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October in May

I had about 10 starting sentences for this blog:


1. October in May.
2. They know me well.
3. I'm a nerd.
4. It was heaven...on earth...in Chicago.
5. Once in a while, you get perfect nights...like this one.
6. I'd been waiting 7 months for this night.
7. I was 12 again.
8. Three men made my night...Rick, Donald, and Emmanuel. 
9. The food was perfection...the music, even better.
10. It redeemed my birthday.



So, let's try this again...

It was October in May...last Wednesday night.  It's become a known fact in our family that my favorite gift is an experience.  They ask me each year, "What do you want for your birthday?"...and each year, I answer the same, "An experience".  This has resulted in sleepovers, scavenger hunts in Target, going out to eat...The fact is: I love time spent with people I love.  I always have. Always will.  That's why, it doesn't matter if it's a walk or a night like last week...sharing an experience is my favorite gift I could get. 

Last October...it was a big birthday.  And I mean, big as in the number...yuck.  I was struggling a bit with it and still find myself getting a knot in my throat each-time I'm asked how old I am.  However, I told a friend that I was giving myself 1 month to poo-poo about it, and after that, she had permission to tell me to snap out of it.  It's now May...so you can consider me "snapped-out"...or maybe "still in progress"! :)

But as I opened my gift from my family, it took me minutes...actually, a couple days to really take in the gift I'd gotten from them.  They had bought me tickets to see the Chicago Symphony perform several piano concertos with Emmanuel Axe...with the main feature being Rhapsody in Blue.  It's okay if you don't know what or who that is...I was homeschooled (I blame all my nerdiness on that!)...and when other kids were going to movies and baseball games, we were going to Symphony concerts and musicals.  They were giving me a perfect night!  The plan was to go to Frontera Grill (one of Rick Bayless' restaurants...yes, remember that "nerd" factor?  He won Top Chef Masters...and yes, I own the season in my iTunes...And watch it WAY TOO MUCH.  The term "celebrity chef" was coined by my soulmate, I'm convinced...'cause to me, they really are ah-mazing!) In thinking of the evening, I just had to think, "They know me well"...I'm a nerd, but they kind of are too :)...which is why we are all kindred spirits.

It was heaven...on earth...in Chicago.  Jarod and Heidi had decided to stay at the Trump Hotel and invited us to stay with them! Um, just that in itself was an experience!! 

Jarod and Heidi let me bunk up with them for the night...Who says, "Three's a crowd"?! Not the single sister who gets a free stay...that's for sure! :)
 Even Donald took time to welcome us! :)
 You can never go wrong with Chocolates on a pillow...
 And just in case you ever wondered what a $25 bottle of water looks like...here it is! Pretty sure we drank tap. :)  The left picture is to prove that I was actually in one of these rooms!
 Their menus look a lot like one of my wedding albums!! Ugh, a little crazy, can we say?!
After checking in to the hotel, we walked to Frontera Grill, where I am telling you...MOST. AMAZING. MEXICAN. FOOD. E-VER!!!!!!  Rick, you did NOT disappoint!
 With my sisters...aren't they so pretty?
 Pinch! Pinch! Yep, I'm actually here!...now, with two bruises. :)
 Trying to decide what to order may have been the most difficult part of the evening...

Matt and Bek...
 Jarod and Heidi. I've just gotta say...my brother-in-laws don't have buggy eyes...not sure why I couldn't get a good one of them! :)
Heidi and Me...

And then came the Symphony!!!  We weren't allowed to take any pictures during the concert, so here's what I got before it started.

The architecture in that building was beautiful!!
Matt and Bek as we wait for the concert to start...
Jarod being a goof...
 Jarod and Heidi...
 Front row seats!

It was amazing...
I was excited (obviously) for the concert...but as soon as it started and the pianist hit that first note, an overwhelming flood of emotions hit me.  The duet piece they were playing were the very pieces I'd played with my teacher.  I remembered late night concerts at Wesleyan University, ISU, and U of I...sitting in those dark concert halls being inspired at times...trying to stay awake and getting a nudge from my mom, at others.  I remembered my mom saying that a dream of hers was to play a piano concerto with a symphony.  I suddenly missed my mom VERY much...I had tears (I was going to say rolling down my cheeks, but that makes it sounds controlled!) dripping off my chin!  I was a bit of a blubbering mess...but they were really happy tears; the best kind...that perfect moment of experiencing something wonderful and also being carried back to the sweetest memories...all in that dark concert hall.  

Once in a while, you get perfect nights...like this one.  I'd been waiting 7 months for this night, and it didn't disappoint.  Not one single bit.  The food was perfection...the music, even better.  Three men made my night...Rick Bayless, Donald Trump, and Emmanuel Axe. 

I got to be 12 again...and it redeemed the big number that my birthday brought.

But most of all...it was getting to be with my family...the very best of people that I know.  I don't take them or experiences I have with them for granted.  They go out of their way to encourage, direct, tease, and love me.  I'm honored to be one of them, and I love each of them so very much!!

 We rarely take the time to get a picture of us, so I'm glad we got a couple this weekend!

23 comments:

leah said...

OH.MY.WORD.

this is amazing. i feel like i was almost ready to cry at the end of it b/c its seems so perfect and JUST what you would love.

i'm so glad for you all!

emilykate said...

AWESOME! I had wondered what the occasion was when I saw the instagramming from you girls. What an awesome present and what awesome sisters!

heidi said...

This was such a fun post, but when you get the back shot of me leaving the symphony hall...about ruined the post for me. I look like a 90 year old, knock-kneed woman! Oh well...it was a SPLENDID evening! So much fun!!

Mindy said...

LOVE!!!! What a special evening! You and your sisters are absolutely GORGEOUS inside and out!!!!

Rebekah said...

Such a great post Tam! It didn't dissapoint for me either...well, maybe the guy with the white top hat! Haha!! But other than that, pure perfection!! Like I said that night, I felt a little guilty that we got to enjoy your gift as much as you did...but I'm so glad you loved it!! We ARE a bunch of nerds...but I think we end up having a pretty memorable life! :)

Emilia Jane said...

Tami! You three are GORGEOUS!!!! What an amazing celebration :-D

Abby Pfeiffer said...

Your post made me turn on Rhapsody in Blue on Spotify =) It's one of my favorite songs!! Glad you had such a great time, Tami!!

alisonsutter said...

Amazing! How perfectly memorable.

Christy Tyler said...

That is awesome!!!! Happy belated birthday love! And you embrace that age! Because I'm the same! ;-) haha Also - you and your sisters are SO BEAUTIFUL! And wow - you all look the same! ;) Love it.

Tara said...

I just got teary reading through this. Now I HAVE to try out this restaurant sometime! :-)

Amber said...

so now that I have tears in MY eyes . . ..let me just say I loved you all got to have that night. A neat night for some pretty neat people. : ) Looks like it was so fun.

Lauren said...

UMMMMM...you and your sister's are INCREDIBLY gorgeous! Like for realz! Whew! And your weekend looked perfect. I love me some Frontera Grill.

Amanda Miller said...

I love this post! And I'm so happy for you that you had such a moving and wonderful experience, lucky gal! And fab photos! :)

Brooke said...

Love this post. What a fun time! Happy 25th birthday, Tami. ;) I love that you and your sisters know what a treasure having a sister is and celebrate it... So special.

smw said...

this looks absolutely amazing. such a special time. i'm so happy you got to do this.

photo comments: all 3 of you are beautiful, not just your sisters. i love matt biting his nails in anxiety trying to decide what to eat.

Anonymous said...

that was such a sweet post, tami! and how fun was that bday gift. i am always disappointed in bday gifts, so i think i'm going to change my wish list to "an experience"! what a great family you have....i can't imagine how extremely proud your mom would be of her 3 beautiful daughters! ~penny (araujo)

Daish said...

For some reason this post made me want to geep and geep (or in other words, weep and weep). This looks amazing, and I just love you guys.
p.s. Tam, it's sure obvious you are loved to be given an experience like that. How special.

Jami said...

Oh my goodness you three are so gorgeous I can hardly stand it!! :) What an awesome experience!! (and Daish - I loved that you brought up geeping and geeping!) :)

Daniel & Kasey said...

Wow! What a great way to celebrate the big 3-0. You have such a special family. I love how you all think your nerds, but the rest of us just think you're all amazing!!!

leisle deisle said...

oh man! i'm SO glad it lived up to all you hoped it would. it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it... not sure why, other than it just sounds like such an awesome night and that makes me happy :)

Kristen said...

So jealous about frontera grill! I tried to go there last year for my birthday but there was no reservation to be had! I'm debating about going their this year. I guess I should get on making a reservation... :)

Daveana said...

Tami! I just loved this post. The photos were gorgeous! You and your sisters are so beautiful! Looks like a super fun time. And a symphony at that!

Sandra said...

Just reading this made me so lonesome for your Mom. She would be so proud of all of you and that you really do have an appreciation for all she taught you- no matter how nerdy you think it might be!

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