Another tangent for technical gripes.
I replayed the three-birthday about eight times. The game kept freeze-crashing in the middle. The story in the post is the most amusing version, and also the only version where I got through all three birthday cakes, but it crashed before I could save. Antonio died at the party during about half the attempts.
Eventually, I got through the wretched birthday party day, but the game was still painfully unstable. After trying a bunch of things to fix corruption in the save file, I finally gave up. I used Twallan’s Porter mod to export the Samples and all the families with which they had significant relationships. Then I created a brand new copy of Sunset Valley, placed the exported house, and imported all the families. That seems to have stabilized things.
That means that starting about now, you’ll see references to the Bauers (Antonio’s widow and son), the Ursines, and the Williamses alongside a bunch of familiar Sunset Valley initial characters.