So the story of my happy, surprise-filled, early-birthday celebration weekend.

Last Thursday, our small group planned to meet for dinner at Ryan and Lisa’s place. I had been really busy with work in the week leading up to this dinner, so I didn’t really ask any questions until the night of. David got home from work, and I asked him if Ryan had mentioned what we’d be having for dinner. David said he thought it was some sort of chicken dish, but he wasn’t completely sure. I love chicken, so no further questions from me!

We drove over with Sarah, and nothing in the conversation led me to believe that anything out of the ordinary would occur at any point that evening.

After arriving, I commented that dinner smelled fantastic, and Lisa responded, “Yeah, Ryan’s been cooking up a storm all day.” That should have struck me as odd, but I just let it pass. Ryan offered to get us drinks, and while he was in the kitchen, I walked into the dining room with everyone else; I should have noticed the two extra place settings on the table, but nope. I was clueless.

I was a little more focused on the appetizer dip on the table. If you’ve seen my “Dinner in Greenville” album on Facebook, you saw a photo of this dip. It looks gross and sounds gross, but tastes amazing!

I started going on and on about how my mom made that dip! I was shocked that Ryan had even heard about it before, but Lisa mentioned that it “must be a German thing…” (Ryan is Polish, so this should have caught my attention too). I grabbed a couple of crackers and chowed down as Ryan said, “David, don’t you have a gift for Sally Ann?” David smiled at me and walked into the kitchen.

Now, I immediately thought back to November when, for David’s birthday, I made cupcakes and brought them to group. I got all happy inside that maybe David had made me some cupcakes, “How sweet of him!” I thought to myself.

Little did I know…

Instead of David coming back out of the kitchen with cupcakes, he came out with my parents! And for those of you who know me well, you know that I’m really close to my parents. This was a huge deal! They flew up from Greenville to surprise me for my birthday and had been collaborating with David for about a month to pull it off. Kudos! They got me good.

My mom made the dip, of course, along with my favorite home cooked meal (poppy seed chicken, pineapple delight, creole green beans, knot rolls, rice, and sweet tea). Mmm!

On Friday, we spent a large part of the day at the Pittsburgh zoo and aquarium–tons of fun! Lunch was at the original Primanti Brothers in the Strip District of downtown, of course. If you’ve never been there, they serve Pittsburgh’s most famous sandwiches: huge sandwiches stuffed with meat, cheese, fries and coleslaw, and anything else you might ask them to add. Amazing!

After filling our calorie count for the entire day in one meal, we headed back to the apartment to relax and talk until my parent’s flight out that evening.

It was so nice to be able to spend that much time with them in real life–not over a video conference or phone. I love and miss them both so, so much! They made my birthday one that I’ll always remember. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

…my birthday got even better (is that even possible?!) yesterday. More on that later!