I have been absolutely paranoid to post anything on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, etc. for fear of spilling a HUGE secret I've been holding since shortly after Thanksgiving. Around Cyber Monday, I got a text from my BFF's hubby, Joe, asking if Miss M and I would fly out for JHo's (aka Jen's) 40th birthday hurrah. Are you KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW???? OF COURSE!
It helped that we were already in the state, celebrating belated Christmas with my husband's side of the family. Instead of flying home on Monday, we flew up to Sacramento. My parents picked us up and we hid out with them for a few days. I had the whole family on Facebook lock down! NO PHOTOS! No tagging! It felt like we were in witness protection or something! We had a few close calls, but we made it through.
We had a nice visit with my folks. My brother came up from the Bay Area and we got to see my other brother who lives near my parents, too. He works out of town, so we don't always get to see him when we're there. We had a little celebration for Miss M's, my, and my mom's birthday as they are all in January.
On Thursday, Mom and Dad drove us over to the Sacramento Airport. We met Joe at the cell phone lot and transferred all our luggage over to his truck. We said our tearful goodbyes and got in the truck. Jen's other BFF's, Jenni, Hilary and Mr. Hilary were also flying in. I went to terminal A to meet up with Jenni, he went to pick up Hilary and Mr. Hilary.
The timing was perfect and everything was falling into place. Jen and her friend, Erika were shopping at Ikea while we were rounding every body up. He had given Jen a gift card to Joe's Crab Shack that morning to ensure she would have lunch at the right place!
We were approaching the restaurant just as Jen and Erika were walking in! We couldn't believe we had such a close call! Thankfully, Erika spotted us and quickly ushered her through the door. Whew! We got parked and headed to the restaurant. Joe went in, gifts in hand. The rest of us waited impatiently outside. Jenni's gift was in her luggage, which was delayed, so we sent her in first. We decided to have her call Jen as if to be checking on how her birthday shopping trip was going.
Jenni walked in to greet Jen while they were talking on the phone. It was PRICELESS! That had to be the absolute last thing she was expecting to see! Joe then handed Jen a present, which she set down to take it all in. Joe told her to go ahead and open it. Meanwhile, he's texting me to go ahead and come in with Miss M. She just got done opening it, wheels spinning in her head, when Miss M and I started walking toward her. She let out a big "NO WAY!" and gave us the biggest hug ever.
Jen was just getting used to the idea that Jenni, Miss M and I were there when we moved to a bigger table to accommodate every one. Joe then handed her one last present. This was the grand finale! It was a picture of Mr. & Mrs. Hilary!!! Hilary is another BFF from work, whom Jen has actually never met in person. Now that she'd been through this routine once, she had an idea of what the photo meant. In disbelief, she said "NOOOOOO!" as they walked to the table. At the same time, a waiter was asking if everyone in the party had arrived. He saw Hilary and hubs walking toward us and said, "Oh, I see you have two more." That was seconds before Jen opened the photo and I was about to step on his foot for blowing it! I don't think she heard him though.
We had some lunch and a couple of drinks at Joe's Crab Shack. We laughed and talked about all of the fibs we'd had to tell her to cover up for what was really going on. Will she ever trust us again? I hope so!
Then we headed back to Chico for some more partying. We had Chinese and Japanese food and cake that night, where Jenni and I gave her some craftiness we had been collaborating on. More on that later. She also received a "boat load of cash" for the cruise she and Jenni are taking in March. I thought that was pretty clever! It was a toy boat with various cash bills sticking out of the various openings.
On Friday, Miss M and I got to visit her peeps & teachers at her old preschool. It was so sweet to see all her buddies come over and swarm her with love and hugs. One teacher even shrieked when she spotted Miss M! After that, we headed to a tea bar to visit with a few of our Chico friends. I had the opportunity to connect up with another special friend back at Jen's house before we all headed out for apps and drinks downtown.
I'm still pinching myself that this all happened. It was such a huge blessing for me to be able to go back home after moving to Texas just a few months ago. It felt good to see the people I miss so much. On top of missing our old friends and family, now I miss our new friends: Mr. & Mrs. Hilary (Mr. Hilary's name is actually Brett, by the way!) and Jenni as well. Even Miss M said she was going to miss them on our journey home.
Check out the events from Jen's and Jenni's perspective on their blogs.