My deepest apologies for the lack of blog action lately.  I’m not sure I can even tell you where the last month has gone.  Aside from studying and traveling, the rest of my time was spent planning!

Ten years ago, when I went off to college, mi madre turned 50.  And I recall that after her birthday had passed there was a little disappointment in the air about not having been thrown a party.  Dan and I put a little note in the back of our brains to do something for her 60th.  Luckily, we also had a few reminders from her along the way!  She also remembered to remind us that she had never been thrown a surprise party before.  Note taken.

The planning began in the early summer and we decided to throw her party at the Stone House winery nearby their neighborhood.  Invites were sent, food was ordered and my trial run at being a pathological liar/actress/fugitive began.  We picked the Saturday before her birthday to throw the party.  The kicker in throwing her off was that I had told her I’d be on vacation in Maryland that weekend, but would be home the weekend after her birthday to celebrate.  She began asking questions when she knew we were up to something.  I just told her to stop talking about it and know that she would be celebrated.

During the week before the party, we finalized decorations and plans.  I also sent her and Dan an itinerary for my upcoming trip (changing the dates in my original itinerary).  She bought it.  After work Friday, I headed down to Austin to stay the night with Amanda.  The next morning, after a delicious Kerby Lane breakfast, cousin Amanda and I ran around town picking up the cake and flowers before we headed out to Spicewood.  The plan was to hide out at Jenny’s(friend of my Mom’s) house before the party and on the way out there I would call my Mom to say I had made it to Maryland (she knew I was “arriving” around 1:30).  But, while we were in Central Market picking up the cake, I received a text from my Mom asking if I had made it to Maryland yet.  I responded that I was at the bag claim and would call her from the car. Which I did.  It’s just that the car was in Austin (and would be driving within 50 feet of the house) and not Maryland.  Before I called, I made sure to check the Maryland weather and get all my facts together so I wouldn’t blow anything.  This all sounds so easy, but I was a nervous wreck we were going to spoil it somehow!

Enter Lance.  About 2 hours before the party, while we were working on flower arrangements, I got a call from Dan.  Lance had left a message singing Happy Birthday to my Mom.  Dan, on top of his game, quickly deleted it before she heard or before Lance said anything like, “Have fun at your party tonight”.  We had to be careful.  We’d gone this far without her knowing, we had to finish strong.  I told Lance to call back the next day and repeat his message.  Which he did, what a sweet guy!

Everyone arrived right on time, the food was plentiful and delicious, the wine was excellent (I downed 2 glasses out of nervouseness before she arrived), the decorations pretty amazing (if I say so myself) and best of all… we pulled it off!!  And I was no longer lying to my Mom about EVERYTHING.  Not easy to do when you are such a perfect daughter!

Laurie and Jenny picked her up for a “girls night”.  She really wasn’t suspecting anything but that at all.  Here’s a visual recap of the party.  Pardon the multiple videos… I got really nervous when she was walking in and accidentally hit stop on the recorder.  Since my hand-eye coordination is spot on, I recovered just in time.

After dinner, we moved out to the outdoor patio to have cake.  One of my Mom’s dearest friends, Kati, offered to sing a song when we were doing toasts.  She chose “You’re The Top” by Cole Porter.  I googled the lyrics ahead of time and found them fitting since there are so many art history references.  Turns out, my Mom loves the song.  Bonus!  (Side note, Kati also did my hair and make-up for prom.  What a good friend!).  It was such a magical moment and I get chills/watery eyes each time I watch this video!

You’re the top!
You’re Mahatma Gandhi.
You’re the top!
You’re Napoleon Brandy.
You’re the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You’re the National Gallery
You’re Garbo’s salary,
You’re cellophane.
You’re sublime,
You’re turkey dinner,
You’re the time, the time of a Derby winner
I’m a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

When the festivities were winding down, we took a group shot with the face mask things I made using a picture from when she was in 2nd grade.  (Thanks to Chuy’s for making Elvis ones and giving me the idea).

It was a perfect evening for a perfect and well deserving lady!  Thanks to Jenny and Laurie for setting up “girls night”.  Thanks to me for planning it all.  And thanks to Dan for picking up the tab! 

Happy Birthday, Mom!  LYTM!

P.S.  You can see the rest of the pictures (and really cool centerpieces) here.

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