Adventure #10 Adventure Girl Anniversary Photo Shoot

Cute and summery, denim: white or blue=Adventure Girl Tailspin

Who knew the words white denim would send my adventure girls into a tizzy? I love how they will strap themselves to a zipline, trapeze and PLANE with no fear, but telling them to wear jeans and a “summery” top scared the living daylights out of them. Patty made the comment that “while we are fearless and courageous we are still GIRLS in the end.” Yes, we are girls in the end, but today my sweet, precious Adventure GIRLS were going to have to find their inner Adventure WOMEN!

The planning actually started weeks before June 11th. I had written an email to the husbands requesting their assistance. Here it is…

Adventure Girl Husbands,
Please, PLEASE, PLEASE do not share the contents of this email with your wives. We take the surprise factor very seriously. And some of them will find a way out of this one if they read about it. LOL.
So, it has been a year of Adventures and since I started this madness I wanted to commemorate the year with something fun! I have hired a professional photographer to shoot an Adventure Girls calendar. The actual calendar will be fun and campy. We will just be acting out all of the adventures for the monthly photos…..But, here is where you come in. I have to make them squirm a little bit! I am asking that when she is about to leave to go on the adventure that you hand her a bag that is COMPLETELY stapled shut. In the bag please put one your button down shirts and one of your ties. The photographer will be shooting your wives in JUST those items for a secret photo just for you. It will be a THANK you to our hubbies for putting up with our shananigans this year! Please also include in the bag a letter to your wife telling her in your own way how proud of her you are….because I know you are…and what you think the Adventure Club has meant to her…etc. The letter should be between 2-3 paragraphs so they are all about the same length. I know it is sappy, but work with me. It will be read to her before she heads to the basement for her pin-up photo…so make it good. ūüôā
Remember this is all TOP SECRET! Don’t TELL!!! recap: Give her the bag right before she leaves. The bag needs to be STAPLED shut. In the bag a button down dress shirt, tie and the letter. If you would rather email the letter to me you can do that instead.
Thanks in advance! I think this is going WAY out of the box for some of us. I will make sure to get a photo of all of us having a pillow fight, as well. Just Kidding!!! Please reply that you received this and are on board. THANKS!

The email replies were hysterical. They ranged from short and sweet: “on board FOR sure” to long and hilarious: “Should I pack choices, will there really be a pillow fight?” I love these guys. I got the enthusiastic OK from all of them so I got started thinking about the details.

The photographer of all photographers: Becky Danzenbaker

I had contacted Becky a long time ago about this idea. I have known her for awhile and knew she would be game for anything. She is witty, funny and easy going. I knew that would put all of us at ease and in turn would get some great shots of my girls…ahem…WOMEN… in their prime. At the end of the day we turned the tables on our sweet photographer and put her in FRONT of the lens. A natural in front of and behind the lens. So fun!


I knew we would need liquid courage so I made sure we had it all. Margaritas, Firefly Lemonade, Stellas, Champagne. They walked in the door and I marched them right to the kitchen. I was so nervous¬†that if ¬†I divulged the adventure to them sober¬†that I would hear, “oh no, I completely forgot that I had to go to a wedding, hair appt, doctors appt, etc. etc.” I thought my best option would get some drinks in them to stop them from walking out the door. It worked.

Check out Maryhelen!
Somebody is telling a good story…could it possibly be Stacy?
Suzy remembers!
Stacy finds her “courage” and Tina is always just along for the ride!

Brown Paper Bags

I had faith in the husbands, but I still was holding my breath that they would come through on their instructions. As my beautiful girls walked to the door with their brown paper bags stapled about 1000 times I was relieved and amused. I love how the husbands¬†followed my rules exactly as stated. Good Boys. Two of the guys veered a bit from the rules and it had us rolling. Lisa’s husband had two bags for her. Bag one had one of her sons button shirts. So funny. And Tracy’s husband also packed a white t-shirt, belgian waffle mix and a water bottle. We were like, “What in the world?” More on that later. And then Phil (Stacys husband) packed her rockin red heels. Phil, you are a very wise man….

Part One: The Campy Calendar

Part One was the Adventure Girls calendar. I wanted the calendar to be a look back of all of our fun adventures together. As we looked back on the past 9 adventures we had Becky shoot what we thought to be the funniest moments of each one. We took all of these photos in my front yard. I found out later some of the neighbors saw us. But, it was no surprise to them. Because as you know anyone that has any sort of contact with one of us finds out ALL about our Adventure Group. We are beyond sad that Kelly couldn’t make it at the last minute. We missed her so much when we were taking these pictures!

White Water Rafting “The Screamers vs. The Gigglers”
Helen Says What????
Ziplining…Kat needs an intimate rescue and Tina gets poked with a stick
Surfing! Tracy gets a concussion, one lung Kat, Maryhelen gets up, two surfboard carry!
Trapeze!¬† The scariest part was letting go.¬† Thank goodness we had such a sweet instructor quietly telling us to “PUT OUR FEET UP AND LET GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Race Car Driving!  Tracy is in Time-Out.  Heather Won. Fantastic Suits. Kat and Patty saw ponytails.
Pole Dancing! Inner Bad Girls found and Pole Pressure emails will continue for life!
Hangliding.¬† 2500 feet. No net. Stacy turns green.¬† Heather says, “It was good.” God protected. Aretha joined the group.

Part Two: Letters and neck-ties

We were all now ready to tackle part two. We started with a pillow fight (really, we did) and then sat in my basement together to listen to the letters our¬†husbands wrote for us. Maryhelen was the “brave first” this time.¬† She read her letter from Sam, stepped into the red heels (thanks Phil)¬†as the rest of us sipped on our magic cocktails.
Here is a little of Sams letter to Maryhelen and one of her reading it.¬† The¬†pin-ups are under strict lock and key.¬† ūüôā¬† Sorry, folks.

“Whether you are having a baby, running a marathon, hang gliding, surfing or just putting up with me you never fail.¬† Maryhelen, you impress me time and again and you don’t even know it…. So here’s to the year of camraderie and adventures gone by and to the anticipation of many epic adventures to come. I love you.”

It was now Suzy’s turn and after reading her letter from Jason we decided to just read all of¬†the letters AFTER we were photographed.¬†¬†They were all¬†so sweet and touching¬†that we thought we may look better for our photos without smudged mascara.

“Life is short and you only get one shot at it.¬† This world is full of awesome sights and experiences and yet most choose to settle for the norm without trying anything outside of their comfort zone….You have always
been a spontaneous type of person willing to try new things and you have made the boys and I very proud of you.¬† I hope you continue to push your limits and do the things that make life exciting. ”

Tracy read it for Suzy


And so it went…beautiful letters read, red shoes slipped on¬†and lots of giggling.¬† Poor Becky.¬† She probably was so exhausted by the end.¬† I swear she must have said, “Stop Smiling!” a thousand times.
“One last thing I wanted to bring up…You will be reading this exactly 21 years from the date we started dating in High School.¬† Crazy, right?¬† It’s funny how I forget so many dates/appointments, but have never forgotten that one.¬† There has been no greater adventure for you to tackle than putting up with me for so long.¬† Let the adventure continue for another 40 years.¬† Thank you and I love you.”


“I have included 2 choices for you: 1)The easy road…includes a shirt and tie just as Kathleen described. 2) The hard road…includes my favorite t-shirt (un-washed) and a bottle of water. (use your imagination). Face one more fear…I DARE YOU! You have never been one to take the easy road. I love you.”
Waiting on pic of Tracy reading Jonnies letter…(which we were crying with laughter while she read)

“‘My “you’re so pretty” wife has shown the world that she is so much more than a mom, wife and friend. She is a fearless woman-one full of courage and spirit. I am also happy that you have found a group who can help you find a place and time in our crazy world and schedule just for Patty.¬† Having something that is just for you, makes you a better you.¬† I have seen it in all you do and I am so thankful for this….so remember that I love you with all of my heart: More and more everyday.”

Maryhelen reading for Patty

“Thank you for selecting me as your partner to through the adventure of life with….thank you making our life together amazing. I¬†am getting all hot and bothered just thinking of you. You have brought two beautiful kids into this world and are showing them how to live their life to the fullest; with confidence, no regrets and showing them what true friendship is all about. I am so proud of you and love you very much.”

“I am so proud of you for having the guts to try new things that most people never attempt to do.¬† I love how excited you get when you start getting clues and how cute you are with your nervous excitement the night before and the day of the adventure.¬† I love you so much DOC and I am amazed at what a wonderful woman I married.”

Stacy reading Heathers

“Love, I look forward to the day when we can look back on our life knowing we truly lived the good life…an even larger smile will come as I think about my quiet child bride and how she turned into an adventurous beautiful woman.¬† One day our great grandkids will come across the picture and they will be envious of our life together. We can only hope that it inspires them to live an adventurous life.”

“Noone will ever be able to take away the times you have shared and the fun things everyone has done together. I feel it has turned you into a stronger woman and an even better mom.¬† As your husband and best friend I can’t tell you how proud of you I am.¬† Through you I have learned how important friends are and living life to its fullest…I love you with all my heart.”


So to my courageous, sweet, supportive adventure girls:¬† Cheers to us for following our¬†creed of stepping outside of the box¬†without hesitation.¬†¬† We can look back on this year with memories to last a lifetime and with¬†old friendships renewed and new friendships revealed.¬† Chris said in his letter to me, “I hope you continue your adventures with this group of women for the rest of your life…”¬† Well, I think we can all agree with that sentiment.¬† So, here is to the future and the many adventures that await….

Kelly is next!!!  Summer hiatus and then back to business in September!

Please click on my homepage to read the essay I wrote for Momastery’s Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project and be sure to click the link below to read more inspiring stories!


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