I wasn’t expecting much.
Maybe Definitely a cake, maybe a fun dinner out with Joe, an extra backrub, and—of course—the opportunity to visit with family and friends. That’s a good birthday to me. It honestly doesn’t take much to deem it a success, considering my less-than-stellar birthday last year.
This year, the week before my birthday was pure insanity for both of my jobs. I hosted a large Fair on Wednesday and was stressed to the max, running around like crazy, when I looked down at my phone and noticed I was tagged on Instagram. I needed a break for a second, so I stopped to check and saw….flight details….for the next day….to Utah…from my BFF Bobbie…who lives in Florida.
I stood there gaping, not really comprehending, trying to piece together the puzzle while the Fair was swirling around me. “Is this for real?” “Does Joe know?” “Ohmygod, I need to clean my house.” (That was pretty much my thought process in those initial split seconds.)
Lucky for me, it was no joke. After months of hushed planning with Joe, Bobbie was leaving behind her very hard-working husband and almost-two-year-old daughter to come to Utah for my birthday. It was so very touching. (And familiar, since I had just done the same in April for HER birthday.)
We have a tendency to spend our birthdays together. She, along with other BFF Ica, helped me ring in Decade Three early on Sanibel Island, then drove to Miami for my actual birthday before I moved to Virginia. Then, she also came to Virginia for her own birthday back in 2012, where we celebrated with strawberry cake and pregnancy photoshoots.
This was Bobbie’s first time to Utah and she was welcomed by a long, stormy drive up through the mountains to Logan from Salt Lake. In fact, we sat in a lightning storm waiting for her shuttle to arrive. It was the most unusual of Utah welcomes. We never get weather like that! (Word was it was a leftover front from a tropical storm?)
Since Bobbie exposed the surprise a day early, I was able to cash in my overtime from the Fair and take Friday off! We wanted a relaxing, low-key visit, so the three of us headed to Idaho for the first afternoon to soak in the Hot Springs! I hadn’t been back since last November, but it’s a whole different animal to be there when it’s warm, even slightly warm. The pools instantly feel much hotter, so I pretty much had to chill in the cooler pools (which are still 105-degrees+) for most of our time there.
The good news is we had a gorgeous drive. The fall colors are starting to peek, not peak, just peek through. Florida-Bobbie was in heaven.
On Saturday, we started the baking bonanza with homemade ice cream for the birthday cake. That will get its own post (soon, I hope), but we chose a Jeni’s flavor (always!) that didn’t disappoint. After, we gave Bobbie a tour of campus and l had her try her first Aggie Ice Cream (more sugar!)!
We were able to skype with Robert, Abby and Abby’s freaky doll. I really thought Abby might be sad or not understand seeing Mommy on the computer, but she thought it was funny to see us and show us her tricks.
THEN, back to the kitchen (!), we made these cookies after receiving an invite to Chris and Chilali’s for dinner. (Man, I love those cookies.)
Funny story: Chris and Bobbie knew each other from a music festival YEARS ago! They played in a woodwind quintet and bonded over almost dying in the ocean after being swept out in the tide. Okay, that part’s not funny, but it was great reuniting them after so long, and I’m kicking myself we didn’t get a photo of us all together! I’ve said it before, but the music world can be claustrophobically small sometimes.
Sunday: The Day of Rest for Utah, the The Day of Baking for us!
I had already picked a decadent dark-chocolate peanut butter cake, so we got to work making the cake layers, filling and frosting over the course of a few hours. That, too, will get its own post, but know that it was delicious, especially when paired with Jeni’s untouchable custard (hint!) we made the day before.
While we waited for the cake layers to cool, we piled in the car and drove down to Salt Lake. Bobbie was finally able to see the mountains she missed on the late-night shuttle and have her first IN-N-OUT BURGER! It was a hit, and I totally devoured my “animal-style” fries.
After a quick tour of Homegoods, we headed back to Logan to finish the cake, eat the cake, eat Mexican food, and get ready for another week. (boo!)
It was hard to say goodbye to Bobbie on Monday morning. Reality slapping me in the face and a bottle of Tums in my bag. Despite our realization that we’re getting too old to eat and drink like we used to, I loved having her here, showing her our Western life and crazy state. It meant so much to have her plan this surprise adventure, to have Robert take time away from his busy job, to have Abby be away from her mommy for a long stint. There were a lot of sacrifices to make this possible, and I appreciate every single one. It was a wonderful visit and birthday!
Love you, Bobster, and thank you thank you thank you! Now, let the detox continue! …pass the Tums…
Photo of Abby’s doll creeping on Skype and me & Bobbie lovingly stolen from Bobster. Thanks!