The flowers were lovely.
The wine delicious…(although we ended up drinking a 2007 Pommard instead, because the 1996 Vega Sicilia was oxidized.)
The food incredible as always, with my husband as the chef.
Paella with andouille sausage, monkfish, hoppers, mussels, peas, artichoke hearts and peppers & tomatoes (from our garden).
Homemade flourless chocolate cake to die for…again, made by my awesome husband. And sweet birthday smooches to boot.
In the company of some of my favorite women and best friends; it was a charming and intimate dinner party full of laughter and joyful conversation.
The lights on the pergola were perfectly set and created a special mood for us the entire evening…kind of like an outdoor cafe right in our backyard!
But the best gift of all was the presence of my mom who surprised me by walking right into my house on my birthday. I was so completely and utterly in shock that it took a few minutes for me to understand what was happening…that she was actually standing right there in front of me!! In my heart, the only thing I really wanted for my birthday was to be able to spend it with my parents and my family. I never thought it would be possible given the distance between us all and the cost of flying, having time off etc, etc. So to have my mom make the trip to CA from Chicago meant the world (and beyond) to me. She and Michael had been planning it for over a month, those sneaks!
The boys were thrilled and giddy (although you couldn’t tell by looking at this picture of Calvin!) to have their “Gogo” stay in their house and play with them for the weekend. Every morning she would get them up and make their breakfast, giving Michael and I a few more precious minutes to sleep in. At night she would read to them and help us tuck them in bed. And how many grandmas do you know that willingly jump on a trampoline, keeping up with two little boys who are so full of energy? Having her presence in the house made everything just seem lighter, more cheery than usual and oh so very happy.
If there is one thing that I do not like about living in CA, it’s being so far away from my family…my brothers and parents, neices and nephews and my grandparents. I feel as though I am constantly trying to keep this imbalance in balance…the desire to live closer to my much-loved family, but not uproot our CA life and the community we’ve made here. I could go on and on about this idea because there is so much weight to it for me, but not now…
Now I just want to remember the special moments we spent with my mom this weekend, the comfort of hearing her voice upon waking, the delight in sharing in her laughter, the gratitude I felt for her ability to so effortlessly lend a helping hand. How much it filled my heart to see the boys run up to her and shower her with kisses and leg hugs. As Levi says when he is happy, “there was a lot of sunshine in my belly.”
That was my birthday belly for sure…full of good food and wine and lots and lots of Gogo sunshine.