I have no idea where to begin!
Yesterday was just wonderful! I remember thinking back to last year when Jessica was here and we were able to celebrate with all four families. It was bittersweet knowing the Hills were leaving shortly after. When I thought about last year I just knew there was little they could do to top that. My friends managed to go way beyond topping last year!
But I’ll back up. Yesterday morning started as any Sunday morning does… slowly. Bailey made breakfast for me and I enjoyed a fairly quiet cup of coffee. Church and the food court were lovely and again, both are traditions I’ll miss from our time here. After lunch the Joneses came over and the dads kept the babies & bigs while they slept so that Aimee could take me to Maldaner. We sat there long after our coffee and mousse were gone, chatting away. There were actually Germans who came in after us and left before us… we’ve acclimated to this sit-and-stay-a-while tradition.
When we finally left the fru-fru restaurant we headed home because the party was about to begin! A few weeks ago on a girls’ night out we talked about random things, as is our custom. One such topic was a delicious meal I had had on the beach in Charleston once… Frogmore Stew, also known as a Low-Country Boil. For some reason it sounded good and I decided I’d like to have that for my birthday.
So, yesterday around 4:30 we put a HUGE pot on the stove with six quarts of water in it, 3/4 cup of Old Bay seasoning, and we started our Frogmore Stew. While one of the dads took the bigs to AWANA, the rest of us Skyped with Jessica… looking back I honestly should have picked up on this. My original expectation was that the girls would Skype and the men would chat or something. Nope. They were standing around watching as well!
I opened my first gift, which was from Aimee. It was a lovely journal with a beautiful church or something on the front. I really liked it, but couldn’t quite recognize the building. She didn’t seem to know what it was, either, so I just accepted it as a journal from Aimee… which would have been just fine. I love journals and I love to write! She knows me well!
I then opened the gift from Jessica. (She had sent it to Aimee to wrap and bring to the party for me to open while we Skyped.) She had sent a box of chocolates. I LOVE chocolate. I was really excited about this box of chocolates, as it was pretty and smelled great. It had a strange, colorful lizard inside, and I was afraid they were going to make me eat it in front of them. I’m still not even sure if that part is a piece of candy or decoration… I need to inspect this a little further.
The next gift was from Christy. Super cute and, as a fellow (former) scrapbooker, I could tell it had been a labor of love. At first I thought that it may be a hand-made stationary pack, which is also right up my alley. I turned my back to the screen so I could let Jessica watch the pages as I opened it but she insisted that I turn back around to face the computer.
I obliged, and continued opening the card. Below I have posted a video of what the card says, a video Christy made so that Jessica would know what I’m seeing as I opened it.
If you look at the following pictures you can see that by the end I was fully overwhelmed. And I don’t cry easily.
I’ll stop writing here and ask you to indulge me. Watch this one-minute video:
If you didn’t watch the video, you will not fully understand the picture collage above. It showed the card I received and what it said, page by page:
~ Happy Birthday Jennifer! ~ We wanted to do something extra special for you this year… ~ because IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! ~ and you’re leaving 😕 ~ and we love you 💜 ~ So we thought, “What’s better than a girls’ night out?” ~ A Girls’ Trip, of course! ~ want to know where we’re going? ~ Recognize this? (picture from the cover of the journal) ~ how about this (picture of a city painted like lizard in the chocolate box) ~ have you guessed yet? ~ WE’RE GOING TO… ~ BARCELONA ~ Pack a bag, we leave Friday! ~ P.S. Jessica’s coming too! ~
I am in complete and utter shock at the amazing thoughtfulness of my friends and family. I think this may be the biggest surprise I’ve seen pulled off. They started working on this in August and I bet I’ve said a hundred times since then, “I only wish we had made it to Spain.” I really regretted that we hadn’t been able to see Spain and now I GET TO!
Going back to what I wrote earlier about not having the Hills with us, while I won’t see the Man-Hills, I am ecstatic that I get to see JESSICA before I leave Germany! What a huge treat! I remember during my few moments of crying I asked Christy if she was going, because for some reason, with her nursing, I wasn’t sure. DUMB question… she’s the one who made the card and handed me the gift that announced the girls’ trip! And of course, she’s bringing Finn so we’re going to all get turns squishing him!!!! When she said that yes, she was coming (again, I’m embarrassed I asked, looking back) I melted. The four of us (+Finn), in Spain. Better than I could have dreamed. I would have never even really dreamed this up! And I tried to! I tried to come up with something but never got around to it because never believed that it would work out! AHHH! I am still in shock!
So, after being fully surprised by my friends and family, we sat down to a low-country boil. I was nice and didn’t make everyone eat off the table, though I seriously considered it. The cake was an amazing “Reece’s” cake that Christy made… seriously, too good for words.
Thank you, friends, for such a thoughtful gift. I am seriously honored to be your friend! Thank you, Matt, for allowing me this trip and for watching the boys two weekends in a row so I can celebrate with my girls!
I love all of you!