Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Ryan turned 30 this week, and he is feeling old.  His knee is giving him trouble, and he suddenly developed a bad toothache a few days ago (hello, Grandpa).  On top of that, he has lost 15 pounds since starting his residency, and, as we all know, Ryan didn't have 15 pounds to lose.  Apparently when he gets stressed he stops eating.  (Man, I wish I had that problem.)

To cheer up my ailing geezer, and to make him feel a little younger and a little more hip, I surprised him and took him to see his favorite band, The Counting Crows, in concert at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater.  It has actually been a dream of mine for sometime to take Ryan to see The Counting Crows, and I couldn't believe it when I checked the summer schedule for Red Rocks a few months ago and saw that they were coming to Colorado on Ryan's 30th birthday weekend.  It was fate, and I bought the tickets immediately.

I didn't tell Ry about the concert until the night before.  He knew that I had a birthday outing planned, but he had no idea what we would be doing.  A friend of mine asked if Ryan "flipped out" when I unveiled the surprise.  I laughed at the thought of Ryan flipping out, and then I pictured the scene when I had told him, right after we got into bed for the night:  He said, "Are you kidding me??" in a really happy voice and started grinning like a madman.  I, on the other hand, started clapping and rubbing my hands together in glee, all while gritting my teeth, scrunching up my face, and making a strange "Eeeeeee!" sound.  Then I couldn't hold back my exuberance any longer, and I sat up in bed and started pumping my fists and cheering.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm the one in this relationship who "flips out" over things. 

Despite his lack of unrestrained enthusiasm, Ryan was quite thrilled about the concert, and we had a fantastic time.  Ryan's little brother Tanner decided at the last minute to come into town with his mom for the big birthday weekend, so we got him a ticket to the concert too.  It was nice to be able to snuggle between two of my favorite guys when it got dark and a little chilly.  The moon was full, the skyline of Denver was all lit up, and the music was amazing--perfect evening.

The fun continued on Saturday night when Sally took us all to a Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake soccer game.  If there is one thing in life that Ryan loves, it's soccer.  Combine that with a visit from his family, and we have one happy Ry.

On Monday, Ryan's actual birthday, I made him a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls to take to work with him (kind of like the cupcakes that your mom used to make for you to bring in to your elementary school classroom on your big day).  Noah and I also met him for lunch at the hospital where he works:

Finally, that evening, we went downtown for a dinner date.  (Thank you, Bapa, for babysitting!)  We ate on Larimer Square, which is the oldest and most historic city block in Denver.  It has been restored and is super quaint, with white twinkle lights strung across the street year-round.  I am obsessed with white twinkle lights.  They make everything seem romantic.

Yes, I am wearing the same scarf that I wore to the concert.
Noah bought it for me with some of his birthday money.  Wasn't that generous of him?
Unfortunately, they were setting up for a big event, so the charming atmosphere of our dinner was interrupted by the incessant beeping of machines backing up (this sound is like nails on a chalkboard for me).  Luckily the crew stopped working about halfway through our dinner or I may have been driven into a fit of madness that included throwing over our table and tearing the place apart. (There I go with the Chris Farley references again--sorry.)

Earlier in the week, I had emailed some close friends and family members and asked them to send me a birthday note for Ryan.  I put them into individual envelopes, and every few minutes throughout the evening, I had Ryan draw an envelope from the stack and I then read the note aloud.  It was fun to see his surprise at the different people who had written him notes and his embarrassment at some of the nice things people said about him.  Turns out that a lot of our family and friends think Ryan is pretty great--and I agree with them!

The caution tape in the background was a lovely touch to the evening.
All in all, I think it was a memorable 30th birthday for Old Man Nielson.  I wanted the week to be extra special for him because he has worked so hard this year in his busy residency and I haven't always been easy to live with in the midst of all of his stress.  Ryan is, without a doubt, my best friend and our marriage has always been quite blissful with very few disagreements or conflicts--but this year was hard in that I sometimes felt like we were just "distant" somehow.  He was adjusting to life as an overworked dental resident, and I was adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mom, and we were both discouraged and exhausted at times.  Embarrassing as this is to admit, sometimes when he came home from work, I spent the entire evening on my computer and barely connected with him at all.  A lot of what I do on the computer is "good" (blogging, journaling, sorting our family photos, reading articles about the world), but a lot of it is also mindless and draining (surfing Facebook and random blogs, for example)--and none of it is worth ignoring Ryan over.  I mean, honestly, sometimes I barely look up when he walks in the door.  So for his birthday "gift" I told him that I am going to spend less time on my computer in the coming year.  That may mean fewer blog posts and less time working on "projects," but it will be so worth it if it means more quality time with my favorite person in the world, Mr. Ry Guy.  I am so grateful he was born thirty years ago, and I can't wait to spend the next thirty years by his side.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RY-RY!  I hope you had a great birthday week!!

Your Wife


  1. Happy Birthday Ryan! That was quite the birthday weekend indeed. How fun that you were able to get tickets & surprise him. I never manage to get surprises to work. Way to go! That place where you ate dinner looks adorable. I too love the white twinkle lights. :) Glad you had such a great time together! 15lbs!?! What the? How is that fair? ;)

  2. All of that sounds so fun!!! What a perfect weekend. I love the Ry Guy!

  3. I love your description of your "flip out"! That's hilarious!


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