September 25, 2011

Surprise party

My dad's surprise party went off without a hitch yesterday. He was genuinely surprised, and I think everyone had a good time. Despite the prediction of rain yesterday, we actually had good weather.

Jerry took the kids with him to the park to help set up tables, so I was able to get ready by myself, which was nice. My "job" was to pick up Mark from the group home on the way to the park. Mark is a 54-year old man that we met when we lived about 20 minutes from here. He lives in a group home because he is intellectually disabled. I think if he had grown up in a "normal" environment, he would probably be able to live on his own, but he was orphaned very young and only went to school through  (I believe) second grade.

This is an old photo of Mark and me, but I don't have any current ones of him

My dad always used to see him walking around smoking cigarettes, and he would stop and talk to my dad sometimes. My dad then started buying him a carton of cigarettes once in a while, which Mark thought was really cool (his money at the group home is rationed, and cigarettes aren't high on the list, haha). Anyway, when we moved out here where we are now, my dad started picking up Mark from the group home now and then to go fishing. Mark's birthday is on Halloween, and every year, we have him over to my parents' house and we celebrate his birthday before handing out candy for Halloween.

Mark really looks forward to being able to go somewhere, so of course my mom invited him to the party. I picked him up from the group home, and the woman working there said, "Now Mark, you CANNOT SMOKE. If Katie sees you smoking, she's instructed to bring you right back here."  Mark has asthma and apparently he's been sneaking cigarettes lately.

Even though I'm totally anti-smoking, I believe Mark is an adult and can make that decision for himself, so I felt kind of bad for the way she was talking to him. As soon as we got to the park, he saw someone else smoking, and he bummed a cigarette! I just said, "Mark, I'm going to pretend I don't see you smoking right now, but don't let it happen again, okay?" Hahaha.

Wow, this entry is going to be a mile long if I don't stick to the subject.

My dad is huge into fishing, so that was the theme:
Peanuts in a minnow bucket on each table

Dirt cake inside of worm containers

My mom's friend made his cake

There were quite a few people there when my dad showed up with my sister. He was completely surprised (as evidenced by his clothes--if he knew it was HIS party, he probably would have dressed nicer, or at least matched his shirt to his pants!)

I saw a lot of people that I haven't seen in a while. My aunt and uncle were shocked when they saw me, because the last time they saw me, I was 253 pounds. One of my cousins kept looking at me and then looking away, and then when I went to say hi, she said, "Oh, it IS you--I was trying to figure out who you were!" and she kept saying how "gorgeous" I was.

I think my favorite part of the day was getting our pictures taken by Renee--she's a photographer and lives next door to my mom. I don't have HER pics to post, but I have some that someone took with my camera. We got a sibling picture (my sister, brothers and me) and a pic with my parents. 

Brian, me, Jeanie, and Nathan (my siblings)

With my parents and Noah & Eli
Goofing around

I love the look on Nathan's face

A few of my cousins are cops, so when the cops showed up at the party, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing... ;)
Nathan, me, Jeanie, and Brian

Me and Jeanie

The cop was taking the pic, and I was a little late... but Nathan and Brian handcuffed themselves together and acted like they were running.

Nathan, Brian, Jerry, and I went for a walk on the railroad tracks through the woods. When I was a kid, we used to walk on those tracks all the time.

Jerry and me
After the party, we went back to my parents house to help unload everything. My dad opened his gifts and cards, and he got a TON of gift cards for Cabella's (an enormous fishing/hunting/sporting goods store). I was super exhausted and we went to bed by 9--lol.

I ate way too many desserts yesterday, and I definitely need to get back to counting calories today!


  1. This is so awesome! I love family get-togethers.

  2. So glad it went off without a hitch! The weather was supposed to be crappy here, but it held out for our long drive to Bayonne, NJ for my son's karate tournament. The picture of the guys on the railraod tracks reminds me of the movie 'Stand by Me.' You never found a body while walking the tracks, right?

  3. Your dad sounds like a great man. How kind of him to reach out to Mark. I wish more people would do things like that. I try to be kind in my daily life, but often find I'm wrapped up in my own world all too often.
    I love the photos of you and your sibs- what a good looking group! By the way, your cousin was right, you ARE gorgeous:-)

  4. What a great party! Gosh, you look fabulous and so full of life.

  5. I actually live across from a group home and I think what your family does for Mark is just great. We love our "guys" and try to give them special treats when we can. They adore my boys and like to keep up with how they're doing in school and soccer,etc. I know you'll recover from the desserts in no time.

  6. You must get your kind heart from your dad. It is so sweet that your family has "adopted" Mark. So many people do not take the time to even speak with a handicapped person, let alone befriend him.

    Great sibling photo! :)

  7. Your family sounds like so much fun, and all the ideas (dirt cake, peanuts in a minnow bucket) are SO cute and creative! Can I be adopted in lol?!?

  8. What a great party! You all look like you're having so much fun. The decorations and cake were so clever!
    And what a special friend you all are to Mark!

  9. So cute and looks like so much fun...your siblings look like they would be a hoot to hang out with.

    We all need days to eat a few too many desserts...then back at it. ;-)

  10. Very cool! So nice you get Mark out of the home once and while. That's super sweet. Your brothers are hot. I know I've said it before - but they are!

  11. What a fun time! I think it is so sweet that your family includes Mark - it can really make a big difference in someone's life. Great family pictures, too!

  12. Loved all the party pictures. Looks like a wonderful party and a good time. Your parents look great (so young!)--sounds like you are very close with both of them. Do you have the only grandchildren? I think your parents really dote on this adorable little boys of yours don't they?

  13. Wow. What a great party! It looks like you all had a fabulous time.

    All the pictures are great, but I love the one of you and Jerry. You two are so cute together!


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