This past week, my boyfriend turned 30! I have spent the past four months planning his birthday. My mom called one day asking if Andy and I wanted to go to Ravinia to see Santana. If you haven’t heard of Ravinia before, it’s home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It’s where many famous musicians come to play in the pavilion, while people can enjoy lawn seating with food and drinks. Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Aretha Franklin, etc have all played here. There’s nothing quite like it
Santana was scheduled to play on the 29th, right after Andy’s birthday and before his Mom’s birthday. So I thought, what a great idea! Let’s have a combined birthday party for the two! But I thought, maybe this isn’t enough. I love to go all out for birthdays! I feel like everyone deserves to be celebrated and feel loved. Andy hates birthdays…Sure enough, I was told that the concert was more than enough. But the hamster wheel in my head was already turning. Then my mom suggested renting a private boat to go sailing on Lake Michigan? Another brilliant idea! Except, I needed to keep this idea under wraps. So how could I make this more fun? What about a scavenger hunt? I could have him start at our place and end at the boat where we could all surprise him!
Now, this was the first scavenger hunt I have ever planned, and I wish there was a book on how to coordinate it. The clue part was easy. It was getting my boyfriend out of the house while his family was there, was the tough part. For some reason, I was just stumped.
Fast forward to the 28th. I take Andy to dinner at a place called Celeste in Chicago. A very romantic place to go with your significant other. They have a courtyard area with hanging lights, playful music, and a sexy atmosphere. I highly recommend if you’re ever visiting Chicago! I give him his gift, the set of Game of Thrones books. Overall, a lovely low-key evening.
Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend’s family arrives and we take the train to Ravinia Park. My mom has our little area set up for 15 people. Despite the light rain, everyone was very excited, as this was their first time at the venue. My mom did a fabulous job with the spread of food and drinks. We had sangria and mojitos, along with pulled pork and rotisserie chicken. We danced and drank the night away!
The big day is here. My boyfriend had this whole itinerary planned for us. Walking along the lake front, stopping at a few rooftops, and showing them the city. We grabbed a quick bite at a local neighborhood spot called Spoke and Bird. We sat on their patio, and I would let them know what the game plan was when Andy would leave the table. The plan was to get the girls into the house first, set up the clues and then let the guys know that they could come up, while we drive off and drop off the clues in advanced. The reason I waited until the day of is because there are shift changes and I didn’t want to risk someone losing my clues. So my plan backfired. Andy demanded to come home with us so he could use the bathroom. I convince him to take his dad on a tour of the neighborhood. We set up the first clue with a bunch of balloons and tie the clue on a balloon. Me, Andy’s mom and his Aunt drop off the second clue and lo and behold the place isn’t open yet! I find a door with a gate that’s half-open, I crawl in and bang on the door until someone comes and I give them a clue. Mind you, this place is right across the street from where we live and Andy could easily see me! 🙈
We drop off the clues and have a quick Bloody Mary at Parlor Pizza. By far the best Bloody Mary bar in the city! We get to the boat, and we call Andy’s dad to see where he is. Sure enough they’re on the other side of the harbor! To speed things up, I ended up having to pick them up, ruining the surprise.
All and all, we had a blast. The sun came out, we had champagne (my favorite) and had some munchies. It was an amazing weekend and I am incredibly lucky that my boyfriend’s family has been so welcoming and accepting of me. It really was a special day and it couldn’t have turned out better.
Not to get sappy, but I want to wish a final happy birthday to my love. He is my everything. He has such a good soul, and is charming, intelligent, witty, loyal, and overall an amazing person. I am so blessed to call him my boyfriend. He’s my best friend, and the Jay-Z to my Beyoncé. I adore him! Here’s to two years together, and many more birthdays to celebrate!
Now, we’ve got two weeks until Europe! Let the packing continue. Until next time..