April 29, 2008


As I mentioned, my mom's 50th birthday was Saturday. I knew I wanted to do something special for her, I tossed around a few ideas, but quickly realized that the best gift I could give would be to have all her kids by her side to celebrate with her. I decided to fly my brother and sister (and nephew) in from Chicago for the occasion. I had Mike and Amy onboard in February. We all agreed a surprise would be best, so we kept our lips zipped and counted down the days.

Then, finally, Saturday arrived. I picked Amy, Mike and Nicky from the airport. It was a huge relief to have them here, I had fears that they'd miss their plane or they'd be delayed, etc. We stopped at Party City for balloons and few odd and ends on the way home. Back at the condo, I frosted cupcakes I made earlier in the day and I decorated the house.

We hid all evidence that they were here and we waited for my mom to arrive. When she got to the gate, they hid in the bedroom. We knew that my mom had an indication that Mike would be here so we planned to have him come out first(his ex-girlfriend let it slip that he would be in town at the end of April, but we were able to convince my mom that he wasn't able to come), and then have Amy and Nicky follow behind.

While at the party store, Amy bought a sign that said "Caution! 50 year old having a senior moment". Mike left that outside my front door, my mom laughed when she saw that and then opened the door. She was greeted by Frank watching tv and I walked out from the kitchen and we said Happy Birthday! She was surprised to see the decorations. Then Mike came around the corner, my mom screamed, you are here! She hugged him and burst into tears, then Nicky and Amy came around the corner and she was utterly shocked. Tears of joy filled the room.

She was completely blown away. She couldn't believe it. She said it was the most surprised she's ever been. And it was the absolute greatest gift we could've possibly given her. She wanted us to pinch her so she knew it wasn't a dream.

After we got acquainted we left for dinner at Stripburger. We had burgers, shakes and fries. Everything was tasty. Next, we went to Bellagio to check out the conservatory. Frank actually detoured to Planet Hollywood, where he ended up playing poker for the rest of the night.

The rest of us saw the display. I walked around with Nicky so they could check everything out. It was getting late and Nicky was cranky so we went back to my house for birthday cake.

Happy birthday to you... happy birthday to you...

And then she opened her gifts. Jeff, Amy's fiance, bought her horse-opoly. When he saw it he knew it was perfect for her. We opened it up and played it after we ate cupcakes.

Around 2am, there was no clear winner so we gave up. The game is fun and has lots of interesting horse themed twists. For example, all properties are horse breeds, instead of houses and hotels, there's straw barrels and barns. The pasture is free parking and the trailer is jail. It was really cute.

They stayed the night, because my mom wanted to go to a swap meet held at a Tack shop on the NW part of town. And they were going to do Potato Ridge with Frank afterwards.

Sunday morning, my mom, Amy, Nicky and I went to the swap meet, while Frank and Mike slept in. It was much smaller than my mom had imagined and the chances of her finding a new saddle for Fancy (her quarter horse) seemed slim. As we were about to leave a vendor put out a new saddle and it was just what my mom needed. They negotiated the price and then the saddle was hers.

We got back to the condo and decided on Jersey Mike's for lunch. Amy and Frank picked it up after a stop at Walmart. Frank wanted to take advantage of her employee discount to stock up on ammo. Nicky thought he could go too if he put on shoes. (Even when he's full grown it's unlikely he'll ever fit into Frank's size 15)

We ate when they returned. Then, Frank, my mom, Amy and Mike set off for Potato Ridge. Nicky and I played outside and inside to pass the time, and burn up energy so Nicky would nap during the drive to my mom's house.

Nicky got hot running around outside so we came back in to cool down. He had a ball, though. Not long after, we packed up, and headed to my mom's house. Nicky slept the whole way. He woke up when we pulled into the drive way. He was super excited to see the doggies. We played outside and visited the animals while we waited for everyone else to get there.

Nicky loved running around Fancy's corral. After we visited all the animals, Nicky played in dirt.

Just before 6 o'clock, they got back from Potato Ridge. They had fun and had their first experience shooting. Mike and Amy both fired the glock, and Mike and Frank did some skeet shooting. I guess my mom got pretty scared going around a few cliffs because she's afraid of heights, but overall she enjoyed it.

We tried out the new saddle on Fancy. I was the guinea pig, it was a much better fit than the other saddle. I rode her a bit, then my mom, and Amy. Amy took Nicky for a ride, too.

We cleaned up and then went to Terrible's Casino Cafe for dinner. The food was decent and very cheap. We went back to the house for a bit, before Frank and I headed home. My mom had a fabulous birthday weekend. Sunday night she was still in disbelief that Mike, Amy and Nicky were there. It really was a great surprise!

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