I can't believe that my baby Owen just turned four at the end of April. He is such a fun and unique little four year old. I love it.
This is the first family birthday that I've actually been home for in the last year. I missed Liam's birthday in August (that was day one of my traveling gig to NJ). Then in Nov and Dec I was on the road for Kev's birthday and then also for my birthday & then Jordyn's. It was such a treat to actually be HOME for a birthday, that we really did it up.
We started by going out to dinner ON his birthday and we let Owen pick the restaurant. Chili's (big shocker there). Liam wanted to tell the waitress that it was Owen's birthday today and we made sure to tell Liam to tell the waitress on the down-low so that it would be a surprise for Owen. No sooner did Liam finish whispering this "secret" to our server (and he did a really good job at keeping it on the QT) than Owen piped up and proudly told the server "It's MY BIRTHDAY today!" At the end of the meal, Chili's brought Owen out a spectacular sundae and sang Happy Birthday. Owen REFUSED to share his sundae with Liam until he had had enough of it and then he said Liam could finish it. He kept showing us how old he was. Kind of Boy Scout-y, but totally cute.
On Saturday, we used some of my Marriott points to rent a hotel room in Farmington Hills, specifically so we could take the kids swimming in the pool. We asked my sister's family to join us in the swimming and we all had a great time. After splashing around, we got dried off and dressed for dinner. Kevin took us, my sister's family, and my parents to a pizza joint he used to haunt back when he worked in that part of town called Tomatoes. It was DELICIOUS. Every single morsel of food that was ordered for our party was eaten. Yum-Oh!
Back at the hotel, we celebrated both Owen's fourth & my nephew, Jacob's tenth birthdays since their birthdays are one day apart. My sister (or maybe it was Bailey…actually, I think it was Bailey) made a delicious-oh chocolate chip cookie in place of a cake that we ate with the ice creams of choice from the birthday boys - Vanilla for Owen and Cookie Dough for Jake. A few presents were opened and then we said our goodbyes.
The hotel room was actually a suite because when we checked in I said to the front desk lady "Got any free upgrades today?" Apparently, it doesn't hurt to ask because they upgraded us for free, which made the whole hotel experience that much better. Having room for a family of five to spread out sure is nice.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast and then checked out of the hotel and headed to Walled Lake where we had planned to catch the Michigan Star Clipper one hour scenic train ride (since Owen LOVES LOVES LOVES trains). We got there early to watch the dinner train depart and to our surprise, they let us board early so that our one hour train ride turned into two hours. That's what you get for being friendly with the nice engineer named Sam.
The train didn't go more than 10 mph due to some regulations and even though Owen asked why we were going so slow, he really didn't mind all that much. His face was glued to the window for the first hour of the two hour train ride. He was fascinated. The route wasn't especially scenic, but it was thrilling when we passed over roads where the traffic had to stop and let us pass. Owen waved at all of the cars proudly as he sported his Thomas the Train Engineer hat that my mom had given him the day before. I think he really lit up the day of many automobile travelers since many of them smiled and waved back at him.
Towards the end of the ride, the conductor/owner brought Owen a peach cobbler from the dining car along with the dining car's saxophonist, George, who played Happy Birthday to Owen. What an unexpected treat.
This was more than a birthday, it was a birthweekend.