The end of this last week was hectic (therefore, no posts here) because of various projects going on at work and because I was preparing to head home for a couple of days. As far as my brother Aaron was concerned, I was going to Canton to help Mom with some house projects and to meet Aaron and Ketra out for dinner for a low-key 30th birthday celebration with our mom and dad. But, behind the scenes, an elaborate scheme had been put in place and coordinated by Ketra for a surprise party on Saturday night. And, each of us had many humorous discussions with Aaron about the "restaurant choice" for dinner (which was never going to occur), the "projects" with which Dad needed help (to keep Aaron busy and away from the house), the "work" Ketra needed to finish for her job (so she could pick up food and set up the party), and the "errands" Mom and I were running around Peoria (so we could help Ketra and Tina, Ketra's mom). So, we could not wait for Aaron's reaction as he would walk in and realize he was entering his own surprise party.
Right as he is opening the pocket door and discovering the surprise...
The Birthday Boy (now a full-fledged Birthday Man) taking it all in and realizing all of the funny things that had been going on behind his back.
Mom, Dad, Andy (Ketra's brother), and Cami (Andy's wife) remain in their "surprise stances" with their horns while Aaron tries to take in everything around him. Of course, the party theme was centered on The Simpsons.
It was wonderful for our two families to spend some time together, which we're not often able to do. Jeff (Ketra's dad) and Ketra enjoy some of the delicious food, while the proud moms (Phyllis and Tina) pose for a photo. (We truly missed Joel (Ketra's youngest brother) and Natalie (Joel's fiancé.))
Little did Aaron know, a second round of surprises was headed his way. Mr. Stremmel's fellow teachers congregated at the school basketball game and came to the house together later in the evening. You should have seen the look on Aaron's face as the large group filed through the door. Aaron received some gifts that were very...
* touching (red picture album of Aaron's life from Mom and Dad)
* useful (baseball shoes from Jeff and Tina for 2007 season)
* funny (including "Stremmel Simpson" character from art teacher "Bell" and The Office Dwight Schrute bobblehead doll from band teacher, "Seymour")
* ...well, very much wanted (iPod from Ketra)
Here, a few of the teachers watch Aaron check out his iPod. After a lot of talking, more snacking, and some delicious fudgy-chocolate cake, the night was capped off with a stirring (and competitive) round of Pictionary. It was a wonderful celebration for a wonderful brother! Happy 30th Birthday, Aaron. (His birthday is really today, January 29.)
I regret that I failed to take a picture of Aaron AND Ketra, which I had intended all evening. But, instead, I guess we have the next best thing. On Sunday, Aaron sits down to recall all of Saturday's funny events in a heart-to-heart with his buddy, Bart.