Sudoku's 10th birthday was approaching, and I was struggling with what to do for her and how to celebrate. Planning a party was really more than I had time or energy to do, but I wanted number 10 to be special and memorable. I thought about having one or 2 friends over for dinner and cake -- something low-key, but it didn't seem quite right.

Then I hit on an idea. An afternoon away. Just the two of us.

Her birthday came and I told to dress up a bit, that she and I were going to meet her cousin and aunt for tea. She lit up.

We left the other kids behind with Marathon, and spent 2 slow, lazy, spoiled hours at The English Rose, an English Tea House downtown. The restaurant is owned by a British woman, and most of her servers are also from the UK with accents to suit. I had to lean in and concentrate when our server was speaking. With real linens, real china, real tea...it felt so...real! We had the Victorian Tea, and while it was pricey...for a small, intimate, girly birthday celebration, it was just perfect.

Sudoku and her cousin were so lady-like, visiting and chatting. My sis-in-law and I were able to catch up and visit too. It was so very refreshing; just what the doctor ordered.

After lunch tea, Sudoku and I headed to the river to do a little window shopping. Then we changed clothes and played in the fountain before heading back to the real world. She claims it was her best birthday yet. It was a day I won't soon forget.

Would you believe, I forgot to take a picture? Maybe that's a good sign -- that I was living in the moment. Still, I wish I had I captured our outing in digital format...

Update: Chattanooga photographer Cameron Adams graciously granted permission for me to use his lovely photo taken in the English Rose tea room. Pictured is the restaurant's tiered presentation of the "Victorian tea." This photo, in my opinion, captures the essence of the venue. Thank you, Cameron.