Thankful for Surprising My Parents




Way back in January, my sister decided she was going to work her butt off to raise the money to drive her family from Iowa to  meet us and our parents on our way to Florida.  The best part?  We decided to keep our parents in the dark and surprise them.

Daddy had turned 70 back in December, and it had gone past without much of a to-do.  (And back when he retired, I started getting a guest list together for a party, but pregnancy kept me from getting very far with my plans.)

This was our opportunity to really surprise him and Mom.  Big time.

Over the months my 5 year-old couldn’t keep the secret — she let it slip twice.  Both times I brushed it off, “Oh, Sweetie, you’re confused.  We saw Aunt C. last year…”  My mom never thought twice about it.

As the time grew closer, I started to second-guess our decision.  After all, he was 70.  What if the surprise was too much for him?

The cell phone rang constantly as we drove.  “Where are you?”  my sister would ask, trying to figure out our location compared to hers and where we might meet up.

Finally, while we ate lunch at a rest stop, I told her we would be stopping at the Georgia Welcome Center off I-75 to get some books on hotels to stay at for the night.  She was 5 minutes from the Welcome Center; it was the perfect spot to meet.

Daddy got out of his car with one thought on his mind:  get the books and get back in the car.  No one else was getting out of the car.  I jumped out of my own car, camera hidden behind my back.  I HAD to catch this on camera!  (And, I admit, I wanted to be there in case the surprise was too much.)

He walked right past her.  (Again, he had one thing on his mind…)

It wasn’t until he saw a man with a video camera (her husband) and my sister went up to him and said, “Hi,” that he recognized her.

surprise family reunion

He finally realizes what’s going on ~


My favorite part is when he asked if they were going with us to Florida.  (Dad, why else would they be in Georgia???)

disney surprise

Daddy, still in shock.


Once he realized they were going with us to Florida, he asked if Mom knew.


So off we all went to see her reaction.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of her through the car window.  Her jaw dropped to the floor!

We did get this great pic, thanks to a stranger who volunteered to snap it for us.

how to surprise your parents

Cousins together and ready for Disney!


This was definitely a once in a lifetime moment.  Daddy said no one had ever surprised him before…   I am so thankful to have had a part in this surprise.

I am thankful that my children were able to have vacation with their cousins, to visit with family members they don’t get to see very often.  I hope it is something they remember their entire lives.

I know I will.



That’s what I’m thankful for this week.

Now it’s your turn!

I’d love to hear how you’ve surprised someone in your life, or what you’re thankful for this week.

And, if you have your own thankful post, come on and link up with us!

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Linked up this week with Black Tag Diaries, The Fontenot Four, Reading List, A Sorta Fairytale

Blogging on Vacation



Recently I had a terrific question in the comments of one of my posts asking about how I kept up with blogging while on vacation.  (Thanks, Karen, of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy!)

With so many of you heading off in the weeks ahead, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

tips for blogging on vacation

  1. First, if you plan to blog during vacation, make sure the places you are staying provide free Internet service.
  2. Before going on vacation, have a few posts written and ready to publish ahead of time.  Guest posts are great for this, like this one on 5 Ways to Keep Kids Reading This Summer.  I had the title, post, pictures, tags, and all the SEO information filled out for each of the posts so all I had to do was hit publish the day I wanted the post up.
  3. Along with having your posts ready and waiting, remember it’s okay to cut back on the number of posts that get published when you’re on vacation.  I decided on 2-3 posts/week while we were gone, and I had a calender reminding me which post to put up each day.
  4. We all know that social media takes up A LOT of time.  My advice?  While on vacation, focus on just one or two social media platforms — preferably the ones that drive the most traffic to your site.
  5. For Facebook, take advantage of the option to schedule posts ahead of time!  Don’t know how?  Once you type in your status update, look to the bottom left before you hit “post.”  There should be a clock icon.  Click on it and choose when your status will update.  I came up with 2-3 different status updates each night to be posted the next day at various times.  I have my FB status go directly to my Twitter account, so I was actually posting to both each day without having to actually go to Twitter.
  6.  On vacation I decided not to do any blogging business during the day; I wanted to soak up every moment with my kids and my sister’s family.  (After all, they had driven all the way from Iowa to surprise my parents!)   That left the time in the evening once the kids were asleep to publish posts, do a little social media, check email, and link up places.  (I tried to limit my work to one hour or less each night, which meant email didn’t always get checked.)   Thankfully, quite a few of the family-friendly places I link up with have their link up parties up the night before.  At home I link up with the rest in the morning, but on vacation, I worked only at night, so these were skipped.


Guess what I discovered?

I was working smarter, for less time, and still getting a decent rate of traffic!

Best of all, I was able to thoroughly enjoy our vacation and visit with my sister’s family without feeling like I had to update Facebook, write a new post, or other blog business.


If you plan on blogging while on vacation, remember, it’s a vacation!  Have a great summer, everyone!



Shared on some of these great sites and Works for Me Wednesday.

Thankful for Dreams Coming True



If you follow me on Facebook, you probably realized we are on vacation right now.

Last week we were at Disney World for a few days.  When we first made our Disney plans, I had originally planned on surprising my daughter with dining with the princesses.  At almost $200 for the four of us, I quickly changed my plans — especially when I found out we could see the two she REALLY wanted to see for FREE.  (And FREE is better than $200 any day!)

Our second day at Magic Kingdom I got a couple Fast Passes right away to see Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel over at Towne Square Theater.

Then my princess and I headed over to ride her favorite ride a second time — the new Under the Sea ride.  I surprised her afterwards by heading to Ariel’s Grotto.  “I wonder what’s in here,” I said, after I saw the wait time was just 15 minutes.

And 15 minutes later…. meeting Disney princesses at Magic Kingdom …she was meeting Ariel and showing her her new charm necklace — full of Disney princesses.

Then we ate lunch and headed back to meet the other princesses.  (Definitely do the Fast Pass here — the original line we stood in said an hour and NEVER moved; then I realized we could Fast Pass it.  We waited only 20 minutes that way.)

Meeting Rapunzel


Of course, my little boy didn’t want to see princesses.  For him, Lightning McQueen is the ONLY Disney character worth seeing.

Thankfully I was able to grant his wish by staying at the Art of Animation Resort — where they have a pool that is surrounded by the Cars characters.  Art of Animation Resort The Art of Animation Resort is actually made up of 10 different hotels…  The Cars pool was the one furthest from us, so I brought his umbrella stroller…  We zoomed over to see Lightning McQueen at least 4 times during our stay, and took pics EVERY time.


Currently we are at the beach (MY dream come true).

Today we took a break from the sun and sand to see a few animals at the Jungle Gardens, where my daughter had one more wish fulfilled…. Sarasota Jungle Gardens Yes, that is my preschooler with “Tiny”, a Royal Ball Python around her neck.  I’m not sure, but I think she was almost more excited to hold the snake than she was to see the princesses…


This week, I am thankful for each dream we’ve had come true this trip.

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave a comment, or, if you have your own thankful post, come and link up with us!

Thankful Thursday – June 13



This week I am thankful for the safe arrival of ALL my family when we met up in Georgia with my sister and surprised my parents on our trip to Disney World.

And I am THANKFUL we are not driving any more!  After almost 1,000 miles, I am ready to be out of a car!  (And so are the kids!)


Normally I do a Thankful Thursday link up.

I am sorry, but there will be no link up this week.  It will be back next week!