Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A (Surprise!) Weekend at Home!

Last weekend, for the first time ever, I went home during the fall semester! 

It all started this summer when the conversation began about what we should do to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday. We all knew she wanted a surprise party (who doesn't want one??) but we weren't sure how to pull it off or how I could be there. Looking back now, over a week since both those things happened, I'm not sure any of us could tell you. I'm going to attempt to explain it all now, though, for the sake of documentation for us and also to share with those who couldn't be there. AKA, this is a long post. 

First of all, props to my dad and little sister for being able to keep it a secret while living with her! Rumor has it that sometime before that weekend my mom asked my little sister (Brianna) if we were planning anything. Brianna's response? "I don't know. It's not like they would tell me." Hilarious! She definitely knew, but it was an accurate youngest sibling remark nonetheless. The second big thanks goes to my older sister, Jenna, who did most (basically all?!) of the planning for the party, quite a feat! As for me, I just prayed about how I would be able to get there, which ended up being provided by someone whom I love and loves me. Such a gift, to both my mom and I, that we will never forget! 

We all went back and forth on when this would happen before settling on the actual weekend of my mom's birthday. While it would have been fun to surprise her a month beforehand, it was wonderful to be able to spend time with her on the actual day of! As I headed to the airport that Friday afternoon, just a few blocks over from my safe seat on the train was the celebration parade for the Cubs World Series win! In order to throw my mom off, I had a friend of mine, who was standing along the parade route, send me a few pictures of her view. I then sent those to my whole family telling them that I decided to cut class to attend the parade. I quickly texted everyone but my mom that I was a liar who was on her way to the airport. I won't lie, I thought it was a pretty genius way to throw her off. In addition to that, I had made up an event that I told her was happening the next day and even made tentative plans to call and talk with her at some point on her birthday. I also turned off my location on my phone so that she would not be able to see where I was. We used this trick several times throughout the weekend. 

Upon landing, Jenna picked me up from the airport and we headed to the football game! While we regret not planning it out better to where we could have gotten a video of my mom seeing me walk up the bleachers, I won't ever forget the yelling of our names from her, which was a rare sign of excitement (lack of enthusiasm and expressiveness being a quality I got from her). Y'all, she was so pleased. One can never doubt how much a mother loves to see her children after a long time apart. It was so surreal for me to be back in my old high school stadium. I hadn't attended a game since my senior year! (Fun fact: I lettered in football because I was on the varsity a filmer ;)) I finally got to see Brianna in her band uniform. They didn't actually march their show, but you gotta take what you can get!

The next day, which was my mom's actual birthday, was when the real fun began! Long story short, we had a girl's day! We went to a junk show, had lunch, did a little shopping, and finally wine tasting. The day was so beautiful that I can't help but share pictures I took throughout it!:

All of us after the first and most important stop: Starbucks!
Brianna, the official goof. Scarves at Charming Charlies, because who knew a single image could bring me such peace and give me so much inspiration? And bread, the only thing I consumed at the wine tasting! #Moodyproblems #nodrinkinguntilaftergraduation
A mother and all her daughters! What a valuable picture!

Now is a funny part. While at lunch, my dad called my mom and told her that, while at work that afternoon, he was on the bus and went up behind another coworker and jokingly hit the back of their knee, causing them to fall off the bus and get a concussion. It was so hard not to laugh at this because I knew it was a lie covering up my dad's involvement in opening up Wendy's house for the surprise party. She took it in stride, however, and we continued our day, planning on waiting back at the house once we were done to wait on our dad before going out to dinner at one of her favorite places. Once we left the wine tasting, however, Wendy told my mom that we first needed to stop at her house so that she could get my mom's present. 

How cute was her response to a room full of people from all over her life?? This picture makes me want to cry. I viewed the goal of the weekend as to make my mom feel loved and I think this picture shows that this goal was accomplished! The night contained a photobooth with hilarious results, (too briefly!) catching up with both people we have known for years and for shorter periods of time, and finally with sitting around the patio and just chatting after most everyone had left. The only flaw in the party was that we showed up about half an hour after we had planned for, so thank you to everyone who stuck around during that time!!

I swear this girl ended up in half the photobooth pictures!! (;

The next day, Sunday, was spent with family and the dogs. One of my aunts and cousin came up for the party so we went out to lunch and showed them around our area and the many things that are being built. After they left we just hung around the house. We played Mexican Train that night, which is just "our thing". Ah, family. 

Compiling pictures for this post brought on one of those moments where I thought to myself, "Wow! How did I take so many pictures of these dogs in such a short amount of time?!" My family got these dogs on the day I left to come back to school this semester, before my flight had even landed! This was my first time to meet them and, while they are quite energetic, a contrast to Mr. Bojangles, I loved them!

Then, bright and early (except not bright..because the night before was "fall back"), Monday morning I hoped on a plane back to Chicago! I got to the airport at 5:15, got through the insane security line by 5:45, and was boarded (with my breakfast compilation from Whataburger, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks!) by 6:15. I got back to campus and immediately showered and unpacked, energetic to tackle my Monday! The fact that all that energy left and I felt physically weak (mainly just hungry!) by my 11am class reminded me that I am human. 

It was an amazing weekend. We could not have asked for a better one. Once again, thank you to everyone who was involved, from the small ones to the big ones! Mom and dad, I will see you again, and for a longer amount of time (!!) in just a few more weeks! 

- rl

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