So Many Celebrations: Graduation Weekend

June began with a bang and continued in that fashion the entire month.  A full house, a full calendar, well you can see where I'm going with this.  I will start at the beginning, which is a very good place to start.  The arrival of family members.  Grandpa Ron and Mema drove in just in time for dinner the first Wednesday in June.  Lagging a few hours behind were Framma, Poppi, Nani and Uncle Jason at the airport.  By midnight all of our house guests for the weekend were tucked in here at the Hanson B&B as we affectionately referred to it during this time.  The following day was the last day of finals for three of Things, no school for the eldest and an adult field trip to the Surly Brewery in the afternoon.  We had family dinner and our traditional ice cream sundaes to kick off our summer celebration!  Most days looked like this in the morning.  Everyone gathered around the breakfast counter, making lunches, drinking coffee, reading and talking.  Words can not even describe how happy this makes my heart.

Me, Mother-in-Love, Framma and Mom

The entire group at Surly

After family dinner two of my most favorite men initiated a clogged garbage disposal investigation

And to think that was only day one of the family togetherness.  Day two was the Things' last day of school and also National Donut Day.  We decided to go for donuts, because FREE, before school.  Thing 2 drove with Gpa and Mema for the first time and took them on quite the adventure (insert getting lost, highway driving, etc).  Enough said about that.  Thing 1 saw her mentor and D-group leader in line, which seems like tradition now!  The Things headed off for their last day of school together, the adults were headed home and the siblings(me, Husband Jared and J) were preparing for Jeff and Natalie's arrival and sibling lunch that afternoon.  The grandparents were taking Things 3 and 4 to Lion's Tap for their burger lunch and then we were meeting at the house to prepare for graduation.  Ready...Break!  It was a divide and conquer kind of day and the emotions were beginning to rise knowing the significance that the day held.  When we all returned in the afternoon we visited and took pictures and laughed and ironed clothes and got tissue ready and talked about when Thing 1 was a little girl and shared stories in awe of the young lady she is becoming.  Throughout the ceremony I couldn't help but feel grateful for the people that believed in Husband Jared and I as young parents, supported us along the way, stood beside our girl through the trials and cheered her on, believing all the time in who she was.  Eagle Ridge's graduation ceremony was just what it should have been.  Short and sweet and to the point.  Significant and yet fully aware that this is merely a stepping stone into the next for these young adults.  Well done ERA.  Thing 1 participated in a class dinner and grad party following and the rest of us were ready to celebrate Husband Jared's 40th birthday a tad early.  An Italian spread was prepared, party favors supplied by Natalie, complete with a piñata and chocolate cake of course.  We toasted, played games and laughed our way through the night.  

Last day of school- National Donut Day
Now a sophomore, HS grad, senior and 8th grader, officially!

Thing 1 and her mentor, Raela

I came around the corner after my first cup of coffee on her very last day of high school and saw this, what the what?

Nani's artwork for the last day of school

Enjoying their Yo-Yo donuts

Receiving her diploma

Afternoon meeting to prepare for graduation night

Olivito-Stuck family reps at graduation

Receiving her diploma

Sword ceremony..Thing 2 was able to present Thing 1's sword to her

Uncle J and the graduate

The Grandparents- Poppi, Nani, Mema and Grandpa Ron

Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jeff

My Things

Thing 1 and Framma

Great Grandma Sharon and Great Grandpa Sam

Proud parents, yes indeed!

Let the birthday celebration begin!

Dad and J making Old Fashions for the birthday boy...or toasting themselves I'm not sure!

 Brother and me, Grandpa Sam in the background, I think he was making his dinner plate!

Classic...I don't even know how to caption this but I do know that I love Uncle Jeff and I love the guy who he is sitting on

Chocolate-chocolate cake made by Thing 3, of course.

The original Stuck 4 
p.s. I am wearing my Nana's dress (great grandmother)

Following our full evening the day before we took Saturday nice and slow.  Okay, not really.  We were up bright and early for a trip to the airport for Uncle J.  His three ladies were waiting for him and we were so appreciative of them sharing him with us for a few days.  Dad and Mom and I took a detour to the farmers market and then raced home to ready ourselves for family brunch at Thing 1's favorite place, Burger Jones.  We gathered around the table, my favorite place, and each one of us shared a wish or a prayer we had for Thing 1.  This is community.  This is family.  I was a mess of a Mama listening to the sweet words from everyone, including the other Things.  So much so that when it was my turn I had nothing.  Thankfully Aunt Natalie captured it all on video but I have no doubt that Thing 1 will remember that morning and the love that was poured out on her.  A priceless gift.  Another celebration was in the books and one more on the agenda;  Mema's birthday.  First though there was a field trip to the casino.  Thing 1 had been wanting to experience this since her 18th birthday and she was waiting on Aunt Natalie to chaperone.  I just laughed out loud when I re-read that last sentence!  Half of the family joined them and from what I heard fun was had by all!  The evening was set for a shrimp boil in honor of Mema.  Dad and I shopped and cooked and set the table and then we ate and ate and ate.  Full and happy.  Then there was a game of Big Bowl, which in all honesty I am surprised that the neighbors didn't hear us or come knocking on the door.  We were loud and competitive and could not stop laughing.  One of those nights.  And it didn't end there. We had a dance party, with flashback music choices to mine and Husband Jared's high school days.  The Things thought it was hilarious.  By the time the night finally came to a close we had full hearts and sore muscles from all the activities.  

Farmers market finds, corn, pecan roll and peonies for the win!

The family at Burger Jones, photo courtesy of the best waitress ever

Husband Jared, the birthday girl and Gpa

Cookie cake, per Thing 1's request, decorating and hashtag creation by Thing 3

Thing 1 and Nani, gosh, they don't look alike at all, do they?!

Two of the four Things with Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jeff

Family football watching, an afternoon reprieve from all the action.

Slot machine time!

Mema's birthday dinner and prayer

The grand finale of the circle, get it Thing 4!

Just as soon as it had begun it was over.  Our final day together, really only a half day, began with a hike in the bluffs and brunch at the house.  It was a beautiful morning and again the table was filled with smiling faces.  The afternoon involved another trip to the airport so Uncle Jeff and Aunt Natalie could head home to their girlies and Gpa and Mema were on the road again for their two day trek down South.  Then there was Framma, Nani and Poppi and Great Grandpa Sam and Grandma Sharon.  Our last night with the great grandparents was spent worshipping at church and having dinner at our family's favorite pizza place, Punch.  We filled the restaurant with our highs and lows of the weekend, and once again laughed and gave thanks for time well spent.  That my friends is a wrap!  At least for graduation weekend's celebrations.  

Morning hiking group!

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