Because Ryan was turning 30 this year, I wanted to make his birthday really special. Last year I did "Twenty-Nine Days of Celebrations" where Ryan received little gifts, acts of service, or fun activities throughout the 29 days leading up to his birthday. To prepare for his 30th birthday, I began brainstorming the day after he turned 29 but became more serious with planning this past March. I decided that I wanted to throw him a surprise birthday party with his friends. I ended up sending out invitations to 60 people, some of whom Ryan knows from his childhood, high school, college, and church. Even though I made that list and checked it twice, there are still a few people that I know I forgot to invite (sorry!). I had 30 people RSVP for the big day, which was a perfect number since Ryan was turning 30, don't you think?!

I worked with the people from BJ's Brewhouse because they offered the most affordable option; plus, I LOVE their food. Everything I have ever ordered from BJ's has been fantastic. BJ's offered an all you can eat pizza, salad, and nonalcoholic drinks option that I couldn't resist! I ordered the house salad and 4 types of pizza - Cheese & Tomato, Great White, BJ's Classic Combo, and Sweet Pig. As much as I wish I could have bought everyone's meal, that was just not possible at this juncture in our lives. Most people paid for their dinner in advance through PayPal, which was SUPER convenient. That allowed me to just enjoy the evening with everyone rather than collecting money during the middle of the party (tacky!). I then paid for the tax, gratuity, and dessert. I ordered his cake from Indy Cakes, and they did a fabulous job! I found the inspiration for his cake at Pink Cake Box, and customized it for our event.

So that is just the set up for his big day! Now for the actual celebration...

The day of his birthday, we woke up, and I made Ryan breakfast. Then he opened his presents! I got him a new water bottle and a book called Marathon Man to help encourage him on his journey to run THIRTY ONE miles on his 31st birthday!!! I know, he is crazy and awesome all at the same time! I also found a t-shirt for him during my trip to Massachusetts, which is definitely inappropriate, but I couldn't resist. In case you can't read the print, it's from the "In a Box" skit from SNL. Last but not least, I used My Publisher to make Ryan a photo book with all of his baby pictures and additional pictures of him throughout his school years. He was completely surprised!!! I ordered an extra one to give to his parents, too, so that they could have a book with all of Ryan's photos.

All day, Ryan knew there was a surprise coming. However, I was a little deceptive, telling him that we would be having dinner with our friends Abigail and Devin and then go somewhere for a surprise afterward. After breakfast, I told Ryan I had to run a couple errands - pick up the cake and deliver it to BJ's - thought he didn't know that at the time. I raced home afterward, and we rushed up to Westfield to take Noah to Ryan's parents' house for the night (thanks again!). After having lunch with his parents, we drove back home and took a nap/watched TV until it was time for dinner.

On the way to the restaurant, I was starting to get all nervous and giddy, and I thought I was for sure going to give away the surprise. Abigail and Devin met us outside the restaurant, and we all walked in together. Ryan was busy talking to Devin and looking at the huge TV while the hostess led us back to the tables where our friends were waiting. Abigail and I stepped aside so that Ryan could see everyone, and they all yelled "Surprise!!!" He was in SHOCK. He had absolutely no idea! In fact, he began greeting a long table filled with a bunch of our friends from church when someone said to him, "Ryan, did you see this table behind us?" Much to Ryan's surprise, he looked up and saw another long table filled with friends from high school and college. He couldn't believe it!

Dinner was great, and Ryan and I floated around the room talking with our friends. The servers brought out the cake, and Ryan loved it! We all sang "Happy Birthday" - including many people inside the restaurant - and Ryan blew out his candles. The evening was so much fun!

Ryan hadn't seen several people for a few years, so I know he was especially surprised to see those people. Thank you to the following people for making the night so wonderful: Dalia & Kevin, Abigail & Devin, Jackie & Danny, Beckie & Tim, Lisa & Andy, Patty & Mark, Kevin Parker, Amanda Alvis, Alyssa & Chet, Beau & his date, Jim & his date, Jill & Tommy, Peter & Cole, and Zach & Kate. Mitchell and his fiance had to cancel at the last minute, and thought we were sad to miss them, we hope to see them soon!

Fortunately, this isn't where the surprises end! In my next blog I'll share the biggest birthday surprise of all!

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