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A Very Special Happy Birthday

I’ve spent the last two days in Georgia celebrating a very special birthday!


My Mema’s 84th! Last year I cleared my calendar and drove down to Georgia in the middle of the week to surprise her on her actual birthday so I decided to do the same thing this year!


Earlier this week I baked a strawberry cake with dark chocolate frosting and picked up a bunch of goodies from Trader Joe’s for my grandmother. She loves to try out all their different stuff. I loaded up the cake, goodies and a certain cute golden retriever and hit the road Wednesday around lunch.


I picked up an iced soy latte from Starbucks on the way down and listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, The Signature of All Things. I’m a big fan of audio books to pass the time on road trips.


I arrived around 4:30 p.m. and quickly got to work in the kitchen preparing my grandmother’s birthday dinner. She gave me this totally styling Sponge Bob apron to wear.


My grandmother loves pasta dishes so I tried out a new one for her and it was a big hit! Chicken, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms in a creamy cheese sauce with rigatoni. Roasted asparagus and a salad on the side.


And dessert was cake!


Sullie was very excited to be a part of all of the birthday festivities and my Mema even gave her a little bite of the strawberry cake (sans the chocolate frosting) and she gobbled it down so it’s safe to say her tummy is feeling better! It was so special to have the opportunity to be there with my grandmother on her actual birthday!


This morning I went for a beautiful run around Milledgeville. Check out the size of this hydrangea bush! It was bursting with big white flowers. The temperature was in the low 60s, no humidity and abundant blue skies. It was one of those perfect runs where you just want to close your eyes and take it all in.


Sullie was in full force cuddle mode this morning and demanding my attention in a big way. When she was a little puppy we taught her to lie belly up like this so that she’d learn to settle down and trust us. It’s still one of her favorite ways to be held. She stayed like this for 15 minutes in a trance like state.


I wanted to take my grandmother out to lunch today and let her pick where she wanted to go. She chose Applebee’s for their Oriental Chicken Salad. I ordered the same thing with grilled salmon instead of chicken. It was tasty!

(I had another piece of cake for lunch dessert.)


After lunch my aunt, cousin, cousin-in-law and her sweet baby came to visit and we snapped a photo of four generations of family! It was definitely a moment that made me smile. 🙂

I feel so grateful right now.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Samantha @ The Faithful Runner April 10, 2014, 7:17 pm

    What a beautiful family! 🙂 I’m so happy you were able to celebrate your grandmother’s birthday with food and an awesome run. Also glad Sullie is in full force! Thanks for sharing these pictures. So awesome!!

  • 2
    hillary | nutrition nut on the run April 10, 2014, 7:17 pm

    how sweet of you to do all the for your G-ma. you skin looks amazing, btw.

  • 3
    Alaina April 10, 2014, 7:22 pm

    What a sweet celebration with your family! My grandmother turns 84 this year too. 🙂

    This weekend I’m actually flying down to Florida to celebrate my Grandpapa’s 80th birthday! I haven’t seen him since 2011 so the reunion is long overdue.

  • 4
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine April 10, 2014, 7:27 pm

    Aw, your grandma looks so great! What a wonderful birthday 🙂

  • 5
    Lauren April 10, 2014, 8:29 pm

    This post made me smile so much! I am really close with my grandparents, too, so I know how special it is to savor the moment with them. Happy Birthday to your beautiful, beautiful, Mema!

  • 6
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots April 10, 2014, 9:33 pm

    Happy birthday to your grandma! 🙂

    Glad to hear Sullie is feeling better. That pic of her lying bellyup is adorable!

  • 7
    JennyV April 10, 2014, 10:16 pm

    Love the pic of your arm around your Mema and her hands holdings Sullie’s face – a treasure, for sure. I have a special place for hydrangeas and those are gorgeous!

  • 8
    Michelle April 10, 2014, 10:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jen. Such a special occasion.

  • 9
    CL April 10, 2014, 11:33 pm

    First of all, your arms look SOO fierce. I’ve started weightlifting for real (I used to just swing around some 5 lb weights) and am LOVING it thanks to your recent post. Seriously though…already seeing results and it is so empowering. I feel so motivated to eat healthy, sleep more, etc just to grow my muscles 🙂

    Secondly, Sullie is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Well maybe she ties with that baby with the big bow 🙂

    Happy birthday to your grandma!!

  • 10
    Michelle April 11, 2014, 3:21 am

    I love this post! I couldn’t help but notice the pattern on your Grandmother’s couch – my parents used to have the same one and it so reminds me of home. I’m going home to see my family next week and I can’t wait! There really is nothing more important than family and health. Thanks for sharing a very happy moment!

  • 11
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun April 11, 2014, 6:59 am

    That is so sweet of you to drive up and spend the day with her! How special. Glad you all had a nice visit – Enjoy your weekend!

  • 12
    Erin April 11, 2014, 8:09 am

    Such a sweet time!! I love how close you are with your grandmother & Sullie couldn’t be happier. I was actually so inspired by your post that I wrote my grandmother a long letter this morning about how much she means to me.

  • 13
    Parita @ myinnershakti April 11, 2014, 9:20 am

    I’m sure your grandma was smiling from the inside out! Love everything about this post. Happy Birthday to her!

  • 14
    Lauren April 11, 2014, 10:13 am

    Such a lovely thing for you to do 🙂 Have a fab weekend!

  • 15
    Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} April 11, 2014, 10:21 am

    So lovely! That is awesome what you did for your grandma! Happy birthday to your grandma!

  • 16
    Julie April 11, 2014, 11:36 am

    So sweet of you to go surprise your grandma!

  • 17
    Ella Johnson April 11, 2014, 11:44 am

    Happy birthday, Mema!

  • 18
    Tracy April 11, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Happy Birthday to your Mema! I bet you made her birthday!

    OMG that hydrangea bush! Wish mine were a good fraction of that size!

    How do you like Elizabeth Gilbert’s book so far?

  • 19
    Marla-Deen April 11, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Being a Georgia girl I love hearing when you get back to Milledgeville! I always listen to books from Audible.com when I drive and I loved Signature of All Things. Interested to see what you think!

  • 20
    Gina April 12, 2014, 2:43 am

    LOVING that photo of Sullie.. made my morning! =D

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