I had one of the best days with the hubby yesterday, I just had to share. It was my 20th birthday!
First let me start by saying that I absolutely, beyond a doubt, LOVE the rain. That’s honestly one of the huge reasons why I’d love to live in Washington. It puts me in the best mood and inspires some of my best art. I could just sit on a bench, in the city, with an umbrella and rain boots every single day of my life and I would be the happiest lady. While a week ago the weather channel said 0% chance of humidity, the little girl inside of me quickly and absent-mindedly prayed for rain for my birthday. And then forgot about it.
So Zac and I get to Billings, which is the closest urban city from where we live, and as we’re chatting away about what we want to do while we’re there, I notice little drops on the windshield. Well, let’s just say the rain makes me giddy anyways, even when I don’t pray for it. I was so blessed in that moment, because, as infinitesimal as those drops were, they were a response from my Creator, designed just for me.
My heart was melted and my birth day celebration had just begun! Now, if you know Zac and I very well at all, you’ll know we’re not really into the whole romantic candlelit dinner with roses and champagne that the movies call romance. Our idea of a fantastic date is getting lost in some place we’ve never been and grabbing lunchables at Target because those can come out of the “grocery budget” (technically) because there’s no “eating out” envelope in sight. We thrive on random, unforeseen adventures.
Therefore, we had virtually no plans for the day. Our planning consisted of dropping Nana off to see Papa at the hospital, our monthly Costco trip, and a picnic lunch squeezed in between some fun, possibly.
The day went something like this:
We dropped Nana off at the Billings Clinic. Which, by the way, I must say is my favorite hospital ever. (Which is saying a lot because I’ve actually been an Interior Designer in charge of whole wings at hospitals before.) The inside is beautiful! Glass artwork, high ceilings and windows, dynamic flooring, and none of the typical hospital coloring that makes your smell doctors soap just looking at them. It’s my favorite.
Next, we used my handy little iPhone (which is totally convenient for people like me who can rarely find North) to find a park we had seen once before.
We landed at Pioneer Park and walked the grassy hills to the little stream running through it. I had packed tuna sandwiches, grapes, and granola bars. And we sat under a tree on the fallen leaves and enjoyed watching a game of frisbee golf across the way. At this point it was still sprinkling. There’s something spiritual about the sound of rainfall on crunchy autumn leaves.
After we’d finished eating and started on route to Starbucks, we passed through downtown and saw a street fair to which I yelled, “Street fair! Street fair! Find parking!” Which is not an easy task in Nana’s big ol’ Excursion. We’ll call him Clifford. Clifford is a big red dog. Zac did well and found us a spot!
After finding parking by a gorgeous church, we walked a few blocks down to the fair and smelled all the yummy fried things. Like corn dogs, funnel cakes, and butter. (Butter? Yes, this is Montana we’re talking about.) The fair was placed in an intersection that was covered with a huge awning and took up a block in four directions. In the middle they had bails of hay arranged in a circle and we witnessed a flash mob dance to “DJ’s got us fallin’ in love.” The old couples we’re my favorite.
The architecture in Billings is yummy and feeds our metro souls.
Using my handy-dandy iPhone again, we realized that the downtown Starbucks was only a block away. Turns out it’s attached to the twenty-three story Crowne Plaza Hotel and it’s huge on the inside! We ordered a Venti Iced Green Tea with no water and no sweetener (my regular, when we went to Starbucks regularly) and snatched their last blueberry muffin. Zackary used to bring me blueberry muffins from Starbucks when he’d ride the train home from Flagstaff, so that was nostalgic of our dating days. And my Dad’s family has a tradition of blueberry muffins on the morning of your birthday. While I’m not a morning person, nor a baking person (unless I’m in a mood) we’ve modified the tradition in the Higgins’ family to someone else baking the muffins, later in the day.
After that, to my surprise, Zac asked if I wanted to ride to the top of the building in the elevator. This is not illegal (I don’t think) but it’s kind of awkward and totally exciting if you’re not actually staying in the hotel. We searched out a window, but to no avail, and we discovered that the whole top of the building is a bunch of businesses, not hotel rooms. So we snuck around awhile until we got bored and then rode twenty three floors back down to the bottom. Turns out, Zac and Papa used to ride the elevator to the top floor of the hotels they were staying at to look out the window. I love making new traditions based on old ones.
We walked around town a little longer after that, just exploring the sights and taking in the textures of the city that we miss so much. We’re weird and really liked the alley ways.
|Zac’s free sample cup. :)|
It was 3:30 and time for Costco before it closed. We did our shopping. As weird as it is, shopping is a date for us too. We get to work together and make decisions based on our needs verses our budget and Costco has free samples! It was a mad house, being Saturday and all, so it was also reminiscent and something close to navigating Disneyland on Christmas day.
After we were all loaded up, we went to pick up Nana and headed to Red Robin (yumm…) for dinner. Now. For those of you who know me, you might remember the story that every single family member just LOVES to bring up about me crying when I was six when that big ugly robin and pack of large boys sang Happy Birthday to me. Well, for those of you that are curious, I didn’t cry this time. The bird was there, but it was girls, not big ugly men. I’m excited to say that I’ve overcome a hurtle of fear I’ve held since I was six. So you can all stop making fun of me now. :)
That is my birth day in a nutshell. God has truly blessed my life with this beautiful earth and people to share it with. After twenty years of life, I can say from experience that not only is there a God, but there is a God who cares for us, deeply, wholly, and very, very personally. What made my day great wasn’t the stuff or the food or the sights, but it was the fact that I was born in a country, in a family, and in a situation where I could take the day to simply enjoy who God made me and what God has given me.
Thanks for reading and sharing my joy!
A thankful heart,