My sister-in-law, Erika, planned this great surprise party weekend for her husband, (Mark's brother) Skip. We thought it sounded like great fun, so we road-tripped ourselves down to Gearhart, Oregon to join the fun.
It is a 6+ hour trip from our house to Skip & Erika's, so we were prepared with snacks, books, and the portable DVD player. Jensen is at the age where he is realizing that there are no headphones or DVD screen for him and it makes him a bit angry. Generally his sister's have their volume up too loud so he can hear the movie anyway and he leans in to watch their screens so it all works out until he gets bored or realizes he is strapped into a car seat.
Mark thought it would be interesting to try a new route since we always take I-5 down and it is HORRIBLE on Friday afternoons/evenings. This time when we got to Olympia, we went west on the 108 to connect to the 101 and drove down the coast. See the picture above? NO TRAFFIC - and it was beautiful, to boot.
We stayed in a condo right across the road from the Sand Trap, the McMenamins hotel/restaurant in Gearhart where we were surprising Skip for dinner and drinks. I volunteered to drive our children to Skip & Erika's house, where two nice baby-sitters were already watching Reagan and Liam and our other friend's son as well. This is the thing you do when it isn't your brother having the birthday - you fore go being part of the surprise so that the baby-sitters get the correct information about your children that they've never met. It's also a "mom" thing.
Keri (John's wife), Erika, me, Mark, Skip, and John post-appetizers and drinks!
Tresha had the fantastic idea to create special shirts for all of the adults to wear for the party so we played around with some ideas and landed on this one. When I asked her how she was going to get a profile picture of Skip (yes, that is his actual profile!) she said "don't worry" and then sent one to me a few minutes later. Apparently Skip is used to Tresha's strange requests for craft projects, so he took a picture of himself and sent it, no questions asked.
If you're wondering about the "Fro" theme, this is just one of Skip's many nicknames that stuck due to his curly hair. When I first met Mark, I had heard about something called Fro-Fest, which was an annual gathering of Skip's friends and family in different areas to do different fun things and just enjoy a long weekend together. I have participated in a few - some I remember, some are a bit fuzzy - but they are always fun and there is always a t-shirt to commemorate the occasion.
Here are Erika and Skip at the Saturday barbecue held at their house. Not to be overlooked, it was also Erika's birthday but since hers was not a "big number" year, she focused the attention on her husband and made it special for him. Can you imagine sharing the exact same birthday with your spouse? How random is that?
One of many awesome attempts at a group photo. As you can see, the kids were super cooperative...
Reagan and Freya and the cake.
What party would be complete without someone (Jensen) getting locked inside a fire pit by one of his relatives (Peyton)? Typical Fro-party antics!