A man jumping up and kicking his heelsAs I sit here typing this entry, I’m enjoying a fresh cup of Peet’s Guatemala Coffee (thank you Ken, Ken and Chris). I’m enjoying this fantastic coffee in a new Alterra coffee cup (thank you Mike), while I download free songs from Napster (thank you Holly). My new 40GB iPod is currently syncing 18.9GB of music upstairs on my main workstation (thank you Mom) and my new Scott eVest is hanging on the back of my chair (thank you NPUG). I don’t mean to gloat, but a little over a week ago was my birthday and I have to say I made out like a bandit!
For starters, my Mom flew us to Chicago for the weekend. We flew up late Friday evening so that we could get a good start on the day. Saturday morning we drove up to Woodstock, Illinois to pick apples. There was a Canadian cold front that made it breezy and chilly and the temperatures were down in the 40’s for most of the weekend. That didn’t stop us from picking three bags of apples though. 🙂 We picked Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Winesap and some others that I forget the name of. We then made our way further north into Wisconsin and made a stop for some cheese at the Mars Cheese Castle and for some apple pie at the Apple Holler. Before making our way up to Milwaukee, we took a side trip over to Waterford to see Waterford Precision Cycles. There wasn’t much to see since they are located in a business park, not to mention closed, but it was neat to see where these fantastic bicycles are made.

Once in Milwaukee, we hooked with Mike Rohde, his wife Gail and their son Nathan. Mike has really lost some weight and looked fantastic and it was a lot of fun visiting with his family. He took us to The Chancery Pub and Restaurant for dinner and we capped off the evening at Alterra Coffee Roasters. Mike and I could have stayed up all night visiting, but we wrapped things up at a reasonable hour since we both had church in the morning.

On Sunday we woke up and drove down the lake front on our way out of town. We made a morning stop at Alterra, since it was so good, and then I drove like I stole something to make it to Willow Creek in time for the morning service back in Chicagoland. Willow is such an amazing church and we go there we’re blown away. That Sunday Stephen Baldwin was there to share his story of how he came to Christ and it was rather funny as well as interesting.

After being “willow-ized”, we drove downtown to the Miracle mile for a little shopping. I only buy clothes once every few years and with all of my weight loss, it was time for some new duds. Mom and Holly had a lot of fun as I paraded out in new clothes for them to review and give a thumbs up or down. After a few hours I was spent and repleted with a whole new casual wardrobe. While Holly and Mom continued shopping, I made my way down to the Apple Store and then we all met up at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop for a farewell hot fudge sunday before heading back to Nashville.

We had such a good trip that it was hard to come back home and get back into the swing of things. Luckily, my fun wasn’t over because Holly and Mom fixed Grilled Scallops for dinner on Monday night while we drank Apple-tinis. After dinner, I was presented with a cake, an iPod and 60 tracks from Napster. Talk about your cup runneth over! :O You’ve probably noticed that there’s been a running apple theme throughout the weekend, but it was completely lost on me. Of course all of the apple references was for the big gift of the Apple iPod. Just color me dense because it was a complete surprise.

All-in-all, I had an unbelievedable birthday! I was showered not only with gifts, but with friendship and love. I can’t begin to thank everyone for all that you did to help celebrate my birthday. Suffice to say that I feel humbled under the deluge of affection that everyone gave me. Thank you to everyone. 🙂