The most elaborate birthday surprise yet.

The most elaborate birthday surprise yet.

James celebrated his golden birthday a couple Sundays ago.

30 on the 30th.

I told him this is the coolest one he’ll ever have.
It’s all downhill from here.

There are so many components to this surprise, I’ll try pare it down.
(Yeah, right.)

Sunday, we ate the traditional bunny cake.
Unfortunately, Saturday was the Art Gala, so I was maxed out on things-to-do.
Fortunately, we live in a beautiful community, and Becca made it for me!

I tested Corban’s surprise powers and told him about the cake.
The second he saw his father he said, “Daddy! We have a surprise cake!”
Good to know.

In honor of his and Laura’s 30th (and thanks to Shauna Niequest),
our life group started a new tradition: the toast.

Nothing fancy; just words of affirmation at least once a year.
But we loved it so much, we may try to think of other reasons to toast!
Anniversaries, etc. I even wanna include the children in this tradition.
What a beautiful way to love each other with our words!


We got a sitter, went out to dinner and watched a movie.
Birthday done.
Or not.

Wednesday evening, when we picked up the van from its oil change, I asked James if there
was anything that needed repaired (love these old cars). “We’ve got a cracked serpentine belt,
but we’ll be fine for a bit just driving around town.” Well. He didn’t know we were about to
be driving through hundreds of towns the very next day! But our man Steve squeezed us in
the very next morning, and let me and THREE kids sit in the waiting room while he worked.

No pressure.

Thursday after work, James came home to a dark house and kids in coats.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Your clothes are on the bed,” I answered.
“Get dressed; we’ll be in the car.” “But, but, I thought you were stressed??”
Poor guy. I was stressed, but not from a bad day. Hehe.

As we started to drive, he casually mentioned that he couldn’t find his favorite
brown shoes. “Mommy put them in the trunk!” shouted Corban.
But I didn’t tell him, show him, include him in any way! How did he know?? 

Well, we ended up at James’ parents’ house Thursday night…
but didn’t stay for long. Friday morning I had Corban wake him
up early, so we could start heading to our next surprise.
A party? A museum? The Dells? he guessed.


To visit our dearest Pat & Molly (and Willie!)–
James’ best friend growing up
and best man in our wedding.

Unfortunately, they were not included in the spring memo
and greeted us with loads of snow and cars in ditches.

Fortunately, Frozen serenaded our entire trip,
and we arrived without any tears.

Four. That’s how many times we watched that lovely animated film.
All songs and lines are forever embedded in my memory.
And James’. Ask him how he feels about that.


Oh. And the Friday all-day meeting James’s boss had scheduled at work
was really a cover so that he didn’t schedule anything else and I could steal him.
Pretty perfect.

Pat was kind enough to get off work early.
We stayed under their warm hospitality for the whole weekend
with our runny noses, productive coughs, and allergic sneezes.

We spent Saturday morning at the Minneapolis Children’s Museum.

IMG_0587 IMG_0594 IMG_0604 IMG_0608 IMG_0614 IMG_0618 IMG_0622

We ate delicious food thanks to Molly’s tireless efforts (even fighting her own cold)
and had life-giving conversation during naps and bed time. I think staying with friends
may be my new favorite thing to do. Living a weekend together. Authentic conversation.

Watch out, out-of-state friends. We’re coming for you!
Or you could come here. Seriously.


My only regret for the weekend is that we didn’t get any pics of Pat & James.


It’s so refreshing to spend time with believers.
Especially when they really feel like family.
Especially when it’s someone you all love that brings you together.

Happy 30th, James!

  • Fun with Announcements
    Posted at 11:46h, 22 July Reply

    […] are fun for a short time (my birthday surprise for James almost killed me with its duration!), but man am I glad this cat’s outta the […]

Post A Comment