My 40th Surprise! Party

I celebrated my 40th birthday on February 24th.



I know, right? 

I can't believe I am that old--that I've lived for forty years now! I have a love/hate relationship with my birthday. I love the idea that I get to spend my birthday with my loved ones and get spoiled for a short time. But then I hate the thought of growing older. Of missed opportunities. Goals not met. My 'do is getting a little thin on top.  Wrinkles. White coochie hairs.

Things are systematically heading down South, you know?

I didn't want to make any plans for my 40th birthday this year. Nope. I just wanted the date to go by in silence. I wanted to focus on Maya and be done with it. When my brothers and sister started to ask me, so what do you want to do for your birthday? This is a big birthday! A milestone birthday! Let's do something fun. Ever the martyr, I sighed, whatever. Whatever you guys want to do, I'll be happy. I'm flexible. For a brief moment, I wondered if they could be planning a party for me. As brief as the thought entered my mind, it vanished. After all the hard work it took to throw my mom's 60th surprise party, I knew they weren't about to take on something like that. Little did I know, that is exactly what they were brewing up.

So, our plan was to meet for drinks and appetizers, head out for a yummy sushi dinner and maybe go downtown and find something fun to do. I wanted to keep it small and intimate--my siblings and their spouses. We almost never do anything without our kids, so I was looking forward to it.

My actual birthday fell on a Friday, so it was school and baseball practice--business as usual. My family was busy, so I didn't see them or hear from them. Michael took me out for some Thai food while we waited for the boys to finish practice. Only Mike and Xixi were my dinner dates.

A rare occasion of having only one child with us.

Mmmmmm spicy fried rice with basil.

My night ended with a humble little strawberry tart and season one of The Walking Dead. All in all, a very uneventful night. I kept telling myself that my family didn't acknowledge my birthday because we were going to get together the next day. Sniff sniff.

Saturday night couldn't come fast enough. The chil'rens were their usual selves--loud, hungry, running up and down the hallway, slamming the front door. I couldn't wait for my mom to show up and babysit them so I could redeem my Get Out of Jail Free card for the night. I decided to get ready early, since I am usually notoriously late. After trying to channel Pixiewoo's Kim Kardashian's smokey eye look and failing miserably (why is it my smokey eye always looks dirty?)  I decided to run over to Forever 21 and find something to wear. And yes, I am that person who goes shopping for something to wear an hour before she has to arrive somewhere.

My mom was late, Mike was late and for once, I was on time.

When we finally arrived at my brother's place, he met us in the driveway. Everyone is in the backyard, he said. As we walked in, the first thing I noticed were the lights. Little white Christmas lights twinkling everywhere. And then I noticed a crowd of people standing there with sugar skull masks over their faces! My mom included, which struck me as so odd considering she was supposed to be at my house babysitting the chil'rens!


My first feeling is one of confusion. Who are all of these people? Why in the world are they wearing these masks? It was so surreal. But then I realized, oh em gee this is a surprise party!!

I know, and I'm supposed to be "the smart one".

Wow. That's all I can say. I couldn't laugh or cry. In fact, I probably looked a little stupid standing there, in shock and with my mouth hanging open. As I took a few steps forward, I start recognizing faces. Hugs and tears ensued.

"You knew about this the whole time, you fat pig!" I cried as I hugged my Siamese Soul Sister. It's okay, we love each other enough to call each other fat girl names.

I walked around in a daze, taking in everything. It was all decorated in a Dia de los Muertos/Loteria theme, two of my favorite things in the world.  There was papel picado hanging from the corners, my artwork was hung all over the yard, a shrine decorated with flowers, candles and pictures of me and my loved ones. It was amazing! There was so much love and detail in everything, I knew they had spent a lot of time making sure I would like it.

And I did.
I loved it.
Everyone asked me if I was truly surprised and I have to say, "Yes! Yes times a million!"

Me and Michael, before the par-tay got started and I just thought we were going out for sushi.

Me and my baby sister Jennifer, looking as beautiful as she always does. She even painted her face for the occasion.

My shrine, filled with flowers, candles and pictures.

Some party favors and a Jim Morrison of The Doors portrait that I did a million years ago.

Another party favor--sugar skull masks.

Guests signing the big sugar skull.
Don't want to burn up my hurrr.

My baby bro Josh, BoifromIpanema, looking fab, as usual.

I got so many lovely gifts, but it is always the homemade gifts that are the most memorable, it seems. Kathy from Diary of a Crafty Chica
sent me this purse from AZ. It even had my own artwork on it! SO cool!
Two paintings made for me by my Siamese Soul Sister! The $500 Mexican pesos with Frida Kahlo's image (Diego Rivera on the back) was a gift from my friend Bibi. So amazing!

Such an ingenious idea--a can of Pato sauce as a vase for a bouquet of marigolds, the centerpieces on the table.

Much of the artwork for my party was created by my Siamese Soul Sister. I know she was burning the midnight oil for me!

Even the trees looked magical!

Me and Josh in front of the cool skull he painted for me, which all of the guests signed.

Michael and I with our dear friends.

Cake time! And yes, they lit exactly forty candles. The cake was made by my nina, who has been making me birthday cakes for as long as I can remember.
Josh, me, Jennifer and Eric bringing Twilight vampire realness. They did so much work to make this night special for me. Next week I'll share about the crazy amazing gift that my brother Eric bought me. It blew my mind.
We spent the night laughing, eating a bunch of delicious food and dancing the night away. Watching my cousins drop it like it's hot, basking in the love of my family and friends was so special to me. It will definitely be a night I won't ever forget. And who was at my house watching the chil'rens? My brother-in-law Justin. He was at my house with thirteen kids. He took one for the team. Love you, hermano!

Just the thought that my family would go all out and do this for me makes me want to cry. Like, ugly cry. But I won't--I'll keep it together. But what a wonderful, fun night. It took away the sting of turning 40. I love my family so much, they'll never truly know.

I'm so blessed and loved.

Image source: All photos were taken on Instagram.


  1. I have been anxiously waiting for some type of post about this! I am so sorry to have not made it. I was thinking of you from across the ocean and kept counting the hours to see when it was actually going to happen. I hope you had a blessed time. You have a very special set of siblings my friend!Happy Birthday!!!!! Love, Summer

  2. Love this post! Love hearing about awesome families love on each other!

  3. Awww, what a great night!!! You deserved every ounce of joy that was there!!! Happy 34th...errr, I mean, 36th!!!!

  4. Of course your family loves you enough to put together such a party that is totally you! I'm impressed whenever someone pulls off a genuine surprise party. There's always someone who lets something slip.

  5. How fabulous is that Amiga again happy birthday I am sure you were celebrated with such love and wow such creativity! Next time im in cali party at your house lol :) wishing you many many more full of love!

  6. @Cindy--"Of course your family loves you enough to put together such a party that is totally you!" They did and I totally love them for it!

  7. now i see why your text said what it did. WOW! that's beautiful! shooot, i felt the love just reading it!! glad it was perfect! xoxo


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