my first day of 29.
Wow, yesterday was absolutely fantastic. Thank you all so much for your sweet birthday wishes! Thanks to the pervasiveness of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I felt like I was getting peppered with well wishes all day long. Definitely a fun way to spend the day! So, are you curious what Babyface had up his sleeve for birthday fun? Let me tell you, yesterday way perfect. It was fun, special, but totally low-key. I’ve done a lot of “big” things on my birthday before—concerts, races, trips—but I think I enjoyed yesterday more than I’ve enjoyed a birthday in a long time.
The fun actually started on Tuesday evening, when we met up with my parents for a little pre-birthday dinner at the world-famous Mother Bear’s pizza. It’s actually been voted as one of the top five pizza places in the country quite a few times. Definitely one of the restaurants I’ll miss when we leave.
While we were waiting for my parents, we figured it was time we left our tag on this Bloomington landmark before we left town. Don’t worry, we aren’t normally into destruction of property—booth-scrawling is encouraged at Mother Bear’s.
For dinner, we ordered two of their early bird specials (awesome deal) one vegetarian and one with bacon, pineapple and feta. Tons of pizza for four people. We ended up taking almost a whole pizza home. Which is great considering our kitchen is currently packed in boxes.
For dessert, Mama pulled out a cake carrier with German Chocolate Cheesecake in it. The iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice, but this stuff was goooooood!
And I opened my gift from them—a backpacking tent! So very, very excited about this.
Then the true birthday fun started the next morning! Once we woke up, Babyface hustled off to the kitchen to pull together a birthday breakfast. Again, kitchen is packed, so it was of the grab-and-go variety, but it was still perfect! Bagel and lox with mimosas. Our champagne flutes are packed (and actually already at the new house) so Babyface actually picked up two new ones the day before just for this purpose. He thinks of everything. I probably just would have poured it into Solo cups.
After breakfast, we suited up to do the first activity of the day—the beach!
It was a crazy hot day yesterday, so we made sure to get there early so we could have the beach to ourselves and not bake out in the sun. I spent the morning reading a YA book on my Kindle and splashing in the water. Pretty much my idea of perfect.
One thing that is really nice about my birthday falling on the week we’re moving, we get to do all the things we love about this area one last time. We’ve been coming to the beach at Fairfax State Recreation Area on Lake Monroe since we were first married. Back five years ago, we had absolutely no extra money, and the beach was very, very cheap entertainment. I actually think we went to this exact beach on my first birthday after we were married. It was a nice “full circle” kind of moment.
Once the beach started to fill up (and we started to get hungry) around noon, we headed back, changed, and went out in search of lunch. We hit up the Upland brewpub!
Upland’s beers are absolutely amazing, but the restaurant experience is something really special. Most places like this only have standard bar food, but Upland has an amazingly talented chef (remember, he did our Valentine’s Day dinner). The food is so good that it’d be a great place to come even if you didn’t like beer. Which I do. A lot.
We ended up splitting a batch of their brewery fries for an appetizer and then both getting the buffalo burger with cheddar, bacon and a barbecue sauce made from their porter beer. So. Good. And alongside, there was a really interested potato salad that was made with capers. Yum! Not often you find capers in bar food.
I also made have had a pint or two. Because, heck, everyone should drink beer at lunch on their birthday, amirite?
After lunch, we headed out to do something that sounds so mundane, but was totally exciting to me—we went to Target.
Now, I know, you’re thinking, “What the what!?” but a trip to Target is totally a luxury for us. We hardly ever go (maybe every other month) and never go to just to go shopping. Babyface and I had so much fun just slowly walking up and down each aisle looking at stuff for the new house and stuff we wanted to buy. We talked about decorating and future plans and ideas for hours. It was so fun.
And, of course, as always happens with Target, we went in not really needing anything, but left $250 poorer. Ah the appeal of well-designed, budget goods is not lost on us.
After our Targetspree, we headed to do something else we rarely do—we went bowling! We both love bowling, but have maybe only been three or four times in our marriage.
Games were only $0.25 each (which helped offset the Target receipt) so we ended up playing three rounds. I was beaten each and every time, although the scores were mighty close. Well, except the last game, where I managed to actually score under 100. Sad.
After returning our rental shoes, we hit up the pool tables for a little birthday billiards. Now, if you think I was bad at bowling, you’ve never seen me play pool. TERRIBLE, I say.
We played two games, and I think I probably sunk one or two balls the entire time. Babyface handily beat me with fancypants moves like this…
If you are keeping track, that’s five games played, five games lost. Birthday girl sucks at recreation. But hey, at least I was having fun, right?
After I’d had my fill of getting my ass handed to me, we went back home, changed into some nice duds and drove ourselves out to my favorite restaurant in all of Bloomington—FARMbloomington.
Everything about FARM is awesome. It’s all locally-sourced and organic. The flavors and combinations are interesting and different. The decor is right up my alley. And then make cocktails like “the Pitchfork” (gin, lemon juice, champagne, cherry) and “the Basilicia” (a basil margarita).
While downing our drinks, we snacked on a crawfish and artichoke hot dip, which was crazy-crazy good.
But my entrée was a real show-stopper—fettucine, stuffed fried squash blossoms, grilled summer squash, swiss chard all in a parmesan cream sauce. Oh, it was good.
FARM’s desserts are always incredible and creative, but there was birthday cake at home waiting for us, so I skipped the dessert menu.
Once we got home, there was a present at the door! I tore into it to find that my in-laws got me the Vibram FiveFinger TrekSports I’ve been lusting over for the past year. I love, love, love them! These have a lot more tread on the bottom than my Sprints, which will be really nice for traversing through muddy and wet terrain. Plus, they are pink! Love!
And Babyface also handed me a wrapped gift from him! Silly boy wasn’t supposed to get me anything (we made a trip to Milwaukee last weekend to an IndyCar race—that was my present) but he did anyway.
We saw these shell-art shadowboxes while we were on vacation and fell in love with them, but they were around $400 each! There is no way we could justify that kind of money for some art. But Babyface went ahead and made our own version using shells we picked up on the beach. It’s perfect. It’ll always remind me of our awesome time on the beach. Love.
And then. Then, my friends, it was time for the pièce de résistance—the cake. As if Babyface hadn’t done enough already…the cake was the kind of thing great novels are written about. He had been working on this cake for days. I literally haven’t been allowed in the fridge–there was a post-it note on the door forbidding me. And now I know why.
Yeah, my husband made that. Who else thinks he should start a bakery?
Three chocolate layers, cream cheese filling, chocolate buttercream frosting? The boy knows me. And it didn’t just look pretty—it tasted amazing. I’m not the biggest cake fan ever (give me pie or brownies!) but if all cake was like this, I’d change my ways. I’m already trying to figure out how I can preserve it to eat on it for months. I’m thinking about slicing it up into small slices and freezing them individually on paper plates. MUST KEEP THIS CAKE AROUND.
After ingesting enough sugar to sufficiently shock our systems, Babyface and I rounded out the evening by putting our feet up and watching a movie (Friends with Benefits, in case you were curious). It was the perfect chill, relaxed way to end a perfectly chill and relaxed birthday.
I went to bed a happy, happy girl.
Again, thank you all for your wishes and a huge, giant, mega thank you to my wonderful, thoughtful and loving husband for crafting the perfect birthday. I’m such a lucky girl.