after i got home from work the day before my actual birthday, the hub surprised me with dinner reservations at a local restaurant we hadn't yet tried. it was really lovely, and i enjoyed having some alone time with him. and then we moved the party to the nearby movie theater, where we walked in just in time for the beginning of "the other guys." totally silly movie, but we had fun being out together.
the next morning, he and the bean serenaded me with the birthday song before we got up and headed off to gymnastics. the bean did a phenomenal job in the class, listening to her coach and doing most of the activities on her own. usually, she demands that one of us hold her hand through the class, but this time, she was little miss independent. i'm hoping it sticks and she gets used to us being on the sidelines - because then, she can advance to the next level. her coach already said she had the skills, it's just the independence part we've gotta conquer.
when class was over, we got back in the car and i thought we were headed back home - but the hub steered us in the direction of the target shopping center. when i asked him where we were going, all he said was "i'm hungry, let's go get food." well, sure. we all know i'm not about to turn down grub.
but there's not really anything to eat over there. "haven't you been to the café here?" he asked. uh, no. i've been to that shopping center eleventy billion times and i know damn well there's no freaking café there. i'm so gullible, though. anyway, he parked in front of a nail salon and said "we're going to pick up a present i couldn't wrap." sweet - i needed a mani/pedi pretty badly.
then i realized what was going on: there's an at&t store right next to that salon.
and that's exactly where we went. woo-hoo!
when we got home, i was greeted by the ILs and the teen, who'd slept right through gymnastics. they'd gone to my favorite breakfast place and picked up grub for all of us, including the bean's favorite mickey mouse pancake and some super delicious cheese blintzes for me.
this happy little pile was sitting in the middle of the table for me.
after breakfast, everyone kind of broke up to get various things done. the teen had asked me if i'd help her with some semi-permanent dye on her hair, so we headed off to the beauty supply store to pick up the stuff we needed. and then i decided it was the right time to cash in my free birthday starbucks:
back at home, we mixed up the dye and managed to glob it all on the teen's head. what a mess - i thought i'd picked up some gloves, but instead i ended up dying my hands a bright cherry red.
yeah, she won't thank me for that one. heh.
we've had a streak of super bad luck when it comes to awful service whenever we go out for dinner with our large group. and so we decided to make life easier on ourselves by heading to costco, stocking up on all of my favorite foods, and having a lovely, relaxed BBQ in the backyard instead. the teen invited a bunch of friends over and then we fired up the grill, and got to cookin'. look at all this delicious grub:
i popped some delicious brown sugar brie into the oven. it'd been a while since we'd had it, and it was just as good as we remembered.
the bean took mollydog for a "walk" in the back yard.
to give the teens some privacy, we set up their own table back there while the rest of us enjoyed our meal inside.
here's the "grown-up" table. and i was excited to bust out our salt & pepper cellars again, which i hadn't used in ages.
to my embarrassment, the entire group sang "happy birthday" to me again as we went to sit down for dinner. do i look awkward as hell, or what?
right after i'd set down the shelled lobster tails on the table, the bean asked where my birthday cake was. i didn't think we had one, since we'd done all the food shopping together and i hadn't seen anything resembling a birthday cake. so i pulled out a candle and presented her with this:
heh. and then i sat down to my plate, loaded up with so much good stuff i didn't know where to start:
i think i did a pretty decent job of getting through it all.
i started working on some of the dishes, but MIL wouldn't have it. "go in there, i think they need you," she said. obviously, i'd been wrong in my earlier assumption.
seriously, i thought that cake was going to set off the smoke detector. ugh. and i was so full, it was hard to eat my slice. but i'm a trooper.
the hub scraped off the rest of the cake and piled it onto a plate to save in the freezer.
did i have a fantastic birthday, or what? food, fun, family. what more could a girl ask for?