Birthday Weekend – Rafting, Sunshine, and Cards Galore

Two weekends ago Em pulled off an incredible birthday surprise. Essentially, she stressed me out for the past month asking me what I wanted to do for the “big 3-0.” I said nothing over and over and over and she kept asking until the day before my birthday. She definitely had me fooled and once again I was patting myself on the back for being the one who makes things happen around here. Was I wrong.

Friday afternoon Em picked me up from school (we were going to go indoor climbing). She handed me a card before I got to the car and told me to read it. I couldn’t read it fast enough as I figured it contained some important info about the weekend to come. I walked toward the car as I read and as I got to the part about Manuel Antonio and hanging out with friends I looked up and there were peeps crammed in the car shouting, “Surprise!” Up until this point I had tried to stay in the closet as a crier but the tears just started. Cat’s out of the bag now. But seriously, if you can watch this whole video (or even the first minute) without crying, you have no soul. Sidenote – Em has woken up many a Sunday morning to find me inconsolable because I’ve watched too many of these videos. They get me every time. In fact, I’m tearing up just writing this.

Anyway, we hopped in the car and 3 hours later arrived at this picturesque Airbnb in Manuel Antonio. I’m going to spare you the details and just throw around a bunch of pictures. The weekend consisted of whitewater rafting, cards, the beach, and tons of laughter. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Saturday morning view

Calm before the stormAll smiles before raftingCrew heading to the waterLearning how not to drownCallie hates teamwork   Splash Lauren was the first one out Rafting We're under there somewhere This won't end well IMG_6479 Calm before the storm

Check out my favorite sequence of events. Somehow we all stayed in the boat. But just barely…

Rock ahead Oh noThen this    And thisLeaving my friends behind

After rafting we returned home for an afternoon of BBQing and cards. We played Shithead (if you haven’t learned do it NOW) for ~5 hours straight. Bartendress Tara made the best Piña Coladas I’ve ever had in my life (coconut water instead of coconut milk).

Saturday afternoon card marathonBartendress Tara Birthday with my #1

Sunday morning we had a great spread of scrambled eggs, mango, and toast. If you noticed that the view on Sunday is different from that on Saturday you are correct. The weekend included an 11:45 pm Airbnb location change. Don’t worry mom and dad – we’re fine.

Sunday morning spread

The second property was even more beautiful than the first and we spent the morning relaxing and reading before heading to the beach. We spent a few hours frolicking in the waves and then hit a gorgeous hotel for lunch (tuna burger – yum) that had a 272 degree view of the Manuel Antonio natural park and the surrounding coastline. It was breathtaking.

Lunch view    Lunch selfieEnd of the weekend smilesCheesing after lunch

Thank you to our wonderful friends who rallied to celebrate the weekend with us. It was definitely one I will never forget.

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way. I received over 30 videos and many more emails. You have no idea how nice is was to see/hear from so many of you. The day was essentially me going back and forth between laughing with friends and crying out of sheer joy from hearing from all of you. I am so so so lucky to have you all in my life. Thank you thank you thank you. You’ll all be happy to know that I’ve put all the videos into one big video that I can watch when I’m having “one of those days” or when I’ve lost myself in a cycle of videos of baby animals doing really cute things. A few faves are below:

Finally, a special shout out to Em for pulling off the surprise and for being so thoughtful. I haven’t given her many opportunities to practice her planning skills these last 7 years but she definitely proved that she’s still got it. I am so lucky to be taking this journey with you.

If this weekend was any indication of the year to come, 30 is shaping up to be pretty spectacular.

Pura vida,



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