A few months ago, my girl had asked if we could rent a nearby cabin for her sixteenth birthday party. We had previously rented Dunlodge for her dad’s fortieth birthday a few years ago and found it to be a lovely hidden little spot in town. Sixteen being a big deal, I went for it. And since I had to take the cabin for the full weekend, I thought I’d throw a party for her one night and a party the next evening for my dear husband, who also had a birthday that weekend. It seemed slightly ambitious, but not overly so. Just to be sure, I texted Pat’s best bromance, Will, to make sure he was in and when he was, I went with the plan.
Of course, then I got the invite to chuck all and head to California for the better part of a week, arriving home the Wednesday before the parties. Admittedly, these parties were at least two of the dozen very good responsible adult reasons as to why I shouldn’t have gone, but having been known as “Party Girl” most of my life, I also was firmly aware that if anyone could pull off going to California for 5 days, then throwing back to back parties within 72 hours of arriving home, I could. And I did.
Thursday was a whirlwind of baking, cooking and shopping. For Edie’s party, both carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes were made, as was a batch of cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Her requested birthday meal was tacos and tots – easy enough to pull off the day of. For Pat’s party, we had friends coming in from all over, so I started a few pots of soup Thursday night – a butternut squash black bean chili and Ryan’s ginger beef stew (which I sadly realize I’ve never blogged! I’ll have to fix that soon). I also made a lemon pound cake for Pat’s party and the morning of his party, threw together a pot of white bean, farro and baby kale soup in smoked ham broth. It was hands down, the favorite. Of course.
Edie’s party was a lovely little sleepover with her crew. Our friend Ryan joined us Friday night, so when Saturday morning arrived and we began preparations for the next party, it was good to have extra hands available.
All day Saturday we had people rolling in – Edie had some camp friends join us in addition to the Virginia Cousins crew – Will and the kids, Ryan & Rieman and boys, Brooke & Nick, Chris. Will and Ryan showed up ready to cook (as I knew they would) with coolers full of oysters, freshly caught mallard duck, goose and venison. Ryan also brought pork he’d raised in the form of bacon and sausage. Will made his goose stuffed poppers, there was fried venison tenderloin, roasted duck, oysters, cake, cupcakes and all those soups I’d made. We were very well fed. As the day turned into evening, our local friends arrived, guitars came out, fires were built and we continued to celebrate Pat. He was not having a milestone birthday, but seeing as how last year I skipped his birthday to attend the Women’s March while leaving him home with a sick kid, then came home sick and proceeded to punt the celebration of his birthday by at least a week (also, not the first time I had undercelebrated his birthday, starting with his 30th, the year we brought Edie home from the hospital and I claimed she was his gift and celebration that year), I felt that he deserved a party too.
The weekend was filled with multiple kitchen cleanings (was there ever not someone cleaning the kitchen?), nerf gun wars (there was a crate full of weapons), attempts to get the children to pose for a group photo for posterity, much joy and merriment and of course, laughter.
It was a group effort pulling this weekend off and I’m ever so grateful to everyone who showed up to help celebrate my little family. Thanks gang.