Saturday, June 16, 2012

one graduation, one mother's day, and three birthdays...in one weekend

Parts of May were craziness. Fun craziness, but craziness nonetheless.

The weekend that my cousin graduated from high school, had a birthday/graduation party was one of those weekends, because, not wanting to do anything halfway, we also celebrated my Mom's birthday and Mother's Day along with just a little bit of Beth's birthday thrown in, juuuuuust in case we weren't busy enough.

Did I mention that all of this happened in Nashville? Which meant exactly one thing for us- road trip!

We started off with the intention of getting a very early start on the road on Saturday morning. I admired the hydrangea for a bit, cut a bouquet for Mom, and then we headed off in search of our destination.

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There was just one tiny problem- as we were pulling out of the neighborhood, we noticed that the front passenger side tire felt kinda funny. As in flat funny. Turns out that a massive screw had somehow found its way through the rubber and gouged a huge hole.

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Luckily I'm married to MacGyver, and he came complete with a tire plug kit. Less than 30 minutes later he had the tired patched, aired back up, and we were on the road.

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Speaking of on the road, this is how I often roll when we travel and Darren drives- laptop out, getting a little work (or play) done along the way.

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I've recently gone on a no-grains kick (though I do admit to devouring some naan at the Indian restaurant the other night) so we stopped at Trader Joe's just south of Nashville (again, one of those awesome stores that we don't have in Huntsville) to pick up almond flour to make Mom's cupcakes. Because, as it turns out, she's wanting to try the whole no grain thing, too.

Darren has only been to Trader Joe's once, several years ago with me, and didn't quite remember what the sign looked like. I told him to imagine that Jimmy Buffet owned a grocery store...

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A short while later we were on the road again and eventually met up with the family at The Chop House in Hendersonville, where I adorned the table with the hydrangea bouquet I'd made earlier in the day.

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And over a shrimp cocktail appetizer, everyone chatted and Mom opened her Mother's Day gifts.

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Sophie may have helped to open a package or two. :)

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Our food was excellent- Darren's seared ahi tuna was definitely the prettiest dish.

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And my chicken covered in cheese and prosciutto was great, too, but for me it was all about the mushrooms- they were delicious!

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And since the lunch was a combination of Mom's birthday and Mother's Day (though we held her birthday gifts back until Sunday just to keep it all separate), she got a slice of birthday cake, too!

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I included these photos just because my niece is so freakin' adorable I can't stand it!

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Back at my parents' house, Darren and I tried in vain to take a nap. Seems Sophie was more interested in playing naptime than actually taking one. :) I cannot tell you, though, how insanely tired I was at this point! I'd been up until a little after 1am the night before finishing cupcake toppers and wrapping gifts, and then got up a little after 5am to leave, so I was definitely running on fumes!

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But the nap would have to wait, because we had Jake's high school graduation to attend that evening!

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Again, cute Sophie photos just because I can. :)

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I told my aunt that I would take photos for her at the ceremony, so I tried to get as much of it in as possible, from the band's playing of Pomp and Circumstance...

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...to the graduates filing in...

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...and standing up...

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...and sitting down.

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It was at this point that the band stopped playing music, and Sophie proceeded to cheer and clap like she does at the end of almost every song. Did I mention that she'd been dancing in her seat the whole time? It was really funny because we'd just been given the whole "be dignified and quiet or we'll throw you out" speech from the school administration. Jake, upon learning later that is was a member of his family who'd been responsible for the outburst, was extremely pleased. Apparently the graduated could her Sophie all the way up on the stage!

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Throughout the commencement, it was hilarious to watch Jake's expression. You could tell he was really thrilled to be there!

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I'm sure that all the speeches didn't help that feeling...seriously, his expression is just priceless in all of these!

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But eventually it was time for them to all line up and receive their diplomas.

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I completely missed him actually receiving it, somehow, but did get this shot from right after.

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OMG, he's killing me, here!

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And then it was time for the tassel ceremony.

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Jake had a little "technical difficulty" with his and got it stuck on the corner of his cap for a bit. Just look at the guy next to him giving him "the look."

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All worked out, now.

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I had no idea they were going to throw their hats in the air- we weren't allowed to at my high school graduation for "safety reasons." So just imagine hats in the air here instead of on the ground. :)

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The whole thing ended with a very cool photo slideshow- such a great idea!

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And then I finally got some sleep!!

The next morning we were back at it again, though. There were almond flour cupcakes to make (Mom used the recipe here and added about a quarter cup extra of cocoa powder- they were awesome!)

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After breakfast, Darren and I headed over to my cousin's house since I'd promised his mom that I'd set out all the serving trays and put up the decorations while they were all away at church. She'd already bought everything (except for a few of my serving trays that I brought along to help out), made a list of food, and left me a pad of post-it notes so I could label trays with what food went where so they could set it all up right before the party. She made it really easy on me!

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And then we shuttled right back to my parents' house (only a few miles from my aunt and uncle) to have some birthday time for Mom and Beth.

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Mom requested these cupcake toppers specifically, and I had fun setting up a tablescape around them.

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Opening presents!

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Beth has been wanting to do some really simple scrapbooking of Sophie, so we gave her a Project Life kit as a birthday gift- no adhesive and no designing required!

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And then we allllllll went back over to Mike and Tina's for Jake's birthday/graduation party.

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Tina and her mom and sister had done a fantastic job of arranging all the food!

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And Jake, of course, was thrilled...ha!

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Mike introduced Sophie to homemade ice cream.

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And then Jake opened his gifts.

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And then Darren and I got loaded up in the 4Runner and started on the drive back home. I just had to stop, though, in Rivergate on the way to pick up some of the new Basic Grey Serendipity and Shine On collections that are exclusive to JoAnn stores. We do have a JoAnn in Huntsville, but apparently only certain stores received this collection, and mine was not one of them- grrr!

But I was very happy to find that it was all 50% off when I got there!

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We also stopped for dinner on the way home- Chipotle in Brentwood! So excited for our Huntsville store to open in the next few months.

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On the way home we spotted hot air balloons near the interstate...

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...and like a crazy person I rolled down my window and started snapping photos while Darren was driving at 70 mph.

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And thus ended the crazy fun weekend!