Y esterday, we celebrated Bobby’s 28th birthday. I can hear you muttering right now, “Wait? But I thought Grace was 28…is she older than him???” Well, it’s time for the honest truth. I, Grace Nixon Peterson, am a cougar.

Yes, Bobby is officially younger than me – but for a total of two months, we get to be the same age on paper. Exciting!

As I was brainstorming for the events our day could hold, I had so much specialness in mind. Surprises from morning til night! Breakfast at a great new spot! Cuddling with cute, exotic animals that have been rescued at a zoo-type place outside of Miami! Drinks at a wine bar! Let’s do all the special things!

Then I was reminded about the number one rule of gift giving and surprise planning:

Deep down, I knew that – while Bobby would be a good sport during all of those birthday outings – they weren’t things that he would necessarily choose. Especially packing them all into one day; that would be the ultimate plan for a completely non-relaxing birthday. Here’s the gift of stress, my love! Happy birthday! Not what I was going for.

So, instead, I put all of the cute, exotic animals on to a card and planned out treats that were much more low-key and that he would likely choose for himself.

Surprises are the best, so I decided to plan out treats throughout the day. These were things I likely would have done anyway, but I think the act of opening an envelope to reveal the treat adds a layer of sparkle.

I also realized another upside to these more laid-back plans for the day – they could be done on a budget. At this stage in our lives, that’s pretty important. Bobby saw the treats one at a time, but I’ll let you see them all up front…

Upon waking up, I gave Bobby his card with all of the envelopes inside and instructed him to open the 1st envelope. We started the day off in the way that ALL birthdays should be started: with Nutella. (And some healthy poached eggs, too. We are responsible, 28 year-old adults after all…)

I baked some easy puffed pastry and spread some chocolate-y goodness inside. (Nearly) instant chocolate croissant!

After breakfast, we went to church and said thank you, over and over, for the gift of his life.

Then we went to a neighborhood of Miami called Wynwood to look at some art. There is a GIANT annual art event called Art Basel which has been happening over the past week – and while we didn’t go to any of the official, ticketed events, we wanted to see if we could still step into some galleries and at least participate a little bit. It was the perfect, low-key adventure.

The murals in Wynwood get me every time. The artist of this mural is painting 10,000 buddhas across the globe. 10,000! (We visited with her for a bit and discovered you can follow her on Instagram at @10000buddhas.)

The words that popped up on walls and sidewalks were the best part of Wynwood, in my humble opinion. I loved them so much that I’m going to reserve a post for them tomorrow.

After our minds were filled with artsy things, we traipsed back to our apartment and proceeded to relax at the pool. The POOL! IN DECEMBER! What is this alternate-universe?!?

Post-pool lounging called for Treat Number 2. Graham helped open the envelope and read the card.

Introduce budget-friendly Andre mixed with orange sherbet for afternoon mimosas! (I now understand why Andre is $5.25…for our tastes, it’s definitely a little strong to be consumed by itself. Mixed up with sherbet, though, you’d never even know.)

Bobby requested homemade pizza for his birthday dinner. I prepared the dough and toppings, but when it came to the actual baking of the pizza he took over since he’s the pizza pro in our family.

Sorry for being such teases, Graham.

Raspberries are Bobby’s all-time favorite fruit, so I incorporated those into his dessert. In the spirit of budgeting and no food waste, I used a couple more of the puffed pastries. I was inspired by these Lemon Berry Napoleons. I made this lemon curd and some fresh whipped cream…

(If you’re looking for a fancy dessert that really doesn’t take much effort at all, buy some pre-made lemon curd and whip these up. I’m pretty confident they’ll be a hit.)

I’m just realizing now that I forgot to put the candles on top! Shoot!

Last but not least, it was time for Treat Number 4. PRESENTS.

Bobby kept on remarking that the day had been just what he needed. I knew he was for real when I read this shower love note from him this morning…(read more about our obsession with shower love notes here).

Happy 28th year, my dearest love. It’s a privilege to be by your side, walking into these next 365 days.