Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My birthday surprise

Chris, bless his heart, (look, I'm turning Southern!) can't keep surprises from me very well.  He is so easy to read and I am too curious for it to work out. But between some lines here and there I gathered that there was going to be a big surprise for my birthday...something along the lines of a rare-in-a-life-time experience.  (Despite the fact that we had agreed not to spend any money on birthdays for each other this year so we could save all our money for our house..I had followed the rules and gave him a home made cross word puzzle for his birthday in May) Anyway, I can't help my mind from coming up with possible ideas, so  I sort of thought he had found a cool band coming to Memphis or something and bought tickets to see them...something local, rare and totally up Chris' alley. Then I accidentally saw a purchase in our accounts for something from United Airlines and asked Chris about it. He said, "what? oops you weren't supposed to see that." So then I got some crazy ideas floating around my head but none of them fit all the pieces. He told me to keep Thursday open, but that I could still plan normal life (babysitting other peoples kids, having some other friends over for dinner and a game night etc..) for the weekend. Then Thursday morning he helps me clean the house and gets everyone ready for a car trip. We get in the car and 40 minutes into the drive I finally find out that he's giving me a shopping day. He didn't want me to have to drive very far by myself so he and the kids were just going to chauffeur me around from store to store in Memphis. I knew this didn't have anything to do with the united airline flights because he hadn't packed any bags for us and I knew we would be home that evening, so I figured he would just tell me about that later.  I was a little confused why we had to go all the way to Memphis (3 hours away) for shopping instead of Tupelo or Tuscaloosa (1 - 1 1/2 hours away). But anyway I was just too happy that Chris was making such a big deal out of my birthday to really care... he had helped me clean the house, he had planned some sort of surprise for me, and he was taking me shopping... I wasn't going to complain about anything! 

Here's a picture of our picnic lunch on the way up to Memphis. We ended up eating them tail-gate style because egg-salad sandwiches were too messy to eat without supervision, it was too hot/sunny to eat NOT in the shade and we couldn't find a park on the map anywhere close to lunch time. 


So he drops me off at Target and says, "Have fun! Lets plan to meet up in an hour or so and see how you're doing." I wasn't sure what I was supposed to shop for since we were really didn't have much in the budget this month for clothes but I can easily convince myself there's enough room for a LITTLE something.  I wandered aimlessly around Target for a while until I found the exercise clothes. Then I got all serious and tried on a million things. Next thing I know I turn around and find myself staring into Christy Harker's eyes! My mind wasn't making sense of it. All I could think to do is stare then squeal and push Christy away. What??! The Harker's were coming to Mississippi and didn't tell us?? and I just randomly run into her at Target?? in Memphis??!?!  Then I see Alec and notice Chris taking a video of me on my phone and I realize. OH!! This is it! He flew Christy here for my birthday! Wow. He had totally got me. He had been so laid back and in no hurry all morning I had totally dismissed the possibility that we were needing to be anywhere at a certain time and so I totally thought this trip was literally just a shopping trip for me. I'm so embarrassed of how I acted in the video squealing 3 octaves higher than humanly possible and pushing my friend around. I just couldn't believe it. I hugged and hugged her and instantly got excited thinking about showing her around the South...totally different from her hometown in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 


We mostly just hung out around home. Chris still had to work, I still had peoples' kids I was babysitting, and food to cook and the house to prepare for a game night, and Chris was going to be gone helping friends move Saturday morning etc. But we still found things to explore. We took a couple spare hours on Saturday to tour the Waverly Mansion in West Point, Mississippi. Its a very old, very haunted, very typical Antebellum home with a 200 + year old magnolia tree in its front yard. The house itself was a bit more dilapidated than I thought it would be, but still very cool to see. The spiral staircase was amazing and being there makes me SO grateful for air conditioning. 


Sunday, I had Stake obligations to teach the young women up in Russellville, Alabama (2.5 hours away) so Christy woke up early with me and kept me awake on the drive there and back. She got to see LOTS of typical Mississippi and Alabama countryside. By the time my meetings were done we got home around dinner time to find the kids and Chris had made a cute Cafe for dinner... complete with nice table decorations, a menu and delicious food: steak, potatoes, green beans, juice and chocolate cake!


Monday we walked around the nearby nature preserve, Noxubee. We walked down two of the boardwalks and visited the little museum there. We saw a big alligator swimming in the water. By the way it moved and trailed water, it definitely was NOT just a floating log...but it basically looked like one. 


I love to kiss these cute little boy cheeks on Freddy sooooooo much. 



We had some good BBQ, tried out the Biscuit Lady's famous scones (SO GOOD) and talked a lot. Christy is one of those rare friends that I feel I can be totally myself around - silly, spiritual, goofy, chatty, quiet, joking, rambling, tired, complain-y, whatever. We hardly keep in contact, but when we do get together its like we've never been apart. She was a wonderful birthday surprise! I know she had to go through a lot of hoops to make this trip out to visit me. She left 5 kids behind, a busy-working husband, and she's pregnant! She had to renew her passport last minute and find places for her kids to be etc..  I guess this was the first time she's had a trip away from her kids! I actually feel a little bad it was just to visit me in little ol' Starkville, MS. Chris is soooo sweet to care so much about making me happy. He knew I was missing having good friends, and family close by here and thought, 'well...its only a plane ticket!' He even wanted to make this a tradition a do it every year...fly a good friend, or sister or sister-in-law out for my birthday. :) What a cute guy. I'm not sure our bank account can handle that, but its so wonderful that he wants to do that for me.  I love him, I love my life, I love my friends, I love my family, I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ and am so blessed to have lived another year on this beautiful planet. 


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