Best Birthday EVER!

Hello all!

How was your weekend?  Ours was great! We celebrated my birthday this past weekend in Carolina and had such a good time and it was all thanks to my incredible husband!

Let me just start by saying, I consider birthdays to be kind of a big deal. Branch and I don't exchange Christmas gifts (we just write each other a love letter) so I really like to do it big for birthdays. Up until this year, Branch, bless his heart, was kind of lagging in the birthday execution department. My husband is many things: smart, funny, handsome and kind, but a birthday planner he was not.

In years past, for his birthday, I've put together surprise trips to go to Braves games and penguin encounters that I planned months in advance. Branch....well, the first year he got me a gift my hair salon. The next year I lowered my expectations and just asked for a tin of Christie Cookies. He waited until my actual birthday to buy them (so that they would be fresh) but my birthday is a national holiday and Christie Cookies was closed. I cried. I only tell you all this because this year my husband redeemed himself. This year, my husband knocked it out of the park! This year, was the BEST BIRTHDAY YEAR EVER!

So what did he do, you ask? Well first, he tried to pull a fast one on me by giving me a gift card. I wasn't buying it. (But I am really excited about the gift card!). Then, he presented me with a handsomely wrapped gift (I'm a sucker for good gift wrapping). I opened it and inside was a beautiful Starbucks tumbler I had my eye on.  I'm not going to lie, my heart sunk a bit. But then he told me to open the tumbler and inside were two tickets to WICKED! I about died! My husband is the greatest, most amazing husband of all time!!!

I should just tell you that I have waited literally TEN YEARS to see Wicked. One of my best friends in high school had us listening to the soundtrack the summer before we went to college. Count 'em up folks, that was 10 years ago! I have always wanted to see the show, but it has never been playing in a city we were living in while living there so I've never had the chance to see it. This time was no exception, the tickets were for a show in Durham, NC - road trip!!!

We hopped in the car on Thursday evening. The plan was to drive through the night to keep Easton on his schedule.  While he did sleep the entire ride, he decided he would rather not go back to sleep when we arrived at our friends, Reece and Katie's, house in Winston-Salem at 3:30 in the morning. I played with the Bear until about 7 when he decided to take a nap. We didn't do much Friday-day, just napped and hung out until it was time to start getting ready for the show.

The babysitter arrived and Branch and I hopped in the car. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading into DPAC to our AMAZING seats! My husband outdid himself. Not only did he spend time and effort coordinating the trip, but he even researched which were the best seats in DPAC. He had us smack dab, in the middle, eye level with the actors. It couldn't have been better!

I'm about to explode with excitement!

The show totally lived up to my expectations and was definitely worth the 10 year wait! I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't already seen it!

The next day, we traveled to Chapel Hill for Easton's first Carolina basketball game.  Chapel Hill is such a special little place and I was giddy with excitement to go back! We grabbed lunch at our favorite restaurant there, Top of the Hill.  When we arrived, we didn't have tickets to the game yet. Branch had learned from multiple sources that the best way to get a good deal on tickets was to wait to scalp them just after the game started.  We had been looking around online and the tickets were PRICEY (we played #5 Louisville so it was a pretty big game!) and anything that was in our pretty meager price range was way up in the nosebleeds.

As we were waiting for Uber to pick us up from Top-O, 15 minutes before the game started, I decided to check online one more time. Branch thought I was wasting my time until I came across some tickets that I thought might work. Two seats, in our price range, ROW D. As in FOUR ROWS FROM THE COURT! The tickets were bought and instantly downloaded to our phones!

On our way there, we thought it would be fun to stop at the Old Well and get a picture with Easton. The last time we were in Chapel Hill, we revealed that we were having a boy with this picture...

and this is what our family looks like now!

Yep! That's the same jersey!

We made it to the game a few minutes before tip off and our seats were incredible! We got so lucky! Going to a basketball game as a parent with a baby is definitely different than going as a student (think feeding/napping mid-game instead of pre-gaming and body painting) but we had a blast. The game was exciting the whole time and ended with Carolina making a 13 point run to win at the last minute!!

East was a champ the whole game but finally he gave out!

Those baby headphones are worth their weight in gold!

So close!

It's Carolina for the win!!

Post-game celebration!

Easton's face cracks me up in this

As we were leaving, we ran into the famous sports announcer, Dick Vitale. We asked if he would take a picture with Easton and of course he obliged. Then he said "Hold on, can I take one with my phone so I can post it on Twitter?". Of course you can, Dickie V!

Source: Dick Vitale's Instagram

We headed back to Top of the Hill to say hi to our good friend Rebecca before getting on the road back to Winston-Salem. That night, we had the best meal of the trip at Small Batch. Jeremy Clayman, who happens to be Reece's brother-in-law, is the chef there and he is so incredibly talented! If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it!!

We headed home the next day and it was a pretty uneventful ride home. I'll be forever grateful to my husband for this trip he planned. Giving experiences as gifts is so much better than stuff in my opinion :)  (although, sometimes the stuff is very much needed and wanted too!). Not only was the trip super fun, but I feel so loved knowing how much time, thought and effort Branch put into planning everything.  And a huge thanks to Katie and Reece for hosting us at their beautiful home!

Love y'all!


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