I Love Sneakers (and Other Birthday Musings)

My birthday this year (as well as the 34 birthdays prior) falls 2 days before Christmas. Most people, upon hearing that say, “Oh man, that’s gotta suck.”

I don’t see it that way. My family has always been amazing at keeping my birthday festivities separate from Christmas, which I truly appreciate. Plus, I get to open presents like 4 days in a row, which rocks.

This year, the celebration of my birthday was on a level that is just about unparalleled. My lovely wife Alli and I started the 22nd by using our Groupon to Trezo Vino, where we dined on amazing bruschetta and I had a terrific pasta dish – trofie with lump crab and prosciutto, bread crumbs and chili flakes. It was as delicious as it sounds.


We saw The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (if you like the books, I’m assuming you’ll like the movie, but man, is it ever brutal.

On my actual birthday, Alli and I woke up and had breakfast at my favorite place in Olathe, Old 56 Family Restaurant. Seriously, if you haven’t been there, go if only for the hash browns. We then headed to the movies again to see one of my favorites of the year, The Muppets. After the brutal nature of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, it was fabulous for the second time. Seriously, it needs to win an Oscar for Best Song.

Had to run an errand, then after a quick nap and massage, we met my family for dinner at J. Gilbert for steak and family celebration. There, I was able to wear my new shoes from Alli and I got another pair from my folks.


The New Balances on the left are my new kicks from Alli. Old-mannish and retro-y, yet a little dressy…you know…because they’re leather. On the right, my new Muppet-inspired Kermit Adidas from my folks. They combine both my love of sneakers and my love of the Muppets. Plus, they are green. And they have the Kermit points around the tongue. So cool.

I also got a fancy new pen/stylus for my iPad and a bowtie from The Tie Bar from my brother and his family. Also awesome.

After dinner, we headed to another one of my favorite places, Christopher Elbow’s Glacé Artisan Ice Cream.

We topped it off by heading back to the movies to see the critically acclaimed silent movie, The Artist, which was completely charming in its simplicity.

All in all, my 35th birthday was freaking awesome. Family, movies, food, delicious food and rad sneakers. Yeah. I’d say it rocked.

Merry Christmas!

Happy 30th Birthday, Jake

My brother Jake turns 30 today.

Jake's Evil Eye

Jake’s one of the funniest people I know and he just so happens to be one of my best friends. I’m lucky like that…to get along with my brother so well.

But this isn’t really a post about my brother so much as it is a post to him, welcoming him into his 30’s.

I’m proud of you, Jake. Not only are you my favorite brother (natch) but you’re also a loving husband, a great dad, a loyal friend and a hard worker. Knowing that you’ve now joined the rest of us in the ranks of your 30’s makes me feel old, sure, but I’m also reminded of how much you’ve grown since 25.

You’ve matured in a way that, at that time, I am not sure I would have believed…not 5 years ago.

Understand that I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I’m just so proud of the man you’ve become, even if you will always be my little brother and I’ll always, by default, be able to whip you.

I hope you have a great day.

Merry Christmas!

It’s been an amazing 3 days.

We started on the 23rd, my birthday, by taking care of our nieces (and by “we” I mean Alli) for much of the day and having both our families over for some birthday festivities, Oklahoma Joe’s and funfetti cookies. I got a bunch of great presents…really good stuff.

Christmas Eve we spent with Alli’s family at Tyson and her sister’s house. More great stuff and lots of eating.

Yesterday morning, I got the present that I wanted all season: a white Christmas. So much snow! The family got up and did some shoveling — not just our driveway, but two others (and my back is paying for it today). We headed out and braved the roads to hang out with my family for lunch, more presents and really great times. Laughing with my family is one of my favorite things to do.

I made out like a bandit this year, scoring great presents from everyone and still having a wonderful white Christmas.

I hope everyone’s Christmas season has been as good as mine. A couple more movies this weekend and it will be complete!

How we celebrated

Alli’s birthday was Saturday and as is the tradition in our family, birthdays are a weekend-long event. I took the day off Friday to get some extra celebrating in. Here’s what we did:


  • Starbucks lattes (2 pump hazelnut soy for her, 4-shot skinny cinnamon dolce for me) and cinnamon knots from Price Chopper for breakfast
  • Massages at Serenity Rejuvenating Day Spa
  • Lunch at Chipotle (obviously)
  • Catching up with Project Runway (on Lifetime! in HD!)
  • Hanging out with her family at Ashley and Tyson’s

Saturday:Alli shopping for herbs

  • Up early for Panera bagels and cinnamon rolls with her parents and some (RED) coffee from home
  • Off to the Farmer’s Market by 7:00 a.m.
  • Bought veggies, flowers, pasta, andouille sausage (for me!) at the market
  • Bought some Pain de Campagne from Fervere (thanks to Meesha for the recommendation)
  • Short nap
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife at the Fork & Screen
  • Hanging out with the fam and I made lemon cupcakes (that’s right)
  • Opened presents
  • Watched The Soloist, thanks to Ashley and Tyson


  • The leftover bagels from Panera and (RED) coffee again
  • Church
  • Lunch consisting of a good portion of what we bought at the farmer’s market, including, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, naan, lemon and thai basil, and the bread from Fervere.
  • A short nap
  • Great TV

Not a bad way for Alli to ring in her birthday, no?