Lee had a birthday this past weekend and we celebrated in a big way. About a month prior, Whitney decided to plan a surprise party for him, and our friends already had it penciled in on their calendars. Planning already in-progress, Lee came home from work one day and announced, “We need to go to the Grand Ole Opry on my birthday.” Whitney tried everything to dissuade him, but once Lee has an idea in his head, that’s just the way things are going to be. Whitney couldn’t figure out why they suddenly needed to get to the Opry so urgently, and then she realized Carrie Underwood was playing that weekend. (Thanks for foiling all of the hard work and planning, Carrie!) Lee bought tickets for the 9:30PM show, Whitney pouted for about a day, then decided to get creative.
In the weeks leading up to Lee’s birthday, Whitney kept pondering the classic question of, “What to get the guy who has everything?” She couldn’t figure out a great present…until she had an out-of-the-box idea. One of Lee’s primary love languages is words of affirmation. She crafted an email to everyone she could think of, including friends in TN, and family & friends in PA, OH, NY, and beyond. She asked everyone who loved Lee to send a card telling him why they appreciated him so much. She was so thrilled with the stack of letters and cards that started coming in the mail.
Keeping with the words of affirmation theme, she started her own list of reasons she loves Lee and that became her small gift to kick off Lee’s birthday morning. She hid it in his car the night before so he would find it on his way into work the next morning. He was so surprised!
A big concern with the surprise party planning was trying to make sure Lee stayed at work the whole day. The worst thing that could happen would be him coming home in the middle of decorating for the surprise! The week of, our awesome friends offered their new home up for hosting the party so Whitney wouldn’t have to worry about those details. She eagerly accepted their offer. She was able to get a key to their house and get in early afternoon while they were at work to start decorating. She planned a Pittsburgh Steelers theme, knowing Lee would love the nod to his all-time favorite NFL team. It turned out great!
All of our friends gathered by 5:30 and Whitney told Lee to meet at their friends’ house for a dinner date. When he showed up, we all screamed,”Surprise!” and he didn’t even know what to do with himself!
And of course, Whitney did find a little something to get “the guy who has everything.” The only Steelers jersey he lacked was a throwback “bumble bee.” He loved it! And Whitney loved being super-Asian (never paying full price for anything) and getting this $150 official NFL-licensed jersey on clearance for $22! What a steal! We are big fans of #99 Brett Keisel at our house!
By 8:30 it was time to clear out and head to our next stop in the birthday festivities — Lee’s “must-go” Opry show! Carrie Underwood was stunning and just as flawless as you see her on TV and hear her on the radio.
But the biggest surprise that couldn’t have been planned was when Coach Bill Cowher (of Pittsburgh Steelers fame) was in the audience with us! Lee’s jaw dropped to the ground when Coach was announced and he could not have been more overjoyed. He has long been one of Lee’s heroes. What a great birthday surprise!
We were so exhausted by the time we fell into bed around 2AM, but our hearts were so full. All of our friends and family worked so hard to contribute and make Lee’s day so special for him! From sending cards from afar to offering their homes to showing up and yelling to scare Lee to death, everyone went out of their way to make sure Lee felt loved and appreciated. We are so grateful to all of our loved ones!
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