Monday, April 22, 2013

Graduation, Anniversary, Birthday Party and the Zoo

In an effort to quickly recap our very busy weekend (and Monday), I'm combining three big events and a trip to the zoo into one post.  Sad, I know, but it's this or wait a long time because I still have makeup posts to do from months ago (it seems).

1.  Graduation

The day we've been waiting for finally arrived.  First of all, let me just say that without my husband, my extended family and my very helpful and kind friends, this day would have been a disaster in the making!  First of all, some public thank you's ...

To C:  You made a menu that was practical, delicious and didn't break the bank (more than it was already broken) and even though we had some tough days amidst the stress of planning, you know I love you and wouldn't have wanted to celebrate anything if you weren't a part of it all.  You are wonderful, Husband.  Thank you.

To S:  My lovely, newly graduated daughter, thank you for putting up with all the times I told you that some things about the party were a secret.  Thank you for smiling and wearing that cap and gown you did not want to put on and crossing the stage even though you loathe being on stage.  You are amazing and I am excited to see what the future holds for you.  I love you, Baby.

To our other children:  You four were so patient with me and all the errand running and the lack of regular school days and you allowed me to be an exasperated and very tired Mama for days without giving me a hard time.  You supported your sister (most of the time) and attended her ceremony with loving hearts.  You helped host the other kids and teens at the party and for that, I'm so grateful.  I love each of you very much.

To my mom:  It was such a blessing to have you fly here from California to visit and attend the graduation.  I am so sorry we didn't have more time to relax or play board games like I love to do when you come.  But I am so grateful you were here.  The children would have starved, I would have had a kitchen full of dishes at all times and we wouldn't have gotten a date night on our 21st anniversary if you'd stayed home (among many other things you did).  You were more than needed and your presence made the celebration that much more special.

To Vanessa:  I don't have many people in my life who, in the middle of moving houses, would give up two full mornings and one full afternoon/evening to help me ready the house for our daughter's party.  In fact, you were the only one to fill that role. You are amazing and thank the Lord for your OCD.  You kept me on track to get the house cleaned and set up and you even did our decorations for the party!!  (Thank you also to A & B from Landing who were virtual strangers to me, yet jumped in to help decorate with Vanessa on Saturday -- a Godsend, really!)  Thank you.  I love you.

To KF:  You rocked the party with all your yummy baked goods.  I heard so many compliments on them.  Thank you for taking up your Friday night and staying up super late to bake three large batches of delish.  They were perfect.  Thank you also for keeping me company in the less-social room during the party.  I had a blast chatting it up with you and giving the kids a hard time together.  Oh!  And thank you for taking some photos at the ceremony -- looking forward to exchanging some with you in the near future.  I love you!

To AF:  You are my favorite recently bonded-with friend.  I hope you know what a compliment it was that I entrusted my favorite camera with you at the graduation ceremony.  Ha.  You did a great job and even though you took only about a tenth of photos that I might have done, you got the ones that counted!  Nice work.  Thanks also for being a good friend to our daughter, she is a happy, happy girl thanks to you.  Looking forward to getting to know you better and giving you a hard time as long as I have breath.  Thanks for putting up with me.

To SSW:  I know you don't have time to read this silly little blog, but Lady, your presence and co-coordinating the party for each of our graduates was such a blessing.  I can't say I love you enough times to tell you what a special person you are in my life.  We've gone through so much together and near or far, you will always be super important to me.  You're my chosen sister (not because the ones I have aren't good enough, but because there's no better term to describe how close I am with you).

Finally, to all the rest:  Those of you who prayed for us, who attended the ceremony and/or the celebration, who sent or gave gifts and cards to our girl, who in anyway assisted or encouraged or supported us during this chaotic time of planning and preparation -- thank you.  Your kindness is immeasurable.  I love each of you. 

And I can't forget my sister, Jessica, who took S's senior photos and made her beautiful announcements -- you're phenomenal.  Thank you!!

Our girl crossing the stage.

Our dear friends who homeschooled in NM for many years and recently relocated to AZ.  But they came back to do graduation here.  We joined forces on the party because their son and our daughter share many of the same youth group friends -- and well, we have the house here locally, while they no longer do.  It couldn't have been more perfect to share our special day with this family we love.

2.  21st Anniversary

Though the celebration for our special day was barely a blip on the screen amidst all this other stuff, my mom watched our kids so we could go out that night.  We had a great few hours together, reconnecting and just taking a breather to focus on our marriage in the midst of all the other distractions (no matter how good or important those distractions were).

I love this man, my husband.  Twenty-one years later, I can't imagine living in this world without him.   He's my perfect match.

3.  40th Birthday Party

So yeah, C's 40th birthday was a couple weeks back.  On a Tuesday.  It was over and done with hardly a blink of an eye.

We always celebrate our family birthdays on the day of with our immediate family and then we do a special "Sunday dinner" event with extended family and sometimes friends.  But with everything else going on, C wasn't able to get his extended family party until April 21.  The day after graduation day.

In the meantime, realizing that 40 is sort of a big deal and how little he was celebrated on his middle-of-the-week birthday, I decided to surprise him on Sunday.  I used the extended family dinner (he wanted to meet for pizza so he didn't have to cook for himself the day after cooking for like 60-75 people who stopped in at the graduation open house) to invite many other friends of his/ours to meet us at the pizza place, too.

It turns out that not many people show up when they were just at our family's graduation party the day before, ironically, planning a surprise party the day after a large gathering is extra surprising for an otherwise observant man who was distracted by that other event.  So there were just a handful of people there -- the extended family I mentioned, our pastor and his wife, another couple from the worship team, Vanessa and her girls and AF.  But it all worked out great.  C was surprised and delighted.

A special thank you to my sister, D, and my mom for helping me pull this off.  They picked up the cake, saved tables and decorated a non-reserved space at the pizza place.  Without them as my partners, we would have taken the "surprise" out of the Surprise Party.

(Sorry about the weird camera work.  I was trying to be sly about turning on the video on my phone as we walked in.  Then I couldn't decide where to aim -- at the people or at the birthday boy -- eventually it all worked out.)

Hopefully he won't be mad that I posted this funny picture.  He refused to wear these glasses I got him, but when J handed them to him as we all sang 'Happy Birthday', he humored me for like 60 seconds.

4.  The Zoo

Because we weren't quite worn out enough after this weekend and waking up at 4:15am to get my mom to the airport, we decided to head to the zoo.  We renewed our membership and had a fun time exploring on this perfect weather day.  It was 82 out with a slight breeze.  Couldn't have asked for better zoo weather.

Here are a few pictures from the day -- I apologize in advance for the reptile/snake pictures for those of you who are squeamish.  Look or don't look -- I'll never know.  The snakes were particularly active and alert today, so I couldn't resist.  PLUS, there was a new baby giraffe and a new baby rhino.  How special that was for us!

Could not get the photos I wanted of this peacock ... frustrated with settings on my camera at this moment.

Two days old!!

Chopper, the baby rhino

Well, I guess that's enough for one post!!  Goodnight.


  1. Congrats to all of you! I enjoyed the zoo pics.

  2. Loved the picture of C in the glasses...that is a family treasure! Your sincere notes to each person is a tribute to those that love you and your family! So glad you had such a wonderful day!

    To is such a big step in the big picture. You now need to focus on the Lord and what he has in store for you next! In ALL your ways acknowledege him and he will direct YOUR paths! Hold onto that truth and you will be on an amazing journey with Him! Love you all! The Lowman's

  3. Fun pictures--no pictures of the entire baby giraffe next to its mom? I need some size comparison!

  4. Thank you all for your comments.

    Jessica, they actually had the giraffe cordoned off from all the other giraffes. He or she was pretty shy and still at only two days old (born on S's graduation day). I hid behind some giant log fencing and took my photos between the cracks. He/She is about six feet tall and looks like a munchkin compared with the rest.

  5. You still found time to write this blog. A-mazing! Thank you for the special note. I really didn't do much. While D was getting things ready for C's birthday party, I was just playing with my granddaughters.

    This is a great post!

    Love, Mom

  6. You are too modest, Mom. You did a lot. Sometimes playing with your grandchildren is the best help for a busy mama trying to get other stuff done. :)

  7. It was a blessing.... more then willing to help :)