The Birthday from Heaven

Hey y'all. Be forewarned... I write LONG posts.

My birthday was last Friday. I have been thinking about how this has been the best birthday of my adult life. This year I have used 12 days between Apr 1-12 to celebrate. All in an effort to compensate for last year...

You see, last year was not so great. My roommate moved out a week before. My sister and all of her family was in Utah. I was super busy at work. I didn't know anyone well enough that would want to help me plan something for my birthday. It ended up with me working super late, picking up a burrito at Freebirds (they did give me a free cookie when I mentioned it was my birthday :), and then sitting outside by the pond at my apartment getting eaten alive by mosquitoes while conversing with Sarah Jane (the bright spot of the night). I came home and watched an episode of Modern Family and called it a night. Pretty sad from the Texas perspective, but I did feel a lot of Utah and Boston love. My parents sent me gorgeous flowers and presents, as did my siblings and a few friends from far away. Plus, I tell ya, if you need just one reason to get Facebook- get it for your birthday. The love flows in from all across the world, people that you haven't thought about for years but yet they remember your day. It's fab!

So although I truly don't have complaints about last year's celebration, I knew that I wanted to kick it up a notch this year. I did a few things in my own power to make it great, but I was overwhelmed by how many other people made it great.

I decided to make a list of why my birthday was so awesome because Melissa reminded me that adult birthdays are usually not amazing, thus I ought to soak it all in. So with no further adieu and in no particular order, here is my list of why this birthday was the BOMB.com.

#1 It all began with a trip to San Francisco. My family lived there in my younger years, but I hadn't been back as an adult so one of my New Year's plans was to make it back there. With the awesomeness and coordination from my parents, I was able to meet them and Lizzy for spring break. We spent a lovely 5 days exploring the city, visiting our old stomping grounds, traveling down south, and hitting all the tourist spots. It was fabulous!

Oh you wanted to see pictures of the fun? Here goes!

Re-visting my first home in Clayton, California

Lizzy and I pretending to be part of the "ring around the rosies" in downtown Clayton.

The chapel and wind-swept trees at the Oakland temple grounds.

Then we travelled down to Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel-by-the-Sea

My dad took this while my mom was yelling, "Becca, stop posing and help your sister!" My baddd. 

Cute, candid shot of my parents. They were probably laughing about Lizzy and I running in the sand, even though it was freezing outside. 

Back in the city we explored the Painted Ladies and Muji - a fabulous Japanese store and my inspiration for wanting to make this trip happen. 

Family Home Evening treats at Ghirardelli Square

After leading my family on a wild-goose chase on foot (oops- read the map wrong) we finally arrived at the Ferry Building Marketplace. I had read a blog all about this place and I was excited to check out of all the little side shops. We had a fabulous lunch at Gott's that I still think about. 

Picked up a few things from Heath Ceramics. So beautiful! 

On our last full day, we drove a little north of the city to Muir Woods and Stenson Beach. Amazingly beautiful and definitely worth the drive. 

Lizzy embracing the waves

We were pretty lucky to stay right at Fisherman's Wharf. We took a little walk around on our last day. 

#2 It actually all began with a backpack. My parents gave me this beaut for my birthday but they let me open it early so that I could use it for the trip to CA. It's the perfect Vera Bradley laptop backpack. It has plenty of space for everything I need and it has the trolley sleeve so it fits nicely on my carryon luggage when I am tired of lugging it around. And hello, I can't get enough of the floral "Va Va Bloom" print. It's perfect!

#3 We celebrated Easter. I have always had a special place in my heart for celebrating Easter, probably because it's so close to my birthday. But ever since I went to Jerusalem and learned more of the specific details involved with the holy week and Palm Sunday, Easter means even more to me now. I loved being able to celebrate that day with my family in such a beautiful place.

#5 A visit. Emily (my sister who lives in Boston) flew in the weekend before my birthday. I haven't seen her since Christmas so it was a delight to have her here to chat, make delicious food, and play with Melissa's kids. She also brought me some lovely gifts that are now up in my office.

#4 It was General Conference.... my super bowl. I watched/listened to 8 hours of messages from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. By the end of it all, I felt uplifted, motivated, and encouraged to put doubts aside and carry on in my faith. This talk from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland really spoke to my heart. Here is a little 2-line summary:
Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.
#5 New clothes. My dear friend (and now co-worker), Katherine, cleaned out her closet while I was in SF. This translates to a bunch of new clothes for me. Thus I wore a new top everyday of the week preceding my birthday. BIG SCORE!

#6 Wicked. I got to see one of my favorite musicals, with friends, Cameron and Lacy. We bought tickets months ago and I was under the impression that this would just be a performance by local Dallas-ites. No, no. I stand corrected. It was a traveling Broadway tour- meaning they had all the costumes, sets, and even the big bubble machine for Ga-linda. It was great!

#7 Pho. Kind Rachelle took me out the night before my birthday for pho, one of my new favorite meals. We loved the food but the conversation was even better. She also sent me home with a lovely gift that has made my whole apartment smelling like a garden. And who doesn't love smelling a garden?

#8 Lizzy made student council. Ok check out how fabulous her posters are! She ran a great campaign and now gets to be a student body officer next year. She has been wearing my student council sweater since she started high school and now she will have one all of her own! (Her campaign was inspired by Miranda Sings... hence the reason she has so much lipstick on.)

Ok. Now for the day of...

#8 Awesome roommates. I woke up and I was getting ready for the day, I saw that I had msised a phone call from my roommate, Ahlin. That seemed quite odd. Rather than calling her back, I walked outside my bedroom to find streamers and balloons everywhere. A darling garland was hanging up on the wall that said "Happy Birthday Becca." I looked towards the kitchen and there was a seat with a birthday balloon and a birthday ribbon on it. Set with waffles, eggs, and orange-tangerine juice (my new favorite). It was delicious and awesome. There are very few times when we are all sitting at the table eating at the same time, so that was especially wonderful. Of course they were both late to work but I love them for their thoughtfulness (and a myriad of other reasons. Don't know how I got so lucky with these girls!).

They totally understand and support my love of garlands! 

#9 Cube Decorations. When I walked onto my floor at the office, I wasn't expecting anything because last year no one knew it was my birthday. But oh wow folks, I walked in and my cube was overflowing with birthday decor. Polka dot streamers lined the whole space, there was birthday confetti everywhere, a big birthday sign, and several helium balloons with my name on it. Yes, my name was printed on the balloons. There was even a little container of candy to share with people who come visit my desk. BOMB.COM. Seriously. Katherine Fajen is the best. Pretty lucky that I get to have a real-life friend with me at work.

#10 Delicious lunch. I grabbed a few of my favorite co-workers and we headed to the delicious Good to Go taco. Sweet Katherine got me a delicious taco and side salad. Let's talk about it. The taco: flour tortilla, bed of spinach, grilled hangar steak, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, topped with hollandaise sauce and shredded cheese. The salad was also a delight. Greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, crispy tortilla toppers, and a lovely tomato vinaigrette. Again. SOO lucky to have a friend for a co-worker.

#11 Grouplicates photo. I work for The Richards Group and some people call us "groupers." When two groupers dress alike, they are called grouplicates. And sometimes people get their picture taken for the grouplicates Tumblr page. I have wanted to be on this tumblr page ever since I started working here. Finally, on my day of birth, I made it on the grouplicates page. Wohoo!

#12 Central Market raspberry chocolate truffle cake. My co-worker, Vicki, bought me this lovely cake to share with my other co-workers. It was beautiful AND delicious. She said that she was trying to decided between the coconut cream or this one and ended up choosing this one because in her words, "I know that you love chocolate because I always see you eating it." Touche. Touche.

#13 Flowers from my parents. I LOVE FLOWERS. And I love my parents. And I love that they know how much I love flowers. How great are these?! So lovely.

#14 Cupcakes. My roommates made adorable cupcakes (chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting) to share with my friends later that night.

#15 Party. My sister and her family came down to celebrate. I invited all of my friends to come to a park near my apartment for a picnic. Melissa's family brought me a Freebirds Burrito (yes, that does mean I ate the same burrito at the same place for this birthday, just like last), along with 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies and a ton of strawberries. Everyone LOVED her cookies, almost as much as they loved meeting my family. It was so great to have my Dallas friends meet Melissa and Aaron and the kids so that they can all understand why I love going up to hang out with them all the time. So many friends came and some even brought me a present. TOO KIND!

 #16 Sky Lanterns. Remember that one part in Tangled when they let out all those beautiful lanterns in the sky? 

I do, because I loved it. And I love paper lanterns. So how did my birthday night end? 
Letting off sky lanterns at White Rock Lake in Dallas. 
It was awesome. Pretty neat to see them floating in the sky and burning for several minutes as they traveled across the lake and beyond. Here is a vine video that Ahlin and Valentina created. 

#17 As we were driving home, I turned on the radio in our last few minutes in the car. The song that came on was my current favorite by P!nk and Nate Reuss (it is also on as I write this post :). As I pulled into our parking lot, I locked the doors and said,"No one is getting out of the car until we dance through the entirety of this song." And the dance party continued... It was great. Five adults dancing in a (really loud) parked car. 

This song is my new go-to for when I need a little pick-me-up at work and just need to jam out. Here it is:

#18 Social Media Awesomeness. Before I went to bed, I went through and responded to all of my text messages, and facebook posts. It was wonderful. And then I grinned ear-to-ear as opened my present from Sarah Jane (came in the mail that exact day!) and listened to the voice messages from all my best friends spread across the country in Boston, D.C., San Diego, Provo, and Salt Lake. 

So there she blows. The absolute perfect birthday from heaven. It even has continued past April 12th. Last night, a friend took me to dinner and brought me peach roses. I just feel showered with love from every direction and every person in my life. And this is all on top of the blessings of having good health, a steady job, a roof over head, a great family, and a testimony of the gospel. As I said to my roommates, "This birthday is really more like Thanksgiving" because I am just so grateful for all the goodness in my life right now. So thank you all for being my friends and helping me celebrate 25 fabulous years.