My Hubby’s Dirty 30 Full of Surprises

Birthdays are one of my favorites times of year. My family always made a big deal out of them growing up, and I’ve continued the tradition into my adulthood. We only get to celebrate the day of our birth once a year and we never know how many of them we’ll have left, so I am all for going all out and making the most of it. Which is why I celebrate birthday MONTHS!

April was a very special month for someone near and dear to my heart – it was the month of my hubby’s 30th! I kind of sort of went all out for it, and Jimmy specifically requested that I write a blog post recapping his birthday festivities. Of course I had already planned on it, but since he asked, I couldn’t let him down.

Instead of just a birthday, I decided to celebrate 30 days of Jimmy’s 30th. Beginning April 1st, I gave Jimmy a little slip of paper with a reason why I loved him (barf, I know) and a little gift which continued every day for the month.
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The Sunday before his actual birthday I threw a little cookout party at our house and invited several friends over for the afternoon (surprise #1). Jimmy thought this was his {only} birthday celebration, but couldn’t figure out why we weren’t doing something on his actual birthday which was the following Saturday. After finishing the food on the grill halfway inside – thank you rain and lack of patio covering – we enjoyed homemade burgers that the birthday boy whipped up. Present time! I had everyone bring some sort of Chicago-related gift and we forced Jimmy open them while everyone watched.
IMG_7628 IMG_7636 IMG_7653 IMG_7654 IMG_7669After opening everyone’s gifts and still not catching on, I gave him his gift from me (and his parents): plane tickets to Chicago for the following weekend (surprise #2), which I’d already cleared it with his boss and everything (surprise #3).
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He was very surprised :). He was even more surprised to hear that I’d already booked our hotels and made plans for our trip, which means he just got to sit back and have a good time (surprise #4).

Thursday afternoon we hit the airport and jet set to Chi-Town for a weekend of fun.
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We arrived around 5:30 p.m. CST, checked into Hotel Lincoln, then headed to Public House to have dinner and watch the Blackhawks game with the in-laws. We’d been sitting there eating, drinking and watching the game for about two hours when a random guy started making his way toward our booth. Jimmy thought he was some drunk guy who was being overly friendly and wasn’t very thrilled about it, but nope – it was his buddy Josh who flew in from California to celebrate with us (surprise #5)!
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Jimmy was so excited and at a loss for words (which is extremely rare). High-five to us, Josh!

Friday morning the three of us met up with Jimmy’s parents for lunch at The Local Chicago, then headed over to The Drake for a bloody Mary at Coq d’Or.
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Because the only thing we’re good at on vacation is eating and drinking our way through town, we made our way to a recommended spot, The Green Door Tavern, Chicago’s oldest pub, for a beer and mid-afternoon snack. While we were eating, Jimmy got another visitor: our friend Phil flew in from Jacksonville to celebrate, too (surprise #6)!
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We wrapped things up there and headed to check-in to our new hotel (because unfortunately Hotel Lincoln nearly tripled in price), The Willows Hotel in Lincoln Park, and rest up for a bit. Shortly after, Jimmy and the guys walked up the block to a nearby bar to throw back a few brews and watch sports (the original plan was for the guys to go golfing (surprise #7) but it was cold and rainy, so that didn’t happen), and his mom and I “went to the Art Institute of Chicago for some girl time.”

But really I went to set up for his surprise party (surprise #8).
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Jimmy’s fabulous friend Chris offered to let me take over his apartment for the evening to host the party, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. (Thanks Chris and Niki!) I decided to make it a 1920’s themed party because a) Jimmy loves that era and thinks he is the modern-day Great Gatsby, and b) he was “roaring out of his 20s and into his 30s.” So a few weeks before the party, I sent out invitations to local and out-of-town family and friends, ordered custom koozies with J’s favorite quote, shipped decorations to Chris, and had an outfit for Jimmy (surprise #9) shipped to his mom. Chris and his girlfriend made dips and snacks, J’s aunt brought a chocolate cake from Portillo’s (Jimmy’s favorite cake ever – surprise #10), his friend Mike picked up the booze and dropped them off the day before, and we ordered pizza from one of his favorite local places. Everything came together so perfectly.
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Josh and Phil brought Jimmy over to Chris’s to “meet up with all the girls and have a drink before going out for dinner,” and our sneaky plan worked perfectly. He had NO idea and was completely surprised!
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He was surprised again when he noticed a few other friends who came in town to share the weekend with him (surprise #11): Heidi, Dave, Stephani and Paige, in town from Iowa and a few hours outside of the city, and our Jacksonville friend Amanda’s parents from Michigan. The rest of the evening was spent catching up with everyone, dancing, and enjoying a fabulous evening celebrating The Great Vinicky.
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A HUGE thank you to all of our friends and family who came to celebrate with us, and for keeping this a secret for the past four months!

Saturday morning brought a little bit of sadness – I received an email saying that the White Sox game (surprise #12) had been cancelled due to weather. But, instead of moping and wasting a perfectly good Saturday in Chicago, we made the most of it and did what we do best: started the day with a good ol’ brunch, bloody Mary’s and mimosas at LuxBar downtown.

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After brunch and a quick pit stop at Walgreens for umbrellas (and random red noses for Red Nose Day) we walked ten blocks to our destination: Clark Street Ale House. (Quick back story on this place: I was in Chicago a few years ago with my mom and co-workers to see Oprah, and as we were walking to dinner we saw a neon sign lighting up the sky that said “Stop and drink” with an arrow pointing to the bar. So naturally, we stopped and drank, and it was the most amazing little bar ever. I’d been on a mission to find the name of that dang place ever since and finally did! So we had to go. And I was beyond excited.)
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Next rainy day distraction: The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center. We were fortunate enough to get seated right away at a spacious booth, and enjoyed tasty cocktails and an incredible view. And then the sun decided to come out!

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After taking in the view of the city, we made our way to Wicker Park to watch the Blackhawks WIN at Fatpour Tap Works, where we posted up for 3+ hours. So much fun being in the city with thousands of Hawks fans during the playoffs! We wrapped up the evening with some loud singing and bad dance moves at InnJoy and Schoolyard Tavern, had a late-night meal at Golden Apple Grill & Breakfast House, then called it a night around 3:30 a.m. Ouch.
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Sunday morning came all too early and we were dreading having to pack up and head home. After dragging ourselves out of bed, we loaded up our suitcases and headed downtown to meet up with Jimmy’s parents and sister to squeeze in as much as we could in the last few hours we had in the city. Before leaving for the airport, we stuffed our faces and put ourselves in a food coma. We started with a “cheezborger cheezborger cheezborger” and bloody Mary at the infamous Billy Goat Tavern, then snatched up a Blackhawks and Happy Birthday doughnut at Glazed and Infused.

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We were sad to leave (though our waistlines appreciated it, I’m sure) and had such a wonderful time. It was so much fun being the planner and tour guide in Jimmy’s hometown of Chicago – a complete change for him (in that city, at least)! He didn’t have to be in charge of making plans or decisions, and we all got to experience many things for the first time – even the locals. Thanks again to our amazing friends and family for making the trip, taking the time off work, keeping everything a secret, and coming to celebrate Jimmy’s 30th with us. It was a weekend we will never forget!

Jimmy, I hope you had the best birthday ever and you’re ready to embrace your 30s. I know they will be the best years ever – I’ll make sure of it!

(Also, I nominate myself for the Wife of the Year Award. Kthanks.)


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