they're not in Kansas (again): the birthday boy

Last Thursday was Ian's birthday. (Happy 25 years + 1 week to the guy who loves me more than I deserve. Sorry I was lame and didn't write you a birthday post ON your birthday. I'll make it up to you.)

ian enjoying the park

To celebrate, we went to Ian's restaurant of choice: The Dumpling Cafe. It's hard to resist juicy pork buns (a.k.a. soup dumplings, a.k.a. xiaolongbao, a.k.a. C11).


Mom, even more exuberant at Asian restaurants, told our waitress, who didn't speak a lot of English, that it was Ian's birthday and jokingly asked her if they could sing to him. The waitress pointed to the owner. Five minutes later, the owner came to our table. With her soft-spoken accent, the distance across our table, and the noise level at our neighboring tables, we weren't entirely sure what she was saying. But her gestures seemed to indicate she would be bringing some sort of birthday hat for Ian.

We returned to our sesame chicken, pepper beef, and pork buns. Then Ian noticed behind the counter they were searching YouTube. A few minutes later, the Chinese version of "Happy Birthday" played over their sound system. Other patrons smiled and glanced our way, singing and gesturing along. Ian insisted his face was only red because of the pepper beef.

After the song ended, they moved on to the English version of "Happy Birthday" performed by a Chinese group, which repeated approximately six times as the owner beamed at our table. We laughed and thanked her.

at the dumpling cafe

After dinner we contemplated a Mike's Pastry run for some sort of sweet birthday treat. Then decided we were too full. Instead, we strolled to the nearby theater to catch Super 8.

Our whole family loved it. I don't know what else to say but J.J. Abrams is a genius behind the camera, and this one is an instant classic.

Thanks to my family and Mr. Abrams for making Ian's birthday one to remember. And thanks to Ian for wanting to celebrate your birthdays with me. I love you.

Stay tuned for the family's vacation finale!

See the rest of the week's photos here.