Tuesday, October 25, 2011

celebrate good times, come on.

Fall is a busy season for birthdays in my family. Within the span of about a month and a half, we have my birthday, Haylee's birthday, Michelle's birthday and Mama bear's birthday. As such, there is much to celebrate - cakes to be made, presents to wrap, streamers to hang and the list goes on. Since I feel three posts is a bit superfluous, I'm going to bring it all together into one nice little recap post for your reading pleasure.

Haylee's 5th birthday

Miss Haylee Grace celebrated her 5th birthday towards the beginning of the month. On her actual birthday, I had the pleasure of taking a little break from my work day to spend some time with the birthday girl and to give her a sweet little bouquet of bright pink flowers.

The day after her birthday was when the real celebration took place. She chose pizza for her birthday dinner (a girl after my own heart) and she specially requested a strawberry cake with white frosting and pink hearts. Well...she got a strawberry cake with white frosting and one pink heart (I didn't want to push my luck). As for her gift, I had spotted some sparkly pink Toms on a website about 3 months prior to her birthday and I knew right then and there that I absolutely had to get them for her and it killed me to wait until her birthday. Nevertheless, I held out and saved them for her actual birthday. I think I was way more excited than she was (who can compete with the Little Mermaid paraphernalia?), but I hope she will grow to love them.

As if that weren't enough, she followed up our family celebration with a very special day reserved for her and two of her best friends. They donned their best Disney princess costumes and had their hair done, their nails painted and their lips strawberry-glossed. She even experienced her very first rite of passage as a girl: the all-important ear piercing. Haylee selected a pair of sparkly crystal flowers and took the piercing like a champ. The excitement was capped off with festively frosted cupcakes from the Cupcake Lady. (As an aside, do you just die at the pic of the girls in their costumes pointing to the cupcakes in the case? The cute factor is through the roof.)

Paolo, Pizza and Pinot

As if I hadn't already celebrated enough, I was blessed with another opportunity to toast another year in my life with a pizza party and brown bag wine tasting. I had been dreaming and scheming of a make-your-own pizza party for years and my idea finally came to fruition a few weeks ago and let me assure you, it was everything I wanted and more. I made two types of dough earlier in the day (whole wheat and regular) and had each party goer bring their topping(s) of choice. We had a veritable smorgasbord of accoutrements to choose from, including mushrooms, feta, peppers, goat cheese, prosciutto, pineapple, spinach, pear, arugula, sundried tomatoes, pepperoni, mozzarella, canadian bacon and the list goes on. We had such a fantastic time creating our perfect pies and most of us went back for another round to create a second culinary masterpiece. Amidst all the pizza pie-making, we also conducted a brown bag tasting of Pinot Noirs. Notes were taken, price points were guessed and identities were revealed. It was so much fun and I highly recommend it for your next dinner party.

Despite being totally stuffed with pizza, we couldn't have a birthday celebration without something sweet. It just wouldn't be right. Be that as it may, we didn't have just any old dessert on the agenda...no, no. We caravanned over to Tillman's Roadhouse for homemade tableside s'mores. That's right, HOMEMADE -- meaning they make their own graham crackers, their own chocolate and their OWN marshmallows (in orange, coffee and maple flavors!!!). It was every bit as ridiculously awesome as it sounds and I give them not one, but two very enthusiastic thumbs up for taking on such a formidabble task. It was a sweet way to put an exclamation point on my final birthday celebration.

My "Seester's" Birthday Weekend

For the past several months, Michelle has been wishing for a birthday weekend in Austin where she could kick back, hit up her favorite restaurants and taste the grapes of Texas Hill Country. I was able to take her on this trip for her birthday, but sadly, our trip was not all fun and games as we had another very important reason for making the drive southbound, 35. Our dearest Mimi has recently been diagnosed with cancer and has declined treatment. Upon receipt of this news, we knew this trip was a must so that we might be able to spend some time with her as well. Our time with her was heavy, but sweet. She is our beloved grandmother and it is very tough to see her suffering. Nevertheless, I know it was a gift to Michelle to be able to see her on her birthday.

Apart from our time with Mimi, we did manage to celebrate Michelle's life and honor the blessing that she is in our lives. Per her request, we spent a lazy afternoon sipping on the grapes at Stonehouse Vineyard and enjoying the 85+ degree weather that is customary of fall in Texas.

Later that evening, we feasted on tapas at Malaga (authentic or not, it's still delicioso in my book). There was a duck flatbread, spinach/artichoke spread, fried goat cheese drizzled in honey, mahi-mahi skewers, piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese and spiced chicken with pita. We concluded our celebration with champagne-infused cocktails at the Eastside Showroom. We sipped our 20s-inspired beverages whilst listening to the prohibition era-style live music. This five-piece band was a feast for the senses. Not only did they look the part, but their sound made me feel like I was right back in the 1920s, sipping on a cool cocktail in a dimly lit speakeasy. Despite arriving home at an hour that would suggest we were still in college, Michelle and I still indulged in the double-chocolate chip brownies that I had made, but as soon as our heads hit the pillow, we were out like a light.

And there you have it. A month's worth of festivities rolled into one little blog burrito. Here's to beautiful years full of Christ's love and light.

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