My favorite baby turned one last weekend. Cue the tears. I was so excited I got to travel to Tennessee to celebrate with him!
For Christmas, Chad and Megan gave me a round-trip plane ticket to visit them in Tennessee. It just happened that we could not get schedules to line up in the months after Christmas: I just got a new job, they were moving into a new house, so we decided to hold onto it until Brayden’s birthday. I hadn’t seen the little dude since October, so I was long overdue! Of course, I would have loved to see them sooner, but I’m so glad I got to be there to celebrate such a huge milestone!
I took a 6:00am flight out of New York, as in the flight leaves at 6:00am, as in 3:30am wake up call… but I wanted to get there as early as possible to really enjoy the day and get all the time I could with them. As I boarded the flight with a bachelorette party that was continuing on to Vegas, I was really questioning my decision. But soon, the novelty of the Vegas flight wore off and everyone snoozed. Thank goodness! Choosing the 6:00am flight got me into Memphis at 7:49am which was awesome! Once you realize that you have the whole day, that 3:30am wake up call seems totally worth it! Walking out of the terminal and seeing Brayden smile and reach for me didn’t hurt either! I was so worried that he wouldn’t remember me, that he would be afraid of this person who he hasn’t seen for almost a year, but that first smile and him wanting me to hold him was the best feeling!
Here’s me, post-flight and B, pre-nap. It’s not pretty, but hey, what do you want from me? I mentioned I “got ready” at 3:30am.
Then, we played for a little bit. Kid’s got toys for days!!
My grandparents were also in town for the party, so we went to the new house, hung out for a minute, and then began the birthday preparations. Megan did such a great job planning the details of his party, we just had some last minute things to grab and get ready before my parents arrived the next day.
Saturday was the par-tay and it was a huge success! The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and Brayden loved his smash cake. Here’s the party, in pictures:
Not sure about that sugary-sweet cake. Had to check with Mom.
I think he liked it!
Naked baby in the anywhere chair his Aunt T and Uncle B gave him. Loved celebrating this birthday boy!
I’ve been going to Orlando on almost a weekly basis to assist my youngest brother Michael (aka Vince) with his business on the marketing & operations front. That has also allowed me the chance to see and support my middle brother Mark as he continues his ongoing recovery from his near fatal car accident last year. It’s been great to not only help them both but also to see them as often as I have….that hasn’t happened since I was in high school. Before this, I was lucky to see them 1 or 2 times a year.
Michael runs a medical practice with 4 locations (Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford and Fort Myers) and an operations location in the Daytona area. Because the locations are so spread out, they both have 2 residencies that they mutually share with 1 other roommate (who also happens to be Michael’s business partner). One of the places is a sky rise condo in downtown Orlando. It’s fully furnished and has a killer view and they are there about 20% of the time.
The other is a 4 bedroom house in Port Orange (near Daytona). The house’s owner’s son (who goes to Embry Riddle) lives there as well.
With 4 bachelors living there at the house, it’s an interesting environment when I go visit. There’s a lot of open space, the typical bachelor pool table, recreational guns, flat screen TVs, surround sound in almost every room, a screened in porch for BBQ’ing, and a killer outdoor pool. The fridge is pretty much stocked with liquids 24/7 and not much else. Not one of them is really into cooking so there’s a lot of eating out.
My brother Mark chillin' otuside on the patio with the pool behind it.
The fridge....with the liquid essentials.
One of the "recreational" guns...it's a 6.8 spc. The scope alone is $4K. This thing is pretty ridiculous and could definitely do some damage.
Keeping the places clean is tough to make happen with as many long hours as they all work. Enter in the house maid, Angel. She comes in 2X a week to clean, handle the laundry and do the grocery shopping. She is really nice and does a good job. With 4 extremely smart entrepreneurial type guys there, a lot of ideas get thrown out there and talked about but only the good ideas come to fruition which leads me to this particular blog posting.
As a gag gift, someone gave the owner’s son a book on the “Meals of the Titanic”.
The fellas got in their head one day the idea of paying the maid to cook out of the book until they had sampled every meal. She quoted an extra $40 a day for 3 meals (actually 3 sepeate meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – with 4 plates worth at each meal time so a total of 12 meals a day; which breaks down to a little over $3 a meal) plus the meal supplies. They decided to try it and are now on week 3. The maid makes out the menu schedule on a weekly basis and posts it on the fridge on Sundays so they know what they’re having each week.
Tara didn’t believe me when I told her about it…that is until she came out to visit me 2 weeks ago. She woke up to a beautiful aroma (we slept in late) and it was the maid getting ready to prepare lunch. This particular meal was a “first class cabin” rated meal. I can’t remember the exact name but it was steak with an interesting (but very tasty) flavoring/spices on top, veggies and some type of mashed potatoes. It was absolutely amazing! And this was just a LUNCH!
The finished product (sorry I had already eaten some of it before I took this pic).
I’m still awaiting the verdict on the “top 3” meals. They’ve been keeping a rating card so as soon as they finish all the meals, I’ll keep you posted on the results. I’m thinking this one has to be in the top 10.
This was too good of a story not to share. The things the mind can come up with boggles me 😉 Meanwhile, I’m back to eating my PB&J as I finish typing this blog post 🙁