Text sent from Huh mid-week last week:  I won’t be able to come home for spring break.  😦

Me:  Are you positive?

Huh:  Yeah.  😦  I’m too poor.

I had requested that she not drive that distance alone.  A twelve-hour drive for a 20-year-old young woman traveling alone makes this mom nervous.  None of Huh’s school friends live in our state, so none were coming our way.  She had briefly played around with the idea of buying a plane ticket, but discovered that she didn’t have the funds for that.

I struggled with the idea of buying her a plane ticket.  I wanted to see her for spring break, but I also want her to be independent and to learn how to deal with life’s disappointments.  She has a “loan” from us for her car that she is paying us monthly payments for, I could always just add the cost of the plane ticket to her loan.  Or, it could be a straight out “gift” from me, but that would open a can of worms.  Would she then want a plane ticket for spring break every year?  Would her siblings and step-siblings expect the same thing once they are at college?  I really did want to see my daughter, especially after the scare she had last week.  But, teaching her independence prevailed, and I kept my mouth shut about a plane ticket.  

Saturday, Hub and I were out running errands when I got a text from Huh asking if I was home.  I told her no but that we would be returning home after getting a bite to eat.  She replied that she needed me to check on something for her when I got home.  I thought maybe she was exploring the plane ticket idea again and had maybe found a pretty good rate.

As soon as Hub and I walked in the door the house phone rang.  “Mommeeee,” said Huh.  “I need you to check on something for me in your room.” 

” I know,” I said, tugging on my jacket sleeve to pull it off.  “We just barely walked in the door.  Is it something on the computer you want me to check?”

“Yeah.”

Again, thinking that maybe Huh had found a killer deal on a plane ticket, I walked into my room to get my laptop, and there sat Huh.  I gasped and Huh, along with Hoob and Yawlin who had followed me to my room, started laughing.  Of course I gave her a great big hug. 

It turns out that Huh’s step-mom was coming up for a wedding and so offered to ride with Huh.  The whole “I can’t come home for spring break” thing had all been part of her elaborate plan to surprise us.  And surprise us she did!  After dropping her step-mom off at where she would be staying Huh had parked her car at the Middle School across the street and had come into the house quietly through the garage.  The first “family member” to see her was the dog, who simply sniffed her leg and then wagged his tail in greeting.  She was able to make it up to my room without anyone at home seeing her. 

The first person she revealed her presence to was her little brother, Yawlin.  She could hear him playing in his room so she called his cell phone and told him the same thing she later told me, “I need you to check on something in Mom’s room.”  Yawlin’s reaction was similar to mine–a gasp and then a hug.  Huh then called Hoob and did the same thing to her.  Same reaction.  Next, the three siblings went downstairs and casually sat watching tv.  When Shroom walked in after taking a shower he stopped, said, “What the–?” and then leaped over the couch and tackled Huh in a big hug. 

I was the next person she showed herself to, and then she walked downstairs and into the kitchen where Hub was looking through cupboards for a snack.  “Oh!  Hello!” said Hub as he pulled her into a hug.  Juju looked up from the couch in the tv room and said, “What the heck?!”  She also came over to greet Huh.  The last person to see Huh was Mack, who came home later that evening from a day of babysitting.  We were all acting like we were watching tv, but really were too excited to see Mack’s reaction.  Mack did a double take when she saw Huh and then turned on the light to make sure she was seeing things correctly.

All in all I think Huh got the reactions she was hoping for. 

I’m glad she’s here.  And I’m glad I didn’t try to surprise her with a plane ticket!

I’ll be enjoying this week with my daughter. 🙂

Last Monday, in a post, I challenged myself to pay attention to the adventures and surprises each day brings.  All week I made sure to notice the good things in each day, and I even tried to create a few “adventures” of my own.  At the end of each day I wrote down the things I’d noticed.  Here are the weeks results, one favorite from each day:

Monday– It is a birthday tradition in our family for everyone to buy one gift from the dollar store for the person celebrating the birthday and then we present the gifts together in the evening when we gather as a family.  We were a few days late doing this tradition for Squid’s 19th birthday (busy schedules, ya know!), but on Monday we were ready.  Hub built a fire in the patio fire pit and we gathered to present our gifts to Squid and tell him exactly why we’d chosen the gifts we had.  Unknown to each other, Shroom and I had each chosen to get Squid some “masculine” body wash.  Squid immediately turned the situation into a “smell” test to see which body wash smelled better.  We all took turns closing our eyes while he held each bottle to our nose and we decided which scent we liked the best.  Huh’s and Mack’s boyfriends, who always seem to be at the house now, also got the chance to take the “test.”  The body wash that Shroom got won, but it was close!

Tuesday– Tuesday is garbage day in our neighborhood.  The cans were already sitting at the curb when I used the last little bit of laundry detergent and walked out the front door to throw the detergent jug away.  Seeing Yawlin standing on the sidewalk I said, “Hey, Yawlin, will you throw this away for me?”  Yawlin started to walk toward me and then I had a better idea. 

“Never mind.  Go open the lid to the green recycle can for me.”  Yawlin got a puzzled look on his face but did as he was told.  “I’m going to see if I can throw this jug into the can from here.”

Yawlin grinned and waited.  I hammed it up.  I bent my knees slightly, took careful aim, and launched the detergent jug into the air.  It flew over the recycling can into the street.  Yawlin laughed and went to retrieve the jug.  “Nice try, Mom.”

Before he could throw it away I said, “Wait.  Bring it to me.  I’m going to try again.”  Yawlin ran the jug up the lawn to me on the porch and I tried again.  And again.  And again.  Each time Yawlin brought the jug back to me he told me that I would for sure get it into the can the next time.  I came so close a few times, hitting the edge of the can before it bounced wildly into the street.

On my last try, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my next-door neighbor come out on her porch.  I was in mid-swing but decided to continue.  I launched the jug…it sailed in a perfect curve…and landed in the bin without touching a side.  Yawlin and I both cheered.  My neighbor?  She simply went back into her house.  Sometimes I wonder what those particular neighbors think of our family.

Wednesday – I got to sit and visit with my parents for awhile after I returned a book and movie that I’d borrowed from them.

Thursday – This is the day Huh had her ovarian cyst removed.  Most of the day was spent at the MASSIVE new hospital in a neighboring city.  I spent the time quietly waiting and reading.  After Huh was released is when the real rushing of the day began.  I got Huh home and set up on the couch where Mack had made a “bed” for her, then began the whirlwind–

–Told Yawlin he had soccer practice with his new team–

–Yawlin informed me that last year’s cleats are now too small for him–

–Told Yawlin to get in the car and we would see if we could get soccer cleats for him after dropping off Huh’s prescription request–

–Waited forever at the pharmacy while the lady in front of me in line asked the pharmacist a gazillion quesions–

–Finally turned in prescription request–

–While leaving the pharmacy I glanced at my watch and told Yawlin we no longer had time to find him some cleats.  Would his sneakers do for today?  Yawlin said they would–

–Rushed home so Yawlin could switch from flip-flops to sneakers and grab a water bottle–

–Drove 15 minutes to soccer practice–

–Dropped Yawlin off at soccer practice–

–Drove 15 minutes back to pharmacy to pick up Huh’s prescription–

–Drove home.  Gave Huh her pain medication–

–Drove 15 minutes back to soccer practice–

–Brought Yawlin home from soccer practice–

–Found out kids’ father (the ex) wasn’t going to be picking them up for their Thursday night visit–

–Drove for take-out Italian to feed the kids, since they wouldn’t be eating with their father–

–Ate dinner together (except for Huh who didn’t want to eat anything)–

–Kept checking on Huh to make sure she was feeling okay–

–When it was bedtime, I fell into bed exhausted.

Friday– Yawlin and I went school shopping.  We were on the hunt for a pair of denim shorts for him.  We visited four different stores, but never did find a pair that fit him.  We did, however, find some great deals on other clothing items.  At one store he got five t-shirts for five bucks.  You can’t beat $1.00 t-shirts! 

While we were standing in the check-out line at one of the stores there was an older gentleman in line ahead of us.  The cashier asked him how he was doing.  His answer?  “Great!  But, I’m getting better.”

What an upbeat, fun attitude to have!

Saturday – This was our “off” weekend–the weekend all of the kids go stay with their other parent.  Hub and I went out for Sushi.

Sunday–  Because of a special dedicatory celebration for our church, we got the kids early from their other parents so that they could attend with us.  After the session we went home for dinner.  Hub had just finished fixing the meal when his kids were informed that their mother had fixed them a dinner.  They left and we sat staring at a whole lot of food.  Huh’s boyfriend, “Plumber,” was already at the house.  I told Mack to call her boyfriend, “SkiShop,” and see if he’d had dinner yet.  If he hadn’t, he could come help us eat some of the food.  SkiShop said he was pretty full from his dinner, but he would come over.  (Teenage boys always come for food!)

We’d finished eating and were standing in the kitchen talking when Mack got a text.  “SkiShop is here.  Everybody hide.”

We all looked at each other, not sure if she was serious.  “Hide!  He’s here.  It will be funny!’

There was a mad scramble as we all tried to find a hiding spot.  I ended up crammed in a corner with Huh and Plumber.  The poor dog’s herding instinct kicked in and he went nuts barking and running from hiding place to hiding place trying to keep track of all of us.  Mack sent a text to SkiShop telling him to just walk in.  We heard him try, but the door was locked.  Mack went to the door and led him into the kitchen.  SkiShop spotted Yawlin right away trying to hide by the game closet, but it was when he saw Hub crouched behind a couch that we heard, “What the–?”

We all emerged from our hiding spots laughing.  We told SkiShop that it was Mack’s idea to have us all hide from him.  “Is that why Max was barking like crazy?  I could here him from outside.”

We all told where we’d each been hiding and laughed at some of the places chosen.  We offered SkiShop the remains of our dinner (there was still plenty of food) and then visited for awhile.

So there you have it.  My week of adventure and surprise.  It’s not hard to find adventure if you look for it.  Heck, you can make adventure.  And the adventure can be as simple as listening to the crickets in the evening (something else I did on Monday). 

Look for the good.  Look for the positive.  You will find it.

Thursday night is our date night.  It is the night all of the kids are with their “other” parents for a little while, so it’s a great time for Hub and I to have some “couple” time.  This week Hub suggested we stay in on Thursday “since we have been going to dinner a lot and should probably cut down on that.”  I was fine with staying home and just cuddling in front of the t.v. or fixing a meal together and eating it on the patio.  I even suggested to Hub that we take a walk along one of the local trails.  He seemed to like that idea.

Then I got a phone call on my lunch break from Hub.  “What are you doing tonight?”

“Um, spending it with you.”

“You don’t have anything planned?”

“Nope.  Just our date night.”

“Okay.  I have a surprise for you.  We’re going to go somewhere.  Be ready by 6:45.”

Cool.  My husband had a surprise for me.  With the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, I figured he’d come up with something that he or the kids could give me for Mother’s Day and he wanted to make sure I liked it before he bought it.  At home later in the day I asked Hub if I was supposed to dress up for wherever we were going.  He stopped what he was doing and got a thoughtful look on his face.  “I suppose we could dress up.  But, no not this time.  We’ll keep it casual.”

“Okay.  Can I eat now or do I have to wait?  I’m starving.”

“No, you can go ahead and eat here.”

Hmmmm, I could eat at home, which meant we weren’t going to dinner anywhere.  Maybe I was right about it being a preview of a Mother’s Day gift.

At 6:45 on the dot we said good-bye to my kids who were still waiting for their dad to pick them up and we drove away.  As we drove Hub asked me if I had any ideas on where we might be going.  Looking around I asked, “Is it to Engh Gardens?  They were having a flower show a couple of weekends back that I wanted to go to.”

Hub grinned and said,”Yup, that’s where we’re going.”

But, at the intersection, instead of continuing north towards Engh Gardens, Hub turned west.  Hub was smiling from ear to ear.  I found myself thinking, West?  What’s down this street?  The theaters are down this street.  Ah ha!  “We’re going to Star Trek!”  I blurted out. 

Hub laughed out loud and I knew I was right. 

I am married to the biggest sci-fi nerd on the planet.  I have endured many sci-fi movies being married to this man.  He even made me go with him to see  The Clone Wars (that animated Star Wars turkey of a film), in the theater, instead of waiting until we could just rent it.  When we sat down in our seats to watch The Clone Wars I said, “You owe me a chick flick for this.”  Hub readily accepted the debt.

Halfway through that movie Hub leaned over and whispered, “I owe you two chick flicks for this.”  Three quarters of the way through the movie he leaned over and I heard, “Okay, three chick flicks.”  And, believe me, I made him pay up!

Thursday was opening night in select theaters for the new Star Trek movie.  Hub just couldn’t resist seeing it on opening night.  The man was downright giddy.  Sometimes Hub will use Netflix to watch the old Star Trek t.v. series.  Whenever he does that, the rest of the family slowly sneaks out of the room until he is all alone watching his show.  Sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start, I couldn’t help but laugh about the sneaky way Hub had gotten me to the show.  I reached over and grabbed his hand.  The important thing is that we were on a date together.

And now I’ll just say that I was pleasantly surprised about the movie.  I was entertained throughout.  I was a little lost when all of the Trekkies in the theater would laugh at certain things that were said, obviously things that were a part of the original series, but not knowing the history didn’t keep me from enjoying the movie.  I won’t hesitate to recommend the movie to others.  It was pretty darn good!

As we left the theater we saw some people dressed up like Spock.  Hub said, “Now can you see what I meant when I said we could dress up, but wouldn’t this time?”  I just shook my head and laughed.  I’m glad he didn’t make me “dress up.”

Date night.  It was his activity of choice.  We held hands.  We were entertained.  It was perfect.

And so, as the world’s favorite Vulcan would say, “Live long and prosper!”

I am patting myself on the back right now.  I have learned that I can throw together a surprise birthday party in one week’s time. 

Yesterday was Huh’s 18th birthday.  For about a month I had been asking her what she wanted for her birthday.  And for a month all I kept getting out of her was, “I dunno.”  One week before her birthday I hit upon the idea of giving her a surprise party since she didn’t seem to know what she wanted.  It was the perfect time to have a party, too, because her birthday fell on President’s Day so there would be no school.  An afternoon surprise party would work quite well, I thought.

I immediately enlisted the help of others:  A couple of key people at her old high school to contact friends there, one of the girls from her current softball team to contact team members, a couple of friends from her current high school to contact people there, and Mack, whom I assigned to contact cousins and friends of Huh’s that attend other high schools. 

Mack’s assignment was the hardest.  She had to try to get Huh’s cell phone from her so that we could find the contact information for some of her friends.  Huh is rarely without her phone.  She gets quite tense if she doesn’t have her phone with her, something I’ve written a little about in a previous post.  Poor Mack.  It caused her a lot of stress to be assigned to get the phone.  “Mom, I can’t do it.  She never puts the phone down.  If she’s not holding it then it’s in her back pocket.  How am I supposed to get it from her if that’s where it is?”  I just told her to be diligent.  We needed those numbers.

Finally, after three days, Huh happened to place her phone on the kitchen counter after school while she looked for a snack to eat.  Mack grabbed the phone and shoved it down her shirt and ran out of the kitchen.  I happened to be coming down the hall when Mack came running out of the kitchen.  In a split second she had the phone out of her shirt and shoved it toward me.  It ended up going down into my shirt and Mack ran back into the kitchen giggling.  I spun on my heal and ran up the stairs to my bedroom, locked the door, retrieved the phone from my shirt and immediately began scrolling through the contact list.  I was surprised at how many contacts she had listed in there.  Who is that?  Which Caleb is that?  Is this the right Alex?  Omigosh, I don’t know half of these people!  I knew I only had seconds before Huh would miss her phone. With paper and pencil in hand I quickly wrote the five numbers I was certain I wanted and then tucked the phone into my back pocket and went back down to the kitchen.  Huh still had her head buried in the fridge.  I had no idea where Mack had grabbed the phone from so I placed it on one of the side counters and hoped that Huh hadn’t really paid attention to where she’d laid her phone.  Whew!  I was so grateful that none of Huh’s friends tried to call or text her during those few moments!  I’m not sure what I would have done if the phone had gone off while it was in my possession.

Trying to keep the party a secret was quite a task.  Whenever a party guest would call or text Mack or my cell phone to ask questions or let us know they were coming we would have to get up and leave the room.  I ended up putting my phone into the silent mode so that Huh wouldn’t know when I had received a text or call.  The only people I usually text are my kids and sometimes one of my sisters, so for me to be receiving so many texts suddenly seemed a little odd to Huh.  Mack’s bedroom became the dropping place for party decorations and food that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  Once Huh saw me and Hub unloading some groceries and she spotted the trays of cheese we’d gotten for the party.  “Why on earth did you get so much cheese?”

Hub, thinking quickly, said, “We are going to freeze it.”

I followed with, “Yeah, it was on sale at a really good price  so we decided to get it to freeze for food storage.”

Huh bought it. 

On the day of the party I got up early so that I could get everything loaded into the car before Huh woke up.  I baked her the lemon poppy seed muffins that she’d requested for her birthday breakfast and made a few quick phone calls to guests who needed directions to the party location–our church.  Huh slept in a little and then treated herself to a lazy morning of eating muffins in front of the tv.  I told her I was taking her siblings shopping for her birthday and that when we got back I would take her shopping and then out to lunch.  Of course, the kids and I weren’t really shopping, we went to the church and began setting up for the party.  I ran to the store to get a few last minute items and got stuck in the line with the world’s slowest checker.  Mack kept calling me in a panic saying that guests were arriving and she didn’t know what she was supposed to have them do.  I gave her a few instructions and then called Hub and told him to tell Huh that it was our turn to clean the church and that he was leaving to go do that and that the rest of us were already at the church waiting for him.  Again, Huh bought the story.

Once I dropped off the rest of the stuff at the church I rushed to get Huh, telling her that someone had made a huge mess in the bathrooms of the church and that we needed more bathroom cleaners.  I told her that we were just going to drop the cleaners off at the church and then the two of us would go shopping.  Meanwhile, at the church, the guests all got into position to jump out and scare Huh.  One of the guests predicted that she would call them all stupid or something once they’d all jumped out.

The first words out of Huh’s mouth after everyone had yelled surprise were, “You guys are so dumb!”  Everyone laughed.  The prediction had come pretty close.

The party went well.  The food was enjoyed (and we had enough), the game was the perfect mixer to help kids from different high schools get to know each other, and the memories shared of  Huh were hilarious.  Huh later gave me a hug and thanked me.  I told her to call me the Party Kween!  She just laughed.

A party planned in one week’s time.  Yeah, I deserve a pat on the back…or at least a piece of cake.

Hub celebrates his 45th birthday on the 22nd of this month.  I am looking for unique and quirky ideas for celebrating it.  When I turned 40 in January Hub went all out with the “Over the Hill” theme complete with black balloons and an announcement on the front door for the neighbors to be quiet around the nearly dead.

Side note:  The kids and Hub filled the house with black balloons.  Hoob decided to have fun with it and put balloons in unexpected places.  There were balloons in my bed, my closet, and the sinks in the master bathroom.  She drew a smiley face on one balloon and put it in the toilet with a post-it note that said, “I am a potty mouth!”

Hub and I didn’t know each other when he turned 40 so I haven’t had the pleasure of celebrating one of the milestone birthdays with him.  If you have any ideas or have seen some great celebrations for a 45th birthday please let me know.  I want the kids to be able to have fun with this.

Thanks!