29 January 2010
Where's the Party?
I'm a Leo which means a July birthday. This was always a bit tricky growing up as most of my friends were away during the summer. Birthdays usually involved the family and very close friends who either didn't have a house in the Hamptons or weren't sent off one one of those fabulous teen tours across Europe. My most memorable birthdays happened when I was at summer camp where I had an entire bunk-full of people to celebrate with me. Though the days leading up to it were always dicey. Cut to me entering the cabin and hearing shrieks of laughter and what sounded like a million people talking at once. The second I was spotted, everyone would clam up and share knowing glances amongst each other. This is the last thing you want to do to a shy and very self-conscious 9 year-old. What I would later learn is that they had been plotting the details of my birthday party but I somehow managed to forget this from summer to summer and was obviously relived to learn that no, it wasn't a conspiracy against me, just cake, candy and whatever else was brought forth to fete my special day!
My mother often tells the story of how one year she rented out the private dining room at a local country club and planned a real swish affair for my birthday. I must have been about 5 and the sight of all those people with their eyes focused on me scared me so bad, I climbed under the table and refused to come out for the rest of the party...not even to blow out the candles on my cake. You see the pattern here right? Needless to say, it was the last time my mom went to such extremes for one of my parties.
One of the funnest birthdays I have had recently was 2 years ago when my husband and I made reservations at one of the top restaurants here in Paris. We had talked about this place for years and were really excited about finally having a table booked. Though when the evening finally rolled around, neither of us was particularly looking forward to a 6-course meal with requisite wine in a stuffy environment where waiters hovered over our every move. We ended up at a local bistro eating croque monsieurs and then we went to see Die Hard 4. We both had such a good time, we have carried on with this tradition every year since.
This past summer I turned 40 and could not believe my good fortune in that almost every single one of my close girlfriends was still here in the city. I guess that's what happens when you live in a country where August is the month for getting away. We had a fabulous dinner at an adorable restaurant in the 18th, and then they surprised me with a collective gift from one of my favorite jewelers. This was handled so covertly - I never once walked in on a secret discussion about this which would have surely left me feeling awkward and paranoid! ;)
I've been doing a lot of birthday baking lately, mostly for my son who has now had 3 parties this month! I have already shown you the giant dinosaur cupcake we had for our family celebration. Last weekend, he celebrated at one of the local museums where they have a Playmobil expo going on. I left him with 14 of his friends to do a visit and workshop with a member of the museum staff, and then it was my turn to come back and look after them during an hour-long "gouter." This was probably the longest hour of my life! Everything started out relatively fine with the singing and cutting of the cake but then the boys got up and decided to run like crazies around the room, under the tables, using the stools as defensive shields. The girls on the other hand sat demurely eating the cake and complimenting me on it. And then 1-2-3, they too were up on their feet chasing the boys. When the hour was up and it was time to say goodbye, almost of all the parents commented to me that the room must have been very hot as all their little ones stood there giggling with red cheeks and sweat dripping down their faces. If they only knew! :)
My son took the Spiderman cupcakes pictured here to school today for the class celebration. I'm also posting some of the other birthday cupcakes I have done recently. I am particularly proud of the Dora ones (check out the really lame ones I made last year -- oh, what a difference a year makes!). And the Pokemon cake the kids devoured at the museum to keep their energy levels in check!