A 50th Birthday Surprise

Way back in February my sister, Katie, and I started chatting about ideas for my mom’s 50th birthday. We knew it had to be big, it had to be a surprise, and it had to top anything anyone has ever done for her! After going back and fourth with ideas we finally ¬†decided on a wine tour around Cayuga Lake. Now the planning had begun! While my busy season was quickly approaching Katie took the reins and got busy! If any of you has gotten the pleasure of meeting my sister you know that she goes all out… for EVERYTHING! She will plan until her heart is content, shop like a mad woman, and places everything neatly in a binder with all of the information for each event or trip. She had gift bags for everyone, raffle prizes, and a brochure that outlined the day. We set the date for July 7th and as that time cam closer and closer we began to panic a little because we had about 6 people coming and 5 of them was my immediate family.. YIKES! Shortly after we had a little panic attack more and more people started to commit to come and help us surprise her and our excitement and nerves grew.

The plan was set! I told my mom that I had wanted a day with her to do some fun birthday stuff on July 7th and at first she said “well… I’ll have to check my schedule”. I’m pretty sure I have never rolled my eyes so hard at my mother than this very moment because she was trying to be funny but I wasn’t playing any games at this point! She finally agreed and the planning continued! Less than a week before (Monday to be exact) we convinced her sister, who lives in Colorado, to come out and join our surprise. Her brother, who lives in Virginia, had plans to come as well and extended his stay and was secretly here exploring the Ithaca area with his daughter! We had family from the Plattsburgh, NY area drive down, friends from her work joins us, cousins from the area, and family friends.

July 6th, the day before the BIG surprise I picked up some family from the airport and we surprised my mom with her brother and sister who came and hung out at our house for the evening. I told my mom that we had plans with them in the afternoon but I still needed her in the morning for just a few hours… Phew! I asked my mom to wear something nice and if I may say she looked FABULOUS! We hopped in my car the morning of July 7th and headed out toward Ithaca. Our first stop was at Six Mile Creek Winery and about half way through our tasting it was time for her first surprise of the day. Our family friends Matt and Nicole! (Yes, Nicole as in my best friend/second shooter/right hand/sister from another mister!) She was completely shocked and loved seeing them. Next up was Americana Winery where we had a bunch of people waiting for her! She FREAKED OUT in the best way possible!! On top of my immediate family my grandma, and my mom’s siblings along with Matt and Nicole were all there waiting! While we began that tasting another one of my mom’s cousins along with another family friend arrived! While that stop had to be a little short the next round of surprises was going to be awesome! We all caravanned to Lucas Winery (one of my personal favorites) and there was waiting her work friends and shortly after they came my mom’s cousin all the way from Plattsburgh came and blew my mom away! She definitely cried and it was well worth the 6 hour drive she took to get here! We then traveled to Thirsty Owl Winery and Swedish Hill with everyone. Next it was off to our final winery of the day at Cayuga Ridge where my parents friends (who were in their wedding almost 28 year ago) showed up! Every single time someone new arrived my mom just kept saying “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!!!” in a high pitched disbelief sound filled with joy!

Our final stop of the evening was dinner and boy did this group of amazing human need some food! As my mom walked in towards the back of MIX Kitchen and Bar (a delicious restaurant in Ithaca) she saw her Uncle, Aunt, (who came from even further away from Plattsburgh) and more cousins! In pure shock and excitement she hugged everyone and may have shed a tear or two!

Watching my mom experience this day was one of the best days of my life! This woman is constantly doing things for other people, planning trips, birthdays, weekend getaways, running around for us kids, reaching out to people whenever someone needs a little extra love, and is just one of the most incredible humans on this Earth! She is beyond selfless, inspires me and a whole bunch of people around her, and my goodness is she hysterical!! Witnessing her face light up every time someone joined our party was absolutely amazing and exactly what she deserved while we celebrated her 50th birthday!

These photos are going to be priceless memories she’ll be able to look back on to remember this perfect day! If you got through this entire post you are a superhero and I just wanted to say I am impressed!

So many laughs, so many memories, and so many surprises!

Cheers to 50 years mom!!


  1. Bill says:

    Nicely done Nicole!!! Very impressive!!!!

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