This weekend, I went away.
I hopped in a car with some friends and drove 4 hours to surprise my hubby for his 35th birthday…
He was away working. He works so hard. In fact, when the surprise went down, he basically told us, “Thanks for coming, but I can’t leave while there’s still work to be done.”
And he was so sincere.
He didn’t want to let those who work around him down. Little did he know, the entire surprise was concocted by his boss! Lol…
But let me rewind a bit… I had been contemplating for weeks, months even, what we’d do for his birthday. You see, I have to start thinking early because it comes around right after Christmas, and if I’m not careful, it’ll sneak up on me. So I’d been thinking about it, but I just didn’t know what to do. Resources were limited, and so was my time…
*A gift for Sie… a portrait with his late mother, Darlene*
And the cherry on top was that he’d be working out of town on his birthday and the days surrounding it.
Well amidst all of my contemplation, his boss, who is incidentally a family friend of ours, called me up! He suggested that I come up to surprise Sie and join them for the weekend.
Omg are you serious?!
OF COURSE I will!
AND… It turns out another friend of ours, Sie’s BEST friend, had some work to do at the same event that weekend. So he, his wife, and I took a little road trip to go make my hubby’s birthday a little brighter.
He had NO idea! We started the day off like we do all birthdays in the Parker house…
With a swanky breakfast, of course. :)
Sie loves strawberry banana pancakes, so that’s what I made. I had everything prepped the day before (and hidden in the fridge) so that when 5:30am rolled around all I had to do was heat up the griddle and pour the batter (& top with fruit). And of course the kids had to share the special cards they made just for Daddy…
Inside, little Sie wrote, “Love, your son Sie”.
He was so proud.
I just love how Syd customized the inside of her card using the sentiments from an old Hero Arts set.
After breakfast, I took the kids to school, Sie left for his trip, and I came home and packed up the FIVE bags for the kids to go stay at Grammy & Opa’s for ONE night, Lol!
Oh… about that…
Yeah I REALLY missed my kids. This is odd for me. I mean I always miss them when we’re apart. But in more of a sweet, “I’ll see you soon” kind of way.
This time, it was more of a, “If I hear their voices I’ll break down in tears and cry like a baby” kind of missing them.
It was tough.
All that aside, our friends and I hit the road and made it to where Sie and his co-workers were, and the set-up of the surprise commenced. He was called out to the car to help his friend unload some things, and that’s when I popped out!
“Wait, what are you doing here, girl?!” (Lol!)
“And where are my babies?!” (double Lol!)
He was so shocked…
He then went on to tell us how much work that had to get done (their company was hosting a high school robotics competition at one of the colleges in town), and how he couldn’t join us for dinner. We had to show him hard evidence that his boss was in on the whole thing before he would even get in the car with us, lol!
But eventually he did, and from then on you couldn’t wipe the smile from his handsome face.
We went to a place that was new to all of us… Restaurant Cotton.
This place was a special experience. Fit for such a special occasion. From the potato sack aprons the wait staff wore, to the exposed brick walls, the original hard wood floors, the rot iron hardware and YES, mason jar water glasses. The historic building turned fine dining restaurant is a place I can’t wait to get back to.
It was perfection.
The atmosphere was laid back & inviting- the epitome of southern comfort. The food and wine were heavenly.
I can’t even think of an eloquent enough set of words to properly describe what we ate… Just trust me… it was divine.
We had what basically was an array of the chef’s favorite dishes at the moment. He prepared whatever he was in the mood for, and it became 9 courses of bliss. With a new wine paired perfectly with each course…
I wrote down what we ate, but remember, 9 courses, 9 (quite large) samplings of wine… Yeah, my notes became more and more difficult to take down by dessert, lol!..
Course 1… Pork confit, sweet potatoe puree with crispy cochon skin
Course 2... Boullini with caviar & house-made sour cream, raw oyster with caviar
Course 3… Duck fat fries with a barnaise and cane vinegar aioli
Course 4… Marscapone with house dressing sitting in a tomato broth with pickled okra
Course 5… Grilled Escolar, marinated zucchini, spicy corn salsa with lime zest
Course 6… Duck and dumplings from potato gnocchi
Course 7… Braised Cochon du lait, over braised crispy kale, black eyed peas
Course 8… Pepper crusted steak with sweet potato crisp over prepper jelly, jambalaya risotto
Course 9… Pineapple upside down cake with vanilla ice cream and thyme infused honey with pistachio shavings
The experience was beautiful, the fellowship was great, and my dear husband still had that same smile plastered on his handsome face.
I’m so grateful to our friend (his boss) for such an incredible idea. He turned what could have been a boring birthday into one of the most memorable ones we’ve had together. And I owe a debt of gratitude to my dear parents for taking our three kiddos in with them while I chased my hubby down across the state, lol. Without them, this weekend could not have been possible. They always come through when I need them, and for that I can’t thank them enough.
I’m so, so grateful.
And I’m blessed to be able to celebrate a good man.
A darn good one.
One who is strong… Wise… Courageous… Loving… Faithful… And so much more. And today we are home. With our sweet kids. Whom I can’t stop squeezing. And now we’re all tucked in.
And I’m happy. We’re all happy.
Here’s to many more happy birthdays…