Just getting my act together to do a quick birthday report. As many of you know, or really should know, my birthday is February 2 and Ed's is February 3. And until recent years my birthday is a big, big deal to me. I'd like it to be again. Dave, Michelle, Hilde and Enoch are moving to England in April, and so they chose to come up on Birthday Weekend for a final visit. It was a crazy whirlwind but it was a blast and I'm so glad they came.
They came late Thursday night so we could be rearing to go and play on Friday, February 1. Unfortunately Friday we woke to a disgusting windy, icy, rainy mess outside, just the kind of day we would normally hunker down, stay in jammies and watch Noggin all day. But we had visitors, and decided to make the most of it. So we headed out into the icy driving rain with four kids and three adults. One bus, three subway rides (including a nap against a stranger for Hazel) and over an hour later we stepped out into more icy driving rain in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Luckily, even though the kids were cold, wet, tired and hungry, it was still fun and worth it. We ate lunch at RICE, a very funky and kid-friendly rice-based restaurant (drool over the menu!)Revived, we walked a few blocks over to my Happy Birthday Destination, Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop. Michelle and I stocked up on chocolate delights while Dave kept the kids corralled on a big comfy armchair in the corner. It was a long ride home in the afternoon but upon arrival we felt we had earned the right to put our feet up and enjoy being home. I made a big pot of one of my favorite pasta dishes for dinner, and a Snickerdoodle cake, and when Ed came home we opened some presents and watched a movie.
Saturday was another chance for a big city adventure, only this time we drove. We loaded up in two cars and headed to the Manhattan Children's Museum on the Upper West Side, ducking first into a corner pizza place for lunch. We've never gone to this museum so I was happy for an excuse and there was plenty to keep everyone entertained, including a Greek Myths section, a Dora the Explorer floor and a bunch of other cool stuff.
On the way home Dave and I stopped by my favorite Turkish market in Bay Ridge where I get his sour cherry juice, and he was able to pick out a few fun things for himself. In the evening Dave & Michelle watched all the kids while Ed and I went out to eat. Bay Ridge has a great restaurant scene, and since we only eat out a few times a year, there is always a new place to try. This time we went to Chadwick's, a steak and chop house. I went out on a limb and ordered one of their specials - rack of wild boar with wild blueberry sauce (sorry, vegetarians.) It was awesome. The only thing that could have made it better was if Ed and I could have had a conversation over the live music (guy with a keyboard and a mic in the corner.) But we talked on the way home.
Saturday night we had Chocolate Pistachio cake (2 cakes for 2 birthdays) and opened more presents. Dave and Michelle gave me a Virginia guide, and even better, a binder they made called "Virginia is for Hickmans" full of menus, brochures, web printouts, and magazine articles about things to do in the DC area. I have been getting so excited for the move as I pore over it!
Sunday things started to get crazy, with Church and Ed's blackberry started going nuts with work issues, and when we got home we were trying to get lunch done so the Younces could head out at a good time. I'm a little glad for the chaos because it kept me from dwelling on how long it will be before we see each other again. It's hard to wax too sentimental, or draw out goodbyes, when you're herding a family. So thank you, Dave and Michelle, for making the trip and making our birthdays great. If England in February wasn't quite so unappealing I'd say we'll come to you next year. We love you!