Friday, June 20, 2014

Prelude to a birthday

It's the last day of being 30.  Tomorrow I'll officially have to start saying that I'm "in my thirties."  Although I rather liked teetering on the edge of this age, I'm fairly ambivalent about the shift.  In fact, my youngest is much more emotional about me not allowing her to pound on the laptop keyboard than I am about growing a year older.

Speaking of whom, she's a dramatic one.  If she doesn't get her way (i.e. Mama won't hold her that very second) she pulls out the theatrics.  Take, for instance, this one time I tried to get her to crawl for the video camera.

Anyway, back to me and my birthday festivities.  Jon called me from San Diego a few weeks ago and said he had THE BEST birthday idea for me.  An "I can't believe I haven't thought of this before!" kind of idea, apparently.  But then he decided it should be a surprise.  I love surprises.

I also love sleuthing.  So when he mentioned, a few weeks later, that his idea was working out (insert broad smile and rubbing hands together motion), and that he had just bought tickets for something in Alexandria the night of June 13 and we would have to leave the house at 5:30 and wouldn't get back until really late ... he immediately followed it up with "don't Google any of that."  Drat.  My husband knows me too well.

So I refrained from dear Google.  Trust me, I wanted to solve the mystery so badly.  But I also wanted to be surprised.  So I endured the suspense of his tantalizing hints and half sentences for another week or so.  First of all, it was determined that Jared and Kylee would come along as part of my birthday gift.  Because whatever we were doing was going to be more enjoyable with the addition of friends - rock climbing?  Roller derby?  Dance lessons?  I needed to wear a dress.  Okay, nothing too active.  Outdoor concert?  Bad weather wouldn't impact the evening.   Ohhhh, a symphony!  But not too high of a heel.  Hmph, not a symphony.   Okay, okay, I give up.  Just tell me if I'm going to get fed.  No worries on going hungry. 

The other dilemma was childcare.  As previously stated, Joci doesn't take a bottle, or sippy, or eat food really.  And I pretty much nurse her to sleep every night.  You know.  Not exactly a prime situation for a babysitter.  Jared and Kylee were out.  So Jon put in a call to Pennsylvania.  And then went down two floors and barricaded himself in the laundry room so I couldn't listen in to the discussion.  Marmie and Poppa were all to eager to acquiesce and knowing that they were willing to drive 3 hours just to babysit my kids for one night (we obviously invited them to extend their stay) just added to the excitement of the evening.

Kylee and I (along with Joci) went dress shopping one evening.  Me, absolutely clueless, and she, trying to steer me in the right direction without giving too much away.  It didn't matter because we both ended the night completely empty-handed.  Well, other than the soft pretzel and decaf iced coffee, which helped make the attempt all the more worthwhile.

I decided to make up for the lack of dress by purchasing a new pair of shoes, high but with a good, solid heel (just in case there was dancing involved).  And I let Jack pick out a miniature phone wristlet wallet "for my birthday" since I had no idea what sort of purse would be appropriate.  We did find a suit for Jon, at about 80% off!  And around the same time I was entertaining 4 small children in Joseph A. Banks Kylee was picking out a potential dress for me a few cities away.

Friday arrived.  Jon returned from golfing and my parents, the kids, and I returned from an afternoon at the farm park just in time for massive rain storms to move in.  Joci was exhausted.  Too exhausted to allow me to move her from my arms to her crib after she fell asleep.  And since I wanted to ensure a positive evening for the grandparents, I decided to hold her.  And hold her.  And hold her.  Marmie finally came to take a turn so I could start getting ready.

She woke up 10 minutes before Jared and Kylee (and my dress) arrived and just in time to top her off for the evening and cross my fingers that she didn't get hungry again for a very long time.

Kylee came with the dress as well as a few "back-ups."  It fit!  I was just putting on earrings when Jon said to look out the window.  5:45 on the dot and there was a limo waiting outside.  Haha!  My hubby knows I would never, ever splurge on transportation.  So that's why he did it for me.

One of our neighbors peeked out the door and, "Oh, you're finally getting married?!"  The boys were dancing around the yard excited about the "big car."  We had a few minutes for pictures and so I handed the camera to my mom.

My mom is a good sport and we all joke about her photography skills (like all my headless Prom 2001 pictures).  So I feel I can post these pictures here in good humor.

Thanks Mom!
(iPhone shots for the win!)

I have a terrible habit of posing for the camera in such a way that it appears I only have one leg. :(
And here's one of my spiffy brother and adorable sister-in-law, who knows how to dress the part!

Joci was nestled in Poppa's arms, happy as a lark.  The boys were waving from the driveway.  (Julia was nowhere to be found.)  And we were off in our limo!  Let me tell you, the drive to DC is so much shorter when you're riding in luxury!

Jon revealed the rest of his surprise from the comfort of plush leather seats and mood lighting.  We were off to The Carlyle Club for dinner and a show by Doc Scantlin and his Imperial Palms Orchestra - a group that does songs from the 20s and 30s, mainly.  I had never heard about them before either.  But you can read more here.

Our limo dropped us off at the front door and we walked the red carpet into the club - a classy art deco theme.  We had a front row table and just enough time to order and finish dinner as the show started.

This is us dancing, in case you can't tell...
Unfortunately, it was super dark in there.  And none of my pictures really turned out.  Except for this one of Jon holding one of the roses they passed out to the most romantic slow dancers in the club ... or maybe just to every couple in the club.

Anyway, can I just say that dancing is not dead?  Seriously, as soon as my kids get a little older and independent I'm signing Jon and I up for lessons.  We were probably two of the youngest couples there, but I saw so much skill from these "older" couples out on the dance floor.  There was a guy that could have been my grandfather out there who was tearing up the dance floor with his swing and tango moves.  I was a wee bit jealous.

I'm sorry to report that I did not capture on video the part of the evening where Chou Chou (think Marilyn Monroe + Betty Boop) sashayed to my husband's side, removed his glasses so they wouldn't get foggy, and gave him a personal serenade.  Believe me, I wish I would have!

If you're further interested, and to make up for my lack of video quality, you can view this collection of clips from pretty much the same show they did for us.  Oddly enough, I think one of my favorite performances was the Creole Love Call (minute marker 3:47.)  It's one of the strangest things I've ever heard.

I absolutely loved the show!  It was like nothing we've ever done before and I'd be happy to do it again (although Jon says not to expect as much for my birthday next year.)  We've been talking a lot lately about putting our money towards experiences and making memories rather than "things" and he hit the nail with this one.

Chou Chou stopped Kylee and I in the lobby to applaud our "style" and thank us for coming.  She says they don't get many "young people" at their shows and it's nice to see some of our generation.  Now that's quite a way to celebrate getting older, don't you think?

Our limo driver picked us up and we rode away in better style than the band members themselves.  We were all exhausted and thankful to have someone else driving us home so we could relax and recount the evening.  About 15 minutes from our house the limo jerked to the left, we all fell out of our seats and rolled around the floor while horns blared all around us.  There was a car driving the wrong way on the highway!  And we just missed getting hit.  Our driver, Harold, apologized profusely and we thanked him for keeping us alive.  It also kept us awake for the remainder of the drive.

I came home to find Marmie in the chair with a snoozing Joci laying on her chest.  The kids were great, they said.  Joci didn't eat but she didn't cry either.  And when she fell asleep on Marmie, she was too afraid to try to lay her down.  And so she sat there for over 3 hours holding a sleeping baby.  Now that's a dedicated babysitter.  And while a night out "in the club" with my love was certainly THE BEST birthday gift I could ask for.  Being able to leave my Fantastic Four at home with two wonderful (and free!) babysitters is a very close second!!

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