Monday, September 1, 2014

Accolades, Awards and Awe

Oh my have I ever been out of it!  When I decided I needed to get serious about getting back on the blogging horse today and opened my blog I was shocked to see just how long it had been.  This summer has flown by! It is September 1st and this post should have been late May at the worst.  Lots of life has been happening that has kept me off balance and not feeling very bloggy.  Better late than never I suppose.  Keep that in mind when reading this post.

Another week has come and past which means we are nearer and nearer Graduation Day for Mini. Her schedule for the past month has been insane and we have had one event after another.

We are so proud of her and all her accomplishments.  I am trying to focus on those things and not weep continually!  Each time we attended a Banquet or Ceremony we learn more and more about the young woman we are proud to call our daughter.

A couple of weeks ago we attended the Academic Awards Banquet where she accepted 6 different academic awards.  She will graduate 9th in her class and plans a career in Civil Engineering.

 The teacher that presented her with her Journalism Department award also gave her a very nice gift.  Isn't that the sweetest thing? To know you have special children is awesome but to see their impact on others is amazing!

This post is now old news but I still have to share.  Mini's graduation came and with it all the bumps you would expect with the year that we have experienced.  We were planning a small graduation party for graduation night.  The weather for the week called for only a slight chance of a shower on graduation day so we were not overly worried about her party.  May weather in Tennessee is historically very mild, not too hot or cold and rain is usually either with a front that moves quickly or very light.

The closer the day came the more the chance of rain.  By Wednesday night before graduation on Thursday as I drove to the airport to retrieve the Big Dumb Jock in a blinding rain, I began to think we might have a problem.  We had already honed the guest list since we were having a huge 18th birthday party in June, so if push came to shove we could move indoors.

Graduation Day dawned WET and FREEZING COLD.  Not since the Big Dumb Jock's college graduation 3 years ago, had I seen temperatures that low in May!  I'm thinking graduations may not be our finest hour.  Even Mini, who has been a tower of strength during what has been an incredibly trying year for our family, after sitting in wet chairs for graduation practice for 2 hours had  wavering hope and little patience.

By noon the rain was moderating so we bundled up, prayed for warmer temps and began the outdoor d├ęcor.  We literally turned on the fireplace inside so we could run in and warm up from time to time!

Slowly it began to come together.

Thankfully, mid-afternoon the rain let up and the sun began to peek out.  Sadly though the temperatures were never going to be warm enough to comfortably have the party outside at 10 pm.  So, we quickly tried to piece together some decoration in house.

We ended up creating what looked like shrines!

The board from Senior night in church was quickly put back into service.

We were able to put a banner designed for outside in and we stole a few tissue balls from the hut decor to make the dining room more festive.

The sun finally began to peak out late in the day so we were able to take some outdoor photos and not worry about dressing for a monsoon during the graduation ceremony. 

 Here is the proud graduate.  Hard to believe this little bitty lady is old enough to graduate much less hold so much knowledge in her tiny little noggin!   She had so many honors cords I believe she walked stooped over!

We took advantage of the chance for a family picture, those times don't happen often these days.

Wonder Hubby and I used to sit at graduation ceremonies and marvel at those kids that received award after award.  We always tried to figure out how in the world those kids had time to do all the things that were touted at graduation.  We found out who those kids are and how they do it that May evening after hearing Mini's name called over and over for one award or another. 

Oh here they come.....and I was so shook up already I ended up taking this video instead of a photo.

Bless her heart, knowing I can't see squat anymore she waved to make it easier....of course she couldn't do a thing about me blurring everything.

Still waving so I can find her!
We call Hope Mini for a reason.  When I was looking at the picture below I burst out laughing.  She is standing up and the rest are sitting and she is just a bit taller!  

 I don't know if it was my eyesight or tears but I had many blurry pictures so ya'll just bear with me. 
 The big moment finally arrives.

 I blew the hat toss photo completely, thankfully Spare daughter and the Big Dumb Jock both caught the moment and have it safely tucked away in their possession, lest I destroy it.  You get the idea though, right?

Then it was over.  Just like that, twelve long years of anticipation and lots of hard work done, over, finished.

Believe it or not the cold worked in my favor.  Everyone was freezing so we needed to hurry home, light the fireplace and begin the party, so I was unable to linger and cry more.

Guest were greeted with a lighted balloon arch. I think Mini and I did okay on this after thought idea.

Despite a brisk wind and freezing temps, Mini would not be denied her Graduation Party in the hut!

We are so very proud of all her accomplishments and can't wait to see how God chooses to use her life.  Now I only have to prepare myself for her turning 18 and heading off to college.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another Big Mini Moment

It was a busy week here in our little corner of the South.  Mini's schedule was crazy as usual and so was ours.  Much of the busy buzz was arranging our schedules to take in all that is Senior Prom.

I was so thankful that Saturday was a beautiful day!  Last year, prom day was a soggy mess that held our photo ops to a minimum.  Much to Mini's chagrin that was not the case this year! 

If you don't know Mini personally you need to know that she is not fussy at all.  In fact, she jokes that she is really a man.  Oh she cleans up nicely, and is always sporting one adorable thrift store gleaned outfit or another but she is not big on spending a lot of time on girl stuff.  She doesn't believe in paying to have her hair or nails done and prom was no exception.  She was amazed that girls were at the beauty salons and beginning to get ready for a 8 pm prom at 8 am.

She lolled about until 1 before she started preparation (which was really early for her to start in her opinion).  Bless her heart she spent two hours crafting her hairstyle and makeup and then slipped into her prom dress just in time to head out for photos.

Her prom dress was purchased a year ago on Ebay!  Who does that?  She didn't have a worry one about it not looking right or fitting (what is that like?).  The prom theme was old Hollywood and she went with a vintage look.  I am so thankful that she is such a classy young lady.  We didn't have to worry about what she would choose to wear being to revealing....modest was her motto.

I think she pulled it all together nicely and looked beautiful, if I do say so myself.

Oh how I love a wrist corsage....they are just so special and sweet!

They are the cutest couple and they don't take themselves too seriously, which will serve them well in life.

This is my favorite memory from the day.  Wonder Hubby and I went to prom at 11 p.m. (guess they didn't realize we are too old for that) to see the Senior Walk and Wonder Hubby and Mini danced.  It was super sweet and I will remember it forever.

The following week was Greg's senior prom.  Mini and Greg both wore the same outfits, because they are practical that way but Mini debuted an updo that she did quite well with.  She also wore another sweet wrist corsage.  Her corsage from Prom 1 was too large for her arm so being the thoughtful young man that he is, Greg had the florist make Prom 2's corsage with velcro so it is a perfect fit.  

For Prom 2 Mini went with a classy updo.  I think she did a great job. What really made is special? The combs she wore in her hair were the same combs I wore to my Senior Prom wayyyyyy back when so they were true vintage to match the dress!

Thank you for stopping by and walking down memory lane with me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Long, Bumpy, & Blessed Road Back

Hello all!  It has been a looooong time and a whole lot of life going on since I last posted, but, just like falling off a horse, I think it is time for me to get back on and blog again.  I can't believe that it is Easter week already and yet we may have a few flurries!  

So when we last visited I was already suffering with some blog fog (more like crazy hormone fog) and was slacking badly on blogging.   At that time my biggest concerns were angling to get the BDJ to move to this side of the country, moping around and dreading Mini heading to college next fall, and spending countless hours reading reviews in preparation for buying a new camera.  Boy, what a difference a few months makes.

The week before Thanksgiving I was making the most of some beautiful fall days, thanking God for those beautiful days and praying that I could get through them physically.  I took a few days off and spent some days raking leaves and working in the yard.  It was a slow go.  I continually had to take breaks and couldn't figure out why.  I slogged through the yard work and helped Wonder Hubby lay a new wood floor in my Coastal bedroom before returning to work. 

I headed back to work on the Monday before Thanksgiving excited that I had managed to clean up the yard, and precook quite a bit of our Thanksgiving dinner as well as finally narrowing my camera options to two.  The plan was cleaning on Wednesday in preparation for the family on Thursday, enjoying Thanksgiving with the family, getting most of the Christmas decor up and of course getting that camera on Friday!  That was the plan.  You know what they say about the best laid plans......

I have to admit here that I can be kind of dense ostrich-like when I choose to be and for a couple of months I had been making like an ostrich and playing the game of denying that there seemed to be something in my abdomen area that wasn't normal.  I also can be very mind over matter so I had decided to just do that....I would will it not to be there.  I made the dreaded doctors appointment for the Tuesday after Turkey day...cause you know I was not going to let this whatever it was mess with my plan.

That worked well until it didn't anymore and after a long Thanksgiving week with lots of pain and not being able to accomplish anything I had planned, a visit to my doctor was welcome.  I don't know what I was thinking other than the fact that since I could no longer wear pants they were probably going to have to do something to fix that, but I wasn't thinking that a mere 15 hours later I would be in an emergency surgery. 

Yep, I had time to go pack and feed the dog and that is about it. My doctor (who by the way I love to argue with) just didn't see my point of view on waiting a week so I could Christmas shop and decorate.  No...he whisked me right to the front of the line, he is polite like that don't ya know.   I had an emergency hysterectomy on December 4th,  they fixed up all my girl issues and found lots of goodies that I should not have been carrying around and took care of those too.  Thankfully it all happened so quickly there was no time to fret about any of it!  

BDJ was very helpful telling me what fun the Morphine pump would I looked forward to that until it was determined that Morphine makes me very, very sick!  I was to be in the hospital for 2 days afterword but after a long and painful night I decided I could be miserable at home and this time my doctor let me win and sent me home after 23 hrs.

The next couple of weeks I had to do something I don't do well, let others do for me.  Thank goodness for my family because they took care of everything.  Because Wonder Hubby's schedule had him leaving for work in wee hours of the morning, Mini would set her alarm to get up and get my meds and anything else I needed.  She was a full time caregiver when she wasn't at school or work.  BDJ came home for Christmas several days early to help out and Spare Daughter was good with meds and monitoring me since she is in her final semester of nursing school.  I had lots of help and received some very pretty flowers to enjoy when I wasn't too drugged!

Mini surprised me a couple days after my surgery by managing to decorate 3 trees and put up all the Christmas decorations while I was in a drug induced slumber.  She will never know what that meant to me.

We did virtually all our Christmas shopping online.  Wonder Hubby and I did stop for a wee bit of shopping after a doctors visit the week of Christmas. That little outing took care of my feeling that I was missing out on that "holiday shopping experience" and completely wore me out!

The few days before Christmas we managed to finish up the family tree....wrapping finished up about 5:00 pm on Christmas Eve.  I never quit trying to act like I was completely healed, in fact, I worked on the gifts I had planned for friends two days after surgery.  They were a little project I had seen on Pinterest and I passed them out along with a note that explained "results may vary based on the amount of narcotics in my system at the time of production!"  I think they turned out great...below are some in progress shots, I guess I was a little too loopy to shoot the finished product. Just picture sets of 4 tied with pretty ribbon and made with love! lol  

The kids did a lot of cooking and I even felt up to a little candy making...although I did rely on a stool in the kitchen

 Best of all I saw a lot of this......

 The kids decided to host Christmas as would be normal and everyone pitched in with food.  I think I will have them handle this every year from here on out since everybody brought way more food than it normal!  You literally couldn't even sample everything there was so much.

Despite all the craziness, Christmas was wonderful.  After getting the no cancer diagnosis and getting through the surgery I was feeling more thankful than ever to celebrate Christmas with my family.   It was my kind of Christmas took 14 hours start to finish to open all the gifts! Yes!   Indulge me a little since I haven't yet shared any Christmas photos!

I wish there was music I could put here that would create the set up for the drama that continued to unfold in our lives because the next 3 1/2 months deserve dramatic music,  but I will just have to explain it all.

By the New Year I was feeling much better and The Nana, Mini, my MIL and I all headed out for a day of shopping.  It was a wonderful day....I was so glad to get dressed and out of the house.  By that weekend I was beginning to think this post surgical life might just be awesome...then the rug was pulled out from under us.  Wonder Hubby lost his job.

The man has had 3 jobs in the 30 years I have known him, so this really threw us for a loop!  The stages of this adventure are tons of fun!  It is strange, this job was a job he took because at the time the hours worked to allow him to be able to attend our son's college football games.  It was never intended that he be there long term and we had talked A LOT in the past year about it being time to make the change but when it isn't your choice it is a shock.  

So the month of January was spent looking for a new job and starting a new job. It was also the first time the signs of a very sudden menopause became very apparent as well as a month,  January also brought the death of  a sweet uncle to cancer.  Very sudden as he found out only a week and a half before he passed away.  January was also the month Mini's car began to have a sick transmission.   All of these events delayed my healing and I ended up being out of work five weeks.

I returned to work mid-January to a very busy travel booking season.   February was month one of the new job and a very different schedule and was a challenge to the whole family.  It was also so cold and gloomy the whole month it was hard to stay positive.  The fact that Mini's car with in and out of the shop 4 times and we were constantly arranging rides was frustrating as well.  

There were several moderately unbelievable events here and there in January and February including a close call on my convention oven, a tire issue on my car that required 2 new tires about 10,000 miles early, a leaking toilet line that should have been fixed in a half an hour but was complicated and lasted 3 days.  How about an ice storm that did some tree damage, the refrigerator trying to die again, Mini doing an about face on her college decision and the biggie....Wonder Hubby having a wreck in his parents car!

Yes March too was heavy on drama.  Thankfully from the ashes some good has come.  I was offered the opportunity to move back into my previous job as an travel consultant (oh yes....I am very, very excited about that one) and Mini chose her college.  With the new job has come lots and lots of studying and lots of brainstorming but I truly do love travel.

Wonder Hubby has managed to find a car, the in-laws car is almost out of the shop and thankfully the sun has begun to appear on a fairly regular basis again! lol  I am beginning to feel like a better version of me with a few meno ups and downs but not nearly the hormone and pain filled existence I had before.  

Wow.....I know there is more but truthfully I think I blocked quite a bit of it all!  We seem to be coming out of the fog and are on the road to better times.  We have learned and grown tremendously during this time and that is what we are focusing on. 

Whew, I am so glad to have this post done so that I can move on to posting about some fun stuff!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our 4 1/2 month adventure in our little corner of the South! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Although I spend way more time on Facebook than I should, I somehow missed the memo on Thankful November.  I finally put it together this morning after days of seeing posts about being thankful.  I just thought people suddenly had woken up and realized how truly blessed there were! Silly me.
Since I didn't get on that bandwagon, I decided to write a quick post that gives an overview of my little corner of the world and all the blessings we have and have experienced to be thankful for.
Last month Mini was on fall break and Wonder Hubby and I took vacation time.  Other than our family vacation in the summer we are rarely ever all off at the same time.  We planned a few activities, antiquing, visiting colleges and seeing a movie (yes, that is a big deal around here, Wonder Hubby and I just never seem to get to the movies).  It was a glorious 9 days.  I truly mean that, I told both Wonder Hubby and Mini I don't know when I have enjoyed our time as much. 
Although Mini has been accepted to several different colleges (more blessings) she had not yet heard from the college she was most interested in.
These are pictures of the first couple of acceptances (then she lost interest in me taking pictures!).

First Acceptance!

Part of vacation week we planned a visit to her college of choice. It turned out to be a beautiful day here in Tennessee for a 3 1/2 hour drive there and the tour.  I didn't photo journal the visit, I just tried to actually live in the moment.  After the tour we met with her recruiter and she was told of her acceptance.....and let me take pictures. 

I think she may have been a bit overdramatic for pictures, but she was very happy!
We also took a day and drove into Kentucky to do a little antiquing.  We all enjoy digging through junk for treasure. 

 This trip Mini was on the hunt for a lamp.  She ended up finding one that she fell in love with and snapped it right up.  Turns out she was making her first purchase for her college dorm room (girl, please stop hurrying to get there you are killing me!).  I didn't realize what a big deal this was with her until I read her blog (which btw it a Christian based blog that features some of the content of her newspaper column and is AWESOME).  It was such a fun day.

We took in the Sandra Bullock movie Galaxy, which I loved cause I love some space stuff.  Toured another college and then ended up with a last minute home improvement project.  We decided to rip out the carpet in Mini's room and put down hardwoods.  It was a lot of work but she loves her floors and I am thrilled to have one less room with carpet (only 2 left to go!).
It was a great, relaxed and totally chilled week and I was so grateful for that.  Since then, well I am thankful we managed to get a tree that was leaning toward the house dangerously taken down, just before severe storms.  I am grateful to have had a really good sales month at Lottie and Molly not to mention that I have so enjoyed the pieces I have been working on as of late. 

Wonder Hubby was off last Sunday and we were able to attend church together which is huge because he is never off on Sunday!
How blessed are we that we have a nice home, a reasonably healthy family, cars with no major problems to drive to jobs we are blessed to have?  I would say very, very blessed and for all these things I am very, very thankful. 
Today, I am blessed with beautiful sunny skies and sweet texts from my children to start my day!  I hope you all are enjoying your blessings this minute, this day, this month and always.

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