31st Birthday Surprise!

Friday night, two days before my birthday, Rob and I were sitting in our living room relaxing for the night. I was taking my time eating a filet of tilapia after trying to figure out what to eat for the longest time. As I took my last bite, Rob slid a piece of paper across the table to me. There was a hand-written note on the paper that read:

“Want to go get some Guyemon? Maybe a little hot-tubing? -Hubs”

I re-read the words again and then looked at Rob with a puzzled face. Guyemon is a sushi restaurant that we both love in Las Vegas and I had no idea where he could be planning to go hot tubbing in Salt Lake… so I was super confused. He motioned for me to flip the paper over and on the other side was a plane ticket to Las Vegas! The flight was literally leaving in 45 minutes! I was in shocl! I had no idea he was planning to go anywhere for my birthday, because we we were going to be leaving to Europe/Northern Africa the following weekend so we had talked about doing something fun and low key together in Salt Lake for my birthday. That little sneak! He was so calm and collected the whole time leading up to surprising me with the ticket too. I suspected nothing! He didn’t rush me to finish my dinner or anything, even though we had a flight to catch. He is so dang good at planning trips and surprising me with things.


I asked him if I needed to pack anything for the night, but he said not to worry. I didn’t even know how many nights we were staying or where we were staying. Clueless. We dropped the car off at Rob’s work and an Uber came to pick us up. When the Uber arrived, Rob pulled two suitcases out of the back of the car. He had both of our bags packed for the trip. I looked at him, still somewhat in disbelief, as he gave me half a smile knowing he had successfully launched the birthday weekend surprise. I was thrilled! We made it just in time for our flight and we were off!


Rob had even pre-booked a rental car! When we got to Vegas we picked up the car and started driving. I asked a few questions, but I could tell he was not going to be sharing any information at that point. This was top secret. I was told to relax and enjoy, so I just sat and watched as we drove further and further away from the strip. I am not a huge fan of Vegas, as Rob knows, because of the filth, stink, scantily clad women, and other things that Vegas represents, so I was happy to see that we were staying far away from all of that.

After about 45 minutes of driving we pulled into the parking lot of a large Hotel, the driveway lined with tall, beautifully lit palm trees. I thought we were lost and just flipping around to get back on the road. I was stunned to learn that this was our hotel for the next two nights. I felt like a princess getting the royal treatment!




The next morning Rob said that the hotel was right next to Lake Las Vegas and they offered free kayaking with our stay. Again, I was blown away! A few weeks before my birthday my Rob had asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I had told him I’d love to eat a big cinnamon roll for breakfast, maybe get sushi for dinner, and go kayaking someplace. But I truly thought kayaking was out because of expense and difficulty of trying to transport a kayak to a body of water anywhere near us with our little Ford Focus. So my adorable husband truly blew the very simple hopes I had for my birthday out of the water with his thoughtful and incredible creative planning. At this point I was feeling totally spoiled; undeserving really.




Rob likes the view from back here… glad I can still catch his attention in my older age 😉

We spent the morning out on the lake kayaking. In the afternoon we swam, went out to lunch. In the evening we went out to Guyemon, an amazing sushi restaurant. The first time Rob took me there he said “You’ve probably never had real sushi before. THIS is REAL sushi!” It is an all you can eat sushi bar. You can order as mush as you want, but you only get 1 hour to eat.  If you don’t eat everything you ordered in your hour time limit, you are charged for whatever you don’t eat. They have desserts too – fried ice cream, various sorbets, and mochi. Yum!



Rob was completely stuffed after dinner, but I still had room for dessert… always do! 🙂 For dessert we had gelato at a place called Gelatology. It is a little shop that the Spangenbergs found on one of their many trips to Las Vegas. Their flavors are extremely interesting. The owner is not shy about giving out samples. He gives everyone a sample of every flavor, without even having to ask. If we ever open a gelato shop, that is exactly how I would do it! None of this being stingy about giving out samples.





August 7th, my birthday, Sunday morning, we walked down and watched the sun set over the lake; one of the other things I had suggested we do for my birthday. It was a lovely beginning to a wonderful day.


We attended sacrament meeting at a nearby church, enjoyed a delicious breakfast together, and went out to see the Hoover Dam. The dam was spectacular! It is ENORMOUS! I was in awe of its magnitude and ingenuity. It was blasting hot, like hot enough that you could fry eggs on the sidewalk! And the wind was blowing all crazy. It was awesome!
















Just before heading to the airport we stopped by the Las Vegas temple. We spent time walking on the grounds and admiring the beautiful details of this sacred structure. It was the perfect ending to an incredible Sabbath day and 31st birthday.






I know my hubby is not a huge fan of me talking about him, especially when it comes to me sharing how sweet and selfless he is, but I can’t help but say a few things about him and what this trip meant to me. I use to be worried that I wouldn’t find someone with everything I was looking for in a man, because I had set my expectations for myself high, so I fully believed it was fair of me to look for someone who shared those same high standards and high expectations as well. That was before I met my Rob. Over the last 2 years that I have known him, everything I had hoped for and more has come to reality in him. What an amazing man he is and the sweetest, most-thoughtful husband I could ever ask for. He is better than any man I could have dreamed of. He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me and he makes me the happiest girl in the world. He lights up my life 🙂





  • Gina Marchant

    December 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Oh my sweet girl. I felt like I was living the story by the way you express yourself. What a sweet, romantic , amazing birthday. You are blessed with such a wonderful eternal companion who truly knows how to treat his princess turned queen . I’m so so happy for your life with Rob. It was an answer to a mothers most earnest prayers

    • Covina Spangenberg

      January 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Mom, you are the sweetest! I am so grateful for your faithful prayers. Rob is amazing. He is my best friend and makes me so happy! Thanks for being the best mom and incredible friend! I am so grateful for you. Love you.


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