Graduation (and some surprises)!

Friday was Jenny’s last day at the Gene Juarez Academy, and we combined it with our 19-month anniversary.  Normally I have a freaky obsession about posting everything in chronological order, but this is too important to wait.

Lots of work went into this day.  She had been planning surprises for her instructors, and I was also planning surprises for her.

There wasn’t quite enough time for me to outdo the “Prank of the Month” I pulled last year, but I had to do something special, and I love making my girl cry!  More on that in a bit.

Her plans

Meanwhile Jenny “Memphis” was planning to surprise her instructors with gifts for each of them.  To do this, she enlisted the help of our friend Susan of “Red Velvet Underground” to make some of her famous custom cupcakes for the group.
This was going to be well over 40 cupcakes!

My plans

Little did she know, I had already been collaborating with Sherise Mckinney for some artwork that she wanted ever since we did the Seattle RAW show back in March.
Jenny’s favorite creature is the octopus, and Sherise had one on display that she fell in love with.
(Here’s a link to a picture of Sherise’s work, entitled “disencumber” along with the rest of that evening: Seattle RAW gallery.)

I managed to get one of the final prints of this. Keeping it a secret for a whole week wasn’t easy!  Since our anniversary was on the 2nd and her graduation was on the 5th, I thought it would work best to combine the two.

I had also planned to get her some sunflowers, as they’re her favorite. But looking at the long list of flavors that Susan had to offer, I wondered “what about an extra batch of sunflower cupcakes?”  Those weren’t on the list, but Susan still did it!

The cupcakes

For the cupcakes (that Jenny knew about), we went to World Market and got a bunch of Chinese-takeout-style boxes. She always has the best ideas!

Boxes for the cupcake

We had planned to include special cards with an invitation to shoot with us, and include those in each box.  But as busy as we were, and as quickly as time passed, that wasn’t going to happen. We used up almost all of our regular business cards after the Seattle RAW show, and a recent wedding we did, so we had to do something else.

At the last minute (because Costco would be closed on July 4th) we made up something to get us by, and ran off about 50 wallet-size prints.

Book a shoot with us

Not nearly as cool as our regular business cards, but her picture made up for it!  With the little time we had left, this would help accomplish our shameless self-promotion.  We also grabbed a big stack of Susan’s cards, so we could put two of those on each box.

Red Velvet Underground Cupcakes      Red Velvet Underground Cupcakes

Susan delivered the cupcakes on Thursday afternoon (July 4th), along with a few extra treats for us!  If you look closely at the left picture above, you’ll see the yellow ‘sunflower’ cupcakes hiding at the bottom.  In the flurry of work going on, Jenny didn’t seem to notice, so my surprise plan was working (so far).

We had our work cut out for us, as it was now time to prepare each of the boxes, and load them with colored tissue paper, and cupcakes.

cupcake boxes      cupcake boxes

I had to stop occasionally to take a few pictures of our progress.

cupcake boxes

We originally ordered only 4 flavors, but had to add another, as there were more and more people that she needed to include.

The cupcake flavors were:

  • Red Velvet Underground (her signature cupcake)
  • “The Dude” – White Russian
  • Chai Latte
  • Blueberry Lime Mojito
  • Chocolate Buttercream Dream

We were in such a hurry, I was only able to get lame snapshots of the cupcakes.
I’ll get better pictures later on.

Red Velvet Underground Cupcakes   Red Velvet Underground CupcakesRed Velvet Underground Cupcakes   Red Velvet Underground CupcakesRed Velvet Underground Cupcakes

We inserted one of Susan’s cards on the inside of each box, and another on the outside as well.  After boxing up all of the cupcakes, we added our ‘impromptu cards’ to the outside.

cupcake boxes    cupcake boxes

Lots of boxes, cards, and cupcakes.  Enough to feed a small army!

cupcake boxes

As ‘mass produced’ as it might seem, there’s even more involved…

cupcake boxes

Each cupcake box also had its own nametag.cupcake boxes

Just when I thought we were all done, she had to add a bow to each box, too!

cupcake boxes

cupcake boxes      cupcake boxes      cupcake boxes

There was no way we could fit them all into our refrigerator, but it was cool enough to leave them out overnight.  I hid the sunflower cupcakes in a bag in the refrigerator, so she wouldn’t notice!

The next morning.

We were up way too late, and had to get up earlier than normal the next morning to get the kids ready to come along with us.  Running late (which is becoming our new favorite thing to do), meant we didn’t have time for breakfast.

I helped “Memphis” bring in the huge box of tiny boxes, and put most of them in the staff refrigerator.  Many others were handed out before she had to start school.

With my hands full, I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the reactions as each person received their cupcake.  I wish Susan could have been there to see it, and to hear comments like “This cupcake is so cute, I almost don’t want to eat it!”

Time ran out quickly, and I had to leave so she could get to her final 3 hours of class.
The kids and I went downtown quickly (Express Lanes were open) to Pike Place Market to get her some flowers.

Pike Place Market - FlowersThey didn’t have any bouquets of only sunflowers, so we had one made for her.

The kids and I grabbed something to eat, then headed back to the Gene Juarez Academy.

After 11 am, she was technically completed, but had some additional paperwork to take care of.  Then we passed out the rest of the cupcakes to those who were there that day, and they were a big hit!

The Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation
This is her ‘graduation’ in terms of completing her requirements and hours.

There will be a ‘formal ceremony’ two weeks later, but this is what they do for each student as they complete their course at the academy.

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Everyone comes up front to congratulate the graduate..Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

They announce it over the intercom system for all to hear.
Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

This is right after I surprised her with the sunflowers.Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

The surprises

I missed getting a picture of her face when I surprised her with the sunflower cupcakes, but here are pictures of the octopus surprise:

Octopus Print - Sherise Mckinney   Octopus Print - Sherise Mckinney

If it wasn’t already obvious: I love making my girl cry!

Octopus Print - Sherise Mckinney

Octopus Print - Sherise Mckinney

I really wanted to frame the octopus print, but there wasn’t enough time.
We can’t wait to frame and hang it!

A few more photos before we left:

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Talking with a fellow student who recently graduated.

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

Still teary-eyed

Gene Juarez Academy - Graduation

With the assistant campus director

We took the kids to the Pacific Science Center, tripped out to the Michael Jackson Laser Show, and saw lots of cool stuff.  This post is already getting really long, so we’ll save that adventure for another day.

After the Science Center, we took the kids to the Rainforest Cafe.

Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe

Jenny had never been to the Rainforest Cafe, so we had to get a Volcano for dessert.
The kids didn’t seem to mind.

Rainforest Cafe - Volcano

A very long happy day.

In the end, I found out that she did notice the yellow cupcakes, and figured I was up to something!  But she had no idea about the octopus print!

We spent the next day being completely lazy (and typing this up in between naps).

With all of that out of the way, I guess it’s time to order more business cards.

2 thoughts on “Graduation (and some surprises)!

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