Mike's been absent from my last 3 birthdays...nothing really out of the ordinary for military life, but it's also a bit of a downer to have your birthday be just like every other day with all of the same responsibilities. So anyway, when we knew for sure that he would be home for this birthday--the dirty thirty ;) --we made plans to go out of town and do something fun for a change.
We chose to go to the OBX. It's close enough to drive to, neither of us had been there since we were kids and we really just wanted to go relax somewhere with some nice weather.
So the morning of my birthday we were kidless, which was kind of bittersweet. I missed them, and wouldn't want to spend many birthday's without them, but at the same time the quiet and freedom to do whatever i wanted was pretty nice. i chose to sit on my fabulous porch and work on painting some chairs while listening to some great music and drinking coffee. The kids had just given me my Mother's Day presents they made at school (the picture frames below) so i sat them out on the porch too so they could be there with me :)
mike and i were waiting around until lunch time to leave for our trip because my birthday also happened to be the day that the Avett Brothers New Years Eve concert tickets went on sale. I've been wanting to see them for years. They really started getting popular when we first moved to Hawaii -mike and i listened to their albums all the time and wished they come to HI--which they never did. Since moving back to NC, Avett is touring all over and doesn't make it back to NC too much, and both NYE concerts we've not been able to make. So...this is our year! We were ready right when they went on sale and got pretty great seats. It was a great birthday present!
We left home got some lunch and first went to a few antique/artsy shops in the area that i have been wanting to go to for a while and just aren't very conducive to dragging 3 kids around.
here i am. first pic in my thirties... still smiling :)
The major event of the day was dinner that night. Over the deployment i started watching A Chef's Life on PBS. It's a show about a restaurant in Kinston. They use only local/in season ingredients and the show always features a certain ingredient, where it's grown in the state, how to prepare it, etc. Then the chef, vivian, creates these awesome, southern yet modern dishes to serve at her restaurant. anyway, i'm a fan. mike came home watched a few shows, also became a fan...so we booked dinner for my birthday at her restaurant, Chef and The Farmer. It was amazing. Arguably one of the best meals i've ever had.
We ended up in Kinston a little early though, so after a little searching on what we could do...and there wasn't much, we settled on Mother Earth Brewery. It's a local brewery with a cute taproom and some definitely interesting tasting brews. We had no problem killing time here!
and then it was time for dinner.
the food was wonderful from salads to dessert...we needed to be rolled out of there...but it was worth how full we felt!
us with Vivian Howard
she stood at that counter and approved every plate before it went out to the tables. it was kind of fun to watch her in person... interact with her staff, get frustrated --which she often will and be a perfectionist. after our meal she came over to our table, signed our menu and with talked with us-mostly about how she hoped next season's show would be picked up to air (which it has) and about our twins...cause she has a b/g set too.
it was really a perfect birthday. we ended the night driving a little ways closer to the OBX and then stopping to sleep before the rest of our fun trip that weekend.