Monday, September 22, 2014


Well, it was not without it's dilemmas, but after all of my moaning and complaining and freaking out, this surprise party came together surprisingly well.  :)

The following is a serious "data dump" of pictures and details (which I know I love, but may not be as appealing to anyone else) so I'm just going to toss them all out there along with a little narrative so we can all read this in the years to come and remember the great things about this day.  

We went super minimal on the decor because really, with teenagers, they don't care all that much and because it's birthday season at our house (and apparently at the Bailey's house, too) so we were trying to keep within a reasonable budget.

I got this balloon idea from Pinterest (what did we ever do without that amazing website?) And it was the biggest hit of the night, I'm pretty sure.  18 pink helium balloons for Savannah and 18 masculine, multi-colored ones for Cameron with pictures from their childhood attached to ribbons and hanging all over the room.  Perfect way to keep 35 teenagers occupied while they waited for Savannah and Cameron to get to their party, and pretty fun for the guests of honor, too, I think.  I will definitely be using this idea again...maybe in October for Megan's birthday?   

Again, we went pretty simple.  Each of us made the kids' favorite appetizers and snacks, and also a few dozen cupcakes.  We tried really hard to not make this look like a boy/girl baby shower, but pink and blue happen to be their favorite colors, so it's a little baby shower-ish... 

On the invitations we asked the kids to park on the culdesac behind Cameron's house and to arrive at 7:30pm.  But by 7:29, when no one had arrived yet, we started to panic just a little.  A few minutes later, I received a text from one of the girls saying "We're all sitting here int he culdesac waiting...did you want us to come to the house?"  Um...yes we did.  Five minutes later the house was filled with 30+ teenagers, patiently waiting for the guests of honor to arrive.  It was around this time that I whispered a little "thank you" in my head that the Baileys had offered their house for the party.  Yikes!  That's a lot of kids.  
Cameron's dad, Shep, did an awesome job of corralling and quieting all the noisy kids while the rest of us orchestrated getting the two surprisEEs in from the driveway.  This was no small feat, by the way.  18 year olds are highly aware of their surroundings and apparently have some heightened awareness of all things "sketchy."
But, it worked.  The guests were quiet.  Shep eventually went out and dragged two unsuspecting teenagers in from the front yard, and we yelled SURPRISE! as loud as we could.  

I asked them later if they had any idea, and they both said they TOTALLY knew it about it.  (Really??)  Cameron said someone accidentally told him that morning, and Savannah said she knew because there was a pineapple on the counter in our kitchen.  (see why it's impossible to surprise this girl??)

I have zero innate game or cruise directing skills in my little handful of super powers.  My usual plan for throwing a teenager party is to make food and open the door.  After that, they're pretty much on their own.  Fortunately Tammi and Craig are both game-y types, so they were in charge of entertainment for the party.  We played a few of those Minute to Win It games for about an hour, and then the kids migrated to the food, and finally ended up outside in the pool...another reason this was the perfect party location...the Baileys have a POOL!  

The reason there were TWO:
When we first moved here four years ago, there was a boy in Savannah's Sunday School class who we found out had the same birthday as she did.  Fun coincidence...
The following year, as Savannah and Cameron got to know each other better, they wondered who was older.  And since we also knew his parents better, we dragged out birth certificates, compared times and accounted for time zone differences, and realized they are almost exactly the same age!  Cameron was born at 5:25pm CST (in Texas) and Savannah was born at 6:29pm EST (in Atlanta.)  Over the years they've been friends and not friends, they've tolerated and irritated each other, but they have always managed to set aside their differences and come together for at least one day a year when they acknowledge the extremely not-random fact that they were born less than four minutes apart and now live in the same town, go to the same church, and hang out in the same circle of friends.  They are actually pretty close now that they're older and much more mature, and we absolutely love Cameron.  So a combined surprise party for their last birthday together before graduation seemed like a great idea.  

Once again, our wonderful host and emcee, Shep, called everyone together, handed out cupcakes, and told the entire group the story of Cameron and Savannah's "four-minute-apartness."  And all were sufficiently impressed.  
Afterward, we sang first to Cameron...

...and then to Savannah...
...and then there was more food, and more cupcakes, and more swimming, and three hours later we helped clean up and then went home exhausted but happy.  

Surprised or not, I think both kids had a great time and felt abundantly loved and celebrated, and that's exactly what we wanted!  I'm so grateful for a huge group of good friends.  For two other daughters who helped decide, coordinate and decorate, and who filled in for me when I was stuck in endless traffic.  And for Shep and Tammi Bailey's generosity and enthusiasm for this crazy idea.  


  1. Love! It's like I got to be there!! Great pics!!! And fantastic narrative!'n

  2. Sooo much funnnnn!!!!
    My friend this was amazing!!!!
    And your daughter is so beautiful, and I can tell from the pictures, so gracious.
    Happy birthday to your girl!!!!!
    Job well done!

  3. What an amazing party and story!! The balloon idea was fantastic and the kids waiting by their cars? That's funny!!