Wordful Wednesday: A Very Benihana Birthday

Ok…so it wasn’t Benihana. The restaurant is called Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse. And we go there as a family a lot.

But Michael keeps calling it Benihana. Even though we’ve never actually been to a Benihana, because of that episode of The Office. A Very Benihana Christmas. It’s when The Office was still funny. One of our favorite episodes of television ever. If you have Netflix it’s Season 3 Episode 10. But I digress.

Friday night was my birthday. Whoop whoop! Another year under my belt. And for those that are wondering it was lucky number 34.

34 isn’t lucky, is it? Didn’t think so. But a lady dame madam girl can dream right? I like to dream that I’ll turn 35 and all my wrinkle and pimples and weird saggy areas have magically melted away. I’ve got an entire year to work on that vision board…

I have always liked making birthdays a big deal. I think cake, flowers, cards, extravagant gifts and parties are all par for the course. After all, this is the day you (or me) was born!

My favorite thing to tell those that I really and truly love is that I am “so happy you were born today”. Because it’s true. Being born is something magical and special and amazing. Something to celebrate.

When it comes to birthdays my expectations have been, historically, pretty high.

And then I met a guy who doesn’t dig making a big deal out of most occasions and holidays, let alone birthdays. He doesn’t dig cake. Doesn’t care at all about cards (not even painstakingly handmade collage cards that his girlfriend slaved over for days). Plans and parties just sound like hassles and chaos to him.

But one day he made a plan ::gasp:: and surprised the hell outta me when he proposed in front of a big group of friends on New Years Eve.

So I married him. :)

Now? We’re back to no surprises, no plans and no big deals.

For the past few years since living in Lansing we’ve made my birthday into our annual trip to the cider mill & pumpkin patch.

But this year? Nada. No cider. No pumpkins. No family day. No plans.

And guys? It hurt.

I was sitting at home on Friday afternoon, while everyone, including my husband, took a nap. Drinking a birthday beer, watching Friday Night Lights, balling like a baby.

Granted, he’s been working so incredibly hard. So hard that he barely sleeps, let alone have the time to make plans. He also thought I said I didn’t want to go, though what I said was that I wanted to go to a new place, not scrap the idea all together.

Did he get the flowers and the extravagant gift and the card? Yep. All three. But all I really wanted, really needed, was a day to spend alone, doing something fun with our little family.

We haven’t had that in months.

I need to accept that this is just the busy time of year for him at the store. That this won’t last forever.

Until then I will need to work on lower my expectations and being in the moment.

Despite the pity-party I had for myself all afternoon, we actually did go out on the night of my birthday.

With the girls with babysitters we were free to enjoy an adult night out. My sis Tracey braved rush hour traffic while wearing a dress, just to spend my birthday with me.

So me, Michael and Tracey went out and about around downtown Lansing for dinner and drinks. We met a few friends at the local dive bar. I even ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. We rocked out to the jukebox and drank like fishes.

And all we got was this one grainy picture of me and Tre in our awesome dresses.

When I say that I had an “awesome Friday night” it is code for a “wickedly hungover Saturday”. Like “I’m going to die” wicked. Tracey helped with the girls while I recovered. Now THAT’S a birthday present! Thanks Tracey. *Also someone please remind me that shots are for 21 year olds and not 30-somethings, ok? Thanks in advance!

Sunday, thankfully I was totally recovered by then, we headed down to the Benihana Kyoto restaurant for the Sims Kid Trifecta Birthday party.

My sister, brother and I are all born within two weeks of each other in late September-early October. Yes, people, do the math. Our parents always had really lively New Year Eve parties.

That being said, we’ve always ALWAYS had a big family gathering for all of us at once. It’s just much easier that way. Why would we shirk tradition for this birthday then? We wouldn’t. So bring on the group meal & cake.

So Kyoto, like Benihana, is a restaurant where the table centers around a grill where the chef cooks your food in front of you. Dinner and a show. There’s something about the meal being cooked in front of you that is at once fascinating and kind of awkward. Though it doesn’t seem to bother Grandpa at all.

Like Japanese-chef-accidentally-cracking-a-raw-egg-into-your-water-glass awkward. True story. Happened to Tracey this time.

Something about the crazy exhaust fans and clanking spatulas really bothered Cedella. She had her hands on her ears the entire time he was at our table.

Izzie on the other hand? Totally fine. Not bothered by the noise as long as she had rice or noodles or carrots in her mouth. This baby loves food.

Finally a family shot. Though it’s not in focus, and it looks like Michael and I are being posed by someone in the Sears Portrait Studio, I still love it. It’s US!!! We ARE a family!

And Cedella with chopsticks? So cute.

She actually got them to work for her. Genius child that she is.

Though I may complain and may expect more than what I’m given I am truly thankful. Because these lovely, crazy, silly, smart people? They are mine. And I adore them so. *Someone please remind me of this at Christmas time, will ya?

So now it’s your turn. How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Big deal or no big deal? Any special traditions? Any suggestions on how to make birthdays more important to someone who doesn’t think they are?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy WW!!


  1. First of all, Happy (belated) Birthday! And apparently we’re married to the same man – my hubby has the same non-celebratory mindset when it comes to birthdays or holidays. I’m glad you ended up going out and having a great time, though! The hangover was worth it, right? 😉

    As for making birthdays more important to someone who doesn’t think they are, I pretty much start dropping hints a couple of months out, and even email the hubby ideas on what would be cool for birthday and Christmas gifts or ideas on what I’d like to do on my birthday (my birthday is only a couple of weeks before Christmas – but I’ve also gotten him to understand combining those is not an option…heh.) I think Princess Nagger making my birthday a big deal has helped, too – she’s big on celebrating like I am, so of course he doesn’t want to be shown up by a 9 year old. 😉

    A Foggy Start to Fall

    • Alexia says:

      Thanks for the birthday wishes Stacy! And I think you’re onto something with dropping hints…EARLY! I think it’s just so hard for men to know exactly what it is we want and we just have to spell it out.

      And yea, the hangover was SO worth it, I felt like a kid again!

  2. Tracey says:

    I had a great time on your birthday, though I should’ve saved you from yourself, you know… shot-wise. Birthdays, as special as we tend to want them to be, are really only as good as the people you surround yourself with. My birthday was awesome because you shared it with me. And I”m glad I could be there with you and Michael for yours. Hangover or not, I think that’s always worth it.

  3. Love this post!

    Like you, I’m huge into birthdays and any reason to celebrate. We’re talking streamers hung, banners made, balloons, and general squealiness.

    My husband is like your husband. He doesn’t eat cake. He doesn’t get excited. He’s my big grumpy lump. So I just ignore him and make a fool of myself anyway!
    Jen @ Cuddles and Chaos recently posted..My Week Through Instagram

    • Alexia says:

      Maybe we all need to send our husbands to wife’s-birthday-boot-camp? It’ll cover such topics as “Flowers & Cards” “The Perfect Restaurant” and “Helping Your Kids Make Mommy Something”. You in?

  4. Teresha says:

    Happy Birthday!!!
    I like to make a big deal out of birthdays too (and Valetine’s and Mother’s Day) but if I want a party or special outing I have to plan it. It use to hurt that my SO wouldn’t do it for me. It took 5 years for me to realize that he wasn’t going to change, that I couldn’t project my expectations on him because I’d get let down every time. Now at 12.25 years of marriage, we have the routine down. I make a big deal for myself and he’s invited LOL!
    Teresha recently posted..Wordful Wednesday: A Slice of Monterey

    • Alexia says:

      Thanks friend! I too think I’ll start making a big deal for myself by buying myself something fabulous and putting a ‘From Mr Eyebrowz’ tag on it.

  5. angie says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! I grew up going to Benihana for my birthday! Love the tradition. Looks like you had fun and you looked beautiful!
    angie recently posted..Wordful Wednesday – Soccer Clinic with LA Galaxy Players

  6. Kate says:

    You look GORGEOUS in that yellow sweater! Happy Birthday BTW…
    Kate recently posted..New Art for November

  7. Justine says:

    Birthdays are huge in my house. As an only child, my parents always threw me a party so as an adult, I can’t imagine not making a big deal out of it. Now that I’m a mom, it’s hard not to carry on that tradition.

    I love theatrics with my dinner so a Japanese steakhouse/Benihana/Teppanyaki – whatever you call it, I’m there. I think it’s great fun for the kids too. I think it’s high time we took our girls there.

    And Happy Belated Birthday!! :)

    You look stunning in that family pic by the way. Totally stole the scene, even with two beautiful little girls in the picture. As a birthday girl should eh?
    Justine recently posted..Sorting memories into bins

    • Alexia says:

      Thanks Justine! I really do think birthdays should be a big deal. Next year I think I’m going to make my husband have the most amazing birthday ever so that he sees what all the fuss is about!

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