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!

 

 

Fifteen

Turning fifteen on the fifteenth in 2015 calls for a special celebration.

How about a Golden Celebration that lasts all weekend!

A celebration that begins on Friday night with a surprise visit from his sister.

And continues on Saturday with his good friend spending the night.

After hiking, exploring and riding the minibike, they turned an old couch into a trebuchet and shot hedge balls into the cow pasture until dark.

12272995_929885637105160_569763478_nIt was a good day.

But the celebration wasn’t over.

Oh no – it was just beginning.

The next day he was surprised speechless by several cousins who drove down from the city to help him celebrate.

12243739_929885570438500_8757045_nAnd celebrate we did.

Laughter, cupcakes, and a full-size Chewbacca costume.

I kid you not.

It was an epic party.

And as I popped more popcorn and replenished the crescent rolls, Grandma did a quick headcount.

Would you believe he had exactly 15 guests on his 15th birthday on the 15th in 2015?!

BOOM! Nailed that one!

Happy birthday, Buddy!

Gob Smacked

They totally did it this time.

They pulled off the ultimate surprise.

It was a normal Tuesday evening. We had a normal evening meal – just Jan, Buddy, Angel Girl and I . Dishes were done. I was settled on the couch reading when Buddy brought Jan in, followed by Angel Girl.

“We have a surprise for your anniversary,” they said as Jan settled in beside me.  “Wait right here while we go get it.”

(A surprise? But our anniversary was a few weeks ago. I told the kids not to get us anything!)

A few minutes later Dagmar walked in. (What? Girl you have class first thing tomorrow morning!)

Followed by Pedro. (Wait a minute? Don’t you work tomorrow at 7 am?)

Followed by Matt. (MATT!!! You’re supposed to be in Colorado? How did you get here?!!)

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All of our children were home at the same time!

On a random Tuesday night.

How did this happen?

It was a surprise months in the making.

Matt drove 10 hours from Colorado, met his siblings in Des Moines and they drove home together, coordinating with Angel Girl and Buddy as they drove.

We were gob smacked.

Totally surprised.

Shocked.

IMG_2882Dagmar had to leave very early the next morning to get to class on time, but Pedro had a the next day off and Matt could stay for a few days.

It was so sweet.

So surreal.

From a quiet night on the couch reading to a room full of those I love most.

I kept asking Matt if he was real.

I almost wondered if I was dreaming.

IMG_3444But the laughter was real.

The smiles. The silliness. The teasing.

The ice cream and apple crisp around the table. (Buddy knew it was Matt’s favorite and made it for him that afternoon!)

We all stayed up way too late. Nobody wanted to go to bed. Nobody wanted it to end.

It was the ultimate surprise.

The prefect gift.

This mama’s heart couldn’t ask for anything more.

Surprises

Life is full of surprises.

Some of them good.

Like having two of your kids surprise you with a visit.

Bringing flowers.

Filling the house with laughter and conversation and fun.

And surprise birthday parties for sweet friends at church.

11146493_10152775272351423_2927726358448763586_nSharing memories, laughter, tears.

Singing. Hugging. Crying.

Praying for healing.

Such sweet times.

Other surprises are not so fun.

Like waking up on Sunday morning – after 3 inches of rain overnight – to a flooded basement and realizing that all the dirt work and the new gutters didn’t work.

Then getting more rain and more flooding.

And there are the surprises I’m not so sure about –

Like the box of orphan kitties Buddy brought home.

New ImageThey sure are cute – in a very loud and needy way.

Their constant cry for love and attention is breaking this momma’s heart.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

Did you know there are thousands of different ways a kitty can get himself in trouble – especially without a mother? It’s a wonder any of them make it to adulthood.

But they are so adorable.

I actually sat down and held one. More than once.

Yep. Life is full of surprises.