Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Double Birthday Extravaganza

We spent this past weekend in Pittsburgh celebrating Leo's 4th (May 16th) and Zoe's 2nd (June 22nd) birthday.  We had a small (though with our families, even the most intimate get-together is pretty big...) get together in the park after nap time.  We've done the same thing nearly every year since Leo was born.  

On the day of the party Leo woke up in the mood. Around noon I put both him and Zoe to sleep (this was a surprise because Leo hasn't slept been napping for quite a while now). I had hope that both kids would wake up in good moods and ready to party. That was not the case. Leo was crankier than ever and threw himself on the floor when I tried to get a birthday kid picture. Zoe always wants to do whatever her brother does so she threw himself on the floor too. Of course, once we ushered Leo out of the room Zoe posed happily. (Aside: the "cast" on is arm is a dramatic bandage for a small scrape that he was very upset about.)

We made two cakes. There was a blueberry cake with coconut icing for Zoe and a chocolate cake with a construction theme for Leo.  I got the idea for the construction cake from Pinterest and Leo loved it.

It wasn't that difficult to make. I (well, jb) baked a chocolate sheet cake and I covered it with chocolate icing. With a butter knife I outlined the number four and used black icing (that kind that comes in a tube) to make the road. JB was a little horrified that I use icing from the tube on her homemade cake. With a little patience and a spatula it smoothed out nicely. I added a couple yellow lines, some wonky trees, and some crumbled Oreos and Tada!

Zoe's cake was by far the guest favorite. This cake was also baked by JB and decorated by me as per tradition. The best part about this tradition is so nervous that the cakes will taste awful that she doesn't want anyone to know she baked them. So, when the cakes inevitably taste delicious, I get all the glory. Just don't ask me what's in them...  This cake was delicious; it tasted like a giant blueberry muffin with creamy coconut icing.  We made two cakes mostly because we wanted each kid to have their own chance to blow out the candles, but I'm glad we did because Leo loved the chocolate one and Zoe loved the blueberry one.  Neither one of them even wanted to taste the other cake!

In the past we've held this annual birthday party at a local park near where I went to high school. This year that particular park happen to be booked up when I went to make the reservation for the pavilion. I saw that this park was available and though I've never been there before I thought we could give it a try. Truth be told I think I like it even more than our usual park and we may switch to this one from now on.

We were the only people there most of the day. We rented a pavilion with six picnic table (the only pavilion) and the park had a small playground with a climbing structure and swings and lots of trees and open field.  The best feature in my opinion is that you can drive right up to the pavilion.  The park we usually use has the pavilions at the top of a big hill and the parks are always crowded. This was nice not only for loading and unloading party supplies, but also for older guests.

With the help of family we decorated the pavilion.  Set out the cakes.

Set out some play things (there were like a dozen more balls, but they went so quickly I didn't get a chance to snap a picture).

Strung up the piñata.

And we were ready to party!  Just one problem... the birthday kids weren't there yet.  My mom had been tasked with driving them to the party once everything was set up, but thanks to some road closures they ended up getting lost and were over a half hour late to their own party.  I might have freaked out a little - but once they arrived I could relax and enjoy the party.  As they got out of the car there was a small crowd at the pavilion to welcome them and we spontaneously clapped for them.  It was a super sweet moment.

Zoe focused her time on the jungle gym.

And was positively tickled to be able to blow bubbles AND hold the bubble jar.

Leo preferred to stick to the grass, snacking with aunts and uncles and kicking balls around.  

The favorite of both kids, and really all the kids at the party, was when Uncle Maddie chased them around the field roaring and tickling.  

Once everyone had an opportunity to snack and play we tried to break the piñata.  And tried.  And tried.  We were all pretty sick of the piñata song by the time all the kids had a chance to swing at it, so we handed the stick over to Uncle Maddie.  She couldn't break it.  Next up: Uncle Julian.  He gave it all he had, and did the piñata break?  No.  But the stick sure did.  Finally my mom just ripped it open.  (Still, better then the piñata stabbing of my childhood.)

We had filled the piñata with a mix of small toys, stickers and candy.  There were six super hero figures in there and after the frenzy of picking up prizes Leo grabbed jb and I and pulled us aside.  He was SOOOOOOO excited to show us what he'd gotten.  In his bag were four of the six super hero figurines and one lone tiny bite size snickers. Later in the party he gave away two of the figurines, but oh, his excitement in that moment.  Click.  Forever memory.

Finally, it was time to sing, blow out candles and cut the cakes. The first thing Leo did when we finished singing happy birthday was pick up the truck with the butterscotch chips and dump it in his mouth. Only the birthday boy gets away with something like that.

Leo had specifically requested a chocolate and butterscotch cake - but since we weren't sure he'd ever tried or would like butterscotch we just added some chips on top. Zoe had some trouble blowing her candle, but was blown away that the whole crowd sang to her.  She still talks about it every day.

We lingered at the park until seven pm and both kids fell into a very sound sleep upon arriving home.  I'd say the day was a success.  Leo and Zoe certainly had a fantastic time.  I don't know how long they will be keen on a joint party that isn't in the city they live in, but for now I love this simple and fairly low-key way of celebrating this yearly milestone.


  1. Oh, so cute! That blueberry cake looks awesome, but the best part by far is Zoe lying on the floor so she can be like Leo. Priceless!

  2. Tiffany4/09/2015

    Hi, I'm having a baby soon & I was looking for a place to have my shower. I'm from Philly too! We used to go to FDR but it's now trashy & always packed in the summer. Where is this this park? It sounds like it'd be perfect!