If you know me, you know that I LOVE surprises.  And I'm always scheming up a good one.  So, a few weeks ago when I was able to get ahold of some Toby Keith concert tickets that happened to fall on the first weekend Matt was back in Durham after spending the first half of the summer at home AND his birthday weekend, I started scheming... :)

TJ has been talking about wanting to make it up to Durham for a long time since he hasn't been up here in over two and a half years - he hasn't seen where Ryan and I have lived since we've been married or visited since Matt first started school here.  So, when we were all home a few weeks ago, I mentioned to TJ that if I could get Toby Keith tickets, he should fly up for the weekend and go to the concert with us and we could surprise Matt.  Mom and Dad were standing right there and said they'd "sponsor" the trip with some skymiles, so we booked his flight and managed to keep Matt in the dark for the next couple of weeks.

Matt came back to Durham last Monday and brought Jamie with him to stay for the week.  She had a flight back to ATL on Friday, so I planned to drop her off at the airport and pick TJ up in one trip and there I had my alibi.  :)  Matt and Jamie got to hang out while I was at work every day, then we'd all meet for lunch and Jamie and I got to hang out in the evenings, even got pedicures one night (Mom's treat - thanks Mom!), my first since right before our wedding - so good to have some sister time with her!

So, Friday rolled around and it seemed like the week had gone by too quickly and Jamie didn't want to miss out on all of the fun with TJ coming, so she decided to just stay until Saturday night instead. We didn't tell Matt though. :)  I played things cool and even asked Matt if he wanted to ride with us to the airport to drop Jamie off with us, but quickly threw in that I had to run be fitted for a bridesmaid's dress on the way (not really though, just to make him not want to come), so he quickly opted out.  So, Jamie and I headed to the airport.  Ironically, Ryan was headed to Alabama for his grandfather's funeral and his flight was 30 minutes after TJ landed, so he joked about maybe seeing TJ in passing at the airport since he wasn't going to be around for the weekend anymore. As it turned out though, Ryan's flight left from the same gate that TJ's flight came into and Ryan boarded the same plane that TJ had just gotten off of!  So, when we got to the airport, we had to circle a few times waiting on TJ because he got to catch up with Ryan for a few. 

Now, for the surprise - here's how we pulled it off... :)

Matt wanted Kurama's, a Japanese steak-house for dinner, so he and a few friends were there and he was expecting me to join them for dinner since I had just "dropped Jamie off".  On the way, TJ called Matt and Matt told TJ he was just getting ready to head to dinner with some friends for his birthday and asked what TJ was up to.  TJ told him he and Sam (his roommate) were just getting ready to head downtown (Gainesville, Florida) to go find somewhere to eat for dinner too, ha!  We had a few extra minutes to stop and grab a card and of all things, Jamie found one that sang a Toby Keith song when you opened it, so Jamie made imitation concert tickets to stick inside the card with each person's name that was going.  Then the last one had TJ's name on it.  So I was going to walk up to the table alone, as expected, and give Matt the card....

Here's Matt's cheesin' it face after opening the card and seeing the concert tickets, which he thought was the big surprise, not knowing that there was more...

I told him to take a closer look at the them...
(beware of the poor quality...still a really fun video though!)

Be sure and press pause on the ipod on the left sidebar first though!

The next morning, all the guys got up and left at 5:30 AM for a bass fishing tournament, so Jamie and I just hung out by the pool until the guys got back around lunchtime.  We then made some last-minute plans to meet up with Andrea, Jimmy, Alicia and AJ for dinner on the way to dropping Jamie off at the airport, probably our last chance to see them before they move to DC :(  It's been so fun having them only a little over an hour away the entire time we've lived here, but that means we'll definitely be taking more DC trips in the near future!  Amazingly, between Jimmy being deployed (Air Force) so much and TJ never being in NC, and having such short Christmas breaks due to bowl games, we realized that Jimmy and TJ hadn't even seen each other in six years!  Jimmy hadn't seen TJ since he was a little ole' eighth grader! 

In our concert attire, we headed out to meet Andrea, Jimmy, & Co., drop Jamie off at the airport (SAD!), then head to the Toby Keith/Trace Adkins concert. Where's your shirt, Matt?

yet again, family divided!

Had to get a pic of the rare reunion!

Take 2...

We pretended we were headed to the concert, no stopping at the airport on the way...we were in denial that she was leaving really.


But alas, we had to drop James at the airport before going to the concert.  Lo and behold, she flew out the same gate as Ryan AND TJ.  Poor Jamie, headed back home to be an only child again with all of her sibs five hours away in different directions.  She'd had Matt there for the first half of the summer which was so fun for both of them while he was living at home during his internship in Atlanta for our Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle, a good family friend of ours. Bet she misses him already!

Why did I get so many "goodbye" pictures and not more concert pictures? 

I don't know, but here we are at the airport again (third trip in a weekend!), seeing TJ off on Sunday evening.  Ryan got in late Saturday night from Alabama right after we got back from the concert, so we got up and went to church on Sunday morning, then had lunch at Tyler's, one of our favorite after-church lunch spots.  It's a Durham place, so we had to take TJ there.  Besides, it's his name-sake (TJ=Tyler James). :)


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