On Saturday night, Lizzie casually mentioned to my mom that she wanted to go shopping at Kohl's on Sunday morning and she wanted to go around 10 AM to avoid the crowds. My mom hates to shop and she told my dad that she wanted to figure out a way to get out of going. YIKES! See, step one of The Plan had a car coming to pick us up at 10 AM to get to the first stop in Day o'Fun. So Lizzie asked my dad to tell my mom that we had planned a spa day and it was going to be a surprise, and we had to leave at 10 to get to the spa in Long Beach by 10:30.
Mom gets up and gets ready and around 10, we head outside where Lizzie is already waiting. My mom is asking me who is going to drive and what car we are going to take. I tell her that we are going to take the black car. We don't have a black car, but there is a beautiful Lincoln Town Car sitting in the driveway with a well-dressed gentleman holding the door open for my mom. First surprise! We get in the Town Car and head down the road, with my mom trying to guess where we are going. This is a woman who reads the end of the story first. Not knowing and not being in control of the situation was a bit unnerving for her. I just started saying YES to everything she guessed. It was a little comical.
Our first stop with the Getty. The Getty is a museum and gardens perched on top of a hill in Malibu with gorgeous views of downtown Los Angeles on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The most amazing part of this amazing place is that it is free. FREE! If you are ever in LA and you have the opportunity, I really recommend that you try to go to the Getty. It is spectacular.
Our plan was to walk around the gardens and enjoy the views. We did go into a couple of the buildings, but we didn't spend much time looking at the art. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed being outside. It was warm and sunny and there was the best breeze to cool everything off just a little bit. The place wasn't crowded and we saw what we wanted and enjoyed our time there. We could not have asked for a better experience. We were there for about 90 minutes and we only saw the gardens and a few exhibits. You could spend hours there looking at art. You would probably get tired of the art before you had seen all of it. It's an amazing place.
The next stop on the day of fun was lunch at Gladstone's in Malibu. The restaurant is right on the beach on Pacific Coast Highway and the bottom of Sunset Blvd. My mom had mentioned that she had always wanted to eat there, so my sister made it happen.
The restaurant isn't really fancy, but the view and being right on the beach is pretty fantastic. We chose to have a table inside because it was a little breezy and pretty warm. We made the wrong choice. Our table inside was right in the sun and there was no breeze or AC in the building. We were roasting! We ended up moving to a different table because we just got too hot.
We started out with cocktails: strawberry daiquiri for Mom, margarita for Lizzie, coconut pineapple mojito for me. Yum! We had calamari for an appetizer and it was delicious. Sadly, it was downhill after that. The food wasn't that great. Mom had fish and chips. She said the fish wasn't bad, but the fries were soggy and bland. I had a french dip sandwich that was a lot more mushrooms and onions than beef. It was served with house-made potato chips that were super crunchy but had no flavor at all. My sister had the "So Cal Po' Boy" sandwich of which she took about two bites. She didn't like it at all. (Of course, she wasn't feeling well, but I think she wouldn't have liked it even if she felt great.)
For dessert, the server brought out an enormous brownie sundae for all of us to share. It was gigantic. The brownie was a little crispy on the edges. In the middle, where the five scoops of ice cream had kind of sunk in, it was all right.
At Gladstone's you are definitely paying for the view. If you go there, stick with the appetizers. I read that the clam chowder is pretty good. Should have had that.
After lunch it was time to head home. I texted T to let him know we were on our way which was critical for the third part of the day - the surprise party! We had invited a bunch of Mom's friends from school to come over (thanks to Jessica!) plus Jennifer and Norbert. We also invited my dad's brother and sisters. In all we had around 24 people come over. The idea was for everyone to be at the house when we arrived. T was the go-between. I would let him know how close we were to the house so he could pass along the info to all the people.
Before I talk about the surprise party, I just have to say how great it was to have a car and driver. Our driver, David, was excellent. It was such a relief to not have to worry about finding our way and dealing with traffic. We were relaxed and happy. It was decadent and wonderful!
I thought that Mom might mention all the cars parked on our road, but she didn't at all. She kind of suspected that my aunts and uncles would be over, but she was completely surprised by all the friends that were there too! When we walked in everyone yelled SURPRISE and HAPPY BIRTHDAY and she just stood there in shock and awe. It was great!
My dad, T and Norbert had put everything together for the party. They got roasted chicken from Juan Pollo along with tortillas and rice and beans. There was veggie trays and fruit trays and chips and dip. There was punch and there was a dessert tray from Corner Bakery. There was lots of eating and laughter and visiting. It was a great way to end a day that went just right from start to finish.
Mom was surprised and happy all day. My sister did a masterful job of planning everything; my dad did a great job of pulling it all together for the surprise party. I was glad to get to participate!
Happy birthday Mom! I hope you enjoyed your day!! Love you!!
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