Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Surprise! Part One...

Nearly three years ago 
I began reading Karen's blog.
It is called Blue Barn Bulletin.

In one post I mentioned
that I wanted to learn to make bread.
Right away, Karen volunteered her favorite recipes
 and we made them.
In fact, we still make these breads.

Chelsea and I debate who's idea it
was to ask if Julianne wanted to be
a pen pal.  She thinks it was her idea
while I am convinced I was the genius.
I do know that I emailed Karen,
who was very agreeable,
and we let the girls
take it from there.

Ever since, long emails have been written
 on a very regular basis.
Then a geography game
was developed which
caused much thought and discussion.
As a Homeschool Mom this was
a dream come true.

Finally the girls began writing a book.
Each girl narrates her chapter as a
certain character and they take turns
writing chapters.
Who knows, one day it may be published. 
It really is that good.

Chelsea began asking if it would be
possible to meet Julianne.
Perhaps I could contact her mother
and invite them to come this summer?

I took my time getting around to it..
Finally, Chelsea quit asking so often.
Then I sent the emailed invitation.
Was there any way they
might consider

Time went by and it didn't
seem too likely...but there was
a chance.

Then one day Bandit pointed out that
there was an email just waiting to
be read....

Ok, so Bandit didn't actually have
anything to do with it, but this
picture just kind of fit the story
so I threw it in there.
She is awfully cute....

Anyway, Karen said
they could come after
they were done at their
Quizzing Nationals in Illinois.
They would then drive 14 hours
to our home in Southeastern PA.
Oh my.
And...could we keep it a secret from the
Oh my, again.

Chelsea and I are so very close!
Keeping a secret from her is like
trying to get gold out of Fort Knox!!

Well, we would try.

And we did well, for a long time.
At first just a few people knew
our secret,
but in the last week or so I
told many friends who would
be joining us for Chelsea's party.

The planning got more intense.
My Mother in law, Georgia, and I would meet in the
back yard to discuss the details.
Karen and Clarence would be sleeping
next door in Georgia's guest room
while the girls would stay here with
Chelsea. Georgia would make breakfast
for them on Sunday morning as I would have to
be at the church quite early.
It was this particular discussion 
that got us into trouble.

Julianne and family were expected to
arrive on Saturday. On Thursday evening
we were once again in the yard. Chelsea
joined us. Georgia asked me a detail about
breakfast on Sunday.
I answered.
I mentioned the family's name.

Oh, you should have seen Chelsea's
face. She was incredulous.
I am not sure if she was more
surprised that her friend was coming
or that I ruined the surprise.

But, very quietly she said,
"I think you just gave away
a surprise..."
Oh! Was I mad at myself!
But there was an upside
to this near disaster.
It was the anticipation and fun
of chattering away as we worked
to prepare for our company.

On their end of things, Karen
was doing much better at keeping
the secret. Her girls were busy
at their Quizzing event
and all was well.

After their team took first place,
they hopped in their van and drove
many hours before stopping at a hotel.
The girls remained in the dark.
Finally on the second day of their
journey Clarence pointed out that
they had passed into PA.

Now, you need to know that Julianne
is not a clueless person, but she was working
on a project in the back seat.
Karen had asked her to crochet a border
on a baby blanket as a gift for Mrs. Rabe's
new little granddaughter. Julianne was
working diligently on this without any
idea that she would be seeing this baby
the very next day.

So, pretty soon our phone rang and it
was Julianne. She was giggling and ecstatic.
I asked her where she was...Her response
was one of sheer disbelief.
She sounded as if she were laughing
and crying at the same time,
"In Pennsylvania!!!!"

I asked her what in the world she
was doing in PA? I mean she was
supposed to be on her way home
from an exciting time in Illinois.

It was so fun....to hear her excitement.
She and Chelsea talked and talked
on the phone as Chelsea made treats
for her birthday party to be held the
next day.  Now it would be
Julianne's party, as well.
Their birthdays are just
days apart.

Finally, they pulled into the driveway!

Oh, to see in person, these dear folks
that we only knew online.
Hugs all around and then the posed
photos of shock that I posted yesterday.

You know we just had to have those expressions, 
even if it wasn't real time. 

Both Julianne and Chelsea were
totally shocked...but that is not all.

You see, Julianne has a younger sister
named Allison. Allison was paying
attention on the road and began passing
notes to Karen as they went further away
from home. She figured it out, 
but kept the secret.
What a great sister!!!

Both of these girls are wonderful!
We are so blessed to call them friends.
Karen and Clarence should be so very
proud of them.

Tomorrow I'll share more about 
the fun we had during their very brief 
visit.  Warren and I enjoyed getting to know
Karen and Clarence...so much.
I know that if they lived close by 
we would spend lots of time together.
They are just the type of people we 
enjoy being around.
It was an amazing weekend.
Come back tomorrow for party pics.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you got to meet a blogging friend and that Chelsea got to meet a pen pal.

Karen said...

Please tell Chelsea Happy Birthday from us! (I bet I know what her favorite gift is... ;-)

I offered to let Julianne guest post on my blog today in honor of the occasion-but she isn't out of bed yet!

Off to rouse my girls...

Persuaded said...

Becky... this just brought tears to my eyes♥
How fortunate are we as mothers to be able to provide experiences such as this for our dear children! I am so thankful for homeschooling as I think it makes the kind of family atmosphere where things like this can happen and are appreciated so much.
Looking forward to hearing the rest of the details!

Tracy's corner said...

What fun! Glad the girls were in the dark most of the time.

Vickie said...


Isn't it the best fun EVER to meet your blog friends!!!

I can't wait to hear "the rest of the story"!!!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Oh what fun it was!

We are still enjoying talking about the weekend!

Anonymous said...

That was so fun! But I think I should let you know... I wasn't crocheting when my dad pointed out the sign. I was searching for some peanut M&M's. lol I am so glad that we could visit. :)

LV said...

Loved the second chapter of this ongoing pen pal friendship.

Brittany Ann said...

What a fun surprise! I love the girl's shocked faces!

Elena said...

Wow, that is so awesome! So cute about trying to keep a secret from your daughter. My mom and I were the same way. It was almost impossible for her to keep a secret from me:)

Marydon said...

What a wonderful story, Becky! The joy is so exciting to see ... secrets from a Mother or daughter ... nah!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration.

Knoebel's hasn't changed apparently from when you were there ... love it!
TTFN ~ Hugs,Marydon