Back in February, my friend, Judy, got in touch with me and a few other teacher friends so we could start planning Torri's surprise retirement party. If you follow the blog you know that Torri, Judy, Sarah, and I go way back. We taught together in first grade for years and years and developed just a really wonderful friendship. Last summer I blogged here about how sad I was because our little group was breaking up and everyone was going off in different directions. Yet another reason why I'm glad I blog because at that point in my life I had NO IDEA what God had up his sleeve for me. I was so upset about not having my girls with me at school this year and in a turn of events that can only be described as JUST GOD, I ended up teaching at a new school with Sarah :) It really still amazes me how everything fell into place and just worked out for the best. I blogged about that here. It was something I never would have planned.
Even though the four of us haven't been together every day like we were over the past 7 years, we still have been able to get together and spend time with each other. When Judy asked us if we wanted to help plan Torri's surprise retirement party we all said yes and started making our secret plans. It was lots of fun! We ended up having the party at a local coffeeshop and it was WONDERFUL! They catered the food, set up the tables, and did everything! We basically just showed up and brought a few table decorations. It was definitely a no muss, no fuss party!
The only part of the party we really had to "plan" was how we were going to get Torri to the coffeeshop without her finding out about the party. Luckily, Sarah being pregnant with her fourth kiddo helped :) I sent out a fake text to Torri, Judy, and a few other girls about throwing Sarah a surprise baby shower at the coffeeshop on the exact day of Torri's surprise retirement party. Torri was so excited and couldn't wait to surprise Sarah. So for the next month, all I had to do was keep up the texts about the surprise baby shower for Sarah. Luckily, Torri bought it hook, line, and sinker. It was stressful for me because every time I sent out a text I had to make sure I was in the correct group-the fake baby shower group or the real retirement party group. Whew! We also couldn't send out invites because we didn't know whose house Torri might go to, so we had to do the party invites through Facebook. Keeping up with all the fake information I was telling Torri and all the real information about the retirement party was difficult at times, but it all worked out in the end!
The day of the party Sarah, Judy, me, and the rest of the girls showed up about an hour before the party started to set out our few table decorations for the party. We were so excited about surprising our friend. Her husband, Trey, and their daughter, Sophie, showed up early and we asked them if Torri was suspicious at all. Trey said that Torri left the house saying she needed to run to the mall to get a last minute gift for Sarah for the baby shower. PERFECT!
Melanie Shankle's books are HILARIOUS. If you've never read one, you need to!! Our "card" to Torri was her latest book "Nodoy's Cuter than You." We all wrote Torri messages inside this sweet memoir about friendship.
One of our special gifts to Torri was going to be this "Friendship Tree."
We set it up so each guest could leave their thumbprint on the tree for Torri.
Our only snafu was not every party guest arrived on time. I guess lots of people decided to be "fashionably late". In retrospect I should have told Torri that Sarah's baby shower was about thirty minutes later than when the guests were supposed to arrive. It ended up working out because as each guest arrived it was like a present for Torri to see who else was coming to her party. She was able to greet and talk to each guest as they arrived and it was fun to see how excited she was. The best part of the whole night though was when Torri first walked in...
We see Torri walking up to the coffeeshop loaded down with baby gifts for Sarah. All the girls run over to the side so she can't see them. When she enters the coffee shop, she sees me with the camera and then rounds the corner to see everyone in a line saying "Surprise!" She can't for the life of her understand why Sarah, the one we're supposed to be surprising in her mind, is in the line of girls saying "Surprise!" to her. Everyone starts laughing and keeps saying "Surprise!" to Torri and then it finally dawns on her when she sees the "Happy Retirement" sign Sarah is holding. Her facial expressions are priceless! She truly was surprised!
She was thrilled, surprised, elated, happy, and so much more. We were all giddy with excitement because we were able to pull of the surprise. It was so sweet to do something special for our friend! Torri is such a wonderful momma, wife, friend, sister, teacher, and so much more. My life is greatly enriched because of my friendship with her. I've learned so much from her and I'm so glad she's in my life. We had a wonderful night celebrating her! Family members, friends, teachers that she currently teaches with, and teachers she taught with in the past all came together to celebrate Torri. It was so much fun and there was lots of love in that room :)
Torri and Judy
These girls are best friends and have shared so much life together!
Torri, Trey, and Sophie
Torri and Charles, her principal.
Torri and Faith, her sister
After most of the guests had left, Torri gave Sarah her baby gifts :) HILARIOUS!
Torri and all the hostesses :)
I can't believe Torri and Judy are both retired!
Congratulations to Torri on her retirement! It was so much fun celebrating her not only for the teacher that she is but for everything else as well! She's such a treasure! I can't wait to see what adventure awaits her next :)