Growing up I dreamed of having a surprise party.  Probably because I loved being the center of attention and wanted an event that was all about me.  Thankfully, I out grew most of my narcissism.*  With time I gave up my thoughts about surprise parties and my interest in birthdays entirely.  I’m not anti-birthdays but I feel loved and satisfied on a daily basis; therefore, I don’t feel the need to make a big deal out of one day.  Plus Mom had birthday parties for us every year throughout elementary school and that has left me set for life.

As I mentioned Friday, our plans for the weekend was some joint birthday celebrations: dinner with Aunt Margaret, cake at Mom’s with B and the Hakalas, followed by game night.  There was nothing unusual about this.  Danny insisted on planning the evening but I figured he wanted to watch Notre Dame and he LOVES playing board-games. I warned Lindsey that the fellas were making plans and to keep tabs on them because I was staying out of it.  After AM left the restaurant without mentioning cake, I felt bad for Danny because it seemed his planning attempts failed.  I didn’t feel bad for long because he missed the interchange and delayed our arrival to Mom’s house. I yelled at him for the extent of the detour since I feared Lindsey would put Gwen to bed before we got there.  When we arrived, I rushed inside to see the baby and was SHOCKED to see Gina, Garrett and Cara were there too! Not only that, the entire house was decorated with a Gone with the Wind theme and my favorite treats were available for appetizers.  Kristin/Paul and Chris/Emily also joined the party and it made me feel extra special that they’d make the trip. And Aunt Margaret surprised all of us by showing up too! Turns out she went for the extra special birthday surprise.

Since I (shamefully) didn’t have too much faith in Danny’s ability to coordinate an average weekend, I never, EVER expected a big party. It was an absolute perfect evening and I’m still excited just thinking about it.  I never had any doubts that I married the right person but Danny really proved how wonderful he is this weekend. He gave me what I always wanted without me even telling him.

And these ladies! B is in a dress – there is nothing more that needs to be said there.  Cara drove over an hour, made fantastic cocktails and stayed past midnight (note: that’s hours after her typical bedtime).  Gina helped with decorations and made bacon wrapped dates (Garrett eluded the camera but I’m very glad he was there too).  Lindsey let Gwen stay up past her bedtime and made another favorite of mine: stuffed mushrooms.  It’s always fun to get your peeps together and these ladies are especially fantastic.
I have to give an extra special thank you to Mom. Turns out Danny panicked and changed the party location to her house last minute and I can only imagine the stress she was under because she always worries about the house being perfect.  She went all out helping with set-up as she always does.  She even made Scarlett O’Hara curtains that will be saved and used for a Halloween costume if we ever have a daughter (otherwise, Gwen will have to take one for the team).
More pictures below the cut:

The late night pic from 3:00 a.m.

*I have some work to do with the narcissism. After my initial surprise, I couldn’t help but be glad I dress for every occasion. It was quite cold this weekend but I love this summer dress and it’s beauty before comfort for me. I would have been so disappointed if I didn’t have a cute dress on for all these pictures!

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