but that show was just amazing. If you’re a true Friends fan as well, I think you’d agree. The men in our lives have grown to love this show as well, and we often quote the characters in our “real-life” conversations. (That was my attempt to incorrectly use air quotes in print. For the clip from the episode that will certainly make you laugh, go here.)

Even though the show was no longer on air, my parents made sure we would always have access to the episodes. Kendall and I were so happy each year for Christmas and our birthdays when Mom and Dad would get us a season of the show on DVD. Before long, we had all 10 seasons, but it was hard to share since we lived two hours apart at the time. I needed my Friends, so I caved in a bought all 10 seasons so we would each have a set. All was good in the world, but when we both moved out on our own, it left Mom with no Friends to watch at-will.

I’m not sure why we didn’t think of this sooner – but I’m so glad we got Mom all 10 seasons of Friends this year for her birthday. The surprise and joy on her face is still making me smile. Happy birthday, Mom! You are and always will be our truest Friend.

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