July 16, 2015

graduation day {part 2}...

I must have rolled that honor cord through my fingers fifty times... it was unexpected {to me} but well earned {by him.} At the end of last year there was much hub-bub about no honor cords and no honors seating and no decorating of caps...

I don't know why they messed with my heart, but it was all for naught.  At the end of that last practice they handed out the cords, and when asked about decorating their caps, the answer was Go for it!  And so, the Hufflepuff crest was added to his graduation hat, and he swapped out his tie.  Both coordinated nicely with his National Honor Society stole, also well earned - but almost not.

At the beginning of April the NHS advisor let Cam know that he didn't have enough volunteer hours to wear it, but, if he attended all of the events on her long list, she would count the hours from another volunteer job he had completed and he could be awarded the stole. It was a lot, and somehow he did over and above what she expected, especially the evening for the new NHS inductees.  I wrote her a note thanking her for working with Cam and she replied that she could not have made it though induction night without him. She also let me know how much she thought of Cam, and that she would have done anything she could have to ensure that Cam could receive his honor stole. I am always thankful when someone goes out of their way to make sure I know what a great kid I have. Always
p.s... I thought I would do graduation in two posts... but I guess it will be three...

July 15, 2015

my favorite graduation advice...

My camera {or my phone} are never far from my hand. I hate to miss capturing a moment I want to remember forever. Of course, this is probably the reason my children have an instant personality change when I pull it out to take their picture.  It is hard to get a great smile or to get them to pose for very long... especially on the way out the door.  I had to press upon them how important it was to me to have some nice cap & gown pictures, and then we scheduled the photo shoot for the day before graduation {because they get their cap & gown after graduation practice!}  No pressure, just fun. And when the crazy of graduation day arrives, I know that I have a bunch of great photos and the pressure if off.

p.s... here are Laura's! 


July 14, 2015

leading up to the day...

Once your child starts middle school, time seems to pick up at a rapid rate.
And high school? Before you know it they are half-way through, beginning junior year and all the talk of college comes on full force. And then... you take that last first-day-of-school-picture, and realize that if you had started filling up one of those school bus frames years ago, you would be inserting the last photo to make a complete set. There is no doubt...

The days are long, but the years are short
-Gretchen Rubin

This past April, we were so focused on a college decision, that when May arrived with all of its penciled-in calendar squares, we barely had time to catch our breath. I was running here and there, and almost picked up a new tie for Cam to wear to the band awards, but then decided he may have his own idea. We headed out shopping one evening, just the two of us, and we laughed and talked our way through Kohls. It was such a good night... and what he chose to wear for his last marching band hurrah was both perfect and uniquely him.

We loved walking him across the stage, arm in arm... it was a night of celebration! The surprise of the evening was when Camden's name was called for the Most Improved Percussion Award. Oh how hard he has worked. It feels so good to know that someone else noticed. The best part was what his instructor said, though, before he called Cam's name.  {This instructor graduated the year before Laura, is a member of the Boston Crusaders, and has come back to the Marching Pride and teach.} He talked about how much he would miss this student and their dedication, and was so sorry that he wouldn't have more time with this student. Then he talked about how he has dreamed of teaching percussion, and hoped that one day he would see his teachings play out in one of his students helping someone else... and how it did, in percussion try-outs the week before, when this student came to help, and confidently shared their percussion skills with the 8th graders who were trying out.

I had no idea he meant my son until he was done, calling his name at the end. What an honor.
Eric barely made it from work that night... there was a huge fire that he was patrolling! 
At Senior Awards Night, Cam knew he would be receiving his National Honor Society stole and one scholarship, but he was surprised with a second scholarship and was recognized for his merit scholarship to Cornell College.  My favorite part of the night was hearing the names of the students we have known since elementary school, and even some from his kindergarten class.

By the last week of May, we were in full graduation celebration mode and feeling so overwhelmed by the emotions of all that had been going on.  One night I looked over at Eric, with tears in my eyes, feeling so very blessed, and asked him how did we get here? Our two babies, graduated, so many years behind us... a new kind of life before us.  I recall so vividly the morning I put Laura on the school bus to send her off to kindergarten, thinking it will be three long years before both kids are in school. The time has passed with joy and struggle, laughter and shouting...

Cam's friend John picked him up the morning of the last graduation practice, and then delivered him home afterwards. I made them stand for a picture, to capture them on their very last day, two friends to the end. There were tears in my laughter, because all of this is all so important. Why? Because it is the struggles you go through that grow you, and the friends that stand beside you are the people who have helped you become the person you are. When you look back over the years, you can' help but recall the low times, but I think that is okay, because it makes these times of celebration that much sweeter.

July 13, 2015

graduation day {part 1}

Our memories mold us, and move our hearts.  
And the good ones set standards and bars and traditions.

There was no doubt in my mind that we would take the time, make the time, to continue the graduation lunch tradition. Even in the flurry of the party to-do list, and graduation guests, it was necessary. If not for him, for me. Looking back on the weekend, I am extraordinarily thankful for this calm couple of hours... to sit and talk with my son, to let him know how proud and excited we are, to laugh with him, celebrate him... just us.

special dessert, thanks to auntie tina! 
By the time we got home, it was just about time to get ready for the ceremony... and share him with the world. It seems life is all about making these small steps towards just that.  But it is a-okay, because I know he is ready to take it on.

July 10, 2015

unexpected celebrating...

I love Independence Day, but this year I expected a quiet celebration. My "boys" were on the long road home from camp, and the thought of the parade alone just sounded hot. But last minute texts {one from my sister, one from a friend} had me making plans for Friday night fireworks and the parade on Saturday. It makes me happy that people know I am a spur-of-the-moment kind of girl, up for anything! So what if it rained before the fireworks and we huddled under the chair bags! And the parade? I found the perfect shady spot! Eric and Cam made it home before dinner... so we ate at his parents with church friends, and then finished the evening with Jenn & John. Sometimes the best celebrations are unexpected.

July 02, 2015

a night for sisters...

The sight of it never fails to make me fall in love all over again...

The sea oats waved and the gulf rushed to greet me... and when the warm water swallowed up my feet, I felt home.  The overcast sky didn't bother me at all... I was too happy that the only thunderstorm on the radar was way too south of us to be a bother.  {I was so focused on getting there that I never bothered to check ahead of time.}  Maybe it was just hanging on to faith to know that this night would happen. It had been too long since we had the evening, just sisters.

I brought her birthday dinner, belated.
Tacos. And dessert. We didn't exactly eat it in that order.
We talked and laughed, and took in the evening breeze... we listened to the beach.

And then we decided to create...
The sun set, and we parted ways, hoping to make this happen again, sooner than later. It was agreed that this night was needed... for connection.  It was a beautiful night for sisters...


July 01, 2015

life lately...

Life lately has been... just happening, maybe almost without me. The kind of days that just blur on without much intentional living. That is not my kind of living... but being sick will drag you down, and it takes some time to jump back in. I am making progress...

1. we had to go over to ft. lauderdale for a drs. appt, and although ikea was not on our list, we were right.there. we dragged ourselves through, and only bought a cinnamon roll... 

2. the ride across the state is always beautiful... i love the river of grass...

3. a few quiet moments between my weekend and his work weekend... at our little favorite spot.

4. suz says i am too young to have one of those pill dispensers, so i am using this basket... she wholeheartedly approves. 

5. my father's day ice cream masterpiece. it was so easy... and pretty... and gluten-free!

6. one day last week my niece showed up at my office yelling "emergency, emergency" all down the hall to the bathroom. it was too cute! cam & oakley strolled in a minute later to fetch her, and i decided to take them to lunch. we sent this picture to my sister... auntie's treat for lunch today!i think it made her day.

7. eric finally got his avocado plant planted... i love the way the sun was shining on the the green leaves of that and the basil plant (from the grocery store.) 

8. my boys are away... so i threw a party, favorite things style. it was a beautiful afternoon!

9. last night? tacos at the beach. with my sister. much needed. how is that for intentional living?!

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