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...