Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A fiesta, a fairy cake, and a fortieth birthday

The "Fiesta" part of this tale of a birthday is that my husband suggested we go to Casa Bonita's for my birthday dinner. Now this place is definitely not the height of elegance - rather, it's the height of kitsch (wikipedia: an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art). I do love elegance, but I think I might actually love kitsch even more, if it's fun, and Casa Bonita's is definitely fun. This is a giant Mexican restaurant in Denver with an indoor waterfall (though you can't quite see it in this picture), cliff divers, live mariachi bands and strolling guitarists, pinatas, and guys in ridiculous pirate and gorilla suits chasing each other around. Oh, and all you can eat sopapillas dripping with honey. Yum.

It's also sentimental kitsch because B. brought me here 11 years ago for my birthday, when we were dating, and we got our picture taken together in period costume with him as a bankrobber and me as his showgirl accomplice (still have that picture).

Here is a picture of the girls at our dinner table, raptly watching a fire-juggler.
It was so much fun to introduce our kids to this family tradition. Though I don't normally like eating out with all four kids (it's expensive, and they don't sit still, and the little ones make a mess), this was the perfect place to go with kids. Their eyes were like saucers as we explored the entire restaurant, from the fake monsters inside Black Bart's cave to the bridge under the waterfall to the fake caverns with stalagtites.

So the actual day of my birthday was all about my kids, but I was just fine with that. Especially since B. also had set aside some money for me to do some "retail therapy" - meaning that buying something nice would surely ease the pain of turning 40. Well it just so happened I have been looking all winter for some new coats for the girls, and they've all been either too expensive or too ugly, but of all times to go shopping - on my birthday - we discovered an 80%-off coat sale at Penney's and I got all four girls new coats. And they were SO excited. Dreamer just giggled the whole way to the cashier's with her new coat. Blaze still won't take hers off. When we get home I have to tell her to go hang her coat up because she just wants to keep wearin it. Really, can you find a better birthday present than that?

Now for the "Fairy" part of the birthday. The next evening, I had a small dinner party with four of my dearest friends, Karen, Nicole, Heather and Sarah. Sarah offered to make me a cake, and she went all out - using a woodland fairy theme (knowing my fondness for fantasy and fairytales). The cake was a mouthwatering chocolate ganache tree stump, decorated with tiny fairies, flowers, mushrooms, snails, lady bugs, butterflies and candy rocks.

Karen stayed for the whole weekend, and we had great fun watching movies (No Greater Love), discussing books (she and Martha gave me a copy of the Ragamuffin Gospel which I had previously borrowed... I will be blogging about that book soon), and making necklaces - long ago she made a beautiful bead necklace and I wanted another one, so I dragged her to the Bead Shop and had her advise me on the design of a new necklace. It turned out even better than I imagined.

So the last part of the birthday is the "Fortieth" part, which I wasn't looking forward to, but how can one complain with such a wonderful family, wonderful friends, and my faith to bring me joy along the way? I also learned something important in the week leading up to my birthday, too - something I wish hadn't taken me 40 years to learn, but at least it didn't take longer. But I'm saving that for another blog.

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