A Man With A Plan

A year ago at this time, I was so excited I could hardly stand it. McDaddy and I were preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. McDaddy was busy planning a surprise anniversary trip for us which may or may not have been the result of months of hinting whining on my part  to do something really special to celebrate ten years with this patient, loving man.
We have been fortunate to travel extensively over the past 16 years. In addition to a tour of Europe, we’ve visited Mexico, Bahamas, Canada, and thirty-two states. Some of those trips were actually business trips for McDaddy, but we always find a way to squeeze in some fun. We also have fun relaxing together in our summer home camper at various parks around our state.

Because of the extensive travelling, we’ve spent as many anniversaries apart as we have together. In fact, he was out of town on buisness for our first three anniversaries.
I had a few ideas in my head about how I wanted to celebrate our 10th anniversary, but I wanted him to do all the planning. His plan started to crumble when he found out that plane tickets for our ‘get-away’ were going to be outrageous.

To that, I quickly replied, “I’m worth it,” even though I still had no idea what he was planning. Then, on our way home from Target one evening, he proposed two choices. 1. We could either head out of town for a romantic weekend get-away OR 2. we could buy a new 50 inch plasma TV.
Stop the press.
The TV addict fan in me thought about that for about ten seconds. A new television would be something the whole family could enjoy when I wasn’t hogging the remote and watching one of the many shows on my daily DVR docket. The other part of me? The other part was ready to hit the road.
Especially when he mentioned that this surprise get-away was all about me!

Sweet mercy! I love the sound of that.

Part of the excitement of the trip was the element of surprise. My nosey gene worked overtime trying to figure out the destination, but in reality, I didn’t want to know where we were going. I had no idea what to pack or how many pairs of shoes I would need. 

When we arrived at the airport, we headed to the ticket counter. Upon check-in, I found out we were headed to Chicago. When we landed in Chicago, McDaddy and I walked hand-in-hand toward another gate. When we arrived at the gate marked LaGuardia, we fell in line behind the other passengers who were waiting to board. Just before reaching the front of the line, he pulled me aside and led me down the long corridor. We went through that whole routine at the gate for San Juan, Puerto Rico. By this time, I didn’t care where we were going. I was enjoying my husband and his creativity.
He led me to a waiting area between two gates. The destination for the gate on the left was Ft. Lauderdale and the gate on the right was marked Minneapolis/St. Paul. We got in line at the Ft. Lauderdale gate and were almost to the ticket agent, when he pulled me out of line and we sat down.

I loved it.
Hear me. I loved the suspense.
And, usually suspense makes me crazy. 
But, I decided to go with it.
We sat there for what seemed like forever. Then, he took me by the hand and we proceeded to the other gate. This time, we actually got on the plane. I was still a bit uncertain about our destination because we could have been headed for another lay-over.
Once our plane landed, we headed to baggage claim to retrieve our bag.
Yes, I said, one bag. We only needed one bag because we left the kiddos at home. And it felt good this one time, to fly footloose and fancy free without fear of fits, tantrums or dirty diapers.
After that, we proceeded to the rental car place. I just knew that McDaddy had a beloved Saturn Sky waiting for us. That would be the cherry on top of the already exciting cake he had made for us. As it turns out, McDaddy had tried his best to rent a Saturn Sky, but calls to all eight rental car places in the area yielded no Saturn Sky.

Now if I’m being honest, picking the rental car from the Emerald Isle was probably the high point for McDaddy on this trip. They had a lot of choices and it didn’t matter to me what he picked. He chose a Toyota Rav-4 and the only reason I am mentioning the rental car is because McDaddy reads my blog and he will ask me why I didn’t inlcude that minor detail in this post.

Literally, within five minutes of pulling off of the rental car lot,  we were pulling into the Holy.Crap.This.Place.Is.Huge Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I was squealing ya’ll.

Squealing with delight.


On top of that, he handed me cash.
Shut Up!
We spent five glorious hours at the mall. The flip-flops proved to be a bad choice in light of the vast amount of walking that we did. I was in so much pain, we decided to find our hotel and then find some dinner.
We trusted the GPS to offer up a dinner suggestion. The GPS sent us to Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill. I had the barbecue chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. Let me just take this chance to say, if you are ever in Eagen, Minnesota and you have the chance to eat there, do not pass up the chance. It was delighful. In fact, I’m sure the whole dinner including bread only had about 5000 calories.
Totally worth it.
May the chicken rest in peace.
We enjoyed a romantic dinner. McDaddy and I sat across the table from one another talking about how our lives have changed over the past ten years. We talked about the years we spent travelling the world before kids and then we talked about this exciting road we were travelling together called parenthood. The lights were dim, the music was subtle, the food was delicious and my husband was the hottest guy in the place.
Yeah, I said hot. And, he is.

Even with the ten gray hairs that have taken up residence on the left side of his head (he claims there is one for every year we’ve been married), he is such a gentleman. As I sat across the table from this man, I thought about how very special he is and how blessed I am to share his life. 

The next day we returned to the mall and did it all again. We stopped for lunch at the Coldstone Creamery where I chose That’s How I Roll.

I have two words for That’s How I Roll.

Pure. and Bliss.

The guy behind the counter started with vanilla ice-cream. He piled on yellow cake, cinnamon, and pecans. They mashed it all together to make the best ice-cream I have ever put in my mouth. And, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that the 40 minutes I did on the treadmill and elliptical machine did not even come close to burning the calories from this cold treat.
Tomorrow would be another day.
After that, we rode a couple of roller coasters – there is an amusement park in the center of the mall – and then we headed to the movie theater on the top floor where we watched a goofy movie called Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay.
On Sunday, we decided to drive into Wisconsin. We happened to be just 30 miles from the state line and we wanted to add Wisconsin to the proverbial “States We’ve Visited” belt. After our drive to Wisconsin, we drove back to the mall, grabbed lunch and then returned the rental car. We headed to the Minneapolis Airport and boarded the plane for our return trip.

As our 11th anniversary approaches, I am prepared to spend another anniversary alone.  I am thankful for the wonderful life that McDaddy and I share. I love sharing his life, his kids and his name.

McDaddy, I miss you more than you can know. I love you and appreciate you!

Oh, and with all that free time on your hands, you could totally be planning another trip for us to take once you return home. (ahem!)


  1. Julie says

    You and your hubby are such a hot couple 🙂

    I love the way you speak about your husband, Julie. It’s so inspriring!

    I know you miss McDaddy but as an outsider let me just say this – feel so blessed to have him in your life… he’s far away, and it’s horrible… but you have something that most girls only dream of!


  2. says

    How wonderfully sneaky that man is! I love it!

    Ahh…MOA…my home away from home. Doolittles is fantastic, we are there all the time. They have the best food!

  3. says

    Happy Anniversary. That is a pretty cool trip he planned. He should write a post on how to impress your wife on your anniversary so I can share it w/ my husband.

  4. says

    Julie, that is a fantastically creative and loving husband you have. 🙂 Does he KNOW YOU or what? 🙂 Y’all are so blessed! Happy anniversary!

    BTW, when I was little and we traveled all over the country in our little RV while my dad worked, we went across the state line into Washington to wash clothes at a laundrymat. It was 30-45 minutes away (we were in Idaho), and my mom just wanted to go so we could say we’d been there!

  5. says

    How Awesome!!!! My hubby, love his heart, won’t drive me 40 minutes to the nearest mall-LOL! We are going on an awesome vacation soon though so I guess I’ll let it slide 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my blog…I enjoyed yours very much as well.