Improv Night and Birthday Oscars

My family got together last weekend for our yearly extended family camping trip.

One of our traditions is an Improv Night – when we entertain each other with skits we pull together at the last minute.

Each family brings an unmarked bag of 10 random items that we distribute one evening. Each family is then given about 15 minutes to pull together a skit using those items.

The results are hilarious!

This year – however – was different. But I didn’t learn that fact right away.

You see – my siblings used our annual Improv Night to surprise me for my 50th birthday. (I should have expected this – since I have a history of surprising my siblings on their 50th birthdays!)

I was very active in speech and drama in high school and have always been a bit disappointed that I was never given a lead role in any of the high school plays.

So this year – my family gave me the lead role in each of their skits.

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They just didn’t tell me.

After the kids and I did our skit – which was a true improv – using the special bag full of random geriatric items they gathered for us – I was called on to act in every other skit.

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Skits that were written in advance, with appropriate props and – not surprisingly – were full of family memories and embarrassing moments for yours truly.

There were certain “This is Your Life” kind of moments.

 

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And some wild “I can’t believe they are making me do this” kind of moments.

Each skit was different – I was handed a prop or a costume or both and given a few instructions.

16 06 18-M500- 32-6 (1)And I winged it.

Acting my heart out to tremendous applause and wild laughter!

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And when the final skit was over – they had me walk the red carpet and handed me a plastic imitation Oscar for my performances – before spraying me with silly string.

Because they love me.

I guess.

Hollywood here I come!

Or not.

After a career like mine, it might be time for retirement.

Hashtag Birthday

Birthday’s are made for surprises.

And Angel Girl is the hardest to surprise!

But this year – Pedro pulled it off!

#birthdaysurprise 

It was the Thursday night before her birthday – and she suspecting nothing.

Pedro gathered up four cousins and they drove the two hours to our house stuffed in Pedro’s car.

#roadtrip

They hid the car and planned the epic surprise.

Angel Girl got home from work, wondered why dad was grilling so many hamburgers, put down her water bottle in the kitchen, rounded the corner to the dining room and jumped out of her skin at the sight of Pedro and the cousins waiting for her!

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#nailedit

They had a hilarious supper, followed by crazy dance moves in the driveway and a wild adventure to the abandoned house and low water crossing.

Poison ivy, bug bites, photo shoots, and much laughter.

#perfect.

They spent the night eating popcorn and rice krispie bars while watching old VHS movies that were favorites years ago.

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And were up at first light to be on the road to make it back to the city to work.

A short night and a long drive.

But they had almost fourteen hours of jam-packed, fun-filled wonderfulness.

#worthit

Happy 18th birthday Angel Girl!

 

 

Fresh Gravel

DSC_0018There are a few realities that those of us who live beyond the pavement have to accept as a part of life.

Important things – like fresh gravel.

One might think that fresh gravel would be a good thing, after all it fills in holes and those nasty ruts that come after a heavy rain.

But the initiated know better. They slow down to almost Amish buggy speed on fresh gravel. They’ve learned the hard way that fresh gravel is slick.

It just lays on top of the existing surface like a pile of marbles on your living room floor. if you drive too fast it can send you flying where you don’t expect to go.

Like upside down in the ditch.

Just ask Angel Girl.

But that’s not all – they also know that fresh gravel is sharp.

Really sharp.

Like puncture a tire sharp.

As in four new tires in the last two months sharp.

So sharp we punctured a brand new tire within weeks of buying it. Weeks.

I jokingly said, “Those folks at the tire store must really love us after all the money we’ve spent there this spring!”

Then – a few days later – Angel Girl got a card in the mail. No return address but it had a local postmark. She opened it and held up a nice graduation card with a gift card inside.  She looked confused. “Who are these people?” she asked.

A quick look at the signatures made me laugh out loud.

The owners of the local tire store.

I knew they liked us!

 

 

Graduation Day

It’s over.

We did it!

We got Angel Girl graduated!

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And honored.

And celebrated.

And photographed.

13226666_1230099237003020_9014204081859394922_nThere was plenty of punch and rice krispsie treats.

And cousins.

And friends.

And there was Matt.

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Who flew in from Colorado just for his little sister’s graduation party.

He surprised her.

She cried.

It was a perfect moment in a wonderful weekend full of beautiful moments.

Moments that this Mama is tucking away like treasures.

These years are going so fast!

 

 

 

Parent of a Graduate

IMG_0019[1]Once again my husband and I are wearing the title “Parents of a Graduate”.

We are not alone. You can spot a “Parent of a Graduate” anywhere – if you know the signs.

We are the ones with the shopping carts full of large quantities of single items holding three page lists doing mental math in the baking aisle.

The fifteen boxes of rice krispies and cart full of marshmallows tipped off the checker at our local grocery store. She gave me a questioning look and I said just, “She wants rice krispie treats for graduation.”

She then gave me a look of pity that said simply, “Ah, a graduation. I feel your pain.”

We parents of graduates understand the stress and joy of a spring with a commencement and Open House. We don’t even even need words.

As we pushed our cart full of purple Hawaiian punch and even more marshmallows through Wal-Mart, we caught the attention of another couple with a cart full of large quantities of a single item and a three page list.

Again, the questioning look.

My quick answer, “Rice krispie treats for graduation.”

She responds, “Twins.”

I sympathize, “Twice the good bye – but only one party.”

Our eyes meet as we wish each other good luck and we leave them in the chip aisle doing mental math with glazed looks as we went in search of large bags of M & M’s and an industrial size bottle of barbecue sauce.

My graduation table is full now of plates and cups and napkins. Soon the smoked turkey will all be roasted and in crock pots, the buns will be made and the rice krispie treats ready to serve.

The house will be clean and the lawn will be mowed and there will be no more busy work to distract us from the reality that is coming.

That it’s our child in that cap and gown.

It’s our baby that’s graduating.

And then the tears will fall.

Yes, I’m a parent of a graduate.