Thursday, April 14, 2011

the birthday bash.

birthdays are one of my favorite times of the year.  mostly because you get to focus on one person and make sure that their day is the most special of all.  i had plans this year of doing nothing less than the best for richards birthday.  this would be my 2nd year planning his birthday festivities and i was ready for the challenge. 

boys are often not much help in birthday party planning for themselves.  they seem to have no opinion other than to have fun and be the ones to just show up.  i learned this the previous year, thank goodness i had great help.  this year seemed to be a little tougher though.  richard was definitely starting to struggle with the idea of turning 29 and i was completely unsure of how to party plan around that.  do we go big because this is the last of the 20's?  do we go small and save all the really big stuff for next year when he hits the new age group?  quite the dilemma.

earlier in the year he had told me that he would love to do something revolving around an outing for his birthday.  a concert, vacation, or a sporting event for example.  soon after we found out that flogging molly would be coming to las vegas the day after his birthday and it was a friday night.  we knew that we wanted to do something interactive during the day with the guys on saturday and then go out that night.  he had already decided to take that friday off for whatever was planned, so it was working out perfect.  after much debate and research, theres really not much to do in las vegas for locals, richard decided on paintball saturday, dinner at buca di beppo, and then heading to fremont street.  we made a reservation for dinner and were excited because with a larger group we could do family style.  and found a paintball place that was decently priced for rental, paint, and play deals. 
i had decided what i was going to buy richard for his birthday months ago when i was looking for valentines presents.  it was too big for the day of love and honestly not mushy enough, there i said it.  when we moved into our apartment one of the 1st things richard started lusting after was an old fashioned popcorn machine.  he wanted the red one that looked like the ones you find in a movie theater.  so i started doing my research, found a great one on amazon that i ordered 3 weeks before his birthday arrived, and had it delivered to my office so i could store it there till his birthday was here.  he had been begging me for weeks to tell him what it was, but i am an excellent secret keeper. 

richards birthday actually falls on st patricks day...its a built in party for your birthday every year!  he didnt want to go out that night, wanted to save his strength for the next night of drinking and debauchery.  i came home from body pump and gave him a small present to open in the morning.  a transformer bag full of a new workout outfit.  he had been saying for months that he wanted new workout clothes and i found the coolest pair of reversible shorts i just couldnt resist.  i told him his big present was going to be there when he gets home that night, he was just going to have to wait.  later when i got home from work i went straight into set up mode.  i had found some really cool popcorn bowls and had read the directions multiple times for set up so there would be hot popcorn when he got home.  i have to say, i was pretty proud of myself...
i also found butch.  he is a running joke after we saw an 8 year-old running around the orange county swap meet with a balloon dog.  richard thought it was the greatest thing on the planet and still brings him up at least once a week.  about 2 weeks before his birthday we found a very similar one at albertsons and richard had not stopped talking about him since. 
when he got home that night i realized i could have just bought the dog and that would have been the best present ever.  he was literally more excited about the dog than the popcorn machine. 

while all of this was going on the weekend event plans were falling apart.  some friends were weary about money, some didnt understand why were doing a whole separate day on saturday to celebrate, some thought they would be too hung over to participate, some were going out of town (for a very good reason though), and some were attending other dinners planned after this invite was sent.  it even got to a point that richard considered canceling the whole day because it seemed like more of an inconvenience to everyone rather than a fun day that was planned.

once friday arrived concert plans were coming together.  vanessa had rented a hotel room at hooters so we would have somewhere to convene, crash, and use as a home base.  a few came over to our apartment in the afternoon so we could all drive down to the strip together.  we hung out at the hotel for a few hours and the guys chomped down on wings, we were at hooters after all.  somehow, as usual, there was also beer pong involved.
finally it was time to go to mandalay bay for the concert and meet up with the rest of the concert goers.  now wrangling everyone together was quite the task and it seemed to take forever.  we made it inside where we needed wristbands for the floor and most of the group already needed more alcohol. 
ready to make our way to the floor you could feel the excitement building.  we made it for the 2nd opening band and the floor was surprisingly still a bit empty.  i was really glad!  richard had decided earlier in the week he was going to do the mosh pit.  this was his 1st big venue concert and he was really excited.  

well he made it through the 1st round and came back so exhilarated that he was instantly ready for round 2.  that one didnt go quite as well.  he came back so out of breath and just kept laying on me while trying to collect himself.  after awhile he still couldnt catch his breath and was trying to sit on the ground.  at this point we went up to the top where the snack bars were and took a break for awhile.  he still couldnt catch his breath and seemed to somehow be falling asleep at the same time.  we decided we would go back to the hotel, take a nap, catch him up, and then meet everyone back out when the concert was over.  after finally walking toward the exit he started to feel better and we ended up hanging out around the event center and had a really good talk instead.  we made it back right at the end of the concert for the last song and the encore. 

after the concert the group was all pretty drunk and it was a lot later then we had thought it was going to be so we decided to just head back to the hotel.  plus we were starving and there was a late night restaurant at the the hotel!  we started on the worlds LONGEST walk back to hooters stopping every 5 feet it seemed like and most of the group just getting really frustrated with each other.  finally making it we headed to the restaurant only to be greeted with a 30 minute wait at 1230am.  once getting a table the group was really quiet and honestly everyone just seemed mad at each other.  i dont know what happened in that last 1/2 hour, but it was a super awkward dinner.  about that time it was 2 am and it was definitely time to go home.

waking up the next day without a hangover was fantastic (thats what happens when your in training and cant drink).  it was actually a little cold and windy that day so it was nice to not be outside.  we went over to matts to hang out in the afternoon and watch a movie.  it was literally the weirdest movie i have ever seen.  it was called the game with michael douglas,  im still not even sure if i liked it.  and the whole afternoon was a little weird honestly, we kinda felt left out and there were only a few people there.

dinner that night was much smaller than expected, but the table was surrounded by great people.  we even got the waitress to sing happy birthday, against richards very strong wishes otherwise.  the best part, definitely the monster size sundae...

with the evening being rather windy fremont street was a little too much.  there was a ufc fight going on that night so that took prescient anyway.  we headed back to matts and the guys had decided to get a poker game going while the early fights were on.  richard tried to win money, but no such luck.  this was more of an early night, especially with all the craziness from the night before.

sunday evening was my turn!  i had planned a super special dinner that i was hoping he would love.  i found out over last summer that his favorite all time meal is the chicken cutlets his aunt makes.  i messaged her a few weeks back for the recipe and she was totally on board.  we woke up late that afternoon and hadnt really done much other than grocery shop, it was a great lazy kind of sunday.  i had kept the secret pretty well and was really nervous about making this dinner.  for some reason richard had decided to take a really late nap and slept through most of my cooking.  when he woke up though, he was not very impressed.  i knew that mine would never taste as good as aunt mar's, but i thought he would have been a little more excited.  i thought they were delicious, and they made fantastic leftovers.

i made a few realizations this weekend.  one, with family so far away and not able to see him every day the way i do, i am going to be the biggest cheerleader/celebrator in his life right now (which is definitely ok with me).  two, keep his best interest at heart no matter what others say/do.  three, i am an excellent secret keeper.  four, i will always be more excited about things and thats ok.  i think for a 29th birthday weekend and the ups and down this turned out to be a good one.  for sure one to remember!

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