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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thirties: (n) the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 30 through 39, as in referring to numbered items, indicating the years of a lifetime

So, this is a post that has been long-awaited. Since it had to be a surprise, no mention of this event could be made. Amazingly, we pulled it off and surprised our 'big' sister Katie last night!

The birthday celebration was held at the beautiful home of my sister Kara and her husband Matthew. Good thing, because back in February when I emailed the Ryan clan about a surprise for Katie, I suggested just meeting up at New England Pizza! Let's say it was so nice to have the birthday party in Kara's home, and the fare was far more elegant than food at a pizza joint!

Kara and I had a great time emailing and i-ming back and forth with my mother, my sister Colleen and my sister, Melinda. We decided it would be so enjoyable to 'go all out'-- planning all sorts of extra things to make the night memorable. The little details were pretty much 'do-it-yourself,' and we ended up making signs and invitations, floral arrangements and displays. We really had a lot of fun getting it all done. Even with all the planning and details, I will admit there was one huge thing missing, and we all knew it, even though she was 'there' via web-cam-- Minna, we thought of you, and talked about you, and just plain wished you were here. We love you!

Katie was shocked; which is quite a feat, since she's such a very effective communicator. We all receive phone calls multiple times in a day from her. It was very hard to keep it a secret, but the mission was successfully accomplished, as you can see in some of these shots.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and great conversation, with lots of laughter and lighthearted events being remembered. It was a wonderful evening. Happy 30th, Katie Lynn! You know we love you!

Back in the day:

The invitation:

My adorable mom, on the lookout: (she's gonna' have my head for putting this up here...)

Colleen, Lookout #2: (Note the dual cameras!)

My hands were shaking when I took these next two- a little anxious to make sure she didn't have a clue... I told Matt before Katie arrived, "I'm hoping for 'shock and awe' when she gets here." And that's pretty much what it was like.

In walks the birthday beauty: At first, she thought it was just our family surprising her:

And then, Kevin said, "Look who's here, hon'!" - A room full of her friends- thus the reaction in this shot:

Kara's pretty orchids:

I know enough not to put my Dad on this blog, but I will put up a picture of his lovely hand-thrown pottery dishes: (Hi, Dad! ;)

The birthday banner, which saw more use later on for Connor and Nora's birthday party:

Kara's great napkin idea: (courtesy of her dear friend Martha, of course.)

The hostess hard at work, surveying the group to make sure everyone's got what they need. (They did). Colleen on the right in the background, feverishly drying dishes. Oh, and on the left? That's me, feverishly testing the chocolate fondue. Yeah. Important. (Thanks for the fountain, Bethany! ;)

above image courtesy of Heidi L. :)

I found these cardboard 'cake' pieces on www.etsy.com, from seller 'daisysanddots.' Find her shop here. We used them as favor boxes for the candy buffet.

The popular candy buffet- not that Katie likes candy or anything, but it seemed that a good time was had by all in this location:

And one more of the tables:

Katie's friends added so much to the evening, but I promised them that they wouldn't find themselves on the Internet via anything of my doing, so thus I keep my word. But they really made it a very nice time. Lots and lots of memories and camaraderie. Thank you all.

And knowing how Katie feels about growing up, I had to add this:

"Thirty was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult."

-Clyve Staples Lewis, author

Oh, and one point of clarification: Katie is my older sister. Just thought that was an important addendum to this post.


  1. BETSY JO!

  2. Hello, there! :) I know who that is... Admit it, it's a good picture!

  3. well...at least my shirt looks Ok. I look very serious taking care of those dishes. Good pictures betz-- and an even better party! Thanks so much for your help. I have a few pics. I'll email you later. Just wait til you turn 30!! Now I have some practice you never know what will happen. :)

    Love you all!

  4. was there anyone else at the party?

  5. I can not thank you all enough for the lovely evening. It was truly beautiful and I am so thankful for each one there!
    You are the greatest! I'll never forget it.


  7. Wow how badly I wish I could have been there. Also Betsy I would like to note that you are only 15 months behind Katie, so watch out!!! Beautiful set up and looks like it was very nice!

  8. I love the candy buffet and the napkin holders...they look great and very colorful...perfect day it was....

  9. betsy, those party details are great! the details themselves are fantastic, and your photos of them are just beautiful. do you remember the etsy site that you found the cardboard cake slices? i'd love to know!!

  10. i love those plates that your dad made! amazing! where can I order some??? :)

    great photos as always too!

  11. @ericamay: I just added a link to the cake boxes within the body of the post. I had meant to do that, so thanks for the request! :) @LaBrisa: My Dad's website is still in the works, but you can be sure I'll be featuring it here when it's live! Thanks for the kind words.

  12. It looks so nice and I love the candy buffet! You can remember that for my 30th(oct 3rd):). Just kidding but I love tha napkin idea, nice touch kara! -Bethany

  13. Oh, Beth, you're in trouble now!!! You know how I love to plan... And don't worry, I know your birth date! :)