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