How many of you read that headline and thought, is she pregnant??  No, no...this is not that kind of surprise!  I get asked that constantly :) This one was was a surprise for my Dad last week.  My Dad just celebrated his 60th birthday and months ago, we decided to surprise him by flying my sister in from South Carolina and descending on our hometown to surprise my Dad with the thing we knew he would love...all his girls home!  We were able to keep this under wraps and TOTALLY surprise him, which was so fun.  He had NO idea we were all coming home and that made his reaction to his sudden change of plans, so great!
Travis and my brother in law Jesse couldn't get away to join us, so the kids and I picked up Stacie at the airport in Minneapolis and then we quietly made our way to Iowa on a Thursday night.  My Mom and Dad were meeting with their small group that night which provided us the perfect opportunity to head to their house when my Dad would have no idea we were coming.  We met up with my sister Jennie and her husband Dave and then after some covert texting with my Mom, we waited for my parents to get home (and for my Dad to take the trash out to the curb, ha ha) then we drove up with our lights off and snuck up to the front door.  It was FREEZING cold out and I had to wake Carter up but we were all pretty excited to knock on his door and yell, surprise!  Which is exactly what we did.  Ava was all about it and like a bunch of little kids, we knocked, got a pit in our stomachs from the anticipation and then waited for the porch light to come on and the front door to open...
SURPRISE!!!  It was such a fun moment, my Dad just stood there and looked at us all for a second then said, "What???"  We laughed, got out of the cold and then gave up our months-long plan, explaining just how we pulled it off :) Having his three girls home for a long weekend was the icing on the cake, but having his grandkids home too was the cherry on top!  Ava and Carter were very excited to see Grampy and Grammy and had been working on their best "surprise" for days.  We got to their house around 10pm and needless to say, it was pretty late before we got to bed but I can't think of a better reason to stay up :)
Love my sisters!  So glad we got this bonus weekend together.  We only get to see each other a handful of times every year, although we are pretty connected online and over the phone, so it was a total treat to hang out for a few days and enjoy a crisp Iowa fall.
The day before we came home it was like 80 degrees but a cold front moved in and the whole weekend was COLD.  But it didn't stop these two from running and playing in the leaves.  My parents have some great, old trees that produce tons and tons of leaves :)
Leaf angels??
Gotta admit, I was pretty happy to get those hats and gloves out again. 
I love me some red cheeks all bundled up :) 
Awww, I'm in love with this one!
It's all fun and games til Mom wants a picture!
This little peanut sure loves her Grampy!  She was so happy to be at my parent's house, even though we drug them all over the place to shop :) My parents have all of our barbies from childhood at their house and those barbies are a big draw for her!  
Of course the stars of the show are my parents and their aunts and uncles, but Carter loves to run in the yard, play with his little tricycle, and the dogs.
We love to see our Ryley everytime we're home and the kids love my Mom's dog, Ollie too.  Carter especially has been very good about being gentle and not chasing them around.  Ryley can take it but Ollie won't have it!  He's heard us tell Ollie to be quiet so many times that we kept catching him say, "Hush! Ollie!"  So funny!
The aunties!  So nice to have some additional smiling faces when they wanted a snack or some help.  They know exactly who to go to when Mom says no :)
This kid would live on this tricycle if he could...
...and really, with that face, could you say no to him??
We had such a great time but no one enjoyed it more than my Dad and my Mom!  Now that I'm a parent, I can understand exactly what it means to them to have their kids home...Someday I hope Ava and Carter and I are planning a surprise visit for Travis!  My Dad was so happy, so grateful to have us all there...As only Dads do, he took the three of US girls shopping while we were home!  It was his birthday but like usual, we girls scored big :)
I love my Dad so dearly, he is an incredible blessing to me and to our family.  I would do anything to celebrate him and I'm so glad we got to.  Happy Birthday Dad!!  Love you so much!! 

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