It's time for my trip!  I'll have to write all about it when I get back.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you will probably be able to see some pictures through the month.
Otherwise, I'll be back next month!

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

~  I have been the worst possible blogger lately.  I haven't called, I haven't visited, I haven't written much.  There's just too much going on.

~  We went camping a few weeks ago with the teardrop & tiny trailer group.  We had some rain, but it wasn't a total wash out.  Our new easy-up worked great and helped us stay dry.

Some of the ladies taught me how to play Rummikub.  Apparently it's in the camper's handbook.

~  We got these super cute bags from the PTO for Teacher's Appreciation Week:

 ~  One of the Kindergarten Classes had this on the wall during the last few weeks of school:
Cute, huh?

~  One of my sisters made this for my mom on Mother's Day:
Yes, I said "made".  This sister also had the honor of having one of her baskets hold goodies that was given to one of the Supreme Court Justices when she visited the big university that is nearby.

~  There's a sinkhole in the parking lot of my mountain school, and it's very close to my room.  I told the custodians to make sure nothing happens to my room, because I have a lot of money in materials in there. 
The School Resource Officer asked me what kind of games, and I told him I had board games.  Then, he asked what kind of board games, and I said the first one that came to my mind (which was what we played last week).  I can't believe out of all of the games I have on my shelf, I chose to tell the police officer "Pop the Pig".  The year isn't complete until I've totally put my foot in my mouth!  He was a good sport about it, and said something about it sounding like I had some pent up anger for policemen.

~  There was another duck on the road that had been hit by a car.  A couple of days later, I stopped because of this little guy:
You can see the rest of his siblings in the grass, but this one must be the adventurer of the group.  He finally hopped back on the curb, and I watched mama corral him with the others.  While I was waiting, 2 cars went around me.  No wonder the ducks are getting hit.  Some people are such jerks.

~  I have everything ready for our trip.  Now I just have to wash clothes, pack, and make sure YS is packed and ready go to.

~  We didn't realize until last Friday that YS only had 1 spare pair of contacts, and Laika had chewed up his glasses.  He was able to get in with the eye dr. right away, ordered some new lenses for some old frames, and I got online and ordered some contacts.  He glasses were ready on Tuesday, and his contacts came in yesterday.  I was sweating it since it's a holiday weekend and there won't be any deliveries on Monday.

~  Is anybody else watching Chicago Fire?  CH & I started watching the season through On Demand, and I'm hooked.  Like I need another show to watch!

~  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's National Bike you own a bicycle? When did you last ride a bike? 
I think the last time I rode a bike was Oct. '11, through Kensington Gardens.  I will be riding a bike (at least a couple of times!) in the next month in Germany (and maybe Copenhagen).

OMG!  After reading Sandy's comment, I realized I rode a bike when we were in the Keys over Christmas Break!  Not sure how I could've forgotten about that!

2. What's something you learned in school that wasn't part of the curriculum?
Oh my!  If we're talking college, there's so much that I learned that they can't teach you!

3. What's a food you've never tried, but want to try? What's a food you've tried and will never try again?

4. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Why? Do you think that's a good trend?
I've been trying to not be demanding on myself, especially since it just stresses me out!

5. Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain? 
Rhett Butler.  Would he actually be considered a villain?

6. How concerned are you about identity theft? 
I try to be aware of security, but I don't let it run my life!

7. I saw this last question on Dawn's blog a couple of week's ago and asked if I could share. Everybody hop over and say hi, but first answer this...would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place? 
Ordinary home in an extraordinary place.  An ordinary home would be more comfortable.  And, if it was in an extraordinary place, how much would I actually be in the home anyway?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
A few days ago, YS came up to me and said, "12 more days!"  I looked at him and said, "until what?"  His response:  "Until we leave for Europe!"  I told him I just needed to get through the weekend, and then I would start thinking about it.  Sunday night, I got very little sleep.  First, it took me forever to get to sleep because I was thinking about what I needed to get for the trip.  And, I kept thinking, "I should've started a list before I came to bed, because I'm not going to remember this!"  Laika woke us up around 1:00 needing to go outside, so CH took her out.  Then, I was wide awake.  I got caught up with games on my phone, and laid there until around 4:00, then my alarm went off at 5:30.  
We had a 1/2 day on Monday (without kids since the buses don't run), followed by a staff luncheon.  Since Ms. Principal is retiring, I went to eat with my mountain school at a local restaurant.  We have the best luncheons, especially when they're off campus!


I'm so glad last weekend is OVER!  Last week was our last full week of school, so work was busy with finishing things up, getting progress reports ready and in teachers' mailboxes, and getting my rooms cleaned up.  Thursday was a late night:  flute choir practice in a town 45 minutes away.  We had our dress rehearsal in the church where our director is a member, which is also where we had our concert.  We had a long, hard practice.  We usually practice for 2 hours; Thursday's practice was right around 3 1/2 hours with no substantial breaks.  I didn't get home until around 11:00.

At school on Friday morning, my new school had Kindergarten Graduation.  One of my sister's (the one that gives me stuff!) grandsons was in the ceremony.  That was the first time anyone in my family has seen where I work, so it was really neat.  She took a couple of pictures while she was there: would appear that I have my mouth open a lot.  The ceremony was adorable:  they went through the months of the school year, and one of the teachers had a rhyme for what they focused on that month.  Then, the kids performed a song that went with what they had learned.

Friday was YS' high school graduation.  Luckily I had thought ahead and picked up the cake and other food for our little family reception on Thursday.  After already going through it 2 times, I learned how to not get stressed!  A few pictures from before the ceremony:
My parents & me
 CH, BIL, and their aunt
 CH, MS, and his girlfriend
 BIL, SIL, and me (with my mouth open yet again!)
Getting ready to get his diploma
 New graduate!
BIL, CH, and their uncle
 YS with his '13 sign, and BIL
 YS with great aunt & uncle, photobombed by SIL & BIL (kind of scary that they both had the same idea & the same face!)
 YS with my parents
 YS with his proud parents (photobombed by grandpa!)
 YS with his 4th grade teacher, who was his first teacher in the Small Town
 Display for his family reception
MS comparing senior pictures to see whose is better.  We think YS won.

YS stayed at his reception until people started leaving, then he and some friends went over to another friend's house for a bonfire.  

Saturday, I was gone almost all day for my flute choir concert.  It was also CH & my 29th Wedding Anniversary.  We usually go to a local restaurant and use the "complimentary dinner for 2" coupon that Ms. Principal gives us for Christmas, but we weren't hungry enough to use it, so we just went to a local brewery.

Sunday morning, the church had a Mass to honor the graduates.  YS didn't want to go to Baccalaureate, and (again, after sitting through 2, I learned not to fight it!) he said he would go to the Mass.  I thought that was a pretty good trade! During Mass, a couple of graduates from the Rival School read the readings, and one graduate from each school (there were 4 represented) took up the gifts.  Well, except for the Rival School; YS said that person forgot.  Since YS was the only one from Small Town, he got to participate in that.  (There was actually another boy who graduated from ST, but he plays guitar in the choir.)
After mass, there was a nice little brunch for them.  

Now I can start thinking about our trip!

Frantic Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. May is National Blood Pressure Month...what sends yours soaring, either literally or figuratively? What calms you down? When did you last have your bp checked?
Wow.  Joyce didn't waste any time getting right into it this week, did she?  Injustice, people not doing what they're suppose to be doing, people who want people to think they know what they're doing when they really don't (and succeeding)...those are just a few things.  Walking away from the situation usually helps, as well as breathing.  I keep a pretty close eye on my bp.

2. You just found $1-what do you spend it on? How about 10$ 100?
Usually any time I have money, the boys all of a sudden need cash.  So, it doesn't really matter how much I find, they get it in the end.

3. Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food has been proposed, but not enacted in the US. How much attention do you give food labels before you buy? Are you in favor of labeling if it means an increase in food prices? Is this an issue you've been following and feel strongly about, or is this the first you've heard of the controversy?
I'm not much a label reader, unless it's to check & see where the sugar is listed on the ingredients.

4. May 15th marks the birthdate of Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. At this point in time, are you more in need of brains, courage, heart, or a trip back home? Explain.
Yesterday, it was definitely brains.  I said a couple of really dumb things, but it is the last week of school, so I guess I can use that as an excuse!

5. "There's no place like home" is an oft repeated line from Baum's book. When was the last time you felt the truth of that statement?
Every day.  After living away from the Small Town for 20 years, I believe that to be a true statement every day of the year!

6.  Steak...yes please or no thank you? What cut do you prefer and how do you like yours cooked? Sauce or no sauce? Besides your own kitchen, where's a place you like to go to get a great steak? 
I can take or leave steak, actually.  When I do get it, I like it medium rare.  No daddy always said if you have to put sauce on it, it's not worth eating.  There's a local restaurant that makes excellent steaks.

7. When was the last time you were in a genuine hurry?
When I was younger, I was always 15 minutes early everywhere I went.  For some reason, I can't seem to get many places on time.  Therefore, I'm forever in a state of hurry!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
The rest of the week is going to be absolutely bonkers.  Tomorrow is the flute choir's dress rehearsal, and it's in a town 45 minutes away.  Friday is YS' graduation, followed by a small family "reception" at the house.  Which means cleaning.  I took care of the floors on Monday, but the bathrooms and the dusting still has to be done.  
Saturday afternoon is the flute choir concert, followed by an anniversary dinner with my honey.  Sunday morning is the Graduation Mass that our church has every year.  YS opted out of Baccalaureate and decided to attend the Mass instead.  
Then I can breathe, at least for a day or two before I start getting ready for the big trip.  I'm trying not to even think about getting stuff together for that until after this weekend.
Did I mention it's the last week of school, too?  Breathe, Mary....BREATHE!
So...don't surprised if I don't post anything until next week.  Then I can get you caught up on what's been going on around here, along with posting pictures of one of the newest Small Town High alumni!

A Party!

I'm still trying to catch up with events that happened in April!  A few weekends ago, we had a lil' party in S. Alabama for my in-laws' 50th Wedding Anniversary.  It was quite the affair.  My SIL & I started preparing for it in in August.  She took the brunt of the planning, and also had a lot more stress from it than I did.  (It pays not to be the favorite!)
Everything turned out marvelous.  My MIL has very good taste, and knew when to put her foot down when something tried to be done that she didn't like.  Needless to say, my MIL is one classy lady.
My in-laws were married in Copenhagen; my FIL was an Army Helicopter Pilot stationed in Germany at the time.

After they married, they lived in an apartment owned by this woman's parents:
 The man in the middle is her brother, and to the left is her husband.  It was such an honor to meet them, finally.  She babysat CH when he was a baby.

We got to my in-laws' house Friday night to find OS fast asleep on the couch.  He works nights, and we flew him in Friday.  It was quite the adventure for him:  it was his first airplane ride, and he had to switch planes in Atlanta.  I made sure he had plenty of time between flights, but he missed his flight anyway.  He thought you could show up 10 minutes before the flight left and be able to board.  I guess that was the 1 thing I forgot to tell him about.  The important thing was that he got there, and was able to attend the dinner at the VFW Friday night.  We missed it because MS had to go to a class to do a group project, so we didn't get to leave as early as we wanted to.

We stayed in a cabin on the Army Post.  The view was really nice:
My SIL, husband's cousin's wife, her daughter, and MS' girlfriend, and I went over to the country club to help set up and to make sure the set-up was as we (and our MIL) wanted it.   The room was absolutely gorgeous:
I think my MIL was completely pleased with how it turned out.  It was quite the party.  There were people there that I hadn't seen in a long time:
These are the parents of CH's best friend from high school.  MS was named after their son, which also happens to be this man's name.  And, he was present when we got married.  This couple holds a very special place in my heart!  We always make sure we stop by their house when we're down that way.

The evening started out with a "cocktail hour" on the veranda.  There was a lot of mingling and people taking pictures.  I managed to get in a couple of pictures, too.
 My 2 oldest boys with one of my FIL's friends.  He's quite the character!
My handsome boys.
The food was great.  My MIL didn't want a cake, so we had a cupcake table as well as an ice cream bar for dessert:
There was a traditional Danish toast with Gammel Dansk, which is quite the nasty drink!  It is a "bitters liquor".
Yep, that's all I could stand!  It made cough syrup taste good!  I wish I had taken a picture of my SIL's face when she downed hers...not a pretty sight!

Let me back up just a minute.  We had a photographer take a few pictures throughout the night.  (Unfortunately, I don't know her name to give her credit for the next 2 pictures!)
This was my BIL's idea:
 For some reason, CH, YS, & I were the only ones ready for this picture:
My SIL took this picture during the cocktail hour:

 As soon as the guests came through the door, this greeted them:
 My MIL's original wedding dress, along with the "Thank You Bags" my SIL & I prepared.  We put chocolate, peanuts, mints that my SIL made, and my heart cookies with edible gold heart glitter in the bags.  Here's a close-up of the bags:
 We ended up putting the guest book right in front of the picture:

After dinner, there was plenty of merriment and mingling.  
Me, CH, and MS
 My MIL and her grandsons
 CH & his mommy!
 This is the original napkin design, recreated for the occasion
MS had a chance to show off his German skills with the German guests.  (This is the couple from the second picture)  It was so weird to watch him talk and hear German come out of his mouth!
It was a wonderful night, and it was so great that so many people came to share such a special night for my in-laws.
The next morning, we had to leave early so MS could get to work.  And, OS had a plane to catch, which, by the way, he caught!

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