Friday, April 17, 2015

Jon Turns 30

Holy cow, the last two weeks have been celebration central in the Alston household!

On Saturday April 11th Jon turned the big 30! An event this epic required lots of build up. So on March 12th we began THE 30 DAYS OF JON.

When he came home from work on DAY 1 I was holding a candy poster for him that explained the 30 days of presents. Then each day for the following month he was showered with goodies! Some small (like a garlic pin for his shirt, or a Legend of Zelda Hyrulian shield key chain), and some bigger (like a new seat for his bike, or a wax seal stamp with the letter A beautifully inscribed). It was a fun mix of some of Jon's favorite things, some items he has been wanting (like a Liberator CD that I could only find in England) and some awesome stuff that he probably never would have thought of, but still made his birthday unique!

Some were goofy (like this "Made in 1985" t-shirt)

And others were thoughtful (like this heavy duty awl for book binding)

Not all of the days are pictured, but you get the idea :)

This picture from our wedding became a puzzle where I wrote a cheesy rhyming poem that he had to put together in order to read.

The kids loved helping me wrap presents every day.

Bacon bowls! (novelty joke, but really kind of clever)

Rhubarb pie:

Jon's grandmother made this clown cross stitch for him when he was little. Recently Kate colored all over it with pink highlighter. (The frame on the left never had glass in it) I dismantled the whole thing and washed the artwork in gentle antique quilt soap. Jon re-stretched the clown with a new double mat and mounted it in the original frame with some museum glass at work.

Hot fudge sundaes - Jon's FAVORITE way to eat ice cream:


Another personal joke:

The kids really loved the cuddly handmade things:

Everything lead up to this:

The morning of Jon's birthday he got 30 donuts, 30 balloons...

the kids and I wore "I (heart) JON" and "I (heart) Daddy!!" shirts ALL day,

we had also been collecting root beers all month...

so that we could have a root beer tasting party!

Jon rushed home on his lunch break and we had pizza for lunch waiting for him :)

The Garrity's and Sanford's came over to help us judge the 10 mystery root beer varieties

Apparently birthday celebrations make it hard to take normal pictures ;) 

Everything was prepped with mini plastic shot glasses and score cards for all!

I stood behind the big green sign and discretely poured each sample for the group to blind taste test along with reading some fun facts about each brand's history.
Once all the root beers were tasted we had a big reveal!

The winner: HENRY WEINHARD'S hands down receiving high praise such as "smooth, frothy, and delicious"
The loser: NATURAL BREW with comments like "I don't think this is root beer"
Close runner up to the loser with descriptions like "dirt" and "empty": SHASTA

In order of sample presentation:
1, A&W (which came in second!)
2, Sioux City
3, Frostie
4, Henry Weinhard
5, Shasta
6, Jackson Hole BUCKIN' Root Beer
7, Sprecher (it was so good that Jon took the rest with him to work)
8, Natural Brew
9, IBC
10, MUG (which also had notable mention with descriptions like "spacious")

We sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY quickly and brought out the "Holy Crap You're Old" cake

then Jon headed back to work while the kids and I stayed home to clean up, eat cake, and play with balloons.

The cake was made from scratch: one-bowl chocolate cake from Martha Stewart, cream cheese frosting and a fresh strawberry filling, with chocolate ganache on top. The turd was a blended mix of Twix bar, dark chocolate Hershey's kisses, and Cashew Cookie Larabar. Then I molded it by hand haha!

Edwin crashed hard from all the fun.

The final gift was this:

A binder holding 30 letters written by 30 friends for Jon's 30th birthday:

It was by far my most favorite part of his birthday. Letters came from people all over the world that he had known anywhere from 6 months to 25+ years. They all had so much individual personality and captured a different side of Jon. It was cool seeing what his friendship meant to so many people at different stages of life. I am so grateful to everyone who participated and made this happen!

In Jon's own words from Facebook:
"An immense thank you to those who accepted Steph's request to participate in her gift for my birthday. I have never received something so truly amazing, and I know that I will never be given such a magnanimous gift ever again. You know who you are, I won't point you out and make all your friends jealous of how great you are (because then they'll want something so grand, but they won't get it). Thank you. I would have cried, but I'm a man"

That night I took Jon out to dinner at Outback because we had never been there and he always talked about wanting to try it. Their mixed berry lemonade is without a doubt the best lemonade I have ever had. Jon was spoiled and we had a fantastic date talking about his list of 30 things to do in the next 30 years.

Date night selfie!

The party continued for days afterward as we shared leftover pizza, donuts, and wore party hats:

My parents sent cards for Jon, his sister Beth presented him with a Li'l Sebastian shirt (especially fitting because we just finished the Parks and Rec series last night)

Jon's parents also spoiled him with a bike trailer!

We were really excited because now we can all go on bike rides as a family :) It's been snowing on and off this week (alternating with 65 degree days) so it's been really unpredictable and not jiving with Jon's work schedule very well. We took the kids out for a 5 min loop around the neighborhood yesterday and plan to go out again this weekend while it's sunny!


I'm so glad that you've made it this far and that we can share all these milestones together :)
Thank you to everyone who helped make 30 the most awesome birthday of Jon yet!

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