Today my dad, papa, pops, un papagayo, dad-dad-daddy-o, pops romano turns 54! (Can you tell my family likes nicknames?) You guys know how awesome my dad is–I told you last year. But I love celebrating birthdays, and my dad definitely deserves a special day.
Fun facts about my dad:
- He is one of ten children (seven sisters and two brothers, in case you’re curious).
- When he graduated from high school, he backpacked through Alaska with his dog, Friskers.
- He can mimic almost every bird call known to man.
- He met my mom when his sister married my mom’s brother. Figure that one out.
- He is the strongest man I know that doesn’t use steroids or lift weights.
- He’s a master jokester. When we were young, his favorite prank was dialing the house phone and hanging up, then letting one of us run to answer it so he could steal our comfy spot on the couch. Psssht. Never mind the time that he and my cousin set up an elaborate hoax that involved a banana, feathers, pans, and a fan to scare my uncle in the dark….
- He does a hip pullover on the monkey bars every year on his birthday…just to prove he still can.
My dad isn’t a plan man; he likes to go with the flow. So we met up at Jimmy John’s for lunch and to meander our way through the day.
Me with my pops!
My mom gets really excited about sandwiches. 🙂
I ordered the vegetarian on wheat bread with no mayo and only one portion of cheese. I try not to be high maintenance when it comes to ordering, but sometimes it’s just a necessity to keeping myself in check.
Jimmy John’s doesn’t have sprouts anymore, which is sad–those were one of the best parts of the vegetarian sandwich! They still come with tomatoes, cucumbers, provolone cheese, thick avocado spread, and a hefty portion of iceberg lettuce. Seriously, they put a salad’s worth of lettuce on the sandwiches: I actually had to pick some of it off.
I also ordered Dave a bag of salt & vinegar chips and snagged a few for myself. It was a very chilly day outside, so we decided to go warm up with some coffee at a shop down the street: The Attic. It was only a few blocks a way, so Mom and I decided to walk there to warm up a little.
I have never been there before, and I don’t know why–it’s a pretty cool place! I can definitely see myself hanging out there with a book sometime. I ordered an unsweetened matcha latte, which warmed me right up. The health benefits of matcha tea are incredible: because you are consuming the whole leaf (it’s ground into powder before mixing), it has ten times the antioxidants as a regular cup of green tea. That’s your fun tea fact for the day!
They had these cute little cupcake-in-a-cup, and Dave got two for us to each have a bite.
They were perfectly gooey and chocolatey, just the way I like my cupcakes. Mmm.
The rain started to subside and sun came out while we were sipping away, so Dad decided to take us to a nature preserve for a nice walk.
We hit up the bathrooms inside the ‘Interpretive Center’ (I just pictured people doing interpretive dances like a goose) and walked around reading fun facts about the animals. They had a recorder with ten different frog sounds, so I quizzed my dad: he got eight right. I got two. He was adamant that one of them he got wrong was not native to Wisconsin: the Eastern Spadefoot. I just looked it up, and it’s an eastern coast toad. Yup, Dad’s always right.
Baby goosen! I wanted to steal one and bring it home, but Mom said I couldn’t. 😦
It was quite a lovely walk. The wind subsided and sun came out, so we got nice and toasty. We walked a few miles to the observation tower to have an overlook of the marsh.
Look at our little adventurer!
Cute as a button.
Some people in my family aren’t as jazzed about hikes and walking trails as others, so I’m glad it turned out to be a nice day for their sake as well as Dad’s.
I had an idea for a cool picture at one of our stops. Meet the Leahy’s!
From left to right: Tim, Emily, Aurelia, me, Moriah, Tyler, and Kate.
After we left the nature preserve, we headed to Pamperin Park to enjoy a beer before the sun went down.
Dad said he never took us to Pamperin Park, because it is always packed with people in the summer, and I can see why—it’s friggin’ awesome for kids!
Had there not been any kids there, I would’ve been right over there running in the castle myself!
We started chattering pretty quickly in the cold, so we headed back to town for dinner at Old Chicago. I ordered a dirty Tanqueray martini to start.
A little too salty, but pretty decent. After my martini, I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
It was much hoppier than I remember, but not bad.
After we’d had a couple drinks, we finally ordered dinner.
Old Chicago took a lot of the awesome vegetarian pizzas and calzones off their menu, which is disappointing. There is now only one vegetarian entree on the menu: the Royal Margherita pizza, and I had it last time: good, but not nearly as good as their original vegetarian pizza.
I ordered the Chicago 7 Stromboli without the meat and a side of veggies. I stole a couple of my sister’s fries and a piece of Dave’s bbq chicken pizza, too. The stromboli was good, but not great. I didn’t realize there was no sauce in it, so it wasn’t very flavorful. I was pretty hungry, though, and I ate the whole thing.
After dinner, we played a game of pool.
Dad and Emily wiped the floor with Mom and I. I’m not very good at pool…
We kept taking turns at the jukebox, so I played a few of my Dad’s favorite songs, then played Annie’s Song by John Denver for Mom and Dad (it was their wedding song).
Like always, they couldn’t resist the urge to dance.
It was a very random but good day. It was fun hanging out with just my family for the day. I love those guys!
Happy Birthday, Dad!