My husband's Birthday falls on Jan 1 and this year was a big one (40th). I wanted to do something special for him and not just the normal party.
I thought since it's Winter and we really needed a vacation why not surprise not only him but my 3 girls as well (not to mention a nice little trip for me).
So I went ahead and started planning and planning and planning....I asked family and friends to join us on a trip and our best friends decided to as well. We settled on Maui (my husband and I had visited 9 years ago originally) we had seen most of the sites and I felt comfortable taking my little ones there.
The planning started in June - I needed to get passports for the children as none of us have been out of the country since the new passport laws came into effect.
I told quite a few people both personal and business and made sure to tell them it's a "SECRET".
The month's flew by and before I knew it it was December and oops I had not booked accommodations yet. I had already purchased flights but I couldn't decide where to stay. A word of advice accommodations get tight the later you leave it especially for the time we wanted to travel.
I finally settled on a place on December 22nd and we were scheduled to leave on the 29th...nothing like leaving it to the last minute. I decided to buy new luggage so no one would notice missing luggage or accidentally peek into it and notice it packed. I also purchase new clothes, shoes, bathing suits and all the necessities needed. I didn't want to chance packing anything and have someone ask where it had went.
I lined up a house sitter to take care of the house and the hamster while we were away (thanks Dad - my Brother told him that the best way to take care of a hamster was find another one that looks identical...ha ha...that's kind of mean...good thing he was joking).
I made sure all the employees and clients were appraised of the situation and also made sure to call all the appointments my husband made to reschedule and tell them of the secret.
Then Christmas....I forgot to tell the in-laws that we would be leaving and assumed that because I understood they were leaving on the 28th it would be fine. In actuality my sister-in-law let them know and they made up an excuse to leave early when originally they had planned to stay till the New Year. Phew....just kidding they are great people....just in case they read this...just kidding I love them.
Anyway disaster averted. Christmas is great and things are looking great. No one slips and tells any of them...
I notice a red rash on my youngest daughter and she's scratching and scratching - it's Christmas day and I have 22 people coming for dinner. I head to the Urgent Care and decide to have her checked out just in case. I hate taking the kids for immunizations and I'm a little behind on the little one (and by that I mean I haven't got any of her's done yet). I was a little concerned about measles, chicken pox or something. It turns out that the Doctor think's it's an allergic reaction to something and to keep an eye on her. Strange but thank God she doesn't have anything more serious.
Good thing my husband and I made a deal that I do the Christmas present shopping and wrapping and he does the dinner - I didn't have to worry about any of that.
Then Boxing day we decide to take the kids sledding. A nice family tradition, I always seem to forget about the whole getting back up the hill and everyone wants to be carried along with the sleds...a great way to work off all the Christmas cooking. I don't need to go to a gym...
My husband decides to go down by himself and show off, he launches off a jump a few feet into the air (that was pretty funny actually - wish I would have had my camera) and lands in a heap. He's fine and not hurt...phew... I don't know if I can handle much more. I'm paranoid someone's going to get sick or hurt before the trip. We find out later that all of the cards he had in his pocket during his stunt broke in half and oops he forgot he had my bank card as well as his...
I have a rush job for a client that I promised I would have done on the 28th so it's off to work we go (my husband and I work together). I decided that for the size of our family and the amount of luggage I needed to take that there was no way I was going to be able to hide it on the field trip (more on that later). I sneak all of the luggage out of the house on the morning of the 28th and drive it to the airport (FYI the Calgary airport will store your bags for up to 30 days for a fee). I go to work and get everything done just in time.
Tomorrow's the big day and I'm so nervous I can't even sleep. I'm trying to remember everything, things for the kids to do on the plane, contacts, prescriptions, phone chargers, day timers...
I lay out everyone's clothes and sneak out everyone's bathing suits (can't have too many), I pack my carry on and try to sleep.
Finally it's the big day....I have butterflies in my stomach and I feel like it's my first date or something...I don't know I'm just anxious.
I didn't have time to go to the bank yesterday so I tell my husband we should go first thing this morning (we both have to go because both of our bank cards are broken). I had told all of them that we were taking time off for the holidays and to start off of our family holiday I thought it would be nice to go on a field trip...guess where....that's right the airport. Thankfully the Calgary airport has a really cool little activity center for kids. It had flight simulators and games and it's like a mini science center.
As soon as my husband gets into the shower (I've been up since 5am...can't sleep...see above) I grab the phone chargers and everything else on the list. I'm trying to hurry everyone along to get ready but I don't want to appear too anxious as I'm usually the slow one.
Finally everyone's ready to go and I forgot to grab my husband's glasses and contacts...I make an excuse run back into the house and grab them then I notice I dropped my daughter's bottom's for her swimsuit on the floor (good thing I remembered the glasses or my daughter wouldn't have bottoms...probably a good idea to have those on). I stuff everything into my purse (gotta love big purses) and rush out the door.
I already hid the carry on's in the truck earlier so I think I'm good. A quick trip to the bank and we should be good to go. Oh yeah and a timmies (Tim Horton's for the uninitiated) - it'll be awhile until I can have that again.
Were on the road to the airport and I'm trying to pretend to be normal and in reality I'm shaking and flustered and a complete mess. I'm not good at this whole thing and I can't believe I've made it this far without saying anything.
Finally we arrive at the airport and park in short term parking. I convinced my Dad to come with us and that way he can take the vehicle back.
We all pile out (I leave the carry-on's in the truck I don't want to bust it yet).
Then I realize I forgot to plan this part - I don't know when to say it or how....So were all walking through the airport the kids are chattering I'm making the appropriate noises and meanwhile my mind is racing.
I see a little kids play area and decide that this is perfect. I innocently say that we should stop here and the kids are all for it. I pull out the itinerary that I had printed off and decide to just hand it to my husband. He had no idea what it is....
He starts reading and laughs...He thinks I made it up and think's it's a big joke. I keep telling him it's not but he's not buying it. The kids are sceptical as well and oh yeah did I mention our flight leaves in 3 hours. I also forgot to mention that I've had about 30 phone calls from everyone telling me that due to the attempted terrorist attack on a flight to Detroit the airports are tightening security and be there 3 hours ahead of time instead of the customary 2.
So I lead them on towards the information booth in hopes that this will convince them. My husband is reading through all the paperwork and thinking that I went through a lot of trouble for a joke. Let's face it I would do something like that...in a loving way of course.
We arrive at the information booth and I hand over my baggage claim.
As I'm wheeling the 2 huge overflowing carts my families faces register total shock...They start asking me whose luggage that is because they don't recognize any of it.
I explain that it's new and blah blah blah...
Then I get what I was waiting for and all the months and hard work was worth it....He starts tearing up....
And the kids are jumping around so excited. If I could see the look on their faces a million more time I would never tire of it. It was the best feeling ever.
So in the end no one told the surprise and it worked out better than I could have expected or planned for.
We flew to Maui and lived happily ever after....
Oh wait I forgot the second surprise. FYI that's a really long flight and boring considering that all my well intentioned carry on's were not allowed on the plane due to the terrorist thing mentioned above....argh!!!
We finally arrive in Maui exhausted and cranky as the trip with 1 layover ended up taking over 10 hours.
It was worth it though. It's day 8 as I sit on our lanai (that's a balcony or terrace for mainlander's - yes I do totally fit in) and write this and I don't want to even think about coming home.
My husband's actual Birthday was on the 1st so our friends had decided what better day to surprise him. They were scheduled to fly in on the 1st and we had made dinner reservations at a restaurant. We had it planned to we would be at one table and that a table next to us would be reserved as well. They would call me and I would get one of my daughter's to take him to the washroom. He would totally buy it especially because the girls are going through a bathroom buddy phase (okay maybe not a phase as I think lots of us girls go together for some strange reason).
We arrive at the restaurant only to find out that there are no reservations and I'm thinking I have the wrong restaurant. My husband's asking me if I'm sure this is the right one and maybe we should go somewhere else. I'm trying to remember what the name of it was (I need to write down things more....New Year's Resolution), I can't remember. I tell my husband to wait with the kids at the restaurant and I'll run to the front desk lobby and see if there's another restaurant on one of their properties. I start phoning around and can't find anyone that has a reservation for us.
I'm calling our friends during all this but there phones are off and I'm assuming that there still on the plane. I finally get through to them and find out there plane was delayed by 1 hour and they won't make it for dinner.
So we head back and have dinner and the birthday cake. I'm trying to delay us but it's impossible. My husband hate's restaurants and the kids are getting antsy... I finally phone them and tell them we're going back to our room and to come there.
We come up with this elaborate ruse to get my husband to answer the door and not be suspicious but come to think of it - I don't think that would've happened.
I'm waiting and waiting and I'm tired and everyone is slowly falling asleep. My husband falls asleep and I'm freaking out (inside) thinking...great now what am I going to do...
Finally a knock on the door...I wake him up and tell him someone's knocking on the door...it's a maid with fresh towels...Argh. The suspense is killing me....
Another knock and I wake him up again and rush out to peek at him opening the door.
It's them and he is so surprised he almost falls over....It was awesome..
I'm so happy to be here with family and friends and I will remember this for the rest of my life. We all needed this trip to renew ourselves, to bond with our children and to remember why we work so hard.
I love travelling and I want to show my kids the world. Now I'm a little more confidant (no more surprises though - He is 40 I don't know if he can take it...Just Kidding).
It was a fantastic way to start out the year and I'm wondering if there's a need for designers on the islands......
Happy New Year to all and I hope that you've enjoyed our story.