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  • Writer's picture Jana

The Twins Turn 11 on Sunday, Amidst a Once-in-a-Lifetime "Hurriquake" in Southern California.

As luck would have it, the twins' birthday was on Sunday, the very day the now-named "hurriquake" hit Southern California. Luckily we didn't proceed with the plans for a pool party, an idea that had bounced around initially. Graham, the more reserved of the twins, pushed back hard on that idea, opting instead for a quiet family day at home. As it turned out, we sheltered in place, riding out the storm, but the day was hardly quiet.

Despite not planning a formal party for their birthday, I had planned on hot (if not scorching) temperatures on their special day, as is always the case each year. It is the end of August, after all. That would have meant spending the day out by the pool, enjoying the last days before school started, I was going to prepare a BBQ dinner and possibly even dine al fresco, enjoying the warm summer evening. None of that was to be.

Instead, we spent the entire day indoors, watching in wonder, out the window. We had never experienced a hurricane here in Southern California, so we were not sure what to expect. The morning was fairly quiet, with light rain, but as it approached noon, the rainfall started to pick up significantly. Although we had a few breaks, now and again, it rained hard for the entirety of the day and into the following morning. There was so much rain, it looked as if our pool might overflow.

Then, around 2:45 in the afternoon, the earthquake hit. Centered in Ojai, about 50 miles away, we were lucky not to get the brunt of it. That said, it started to feel a bit biblical! What next? Perhaps a tornado? At least we could scratch the usual concern for a wildfire off the list since it was clearly raining too hard for that.

Although not exactly the birthday we had planned, it was certainly not one we will ever forget!

With Hurricane Hilary looming, I took advantage of nicer weather on Saturday taking their birthday portraits outside and treating everyone to a nice dinner out, before returning home to hunker down for the next 36 hours.

We started the day with a delicious brunch of buttermilk French toast made with a special croissant bread, along with fresh summer berries and melon served on the side.

In the afternoon, with the rain pouring down, we stayed in and worked on the twin's birthday cake and dinner. At least I had already purchased all the groceries the day before, despite being met with massive lines in the supermarket when we arrived, reminiscent of the Covid days. The screenshot on my phone was taken the following morning since I forgot to take one in the midst of the hurricane, so dismiss the rather inaccurate rain forecasts that appear.

Then the earthquake hit. At least I remembered to take a screenshot of that exciting event! It's difficult to keep on top of so many natural disasters at once, as you can imagine.

Fortunately, we chose a very bright, cheerful, and summery theme for the twin's birthday, which helped to offset the dark and gloomy weather outside. The kids all dressed in pastel colors to coordinate with the tablescape, at Graham's insistence. As long as you didn't look out the window at the pouring rain, you might have mistaken the day for one that was warm and sunny, given all the good cheer going on inside.

We had the most delicious summer menu for dinner! The fresh salads and lemonade chicken (all homemade), imbued the rainy evening with a cool summer vibe. Graham was kind enough to create the stylish companion menu for me, on the computer.

Cake time! Catherine and Graham helped me make the Oreo cake, which we served with vanilla ice cream.

"Happy Birthday to you..."

Finally, present time!

On Monday, I treated Catherine and a few of her friends to a girls' lunch out, including a little shopping trip to Sephora afterward, where the girls were giddy to run into Instant Inlufencer and makeup mogul James Charles. I would not have recognized he/him/she/her, dressed in a nondescript great sweatpants outfit and makeup-less, but Catherine's friends sure did! James was kind enough to take a selfie with the girls when they mentioned it was Catherine's birthday. I couldn't help but take note of the irony of running into the make-up mogul in Sephora, of all places.

The final pre-school celebration was Miles's 8 1/2 year birthday on Tuesday. He requested Sloppy Joes for his celebration, which I served with a delicious green salad, the best fresh dill pickles ever from Costco, and salt and vinegar potato chips (unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before everyone gobbled up their dinner). For dessert, I added a candle to a piece of Oreo cake from the twins' birthday, sang Happy Birthday, and sent everyone off to bed so they would be rested for the first day of school today.

Look for the first day of school blog, coming soon!

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