happy birthday, hubby | gwinnett photography

My dear husband's birthday was last month (July) and, being the planner that I am, I naturally started panicking about what to get him... in May. I take gifting pretty seriously. I get excited thinking of unique items for my loved ones that will show how much they mean to me. When it comes to getting gifts for my husband, though, sometimes it's HARD. Typically the price tag on the things he wants are bigger than my budget. Ever since we had kids, our birthday gifts to each other are less hands-on and more about letting the birthday person go find something he/she wants. It's faster and easier on everyone. But this year I just did not want to do that. I was dead-set on going all out and doing something totally different and epic.

Initially I had considered buying him a teeny chunk of land in Ireland (if you haven't guessed by our last name, we have a bit of Irish heritage). As I was doing the research, it dawned on me that it could be fun to attempt to to find out where exactly in Ireland his family was from and what their history was like. His family has always known of its Irish roots, but nothing more specific. 

With that thought, I dove headfirst into a crazy quest for his family history....

After weeks of in-depth and supremely intense research, I uncovered a ton of really interesting information about his family. It just so happened that his family is from a fantastic part of the island where there are still castle ruins that were once his family's! 

Once I compiled a lot of information, though, I didn't really know what to do with it or how to present it. With my mom's help (who is a super arts-and-crafter), we created an old fashioned book, complete with stained and brittle pages, detailing the family history. I also purchased a couple little things to go along with it, but then I needed a fun way to present it... Simply wrapping it in a box or stuffing it in a bad just didn't seem right.

After much brain-storming, I decided I really needed a nice, serious-looking chest. I found the perfect one at Hobby Lobby. I was able to fill it with his gifts and, to make it even more interesting, I added a TON of gold-wrapped candies and made his birthday morning into a treasure hunt--complete with MAPS. :) 

He and our toddler went on a nice little treasure hunt first thing, that ended with a treasure chest full of gold. It was SO fun and so very different from the normal birthday gift shenanigans. He totally loved it and was surprised (a huge WIN for me because I swear he is never surprised!).