Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A (Non-DIY) 30th birthday party for my favorite man

I haven't had time to write nearly like I've wanted to lately. I could write post after post on what Shaun means to me, the amazingness that our marriage is, the beautiful places the Lord is leading us. I hope it's not annoying to say that I think my marriage is amazing... It's actually extremely humbling and wondrous to me when I say it... It's something we've been putting a ton of effort into, learning how to be deep and vulnerable and honest and protective of each other. Learning to be a safe place for each other. Learning that in the midst of kids and more busyness than we've ever known before we need to be more intentional than we imagined, but it's worth more than any other investment we will ever make. But it's honestly nothing we've accomplished on our own... It is all and only because of the Lord. He is so faithful, he writes the most beautiful stories, and he used circumstances from the past few years to set the stage perfectly for us to come to this point. It is my favorite season of our relationship yet, and I am so excited to see where He takes us from here.
All that to say, Shaun just had his 30th birthday on August 15th. I had been thinking for years that I wanted to have a surprise party for him when he turned 30. And this may have been my favorite party I've ever thrown. As it went, Shaun found out I was having a party for him when he accidentally saw a facebook message between me and someone who was invited to the party... however, he didn't know the details like where it was, who was coming, what the food would be etc until the night it happened. As badly as I wanted to have that "surprise!!!" moment, it did take some stress off me once he knew that I was putting together a party. I could double check some things with him that I had been having the hardest time making decisions about.
Because of this season in life, and because I was still sick when I started planning the party and just feeling better when it was finally here, I went for something that would be as amazing as possible, with the least stress and most enjoyment for me. As much as I love DIY parties and adding cute little touches of my own, that was not the route I was headed this time.
I decided to throw him a party with our closest friends, most who have known us as long as we've been a couple, some who've known us long before we knew each other, and a few others who we've grown close to along the way. We rarely get a night out with friends without kids these days, so I thought it would be fun to have a classy, relaxing party with just adults... I rented a room in the Montgomery house at the Penn Square Marriott, and the room was perfect... just the right size to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere that was still big enough to accommodate about 30 people. Half of the room was set up with smaller cocktail size tables and half of the room was set up with comfy sofas and chairs like a fancy living room with a fire place.
These were the stairs that led to the room where the party was.

For food we had lots of yummy appetizers. The party was at 7:00, and I wanted people to mingle and talk and go back for more food as often as they wanted, so appetizers made more sense than a meal. We had pizza, and mini sliders on pretzel rolls, and wings and soft pretzels with dip and, my personal favorite, a nacho bar with bomb guacamole. 

For drinks we had strawberry mint water (in the coolest pitchers) and a cash bar. And then the cakes... they were homemade deliciousness by a friend of ours in exchange for a photo shoot I did for them. Caramel Apple Bundt cakes, and they were SO SO good!! 

It was so much fun spending the evening with all our best friends, and seeing them all interact too... I didn't want it to end! 

We sang happy birthday and then we all pulled chairs into a circle in the living room part of the room to share our funniest memories of Shaun... We laughed and laughed and laughed... I married such a hilarious and unique man... stories about his extreme competitive side, whether it was hockey or settlers of catan, him fainting when I was getting the epidural with Drew and forgetting his wallet on our first date, many stories of him in his underwear (some things never change) stories of him in his convertible that flooded (so there was several inches of water in the bottom in the summer and a sheet of ice in the winter), him shooting cows with his air soft gun on his drive to church with the top down in that same convertible, stories of him preparing for the end of the world (that was a recent one) and then there were some really sentimental moments mixed in, stories of him staying up praying all night, sharing his heart when he was really young... stories that brought tears to my eyes. I can't describe the overwhelming amount of love I felt in the room that night. To be surrounded by people who know you and love you and want to celebrate you... the closeness and sentimentality and laughter and bond that we share... It was really amazing. We couldn't stop talking about what amazing friends we have on our drive home. It makes me want to cry just to think about it. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in our lives to lift us up, surround us, support us, laugh and cry with us. Looking around the room and thinking of the things we've been through. The way someone rushed to our house and beat the ambulance there when Drew had his first seizure. The way someone else stayed overnight in the hospital to help keep Shaun and Drew awake for a test they needed to run in the morning when he had his second seizure. People who have brought us meals when we've brought home newborns. People who have celebrated pregnancies with us, prayed with us in hard times, know our stories inside and out and love us all the same. People who have given us words of encouragement, made a point to give us cards on our birthdays full of spiritual encouragement, people we lead a church with, worship with weekly, and who sharpen us to be better. Siblings we've grown up with and shared life with from the beginning, and the amazing spouses they've each married. My sister and her husband weren't able to be there because of their recent move to Minnesota, and Randi cried on the phone as I told her about the party because she'd wanted to be there so badly.
I love these amazing people so much, and missed the few that weren't able to be there. 

I know all about how to have a party that photographs pretty. There's nothing wrong with that. I know all about how to spend a ton of time on the decorations. I know how to stress myself out preparing all the food myself, and arranging to have people bring things to the party to help. I just didn't want to have a pinterest party for Shaun's party. Instead, I let the Marriott take care of everything. I didn't even tell them what I wanted in the centers of the tables. When we got there I saw there were tea light candles, and they were perfect. After all, a party isn't about the things at all. Things can help add to the atmosphere, but the party is about the people. The only thing we did when we got there was hook Shaun's phone up to the speaker system to play the red hot chili peppers Pandora station during the party. I enjoyed myself so much.... There were two waiters and a bartender making sure the food stayed warm and replenished, that the pitchers stayed full, they even lit the birthday candles for me. I spent all my time with the people. And it was glorious.
I really didn't take many pictures at all for the four hours we were there. I'm glad I have the ones I do to remember the party by, but my goal is not to have people "pin" these pictures and try to recreate this look... my goal was that for those four hours we spent there, that we made the most of every moment and came away with our hearts full. I honestly couldn't fall asleep that night for all the things I wanted to stay up remembering.
Shaun loved it. It was a night I'll look back and smile on forever. Thank you to everyone who came and made it so special!! 

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