I actually have many more than 26 thank-yous to say, but seeing as I can’t even count them, I picked 26 since that’s what this has to do with – – my 26th birthday.

Many of you followed the exciting day of July 21st on this blog in a post written by Jeff about my birthday.  He clued you in throughout the day on all the little things he had me do.  There was a scavenger hunt of cards and secret blogs with videos of him singing songs he’s written for me over the years.  There were questions with answers that eluded to the day’s events and my gift(s).  And there were sweet, sweet words from some of the dearest people in my life, all of them speaking to something about me that they love.  This, this was hard to sit through.  I am not one to enjoy the center of attention, unless I am performing, and so it was very hard to allow Jeff to share with me, in front of friends, all the kind words many of you spoke.  That’s where the first of many thank-yous comes in.

Thank you.

So the answers to the questions.  Well, here you go:

Question 1:  Who is Ren McCormick? Answer:  Kevin Bacon’s character in Footloose.

Question 2:  What movies did Peter Chelsom direct (looking for specific movie)?  Answer:  Shall We Dance?

Question 3:  Who was Harry Fox, and what did he invent?  Answer:  Fox trot.

So, what do these answers speak to you?  To me, I thought it was a night of dancing, and I was right about one thing…  dancing.  But they really eluded to my gift, not what we were doing that night.  And what was my gift, you ask? Well, it was ballroom dancing lessons!  Yes, the Goinses will be taking up ballroom.  What some of you may not know is that we spent a summer learning how to swing dance, and we loved it.  We’re quite rusty these days, but we’ve talked about taking ballroom lessons from time to time, so I am so excited that Jeff got lessons for my birthday.  We’re starting up next week!

The cards he gave me throughout the day also had clues in them.  The clues eluded to Buca di Beppo, an amazing Italian restaurant with family-style dining.  After work, I was to meet Jeff at a coffee shop, and then we were going to head to Buca.  But what actually happened was, I went to the coffee shop, drank my carmel cappuccino alone, and then met him at Buca.  When he arrived, we walked in together, only for him to turn us around and walk us right back out the door.  Confused, I followed him into the car I drove, he pulled out of the stall, and pulled right back into another just a few stalls down.  It was the curbside-to-go one.  I figured at this point we were eating at home, which was fine.  Jeff usually does the place up nice with candles and good music when he makes a special dinner at home.  I was alarmed, though, when the waiter came out with $70 worth of food, but Jeff brushed it off, saying he just ordered big portions for leftovers.  Seeing as we have actually done this before at another favorite, Maggiano’s, I totally bought it.

However, when we walked into the nicely decorated apartment, we were not alone.  Jeff had asked six dear friends of ours to join us.  It was great.  We sat around our new table, using it to its fullest potential for the first time, enjoyed some amazing food, and Jeff shared with everyone all those kind words I was thanking you for before (thanks again!).  Then we sat around the floor playing an intense game of Cranium, which somehow Jeff and I won.  And since I’ve decided to leave you with some footage from the evening, I will take this time to thank each and everyone of you for helping celebrate with me.  Whether you said “Happy Birthday!” on facebook, gave me a call, sent me card, ate dinner with me, or helped Jeff in his schemes on that Tuesday, you are all very much appreciated and very dear to me.  Thank you for being a part of my life!  And thank you to my sweet, thoughtful, very lovable red head of a husband for pulling out all the stops on my birthday.  Jeff, you have always been great at surprises, and this was no exception.  Thank you for knowing me so well and, once again, giving me an incredible birthday!