Clara and Mateo’s birthdays’ are only ten days apart, so a combined party for them last Saturday was my eleventh-hour attempt to shortcut the birthday season this year.
It was a little helter-skelter, but still great fun, and a success, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have to do it all over again in two weeks, so that is the definite bonus. Mateo was kind enough to share the spotlight and Clara is still young enough to go along with any plan, especially if it involves cake.
Montréal photography duo Tim and Angela Chin are more like family than friends now (we’ve been working hard on my upcoming cookbook together) and I was so thankful they captured our double party with their unique perspective. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t have had a single photo otherwise. Here are a few images from the special day.
Mateo is 6
ALL Photos by Tim & Angela Chin
Mateo has been obsessed with the game of chess ever since Danny taught Noah this past summer. He listened in, watched them play, and was soon in on every second match, holding his own just fine.
He studied strategy, memorized the rules (yes, at age five) and now routinely whups Noah and I. Occasionally he gets Danny in check-mate, too, fair and square.
So he had to have a chess cake, which was fun (and pretty easy) to make. I prepared a chocolate cake on a baking sheet and cut it square. I covered it with frosting, and then rolled fondant. I attached 32 extra thin Lindt chocolate squares to get the checker board effect. Finally, I added chess pieces (real ones, I’m not crazy enough to attempt handmade, thankyouverymuch) and called it a cake!
Mateo loved his chess cake and he even had a quick match on top of the cake with his brother before the party started. (Which he won in eight moves.)
Mateo stayed at the table to savour his cake after all his friends had scattered to play. He knows how to take in a moment and I love that about him.
Clara turns 2
Clara fell hard for raspberries last summer, so I splurged and bought two pints for a decidedly unseasonal shortcake. It was a massive, towering hit, whipped cream and all.
I made a sponge cake, baked it in four round pans, froze it, trimmed it, and split each round in half. Each layer had an ample helping of whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a bit of raspberry jam. A dusting of icing sugar finished it off.
All in all, it was a simple cake, too, because there was no frosting to fiddle around with.
She first watched Mateo blow out his candles. Later, when it was her turn, she blew out two tall red candles in a single breath. Hooray!
She tucked right in, finished one piece, then stood up in her chair and shrieked “MORE CAKE”! Later that evening, when I had tucked her into bed, I heard her chattering to her ‘friends’ about “take” (cake). I guess it made an impression.
We’re in post-party recovery mode now, which is why this post will be short. The kids and I are still cleaning up the wrapping paper, Jenga blocks, LEGO, used paper straws and party decorations that little the house from stem to stern.
In the laundry room I’m soaking raspberry-stains out of the tablecloths and a little girl’s party dress. The kitchen is still sticky from lemonade.
But the party was more than worth the clean-up efforts. I have a theory about birthday’s and that is nothing is too much work or trouble for my children on their special day. I learned that lesson four years ago while sitting outside an OR all night wondering if Mateo would make it out alive…and to his next birthday. Of course he DID and is healthy and happy, which is what we celebrate everyday, and especially on his birthday. He had a perma-smile on the entire day!
It was a sweet day, with friends and family gathered to mark the occasion. I now have a brand new six-year-old and –oh my– a little girl who has officially entered the terrible twos. What’s next? Spring break!
Have you combined birthday parties before? What is your strategy when two birthdays are close on the calendar?