Saturday, July 14, 2012

12 pictures on the 12th of July, 2012 -- Who's Counting?

There are birthdays. And then. There are birthdays.

Tomorrow is my 50th . Yes. It sounds a bit oldish to me, too. Until . . . the kids planned the surprise of surprises. Without me even suspecting (I am no Sherlock), they all came home.  Suddenly 50 isn't oldish, it's fun.  Real fun.

Calvin took me to town so they could get to the house without my knowing. They blew up balloons and made a banner. And hid.

When we pulled into the yard Cali was on the front lawn taking a picture of Ande and Levin on a blanket. Ande was holding a little baby. It looked just like Afton. She was so cute and little. However, knowing that Ty, Michelle, and Afton had just called me from Washington, D.C. the night before, I knew it wasn’t her. So then I thought maybe she had found a doll like Afton. I had just finished telling Calvin about dolls that children of deployed soldiers often have that look like their soldier-parent and that have their voice recorded. But this little doll that Ande was holding was more than cloth and stuffing. She kicked. However, I still couldn’t figure out who it was for sure.

And then when I got closer to her there was no mistaking. It WAS Afton which meant Michelle would be somewhere because no pilot would take Afton by herself. And then Ty and Michelle came around the corner! It was the greatest surprise.

And then a few minutes later Grace came walking around the side of the house with a picture of Abe on a stick.

It was the greatest surprise.

We came in the house and I saw the banner and balloons and then . . . my sister Rachel came walking out of the family room! It was the greatest surprise.

And then on Friday, Ray and Joe pulled up.  It was the greatest surprise.

There are birthdays and then there are birthdays.

And since surprises like this only happen once, there are going to be far more than 12 pictures in this 12 on 12 post, and some of the pictures are from the 13th and 14th . . . but who’s counting? I'm so happy to be 50.

Ty, Michelle, and Ande driving from Seattle to celebrate.

Afton slept the whole way.

Rachel, Michelle, and Ty making a banner.  They included all of the names they call me:
  Mom, Mama, Janey Payney, Mama Jane, and Neighbor Jane

Rachel, Grace, Afton, Abe (picture insert), Michelle, Ty, Ande, and Levin preparing the party

Ande, Levin, and Afton waiting for Calvin and me to come home from town.

Afton, Michelle, Ty, Calvin, me, Levin, Ande, Grace, Abe (picture insert)
Calvin celebrating he kept the surprise a secret.
The kids threatened him that he'd have to pay for all the plane tickets if he leaked it.

Rachel and me.  The kids and Calvin love her as much as I do.  

Abe, Abe, Abe, Abe, Abe and me.
He's missed.

Michelle and Afton.
The kids planned and provided all the meals.  Meal one was a wiener roast.

Cali and Rachel

Cali and Ande sleeping out in the tent.  Calvin helped them get their sleeping bags into the tent
and then he scared them.  They screamed like they were ten years old.  They took the dogs into the
tent for protection, but Cali was afraid they'd get her blankets dirty so she made
them stay in their crates.  They said the thunderstorm and lightening was the best.

The next morning Grace and Ty jogged 6 miles while the rest of us joined them for a walk.
Ande, Cali, Ty, Rachel pulling Levin in the wagon, Grace, and Dan

Dan, Grace, Rachel, me, Levin, and Ande soaking our feet in the canal after walking

Rachel had a migraine at the swimming pool, but still smiled through it.

Ty, Afton, and Michelle at the swimming pool.
The smeared stamp is not a poor tatoo.  It's a waver that he can try to stand up when he rides in the wave pool.

Good thing he had that waiver.  Ty only lasted a second.

Michelle lasted just about as long.

Rachel has the great nieces and nephews call her Grant Rachel

Rachel and Ande at the pool.

Ty, me, Rachel, Ande, and Calvin after working out.  Imagine, it's especially fun sweating together. 

Ande bathing Chewie.  While I'm not sure labradoodles are suited for June grass,
wheat fields, and stickers we enjoyed taking care of him while Ande and Joe were

Ray, Calvin, and Ty cut down two dead trees.  Ray lets Levin help him with everything.

Afton and Grant Rachel

Ande, Grace, Rachel, Levin, Cali, and Ty husking corn for supper

Joe checking Chewie's stickered paw

Michelle is still doing on-line school work while she's here.

This has been the greatest surprise and birthday.


Lilly Leonard said...

What a wonderful birthday surprise! That looks like so much fun!

I'm in one of the same online class as Michelle.. and that's how I feel when I'm doing that homework!

Melinda said...

Happy Birthday!

What an amazing surprise for you! It looks like it was the perfect weekend for a great birthday!

Lucy said...

Happy Birthday, Neighbor Jane! The surprise party and gathering look fantastic as does your adorable family. I'm happy you exist and share your world with me.

Cassidy said...

What a great surprise!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I love you so much and think you are wonderful. You are the bes and I
Im glad you are a getting such a fun surprise!!!

Samantha said...

Yay happy birthday!! I love fun surprises. I'm glad you are having so much fun.

Kay Scott said...

Happy Birthday!! I'm soon to be 57, and I've had a ball in my 50's. I love being a grandmother, plus the kids all live close and visit often. It's time to enjoy the fruits of your labors with your wonderful, amazing family!! Happy Birthday again. Love you from AZ!!

Julie said...

Hooray for birthdays! It was so fun to see everyone at church today! Happy Birthday!!

Jill said...

What a wonderful surprise!! Happy 50th Jane, you have the wisdom of someone much older!!

Deidra said...

How fun! I can't think of anyone more deserving. Happy birthday!!

Donna Chapin said...

Happy Birthday my good friend!! You know how I love a good celebration, and a surprise party is the best. Especially if it is truly a surprise. I wish I could have saw your face when you discovered all your family was there.

melanie said...

Oh how perfect! They've all been sneaky but I have to say, good job Calvin! That had to be pretty hard. Though maybe not so hard, that's a lot of plane tickets to buy!

I echo Lucy, 'I'm happy you exist and share your world with me'.

Happy Birthday!

Deidra said...

How fun. That is a birthday done right! I was thinking of you when we got back from our trip and I changed our white board calendar to July. Apparently you're on our perpetual calendar, so you got marked down and I was wishing it wasn't so late or I would have sent a card.

It's been fun reading your blog while we were gone, but commenting from my iPod is such a bugger that the comments just haven't happened.

PS- I love that they threatened Calvin with paying for the tickets. That's a good threat. And a wonderful surprise!

Ande said...

That was the best weekend. I can't believe we got you so good. I'm so glad you're my mom. Thank you for being such a wonderful one.

Becky said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a great surprise; I loved all the photos ;)

michelle said...

What a wonderful surprise!

I can't imagine that I could be as wise and wonderful in just 9 more years, but it's something to aspire to.

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

Seriously SO FUN!!! HAPPY Late Birthday! So glad it could be full of such a wonderful family.