It was awesome. I've never had a surprise party and I've always wanted one and when I realized what was happening I was nearly overwhelmed at the thought of JP planning it out and so many co-workers coming over to celebrate. JP is wonderful and thoughtful and the perfect partner in nearly all ways, but planning ahead is really not one of his love languages.
He'd kicked me out of the house Sunday morning, telling me to go spend the rest of my birthday money and to come home at noon because the kids were going to make some cards and decorate and then we were going to have a picnic lunch outside. Okay I said and headed out to Marshall's where I spent the remaining dregs of my birthday checks (one more pair of shoes, a painting for the laundry room, and some new bras- we were moving towards the practical side of things there by the end). Around 11:50 I started getting texts asking if I was on my way and telling me that the kids were hungry and ready to eat. "So feed them," I wrote back, confused as to why my presence at lunch was so important and also why JP was texting me because he hates texting with the fire of a thousand suns and has only sent me about 5 texts in the last 3 years combined. But I hurried up, throwing the two pairs of shoes I was agonizing over in the cart because I was too rushed to make a proper decision on a pair of tan leather wedges.
So I pulled up in the driveway, confused about the fact that no children appeared, and then JP came out the back door and told me to close my eyes so he could lead me in the house to see the kids' surprise. I did and then grew suspicious when I heard rustling that was either my children plus a couple elephants or my children plus a whole bunch of people. Then I heard the shhh'ing. There's no way my kids would be shhh'ing, so I knew an extra grown-up had to be around somewhere. There was a big "Surprise!" and out poured a stream of people from the family room where they'd all gone to hide when they realized the entire back of our house is made of windows and I'd be able to see them from my parking spot at the end of the driveway.
There was pizza (from Costco, my favorite) and a smorgasbord of other items from the partygoers that all went together beautifully even though the additions weren't planned out at all. JP, despite remembering to email everyone two weeks in advance and tell them to park several blocks away, forgot to buy plates and napkins, so there was a cheerful medley of paper plates and plastic utensils donated by the partygoers at the last minute as well. By the time we served cake, we were eating off a medley of our dinner dishes, including salad plates, dinner plates, and bowl-like pasta plates. It was casual, fun, loud, and kids were running around everywhere. In short, it was absolutely awesome.
JP makes my birthday cake every year (Pillsbury funfetti; a sacred tradition), so it didn't even occur to him to just order a cake for the party. Oh no, he was in the kitchen, beating eggs and cake mix in a bowl tucked in the crook of his arm while guests were milling about grabbing beer and pizza. The cakes baked while everyone ate, and then when he realized he wouldn't be able to ice them right away, they were thrown in the freezer to cool before the essential funfetti icing could be added. There was singing and a wearing of the birthday crown he'd fashioned earlier with a plastic tiara, some birthday number candles with the toothpicks and wicks cut off, and some sort of floor sealant glue.
When everyone left a few hours later, I realized that I didn't know a single one of those people on my last birthday and now here they are, not only co-workers I love working with, but also friends I'm so happy to have at my party. I felt very lucky and very loved.
Then, today, I got to work (a little late, it took a while to pick out my outfit- you don't turn 30 everyday and it felt imperative that I wear one of my new pieces of birthday clothing) and I chatted and laughed and drafted a subpoena and suddenly it was lunchtime! We went to Rodeo Goat, my new very favorite Fort Worth restaurant, where we all shared a Cheese Fries Surprise and a Cheese Fries No Surprise and I had a Nanny Goat burger smothered in herbed goat cheese. There also might have been a beer because who am I to say no to a free draft Hefeweizen on a birthday (or any day, really).
Not too long after that there was cake. A cookie cake to be precise, procured from several miles away because apparently everyone I work with got the idea over the last year that I have a slight fondness for cookie cake and there could be no substitutes for the real Great American Cookie Company thing.
A coworker also found out there was such a thing as a double-doozy cookie cake (a double doozy is two cookies pressed together with a bunch of icing in the middle; I had one every day of my pregnancy with Claire) and he informed the designated cookie-picker-upper and she tried to get one only to be told by a confused cookie worker that she could have cookie cake OR a double doozy, but not both. In the words of my colleague, there is cookie cake and there are double doozies but never the two shall meet. I ended up with a bag of double doozies and really, the story combined with the image of my 6-months pregnant co-worker being stared down by a cookie worker over the existence of a double-doozy cookie cake that is CLEARLY displayed on their website, was better than a 5 lb. piece of double cookie cake I
Except maybe a few moments later during the secret after party when it's possible there was champagne in a secret location at a secret time that cannot be confirmed by anyone. 30 is awesome.
It continued. Legally Fabulous is staying at my house tonight. She's taking the Bar tomorrow, so go wish her luck, and she offered to watch the kids while JP and I went out for some dinner. JP picked me up (the champagne, the existence of which I cannot confirm, may have made it unwise for me to drive myself) and we went to Gloria's where I ate food this time, along with my birthday margarita. It was lovely to chat with him without checking to see how much queso Claire was shoveling in her mouth with a spoon. The waiter brought me a surprise piece of cake. For once, I really didn't need another piece of cake, but JP stepped up and ate every bite after I blew out the candle.
Then we came home to the second birthday cake JP baked and iced for me because he felt I should have one on my real birthday, not knowing I would basically be spending all day eating things covered in cheese and/or sugar. I managed to eat a slice. Legally Fab ate one too, as did the children.
I love that he remembered to buy a second box of funfetti cake mix, but forgot to save the "3" and "0" candles from yesterday, so I got to use last year's candles and turn 29! I'm pretty sure that means I get to turn 30 again tomorrow, which would be great, except I think I need at least 24 hours and a few long runs (ha, kidding, no running) to recover from this one.
It's been a wonderful two days. I plan on turning 30 every year.