Happy Organic Birthday to You!

It’s been a month of birthdays for the Sarnoff family. First there
was my husband’s 40th surprise party, which ended up with a karaoke
performance of “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” complete with lifts.
(Yes, tequila was involved.) Then, my daughter turned eight, and we
hosted a five-girl, two-movie sleepover party. (No tequila, but an
equally painful morning after.)

For both parties, I tried to keep it simple—and conscious. For my
husband’s party, we splurged on dinner was at our favorite organic
restaurant, Akasha. As a gift, I gave him a DIY Grain Surfboard
kit, made from sustainable hard wood. Guests came back to our house,
where we served organic gimlets in reusable cups, recycled the bottles
and composted the lime peels, with a little help from my favorite
sustainable party planner, Paige Anderson of Bash Eco Events.
For my daughter’s sleepover, the theme was “Christmas in July,” so we
broke out the box of ornaments, borrowed a reusable tree and played
freeze dance to carols.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t totally consistent on the sustainability
front. I wanted to put a childhood photo of my husband on his cake, so
I ordered it from a traditional baker. My daughter craved egg rolls, so
we ended up ordering Chinese (luckily, we can recycle Styrofoam in Los
Angeles). We even decorated miniature stockings with fabric paint—not
the most eco-craft idea, and they loved it.

But both my husband and my daughter had fun, and I survived another July.

Besides the “no one puts Baby in a corner” moment, my favorite
memory of the whole week was between parties. The day before her
birthday party, I took my daughter to the beach, leaving my son and the
Barnacle (read: baby) at home with their daddy. While everyone else sat
under umbrellas in the sand, my daughter and I joined hands and ran
into gigantic waves that were breaking so hard we had to dive under
them so we wouldn’t get knocked over. I taught her to body surf,
showing her how to race the wave to the shore in order to catch the lip
before it crashed. Every so often the current tumbled us, ripping our
hands apart and flipping us around in the “washing machine.” But my
daughter popped up every time, her eyes wide with fear but ready to
laugh it off and jump back in with me. It’s the same spirit she’s shown
since the day she was born, since she toddled into pools without
warning, since she stretched up to her full five-year-old height in
order to ride the roller coasters at Disneyland. She’s so fascinating
to me, and so foreign, since I’ve always been so afraid of
consequences. My daughter is fearless. And I am so blessed.

Happy birthday, my loves.

P.S. Here’s what my daughter is reading these days, 113 Things to Do by 13
written by Brittany Macleod, with a little help from her mom,
Treehugger alum Terri MacLeod, which includes tips like “save water”
and “go organic,” as well as “go off the high dive even if you don’t
dive” and my personal favorite, “make dinner for your parents.”
Preferably organic.


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