Sunday, August 28, 2011

Birthday Party Report

Although today, 8/29, is Mike’s actual birthday, SOME of us have to work so we celebrated his 3rd Annual “I’m Still Here” Birthday with a big party on Saturday night.

With a blanket invite, I was expecting roughly somewhere between 20 and 70. Someone asked me, “How do you plan for THAT?” My secret? Not so much planning.

I visited a local bakery and ordered 60 cupcakes, a dozen in 6 varieties. I made a quick trip to Sam’s Club and purchased some brightly colored drink cups, some matching napkins, a case of Seagrams wine coolers, and, um, 300 plastic forks. Anybody need forks?

And the wrong beer. I mean, I asked after the fact. My beeros were nice but said, "MILLER Light." Ok, next time.

On Saturday, one guest asked me early if she could bring some fresh fruit. I said, “Sure.” Then I was off to the local grocery store for soft drinks, chips and such, a veggie tray, some cheese balls, a few interesting cracker varieties, and cookies.

Back to the cottage, out came the white table cloth. By 3, we started to load the table with stuff. But, as guests arrived, so many brought ‘something’ that much of my purchases remained unopened. The guests started arriving around 4 and by 7, the count was 48 – 50. A few random children here and there…not sure they were ours. SOME kids will do anything for some cake.

And noise makers. And baloons.

A Kokomo contingent drove the 70 miles north to join the party.

Before the candles were lit, the Birthday Boy had a few words to say. I captured it on video and as soon as my people (Zach) can, I’ll post it here.

After the candles were blown out, the party began. It consisted of lots of people, some who knew each other, some who didn’t. They shared their connection with Mike. That was enough to forge new friendships. EVERYBODY, it seems, has a Mike Story. The buzz in and around the cottage was warm. Like the temperature.

A quick cloud burst let visitors experience a bit of the lake that the regulars are familiar with. Then folks were outside for Corn Hole Competitions, boat rides, strolls around the island and conversation.

Folks came and left; some came back. By 10, many but not all had called it a night. Most were resting up for Sunday's Island Breakfast, at Hal and Jenny's, down the block.

There were many highlights, but I think the absolute best moment for me was when Mike’s buddy, Tom, a retired chief-of-police, related Mike’s favorite story from his years in service. I’d heard it many times and I can’t do it justice here; but Mike was sitting 4 feet on my right and when I turned to look at him, he was smiling so big, his cheeks seemed to crack.

I looked around for my camera, phone, video cam, anything but by now, all devices had been moved and moved aside for the party. I must say, though, that this image is branded into my heart. I believe I will always remember that big smile. So, thanks, Thomas.

So, now we’re back to the routine: Mike will maintain residence north and I’ll be back in the classroom Monday. This week, though, will be a short work week: Allyson and the boys arrive Wednesday afternoon and we will spend the weekend on the lake.

We try to put the cancer thing on the back burner whenever we can. I mean, this was the 3RD birthday party, after 3 wedding anniversaries; we DO have some tests coming up in September and then we’ll meet with Mike’s doctor in October to discuss what’s next.

And, we will keep you all posted.

Please continue to pray for our sister-in-law Janelle, her husband Ken, and their family. It is their prayer that, besides miraculous healing, God will be glorified.


  1. Lynne,

    You're doing a great job with the blog. Keep up the good work, and thanks for keeping everyone informed.

    Thank you also for all the hard work in putting together the party. I know that people don't always realize how everything comes together, but as someone we both know sometimes says: "It ain't easy". You sure do make it look that way though!

    There are a lot of things I could add, but for now just wanted to express my appreciation and thank you for the invite. Have a great week and enjoy the ginger ale!

  2. Hi Lynne, Just home from the 150th celebration of St, john's Lutheran in Iowa with Mom. Party sounds wonderful...I think I can close my eyes and picture Mike's smile as Tom tells the happy many could celebrate Mike's birthday with you. We are rejoicing in God's grace and sending love! XXOO Kristine

  3. I thought about Mike most of the day today (I went in to work) and throughout most of the weekend while we were hunkered down during the hurricane. Gosh I wish I could have popped in to wish Mike a Happy 3rd birthday and to enjoy the festivities. I wish Mike many MANY more.

  4. Lynne - a new look! I thought I was on the wrong blog! I glad you kept the photo of the cottage!!!
    Thanks for the report on the party... wish I had been there... love you both..

  5. I just watched the interview online that Mike gave. I don't
    know you & you don't know me. But Mike touched my
    heart with his humbleness & honesty. We all have regrets and wish we would have done things differently. Especially
    regarding our children. Mike, you are not alone in that regret.
    But I'm sure your children always knew you loved them and
    that you were there for them. They knew all the hours you
    worked was ultimately for them.

  6. I just watched Mikes interview. It hit me hard as I have been struggling with the lose of my grandmother in April. It made me rethink alot of things and also gave me some peace. My grandmother, Emma Cook, knew both of you quite well. I had several meetings with Mike myself and there was something I always seem to forget to tell him. THANK YOU!!!!!!! You did so much for me and my kids. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers as you travel down this long road.