We'll each take a part in telling our side of the surprise birthday story! There are so many behind-the-scenes arrangements to be made when attempting to put on a party, while keeping it from the mom of the house! We are grateful for all those who lended a hand and prayed for us, and we missed those of you who could not attend.
"Wow! What a great day. Aunt Bet and I were on our way back down to South Carolina on Saturday since Deb didn't have power at her house after the big storm when Jonathan called and said the power was on again! I was so glad to hear that. So Bet and I turned around and headed to Deb's. That way we could be there the next evening to see the surprised look on her face! It was good to see so many of her friends. I'm thankful to be part of her past, present, and future."
Aunt Bet writes:
"My job in the great surprise birthday caper was to occupy the birthday girl while the rest of the family made final preparations for the big reveal! Easy, right?
I begged for an afternoon visit to the Verona Antique Mall--not much persuading was necessary when I mentioned my request to Deb. We got to the mall, wandered several aisles, and I realized that time was fleeting. My job was to get Deb back to the house by 4:45.
Amazing how fast time flies in an antique mall! She couldn't understand why I was ready to go. I used the "I'm overwhelmed by all these antiques and choices" excuse. But she kept wanting to visit one more booth in the mall until finally I persuaded her we really needed to go. While I was making a little purchase (another potato masher for Granny!), Deb went to cool the car. I made a quick phone call to Hannah letting her know we were on the way home.
Driving up the driveway, Deb began to suspect something was up. "Who are all those people and what are they doing?" The gang had gathered at the top of the driveway to welcome the birthday girl home.
Her mouth dropped and she started pointing out various people, hardly believing they were all there to celebrate her birthday. What fun! We finally surprised the person in the family who is least likely to be surprised by anything!"
"Before Mom and Aunt Bet got back from the antique mall, I went out to retrieve the Leaning Tower of Pizzas. On the way home, I saw Dad's truck pull onto the road ahead of me! Yay! He was able to make it back from working the storm for a little while. He was there to surprise Mom when she drove up and stayed for a quick chat before he had to return to work. We were so glad that God answered our prayers that he would be able to be part of the celebration!
We thank the Lord for His providential sovereignty in giving us a godly mother and for His grace in allowing the party to come together despite the chaotic weekend!"
"Hannah and I had a ton of fun planning the decorations and how everything would be set up! Taking inventory of our party supplies, we found blue and red plates, flag napkins, and plastic utensils. On our way back from market last week, we were able to quickly stop by the dollar store and pick up some balloons, streamers, tablecloths, cups, and star confetti for the tables. Hannah cut out red, white, and blue paper triangles for a bunting, made some paper pinwheels, and snuck out early Sunday morning to pick fresh flowers for a couple of simple, beautiful arrangements.
As we were planning out what the menu would be, we knew it would have to be something easily prepared and stored secretly. The pizza would be taken care of with Jonathan running out to pick it up while Mom was away. Vegetables and dip would work too, but we had to buy extra veggies to supplement what was in the fridge. Not wanting Mom to wonder where they came from, we stored everything in a cooler in an upstairs room. :) It was convenient that we were bringing vegetables for snacks at church and could at least prepare some without arousing suspicion.
For dessert, I made chocolate cupcakes and homemade peach ice cream. Finding the time to bake 90 cupcakes was a little tricky, but thankfully Aunt Bet, Granny and Mom went out shopping on Friday, and I was able to rush around in a tizzy baking them. Since it was my market baking day anyway, all my ingredients and supplies were ready to go.
Frosted and sprinkled, the cupcakes were hidden away in the guest room, awaiting the big day. I found these printable cupcake toppers, cut them out with scalloped scissors, and taped each one to a toothpick. On Sunday, once it was time to bring out the cupcakes, some of the guests and I stuck the toppers in. (Thanks, Mrs. O. and Laura!)
The quadruple batch of peach ice cream had to be frozen in the ice cream freezer in 2 installments, AFTER Mom had left, so it was a bit of a mad rush to get it done in time. Aunt Bet brought some huge, fresh picked South Carolina peaches just for the ice cream, and they were so delicious."
It was soon time for the pizza party to begin! Everyone enjoyed gathering in the shade behind our house to escape the evening's sun. Families scattered around the yard and porch munching and fellowshipping.
Mom has always wanted to invite people for a hymn sing, but plans for one have been put on hold...until now! She never suspected that her desire would actually come to pass as a special birthday surprise. After we finished up Sarah's delicious ice cream, we gathered the chairs and hymn books and sang for awhile into the evening.
Several people requested favorite hymns, and we even had a few budding musicians playing along on some numbers with banjo and guitar.
"Oh my! I couldn’t believe this gift when I opened it! It’s beautiful! My friend, Chris, made this creative and colorful quilt using the Scrappy Spools quilt pattern, and I absolutely love it! What a special remembrance of this special day! Thank you, Chris!
All around this was a wonderfully surprising day--I think I like surprises after all! I’ve been so blessed and honored by everyone who came—some traveling from across town and others traveling up to three hours to get here! I am amazed and humbled! Your presence was the very best gift of all! Thank you so very much!
I’d especially like to thank all my family for cooking up all this fun and going to so much trouble to keep it from me! Ahem...
And I'd like to thank all my friends and family for the emails, phone calls, birthday cards, gifts, and well-wishes you sent my way. I don't think I'll ever forget my 60th!"