Many teens take the opportunity to have friends over while parents are away, and frequently, parties with young people can quickly get out of hand. The scene has been played over and over in movies and television shows, almost always resulting in a disaster. Even when the house manages to be put back together before the parents return, there’s always some clue of the wrongdoing left behind. Of course, most parents find that for all their worries, they come home to find that their children were more than responsible. Though the schoonover parents trusted their girls, they never realized that Hollie, Halice, Haley, and eldest Heather, had a few tricks up their sleeves.
Out Of Left Field
Hardworking parents of teenagers often dream of taking a long vacation with the hopes that their kids won’t destroy the house while they’re gone.
When they left their four girls home alone while on vacation, the Schoonovers trusted that they would look after the house and each other and that they would return to find everything exactly as they had left it.However, they found a surprise that really blew their minds. Upon their return, the parents were in for quite a shock.
The Schoonover family may live in the popular vacation spot of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but that didn’t mean Karen and Chip still didn’t need to get away from home now and again.
Precarious as it might have seemed, they figured their four daughters were old enough to hold down the fort, and they decided to take a week-long trip one December. They never expected the surprise their children would concoct during their time away from home.
The Four Hs
With each successive girl that joined the Schoonover family, Karen and Chip decided that each of them should have a name that started with “H.”
Heather is their eldest daughter, and she had already left home several years before the incident when she got married. Her younger sisters, Hollie, Halice, and Haley were determined to enlist her into their scheme. As their parents set off for vacation, the girls were ready to set their plan into action.
The Shining Light
Hollie was the mastermind behind the plan to surprise their parents. As the second oldest, she was best placed to organize her three sisters.
The moment their parents were out of the house, the four girls sprang into action, as they hoped they could work together in order to pull off the greatest Christmas surprise their parents had ever seen. Hollie smartly had the youngest sister Haley set up her camera and start recording from the beginning, as their plan had several layers to it.
A Star In The Making
Even though the plan was Hollie’s by design, she never quite aspired to become an interior designer. In fact, Hollie had always harbored loftier ambitions, as she hoped to become a working actress and singer.
Entertainment is not an easy industry to break into, however, so in the meantime, she has begun offering her services to friends and family as a makeup artist. It’s a career path she hopes will materialize as she continues her training.
Snapshots Of Time
If Hollie loved to be in front of the camera, youngest sister Haley loved to be behind it. The two sisters have often used each other in order to practice their respective arts, as Hollie would do her sisters’ make up, and Haley would capture the final product.
In terms of the Christmas gift the girls were hoping to give their parents, Hollie and Haley’s artistic vision and skills were a perfect match for what they were planning.
Taking A Study Break
While her two more artistic sisters chose a less traditional path as they sought to make their names in more visual mediums, Halice wanted to follow her eldest sister’s path and attend university.
Halice didn’t stray too far from home when she matriculated into Coastal Carolina University. She wasn’t the first in the family to attend the school though, as Heather charted the same path several years before. Upon finishing her Bachelor’s degree, she wants to go to graduate school for physical therapy.
Back To Her Roots
The three younger sisters may have had slightly more stake in their Christmas gift given that they’re all still local to North Myrtle Beach, while their eldest sister has broken from the mold.
She still resides in South Carolina, but has moved further inland with her husband, where she works in marketing for a real estate company. Even so, it was important to Heather to return home and help her sisters make a dream come true for their parents.
Making Big Moves
The Schoonover family may feel like an integral part of the North Myrtle Beach community, but that wasn’t always the case.
All four of the girls were born in Seminole, Florida, where they spent the better part of their childhoods. After their relocation, however, the whole Schoonover family began to really feel that North Myrtle Beach was where they were meant to be. This love of their home made the girls’ gift all the more meaningful to them.
Racking Up The Views
It was the Schoonover sisters’ luck that they made a video of just what they were doing in the house while their parents were away, as it quickly took over the internet.
Users flocked to their humble YouTube video in droves, feeling just as overwhelmed by the end of it as the girls’ parents felt when they returned from their trip. The viewers they touched then sent the video to their friends, making the impact of their surprise even greater.
Starting From The Bottom
The girls were hoping to give their home a little bit of a makeover while their parents were away. Though some children think that simply cleaning up the house is enough of a gift for hard-working parents, the girls wanted to take things a step further.
However, they didn’t realize just how much work they’d be taking on. Not only that, none of them had ever engaged in this sort of home renovation before, making it uncertain if they’d pull off their Christmas gift.
Out With The Old
The girls wanted to be as thorough as possible when it came to updating their home without their parent’s knowledge. Cleaning things up was just going to be a start.
As they surveyed the rooms they planned to tackle, all the girls could see were mountains of junk that needed to be removed. Despite thinking it might take only a few hours at most to sort through all of the stuff, their first step took the better part of the day.
A Clean Slate
Their home renovation wasn’t going to get any easier as the girls moved on to the real renovation tasks at hand. Hollie may have thought they were being overly ambitious with their design plan, but even so, they pressed forward, ripping out all of the old carpeting in the process.
As they muddled their way into the bulk of the most strenuous work, the girls discovered that the best way to dispose of the old carpeting was by throwing it out of a window.
I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
Perhaps the girls were inspired by the myriad of home makeover shows which depict families receiving a dream house in the blink of an eye, but it quickly became apparent that they’d underestimated just how long their Christmas gift was going to take them to complete.
The girls figured it couldn’t hurt to recruit some extra workers, and they knew just the boys for the job. They just had to hope they had the muscle around when they needed it most.
As Hollie and her sisters plotted the gift of a lifetime for their parents, they wanted to make sure that as much of the decor was as updated as possible. That meant not only cleaning up and painting, but also chipping in to buy some new furniture for the living room.
The girls would find, however, that getting new furniture was far easier than disposing of the old. Despite their collective muscle, they documented a hilarious struggle to push their old couch off the porch and into the yard.
Flexing Their Abilities
The four girls might have quickly discovered just how strenuous of a task they had taken on, but not all of them were strangers to physical activity.
Eldest sister Heather often hosts workout accountability groups, helping others to stay on track to achieve their fitness and wellness goals. Halice is another one of the Schoonover sisters to have fitness on her mind, as she was in the middle of studying for a degree in exercise and sports science during the house renovation.
Playing To Their Strengths
Being so close in age definitely had its advantage for the Schoonover sisters, as they were no strangers to working together.
Such a big project like renovating their whole house in a week would have been impossible if they weren’t able to band together and use each girls’ strengths in order to keep pressing forward. When they were younger, the girls would work together in much the same way as they pursued a family past time of geocaching.
Hitting The Hurdles
Anyone who has undertaken a serious project can understand that often, as you near the midpoint of your work, you feel that you’ve been slogging on for ages with no end in sight. The girls felt like they were hitting their breaking point, and yet they were only on their third day of work. As they surveyed their progress, all they saw was a house in shambles and many tasks to be completed that were far beyond any of their expertise.
Looking For A Boost
As dawn rose over the chilly morning, the girls grumbled their way out of bed, pulling on their old, dirty clothes in preparation for the day’s work.
None of them had slept much the night before, and they were struggling to stay motivated, as their house was nearly unlivable. In order to get themselves into work mode, one of the girls came home with a pack of energy drinks, in which the rest of her sisters happily partook.
Wearing Them Down
Despite the extra help they had enlisted, painting every single room in the house was an undertaking far more serious than what the girls could have possibly expected.
They might have thought that moving furniture was going to be the hardest part, but when they found themselves still painting the edges of the windows in one room late into the evening, it took all of their collective encouragement to convince each other not to call it quits.
Feeling The Physical Strain
The week was more than halfway through, and the girls still had a mountain of work in front of them. They weren’t just tired from the lack of sleep.
As they noted in their video, their backs were beginning to hurt, and their legs were still sore from the amount of standing they’d done so far. It was love for their parents that continued driving their project, even as the girls felt a little bit like they were floundering.
Finding Their Numbers Depleted
The days kept stretching on ahead of the girls, but little by little, they were making progress. If they thought the previous day had been tough, however, they would find their struggle would increase, as only Haley and Hollie were available to put in time on the house on the fifth day of their renovations.
The girls didn’t want their lack of numbers to affect the progress they could make significantly, and they knew they were in the home stretch.
All By Themelves
Haley took the camera for herself to document the progress the two girls had made by themselves on day five. Hollie sat on the floor of the dining room, slowly painting details on the wall in a pale blue.
Haley explained that it had been just the two of them, but even so, a major accomplishment had occurred. The two girls, all on their own, had installed the new carpets in place of what they’d tossed in the trash.
Up All night
It was 7 AM when the alarm rang, rousing Hollie and Haley from their much-needed sleep. The girls had been determined to keep working until they literally couldn’t go on anymore, as the kitchen was only half painted.
Half of the cabinets needed their second coat of paint while the other half needed their first coat of paint. It was their final day to get work done before their parents arrived home the next morning, and the gift needed to be complete.
Hearts On Their Sleeves
It was Hollie who took the camera in the car on the morning of day six if only to show off to their parents just how tired they were.
When asking Haley how she felt, she responded, “I feel like I’m in the army.” Hollie got candid with the camera, showing off her “stress acne” that had flared up around her face. They needed to put the finishing touches on the rest of the painting, and then put all the furniture back.
Using A Decoy
The day their parents returned home from vacation was going to be a big one. With palpable excitement shimmering in their eyes, the girls prepared to share their incredible gift with their parents. They had one more trick up their sleeves, however.
For starters, they wanted to throw their parents off the scent by surprising them with a visit from eldest sister, Heather. Heather drove over to the house, with a camera set outside, so she could greet her parents as they pulled in.
An Enticing Introduction
“We’re so nervous,” whispered Hollie into the camera. As the girls watched their parents pulling into the driveway, they began filming for the final moments of their parents Christmas gift.
However, when all was said and done, the girls decided to use part of this sequence as the opening to the video they would eventually post on YouTube. The girls scurried between the camera and the window, watching to make sure they caught their parents on time.
Uncovering Hidden Treasure
Geocaching may not be the most common of family activities, even though there are millions of people who engage in the treasure hunt worldwide. The advent of smartphones that come equipped with GPS has lessened some of the fun of the search.
The idea behind geocaching is that someone in the community will hide a little trinket somewhere in the world, only sharing the coordinates with the public. Those in the area would then put in the coordinates in order to uncover their little piece of treasure.
Off The Trail
Karen and Chip Schoonover pulled into their driveway feeling refreshed from their week away, but immediately, they knew something felt different.
As they left the car, Karen stood, inspecting the yard, trying to put her finger on what had changed when her four daughters walked out of the house together. Karen and Chip had only expected three. “Hey! Hey! What are you doing here!” Karen exclaimed to Heather. Both parents were overcome with surprise and joy at seeing their daughter home.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
Karen could see that there was a noticeable difference in the facade of her house, prompting her to ask her kids, “Alright, who cleaned?”
Seeing Heather standing with her three sisters was more than Karen could have hoped for, though she had also secretly wished the girls might have tidied up things inside too. From how things looked on the outside, Karen could see their cleaning had likely gone beyond what she’d expected, but she didn’t know just how much they’d really done.
It’s Not Over Yet
As the girls had planned, Heather was going to tell their parents, “Your surprise isn’t over yet” before leading them inside to see the work they’d done. Neither Karen nor Chip could fathom what had occurred in the week they’d been away.
The girls advised their mother to “take a deep breath” before leading both parents inside of the newly renovated house. Karen and Chip stepped through the threshold and proceeded to have their minds completely blown.
Cards On The Table
Karen’s jaw dropped. “What!” she shrieked. As she took in the house around her, she felt like she had stepped into a completely different world.
“What did you do!” The surprise in her voice couldn’t be contained, as Karen brought her hands to her mouth while continuing to make her way through the renovated house. It wasn’t just clean as she had hoped, her daughters had completely updated the kitchen. Karen couldn’t fathom how much more was in store.
Rewards Of A Challenge
Karen and Chip stepped from the entryway into the kitchen, and Karen quickly found herself overwhelmed by emotion. Tears streaming down her face, she marveled at the sleek new look her daughters had designed for their kitchen.
They had painted the walls a comforting, pale blue while accenting it with striking brown cabinets. They’d even managed to replace the old countertops with gleaming slabs of polished marble. The girls insisted there was still more to see.
Dining In Style
Karen took off her glasses in order to wipe away the tears, while simultaneously walking into the dining room. She had never even considered that her daughters would give her such a gift, as she could see that their hard work had also extended to the other common areas of the house.
The change was astounding. The girls giggled and cried alongside their mother, feeling pride in all they had accomplished, and still she hadn’t seen what they did to the rest of the house.
Updating Their Comfort
The girls led their parents into the master bedroom, excited to show that they had taken care of every single detail. Karen practically danced into the room, feeling the soft carpeting give way under her feet.
Chip stood at the doorway in shock, hardly daring to breathe as he took in the huge change. Karen might have been effusive, but Chip was stoic in his surprise, staring at each new discovery with his jaw nearly hitting the floor.
Shining With Gratitude
The Schoonover parents could hardly understand what had prompted their daughters to embark on such an intense transformation mission.
No stone had been left unturned. Even the master bathroom had been redone, from the tub and shower to the fresh coat of paint that the girls applied. They even made sure they updated all of the accouterments that went with the decor of each room. To Karen and Chip’s surprise, they hadn’t seen the last of it.
An Open Invitation
Karen and Chip were still in shock when the girls ushered them out of their bedroom and into the guest bedrooms. They had beautifully made it up in the same style and color scheme as the rest of the house.
Like with the other rooms, the bedsheets, comforters, and curtains were all new. The astonished parents could help but feel pride that they’d raised such thoughtful daughters. It was clear they had put in not only an extensive amount of time but also money.
As the video that the girls took of the transformation comes to a close, they explain to their shocked parents that they wanted to give them the best Christmas present they had ever received.
It’s clear, especially from the before and after pictures, that the girls had taken on an extraordinary project for themselves. Karen and Chip were pleased to not only have received a new home, but to see just what incredible young women their daughters had become.
The Internet Takes Note
Shortly after the surprise was revealed, Hollie added the video of their renovation to her YouTube account. It was the first video she had ever posted, but it didn’t go unnoticed.
Little by little, the views began to climb, as first hundreds, then thousands of people began tuning in to see the girls’ story. Within a few months, the girls had garnered nearly 115 thousand views on the video of their Christmas surprise. The moment was not going to stop there.
Discovering Their Fame
Hollie may have dreamed of getting her name out there, but she never expected it would be because she and her sisters gave their parents such a special Christmas gift.
As the video she posted wormed its way around the world, many wanted to help share their incredible story. Unbeknownst to Haley, Hollie, Heather, and Halice, their video was going viral, and with it, their story. The girls couldn’t have been more excited to see how many people they were reaching.
Seeing It In Print
It was Haley who caught wind of just how far their story spread when she happened to see her and her sisters when she was scrolling through her Facebook feed and suddenly stumbled upon a picture of her and her sisters.
She knew immediately that someone had seen their video, and couldn’t wait to share the article with the rest of her family and friends who had been such an integral part of their big surprise.
Relishing Their Impact
The girls were so impressed by how much their work had been inspiring others. They hadn’t realized how many different sites had been sharing their story. It wasn’t just Americans who were tuning in to see what they’d done in their sleepy North Carolina home.
Outlets as far as Portugal and India had picked up the girls’ story. All four of the Schoonovers hope that by seeing the work they put into surprising their parents, more people will realize they are capable of doing the same.