When Reid turned 30 I surprised him by flying his brother out here for a weekend of golf (well, it snowed, so no golf was actually played....) I pretty much rocked his birthday that year. But the past 2 years i haven't done so well. I mean, i thought i had a brilliant idea a couple years ago when, rather than paying full price for a couple books about Houdini he wanted, I dragged my 3 girls to the quiet section of the library, searched a less-than-organized shelf for the right books, and wrapped them up--all for $0!! I mean, how awesome was that??? Apparently not at all. Just ask him about it, and you'll likely be able to pick up on how he felt about it.
But this year, I believe I've redeemed myself. With much help from my interior designer and good friend, Gina, I surprised Reid with an office makeover!!! He's been in his new office space for a few months now, and has mentioned--several times-- how he'd like to get a bulletin board for the girls' art, how he'd like to hang up some of his art, diplomas, etc. So we got to working, which included many trips to furniture stores, Home Goods, thrift stores, and more thrift stores, until we'd found the best combo of stuff to beautify his office.
I painted the bulletin board and end table. I gathered all sorts of art/memorabilia from around our home. I bought a new chair (which meant resisting the urge to reupholster an old one!!), a plant, and a rug and kept this ALL a secret from Reid!! On Tuesday or Wednesday, Reid got all complainy about how his birthday was on Saturday and all he wanted to do was golf, but because I had "secret plans" he wouldn't be able to so please, please could he please golf on Friday evening? say around 3pm? YES! Perfect!! Leave your office for a few hours!!
He left his office at 3, and at 3:15 Gina and I showed up with our vans full of stuff, lugged it up the freight elevator and got to work! The kind doorman who helped us up the elevator was waiting for us to unload our crap off of his cart, so these "before" pictures aren't that great. But they give you an idea, at least, that there was nothing on the walls and it was a sad, lonely place to be.
Gina worked her magic with the frames (she really is amazing), threw down the rug, arranged the chair, the table, and in less than 75 minutes she had transformed that blank wall into this:
And here's Reid's bulletin board--with about 2% of the art the girls have sent with him--plus this clock that he loves!
A few years ago Reid's mom gave him this sweet antique-looking copy of the Bill of Rights. It's been needing a good home for a while, and now it's got one!
And when Reid's grandma moved out of her home, he only wanted one thing--her Courier and Ives paintings. She had three of them mounted to wood, and he inherited two of them. Gina didn't really love either of them, but once she understood just how much they meant to Reid, she allowed this one to be subtly tucked in the back of his hutch. And of course, he loves it!
As Gina and I left the office, around 5:45, I realized that there was no way I could wait another minute for Reid to see his new space! I was also worried that the girls (namely Eliza) would say something that would spoil the surprise, or worse--that I would blurt out something about all the attention James got at the rug store, or the furniture sales man who walked in on me nursing James (covered by a blanket) but couldn't look me in the eye 'til the transaction was complete. So, when Reid finally called me at 6:45 I mentioned that we hadn't even eaten yet, and how I was craving Cafe Rio (which is right by his office) but that now it was probably too late, so what should we do? Reid, right on cue, said "oh, Cafe Rio would actually be perfect, 'cause I've gotta go pick up some papers that Dave left on my desk!" I, of course, knew he'd say that, since 45 minutes earlier I'd called his paralegal and asked her to send an email asking him to pick up the papers Dave hadn't actually left. I know, I'm brilliant. But i feared that Reid would suggest that we all stay in the car while he runs up and gets the papers. So, in my cunnning ways, i said "well, should we just get the food to-go and bring it home? I don't know if I could wait that long..." And again, right on cue, he says "let's grab dinner and go eat it at my office!" He was so pleased with all of his good ideas!!
I wished I'd recorded his reaction when he saw his office. It was priceless. He is absolutely in love with it. I'm actually surprised at just how much he really loves it. I mean, beyond appreciating the time and effort that went into it--he genuinely loves it.
And as if that wasn't enough (which it was!) I also woke up early on Saturday morning after getting 4 hours of sleep (thanks to a teething James and an overly-excited-to-get-Dad's-breakfast-started Grace) and made crepes.
And if that wasn't enough, we all went out for lunch at the only Venezuelan restaurant in the Denver area.
And if that wasn't enough, i informed him at the restaurant that the "secret plans" i had for his birthday was that the rest of the day would, indeed, be spent doing his favorite pastime with his favorite person. That's right--I took him golfing!
We went with another couple--Gina and Andy (maybe Gina should actually be the won who wins the medal, since she did just as much for Reid's birthday as I did, and she's not even married to him!) and it was so much fun. I think it's fair to say that Andy enjoyed it the least. Gina and I had a great time making fools of ourselves. Any contact made with the ball we felt was reason enough to celebrate. And driving the carts? that was an absolute blast!!! But it's Reid who had the best time of all. He genuinely enjoyed teaching me how to golf, driving with me (inspite of my lack of know-how with the adult-sized bumper car), and not having to text me every time he had a sweet drive! For him, combining the two things he loves the most was the best way to spend his birthday. I know, cute huh!?!
Apart from his 80-year-old man hat, I loved every part of it as well :)
And now, it's time for the 33 Things I Love About This Man portion of this post. I've been wanting to do this for a while now, but have been afraid of making every other husband in the world look bad :) Or i've just been lazy. Either way, it'll probably take you longer to read it than it will for me to come up with it. Here we go....
1) He absolutely loves his kids.
2) He is honest. he can't help it really, 'cause he's a crappy liar.
3) He would rather be with his family than just about anything else in the world (golf being the exception)
4) He's organized and responsible. He takes care of our bills, our insurance, and all the other things that are no fun to take care of--but he does it anyway. Bless him for it.
5) He gives really great massages.
6) He's got zero self-control around sweets--it's so nice having a partner in crime. :)
7) He's humble. This should actually be No. 1. The man is so quick to admit when he's wrong, so eager to overcome his weaknesses, and to own up to them. He amazes me with this quality, and if our children turn out anything less than arrogant know-it-alls, it will be because of this characteristic of his.
8) He's a neat-freak. but only about certain things. it's cute, really. plus, it's nice to have at least one person who cares about this sort of thing in the marriage (this could also go on a "33 things that drive me crazy about Reid" list if I ever made such a list....which I couldn't, 'cause besides this, there really ain't much)
9) He's a home-body.
10) He still, after nearly 10 years, freaks out every time i cut his hair. He gets nervous, makes dumb jokes, flinches at the sound of the clippers--it's cute, in a I-could-kill-you-rihgt-now-if-i-wanted-to kinda way
11) He's extremely sentimental about little things from his childhood--pictures he drew, pieces of crap his friend made for him, ugly chairs he inherited. It's cute....except when he calls me a hoarder.
12) He loves to make cookies, and his cookies are amazing!
13) He works hard in a profession that isn't necessarily his passion. I can't imagine if I didn't particularly like the thing I do all day. (Oh wait, yes i can. It's called 2008-2009. But i digress...)
14) He speaks my "love language." He knows what things matter to me, and shows love by doing those things, rather than doing the things that he would appreciate. I believe this is somewhat uncommon in people of his gender.
15) He's not overly obsessed with sports, or I should say he doesn't allow himself to be so. I mean, we don't even have cable. And you know why? because he is afraid that it would become a time-suck and he doesn't want to spend his evenings/weekends glued to the tube. also somewhat uncommon in people of his gender.
16) He's extremely supportive of all my crazy projects--as long as they don't involve him on many (or any) levels.
17) He's a family man. He loves our family. He loves his family. He loves my family. And he makes sacrifices to be able to spend quality time with them.
18) He thinks I'm cutest without any makeup. Or he's actually mastered the whole lying thing and has convinced me that such is the case.
19) He plays the guitar. And he sings while he plays the guitar. Fewer things bring back that giddy, twitterpated feeling in my insides like his guitar playing does. And he knows it, and uses it wisely.
20) He's faithful. Not just to me, but to everything he believes in. He lives his faith wholly. He tries so hard to practice what he preaches. He's rarely hypocritical--I'd say "never," but the things he yells at drivers on the road would prove me wrong :)
21) He enjoys yard work. I often complain about how he's not a handy-man, but really--he is. Just the nature-kind. He enjoys fixing sprinklers, trimming trees, raking, mowing, etc. I love that.
22) He's always on a quest to be a better dad. always.
23) He still holds my hand every time we go anywhere. again, twitterpated feelings in my insides...
24) He loves to play board games and card games--i love that!
25) He doesn't love to play computer games--i love that, too!
26)He eats anything I cook. bless him for it.
27) He makes everyone feel like they're important. He's a good listener, and really good validator.
28) He's an amazing communicator. This was actually one of the first things that I fell in love with about him. He has absolutely no problem putting his feelings into words. He's not closed up, he doesn't let things build-up inside of him, if he's got a problem--he talks about it. I absolutely love, love, love this about him.
29) He has no problem watching the kids. He encourages me to leave the kids with him while I run to the store, the gym, or my friends' house.
30) He doesn't ever want a pet dog or cat. I'm not justmentioning this 'cause I'm nearing the end of my list and running out of things to say. This really is something i really appreciate about him :)
31) He enjoys playing with his kids--soccer, tag, tickle monster, throw-them-up-in-the-air, board games--any kind of active play.
32) He's smart. And I love that. But what I love even more is that he down-plays his smartness. Again with the humility!
33) He loves me. Really, truly, genuinely loves everything about me. Dunno how, dunno why, just know it's true. Bless him for it.
Happy Birthday, babe. I love you!!!