precious sweets for my sugarplums on their 3rd birthday

 3rd birthday princess

"I is growing up, Mama."

"Yes, my sweet Little Miss, you are. Now, what kind of cake would you like for your birthday?"

"A snow princess cake…with tiny strawberry sandwiches in her pockets."

I took this to mean she wanted a strawberry shortcake, with fresh whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and cream cheese frosting (the only frosting any cake should ever have). Hence, the jewel of a cake above, so precious.

"Look, Abigail, it has sparkling princess kisses on it!"

"No, Mama, no. That’s glitter."


turtle cake

"Now, my first born son, what kind of cake would you fancy?"

"A train! With a tender car! And a turtle."

"A train with a turtle?"

"And a blue whale!"

My interpretation? Chocolate turtle cake. Blue whale place card (and stuffed animal). And a big cattle car shipment of Thomas The Train cars and tracks (glued properly to a table by Grandpa). Know what else Lucas got for his birthday? A clean bill of health from both his pediatrician and his brain surgeon. All aboard! See ya next year docs.

Or course on the day of their birthday Lucas had his followup doctor appointment, which meant yanking him out of school at 10am. I’d wanted to bring in cupcakes for the class, but that’s a no-go these days. "Too sweet. No cupcakes." I spoke with their teachers and learned the rules were these:

You cannot bake anything, but you can bring in ingredients and we’ll bake it here. But then I’d need to spend the day there helping the class bake, which obviously couldn’t happen given the doctor’s appointment. Or you can bring in mini-muffins, nothing too sweet or with frosting, but they need to be from a store. I’m guessing this has to do with my unkosher oven. I could, however, without any problem bring in Banana Nut Muffins. Yes, nuts. Because their class has no food allergies, our children are permitted to bring nuts, nut products, and nut mothers to school with them. And that’s just what we did.

As for birthday "parties," Phil is against them, believing they’re more for the parents than the kids. And while that’s true when kids are more excited about wrapping paper than the actual gift, so what? It’s an excuse to get together with friends and make the center of attention your little centers of joy and whimsy.

Last night, at book club, a friend asked me what we did for the beans’ birthday. "Well, we don’t really believe in throwing a party until they’re old enough to remember it."

"By ‘we’ I’m guessing you mean that’s what Phil thinks, right?"

It was an innocent enough comment, coming from a close friend. But I was taken aback for a second. It’s that transparent how domineering he is, huh? I felt like one of those women who says, "I’ll have to check with my husband first." Or maybe it’s just that no one who knows me would buy the fact that I’d ever pass up the chance to have a big silly party for my sweet ones. I’m not sure it matters, either way, because at the end of the day Lucas Beckett and Abigail Ruby were on an adrenaline and sugar high for days. The whole thing was precious.

Little Miss’s Princess Cake & Kind Sir’s Turtle Cake both by the talented Coco Paloma Desserts. FYI for those in Austin area: Coco Paloma Desserts is currently accepting holiday cookie orders, too! Almost too pretty to eat… almost.



  1. First – So glad to hear about the clean bill of health for the young sir!
    Second – Happy birthday to the sweet darlings!
    Third – Beautiful cakes!
    Fourth – I used to have to apologize for my husband’s opinions too. No television. No Disneyland. Only whole milk. Spanking is okay. Silent treatment works. BLECH. All I have to say to that shit is ew. I HATED myself for parroting his ridiculous words and trying to mold his opinions into my own.

    When recreating the darlings’ and my world, I spoke to them whilst feeding them skim milk watching TV on the way to Disneyland…and spankings? Nope.

    1. 3 Teens — it sounds like your ex was an Opposite Dad. Like, just do whatever the opposite of what he says and you’ll be fine. Those rules are insane!

  2. Didn’t you just prove Phil’s point by having their 3rd birthday cakes cost a fortune and really be for adults?

  3. Those cakes are PRECIOUS!!! :) Abigail and Lucas are so lucky to have a mother who listens so closely to their asks!

    And, in much less important commenting, but clearly something that struck a chord with you: while you admit that it *IS* more of Phil’s idea than yours not to have a party for the kids, it’s clearly something that you’re willing to “give” on. That’s ok. I do it all the time in my marriage. There are where my husbands ideas diverge from mine. For instance, because we semi-eloped, he was not in favor of me having a bridal shower and “asking” for gifts…it was sort of a bummer not being able to walk around Crate & Barrel with a scanner and get sets of this and that, but I realized that it was more important to him that we not appear greedy than it was to me to have a party for myself. So, I caved and didn’t get my shower. Will I miss that I didn’t have a shower for the rest of my life? A teensy bit, but it’s not worth the fight that it would have caused between us. And I know deep down that part of his argument is right… So, I think that you have the right attitude. There will be PLENTY more parties going forward!! And, Phil’s right, they’ll be parties that you AND the kids will remember. ;)

  4. Completely precious.
    I’m curious about the “first born” son reference… is there another in the future?

  5. Wow, Abigails cake is beautiful! Did you make that?

    I usually find myself agreeing with Phil, but my earliest memory is actually of my second birthday – it’s very vague, but it’s of “helping” my Mum and Grandmother make the cake for my birthday party – a clowns face, and also of sitting at the table with the other kids at said party and eating the party food. I can remember most of the birthday parties throughout my childhood, and boy did I love them – special times and memories.

  6. Love the cakes!! I love how you make your children’s birthdays and holidays so special..

  7. That’s so sweet that you let them each pick their own cake. I think you’re doing a really good job so far of making them each feel individual and important — not just “the twins.” I remember you writing about that when they were first born

    1. As a mom of twins it is hopefully a GIVEN you will enable each child to have the cake they want :) And sing twice! And made an extra special event/memory for each/both.

      Have not had it any other way for my two. While it is a shared birthday it is also remembered and celebrated as a milestone for them singly :) Blessedly good at remembering special moments from their early years with special memories of each :)

  8. Well those are badass birthday cakes! Every year I want to order an awesome cake for my son’s birthday, but my husband rolls his eyes about how much fondant cost. Seriously, if he can say fondant and worry about how much it cost, then I’m ordering the damn cake next time! No more grocery-store specials. I’m hitting up the bakery! Also, you enjoy photography. Pictures are just better with awesome cakes in them. ps I’m totally addicted to the Food Network challenges where they make big ass cakes! They make me happy! I could watch cakes being made all day long. Oh, and I also caught the first-born son reference??? It made me go hmmmmmmmm.

    1. Author

      Oh, dear, that “First born son” reference wasn’t meant to imply there was a second son. Just you know, I had some saying in my head, “And let your first child, be a masculine child.” Since Lucas was first born (by one minute), he is in fact my first-born, son.

      1. Hehe, maybe we were wishing. I just found out yesterday that I’m pregnant, so I have babies on my brain.

  9. Kids birthday parties are OK – they can be more for the kids if you follow that rule about kids age plus one – so four for each kid, eight kids total, or just four guests total depending on how you count the twin thing. And then don’t have too many activities. (I know it would probably be difficult for you not to plan every moment but it’s easier on the kids if it’s just a big playdate.)

  10. “I’ll have to check with my husband first.” Oh, can I relate?

    I unfortunately am that kind of wife too. My husband has way too many opinions. Everything seems to have to be a discussion. I, too, wish for a “yes, dear” kind of husband.

    I know he’s in there down deep! Just waiting for him to show up. Eventually I will break him down!

    So I just wanted to say, I’m with you on this one. You’re not alone and it certainly does suck sometimes, doesn’t it?

    But you seem like an awesome and attentive mother of twins. Keep up the good work and the great photography!

  11. Happy Birthday to your little ones! Glad to hear all is well with Lucas. Hope you guys have a great holiday :)

  12. My mom was an amazing baker, she could make anything. She used to get those Wilton cake decorating magazines sent to the house. They were always full of wedding cakes and other extraordinary baked goods. I remember for my birthday, she’d always make me whatever kind of cake I wanted. When I turned 8, it was a 6 tier wedding cake in my favorite color at the time (teal green.)

    I’m sure some people thought it was over the top, but looking back at the photos, how awesome was that? One of my favorite memories.

  13. Stephanie,
    THREE YEARS? How can that be? I started to read your blog when the beans were born. I can remember the photos when they were oh. so. tiny. And I remember that Phil wrote a post for you.
    Yours was the first blog I really got hooked on.
    Thank you for introducing me to the world of blogs!
    Your cakes are precious! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Abigail and Lucas!
    Cheryl in IN

  14. First of all, I can’t believe they’re 3! Wow. And that story about Abigail is adorable. I love both their cake requests and how carefully you tended to each request.

    As for the no cupcakes in schools rule, I think it’s ridiculous and most of the parents I’ve spoken with agree. Every day, of course, cupcakes are not recommended for anyone, but once in a while, especially to celebrate a kid’s birthday? Why not?

  15. and.. on cupcakes in school. Whole Foods sells these mini-cupcakes in batches of twelve (I think) that seem to be OK with our schools – 1 because they’re mini, 2 – because they’re from Whole Foods, which seems to make everything OK. And I live in Berkeley, where everything you put in your mouth is a political statement.

  16. Happy Birthday Baby Beers! Lucas having a positvely positive check up was a great gift for mama and papa too I’m sure!

    Birthday parties…we made a big deal at our house from #1 to #10…then we felt like they sort of ‘aged out’ of the party stage till they had the big #16. From 11-15, they were allowed to invite a friend over to spend the night, or go with us someplace like the movies or bowling, but not the whole shebang. It gave #16 a big build up I must admit :)

  17. Not so much a partner who says ‘will check first with hubby’ as mine is away so much. I am the primary parent. In some ways you have it easier, another person who loves them with an opinion. As long as yours isn’t stamped out more than you like I would think..

  18. When my kids were in elementary school celebrating their birthday was encouraged. Their special day. Cakes were deemed too hard to dole out and deal with so cupcakes or mini donuts the way to go. No problem with that with the school.

  19. Aww, that little turtle birthday cake is sooo cute! When my boys where young I know they sure appreciated having a cute themed cake. I really like your work, keep it up, you are inspiring to the rest of us cake decorators!

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