Friday, August 16, 2013


can i just explain how dearly, dearly i love surprises? from my perfectly pulchritudinous purple 18th birthday party, to Nick visiting me in Ireland over Thanksgiving break of sophomore year, to Nick's amazing proposal, to my bachelorette party, it seems that almost every special occasion in my life has been preceded by several weeks of intense planning on the part of my friends, and somewhat embarrassing cluelessness on the part of yours truly. the past month has been no exception. and truthfully? i don't want to start snooping around or suspecting that when people invite me to estate sales or take my picture next to a statue in the park, they have ulterior motives. 

long-haired Nick with pajama-clad me, in Galway circa 2005!

short-haired Nick with a very shocked me, in New Orleans circa 2009!

Gordon Ramsay's gun show with a horrifyingly-pleased me, in Shadyside circa 2012!

bottom line, there is just nothing quite like a well-planned surprise to make you feel loved. a few weeks ago, our beloved Pirate Wench Amelia was visiting from California and so we had all planned to meet for brunch at up! in Shadyside. this was not a shocking choice given their lauded breakfast buffet, including all-you-can-drink bloody marys for $6. (oh, pittsburgh, how i love you.) what was shocking was that one of the waiters congratulated me when i walked upstairs. in typical Kate fashion, i didn't think too much of it because Jeremy works there and i rationalized to myself that he must have said something about his group of friends, including the pregnant chick, coming in for brunch that day. and then i turned the corner and saw a table covered with gifts and the cutest baby-shaped balloon i've ever seen in my entire life. before i could say a word, a tiara was slapped on my head and my baby shower had begun! 

we had a marvelous time and i thought that was that. fast forward to last week, when Mom, Dad & Kira flew in from Seattle to spend some time seeing the Pittsburgh sights (and getting acquainted with Kaiser!). before they arrived, i had been brainstorming weekend activities and Blair mentioned an estate sale taking place in their condo on Saturday which was purported to have plenty of baby things. normally i would have been all. over. that. business, but i figured it wouldn't be much fun for my family so didn't mention it to them. fail #1. finally, on Saturday morning, Mom asked when we were going to see my friends and i spent an hour texting Jon various ideas about when we could get together, which he systematically shot down with a nonchalant "oh! i have work!", "oh! we have a housewarming party to go to!", "oh! the first pre-season Steelers game is tonight!". we finally stumbled upon the plan for me to drag my (surprisingly willing) family to the tail end of the estate sale, followed by happy hour before Jon, Blair and Amy attended to their other social obligations. (ha.)

so as the afternoon wore on, i began to get a little antsy about actually making it over to the estate sale "before all the good stuff was sold". my gentle efforts at prodding my family to get out of the house were not too successful. by the time we actually arrived outside the condo, we were running 45 minutes "behind schedule", which - of course - was all part of the plan. we took the elevator down to the party room, which seemed to be a rather festive place for an estate sale, but what do i know about these things? i hesitated for a minute outside the door because i could see through the glass that there seemed to be a whole contingent of people at the far end of the room, and i didn't want to barge in if the auctioneer was in the middle of displaying a particularly fine object. fail #2. finally i just opened the door, and ... 


i was so confused, and then ecstatic, and then confused again to see Kelli and Krista! 

the devious party planners (dressed in gender neutral colors, of course)

when my poor brain finally comprehended what was going on, i was overwhelmed all over again at the thought and detail that went into this shower. (apparently the brunch shower was a "decoy" baby shower. WHO DOES THAT?!?! best friends ever.) the theme was "Once Upon a Time" and all of the guests (who included Nick's family traveling from Altoona and Washington DC, and my aunts traveling from New England, in addition to my sisters traveling from Seattle) had brought children's books. the whole room was decorated with said books along with a vast collection of Disney movies on VHS. the tables were decorated with paper pinwheels made from book pages and little bags of candy garnished with a "library card" tag with the date of the shower in place of the bar code, and a note explaining that a donation to our local library had been made in lieu of prizes for the shower games. melt my heart! a literal tree stood in the corner decorated with "leaves" also made from book pages, and the walls were hung with baby pictures. the delicious food (all homemade!) was paired with signs tying each dish into an appropriate book (my favourites were apple crisp with a book about Adam & Eve, and an empty plate with The Emperor Penguin's New Clothes. yes, just like The Emperor's New Clothes but better because PENGUINS). the icing on the cake was that Jon painted a gorgeous pallet-board with the "Once Upon a Time" motif ... in our nursery colors. ridiculous, i'm telling you. and some smart cookie figured out that the inflatable ducky infant tub could be filled with ice and drinks. now that's what i call multitasking.

so, the moral of this story is that i love surprises. and most of all, i love that our Sweetpea is surrounded by such caring, creative people who truly make our lives a Happily Ever After.

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