Friday, August 29, 2014

The Longest Day of My Life

I finally added photos to this post. They are in chronological order starting with after they had taken Magnus for surgery when our children came to the hospital to see us.

Telling the kids about Magnus and learning about tumors

Trying out all of the gear that doctors and nurses wear

 When we came up to see him they were taking an x-ray to make sure the breathing tube was placed properly because M had tried to pull it out yet again.

 Nurse Beau... best nurse ever.

 Daddy and his boy

 Swollen little eyes and face

 They had to go in from two different locations because the tumor was so large and difficult to remove

 Jean and Matt

 I had been awake for way longer than anyone should be at this point

 I spy a sweet baby face

 Our home for the next couple weeks

It's been a crazy week, obviously. The days fly by here at the hospital with procedures and therapy and just making sure Magnus is happy and taken care of. I need to hurry and catch up on this here blog before I forget too much because the days are already running together.
So, we are to Sunday morning/early afternoon. They took my baby away and told us where we could wait. Because it was a Sunday and semi-emergent surgery, nobody else was in the OR waiting room. I loved it. No one was really even in the hospital besides doctors and nurses. Andy and his parents went into the waiting room and I decided to go for a walk around the hospital. Like I said, nobody was there. It was empty and quiet and perfect. I called and updated my mom so she could update everyone else. Andy's parents were keeping his side of the family in the loop. I found the Child/Life Specialist and spoke with her about talking to my other children and explaining what was going on in simpler terms. I had arranged for Rachel to bring them to the hospital before the surgery so they could see Magnus but they had moved his surgery up unexpectedly, so they didn't get to see him beforehand.
Rachel brought my 4 kiddos to the hospital a little bit later and it was so good to see them. I went and got them at the hospital entrance and led them to the OR waiting room where Rochelle (The CLS) met us. She had little cloth dolls dressed in hospital gowns that had blank faces so the kids could color them with markers. She also had a bag full of hospital stuff like hair caps, face masks, gloves, bandages, and other stuff. We explained in very simple terms what was wrong with Magnus and what was being done to fix it. We showed them the photos that we had taken beforehand of Magnus and explained what all the tubes and wires were for. We asked if they had questions and they didn't really say much. At one point Daphne had to go to the bathroom and I walked away from everyone with her to take her there. She looked up at me with very sad eyes and asked, "Is Magnus going to die?" I just about lost it but kept it together and told her that everybody dies sometimes and we would just have to see how Magnus was doing and we would find out more later. Kind of a crappy answer, but she seemed pacified, so I didn't press it.
After the kids talked to the CLS and were tired of coloring their dolls, Rachel and I took them up to the playroom. I left them there since Rachel was going to take them home afterwards. Rachel gave me a big hug before I walked out and I started crying again. I said goodbye to my cute kiddos who were already enthralled in the things they were playing with and I walked slowly back down to the OR waiting room.
The doctor had told us that he would call in updates every couple hours. When I got back Andy was sleeping in one of the rooms off of the waiting room and his parents told me the nurse had called. She said that they had just started the surgery about 20 minutes before and they had already given him a blood transfusion, but that he was doing well. I was hoping to get away without a blood transfusion, but apparently that wasn't going to be the case.
I took some pillows and went into another quiet, dark room and tried to sleep. I just lay there, wishing for sleep to come (it had been about 32 hours since I had slept (minus a short nap I had taken during the day on Saturday) and I was just beyond the point of tired by now) but it didn't happen. Every time I closed my eyes I just imagined Magnus on the operating room table with the back of his head cut open and it made it impossible for me to even feel tired.
After about an hour of wishing for sleep to come I got up and went out to where Andy's parents were. We started talking and it was nice because the time passed a little more quickly. Another phone call came from the nurse and she said they had just reached the tumor and sent a piece off to pathology for a biopsy. They had to give Magnus another blood transfusion, but he was still doing really well. Other people came in to see us... the hospital chaplain, a social worker, and others. I didn't really feel like talking and they didn't stay too long.

Nurse Beau came down to the OR waiting room and brought us a soda. He sat and chatted with us. Did I mention how much I loved him? Because he was the best. Andy woke up a little later and joined us and we passed the time by talking and talking and talking about whatever. Finally it had been about 5 1/2 hours and the update phone rang again. It was the nurse saying that they were just cleaning up and making sure everything was okay inside M's head and then they would close Magnus up. She said he was doing really well and while it was a very difficult surgery, they had gotten as much of the tumor as they possibly could without damaging Magnus' brain. She said it would be about another hour and then the surgeon would be in tot talk with us.

We decided we better grab a bite to eat since we wouldn't want to leave him once he was back in the PICU. I was slightly relieved but wouldn't be completely relieved until I saw my boy again. We headed out and grabbed some Rubio's and came back to the waiting room to eat it. We had just settled in and started eating when the surgeon walked into the room.

Dr. Brockmeyer looked exhausted and a little down. He explained how the surgery had gone. He said on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most difficult) it was a 10. It was one of the hardest resections he had ever done (hence the reason the surgery took nearly 7 hours). He told us that he removed about 90% of the tumor, but that there was a tiny nub that was so attached to the brain stem that he didn't dare touch it for fear of damaging Magnus beyond repair. He went over how Magnus had done (fabulously) and he would come talk with us more in the morning after they did the follow-up MRI to make sure they removed all that they thought they had.

Relief filled me at that point and I could finally eat without feeling like I was choking down sawdust. My food tasted so good. I was starving at that point, having hardly eaten anything since the night before. The doctor had told us he would be in recovery for a little while and then we could head back up to the PICU to see him.

We went up after we ate and he had just arrived in our room. He looked so swollen, but so beautiful. He still had marks on his face from being facedown for so long. I just wanted to hold him so much that my arms ached. I settled for tickling his arm and touching his face. I was just so happy that the surgery was over.

Andy's parents left shortly after that and Andy and I just settled down to stare at our child sleeping peacefully.... well, as peacefully as you can with an 8 inch incision on the back of your head/neck, a breathing tube down your throat, IV's in every limb of your body (including neck), and a foley cath up your you-know-what. He was just so beautiful.

Around 7 my dear, dear friend from Virginia arrived for a visit. Jean had just arrived in Utah to bring her son to BYU and when she walked in we both just started crying. It was so great to see her, and Matt (her son). He had left on his mission right before we moved back to Utah, and it was so wonderful to chat and catch-up with them. They were our family out east and I love them dearly. Magnus was a little bit like her surrogate grandson, since her grandbabies lived far away. She used to babysit him and take care of him at church when I was teaching primary.

After our visitors had to go, Andy and I packed up and said goodbye to Magnus for the night. We had to run home and shower (we had been wearing the same clothes for going on 36.... 37.... 38 hours?) and pack up for our stay at the hospital, then we would be back. As we walked out of the hospital around 10 PM, we lamented how incredibly weird it was that we had only arrived 24 hours before, completely oblivious that our life was about to change forever. How had it only been one day?! It had been the longest day of my entire life. I was relieved that it was finally over.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Before the Surgery

From the moment we enterd into the PICU until the moment Magnus went into surgery, we felt nothing but support. Everyone was so kind and sympathetic. Shortly after we were admitted I got a text from my mom saying that she and my dad were on their way to come and sit with us. We talked to several doctors and nurses about various things and just answered a lot of questions. My parents arrived and by that time we had been completely admitted and they had allowed Magnus to finally go to sleep around 2 AM after examining him thoroughly.

My parents and Andy and I just kind of sat and talked about different things. It was nice to get my mind off what was happening for awhile since they weren't going to come and get Magnus until about 4 AM for his MRI. Around 3 AM the nurse tried to wake him for his neuro exam and he was furious. He was screaming and kicking at her and telling her to go away. It was hard to watch. Andy finally asked him if he wanted mommy (I was hiding in the corner plugging my ears, trying not to hear him be so upset) and he said yes. So I went and crawled into his bed and snuggled up with him. I sang to him and rubbed his back and he fell back to sleep. I loved that time with him.

After that, Andy and my dad gave Magnus a blessing. It was a wonderful and comforting blessing. I cried silently and just squeezed myself into a tiny ball in my chair. I just kept thinking that I wanted this to be a nightmare, or anything, really. Shortly after the blessing my parents left. And then shortly after that the nurse came to take Magnus down to meet the anesthesiologist and have him intubated for his MRI. He was sleeping peacefully as we followed his bed down the hall and into the elevator. We went down to the imaging area where we met the radiologist and anesthesiologist. We talked to them about what was going to happen and signed a bunch of release papers (seriously, I think I signed away Magnus' life about 20 times that night with all of his various admittances and procedures) and then they took him away after I gave him some hugs and squeezes. 

Then we just had to wait. They told us the MRI would take about 2 hours. Andy and I talked and discussed and sat in silence and talked some more. We talked abut how different our life was going to be, whether that difference would only be for a few months or whether it would be much longer. We talked about our children and what we need to do to make sure they are given enough attention and cared for and that they know without a doubt how much they are loved and adored. We rested. Andy tried to get me to eat. I couldn't. 

Finally our baby was brought back to us. It was terribly sad and horrifying to see him in his state when 12 hours before we had thought him a perfectly healthy and happy boy. A boy who was supposed to start preschool in a week, a boy who would have his birthday soon, a boy who loved being the youngest, adored by his siblings, and being spoiled rotten. They wheeled him into his room and got him all set up, connecting him to computers and machines that beeped and blipped and monitored and recorded information. 

Andy's parents arrived around then. They were in it for the long haul and ready to stay with us throughout the day. Andy spoke to them and I sort of just sat in my chair, curled up in a ball, still not able to completely comprehend that this was happening to my child, my baby. We got a new nurse around this time, his name was Beau. He kind of waltzed in like he owned the place and I wasn't sure what to make of him. Our night nurse told us that he had been there for over 10 years and he was the best, that he made sure his patient was getting exactly what they needed, and that he advocated for the patient's parents. This made me happy, especially when he asked if we had spoken with the neurosurgeon yet and when we told him no, he said, "I'll take care of that." Ten minutes later our neurosurgeon came walking in with his team of doctors to tell us what the heck was going on since we hadn't seen him in over 8 hours when we spoke with him right after the discovery of the tumor in the ER. They told us that the report wasn't ready from the MRI, but as soon as it was they would be in to talk with us. And then he kind of gave Beau the side-eye and I giggled.  I was a glad to have something, anything--to know even a smidgen of what was going on behind the scenes. I was glad nurse Beau was on my team. 

For the next little while I sort of just wandered around the room. Magnus would have episodes where his sedation would wear off all of the sudden and he wouldn't be fully awake but he would start thrashing around and try to pull his breathing tube out. He would claw at his IV's and just be completely restless. He would gag and try to cry and it was a just the most awful thing to witness, ever. 4 or 5 medical professionals would have to come and hold him down and administer more sedation meds. They said they used 50% more than any other child his age. They told me this was good. It means he is a fighter. I know they probably say that to all parents, but it reassured me anyway. I know he is a fighter. He has always been such a tough, strong kid. 

After one of these episodes Andy and his parents went for a walk. It was just me and my baby and nurse Beau. Beau talked quietly to Magnus in the sweetest way, telling him everything that was going on. Beau asked if I would like to help bathe Magnus in preparation for his surgery. Of course, I said yes.  We took off his clothes and washed him and then Beau asked if I would like to crawl into bed with Magnus and snuggle him. I was not going to say no to that! I got in bed and held his hand and sang him songs. Magnus started getting restless again, his sedation meds wearing off. Beau turned on some calming music and told me to just whisper in Magnus' ear. It worked for a bit, he calmed down. But then the thrashing began again and I had to hold down one arm and 5 medical people rushed in and held down other limbs. While we were waiting for his meds to come, Magnus pulled out an IV... That kid is seriously strong. No one could figure out where his super human strength was coming from. The IV team came and placed a new line. Finally the meds kicked in and Magnus calmed down. I got out of his bed at this point and shortly after that the surgeon came back with news from the MRI. 

Dr Brockmeyer (our surgeon) took us out to look at the images from the MRI on the computer. He showed us exactly where the tumor was, where it was spreading to, and how it was blocking CSF from draining. He explained what was going to happen with the surgery. He explained the risks, the side effects that may happen, the worst case scenarios. It was so much, just too much that could go wrong. It was very overwhelming. On the list that may happen was things such as: right sided weakness, swallowing problems so severe that he would need a feeding tube, possibly needing a head drain for the rest of his life, paralysis,muteism, reverting back to acting like an infant, and many other equally horrifying things-- including death, of course. He also mentioned that they could be temporary or permanent.  As always, they ask if we have any questions and Andy and I just look at each other with confused looks, wondering if we should have questions after the information given, that our son could be dead sometime in the next few hours. 

We went back and sat in Magnus' room, waiting for the time when they would come and get our baby and take him from us for the 4-6 hour surgery. I pretty much stayed silent, listening to Andy and his parents and our nurse make small talk. I watch Magnus and wonder what he's thinking right now, wonder if he has any inclination of what is going on. 

Around 10:30 the phone rang and it was the surgeon telling us they are ready for Magnus. Beau gets Magnus ready to transport and we all walk along behind his bed and follow him down to the OR. My heart is beating frantically and my stomach is in knots. We arrive in the OR and meet the anesthesiologist. We sign away Magnus' life again and then the surgeon arrives. Magnus is wheeled down the hall and they stop and allow us one last goodbye before we part ways. I kiss him over and over and squeeze him tight. As soon as I stand up I fall into Andy, sobbing hysterically. I can't take it. No one should ever have to go through this. No one. Andy gently pulls away from me and gives Magnus his own goodbye while I stand there with my hand over my mouth, stifling my sobs and shaking uncontrollably. He comes back and puts him arm around me and we watch them wheel our baby away, down the hall where they will attempt to save his life and remove the tumor.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

And Just Like That

* This post was written over the last few days since we have been in the hospital. I started writing it on Sunday afternoon while Magnus was in surgery.

Your whole world can be completely flipped on its head. It is kind of crazy how life can have a way of doing that. Our sweet Magnus was diagnosed with a brain tumor last night in the wee hours of the morning. I think I am still in shock and have not fully processed the information that has been given me. That, coupled with the fact that I have been awake for more than 36 hours has made it hard to think and comprehend and remember small details. I am currently waiting for approximately 3 more hours until Magnus should be getting out of surgery, so I will recap as best I can.

This past week starting on Monday, Magnus has thrown up every morning around 6 or 6:30 AM. He has always had a bit of a weak stomach, but this seemed excessive to me. He didn't do it on Friday morning so I thought we were in the clear. Then he did it again Saturday morning but I was unaware because he had slept over at his grandparent's house. I found that info out later on Saturday afternoon. He was acting completely fine by then and Andy and I decided to go out. We made the kids some dinner and turned a movie on and then went to dinner ourselves. We went to pickup Daphne from her cousin's house and took her home where the kids were getting ready for bed. Magnus was eating a banana. A few minutes after eating it he told me he was going to throw up. He did so and grabbed the back of his head while doing it. After he finished vomiting he started screaming hysterically saying that his head hurt so much and he kept clutching it and screaming. This concerned me, of course. I got him calmed down and ready for bed, but kept feeling like I needed to call our pediatrician. I did that and after telling her his symptoms she told me she was calling Primary Children's hospital to tell them we were coming and we needed to take him to the ER right then.

We woke Magnus up and packed him in the car. Andy and I could be described as underly cautious so we thought we would be there for a few hours and then be on our way home. We were listening to the doctors recommendation but didn't think anything was actually wrong. We were just getting him checked out because better safe than sorry. We even talked about movies we could rent on our way home, and picking up some ice cream for dessert. 

When we arrived at the emergency room they were ready for us and took us right back. We saw the doctor pretty quickly and he examined Magnus and then spoke with us. He told us that they were going to do a CT scan. He also mentioned that they don't take these scans lightly with children because of all the radiation. He gave us a little warning to prepare ourselves. At this point I still didn't think that anything was wrong. Because, you know, bad things like that just don't happen to me and my family.

We went back and did the CT scan. Magnus was awesome and just being so funny and cute. Everyone was commenting on what a cute little boy he is and as parents it is nice to hear that. We think he's pretty dang cute, so we like when others think that too :)

About 20 minutes after the scan the doctor came into the room. He looked incredibly somber and my heart just sank. He brought the stool over close to Andy and me and sat down slowly right in front of us. I felt myself involuntarily bringing my hands up to my mouth. I think it was my defense mechanism, my way of protecting myself of what was to come. The doctor told us that after reviewing the scans, the radiologist had found a large mass on Magnus' brain, the worst possible words he could have uttered.

I felt a rush of ice cold start at the top of my head and slowly move down until I was completely engulfed in chills. I burst into tears and buried, my face in Andy's chest. I just kept thinking in my head, "How can this be happenening? Is this really happening? Am I even awake?" It was such a surreal feeling, I cannot even describe it.

The doctor pulled up the scan so we could look at it on the screen. I kept thinking he would turn to us and say, "Just joking guys! He's fine! Go ahead and go home." But no. We saw our little Magnus' beautiful brain up on the screen and a different colored mass down near the bas of his brain. It was large and squishing everything around it. There was also a large amount of CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) built up causing hydrocephalus. The pressure in there was too much for our sweet boy, hence the vomiting and headaches. 

Andy and I called our parents. We called Rachel so she could go get our other children and take them home with her. What an enormous blessing that she had literally moved in 4 houses down from us just 4 days before. There is no way that was left up to chance. I wandered around the room, shaking uncontrollably. Andy got me a warm blanket and made me sit down. I was experiencing mild shock and it felt awful. Magnus sat on the bed, oblivious to it all, happily watching his favorite How to Train Your Dragon on the tv.

They came in and told us what would happen next. The IV team would be in to place a main line for him to receive fluids and they were going to start steroids for the swelling. On top of that he would receive Zantac to counteract side effects of the steroids. Then he would be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where they would keep an eye on him until it would be time for him to receive his MRI. They would intubate him at that point and put him out completely for the MRI, which would tell the neurosurgeons a little more as to what we were dealing with. After that he would come back to the PICU and stay heavily sedated and intubated until surgery time on Sunday morning. That was the plan. 

The head ER doc came in to explain all of this to us. Then the one of the neurosurgeon team came in to go over some things with us and answer questions. When they would ask, "Do you have any questions?" Andy and I would just glance at each other with looks of disbelief on our face like, "Are you serious?" 

The whole time this is going on, Magnus is just sitting on the bed, playing my iPad, occasionally glancing up at the movie, happy as can be. I still haven't digested everything at this point. I feel completely sick to my stomach and cannot stop shaking. I just keep looking at my sweet little  boy, the little boy my husband and I made together, the little boy who is our youngest, truly our baby, and thinking, "He looks so perfectly normal. How on earth can this even be happening to my child?" I wanted to go over, scoop him up, and run away forever.

The IV team came in to place a line. Magnus freaked. The mere sight of a needle has him shrieking. Well, that was something he would get over pretty quickly, I guessed. The wonderful ER nurse who had been taking care of us all evening came in and told Magnus he was going for a ride. We headed up to the PICU for admittance and to report to the team of doctors and nurses that would be fighting for and protecting our sweet boy for the next few days. 

Let me tell you, if the surreal feeling downstairs wasn't enough, then walking into the PICU surely sealed the deal. As we went through the doors, Andy and I following the 2 nurses pushing Magnus' bed, there they were. The warriors, waiting for us. Men and women, lined up, standing next to the room that was to be our home for several days. Standing tall and strong in a smattering of various colors of scrubs, their war uniforms. There were about 12-15 doctors and nurses all together. They all gathered into the room with us where the ER nurse pulled out Magnus' chart and began from the beginning, listing symptoms, diagnosis, care plan, and medications. Andy and I stood in the corner, clutching each other. My eyes were trained on Magnus, still happily sitting in the bed, the center of attention. If I happened to glance at one of the medical professionals, I received an immediate reassuring smile, a slight nod, kind of like a, "You can do this. You got this."

"Do I?" I thought. We would see.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Denial With a Side of Catch-Up

 Ummmm, school starts in 5 days. FIVE DAYS, people! I am in denial. I do not want school to start, either mine or the kids. On a brighter note, I only have a week left of my totally boring and dreaded CNA class. Yay!

This hodge podge of photos are from the summer. The last time I blogged about regular, everyday kind of "stuff" was back in June, just after school got out. And now school is starting again. How? And more importantly, why? Sometimes I think I should just suck it up and home-school my children. And then I remember that I'm kind of lazy. Oh, and that they are already smarter than I am. It's a problem.

Anywho.... pictures! From summer! I have pictures here from right after school got out until right before Pioneer Day. Join me, will you?

That time came. Andy was no longer considered "handicapped' seeing as how he was 6 months post-op. I miss this little guy though.

Also! No photos, but my girls went to St. George with all the girl cousins and my parents. They had a blast. They swam, and went to Little Mermaid at Tuacahn, they played, they went out to eat, they basically had the time of their lives.

And now I give you.... the Cleaning of the Fridge. So many tupperware containers.

And Father's Day! It happened. It was awesome. Andy and I both have totally amazing dads whom we love dearly. I  am grateful that Andy is an involved and active dad with our own kids. I like Father's Day. Dads rock.
 Father's Day brunch was breakfast burritos with eggs, fried potatoes, sausage, cheese, salsa, and bacon plus oj, berries, and scones.

This funny gift was from Laylah. Haha.

Girl's nights! With ice cream! And movies! The best.

Late night grocery runs. I literally do everything at night now. Everything that I normally used to do in the day? It gets done around midnight. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, showering.... yeah. If I don't do it when my kids are in bed, it usually doesn't get done.

Andy and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary. This definitely deserves a post of its own. Maybe it will get one before our 13th anniversary. Who really knows? All I can say is, we have ups and downs and we still love each other. And we still like looking at each other, too. Mostly naked, but hey.... I even like him with clothes on.

Okay, I tried editing this photo but when I uploaded it it didn't work. I stole it off my brother-in-law's FB page. It is Andy's ENTIRE family (even his brother's fiance who wasn't even his fiance at the time!) His little bro got home from his mission and this was the day of his homecoming talk. It was a fun weekend celebrating with Andy's family. 

Jonah is now in WeBeLos! He was able to go to a 2 day scout camp and he had a blast. And hey, it only took me TWO years to get his patches onto his shirt. But they are there (and I didn't even do it. My MIL did. Because Jonah whined to her that I still hadn't done it in TWO years. Yeah.)

This is me with 2 of my favorite Young Women at Youth Conference. And a silly kid who jumped in the photo at last minute. Youth Conference was a blast this year. 

Just some stuff I did at work. I seriously love my job. Of course I have my days, but most of the time I just love going there and being there. I love doing hair.

This cute little lady had been saving up her money for about 18 months to buy an ipod5. The day finally came and we found a used one on KSL classifieds. It was even a PINK one and she was SO excited! She paid $185 for it and has not regretted her decision once. We have even had to take it away a few times. She sure loves that thing!

Um, I don't even know. The extremes I go to to get a free meal....  totally worth it. It was a fun night with my kiddos ( and a nephew... for those of you that noticed there were 6 kids, not 5 ;)

One night after I got home from work really late (and Andy was just leaving to go to work), I decided I really wanted some sushi. But I didn't want to go by myself. So I took these two on a date and we got some. It was delicious and they loved their first sushi experience. Phew! Good thing they like it or I might have had to get rid of them.

Just some more fun hair. Seriously, I love my job :)

And last we have Girl's Camp. The theme was "Anchored" and this is our whole group that went. I still miss my Young Women very much. They brought over some flowers and the sweetest note that all of them had signed and written a little message on. It made me tear up a bit. I am so glad I had the chance to go to camp one more time with them all. What an amazing group of gals.

Whew! And there is half of summer. See how boring our summer has been? I mean, pictures of my dirty kitchen sink, work stuff, and food? Whoop dee doo. Because of this, I am taking my kids on a quick weekend getaway tomorrow. In fact, I am supposed to be doing some stuff to get ready (we leave in approximately 6 hours and I have yet to pack or go to the grocery store to get food.... But I am waiting for laundry to dry, so I figured I'd blog instead...? I make a lot of sense when I am tired, obviously ;) My sister Rachel invited us to their cabin in Bear Lake. The main goal is to R-E-L-A-X. I think I can do that. 

Catch you on the flip side.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jonah's Soccer/Swimming Birthday Party

 It was Jonah's turn to have a birthday party with his friends this year. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his party he answered, "Play soccer." I had to explain to him that not everybody likes soccer so we better think of something that everyone would enjoy. We came up with a soccer/swimming party.

We had the party at my grandmother's private neighborhood pool. It has a large grassy area where we could set up nets and play a game of soccer. Nobody is ever there, so it worked out perfectly. Jonah actually had his 6th birthday party here as well. 

I loved planning this party, especially since it was right after Baron's very time-intensive party prep. Jonah just wanted to hang-out and have fun. He wanted good food to eat and just wanted to "chill". I did a super simple decor with black, white, and green. A few streamers, a few balloons, and a banner and we were set. We just grabbed pizza on our way to the party, had a few bags of chips, did frozen grapes on shish kebab sticks (huge hit!) and had powerade for drinks. Jonah isn't a huge fan of cake, so we had a donut cake instead.

Goody bags were simple as well. We had a soccer ball hackysack, soccer tats, and a treat. Bam, easy as that.

Pile O' Presents

The "Cake"

Besides being incredibly easy to plan and pull off, this ended up being one of my favorite parties I've ever thrown because everything was just so relaxed. Older kids are easier to direct and Andy and I had a blast playing with them all evening. We swam for awhile and then ate. Let me tell you, when you call out, "Time to eat!" it's amazing how quickly ten 10-year old boys come running.

Happy Birthday to you! (Again, I forgot the candles.... duh)

Birthday Boy

After eating, about half of the boys started up a barefoot soccer game. Andy and I went and played with them and it was so much fun. Almost all of the boys playing are on a competition team and they are good. It was a great game.

Birthday boy wanted to open gifts after that and so we did. Fun gifts.

We all hopped back in the pool for the remainder of the evening and played fun pool games like Categories, Sharks n Minnows, and breath-holding games.  I didn't want to leave!

Oh, and Andy threw them around too.

We swam until it was dark and then we packed up and headed home to give the boys back to their parents. I need to remember how much fun this easy-going party was. Less stress, less to do, and just as much fun. A winning combination. Plus, the birthday boy had a blast. Nothing else matters, right?

Happy Birthday Party, Jonah!