This past August we took our family of 7 on a two week road trip half way across the country in a borrowed RV to visit friends and family. It was a BIG deal and we had NO intention at all of going back for Christmas…but plans changed at the very last minute and we decided to surprise BOTH of our families!
Through many white lies and intentionally redirected answers to specific questions we secretly packed our bags, packed our car, and loaded up our five children to hit the road.
This kiddo found these awesome sunglasses at a rest stop and we couldn’t bring ourselves to tell him no!
Yes, I confess, we ate here..
We drove for 12 hours the first day from Orange County to Albuquerque.
We got in late and slept at our friends’ house for only about 6-7 hours before waking everyone in the wee morning to get back on the road.
We knew that a dinner had been planned for Matt’s family on Christmas Eve and we were trying to make it in time to get to eat with the family.
As we were driving Matt and I both were having second thoughts about showing up to a meal unexpectedly! We decided to at least tell his sister, Shelley, who was to be hosting the dinner, to make sure she didn’t freak out about having 7 more mouths to feed! It worked out perfectly– they ended up helping us with the surprise for his parents!
The plan was to hide the car at the movie theater down the street and then hide our family upstairs in Mark and Shelly’s loft. They have three kids and the youngest, Seth, is about the same size and age as my oldest son Kai. When my brother in law, Mark, called the kids down for dinner Kai was to walk down in Seth’s place wearing Seth’s hat. We wanted to see how long he could sit at the dinner table before someone noticed!
But……..it only worked for about a millisecond! My mother in law cannot be fooled! She knew immediately it wasn’t Seth and made a bee line straight over to him to pull off the hat! Matt’s dad didn’t know what was happening! I am not sure he figured it out until we all came into the room and Kate literally jumped into his arms!
Watch complete video HERE!
We had such a fun visit with them! The Christmas Eve dinner was great and the family had some good laughs at the fun surprise. On Christmas Day we have a tradition to read the Christmas story out of Luke and then open presents together.
We had biscuits and gravy, bacon and orange juice for Christmas dinner! Why? Because that’s what you eat when you’re in Oklahoma!!! 🙂 And my mother in law always bakes a Happy Birthday cake for Jesus! Isn’t she adorable with her Pinterest worthy cupcakes?
The 26th was when the rest of MY family was going to be celebrating. My sister and her husband and their dog drove in from Washington, DC. My brother, his wife and their two kids flew in from San Diego. My parents live only about 2 hours away from Matt’s parents so we woke up early, got the kids ready. loaded the car back up and came up with a bunch of more white lies to be able to not only find out the code to my parents gated neighborhood, but also what time everyone was going to be opening presents! (We are so bad! And SO sneaky!!!)
It was an ice storm that day in Oklahoma but we made it with perfect timing! We snuck up to the door, rang the doorbell and…..well you can just see for yourself! 🙂
Ahhhhh!!! I LOVE the squeaky happy shocked voices!!!! I think they were surprised! 🙂
We opened more presents, watched the snow fall, and played games until way past our bedtimes! This is my brother and my sweet niece Mikaela…and that’s the pink scooter that my son kept stealing from her and riding around the house the entire rest of the time! 🙂
My aunt surprised the rest of the family with tickets to a NBA Thunder game and was even able to add on two more tickets for Matt and I to come too! We took our kids back to Matt’s parents house so we could get to go. My aunt took us to dinner and then out to the game!
We then went back up to Tulsa to stay with Matt’s parents a few more days.
With the weather being so cold there we decided to rent an indoor soccer field for an hour to let the kids run and play. Although Matt played for most of his life I clearly have no soccer skills whatsoever, which seems to appear very obvious in this pic! And Canon…I am pretty sure both of his feet are off the ground!
On our way home we drove for 3 days instead of crunching it all into 2, which was MUCH better on us AND the kids. We stayed the first night in Albuquerque again and the next day took a bit more time to get to eat at one of our old favorite spots.
We then drove to Flagstaff and splurged on a hotel with a pool to get the kids to use up some energy! We ordered pizza and then hit the hot tub!
The room also came with a free breakfast the next day and I’m convinced they lost money on our family!!! My kids can eat a LOT! (Do you happen to see what Corban is holding on the way to breakfast???)
Corban thought that the cold pizza from the night before was more appealing than the plethora of breakfast options!!! What a weirdo! 🙂
It’s been a whirlwind since getting back into town. The house was a total mess and school for the older three has started back again…hence the non-existent blog posts of late! As we drove back to OC Matt and I put together our daily and yearly plan for 2016 so we are back in the swing of things again!
Happy New Year to everyone!
Oh those videos made my eyes teary. I wish I could have done that for my family
Such a wonderful memory maker for all of you. Thank you for sharing the videos, what a precious family God has blessed you with.. That trip is not for the faint hearted… I originally am from S. CA and moved to Edmond when my children were young… So I have done that route many a time….. It is not always the most exciting or easy, but definitely worth it!
Hi Amy, thank you for the kind words. You’re so very right, it’s not an easy trip. It wouldn’t be easy for just Matt and I, but especially with the kids. However the kids were (shockingly) really great travelers overall! I was so happily surprised. There were certainly moments I wanted to ride on to roof instead of inside the car, but for the most part it went smoothly. Thank you again for commenting!