Gloria’s Birthday Surprise!

I have the best mother-in-law any gal could ask for (and no I’m not just trying to get on her good side – she really is the best!).  When it comes to my personal life and my business, Gloria is my biggest supporter and #1 fan.  My husband, John, is from Carson City (where his Mom Gloria still lives) and his sister lives in Reno.  We visit when we can but with our busy schedules, visiting once a year is sometimes pushing it.  This past December we visited and I had the opportunity to photograph John’s sister and nephew, Shannon & Alex.  During that photo shoot Gloria mentioned “I would love a collage of canvases of you, John, Shannon and Alex like you have behind your studio front desk”.  Well that’s no small collage – the display behind our front desk is made up of 8 canvases and is 7 feet wide.  So I measured Gloria’s wall (10 ft wide) and got to designing.

Now for the fun part – Gloria is near impossible to surprise!  She knows all the details of what’s going on in our lives – where we are and what we’re doing.  The goal was to get John, Shannon, Alex and I to show up at Gloria’s house on her birthday with the canvases in our car and make sure her weekend was free so she could hang out with her surprise guests.  Wow there are a lot of lies that have to go into surprising someone who normally knows all the details of your week.  Long story short, we pulled it off!  I ordered the canvases and had them shipped directly to Shannon (which was a task in itself because the week before our visit Gloria was house sitting for Shannon).  Then we had to get John’s Aunt involved so she could make fake plans for Gloria to spend the weekend with her.  Then Shannon had to come up with an excuse for being at Gloria’s house at 10am on a Saturday morning when she would usually be sleeping in.  Then we rearranged our studio schedule so we didn’t have any portrait sessions that weekend (thank you to 2 of our clients who rescheduled their appointments that weekend so we could be with Gloria!).

It was well worth the effort to see Gloria so happy to not only have her collage of canvases, but to get to spend the weekend with her favorite people!  One of Gloria’s favorite parts of the weekend was watching John and Alex working together and spending time together.  Here’s the progress of John and Alex hard at work:

The next day we spent the afternoon at Lake Tahoe!  Beautiful weather and a fun gondola ride!  Gloria & Alex:

John & Arica:

I can just see Gloria now on her birthday next year – clearing her weekend, stocking her refrigerator and sitting by her front window all morning just in case we show up!  Happy Birthday Gloria!  We love you!

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