Bountiful Birthday Blessings

My birthday Friday & bday weekend has just been so full of wonderful things! The love started early on Thursday when I got Godiva chocolate in the mail from my BFF, Wendy.
We've shared a Godiva bond since...8th grade, I believe? It is our quintessential way to say, "I love you, sis!" It's never really a surprise, but ALWAYS a blessing!!! :-)

Thursday night JB wanted to start celebrating early, so we went out to - where else??? - Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner & trivia. ;-) Super praise for not having to prepare dinner! :-P (Actually, I haven't made more than a couple protein shakes for breakfast since lunch on Thursday! YAY!!!)

Friday, we met our BFFs, Tina & her kids Jason & Jocelyn, at Splitz Gymnastics for open gym. J&J are some of Sis & Will's BEST friends, and this was the first time they've gotten to see each other since we moved back here. The looks on all four of their faces at being reunited was a precious gift in and of itself! Annelise has always wanted to try gymnastics, and seeing her excitement filled me up! I'm a dancer - I know nothing about gymnastics (outside of watching Make It Or Break It & the Olympics) - and I admit that I have been a bit intimidated by her desire; but this place has *me* excited: they also have a dance academy, so she could actually take a class here that is half gymnastics, half dance combo. Win/win! On the way out after open gym, I saw a lady at the front desk who looked to be in charge, and just on a total whim, I decided to say something. I told her about my teaching background; she looked at me slightly stunned & said, "We just lost one of our dance teachers last week!" :-O Win/win/win?!

Can you believe that?! I took an application, and I don't know if the dance director already has someone else in mind (the lady I spoke to was the gymnastics director) but I'm going to drop back by with my résumé tomorrow. Isn't that nuts?! God ALWAYS shows up! I wasn't really looking for a dance job or even sure I *wanted* to teach here. (99% of dance studios here are competition, which isn't what I do - Splitz has competition gymnastics, but basic dance; the other studio I'd found that wasn't competition is crazy expensive (I was freaking out thinking of the cost there for Annelise) & has no need for teachers; I was also uncomfortable committing to a studio through June when we don't know how long we're going to be here, but Splitz runs in 2-month sessions.) After MAJORLY STRESSING about the cost of extracurricular activities (more on that in an upcoming post), maybe I'll have Annelise covered for everything she wants to try with this, on top of keeping my dance résumé current. I don't want to get *too* excited, b/c who knows...but it would be ideal...

We left Splitz and drove across the adjacent shopping center to eat lunch back at our old fave family restaurant from when we last lived here, Ginger. Ginger is the ONLY area place that has my beloved bubble tea!!! (If I teach at Splitz, I will STILL gain weight being so close to Ginger all the time!!! :-D Mmmmm, almond honey milk tea...) Tina, J, & J made me feel like a princess: they brought me a tiara, lip gloss, & a singing candle for my bday lunch!
At the end of the meal, I actually received a DOUBLE fortune cookie! Not 2 fortunes, but 2 COOKIES wrapped around each other! Neither Tina nor I had seen one before, (and let me tell you - I have been through oodles of fortune cookies in my life!)

We took it as an extra cool bday sign. :-)

All day Friday, it was CRAZY hot & humid here - it actually felt like being home in the South! - and we had quite a few big thunderstorms - my idea of heaven. I lovelovelove storms!!!

When we got home from lunch, my Redskins platter was delivered on the porch - YAY! - and the kids played while I sat down at the computer for a bit. I was bowled over by the Facebook love - I got over 100 heartfelt "Happy Birthday!"s, and that just felt sooo good!

Friday night, we went for dessert at Guernsey Farms Dairy ice cream parlor. Now, growing up with the Cabarrus Creamery & even working there one summer in high school, I am *very* picky about my ice cream. Oh, I'll eat about any kind I can get my hands on ;-) but I certainly wouldn't rave about 99.999% of it. This was as close to the Creamery as I've ever had! (Of course, it makes sense why - they make it themselves fresh with milk from their own dairy, too.) I even got mine for free, b/c it was my bday! (And I didn't have to produce my license, b/c I was still wearing my tiara; no, I didn't take it off all day. Are you kidding? I would NEVER let go of an opportunity to be crowned in public!!! :-D)

Saturday, we spent the day checking out a few area malls, and we came across Just Baked. I had been craving cupcakes for weeks, (my own fault for watching too much Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes on TV!) and my bday weekend justified the purchase:

S'mores & Pumpkin Pie are by far my faves. (They didn't have The Big Oink, Sweet Potato, or Toasted Almond - hopefully next time?) I was afraid to try the Red Velvet, b/c NO ONE makes it like my mama, so I didn't want to go there. (This isn't a Southern bakery, y'all. :-P ;-)) I didn't get as much malt flavor in the chocolate malt or cherry in the black forest chocolate cakes as I would've liked (hi, I'm a food critic :-D) but I don't want to complain - SUCH a delicious purchase (that I'm still savoring today & will tomorrow, too!)

We then met my in-laws for a birthday dinner for me last night, and it was honestly the most lovely time!!! (For anyone who knows their recent business: doing GREAT!!!! Truly wonderful to see!!!!!) We had an awesome time chatting, and they showered me with the most THOUGHTFUL gifts ever!!! A Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, a Redskins 24oz. Tervis Tumbler with lid, a red "Hey Y'all" Paula Deen apron from The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, and a bag of one of my fave snacks: Cashew Clusters with Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds! I felt so very blessed. Esp. when they've had other things on their plate, for them to still think of me like that? It was just such a happy, meaningful evening!

Today: I took a step to join the praise team here back at our old/new church. That's been perhaps the hardest part of this move - leaving NCC. I feel like I left a huge chunk of my heart there, and a good portion of that was singing on Sunday mornings with Jon to lead worship. (Another big slice was being the coordinator of my MOPS group; I'm going to be back on steering here this fall in my old/new group, again, which is great...but again, different now... Perhaps more on this down the road...)

So, yes: a VERY EVENTFUL birthday & weekend full of lots of happy happenings! :-) I feel SUPER blessed!!!


  1. That cupcake with the marshmallows looks sooo good!!!

  2. Oh, Ashley - it *IS*!!! I'm still eating them, too!!! :-P Thank you so much for posting!!!!!!!!

  3. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful birthday!

  4. super! super! happy to hear your birthday was a great success you felt loved and blessed! that is exactly what a birthday should be! yay for treats, cravings, tiaras, etc!

  5. Treats & tiaras make EVERYTHING better! ;-) LOVE YOU!


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