On Thursday I turn 34 and life has been good so far. I feel happy turning 34, like I'm right where I should be right now. I've got the gorgeous wife, who just happens to be my best friend, I have a wonderful puppy who is as much of a side-kick as I could ever have hoped for and I am surrounded by family and friends. The work part of life is also good, I was recently promoted to Head of Relationship Management, managing the team I had been a part of for almost 4 years, and so far so good.
This post isn't meant to be reflective though, well not reflective on my life anyway but to reminisce on the awesome weekend we had celebrating the 4th of July and my birthday.
As with most social events in our life it was also an opportunity to appreciate just how much social media has had an impact on our lives.
It was also social media that opened our world up to new friends when we got Bisbee. I love that you can create your own online community just by sharing what you love. When we got Bisbee we started chatting to a couple who had just bought a cavapoo - Otis. Like us they were a newly married couple, oh, and like us they are gay. That couple Sam and Sara are now two of our very good friends. We have holidayed together, spent many weekends exploring, cooking/baking and eating, and all because found common ground on Twitter.
Last year we also got to meet another couple who we had chatted to via Instagram, like us they have a dog, Farley, like us they are newly married and like us they are gay. These lovely ladies have also become good friends, we have explored, eaten tons and have a mini break booked in for Brighton Pride.
Both couples were kind enough to travel to the birthday gathering, bake cakes, bring gifts and join in as if we had been friends forever. I really appreciate that. I don't have any school friends and only a few Uni friends left as I've moved a fair bit and am not the best at staying in touch. Therefore I really am grateful to have friends who make the effort.
Joining the girls, and the pups, we also had a long time Twitter friend and now real-life friend, fellow Brummie Laura. Laura and her cockapoo Deliah are regular dog walking buddies and thanks to Laura we have discovered some amazing Birmingham walks.
Faye and Shab are also online friends, we met as we were both new to Birmingham. Shab is an Aussie and as they had met and lived in Australia we often reminisce about our times in Oz. It's been great getting to explore Birmingham as newbies together.
My old manager and long time friend Lisa also made it up, which was amazing as she had picked her parents up from Gatwick super early that morning and was heading to Little Mix the next day - she drove 400 + miles in the weekend alone.
We also had Laura's choir friends Allie and Anita and Allie's boyfriend Simon. These lovely ladies have become great friends and confidants of ours and our night out guides! Anita's pie was a patriotic highlight on the dessert table.
Laura's office was also well represented with members of her team, past and present - I mean, understandable as once you've met my wife she is worth staying friends with.
The celebrations kicked off with a BBQ, Laura has won me over to the gas BBQ side - after persevering with a coal one for 2 years. It made the food turnaround super quick and everyone was fed on sausages, burgers, chicken skewers and then a whole host of amazing sides (if I do say so myself). Mac and cheese, mash, potato salad, coleslaw, cowboy beans, salad and a ton of crisps and dips.
Everyone was so stuffed we had to play games to get them ready for dessert!
First came the pub quiz.
Then came the Idaho potato drop, in teams each member had to run the length of the garden with a potato between their legs, return to the start and drop it in a bucket, the second person then retrieves it, places in between their legs and this continues until the last person is back. Simples.
The third game was the Idaho potato chuck - this time the bucket was the length of the garden away and each team member took throws until 10 potatoes had been successfully chucked in the bucket.
Dessert time was epic. The cakes the girls had made were delicious - one had the USA flag as you cut into it and the other had red, white and blue stripes - AMAZING! My wonderful wife had made a cookie dough cake that was so so good- and then there was the pie. Oh and cupcakes. We ended up sending people home with slices as it was too much to eat.
After dessert was Freedom pong - like beer pong but without beer, this game gave people the freedom to choose their drink of choice so even the drivers could play.
Other than the amazing food I loved that everyone committed to the red, white and blue dress code. This was helped by some temporary tattoos supplied by Hannah and Charlotte.
Even the dogs got in the dressing up action!
Our evening was spent making s'mores, posing with sparklers and then playing 'SCRAWL' until 3am. It was a gift from Faye and Shab and I can't wait to find more excuses to play it, my ribs hurt so much from laughing!
So there you have it. I have already had an awesome time turning 34, so bring on the rest of the year.