Birthday Surprise Day 3 – Sunday (part 1- the long goodbye…)

I thought I’d post a little bit more about my birthday weekend since the kids had to leave on Sunday, but Terry and I continued on till Monday night. I’ll post it in pieces so you don’t have so much to read in one sitting.

On Sunday Amy & Andrew had to head back to L.A. (7+ hour drive) and Kevin had to head back to Omaha (18+ hour drive). (I still can’t believe they were all able to get there.) We all slept in a bit, then just got up, and went down to the restaurant at the hotel for breakfast. It was o.k., nothing special, so we were 0 for 2 for great breakfast places. Oh well, the dinner Saturday made up for it all.

Since the temps in Sedona were getting into the mid 90’s in the afternoons, Terry and I decided to head up to Flagstaff for the last night. It’s just about an hour north, but the temps are 10 to 20 degrees cooler since it’s higher elevation. A & A and Kevin were both planning to head thru Flag on the way home, so we all drove in a caravan through Oak Creek Canyon and up to the Oak Creek Vista Overlook, then stopped to take a group photo and say our goodbyes.

By the way, I love the way our colors coordinated in the group photo. You’d think we had planned it, but we didn’t.

We were so sad to see the kids go, not knowing exactly when we’ll see them again. But we were so thankful that we had that precious time with them. You can see how sad Amy was in the photo below, and I think Kevin was wiping away tear. (just kidding)

We had an amazing time!

Coming up next I’ll post about our visits to Walnut Canyon and the Flagstaff Arboretum, so stay tuned…

My Amazing Birthday Surprise!! (Day 1)

Well, it’s hard to know where to start, especially since many of you have probably already read Amy’s account of my 50th birthday surprise. For the benefit of those who don’t know the details, I’ll start from the beginning.

Let’s see…just a little background on how it happened from my perspective. Terry (and everyone else who knew) did an excellent job of keeping it all a secret. A few weeks before the event I did find out that something was going on, only because I was trying to plan something on the 4th and he made it clear (without really saying anything) that I shouldn’t. This told me that something was going on that weekend and that I’d better just wait and see what it was. I really do enjoy some kinds of surprises so I didn’t try to find out more.

So, when Friday, the 4th of July came around we were both off work, as expected. I got up, started cleaning the house, did some laundry, etc. Terry never said a word about anything. He went for a walk, read the newspaper, watched some Olympic trials on TV, helped with laundry and still didn’t say anything. Finally around mid-day I went in to take a shower and while I was in there he got 2 suitcases out of the closet and left them on the bed. Of course, this meant we were going away somewhere! Sounded good so far. He told me we were going for 3 days, which meant I wasn’t going to work on Monday (my actual birthday). He had called my boss to arrange for me to have off without my knowledge of it. So they were in on it too and didn’t tell me. He told me the temperature range to expect, but not exactly where we were going and to pack mostly casual with one nicer outfit for dinner one night.

I thought it was strange that we were just hanging around the house, and thought that we might be catching a flight later, so I asked him if we were flying or driving to our mystery destination. He told me we were driving. Now at this point, I was a little disappointed but didn’t want to let on since I knew he had gone to a lot of trouble to plan a special time for me. You see, deep down I was hoping that we were going to see one or more of the kids, and I assumed that if that was the case, we would have either left early in the morning (if we were driving to L.A.) or we’d be flying (if we were going to Omaha) or we wouldn’t be leaving town at all (if the kids were coming here). So needless to say, I was a little sad for a few minutes. Then I realized what an amazing husband I have to even go to the trouble of planning this big surprise, so I would enjoy whatever he had in store for me. I will say that after those few minutes, I was ready for a wonderful weekend with my sweetie. You see, even though he doesn’t show it much to others he’s very sensitive, creative and quite a romantic, so I knew it would be awesome, no matter what.

O.k. so I’m 3 paragraphs in and we haven’t even left the house yet. I’ll really need to skip a few things. I will definitely do this in stages (like Amy did) and I won’t go into so much detail, but I wanted to set the stage for the weekend.
Anyway, even after we were packed, Terry was still just hanging around the house, which I thought was odd. Finally we left around 3 pm and started driving north on I-17. O.k., so this eliminates, the White Mountains, Tucson, Mexico, or anywhere else in southern Arizona or the southern U.S., which is a good thing since many of those places are blazing hot right now. Some of the possibilities that I considered were Flagstaff, Prescott, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon although there could have been many more. As an added bonus we had a really nice thunderstorm on the way up the freeway too, which was a nice touch. I love the rain!

My first real clue to our destination was when we exited the freeway and saw this sign…so it narrowed it down a little more. Looks like we’re going to Sedona, right? Terry wouldn’t confirm or deny it. While on the road toward Sedona the gorgeous rocks were bright red set off by amazing greenery from the rain.

We kept driving and while on the road Terry called a restaurant to tell them that we were running a few minutes late for our 5 pm reservation. We would be there by around 5:10. This seemed a little strange for him because we don’t usually make reservations when we’re on a road trip and I wasn’t in my “nicer” outfit so I was hoping I would be presentable wherever we were going.

We arrived in Sedona and went straight to Tlaquepaque, a quaint little “village” of shops, galleries and restaurants along cobblestone streets, surrounded by stucco walls and huge sycamore trees. Although most of the shops are out of my price range, I still love to stroll around and enjoy the look and feel of the place. It has so much character. We got out of the car and walked to a place we’ve enjoyed several times in the past, the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill.

As we walked in, instead of checking in at the hostess stand, Terry started walking straight back toward the tables. Of course, I had no idea what he was doing and only had enough time to think…”there must be someone back there that he knows…”. By the time that thought crossed my mind we were standing in front of a booth where Andrew, Amy and Kevin were scrunched down in the seat trying to hide as best they could so I wouldn’t see them until the latest possible moment. My heart flooded with joy and my eyes filled with tears (of joy) as soon as it registered in my mind. (It makes me cry just writing about it.) That was really my only wish for my birthday…to have our family all together for a little while. It had been over 7 months (since Christmas) that we had all spent time together. I still can’t believe that they pulled it off to all get there for the weekend. Andrew even gave up his own birthday celebration to come. What an awesome gift!!!

The rest of the night we enjoyed dinner and each other’s company at the restaurant, I had my first birthday dessert of the weekend (even though Andrew’s birthday was the next day) then we went back and checked into the hotel.

After we arrived, the boys decided to test drive the “Sleep Number” beds and Kevin tested it even a little further, as you’ll see from this photo.

Before we went to bed Terry told us that he had made reservations for all of us to go on a Pink Jeep Tour in the morning. We had to be ready and waiting in front of the hotel at 4:30 am!! The jeep was supposed to be taking us up into the red rock formations so we could enjoy breakfast on the rocks and watch the sunrise. It sounded pretty cool and we had gone on a Pink Jeep Tour before (but not this particular one) and liked it, so we gladly went to bed early to try to get a good night’s sleep for as much of the night that was left.

Unfortunately, I don’t have caffeine very often any more and I had had a Diet Coke on the drive up, along with some of the chocolate cake after dinner so I pretty much tossed and turned most of the night. I didn’t have any warm milk to put me to sleep so I just suffered thru…around about midnight, as I was laying there trying to fall asleep, something hit me. I’ll bet we’re not going on a jeep tour. How could those jeeps drive on those precarious red rocks in the dark. That would be pretty dangerous. I had an idea where we might be going, but didn’t want to assume anything…then I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours.

That’s the end of day 1. More to come later. I won’t be able to post tomorrow, so it will probably be Friday before I can do another installment. I promise I won’t be so detailed on the next ones or you’ll be bored to tears. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s a fun one, I promise!