The week before Andreas' birthday, Anders and I worked on preparing a few simple decorations that might brighten up the kitchen and create a nice backdrop for the birthday festivities. As a foundation, Anders painted several pieces of computer paper with yellow and green paint. I wrapped some empty toilet paper rolls with his artwork and used a craft punch to cut a bunch of circles from the remaining scraps. I threaded it all together with fishing line to create a garland, which we hung from the large window. It was actually pretty eye-catching with the natural light shining through the painted paper. I also cut a special message for Andreas from Anders' paintings. We glued the letters onto construction paper, and Anders used a border punch to embellish it a bit more.
On the morning of his birthday I was able to present Andreas with a large stack of letters and notes from friends and family. So many loved ones contributed stories, words of encouragement, and well wishes. Some were sentimental and mushy, and others made us laugh out loud. They were all touching, and I was so pleased to be able to coordinate something that made Andreas feel loved and special. Thanks to everyone who participated!
We headed off to church and lunch before returning home to open presents. Historically we've always done this first thing in the morning, allowing the birthday guy or gal to open their new treasures in bed while nestled in their comfy duvet. I'm not sure if this is a Danish tradition or a Vang precedent, but what I can tell you is that with a little boy and a baby it seemed both impossible and undesirable to attempt to wake up early enough to open presents and get the four of us dressed, fed, and loaded into mini(van) on time. And so, the afternoon began with unwrapping gifts. Andreas was the lucky recipient of much generosity and will be able to cross several items off his wish list. A few of us even surprised him with things he didn't even know he was missing.
I gave him these earmuffs. Let me tell you, these were a big risk because I rarely venture off the wish list. Not only is Andreas particular, but he's also extremely well-educated in his areas of interest. This means that he usually knows the exact specifications, model, and acceptable price range of each item he wants. I get joy from giving him things he's specifically requested, but sometimes a wife has to surprise her husband, you know? These earmuffs were a big win, so I got to breathe a big sigh of relief. They will do the simple job of protecting his ears when he mows or does other loud home projects, but they're also capable of amplifying noise that isn't in a harmful range so they're a bit more dynamic than the average earmuff. I know this is extremely compelling. Moving on.
Andreas and I were able to go out for date night on Saturday evening, so we chose to cook a special dinner at home to celebrate his actual birthday. That way we could spend the time all together as a family (and have a good excuse to buy a big hunk of expensive meat). We tried our hand at a beef tenderloin using this recipe, and it was a huge success! It was absolutely delicious, and I'm afraid we are hooked. There were some side dishes of course, but I was too busy savoring the melt-in-my-mouth tenderloin to recall anything remarkable about any of them now. Once the littles were in bed, Hannah, Andreas, and I shared a few cupcakes to properly finish off the night of dietary indulgence.
I can't put words in his mouth, but I think Andreas would say it was a pretty great way to celebrate 30.