Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Sweets: James' Sweet Safari

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You Wrecks history buffs know that my friend Abby was the one who first e-mailed me the "cake that started it all", thereby indirectly inspiring this entire blog. Abby is also the mother of Sweet Baby James, who spent 482 days spreading joy on this globe before leaving us last August. Since today would have been James' 2nd birthday, Abby asked me if she might share his first and only birthday cake here on Sunday Sweets. Knowing how awesome you guys are, I figured you'd be willing to indulge us. So, without further ado, here's Abby.

My son James lived in the hospital for the first 135 days of his life, and I couldn't wait to take him home like a real mom and show him off! However, the day before he was discharged, my dreams of a big "welcome home" party were dashed. The docs said we had to keep him away from crowds for two more months in order to protect him from germs.

So by the time we got to James' first birthday and he was more stable, we were really ready to party! Not only would it be a chance to celebrate his life with all his friends and fans, but it was a huge milestone for a special needs kid who statistically should not have survived to be born. We invited nurses, doctors, therapists, neighbors, church friends, and everyone else who read James' blog (Sweet Baby James), and commissioned a friend who was thinking about starting a cake business to make a birthday cake to feed 100 guests.

Here's the spread:

As you can see we chose an African safari theme, to match James' nursery. Our friend started working on the design over a month in advance, sending us photos of her progress along the way. The animals were painstakingly crafted out of chocolate and were very fragile, but completely yummy. Each one had a perfect smile!


[Note: the animal patterns are from the book The Whimsical Bakehouse]

The cakes were covered with buttercream frosting - no fondant - and each was a different flavor and filling. The baker's husband custom built and painted the matching cake stand, and they even found a matching "first birthday" photo frame to sit inside it. What a dream for our son's big day!

Then there were chocolate cupcakes with more animal designs to cover us if we had more people than we estimated. These were a big hit with the children when we took the leftover cake to the Ronald McDonald House the next day!


When I asked her to make James a "smash cake," the baker was concerned about his diabetes being affected by the frosting. I told her that if James actually consumed any cake, I would probably die of joy. (At that time James' arms were too weak to "smash" anything, and he was so unused to eating food by mouth anyway [he had a stomach feeding tube] that he probably wouldn't know what to do with the cake!)

Sure enough, when it came time for the smash cake James just looked puzzled. We finally guided his finger to poke the cake a little and put a crumb or two in his mouth. He seemed to really enjoy the little taste he got!


Everyone agreed that James couldn't have had a more perfect birthday cake. As it turns out, he would never need another one, so we are very thankful for this labor of love. And in case any of you were thinking of contacting my friend to order your own professional masterpiece, I have to disappoint you. A month after James' party, she moved on from cake decorating and launched a humor blog for a somewhat larger audience—but it couldn't be a more grateful one than us.


Many thanks to Abby for sharing with us today. If you'd like to learn more about James and his story, you can visit his blog here.


UPDATE: Abby and her hubby John are indeed reading all of your comments! She asked that I post this word of thanks on their behalf:

To Jen & the Wreckers: It's been amazing (again) to experience such an outpouring of love from strangers. Thanks so much for making our first birthday without James really special for us through your kind words, prayers, and thoughts. It's been incredibly encouraging and comforting for us and the grandparents to know that James is remembered and appreciated as the wonderful kid that he was and is.
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Cheesy Ninja said...

wow! thats a really cute and great cake, with a touching story to go with it. it makes me sad that some people have to leave the world so early, or some have to live through it with all kinds of health issues........

Heather said...

The best "Sunday Sweets", yet. A lovely tribute.

Marianne said...

That was such a bitter-sweet story. What a beautiful little boy, it makes me so sad to know he wasn't with us for long. But I'm sure his sweetness and joy lives on with you, and now us.

A beautiful cake for a beautiful boy.

Marianne
x

Alice said...

I found your blog this weekend. What an incredible post. Thank you so much for sharing your friend and the family's story. Just amazing. Alice Xxx

April said...

I rememeber reading about sweet baby James and seeing this post brought tears to my eyes. That cake was simple, but beautiful. Thanks for posting this Jen. :)

Novel said...

Oh, I love the pictures of that little boy. The cake is wonderful - and he and his parents deserved every bit of wonderfulness in his precious life. Thanks for sharing it.

P.S. I love this blog!

laura said...

Oh, this is so sad I almost cried!! I appreciate you honoring this request, and I'm glad that this special little boy had such a perfect first, (And only,) birthday!

abi said...

WAITaminnit - JEN made those??? You've been holding out on us!!

Seriously, this is a lovely post, and those are some amazing cakes. Thanks for sharing this with us.

NYCGirl said...

Abby,

I am so sorry for your loss.

lisa said...

WOW!!!! an amazing cake for an amazing boy!!!! Thanks for sharing it!! And for sharing your journey - you will never know some of the lives your story has touched!
I pray that as you celebrate the day of his birth, your heart will be comforted by peace that passes understanding!!!!
Blessings from Colorado!!!!

Amy said...

Jen, your cakes were exquisite. And Abby, your story made me cry.

-Amy H.

Reverend Ramona said...

Beautiful cake, beautiful post... thank you for sharing!

Melanie said...

Jen, you are a very talented cake decorator!!! I'm impressed.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate with your son! He was a beautiful little boy.

Mama Jamz said...

Oh my goodness. I'm crying happy/sad tears for that sweet boy and his family this morning. I'm so glad he had such a special birthday. I know it's a treasured memory. Thank you for sharing that.

darkshines said...

Gah, ok, now I'm in tears.

bella1021 said...

Love it!

Happy birthday James :)

Michelle said...

What a beautiful little boy. His eyes were captivating! Beautiful cake too.

Valerie said...

This cake is simply beautiful! You can tell how much care, effort (and love!) the baker put into it. James was a very lucky baby to have such incredibly parents and such wonderful friends that cared about him.

And Jen -- did you make that cake? Cause if you did -- massive kudos to you.

Suzan said...

Those are truly beautiful cakes for a truly beautiful little boy. Thank you and Abby for sharing such a special moment! Happy Birthday Sweet Baby James!

Anonymous said...

This is a heartwarming story--it is proof that we should live as though every day is precious. Cake for breakfast from now on!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and touching entry. THANK YOU for sharing. I would say that your birthday safari bagged a grand trophy of love and joy.
-WM

Tauna said...

Fun cake, beautiful boy! Sweet baby James touches my heart.

Laurie Green said...

Thank you for sharing that with us...what a sweet, inspirational post. And what a wonderful cake for such a sweet beautiful boy!
God Bless.

Lisa said...

Abby, your son was beautiful and a joy to behold. I am so sorry you lost him. I am so glad your friend started her wonderful blog ;-) but wow, she is a fantastic cake decorator too....It's always good to have a back-up career plan. :)

Fluffy Cow said...

Truly why this is called Sunday Sweets. Thanks for sharing.

Rose said...

What a beautiful and touching story! Rest in peace, sweet James...

I am in awe of your amazing baking skills, Jen! :) That cake stand your husband made is really sweet too.

Glory von Hathor said...

That's so moving.

What a wonderful cake, and a beautiful smile on James' face.

Anonymous said...

I always come here to laugh. Right now I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. I've read this blog almost since the beginning, but this is my first post.
My own James just ran up to me, smiling, wondering why Mommy is crying. He, too, is a special needs kid who's been through hospitals and surgery and therapy. I gave him a huge hug. He squirmed until I put him down. He doesn't understand what I'm thinking right now. That's OK.
I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your James will live on in a lot of memories ... including mine.
And that's a beautiful cake. :-)

Robyn said...

Gorgeous cake--and boy. Thanks for sharing your story!

C. Beth said...

Thank you for such an uplifting story. What a great way to remember James on his birthday.

Fantastic job on the cake. :)

ThreeBeans said...

Oh my....I have tears in my eyes. Happy Second Birthday to your darling baby boy.

Valerie said...

What a wondeful, but tragic story. James certainly was a beautiful child. And the cake was a masterpiece.

Amy Cee said...

I think I may have cried into my oatmeal a little. Seeing the joy in his beautiful face just made me lose it.

Thank you for sharing this story!

Christina said...

I think we watched a video about Baby James in my church in North Carolina. I cried then as I'm crying now. What a precious boy.

Mari said...

I had read about sweet baby James.

This post brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful labor of love.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

The Mish said...

This is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing. The cake is adorable, the little boy is beautiful.

heather said...

An angel is only allowed to visit us for a short time. But his life will continue to touch many.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, what a sweet story with such a bitter ending. James will be in my prayers tonight. I hope you guys are coping well.

Coleen said...

I read their blog.. what a special family! I am so happy you shared that with us.

MamaMia said...

Beautiful story to go with a beautiful little boy. God bless!

jeannie said...

Those cakes are so beautiful and made of nothing but the most genuine love.

I have often been in tears after reading this site, but never quite like this. Thank you for sharing this story.

Katie said...

I'll never forget when I first found this blog and through it stumbled upon Sweet Baby James' story. I spent that ENTIRE day reading his story and it has touched my heart deeply. I teared up again reading this post, it is so wonderful that he had such a special first birthday and a great cake (Wow Jen!). Happy Birthday Sweet Baby James.

Mallory said...

Best Sunday Sweets Ever. This is an amazing tribute to a beautiful little boy. Sweet Baby James indeed.

My fiance and I both have tears streaming down our faces now. And we, indeed, are having cake for breakfast.

weirdmom said...

I read this blog while I'm eating breakfast and often I am in danger of choking and crying because I'm laughing so hard but I didn't expect to be tearing up for a different reason. That was lovely. Thank you Jen for sharing your friend's story. I'm glad you could bless her with such an amazing cake. Sweet baby James has the most beautiful eyes and I am sad to know he isn't with us anymore.

lois said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing James, and his story, with us. What a precious little life. I'm glad you still celebrate him even now. His life was worth celebrating.

Dorci Harris said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. The cakes were beautiful and I'm sure your sweet baby boy was a precious gift to many. I pray today you will find comfort in the love of family and friends.

*****

Btw Jen, any idea why I suddenly can't see some of the pictures? In this post I could see all but the last three and in the post before I couldn't see the middle picture. Same thing with the post before that. Just didn't have that problem before - and it's frustrating the heck out of me!

Jennifer said...

What's that on his head?

Dorci Harris said...

PS...Nevermind about the question on the pictures, I think I've figured it out. Thanks.

mamagotcha said...

Oh, Jen... thank you for sharing this with us! You're a marvelous cake artist in your own right, and an incredibly good friend to James.

You did good, girlfriend. You did really, really good.

mooP said...

Very sweet indeed. This has brought a very good, much needed cry.

Donna @ Party Wishes said...

The cakes are amazing! James looks very happy! Thanks so much for sharing!

Lynda said...

What a beautiful boy and story. God blesses us all in so many different ways- and little James was an extra special one!
Lynda

Christina Kim said...

Abby, thank you for sharing this very touching story with us. Your son is truly an angel, and what a blessing that you had the opportunity to celebrate his first year with a beautiful cake.

Katrina said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. What a sweet little boy.

rawbery79 said...

I'm sitting here at work with tears in my eyes. (and now one just rolled out and down my cheek)

He lived a big life for such a little guy. Happy birthday James.

Erin said...

wow! That had me in tears! The cake was beautiful and so was sweet baby James! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tribute!

Kristin said...

What a beautiful cake and what a sweet little boy. I know he gave/gives you so much joy. I scanned your blog chronicling the life of this precious little one. Thanks for posting the link. I am the aunt of a special needs child with lissencephaly (smooth-brain syndrome) who lived for 12 years (and died Christmas season 2005). He brought/brings so much joy to my family too. These children are such blessings.

I'm sorry your friend didn't continue the cake decorating business. James's cake was beautiful.

danielle said...

That's the sweetest thing! Your son is beautiful, and the cake couldn't have turned out better!

K said...

I am in tears -- not just for such a beautiful little soul having to leave our world so early but for what is obviously a beautiful friendship.

Thank you so much for sharing, and Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby James.

C.L.Hagan said...

My husband and I love your blog. I am sincerely touched this Sunday. Thank you for sharing this Sunday Sweet with us. What a sweet baby boy. I think today is a good day to play James Taylor all day in his honor.

Crissy

Trackella said...

This just made me misty. What a beautiful story to share (the cakes are nice, too).

Gabby said...

*cries*
This is the single greatest reason to love this blog... What a wonderful dedication to such a cute baby... TTuTT

My Journey said...

I have recently starting making wedding and birthday cakes as a side hobby. I love it and despite the painstaking hours involved, I hold on to the idea that a beautiful cake is often more than a peice of caketo those receiving it. This story was incredibly touching. I don't think I'll ever make a cake again without thinking of sweet baby James.

Lois Lane said...

I remember checking out James's blog when you posted that he had passed away. I loved reading and seeing how much his family loved him. Thanks for letting his mom tell this story!!

Cecily said...

What a beautiful gift--the lovingly made cake, and precious time with that sweet, sweet boy. I'm tearing up over here.

Michele said...

Oh just great, now I have started out my day crying! lol What a wonderful story and a true inspiration to those that read it. What a precious child of God.

Jen you are amazing! I am glad you decided to start the blog, but the world is truly missing out on a fantastic cake decorator! Awesome job on that cake!

Alissa said...

Oh goodness, I'm crying now. What a beautiful cake and what a precious little boy. Prayers are going out for your family.

Elizabeth said...

Just when I'm feeling woe-is-me, I get something like this to put it all in perspective. Thanks! :o]

Also, I whole heartedly agree with a previous commenter, that stories like this make me want to value each moment: cake for breakfast!

TaraB said...

What a beautiful wonderful cake and an even more wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing their story. My thoughts and prayers are with you all today. Blessings.

Marji said...

Happy Birthday, James.

Kateri said...

How sweet and sad. I'm so glad that beautiful little boy got a masterpiece of a cake for his one and only birthday.

sassyshortgirl said...

Baby James was obviously an Angel that HE could not live without him any longer... such a sweet soul, to be called up so early in life.

Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Who knew peeking at a cake blog could touch our hearts so profoundly?

God Bless.

MotherBeck said...

Oh my gosh, that face of his...so cute, no wonder they called him Sweet Baby James! And the cakes were absolutely awesome!

meredith said...

This was lovely, but I shouldn't have read it at work. By then end, I couldn't hold back the tears, so I was doing little hickup breaths to try and not sob.
My nephew also spent most of his first year in the hospital NICU. He still has many challenges and special needs, but every day he gets stronger. Because he can't eat a cake, we had never made one.
This year, he is GETTING a cake.
Thank you for reminding me to never take anyone for granted, and that it all life is an amazing gift, no matter how long or short.

Lida said...

Happy Birthday in heaven Sweet Baby James and congratulations on one of the most perfect cakes I´ve ever seen Jen.

bibliogrrl said...

I love the fact that it took allll the way to abi for people to catch that Jen made the cakes You've been holding out on us!

Those are beautiful, and you totally made me cry. What an awesome tribute.

Chey said...

I'm in tears now, but they're the kind that come from reading a truly moving tribute. James' birthday cakes were gorgeous and I'm sure he is grateful to have had such a loving family and friends to honor him so much. *hugs* to Abby and Jen for sharing their memories of someone so special with us.

JDW said...

Like so many of SweetBabyJames' family and friends, on his birthday we are joyfully and tearfully remembering his too-short time with us on Earth. We were blessed by his presence, and continue to be amazed and uplifted by the love and support from so many people who have shared their comments. Thank you all.
Grandpa and Grandpa Warren in Tallahassee

Ashley said...

*tear* the first cakewreck blog to make me cry and not out of laughter. bless his baby heart!

ashley

Anonymous said...

Every morning I come on here to look at whatever might cause me laugh throughout the day and today I cant stop crying. This was is a great post but so heartbreaking. He looked so happy and that only made me cry more.

Jessika

Kimmad said...

I've been reading this blog for a long time and read all about Sweet Baby James when he passed. And I never post, but I wanted to comment on what a loving tribute this was. We can see what a labor of love you put into making those cakes for that sweet, sweet boy. Thank you for sharing on what would have been James' 2nd birthday. His story is an inspiration. (and I'm totally in tears...)

Blalock said...

What a beautiful post. How precious life is. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Another Julia said...

What a beautiful little boy. Rest well, sweet baby James.
The cake was perfect--he certainly deserved the best, I am sure.

The Morgans said...

I came across James' blog right after my great-niece was born and diagnosed with semi-lobar HPE. These sweet babies are absolute angels. What a wonderful tribute to James and the happiness & love he brought into the world.

Emily said...

crying.

Zhoen said...

(o)

Karen said...

What a handsome guy James is! And that smile, and those huge blue-blue eyes you could just fall into. He's a person I wish I could have gotten to know. But even though he's gone, he's still made *my* life a little better by knowing about him. Thank you.

Holkie said...

Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

So, a sad happy birthday to Sweet Baby James.

The Lunar Fox said...

This was such a bitter sweet post. I actually have tears in my eyes.

Meagan said...

Beautiful!
Beautiful Cake
Beautiful Story
Beautiful Baby

Sorry that he had to leave you so soon, but I am glad that you were able to create such a beautiful memory to keep.

Thank you for sharing.

Tristan's Mom said...

Jen, your cakes were beautiful! And I have to say, that is the sweetest "Sunday Sweets" I've seen so far. Thank you, Abby, for sharing your precious boy with us. Happy Birthday, James :)

Rachel said...

What a sweet little boy. By far the best Sweets for Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Happy Heavenly Birthday, sweet baby James! I'm glad "Auntie" Jen made you such a nice cake! God bless your parents and loved ones on this special day.

-Julie

Laura said...

My kids are also a bit too big for these sets, but I have a new nephew or niece on the way later this year and I think the Zebra design is adorable. I like that it works for both boys and girls.

thorswitch said...

Abby,

This may sound funny, but I'm well known among my friends as "not a fan of children," but even *I* find James absolutely adorable and beautiful! That last picture shows a boy with so much spirit in his eyes - you can see how very much he was loved.

I am SO very sorry his time with you was so short, but it sounds like you made the most of the time you had with him - both for yourself and, more importantly, for him.

Oh, and the cakes are adorable, too :)

Thank you for sharing that with us, I don't know if you have or want any other children, but if you do, you can be sure some of James' spirit will carry over to them - and if not, you'll always have it in your heart, eh?

Blessings,
Kriselda

EllenFanatic said...

That was so beautiful (Cake and the beautiful baby)

What a sweet tribute, and it was so sad.... I almost cried


xoxo

Anonymous said...

My best friend, also named Abby, lost her first set of twins (this was her first pregnancy) when they were born prematurely. My heart goes out to your Abby and her family. God will surely bless her for being the loving person she is. The cakes and cupcakes looked wonderful, I am sure everyone enjoyed them very much.

ComfyDenim said...

Such a WONDERFUL Cake and a touching tribute. So perfect.

and very very sweet.

janet2buns said...

Sweet Baby James' story reminds us to take joy when we can, as life can deal us some cruel blows. Thank you for sharing.

Louanne said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet, sweet story. This is the best Sunday Sweets yet. I read your blog all the time, but this is the first time I have commented.

It's a wonderful cake and story.

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful and wonderful gift you gave this family that they will remember their whole lives.

Bless You!!

Amy

Amy said...

JEN----you are trying to be modest....because YOU are the one who made the cakes and cupcakes!


They are so cute, and I'm so glad your friends had a great 1 year birthday for their boy. Sweet baby James really did a lot of good for people while he was here on earth (I just got back from reading his life-blog)

Jen said...

@Jennifer: the strap on James' head was a special hearing aid. It conducts sound with low-level vibrations, I believe.

And thank you all for the lovely comments! Your words matter to James' parents & family & friends, so thank you for taking the time to write them.

Ms. V. said...

Beautiful story. He was a beautiful boy.

Anonymous said...

Abby, your baby James is so sweet indeed - great big blue eyes and a smile to melt your heart. Thank you for sharing. ~S

Ray-Ray said...

beautiful cake
beautiful boy

thanks so much for sharing both for us to see and love, too

Jenny said...

That's the sweetest Sunday I've ever seen. Thanks.

sarah said...

What a lovely tribute and a lovely friendship!

Angie said...

Wow. Just, wow. Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful story (and the beautiful cake!) with all of us. I have a feeling I won't ever think the same way about "just a cake" again.

Anonymous said...

I've got something in my eye... *sniff*

laydeedancer said...

What a beautiful story and a beautiful boy! This post brought tears to me eyes and made me hug my family in honor of James.

Quiara said...

What a wonderful tribute to such a special life. (Very pretty cake, too, but you'll forgive me if Baby James is seen as the star.)

Thanks for the post. <3

lunamorgan said...

Thanks for making me cry like a b**** 20 minutes before my birthday party!

The cake is beautiful, and the story is as well.

MalMal said...

Sweetest. Sweet. Ever.

I'm truly touched (and bawling my eyes out) by the story and the beautiful tribute to this gorgeous child. How blessed he was in his short days to be surrounded by so much love. What a loss to this earth to be without his shining eyes any longer, but what a change he's made to everyone who has been touched by his story in such a short time here.

Blessings to his family.

Beth said...

I think everything I'd want to say has been said, but I'll just say this was a wonderful Sunday Sweet--sweet (if sad) story, beautiful, well-crafted cake, and love all around.

stacymckenna said...

Magnificent - both the cakes and the tribute. Thank you.

Erika said...

Beautiful post and such a sweet cake!

Kelley Marie said...

Abby, it is a fantastic privilege to be able to share this story. Jen, you are an amazing friend! Thank you both!

Suzy said...

I've cried before reading this blog, but from laughter. Right now I'm crying because that was such a touching story. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm happy you were able to share it with us.

Lisa said...

what a sweet story, thank you for sharing. your little angel is truly beautiful, and a sweet gift from god. thank you again for sharing, this was a sweet inspirational post. god bless you.

JDW said...

Readers, please don't misinterpret the typo error in the signoff for my comment posted at 11:24 AM.
Grandpa and GrandMA

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! The cake is as beautiful as the life it celebrated - Truly a Sunday Sweet!
M

Laurel said...

God bless you, your family and your friends as you remember Sweet Baby James. May his memory forever warm your heart as it has warmed mine this morning with just this glimpse into your life.

Thank you for sharing this.
**hugs**

David and Sandy said...

He has the most beautiful eyelashes.

Anonymous said...

That was a very beautiful story. God bless the little guy...so cute. Happy Birthday James!

Barbara

Ell said...

This made me cry! But it was really sweet!

Jumpyham said...

I love the tribute. The backstory brings tears to my eyes. I'm happy that he lived a happy life, though it was short.

I hope your friend is Okay.

Katy
Jumpinhamu

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and sad story. Thank you both for sharing it and little James with us. I'm so sorry for your loss, and happy for the joy you had with him. Just perfect cakes, by the way.

Lori

Rose said...

Such a cute little kid. And the cake is wonderful. You are truly blessed.

THank you for sharing the memory with me. I too had a premee, but mine is now 29.

My thoughts are with you and your beautiful boy on his day.

Sheri said...

How lucky for me that I just a few days ago began following Jen on Twitter and found my way to this story. Beautifully done--both the story and the cakes.

Anonymous said...

The friendship and support between Jen and Abby is as beautiful as James.

I'm the caretaker of my brother, who has multiple disabilities, and I know I wouldn't be able to do it without the support of my friends. With love, there is nothing we can't face.

-eric

MommyAmy said...

Gorgeous cake for an amazing little boy!

I am so sorry for your loss Abby.

Diana said...

I started reading this blog just around the time Baby James left us and it was on that post that I left my first comment because I felt so incredibly sad.

Abby, my heart goes out to you. I bet you're an amazing mom and Baby James will always live on through you and the memory of him that you keep alive.

Wonderful Sunday Sweets. I'm in tears now.

CaliGirl9 said...

I think of James every day, and how all of a sudden he went from a baby to an adorable little kid.

What I can't wait to see will be the cake for Abby and John's new baby boy who is on his way! Will you please go update your blog???!!!! How are things going?

Pretty Things said...

Ha! When my son had his first cupcake, he looked at it with disdain and tossed it over his shoulder! That photo is priceless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the story about James. After I found your blog, I started reading James' blog as well. I feel like I know Abby, John, and James even though I will likely never have the pleasure of meeting this wonderful family.

I'm Jessica said...

One year ago today, my husband and I were married and I officially had the best day of my life. When I checked your blog this morning and followed the link to read about Sweet Baby James and his awesome journey, it brought tears to my eyes to realize that on the same day, little James and his family were celebrating his first and only birthday. Thanks for this tribute, and Abby, if you're reading, thank you for sharing this beautiful story!

Janelle said...

Thanks for sharing this story. My heart goes out to the family for their loss. This beautiful boy deserved his beautiful cake.

Anonymous said...

That read like a true Steve Harvey's "The Rest of the Story". Really amazing and touching story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Abby, may your family find comfort and peace in the memories you cherish.

sendingtheclowns said...

This is for James' Mom and Dad, and all of his family:
I do not remember when, how, or why I happened upon Sweet Baby James' story. It doesn't matter.
I read through the whole of it hoping for a miracle, in spite of everything.
Well, there WAS a miracle, because there was James.
Someone with a smile like that- just for you- what else but a miracle.
James lived love, in its purest essence. Only love like that can be felt simply from reading a story about someone you never knew.
Crying hurts, but look up--baby angels don't cry. They laugh.
Happy Birthday, James.

Renee said...

Wow, great cake and such a neat story of how it came to be!

Miranda said...

Darnit, Jen, Cake Wrecks isn't supposed to make me cry!!!!

Beautiful cake, and a sweet tribute to a dear little boy.

bats :[ said...

Happy Birthday, James! I'll bet your heavenly cake will be hard-pressed to match your Safari one!

Heidi said...

Beautiful cake Jen. I read James' blog and it brought me to tears. My youngest spent 6 weeks in that same NICU - that is a life-changing experience in itself. Such a beautiful baby boy and a wonderful tribute to him today.

Danielle said...

He's so precious! His adorable face is the face of angel. Yet his story is so sad...made me tear up... But still best Sunday Sweets yet

Sylvia said...

That's such a sad story ! I'm tearing up here.

Cicadas said...

This made me cry for the first time in years. So sad, but wonderful of you to celebrate this child's life.

Francois Tremblay said...

This should be on "Stuff White People Like"! (making their babies complicated cakes they can't possibly understand)

The Zehrs said...

Beautiful cake and a wonderful tribute to James. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Abby, thank you for sharing your story - James is, and always will be, a beautiful boy. I'm so glad that he had a wonderful first birthday. Your story made me cry - I've spent the whole morning reading your Sweet Baby James blog, and it reminded me just how truly blessed each and everyone of us truly is.

J.Lea said...

Thank you for posting this. It is very close to home with me. My son was born at 24 weeks gestation and also spent a total of 135 days in the hospital. Right now he is on a feeding tube and we are going to be celebrating his coming home day instead of his birthday this year.

This post reminded how truly lucky I am. Besides a few hiccups, my son is very healthy. My heart breaks for your friend. Her son was such a sweet baby and endured so much.

Anonymous said...

Wow, That was a great story Abby. Thank you for Sharing it. Sweet Baby James was a beautiful child.
That cake was to die for. Why did you give it up, if you don't mind my asking?
This is my first "Sunday Sweets" and it was the best article. Im sorry about James and his parent's but Im sure they are grateful for everyday they had with him.
merin44...Erin's my real name

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cake for a beautiful family.

It's obvious from reading their website that James's parents are amazing people, who were up to the challenge of providing a very sick child with a life full of laughter and joy. May his joy continue to fill their lives now.

Kibby

The Potocniks said...

Definitely my favorite Sunday Sweets you've had---thanks for paying tribute to one of God's angels---BEAUTIFUL!

Keri and Crew said...

I'm a mom of a kiddo with special needs- I totally know what you mean about dying of joy if he actually ate any cake. I remember thinking how weird it was to be actually trying to TEACH my son to make messes with his food!
What an awesome celebration for an awesome little boy!

Anonymous said...

Very sweet and touching.

Rebekah said...

I found Abby's blog a couple of months ago and have been touched by the family's faith and strength throughout everything. I found cake wreck's a while earlier and didn't know what the connection was until today. My son also died and when I need a smile through my tears I often look to see if another wreck has been posted. Thank you for the beautiful birthday cake you made for James and thank you for the many smiles you bring to me :)
-rebekah

Mandee said...

Abby, thank you for sharing James' cakes with us. I'm so sorry for your loss. Happy Birthday, James!!!

Heather said...

That was such a touching story and such beautiful cakes. I recognized the animals immediately, as I did the Whimsical Bakehouse safari cake for my own son's first birthday, which was 3 months after James' first birthday celebration. The story brought tears and reminded me how blessed I am. I will give my son an extra hug tonight and send a prayer for sweet baby James and his family. I hope they are able to remember his birthday with joy.
Heather

Amy said...

This was very touching. Now I am all teared up. I am glad they were able to have a nice one year celebration for him.

And that cake is amazing!

Scritzy said...

That made me cry.

Mari said...

What adorable cakes and cupcakes. James has the longest eyelashes I've ever seen, what a sweet little boy he was. I am so happy to read that his mom and dad are pregnant with baby #3. I hope everything is perfect.
This makes me realize how fortunate I have been with my children, you take them for granted sometimes. Please tell them thank you for sharing James with us.

gd said...

Abby's positive, life-affirming attitude is astoundingly inspirational. Thank you for sharing this with all of us...I went to James' blog and started to read, but couldn't get very far today. I'll try it again when tears aren't making everything blurry. :)

That cake is COMPLETELY AWESOME, as well.

What a wonderful Sunday Sweets.

Dreamed said...

Sunday sweets.
Beautiful to see.
Then they're gone.
Only memories.

Goodbye James.

Jaye said...

Cake wrecks has made me laugh out loud till my sides hurt...it's made me chuckle..and grin..
Today it made me cry.
God Bless James' family for sharing their story..and for obviously having such Grace during a time that is unimaginable as a parent.
And I'm glad that cake baker started a blog instead! :)

Ream O Rama said...

Jen!!

You totally rocked it! What a great friend you are-

Devyn said...

I never thought reading Cake Wrecks would make me cry. I held it together until I got to the picture of James with his big smile and then I was gone. James was a beautiful boy, and it looks like he was loved a lot. Thanks for sharing the story. The cakes were awesome as well, and I was even more impressed when I read that Jen made them, you go girl!

AlisonH said...

What a beautiful boy, and how wonderful that that celebration of his life was held during his life, with him getting to enjoy it, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and the story. What a rough journey for everyone involved. It is lovely to have these photos of a very happy time in James's short life.

Julia O'C said...

That's the first time Cake Wrecks made me cry.

What an incredible story - and an incredible little boy. Thanks for posting it.

Trish said...

The sweetest Sunday Sweets yet. Great job on the cakes Jen!! Happy Birthday James! :)

Debbi said...

Jen, Abby and John - look how many of us have been touched by Sweet Baby James!!! What a special little angel.

Grace said...

I am so moved by this story and certainly the labor of love was just a drop in the ocean of love that the baker must have felt for this boy.

Thank you for sharing this with us. I feel privileged to read it and be another person who can remember James too.

Trish said...

PS

Your story made me kiss my son many more times than usual today. Thank you for sharing!

bob kennedy said...

today was our march for dimes walk and James is the reason we do it. We lost one of our triplets at 8 days old and we do everything we can to raise money. this year we raised $8300 for the March of Dimes so that no child should ever go through this. www.thekennedyboys.blogspot.com

CassieInIowa said...

Yesterday I celebrated my niece's 3rd birthday, not thinking at all of the children that hadn't made it that far. This morning, I spent 4 hours reading Sweet Baby James' blog. His story is weighing heavy on my heart. I won't soon forget his beautiful eyes, and all of the wonderful and not so wonderful ups and downs he endured during his short stay on this earth. Every moment is special. Every smile a keepsake. Thank you for reminding me.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby James. I hope your loved ones feel my love, and yours on this day.

Emily said...

Happy Birthday, James. Thank you for sharing his story with us today. We are remembering him with you.

peace- emily (from SteppingStonesBlog.blogspot.com)

Susan said...

Happy Birthday, Sweet James! Your first birthday was so special and I will forever remember you sitting in your high chair with that beautiful cake in front of you.

Jen, you made that sweet day even sweeter!

Frances said...

Beautiful boy, beautiful memories. God bless you all.

Allergy Mom said...

Abby, you have my deepest condolences. My son was also premature, also spent time in the NICU, and also has special needs. (We still don't have a diagnosis.) You have lived through my worst nightmare with a grace I find hard to fathom. Thank you for sharing your beautiful little boy with us.

Jen, where were you when I didn't have a birthday cake for my son's first birthday, because he had just been diagnosed with food allergies? (I molded a sweet potato and stuck a candle in it!)

Anonymous said...

Since discovering your blog in January, I finish ever day by checking out Cake Wrecks to have a good laugh, so I did not expect to be in tears this evening. But I don't mind, for James is so sweet and beautiful and I am happy to be able to help honor his memory today. I too had a baby who died; he was five weeks old. That was almost seventeen years ago. Of course it is heartbreaking, but a strong faith and the support of friends and family gets one through. Abby, I am so glad that you were able to have a wonderful first birthday for James, and I am touched by your sharing today. These angel-babies are with us for such a short time, and yet when we share about their lives it sends ripples of love across the planet. We still celebrate our son, Gareth's birthday. Our family goes to the gravesite which is in a lovely secluded wooded cememtary, we have a picnic, and share cupcakes (not the dreaded CCC though!). We always leave one for him that I am sure the squirrles enjoy. We also use artist pastels/chalk to draw upon his gravestone. We all participate and over the years we have moved from brilliant scribbles to amazing pieces of art. This birthday celebration helps to keep his memory alive, especially for his siblings who were young or not even born at that time.
Anyway, Happy Heavenly Birthday to James; love and hugs to Abby and her husband; and thanks Jen for a terrific Sunday Sweets!
- Shannon

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that with us. The best Sunday Sweet you've ever had. And James is such an adorable boy. I'm sure he is bringing smiles and joy into everyone around him, even if it isn't on this plane with us.

Deborah said...

Abby & John, Such a beautiful blog to tell such a beautiful story. I am so inspired by your strength & faith. The Lord couldn't have picked anyone to tell that story better. Thank you so much for sharing. I pray that your story continues to touch lives & hearts!

Anonymous said...

This post made me sadder and sadder... until the last picture. What a beautiful, happy, boy. Thank you for sharing this day with us.

Amy said...

Very nice cake for a very special occasion.
~Amy B

Michele said...

What a touching story. James looks so happy, and such a beautiful cake! I hope his family can find comfort in knowing that the story of their precious son has touched the lives of so many through Cake Wrecks.
This story really struck a chord with me, as my sister, Abigale, was 10 weeks premature, and had to eat with a feeding tube into her stomach for quite some time. Thank God, she is a happy, playful little girl, 4 1/2 years old.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. A truly special "Sunday Sweets"!

Jessica said...

What a sweet and lovely tribute.

smiles :) said...

That is a beautiful story, and what lovely treats Jen! :) thank you for sharing that today :)

Hilary Cable said...

What a beautiful story. And the cakes are spectacular.

Mrs. O'Neill said...

A friend of mine told me to look at this website about a month after I lost my daughter. It was the first time I laughed since it happened. I am so grateful for this blog! I check this blog every day (sometimes more than once if it's a bad day) and often think of Lily when I do. What a beautiful post.

zara hemla said...

Happy birthday, baby James.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, LOVE the photos of such a sweet one year old boy with his cake. Look at his eyes! Look at his smile!

Thank you to Abby for sharing your sweet baby James' story with all of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am in tears but happy this little boy got to have a beautiful birthday with his family before he passed on. Bless you all.

Megan said...

Surely, a Sunday Sweet.
Thank you, Abby and Jen for sharing yours (and James') story with us.

Isha Jo Corbin said...

I just spent the last several hours going through the Sweet Baby James blog, and am crying my eyes out. What a touching story and a lovely tribute to such a special little soul!

Brandy said...

Wow, that cake was beautiful, and the story very touching.

Thanks for your fun blog!

The Mostess said...

Thank you for sharing this story. James and I share a birthday, and it really reminds me to be thankful for all of the blessings in my own life.

Happy birthday to your beautiful baby boy.

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