July is traditionally a busy month for us in addition to our regular duties. We have always made sure that we celebrate the boys birthdays; not only with our Nica sons, but the boys that are a part of our lives. So, in July the birthdays are plentiful. The celebrations, depending on our personal finances, can be as simple as me baking a cake to a full blown celebration of a meal with their favorite foods.
This year, we celebrated Noel's birthday with a family dinner which now consists of a huge extended family. We prepared spaghetti with meatballs along with garlic knots. The crowd is getting large so there were 2 cakes, one vanilla - Noel's favorite, and a chocolate.
The guys have always LOVED my cakes. The usual cake in this country is more like a dense pound cake with meringue icing. I use the always faithful Duncan Hines mixes - expensive here, but well worth the effort. They like the soft, moist cakes and some remember them fondly throughout the year.
|A gentleman always offers his arm.|
For Aroldo, we told him that we would take him out to dinner; anywhere he wanted to go. He's never been to a "fancy" restaurant and was hesitant to ask. But as we encouraged him to ask for what he wanted (that's what we always say to them - ask for what you want) he sheepishly said "but it's expensive". I said to him, "let me be the judge of that, what is it?" He - "El Carbon" Me - "We can make that happen" He - "Really?"
El Carbon is a steakhouse and by US standards very inexpensive, but still a stretch for us. This is the first birthday that Aroldo has not been in the streets, so we wanted to give him his birthday wish. We included Nelson to join us since he too is living in our home.
We had the most awesome time. It was a wonderful, rare treat for us, but it was so much more enjoyable to watch the guys partake of something that they may have only dreamed about.
Finally, we finished the month with a lunch for James' birthday. We went to McDonald's for the best fried chicken, EVER. It's crispy and moist and always the meal of choice with Nicaraguenses. For those who don't know, James is now a married man. This means we have to share him with his wife and in-laws and we don't get to spend as much time as we would like. He's such a joy to us and we cherish every moment with him. He's also fluent in English, so conversation comes so much easier because our Spanish still needs a lot of work.
Why do we make a big deal of birthdays? Because no one else does or never did for most of the guys. We want to celebrate their lives, their uniqueness and let them know they are important to us.