Surprise San Diego vacation reveal!

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When we decided to surprise Max with our San Diego vacation, we had some concerns about how exactly we would pull it off.
Here's what we knew: His last day of school before Spring Break was also his actual birthday. He got out of school at 1:10 like always, and we had to figure out a way to postpone realizing our airport destination for as long as possible.
We recruited my mom to give us a ride to the airport, figuring that under the guise of an early birthday dinner, we could get him in the car without too much fuss. Let him play on the tablet, and he'd be so engrossed he wouldn't notice we weren't actually headed towards his favorite restaurant. (Seriously. The kid pays attention to these things)

And then Jamie got a promotion at work. (YAY!) This is excellent news for our family, with the minor exception of the “You'll need to fly to Minneapolis from Monday until Thursday the 17th for a meeting” part. Thursday the 17th, also known as Max's birthday, also known as the day we were set to leave for San Diego.

Thankfully, Southwest makes it easy to move flights around, so we cancelled Jamie's OAK->SAN ticket, and he had work buy his return ticket from Minneapolis to San Diego instead. Step one is done.

Now how to fool The Boy.

“Oh, kiddo, it's so exciting that Daddy got this new job, but we have some bad news. He has to go away for work, so he'll be gone for your birthday. He won't get home until after you go to bed that night, but we promise we'll do something special on Friday. Maybe go out to breakfast? How about the zoo?”

Max, being the awesome laid-back guy he is, was bummed but OK with this change in plans.

“Maybe Daddy will bring me a present from his trip! Like some LEGO!”

Jamie leaves, Max and I have our normal week, until Thursday, his birthday. He dons the special LEGO birthday shirt I made for him, we bring donut holes to his before school care group, we make goodie bags for his classmates.

I pick him up from school at 1:10.

“Exciting news, kiddo! Daddy got an earlier flight home, so we'll see him before dinner! We'll go get him from the airport in just a little while!”

We get home and he's blissfully ignorant of my moving suitcases out to the garage, and putting my laptop, camera, and lenses into my backpack.

My mom arrives as a “birthday surprise” for Max, and conveniently offers to drive Max and I to the airport to get Jamie.

As we pull into the airport, I seemingly get a text from Jamie, and I ask Max to read it to me:

It's so convenient that we have suitcases in the back of Nana's car, isn't it?
We meet Jamie in San Diego. It works out perfectly. Our flights landed about 10 minutes apart, and we easily reunite near baggage claim.

Max still has no idea why we are in San Diego.

It's about a 40 minute drive from the airport to the LEGOLand Hotel, but he doesn't question much as we make our way. There aren't any clues along the way or anything, and definitely nothing noteworthy enough for him to comment.

As our navi lets us know that we're getting close, I start recording (sorry it's so dark):

Speechless, you guys.
This never happens.

I have more posts about our trip coming… the LEGOLand Hotel, LEGOLand itself, the Safari Park… we had a fantastic vacation, and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

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  1. I love it. And I love that he’s speechless, and I also love his exasperation when he thinks you’re going to drive all day.

  2. Seriously, you two get parents of the year! That is just so awesome. His speechlessness is so great I even got a bit teary. (That could be hormones, but still)

  3. HIS FACE! That’s so incredibly sweet. I love how he just went along with “sure, we’ll randomly take a plane to San Diego to pick up daddy.”

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