My beautiful mom turned 60 this month, so her six children (and their spouses) pulled off a surprise birthday brunch!
Because who would expect a surprise party at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday?
My sister was in charge of finding an excuse for bringing mom to my house at the appointed time. She said she needed my help scrapbooking her Australia pictures, which meany mom needed to keep Keira occupied and safely away from the paper trimmer. Ever the devoted grandmother, my mom was perfectly willing (and totally clueless).
Of course, right when Travis opened the front door, Keira said, "I have presents for you!" But mom still didn't clue in until she walked around the corner...
We devoured a Brunch Strata that was to die for, baked just that morning by my sister-in-law Suzanne. Ham, mushrooms, zucchini, minced garlic, green pepper, cream cheese, half-and-half...need I go on?
And it was quickly followed by the best yellow cake I've ever baked OR eaten, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. (But I substitued the sour-cream chocolate frosting in the recipe for one that included exactly two ingredients: whipped butter and 12 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate. Otherwise known as diabetes in a bowl.)
Then we surprised her with 60 individually wrapped gifts! Each of the six siblings was required to bring 10 gifts. The point was the experience of opening 60 gifts, more than what was inside.
Some gifts were more substantial (a coffee table book or a salad spinner) and others were simple (a can of soup or a handwritten card).
The kids took turns giving grandma the 60 gifts, waiting patiently in line for their turn.
And several of the gifts looked a little something like this.
My middle sister, who lives in California, watched with her kids watched via FaceTime, broadcast to her iPad from my iPhone (held by my littlest sis pictured above).
Now that the party is over and deemed a success (thanks in part to the fact that my father, who is terrible at secret keeping, was not told until the night before), my very favorite highlight is the series of portraits I took of mom with each child, grandchild, and in-law who attended.
This is quite a crew.
And, of course, this being my blog, I can nominate the very best picture of the day as this one:
I feel so, so lucky that she is my mother, that she lives so close, that she has aged so well (please let those genes pass on!), that she's easy to surprise, and that she has always been the most selfless, kind, gentle, and service-oriented person I know.
Here's hoping this apple hasn't fallen too far from that tree.