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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lola's 95th Birthday Surprise

Wow, I can't imagine my grandma is 95 years old! I wonder what her secret is. Most of her life, she lived in the Philippines so I keep thinking if that has something to do with it. Anyway, my family planned this surprise party for her. We rented out two small meeting rooms that they combined to one at Lacey Community Center (the hall was already taken, and other venues were not available on the date we want since it was only a month away before we booked). Anyway, The venue was nice and had a lake next to it. My cousin Nannie was my point-of-contact there - she pretty much made all deposits to chinese food, lechon, and the cake. She also cooked the baked salmon and lumpia, and brought much-needed kitchen accessories and serving plates. My aunt made the deposit to the center, bought chafing dishes, and cooked the pinakbet and pancit. I also bought all the centerpieces (at 99 cents each) beverages (soda, water, martinellis), roasted chicken, fruit salad, ceasar's salad, bouquet, and sandwich platters. Al was in charge of inflating the metallic gold and ivory balloons we got at Fantastico so he bought two helium tanks at Target. We also supplied the linens, utensils, cups, napkins, gift box, candy, favors, picture on easel, doilies, table skirts, and the golden birthday banner. Liz also helped me with the favors (a copy of randon poems from Lola which we rolled diploma style and wrapped with a golden wired ribbon). The theme was gold and ivory in celebration of Lola's golden years in her 90's.

The best part was the surprise itself. We were conspiring to have Lola come to the venue as soon as everbody is there and preparations are done. The immediate problem was the projector - it was not working. Good thing my kuya was there to the rescue since he knows a lot about audio stuff. He also brought his laptop which was good. Phew! We closed the lights, and as soon as Lola and my uncle entered the double doors, we all screamed 'Surprise'! Lola was ecstatic to see friends and family (and yeah, she was surprised with all of us from California! Nikki my niece gave her the beautiful bouquet of flowers. We all hugged and kissed Lola, and I gave her the poetry book I made for her that had some of her select poems that she wrote herself. Thanks to Tin and my aunt for sending them to me.

Another good part about the event was the collaboration of the whole family. Sophia was a great contributor too - she pretty much took video messages of everyone in Wash town. She, Bran and Nikki worked together to get the tables prepared, and they were nicely prepared, I must say. Nikki did an excellent job in adding the napkins in the glasses, and Bran did a good job in laying out the favors and programs. Didi made the programs (she didn't even know that the theme was gold, but her programs were the same color). Tin helped out with the program too and the balloons, while Jep and Liz helped Nannie, Angel and Raf slice the roasted chicken, chill the beverages, place them on tables, and prepare the buffet table. Angel also placed the banner on the wall and found a quick solution after I panicked that I had lost the tape! I also got some love from outside vendors. Did I tell you Kinko's is the bomb? My gift to Lola was a booklet of her poems which this guy did for free when I told him it was my gift to my 95 year-old grandma. It was definitely a labor of love from the whole family and others to make the event successful.

I also made two videos for Lola, one with her old and current pictures with some videos, and another one with video messages from family. There were more coming in, but I could not add them anymore because it was late and after the party, but I plan to add it on a DVD to give to Lola. She liked it and was reacting to it at the party. Even people applauded and laughed along. After the video and dinner, my uncle, who was the host, called on people for a mini-program and tribute to Lola. Another cool thing was, during the party, one person saw the book I made Lola and asked me if I can send her poem to him. I guess Lola got a publisher now (well, sort of). Later that night was some dancing for all. Check out pics of the party.

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