First, I buy Kip's present. It's always something good, something Kip will really want. Which is always made perfectly apparent by the fact that as soon as I've bought it, Kip gets the sudden urge to go out and buy whatever movie/clothes/electronic device/tool I just bought him for himself. Generally this happens 1 day to 2 weeks before his birthday. This has happened with at least 50% of the birthday gifts I have ever gotten or planned to get him--even random-ish things that you wouldn't think he'd think of. The year I planned to get him a chainsaw, he announced in the car one day that he needed to get one. Soon. The year I bought him the new X-Men movie, which we hadn't so much as talked about, he randomly said he wanted to buy it just as his birthday approached.
This year I knew Kip wanted some new shoes. He even included it on the Christmas list his parents asked us to send (Hi, Kent and Jeanie--yes, we'll be getting that list to you soon; sorry, I keep forgetting about it). There was no pressing need, mind you, but I knew it was on his wish list.
So for his birthday present, I bought him very nice shoes, some shoes I thought would look really really good on him. I hid them dutifully in my closet. And then one day--ONE DAY--before his birthday, he decided he would go buy himself some shoes. Note to male humans: Please, for all that is surprising in the world, refrain from buying things for yourself the day before your birthday.
Kip: "Hey, we should go look for some new shoes for me."
Me: Assuming blank expression, "That sounds fun."
Kip: "I guess you didn't buy new shoes for me, huh?"
Me: Maintaining blank-ish expression, "Ha ha, are you trying to trick me into telling you what I got."
Note: I am a horrible liar. Fortunately for me, Kip is the most honest person ever and therefore believes pretty much everyone, so he is really easy to lie to.
I had hoped he would forget, but later while doing our shopping errands the morning before his birthday...
Kip: So should we go to Shoe Carnival now?
Me: Trying to act nonchalant, "I don't know; it seems like it'd be easier to do tomorrow when we go out on our lunch date without the girls." (Fortunately, the girls had been helping me out here by whining quite a bit about wanting to go home; thanks, Savannah.)
Kip: "Yeah, it' be easier without them running around."
And so, the morning of his birthday, I gave him his shoes bright and early and he liked them. But good heavens, could we pick a less annoying birthday tradition.
Like chocolate cake. With chocolate frosting. Yes, that's a birthday tradition I can accept. It's what Kip wants every year. This year we did the four-layer cake we're apparently addicted to and made it with Kip's fudge frosting.
I posted it once before with a wacky cake recipe. I post it again in its very own birthday post for your unsurprised edification.
Kip's Fudge Frosting
Adapted--or one might say stolen--from my sister, Katie's, fudge frosting
Enough for a 2-layer cake, and maybe a 3
Prep time: 5 minutes
butter: .45, cocoa: .27, milk: .08, sugar: 1.40
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) butter, somewhat melted (halfway melted, in Kip's words)
1/2 C cocoa
1/3-1/2 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
Nearly 2 lb powdered sugar (probably 2 C shy of 2 lb--start with less; you can always add more if it's too runny or thin)
Mix butter, cocoa, and 1/3 C milk. Add other ingredients and beat well. If it's too stiff, add more milk.
Note: Any leftovers are lovely on graham crackers.