My sister (Ashley) and I went shopping Friday. “I need new work pants” she said, and she wanted me to go with her. So we went… to Woodfield (the largest mall in Chicagoland).

I knew I was in for a long day.

Now, I’ve been feeling down lately – overwhelmed really. My birthday should be a happy time, but last year my grandfather had fallen ill and passed away right after my birthday. Then about a week later, I lost my other grandfather. My friend refered to that time as “The Scourge of Grandpas”. Add to that pain shooting from my elbows to my wrists constantly (yes, even now), plus a general heaping of stress, and you start to see why I’ve been feeling the way I have. Shopping with my sister sounded like a nice diversion.

We left around 2:00. Ashley is a marathon shopper, and I knew we’d be out there for a while. Still, we didn’t leave Woodfield until 7:30. Yikes! After a quick stop at IKEA (I was too tired to shop anymore) to return a few things, we were on our way back to my house.

As we came in the back door, I was singing “Ashley… TOP OF THE POPS!” à la Art Brut (because hi, I’m just that cool). I immediately noticed several candles lit, which is strange. Thinking maybe Brandon has some sort of romantic surprise waiting, I turned to Ashley: “Um, maybe you should leave?” Then I noticed three pizza boxes sitting on the counter. Hmmm… Brandon must have been really hungry while I was gone. Then a cat comes up to me to be pet. Except it wasn’t our cat. It was the friendly neighborhood cat that we often see outside, and I was really confused at that point. Why would Brandon let this cat in?

I put down my bag (I only bought two things: a $4 ring, and Prada perfume), and I went to grab the cat. I was following it (her/him?) into the dining room, and…

S U R P R I S E ! ! !

A surprise party! For me!

Ashley had taken me shopping to get me out of the house. A ha! I truly wasn’t expecting it. We had gone out to New Rebozo (here in Oak Park) for my birthday, on my birthday last week, and it was lovely. I got a sombrero.

My Birthday Hat

Brandon had planned a surprise party for me last year, but as I mentioned, that was right around the time my grandfather had fallen ill. Brandon told me about it just before (because I had been in such a state), and asked if I wanted to go forward with it. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t be around people at that time, trying to be happy.

This year he decided to try again.


friends, family


I needed this. My mom said “I think he loves ya”. He does. Very much.

And I’ve been told I jumped up and down, like a contestant on The Price is Right.


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  • jm
    October 1, 2007 at 4:54 am

    Oh yay! Happy Birthday. That is so sweet.

  • Princess of Power
    October 1, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Oh Happy Birthday! I love surprise parties!

  • Laura
    October 1, 2007 at 4:46 am

    How nice! Happy birthday.

  • Laura J.
    October 1, 2007 at 6:29 am

    What a lovely boy you have there! And how fun to have all your friends and family over to that awesome house you’ve literally transformed. Fun! Fun! Fun!

  • Carrie S.
    October 1, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Aw, Happy Birthday Nicole! XO

  • goosefairy
    October 1, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Happy birthday! I’m so glad this one turned out well for you. Love the sombrero. You’ve got quite a prize there in that hubby of yours.

  • Amy
    October 1, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Your husband and sister are so sweet, yay!

  • Linda
    October 1, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Oh, how wonderful. Very sweet. :)

  • Susan
    October 1, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Happy Belated Birthday!
    Glad it was a good one.

  • Ana
    October 1, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  • Lili
    October 1, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    aww! Brandon is such a good hubby (say hi to him for me!)!

    I hope your party lifted your spirits. Great necklace!


  • Aimee
    October 1, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    What a lovely hubby! Happy belated birthday wishes to you.

  • katiedid
    October 1, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Happy Birthday cutie! It’s nice to have such a great guy isn’t it? I’ve got one too.

  • Mim Smith Faro
    October 3, 2007 at 4:28 am

    What a lovely surprise! Happy BeLated Birthday!

  • HollowSquirrel
    October 3, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Dang, you fell hook, line & sinker, sistah. What a great surprise– I love that you jumped up and down. Happy belated birthday– here’s to a fantastic year.

  • Jessie
    October 10, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    That’s so sweet!!!!!!!!! happy late bday. :)