Doug always likes to celebrate his birthday in a big way. One year we did turkey drumsticks, last year we did the gigantic pizza, but this year required something extraordinary. This year Doug was turning 40. The only glitch in my party plans was that Charles’ arrival was supposed to be around the 10th of May, and Doug’s birthday is the 13th.
In order to work around this scheduling conflict, I decided to start planning way in advance. I booked our local rec center in January, and I ordered the invitations in February (of course, I neglected to put the time on them!). I was planning a surprise party, and whenever Doug would ask me about what we were going to do for his birthday, I told him we would just have to wait to see how I was feeling after the baby. Having a baby is pretty much the perfect cover for a surprise party!
The theme for the party was an all out geek celebration. It all started with a door mat that I found at Kohl’s for $5. After that, there was no turning back. I had geek glasses and Nerds for party favors. I even had an awesome playlist (think, She Blinded Me With Science). Unfortunately you couldn’t hear the music above the crowd! I had beakers and wind up robots. My sister made molecules out of Styrofoam balls and bamboo skewers. I think my crowning achievement had to be the Periodic Table of Cookies. My sister and I baked 100 cookies the day before and laid them out to form the Periodic Table of Elements.
The best part was that people came from far and wide. Greg flew in from Utah, and Doug’s siblings came from Washington, Minnesota, Florida and Dallas. Plus Doug’s parents came. My dad and sister were here too. We even had friends drive in from Ft. Hood. I think the whole thing was a huge success, but I’m a little biased!
I was a little worried that Doug was on to my plan. When He asked me again what we were doing for his birthday, I told him that my family was going to watch the kids so that we could go out to dinner. I wanted to get to the rec center at about 7:15, and we had finished dinner at about 6:45. On our way home Doug suggested taking the long way, so I was sure he knew what was up. Then his dad called to wish him a happy birthday, and so he pulled over to talk to him for a few minutes. The timing was perfect when we got to the party. I asked him to pull over, and he thought it was because there was a friend in the parking lot. He didn’t find it strange at all that there were lots of friends in the parking lot! That’s when he finally asked if it was a surprise party.
When he walked in the real surprise came. Everywhere he looked he would see someone else who had traveled a long way just to celebrate his birthday. When he first walked in, Tommy came running up to him with the biggest hug ever! The party was a great success, and Doug got to have some great family time.
I have to give a huge shout out to my sister Jessica who watched my kids, and to Christina and Dixie who hung out with me all day decorating the rec center. Those things always take longer than you think. My dad was also a huge help. He pretty much ran all of the last-minute errands, like going to Costco for the drinks and veggies. It was a crazy day, and there was no way that I would have been able to do it by myself!
Another awesome thing: with all the family and friends, clean up was a snap. Am I the only one who gets depressed that something that takes hours to set up can be torn down in 30 minutes?!