The hubby turns 40 today! T and I celebrated his big day starting with a homemade dinner last night.
T was very excited all day yesterday. Birthdays, Halloween and Christmas are his holy trinity.
We took it easy yesterday. As the sun began to set, the three of us decided to do something productive and raked the leaves in our backyard.
T jumped in the humongous pile of leaves – accumulated since late summer – then helped put them away.
I made a bbq dinner and T kept me company in the backyard as I grilled. He was a good helper!
I splurged on a nice cut of steak from a local family-owned Eastern European butcher.
I normally wait for steak to go on sale at No Frills supermarket but this was a milestone.
And it was a thing of beauty – with nice fatty bits!
I followed this tutorial on how to grill the perfect steak. Who knew it was as simple as olive oil, salt and pepper for restaurant-tasting steak?
Five years ago, the hubby and I visited South America. Our last trip before T entered our lives included a stop at breathtaking Peru.
We visited a salt mine in Cusco and purchased a small bag of Peruvian “gourmet salt” as a souvenir. I finally opened it last night and seasoned the steak with it.
And the birthday splurge was worth it!
To continue with the bbq theme, I made a Grilled Caesar Salad, adapting a Food Network recipe.
Rounding off the sides were Honey and Chipotle Corn…
… and Roasted Ruby Potatoes, Garlic and Rosemary.
And as requested by the Hubby, we had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for dessert.
T sang “Happy birthday” with great enthusiasm and told the hubby, “You’re a good man, dad.”
We get these truly pure and genuine moments from time to time. I tattoo every one of them into my memory and heart.
We threw caution to the wind and let T have four slices of cake.
As I washed the dishes, T’s cheerful disposition turned into a screeching fit.
Despite several warnings, T stuck his finger into an empty soda can the hubby had drank and he cut his finger as he pulled it out.
Cue meltdown as the hubby took him to the washroom to clean the wound and apply alcohol.
As I lathered the dishes, I thought to myself that there is no sound more soothing than the wails of a repentant child.
T was back to normal soon enough and the two of us went for a night walk around the block. He wanted to look at the blow up Christmas train and elves a neighbour set up in his festive lawn.
As we walked, T stayed close to me, carefully on guard for “vampires, zombies, ghosts, goblins and the monsters with toilet paper on them.”
The hubby’s birthday is today.
After breakfast, T excitedly asked if we could decorate the house for Daddy. I happily obliged.
T is often focused on himself – as any child his age would be – and it’s important for the hubby and I to teach him to do good things for others.
We found leftover decorations in our basement from T’s birthday two years ago.
We blew up the 10 or so balloons we had. Then put up red streamers all over our family room. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good luck.
T looked at the hanging streamers and said, “Looks like cobwebs on the ceiling!” It wasn’t the ambience I was going for, but T said he loved it.
Afterwards, T and I worked together to make a birthday card for Daddy.
I asked him to pick the colour – green – and to glue the white paper on top to write a message on and to fold the paper in half.
He helped write Happy Birthday Daddy, albeit backwards.
I asked him to draw anything he wanted inside. So he drew hearts – with legs and mouths – and a dinosaur along with Daddy, Papa and T.
His handwriting and drawing – fine motor skills in general – need work but these are wonderful gifts that come from the heart, even if they look like Pac-Man. And that’s all that matters!
The hubby finally woke up after Noon and T gave him his card.
T then asked his Daddy to go the Family Room. He held his Daddy’s hand and asked him to close his eyes. When we got there, he told him to open his eyes and shouted, “Surprise!”
Seeing his Daddy so happy made T happy.
I told T, “You did something very nice to make someone else happy, T. Good job!”
During the cold, torrential downpour and windy afternoon, T and Daddy put up the Christmas tree.
For his actual birthday, I had planned to make this scallop recipe from the wonderful “In Diane’s Kitchen.” But I blew my budget on the steak. So I joked he was getting scallop potatoes instead!
So I made one of his fave meals instead: an Indian dish called Chicken Masala.
I normally use boneless chicken breast but we only had chicken thighs.
I love cooking with thighs, because I find the bone and skin add great flavor but the hubby hates bony meat so I had to debone it. The things you do for someone’s birthday!
Celebrating the hubby’s milestone birthday in a pandemic is not what we imagined.
A year ago, we daydreamed about a destination celebration. But the family time at home – and being healthy, safe and together – ended up being perfect! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When the hubby and I met at 23, we never expected we’d see the day we turned 40. Even 30 at the time seemed ancient.
But here we are.
Thank you to the hubby for being my best friend, a great daddy to T and a wonderful person.
This past year has been exceptionally challenging and there were many tense and stressful moments. I know that T, the hubby and I wouldn’t have gotten through it without each other.
It looks like we’re headed for another lockdown. As painful as I know it will be, I know we will get through it together.
And I look forward to the adventures the 40s bring us!