Sunday, March 29, 2009

Surprise 10th Anniversary Trip

So, it finally came!!! I woke up Thursday morning, to my 2 year old crying. After getting him settled down and tucked back in, I went downstairs to let our dog out. On the couch in our kitchen was 2 suitcases with a 7 day weather forecast printed out and laying on top. I did a little freak out dance, then ran over to my computer to check facebook--I told James it would be cool to post it there, and sure enough he did! Then I called him and did a major freakout dance!! In the conversation, he casually asked if I was enjoying my granita . . . what?!?! James randomly brings me home granitas for no reason other than he loves me and he knows I enjoy them, so we both thought it would be fun for him to announce the trip with one, and write on the bottom of the cup. Well, due to being in a sleep-induced stupor while helping JJ, I totally missed the granita next to my bed, but up I ran and there it was in all it's chocolicious glory!!! And sure enough, on the bottom he wrote "Is it today (-: "

So to back up, let me give you a little history as to how all this came to be! Almost 3 years ago, James and I were talking about life and the deep longings of our hearts and the meaning to all the great mysteries of the world, while road tripping to Boise, ID for our church conference's annual conference. In the course of conversation, we began talking about our marriage and could we believe how it's flown by and yet it's nearing the decade mark. How in the world did we want to celebrate? Now James has always had trouble surprising me due to my curious nature, his simple joy in sharing everything with me, and my insane attention to detail. So, I really wanted whatever we did to be a surprise. We both agreed we wanted to go away somewhere, and the more we dreamed, the more James got into this whole surprise idea! However, he wanted some input from me ahead of time so he wouldn't be walking blindly! We talked at length about elements we both wanted in the trip (time to relax and do nothing, some outdoor adventure activities, some cultural flavor, some historical opportunities, at least a week in length, hotel stay-we camp enough throughout the year, good food and drinks, and beautiful weather) to name a few. James, frugal to the core, didn't want this trip to put us in debt either, so he decided all the money he made from mowing my parents lawns during the summer from then till the trip, would be designated for the trip. And to make sure he was able to fully surprise me, he reserved the right to have the trip anytime from the summer before our anniversary (summer 2008) to anytime the year after our anniversary (all of 2009)! He had a lot to work with!

Over the course of those 3 years, James would drop snippets of info just to whet my appetite and remind me he hadn't forgotten! His catch phrase whenever I or someone asked was that he was taking me to the West Central Community Center, which is 2 blocks from our house. Our anniversary was actually in January of this year, and in and of itself, we celebrated well! We got coffee, saw back to back movies "Defiance" and "Gran Torrino" and then ate a wonderful dinner at the new Twiggs, while mom and dad again watched our boys! At some point last fall, James gave me 3 locations to research, and gradually brought it up to 10. . . New York, Chicago, Seattle, Augusta Maine, Hollywood, Busby Montana (where he grew up), Spokane, Celebration Florida, Washington DC, and Kissime Florida, all the while reserving the right to have it be none of these places just to throw me off! Some of these were obviously out, and some were so random my head started trying to make sense of it all. "Were we going to have a kissime celebration in august-a?" I know, I was reaching!! He also told me it wouldn't be overseas due to the cost of tickets! We both would have loved to go to Ireland or New Zealand--maybe for our 2oth!!

So back to my story. For numerous reasons, I had no idea it would be scheduled for this week. First off, my dad was still out of town, and he and mom were going to be watching our boys. Second, I was scheduled to lead worship this weekend, but James had it all covered! Third, we were out really late the night before at my parents house, and staying up late before traveling is so not James!! He officially has surprised me world!!! Well done babe!!

So on the facebook status, he announced that our ride to the airport would arrive at 3:oo, so I needed to start getting myself and the kids all packed up. Fortunately we had just done all the laundry, more forward thinking on James' part!! I got all the packing done in record time . . . I was a tad bit excited . . . with even a trip to walgreens and my friend Alaina's house to pick through her fancy dresses! It was like shopping for free!! Thanks Alaina!! Our ride (aka mom) came at 2:45 to get us all loaded up--us, the kids, both sets of luggage, and our trusty old dog, Baylie with her bed--it was truly going to be a vacation for the entire household!! In the course of packing, I was looking for my iPod charger, and came across the folder with my passport in it. I just happened to peek in, and it was gone. This is the first time I'd peeked at anything in this whole process, I'll have everyone know, and it was enough to get my brain thinking "what is this boy up to?" I knew he had said no international travel, but maybe that's part of the surprise.

So we leave for the airport about 3:15. arrive at 3:25 (we're not far), kiss the boys and mom, pat the dog, and we're off! They were headed to Big R to see all the new baby chicks, so they were excited for their own adventures! We got checked in electronically, and I covered my ears when the Southwest lady talked to James. Why spoil it now? We breezed through security, I mean come on, it was 3:30 on a Thursday in Spokane. 5 minutes tops! Then we arrived in the booming atrium that is the Spokane airport and decided to check out our local shops--all 2 of them!! James, at this point, is about to burst from excitement, but I decide to make him suffer a bit more! Really what's 15 more minutes after waiting for 3 years? Finally, he can't take it anymore, and he had just bought some travel book from Auntie's (local bookstore) and he wants to give it to me and share the news! Apparently, b/c I was so efficient in packing, we were extremely early- our flight didn't leave till just before 6, so we had some time to kill!

I'm trying to remember exactly how he told me, but the whole day was so surreal that I honestly don't remember what he said. I know at some point I asked if it was actually one of the places on the list, and he said no. I asked if we were going to California, and he said "yes and no". Finally he pulled out the book he'd purchased and the travel info he had and gave it to me. San Diego and a cruise to Mexico! Although completely excited, I was also trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I actually knew and we were doing this! When every place and every adventure is an option, having it finally narrowed down takes awhile to get used to! Once we talked all the details, etc, James looked like a deflated balloon! Not in a bad way, but you know how after planning your wedding and you're going going going for months, and then soon after it's done, you're like "now what?!" There's kind of a let down process. Fortunately we had a long flight- stopped in Seattle, Sacramento before finally getting to San Diego- to talk about all the things he'd done to prepare and all that we get to do, so by the time we arrived, we were both really excited again, although very tired!!

So that's the story of how it all happened. I'll add some more details of the actual trip in the days to come, but I wanted to get this all out while it was fresh in me brain!! Thanks to all those who enjoyed this journey with me and helped me guess and played in the fun! Thanks mostly though, to the love of my life, James! You always help me enjoy the journey, and our marriage and family is the greatest journey of all! This whole trip, planning, waiting, anticipating and actually doing it, has been amazing!!! I love you James!