We had been planning it for about a week, and there were many emails and texts back and forth as to the best plan to pull this off without spoiling the surprise. I warned my friend not to text me because Katie is often playing on my phone and if a text came through she might see it. So she came up with these texts in order to let me know where they were at various points through the trip:
"We're going to stop in Topeka so I'll text you: "It's hot in Topeka".
When we get to Kansas City I''ll text you something about the KC Chiefs.
Columbia, MO: "The Shuttle Columbia has landed".
STL: "Watching Meet Me in Saint Louis "
I thought this was really cool and so I showed it to my darling husband, who often skims rather than fully reading and comprehending information. He started reading the codes and the first thing he said was, "They're going to see the Kansas City Chiefs play?" "NO," I told him, "Read it!" His next comment was, "They're taking the shuttle?" I just looked at him in complete bewilderment. "You're in the military! Didn't they teach you anything about covert operations!?"
Emily was under instructions that when I told her to, she was to take Katie upstairs keep her occupied until I called for them to come downstairs. As luck would have it, as soon as BFF and family arrived, Katie had to go to the bathroom and Emily was practically trying to tackle her to keep her in the bedroom so she wouldn't hear the hullaballoo downstairs as we arranged all the primary characters.
The end result was totally worth it as we caught Katie completely off guard. I knew she would wonder why I was pointing the camera at her and I didn't want to set off warning bells, so I pretended I was looking at a picture already in the camera and I was asking her who took it as she walked toward me.