Monday, July 27, 2009

The Surprise

For a couple of years now, the Jeff and Jane Schaeperkoetter clan has been attempting to pull off the impossible - an outing with the ENTIRE family at one time. We discovered a while back that the holidays are NOT the time to attempt this feat, given that our family of 6 has expanded to a family of 17, and get-togethers of in-laws don't always fall at the same time. So we moved on to trying to find a time in the summer that would work for everyone.

So when we started to talk about it for this summer, we weren't originally optimistic. But, lo and behold, after discussing it for a while, all 4 siblings found a long weekend that worked! And since we were lucky enough to find a date, we figured we'd take a chance on making it even MORE exciting for Mom and Dad by not telling them that the entire clan was going to be there...

So here was our conspiracy: Scott (my younger brother) and Sarah (my older sister) were going to plan a long weekend in Branson, MO with their families and Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, though we tried our best, Matt (my youngest brother) and I were not able to find a weekend that worked for us. Or so we told our parents. There. The story was set. And Matt and I each had our little white lies as to why we couldn't come. Matt had a wedding that he had to go to for a co-worker. And Dale had a meeting in Myrtle Beach, so the girls and I were going to tag along and stay at our condo there.

Now, my parents might be the most gullible people alive. In a sweet, fun, wonderful, small-town-Missouri sort of way. The kind of way that makes it so very exciting to surprise them, especially given the fact that we've never tried to surprise them before! But it was definitely a challenge, as evidenced by the multiple phone calls, including a 3-way call between Sarah, Scott, and me on the drive to Branson Wednesday evening. Dale commented that it was more difficult to hash out how this surprise would go down than it would have been to schematize a Jack Bauer plot for 24. I hate to admit that I probably have to agree with him...

Anyway, my crew had flown into Springfield (what a lovely little airport!) and rented a car. The others were all driving down from Jeff City. Turns out that we masterminded it such that everyone (sans Matt and Carla from Oklahoma, who wouldn't arrive until later) would get to Lambert's and wait in line for dinner and then, once they were all there, Dale, Ivie, Macie, and I would make our appearance.

When we arrived, I had my trusty Flip Video with me, and Dale managed to get the surprise on film. I wish it had a bit of a better zoom lens, because the look on my dad's face as we walked up was priceless. But you'll get the picture from this...


What a fun surprise! We finally made it inside to eat. For those non-Missourians out there, Lambert's is the "Home of Throwed Rolls". Here's why...


So it was quite entertaining for the kids, and there was more food than you could possibly imagine.

After dinner, we were off to the hotel. If you noticed in the first video, Mom offhandedly asked "so is Matt gonna show up, too?!?". We did a good job of lying, again, and had her and Dad convinced that the Hermans were the only surprise. So it was just hilarious to see both of their faces at the hotel when Matt and Carla walked into Mom and Dad's packed hotel room (already 15 people strong) and said, "Is there room for us?!?" Mom's jaw fell to the floor in amazement. I wish I'd have had the video camera again, but it might have given it away.

It doesn't get much better than that, folks! Made every second of the air travel (including a connection in Memphis) with two small kids worthwhile.

Note: The next several blogs are going to read much like a journal entry of our fun during the trip. So for those of you who read for the short, quick, and sometimes funny blurbs about life with the Hermans, it might be a bit boring. But for those of you that read only to see the pictures (you know who you are, Stacy!), you won't be disappointed.


Stacy W. said...

I read every single word, but definitely love the pictures of humans (note: the pictures of breast pumps and dental charts I could do without, however, they do make me laugh because they indicate the level of detail you operate on).
Great surprise. Love the video.

Trish said...

What a great moment to catch on tape!!!