Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Melanie's Virtual Baby Shower!

For those of you who don't know her, let me introduce you to my beautiful sister, Melanie!

My sister on her wedding day

Recently (ok, well, almost a year ago now!) Melanie married a godly man of strength and valor, David, and moved to beautiful Ireland....yes, a real life fairy tale it is! Melanie is thirteen months older than me, and we have always been very close and the best of friends - so seeing her move so far away was extremely difficult, yet joyful as I knew she was following God's call and embarking on an amazing adventure with the love of her life!

There are still days, I'll admit, where tears flow because the loneliness for her close friendship is so great! I really do miss her. And I miss her even more now with the news of her and David expecting a BABY in September! A time to rejoice and celebrate!

Although the distance apart is great, we have been able to stay in close contact through an amazing invention called Skype. How wonderful this real time video feed has been - to be able to see her face and talk to her as if she was in the room with me!!! It was with the help of Skype that my sister-in-love, Angie, and I were able to throw a VIRTUAL Baby Shower for Melanie and David.

Melanie's Virtual *surprise!* Shower
how we pulled it off...

:: Invitations by eMail
Angie and I started by creating an online baby registry for Melanie at Amazon.co.uk. We decided the best way to get gifts to Melanie was to go through a UK shopping source....because the shipping costs from US-to-Ireland are outrageously expensive! We selected items that we knew every first-time-mom couldn't live without and emailed the registry link, along with the shower invitation, to all of Melanie's friends and family here in the US. We also had everyone fill out an advice form and send it back to us. We then complied all the advice forms and sent them to Melanie in a book format (she LOVED it...the best of all the gifts she said!).

:: Hiding the Gifts
Hiding things from Melanie is not easy, so we knew we would need to be very careful in keeping this whole thing a surprise. So, we arranged to have all the gifts shipped to Melanie's inlaws in Ireland (who live only a mile down the road from her). Her mother-in-law, MaryAnn, got on board with our plans and turned out to be the GREATEST help - we couldn't have done it without her! She wrapped and hid all the gifts in an upper room of her house and successfully kept everything hush-hush. There were a few close calls - like when Melanie stopped in spur the moment for a visit, and Maryann had to scramble to get rid of boxes that had just arrived!

:: May 9th - Surprise Day!
All guests arrived for brunch on Saturday morning at Angie's home. There were close to 50 people in attendance!! At exactly 11:00 am (5:00 pm Ireland time), we gathered together and called Melanie via Skype on my laptop (which we had set-up in Angie's livingroom, connected to a video projector, so everyone in the room could look up on the wall and see Melanie). Once she answered, we all yelled out a big "SURPRISE!!" followed by wha-hoos and clapping and lots of smiles. :) Melanie's facial expressions where priceless - expressions of total shock and looks of "what is going on?" to smiles and looks at David as if to say, "did you know about this?!." Hard to capture the moment in words! The best part was after we said the big surprise on our end, Melanie's in-laws came walking into her house with arm loads of gifts....that is when she REALLY caught on to what was happening! We were able to watch her open each gift. What joy!! Enjoy the photos...


Marianne Stolhammer said...

Wow, this really made me cry (happy tears :)). Same situation here: pregnant sister overseas and baby is due in August! Being apart is not always easy... I don't think it ever is.

Melanie said...

Oh Mindy! I love these pictures! Thank you for blessing me so much! I keep telling people that you are my hero for organizing such an amazing thing while having three children under the age of two! I am in awe of you!

This was a day that I will NEVER forget! I love you!

Freedom's Call Band said...

That was such a fun day! You and Angie did a great job setting it all up and worked so hard...it was entirely worth it!
See ya soon!

Freedom's Call Band said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Thank you Mindy for all of your hard work, and for sharing the pictures so those of us who couldn't be there could see what went on! It looks like it was such a fun day!

Nicole said...

You are amazing!

Cheers for sisterly love!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mindy, how fun!! This reminds me of something we did for my sister nineteen years ago when she was living in NW Ontario. My mom and I held an "Absentee Baby Shower." Guests brought their gifts, we took lots of pictures, played a couple games on paper, and boxed everything in one box, and sent it to her. We put an invitation inside the box on top of the tissue paper. When she opened the box, she saw the invitation and said to her husband, "Oh this is nice. They had a baby shower for me." Not until she pulled back the tissue paper did it dawn on her, and then she exclaimed, "OH!!! THIS is the baby shower!!!!" Good memories that make me smile even now! I'm sure the same will be true for you and Melanie years down the road.

Blessings, Noreen

Anonymous said...

Oh, how wonderful, the planning & putting-into-action stage!!!! I am crying, the love is so much that was expressed in all that! :)

--Ma Sands

Mrs. Jo said...

This takes the cake as the most heart-warming post I've read all week! What a huge blessing for your sister. I know you were super close so I've often wondered how you are holding up with her so far. What a blessing the internet is for preserving friendships and family closeness!

What an amazing blessing for Melanie and I thank you so much for this idea and plan to use it since one of the things that hurts me the most about my brother being in Honduras is that I probably won't see his babies right away and only every 4 years. I will have to look into getting a webcam.

Mrs. Jo said...

Oops. Typo! I meant without her not with her...

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