Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mark Turns 48

Mark celebrates his 48th birthday at El Rancho.
June 21, 2016

You know how some people are born near a major holiday, like Christmas, and their birthday seems to get swallowed up by the other event? Or how some people are born on or near another family member's birthday and always seem to end up celebrating together instead of individually (like my sons Jacob and Dylan, whose birthdays are just 5 days apart)?

Mark gets ready to eat dinner on Fathers Day.

Well, Mark's June 21st birthday seems to fall into both categories. Not only is his birthday just 5 days before Jacob's and 10 days before Dylan's, but it also falls on or near Fathers Day every year. So, one way or another, his birthday is usually combined with something else.

Sarah is ready to enjoy her bratwurst at her dad's celebration.

Last year, Mark's birthday actually fell on the same Sunday as Fathers Day, so a Sunday birthday party was a no-brainer. This year it came two days later, on Tuesday, but we still had his party on Fathers Day. With our children's work schedules, weekday parties are hard to get everyone to. Even Sunday wasn't perfect, since Jake had to work until 8:00, so he missed dinner. He was there for the cake and gifts, though.

Dylan's burgers are already gone!

We started our Fathers Day gathering with a dinner of grilled bratwurst on buns and Ruffles potato chips with toasted onion dip (my favorite), along with grilled burgers for those of us who aren't huge bratwurst fans. That would be Dylan and me.

Chris and his dinner.

Mark's children brought him plenty of love! They each gave him
one gift for Fathers Day and one for his birthday.

Then, after Jake arrived, it was time to open presents. Jacob and Danielle were unable to attend, of course, since they live in Utah, but Jacob told me they found the perfect gift for Mark. I won't give it away, except to say that it has something to do with Mark's favorite pastime, fishing.

Mark reads the cards before opening the gifts.

Sarah and Chris gave him a Yahtzee game, which used to be one of his favorite games to play with the kids when they were younger. They also gave him a gift card to spend as he pleases. He liked that a lot, because his fishing license expires soon.

The unveiling of the gifts.

Dylan and Jake got him a big bag of assorted candies and two packs of cigarettes (yuck). Before Mark opened the packages, Dylan told me, "Mom, you're going to hate one of these presents." Indeed, I would dearly love for Mark to kick that nasty addiction. And none of the kids support Mark's smoking habit. In fact, on a regular basis they tell him he needs to quit. However, Dylan knew his dad would like the gift and figured it would save him a few bucks. Dylan was quite shocked at the high cost for two packs.

Side note: When I found out about the cigarette gifts, I exclaimed in outrage, "They sold you cigarettes!?" Dylan responded, "Calm down, Mom. I'm eighteen." "Oh," I said. In fact, he'll be nineteen in just 10 days. Why do our babies grow up?

Mark opens the last two gifts, mine.

I gave Mark a boom box with AM/FM radio and CD player, and, along with it, two CDs of oldies he used to love in his younger, head-banger days: Black Sabbath and Guns & Roses. Now that he has his own actual bedroom (instead of sleeping in the middle of the family room between the piano and the love seat), he can have his own space to listen to the music he enjoys.

Dylan presents the final gift to be opened.

Guns and Roses, plus a CD of Black Sabbath's best, 1970 to 1978.

Expressions of love.

We also like to express ourselves on the envelopes... Dylan was particularly pleased
with his balloons that spelled out "OZZY," just like the tattoo on his dad's fingers.

Mark with his birthday cake on Fathers Day.

We ended the night with a cookies-and-cream, Oreo ice-cream cake, with a side of peanut-butter-cup ice cream, and by singing a really strange version of "Happy Birthday to You" to the birthday boy. I take no credit, since I have no voice and cannot sing due to the irritation caused by the incessant smoke from the Cedar Creek Fire over the past seven days.

Mark enjoys his ice-cream cake and ice cream.

Although Mark's birthday/Fathers Day party was a thing of the past by Tuesday, yesterday was still Mark's birthday. So last night we went out to dinner with Sarah and Chris (Dylan had to work) for Mexican food. It has long been our family tradition to celebrate our birthdays at El Rancho.

On Tuesday night, Mark posed for the waitresses' camera at El Rancho,
after they brought his free deep-fried ice cream and sang to him.


The most dreadful rendition of the Happy Birthday song I've ever heard, sung with love!

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