Nov. 30: News from Dr. O

Victor and I met with my oncologist this morning. We were both immediately impressed with her—it helps that she came highly recommended, sure, but in normal conversation the woman is obviously brilliant and very kind. Also, she reminded me of my “auntie” Claire and I liked her right away because of that too.

She asked a lot of questions about me and my life in general, went over some of my medical history and then started in with the radiologists’ and pathologists’ reports.

My tumor measures approximately the size of an orange. AN ORANGE! My god, is it any wonder I’ve been a bitch for so long?

The type of lymphoma I’ve got is B-cell (not T-cell, apparently important), and the other notable characteristic is something called CD20. This means that my lymphoma responds well to chemotherapy. In fact, Dr. O says that radiation and surgery pretty much won’t work for most lymphomas; chemo is the only way to go.

I was actually a little disappointed to hear this, because I so want to get rid of my back pain and I figured surgery would be the quickest way to do that. However, Dr. O promised that I’ll notice the tumor shrinking after the FIRST chemo treatment. THE FIRST ONE! I can live with that timing.

The bad part, of course, is that the type of chemotherapy I’ll be given comes with all the traditional side effects: nausea, fatigue, and hair loss, to name a few. I was hoping not to have to deal with the hair loss, but no luck. You know how some people look surprisingly beautiful bald, like you suddenly notice how beautiful their facial features are? That ain’t me. You know those guys who shave their heads because they think they’ll look so cool, but instead you see how oddly-shaped their head is, full of dents and scars, and how much they really shouldn’t have shaved their heads? That is me. I’m not going to look good bald. Trust me on this one.

Alright, so my first chemotherapy treatment is tomorrow morning. Dr. O says I should plan on getting a wig immediately, because my hair will probably start falling out very soon. So, ladies… time for a wig shopping party! I’m not sure I’ll be a wig-wearer, but I’d like to be prepared. Vic wants me to get three wigs—one in my natural color, one very long blond wig and a very long red wig. The man is deluded, clearly, if he thinks I might honor this request—and if a single one of you takes his side I’ll make sure you regret it. I’ve got some powerful people on my side these days.

I’ll do chemo treatments every three weeks for a few months. I suppose then we’ll see how things are progressing and decide what the next course of action should be. Ideally, the chemo will make the tumor disappear and the cancer go into remission, but that’s the VERY best case scenario.

Generally speaking, and considering it’s cancer we’re dealing with, today’s appointment had lots of good news.

  • Mine is one of the cancers most responsive to treatment.
  • Chemotherapy success with my type of lymphoma is 85-90 percent.
  • I’m starting treatment immediately, and should see some changes immediately—not all of these changes thrill me, but the idea of being able to sleep in my bed again is a dream come true.
  • I get to have a wig shopping party wit’ my girls!

When it comes to cancer, I guess we have to pick out the least bad of the awful. There ya go.


Nov. 29: Thank you, y’all

If lives could be saved with the good wishes of family and friends, no one would ever die. Well, maybe Hitler. And probably those Gosselin douchebags.

I so appreciate all the blog comments, text messages, emails, Facebook comments, flowers, cards, visits and phone calls I’ve received from friends and family in the past few days. I’ve copied all the written stuff into a Word document to keep with my medical info so it’s there when the medical info totally bums me out and I need a lift. Because LIFT ME is exactly what they do. You guys are the best.

Kim F’n started a contest on Facebook to name my tumor. There have been some fabulous suggestions so far; I invite everyone to contribute more—just go to my Facebook wall and look for her post.

I went through the CD of my MRI and CT scans and marked up the CT with the best view of my tumor:

I think it’d be pretty cool if they poked the tumor and a bunch of rum sprayed out. ‘Course, that would’ve happened with the biopsy, so I think the tumor is probably not made of rum. Damn. I could’ve been one of those “bizarre news” headlines.

My mom got here this afternoon. She’s here as long as I need her—so she says; just wait until I piss her off and she storms back to Medford. Anyway, she’ll be getting the kids off to school in the morning so Victor can go to my appointment at the oncologist’s office tomorrow. Ever since she got here she’s been limping around and complaining of back pain (“Oh, it hurts so much! It’s been hurting for days now! Poor me! You have no idea!”). I think she’s trying to steal my thunder.

But besides the whining, what I wanted to do most was thank y’all for the kindness you’ve shown me. I like it way better than the piles of hate mail I usually get.


Nov. 28: Telling the kids

happythoughts I actually considered not telling Katie and Jack about my diagnosis. It just seemed unnecessary to get them scared about Mom dying, when that’s unlikely to happen (positive thinking, not delusional thinking, right?). But then I remembered when our neighbor’s stepmother died and Katie read about it over my shoulder on Facebook, and when her friend came to the door that morning Katie said, “Sorry about your grandma!” and Kailey freaked because she didn’t know yet—her parents had planned to wait until after school to tell the kids.

(Let me take a minute to apologize to Tina and Jim for all of that AGAIN. I am soooo sorry!!)

I would hate for a concerned teacher or parent to ask Katie or Jack if Mom’s hair has fallen out yet, when they have no clue why that would happen. And really, the more I thought about it, the stupider it seemed NOT to tell the kids. As much as I want to protect them from the suckiest parts of life, this is something that is now part of their lives, sucky or super-sucky. And I don’t want them to resent me someday for hiding important crap from them, like my mom did when I found out as an adult that she’d been a potty-mouth all my life, or at least since she finally left that peepee-soaked heckhole (Walla Walla).

But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

Anyway, this morning Jack and Katie brought up my coffee and both then got on the bed with me and started bickering as usual. I figured this was a good time—both to say FOR GODS’ SAKE, SHUT UP ALREADY and to tell them about the tumor. And it was. I told them that the problem with my back was kinda serious, and people might ask them how I’m doing, etc. I said they should answer questions like that honestly. I also said that sometimes the treatments for this kind of thing make people’s hair fall out, and even though I hope that won’t happen with me, it might. Katie’s eyes got huge. Jack got a big, goofy grin. You know what? Their polar-opposite reactions pretty much perfectly define the personalities of them both. Katie takes everything seriously and is concerned and caring and sensitive; Jack thinks everything is hiiiiilarious.

So, the dreaded deed is done and it wasn’t nearly as awful as I expected. No tears. They both eventually skipped away, and started a new argument almost immediately.

Those are my kids.


Nov. 27: The call came

Warning: this is raw. I thought writing was the most therapeutic way for me to sort out my thoughts. This post would be red-marked the hell up in College Writing 101.

lime green ribbon About an hour ago my oncologist called. Oh yes, I have an oncologist now. Because it turns out the tumor near my spine is lymphoma, and oncologists treat lymphoma. It’s so weird to say MY ONCOLOGIST. I HAVE AN ONCOLOGIST.

I have an appointment with her Monday at 7 a.m. I don’t want to go to it by myself, but we haven’t figured out yet what to do with the kids that morning and Victor might need to stay home with them. School doesn’t start until 8:30. We’ll take them with us and leave them in the waiting room if we can’t work anything else out.

Lymphoma is supposedly one of the most treatable cancers, with a high survival rate compared to other cancer types. All things relative, this is good news. We don’t know yet what type I have, but hopefully the pathologist gets all the reports written up and sent to my oncologist before Monday morning. It’d be nice to leave her office with more answers than questions.

In phone calls, emails, texts and in-person chats of the past hour, it’s been suggested that my friends and family are all too willing to kick lymphoma’s ass, punch it in the face, attack it without mercy. This is so awesome, that even the gentlest and kindest people—if they love you—will threaten violence against the things that hurt you. I love my friends and family. I’m sensing they’ll be my army as we enter this next phase of life. If I have to do this, I’m glad these folks are on my side.

Katie was around when I was making phone calls and texting this morning, and she was obviously curious as to what was going on. I told her, “Well, the doctor said the pain in my back is being caused by something kinda serious. My friends are letting me know they care.” She looked at me and goes, “Hm. Can I have some pumpkin pie?”

Random Sunshine™ stopped by with an armful of funny DVDs. I need to laugh, and these ought to provide many hours of guffaws. Perfect. Thank you, Random Sunshine™!

Although I love hats, I think I look kinda dumb in them. If I have chemo and lose my hair, I might have to go the scarf route. Or wear wigs—ooh, wigs! Wigs are fun! I can’t decide which of these I like best—they’re all so very “me”:


It’s now been two hours since the doctor called, and I think what I’m processing now is nonsense. I’m exhausted. More later.


Nov. 26: Random (without the Sunshine) things

Here I go with another bulleted list. I don’t know if I can blame my scattered thoughts on stress, a variety of new drugs coursing through my veins, my general airheadedness, or a little bit of everything. Whatever it is, it’s making me think things that can be shared in a bunch of very short posts or one long list.

  • This is Mambo. We had a very fun Thanksgiving today. Our friends Christina and Scott came over with their daughter Sophie (Katie’s BFF) and their adorable Papillon, Mambo. Christina prepared the turkey and it was EXCELLENT. She also made an extra-delicious stuffing, salad and dressing. Victor did the mashed potatoes, yams and pumpkin pie. We totally forgot about our green beans and the cranberry sauce. But it didn’t matter—we all had a fabulous meal and a lot of fun spending the day together. Hooray for good friends!
  • I fell asleep right around 8:30 last night and didn’t wake up until almost 9:00 this morning. I didn’t sleep all that soundly the whole night, and I had very strange dreams, but at least I was resting. That long sleep was long overdue. It’s probably too much to hope for more of the same tonight, but I am.
  • Facebook was more fun than usual today, what with everyone sharing their holiday plans, photos, and greetings. It almost felt like we were spending the holiday together. OK, not really. But it was cool anyway.
  • I’m not going shopping in the morning. I think those doorbuster sales and early bird deals are sooo not worth it. In fact, I haven’t begun Christmas shopping yet, although I’ve made several gift decisions. Since I try to avoid the mall this time of year, I have a feeling that by the time I get around to actually making purchases online, I’m going to be paying extra for expedited shipping. Pfft.
  • Modern Family is still making me LOL every week. Watch it at Hulu or ABC and I bet you’ll see what I mean.
  • Is my mom’s dog Gilly the luckiest dog ever? And really, Mom’s pretty lucky too.
  • The IV contrast administered before a CT scan comes with a warning—they say you’ll feel it go into your arm and it’ll kinda warm up as it moves through your body, make your neck and chest feel all warm, and then go down into your pelvic area and make you feel like you’ve wet your pants. Can I just tell you that I REALLY appreciated that information? Otherwise I probably would have made everyone get out of the room before I got up, because I was POSITIVE I had peed my pants laying on the CT table, with all Victor’s coworker/friends surrounding me. That was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever felt.
  • Speaking of Vic’s coworker/friends, they sent us flowers on Wednesday. I’m feeling extra-special with the otherwise not very fun procedures being done in their department. Good folks.
  • And speaking of flowers, I got delightful surprise from my friend Dan—whose wife is an amazing floral artist—when I got home from my play date with Sherilee on Tuesday. I know it’s silly to suggest that flowers make everything all better, but MY GOODNESS, they sure did put a big smile on my face. Knowing that someone cares? Pretty much the best.
  • (I really, really like flowers.)
  • And as far as other caring friends go, I had one look into pulling strings to get my biopsy results before tomorrow. How nice is that? I know some amazing people, don’t I? (The answer: YES.)
  • Whatever the biopsy results, and whatever treatment is done based on the results, I really really really hope to sleep in my bed again soon.
  • The Christmas CD suddenly felt overwhelming this week. Every time I go to iTunes to work on the playlist, something weird happens with a few of the files and I get frustrated trying to track them down and then I decide it doesn’t need to be done right that second anyway and I close iTunes. I don’t think the CD will go out late this year, but for those of you hoping to get it a little early, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. So sorry.
  • Also, I think our family Christmas picture this year will either be a drawing by one of the kids or mug shots, because the chances of us getting arrested are looking much better than ever getting a photo session coordinated. Y’all know what we look like anyway, right?
  • One day last week I walked into the school and saw a bunch of Jack’s buddies waiting to go into the principal’s office. It took me a very long few seconds of staring at each kid to assure myself that Jack was not one of them. A few days later I was walking into the school and saw those same boys headed into the principal’s office again. Same issue, apparently, just more discussion. And Tuesday, while I was out on my play date, I got a call from the principal. I won’t lie to you: IT SORTA SCARED THE SHIT OUTTA ME. But he wasn’t calling to tell me Jack was fighting or Katie was caught smoking in the boys’ room again; he just needed some data about the school’s volunteer hours blah blah blah. Still. Not nice to scare the mom of a Sweathog like that.

I’m sleepy. I’ll post tomorrow after I hear from the pathologist or oncologist or whoever else might call whose title ends in “ologist.”


Nov. 26: Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are my Thanksgiving wishes for you:

  • That if you’re traveling, you are safe
  • That you’re surrounded on this special day by people who love you and who you love back
  • That you have the tastiest of mashed potatoes to enjoy today and tomorrow and the next day, with enough gravy to last as long as they do
  • That you have a neighbor like Random Sunshine who you could totally run down the street and hug if you wanted to—because you know you want to
  • That you are easily reminded of the things for which you are thankful, not just today but every day
  • That you won’t feel the least bit guilty for everything you’re about to eat
  • That you (or someone else) made your favorite Thanksgiving dessert
  • That you get to teach your daughter how to make Grandma’s pumpkin pie today (which is what I’m doing), or something equally special and memorable
  • That even if you’re cooking and/or hosting for a big group of people today, that you’re able to relax enough to enjoy Thanksgiving
  • That you have family and friends as fabulous as my family and friends—I am so grateful for them today, especially for a select few (you know who you are!)
  • That those Bumpus dogs don’t live next door and get to your turkey before you do because that would totally suck if you had to have Thanksgiving dinner at a Chinese restaurant

The thoughts I’m planning NOT to indulge today:

  • Biopsy results I won’t get until tomorrow—and oh my goodness, I hope that calls comes when it’s supposed to
  • How glad I am that my dad isn’t here to go through this waiting game with me (he did not deal with that kind of thing well)… though what I wouldn’t give for one of his big hugs right now
  • How much I wish I could be with my seester and mom today
  • How much my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad doctor needs to have a doctor who’s as ignorant and careless as he is—but I’m resisting that idea today only, and just because I’m being nice
  • That weird dream I had last night about my mom remarrying the a-hole—I sure hope all that anesthesia is out of my system and I can stop with the hallucinations because that was truly a nightmare for everyone involved
  • How if we were at the Stately Lassen Manor we wouldn’t miss a moment of the parade or football or SVU marathon because there’s a TV in every freakin’ room in the house—of course, they’re not even there themselves today, so it’d be kinda weird if we were

Many lovies to you all today!


Nov. 23: Some answers

I had an MRI on my back yesterday. This morning we got the results: there was something there. The radiologist recommended a CT of my abdomen to get a better look at it, and once again: he could see that thing.

That thing—apparently what’s causing the often excruciating pain I’ve had for the past 6+ months—is some kind of mass in my abdominal cavity, just in front of my spine, and it does not belong there. There’s some concern about what it is, so I’m having more tests done on Wednesday, including a biopsy. By the beginning of next week we should have the biopsy results and a much better idea of what the future holds.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the biopsy because I get to be somewhat sedated. A chance to rest, somewhat pain-free? Sign me up for more!

But oh my goodness, how easy it is to let one’s mind wander to dangerous places. I really, really, really need to not do that right now, when everything is still so uncertain. The kids got home today and I burst into tears at the thought of telling them anything. I decided it’s best not to freak the hell out of anyone until we know more. For now, anyway, I’m not saying anything more to Katie and Jack than that I’m going in for tests on my back.

The woman I wrote about the other day, the friend-of-friends who had been fighting cancer for the past year, passed away on Saturday night; this news being in the forefront of my mind is not helping with the whole keeping-emotions-in-check thing.

The one emotion I’m finding it very easy to feel is extreme anger toward my primary care physician, who blamed my back pain on bad alignment and muscle spasm for so many months. I knew this was something, I knew it wasn’t my imagination, and I knew it was more than a chiropractic problem. The fact that the pain has only increased over time means this mass is growing, and so my doctor dragging his feet on finding the answer just pisses me right off.

Trust me, the anger brewing inside me is probably way healthier than the alternative, which is not much more than thoughts that result in gallons of tears.

Happy thoughts, please. Many thanks.


Nov. 20: It’s just not fair

From afar, I am watching a woman my age—a wife and mother—lose her fight with cancer. Although I wish I could say I knew her well, I can’t. We went to school together but never really got to be friends. My mom worked for her dad for years. She’s part of a good friend’s extended family. But what I remember best about her—even knowing her as little as I do—is that she’s a truly kind and decent person. She’s the kind of person that when the news of her diagnosis began to spread, even people who didn’t know her at all were saddened. It’s been heartbreaking to watch her family struggle with the ups and downs of her illness over the past year, and the reality that the miracles seem to have been all used up is so very, very tragic.

I wish I had some brilliant words of comfort for the people who know this family. I don’t believe in all that “God has a plan” mumbo-jumbo—some clouds don’t have a silver lining, and some things don’t work together for good. I understand the path that grief can take, though—the path it took for me, anyway. And for the family and friends of this lovely woman, I can offer a supportive ear. Maybe a shoulder. Probably even a casserole. For the rest of us, I share these very wise words:

“May you live every day of your life.”
(Jonathan Swift)


Nov. 19: It’s unbelievable

So I was walking up the stairs, just like every other time I walk up the stairs (tripping on every other one), and just as I approached the top, my right big toe caught in the left leg of my jammie pants. I started to fall forward. My life flashed before my eyes. I pictured a new face bruise photo that would totally bum out Loveliest Lori. I wondered why I hadn’t taken the advice to get myself fitted for airbags. I thought of yet another ER visit… And, well, somehow that teeny tiny brain of mine got my big toe out of the leg of my jammie pants, and I. DID. NOT. FALL.

In the words of the funniest talking German caterpillar of all the talking German caterpillars ever in the movies, “Oh, ja, I can hardly believe it also.”

And that is how I did not injure myself this week. I think it’s nice to share good news once in a while, don’t you?


Nov. 17: Simon’s cat is back

I’ve shared the Simon’s Cat videos here before. There are some new ones, and the artist recently published a Simon’s Cat book. He’s got a Facebook page, Twitter account, and is making bunches of public appearances in the UK. Simon’s Cat is everywhere—he’s the It Cat these days, it seems. Cat owners can, unfortunately, relate to these stories all too well, but they’re entertaining even if you’re not a cat owner or lover. Here are all the Simon’s Cat cartoons, in order.




In late 2008 the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSCPA) contacted Simon to ask if he could help raise awareness for the growing problem of pet obesity. Simon was asked to come up with an appropriate idea that while entertaining, would highlight a very serious animal welfare issue.


Here’s the latest full-length cartoon. Change the fly to a grasshopper and this is life with Millie in the summertime. I loves it!


And a short-but-sweet one to promote the book:


Nov. 16: Mac and cheese

I found a new macaroni and cheese recipe a while back and finally gave it a try today. It’s fast, easy and pretty tasty. I wanted another opinion, though, so I texted Random Sunshine to come over and share it with me and she totally ignored my message so I might not like her very much anymore or maybe I’ll give her another chance because I would miss her so, so, so much if I didn’t like her anymore.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, which I tweaked a bit from the original because I just can’t leave well enough alone:

Macaroni and Cheese for Grown-ups

  • ½ pound uncooked pasta, preferably a large-ish one like penne or ziti
  • 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese, heaping (it is cheese, after all)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 2 T. (or so) white wine
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Boil the pasta until it’s al dente; drain. Add butter, sour cream, and cheese to the pot and stir. Mixture will probably get clumpy. Stir until butter and cheese are melted. Add the white wine and continue to stir—this will thin the mixture and make it smooth. Add the Tabasco—a little more than a dash if you like SPICY—and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Notice one very beautiful thing about this recipe: no baking. I might throw it under the broiler for a few minutes to get a crusty top, but even without, this is not a bad mac and cheese. I love the tangy-ness the white wine adds. I’m betting my friend Dawn could tweak this recipe even more to make it amazing-er.

Random Sunshine called while I was writing this. She is totally forgiven.


Nov. 16: Movie music

Did you know that there’s a new community over at Well, there is. I haven’t spent much time there yet—in fact, I finally just registered today—but some of the discussions have been interesting to follow. A popular one right now is about memorable movie scenes made even more memorable because of the music accompanying the scene.

The movie scenes that first came to my mind were the last scene in Sixteen Candles and the emergency C-section scene in She’s Having a Baby. It was no surprise that several members of the community mentioned these two as well. Both of these movie soundtracks are next to impossible to find, so I’m gonna very generously and probably a bit illegally share these two scene-accompanying songs here. But only because I love you.


If You Were Here
Thompson Twins

Download this MP3 - (Right Click)
This Woman’s Work
Kate Bush

Download this MP3 - (Right Click)


I can think of lots more memorable movie scenes—some from Love Actually, Singles, Toy Story 2, to name a few—but I don’t want to start a whole new discussion here when the one that initiated this is perfectly good and much more active. So share some of your favorite movie scenes here, or check out the boards at and add to that discussion. Remember to ignore the trolls. She’s got lots. Fortunately, she’s got lots of clever, intelligent contributors who make it a site worth visiting.


Nov. 16: A Jack photo gallery

In honor of Jack’s birthday last week, here are some of my favorite pictures of him from the past eight years. You’ll indulge this mostly-proud mom, right?

November 13, 2001. We were already parting and combing that boy’s hair!

With the Manullang cousins, six months old. This was our favorite shot from the photo shoot, OBVY.
(L-R: Alec, Jack, Katie, Julianne, Jacob, Abby)

jack-sonya - Comp
With Auntie Sonya, about eight months old.

jack-mary2 - comp
Gettin’ loves from Grandma, eight months old.

One-year portraits

jack12mb - Comp
This was our favorite one-year portrait because he’s flippin’ the bird!

jackgrandpa - Comp
Cuddling with Grandpa, 17 months, while touring St. Thomas

18-month portrait

Katie – 4; Jack 2

Christmas 2004. I sooo wanted to use this for our card that year.

2005. Jack – 3; Katie 5

2005. With big cousin Stephen. This looks much more cruel than it was.

dec05 013
2005. Christmas tree shopping.

Day4 116
Downtown Disney (California), 2006. Jack – 4; Katie 6. This might be where the LEGO fascination began.

5cpk-kathy 133
2006, 4
½. With rock star cousin Stephen in Colorado Springs.

Oct06 031
Halloween 2006, Jackson Curtis Wellington Sparrow – almost five years old.

Preschool graduation, May 2007, with the wonderful Miss Crystal

christmas2007 081
Christmas 2007 with big cousins. (L-R: Jack – 6, Sean – 20, Stephen – 19, Katie – 7)

4th of July, 2008. Julianne – 13, Jack 6
½, Jake – 11.

September 2008. Following along with the tradition of all Manullang boys, Jack (almost 7) broke his arm.

January 2009, 7 years old. Glasses and missing front teeth. Eventful month!

September 2009 – second grade school picture. He forgot to wear his glasses.

Alright, that’s enough reminiscing for now.


Nov. 15: The Boy’s party #8

Yesterday was Jack’s birthday party with his friends. His obsession du jour is LEGO, so that was his chosen party theme. I sure would like him to someday choose a theme that has party goods and games designed just for that theme so I have much, much less work to do. But no, for this party I had to do weeks of research to find LEGO-y games suitable for a group of eight-year-olds, then figure out what supplies would be needed, what prizes were appropriate, and have those ready for party time.

Is it any wonder I have high blood pressure and anxiety issues?

To make the LEGO heading for the invitations, I arranged LEGO pieces into letters and photographed them on a white background and okay, I’m totally kidding because I didn’t do that at all. I have a very cool program (check out Lettering Delights if you want to kiss every one of your spare pennies goodbye) that has a LEGO-like alphabet. I used that. It’s awesome.

The games we played:

  • Guess the number of LEGOs in the jar: I emptied a new box of 221 LEGOs into a big vase, and I didn’t have to count them. Yay, smart-thinking me! The guesses were pretty funny, though—the boys all estimated there were less than 100, so no one even came close to the right number. Prizes went to the closest three guesses.
  • LEGO tic-tac-toe tournament: I drew lines on the plastic tablecloth with a Sharpie and we had two games going at a time. We gave several 2x2 LEGOs in a single color to each player. As each kid lost a game, they chose a prize. The final champion got two prizes. The boys really liked this game, and played at least two tournaments. By the way, I got the funniest reaction when I drew on the tablecloth—the boys all freaked out, and kept asking, “Why’d you ruin the tablecloth? What a waste!” I’m all, IT COST 99 CENTS, GUYS. Later I noticed one end of the tablecloth had been shredded, and I was making a big deal about WHO RUINED MY EXPENSIVE TABLECLOTH? which freaked them out a little at first and then, remembering the cheapskate I am, they just thought I was a big weirdo.
  • Building contest: I bought another box of plain LEGOs for the party, and we dumped them, along with the ones in the big vase, out on the table. The boys teamed up and built whatever they wanted for three minutes. Prizes went to the tallest, coolest, and ugliest creations. Victor and I were the totally unbiased judges.
  • Brickmaster says (Simon says): I wrote up a list of commands in advance (my favorite was “for Jack only—Brickmaster says give Auntie Lori a kiss!”—Jack dived into the couch cushions, so Loveliest Lori had to pull him out to kiss him, much to his embarrassment). We ended with “Brickmaster says SAY ‘IT’S TIME FOR JACK TO OPEN PRESENTS!’”

For prizes, I made up little trading cards of LEGO scenes. The photos were easy to find on the Internet, and I had them printed four to a 4x6 photo sheet. There were about 12 different ones; here are examples:


It kind of surprised me that these trading cards were a hit. Short of giving handfuls of random LEGOs (booooring!), I wasn’t sure what other LEGO-themed prize the boys would be excited to get. Glad I thought of this one.

After opening gifts, the boys gathered around the table to sing and eat cake. The cake was another fun party element. We placed LEGO characters around it, along with candy LEGO pieces along the top and sides.

I love this picture, how Cameron (far left) is helping to blow out the candles and Theo (next to him) looks like he’s telling him he shouldn’t. smiley (BTW, that’s half of a Darth Vader helmet on Jack’s head, not shiny, long hair.)

The real surprise came when we cut into the cake.

I stole this rainbow cake idea from Sherilee, who stole it from this blogger. It was surprisingly easy. Rather than a plain white cake, I got golden vanilla mixes, which were a little bit off-white and didn’t really affect the colors, but tasted better (in my opinion) than white cake. I used icing color paste to get the vibrant colors. While the whole thing was a bit labor-intensive, it wasn’t any more difficult than any other layer cake. Also, it might look a little lopsided here, but I assure you it’s just the angle of the cut, or at least I’m pretty sure it is. The whole thing actually turned out quite straight, thanks to my very cool $3 cake-cutting tool.

After the cake was served to the party guests, what was left was getting wobbly, so I knocked it over before it fell. I like the stripes on the knife here:

For the next party agenda item, the boys gathered in the family room to watch Up on DVD. We served hot dogs and chips to those who were still hungry. Within 15 minutes, half the group went up to the playroom to play the Wii, and by the end of the movie there was just one boy left watching. We’re showing Up at the school for next weekend’s movie night, and it will be more likely to hold their attention without new toys and a Wii nearby.

Once the boys were occupied with these less noisy activities, we grown-ups settled down for our own party. John and Loveliest Lori came up from Salem, and Scott and Christina joined us too. I made my tortilla soup—another very labor-intensive food, but totally worth it—and we enjoyed delightful conversation in the semi-quiet dining room. It was nice that the day was fun for us too. The rum wasn’t so bad either.

Everyone was gone by about 6 p.m., and I went straight upstairs for a nap. It was an exhausting day, but a very, very good one. Happy birthday, Jack! Thank you for giving us a reason to clean the house and have people over. We kinda love ya.



Related Posts with Thumbnails