Thursday, May 31, 2012

Late Night Date

Good Thursday morning... the best morning of the week!

I went outside this morning just to see what I could see, and the pics below are the result.

It appears we have a black cat.

If there is one thing we do not need, it is a black cat!

Yep. That's a fire pit. Roxie invited the basketball team over for a cookout tonight. So that's what I'll be doing today. Grilled hot dogs, homemade ice cream, smores... I doubt we'll be making a "fried cheese run" tonight. (See Late Night Date below!)

And in other news today, I have not killed my Mother's Day petunias... yet.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this plant I bought the beginning of May. It died five minutes after I took this picture. (I'm NOT kidding.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'm afraid 50 is Nifty is finished for the year. With the new format, widgets, rules and such, I cannot figure out how to post "pictures only."

I wish I could explain it better, but that would mean I understood it better... and I could probably FINISH 50 is Nifty if I understood ANYTHING about the picture blogs.

I'm telling you... It's a miracle A Simple Life even exists with my technology-challenged brain. A miracle, I tell you.

RANDOMNESS #2 - When Austin finished middle school, we started a Senior Trip Envelope. We put a specified amount in the envelope each payday for four years. By the time he graduated, he was able to pick from three "trip packages" we had prepared (or choose another destination of his choice). He chose an eight-day road trip to Washington, D.C., and as his traveling companion, he chose his plaque-reading, history-lovin' Dad.

And it was good.

We did the same thing for Josh, not knowing if he would want to travel for any length of time. And for a while, we didn't know what to offer him in terms of a "trip package." And he didn't have any ideas either.

So, it was with great relief that he eagerly accepted an idea I had last week. Three mini-trips.

Next week, Josh, Austin and Brad are traveling to Nashville, going to the Grand Ole Opry to see Carrie Underwood and The Oak Ridge Boys perform, staying two nights and exploring the city.

It's a perfect trip for all three of these country music loving guys, and they are excited.

And so am I.

When they return home, Josh and I will begin planning a two-night mini-trip to Atlanta which already includes enjoying a meal at The Varsity, a meal at The Marietta Diner and a trip to White Water.

His traveling companions haven't been chosen for that trip yet.

And two weeks later, he'll take his final Senior mini-trip to... Well, we don't know yet. We're all still thinking.

But it's going to be fun.

And it suits Josh.

Just like an eight-day road trip with his Dad suited Austin.

(I'm afraid Roxie is going to jet off for a two-week trip to Rio with other chicks... because that's the kind of thing that would suit her! But I'm not going to worry about that today! Tomorrow... definitely. But not today!)

RANDOMNESS #3 - Josh's Journey - 11th Grade

We had settled into our "new normal." We expected Josh's 11th and 12th grade years to be like his 10th grade year. He was still fighting OCD on a daily basis, but he was functioning. He had good days and bad days. We thought we had "figured it out."

We were wrong.

Typically, severe OCD starts showing up in males around the age of 17. Because the individual is trying to hide the symptoms (and usually succeeding), the frustration, fear and exhaustion of acting like everything is okay when it most definitely is NOT shows itself in other ways.

School work starts to suffer because concentration is so difficult.

The child may be angry and short-tempered, and the parents may jump to the conclusion the child is being disrespectful.

The child may become uncommunicative because he is trying so hard to hide the symptoms he doesn't understand.

The child may not want to be associated with their church and/or youth group any longer because of the scrupulosity which sometimes accompanies severe OCD. (Scrupulosity is the inability to have assurance of your salvation or faith because of this illness. The sufferer is left feeling totally and completely hopeless.)

A lot of the above behaviors are attributed to rebelliousness in teens.

Because Josh had been diagnosed so early, when all of the above began happening in 11th grade, we went back to the Internet and the books to see what was happening. We assumed because Josh had been diagnosed at age 12, we didn't have to worry about the "natural" onslaught of severe OCD at 17 or 18.

We were wrong... again.

Mike and I had to learn how to react to this new phase of OCD, and it wasn't easy.

We decided to try a different approach. We had been helping Josh function at school, "attend" church and work. We had not tried to "solve" the scrupulosity problem. We hoped as he got better, that would become secondary or totally disappear.

This time around, we decided to attack the scrupulosity first hoping that regaining a relationship with God would help Josh fight the illness.

We found a new doctor who assured us he specialized in scrupulosity. We were once again hopeful.

We were once again disappointed.

After treating Josh for a year, it became apparent that the NUMBER ONE trait of OCD was standing between Josh and his doctor being able to help him. He "hid" the severity of his symptoms... which is what people with OCD do. It is a huge part of the illness.

With Josh not being able to "come clean" with the doctor about everything that was going wrong, the doctor was unable to treat the problem... and his condition deteriorated at home.

He finished his 11th grade year in bad shape. He was still in the Top Twenty of his class, but we really had to push him to keep his grades up. He didn't have the desire on his own.

He attended church because we required him to attend... not because he wanted to go.

He tried working at a landscape company, but it was a bad fit at this time in his life. He instead cut seven lawns during the summer months to earn spending money.

After we saw the doctor was not helping, Mike and I began praying and searching for a new doctor. The answer was not in front of us, and wouldn't be for another six months.

We didn't know it this time last summer, but Josh's Journey was about to become even more difficult.

I'll finish up Josh's 12th grade year of school and bring you up to date tomorrow.

Again, I'm leaving out hundreds and hundreds of details. While Josh has allowed me to share this part of his story, it is most definitely HIS story now, and I will always respect his decision on how much to share.

As his Mom, it is the least I can do.

Blog Linkage - You may have noticed, I have started giving you Blog Linkage throughout the week when it pertains to something we're talking about, OR I just think you should check it out. I know it is easier to "find" the day it is posted, too. However, that doesn't mean I don't have some blog goodness for you to read today. No, siree.

1. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List. Click on Photography at the top of her page. She reposted some of last year's "Coming Home" pictures from last Memorial Day. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

2. Go to Big Mama under my Blog List and read the post entitled "Is It Summer Yet?" It's a post of about everything... and nothing. It's funny and true.


Late Night Date

I don't know about you, but teenagers on the verge of being able to drive (CODE for 15 year-olds) can become mighty restless... especially in the Summer.

With two sports camps, practices, workouts, etc., Roxie's week is choppy at best, so getting a summer job, even at the age of 15, isn't an option. (We're thinking next summer when she cuts down to one sport would be a good time to seek part-time employment.)

However, on those antsy nights during the Summer when your teen "feels" like they are coming out of their skin, try to remember when you were a teenager... decades ago. I felt like that sometimes.

Monday night was one of those evenings for Roxie. We were watching television in my bedroom when she let out a heavy, heavy sigh and said, "I want some French fries."

It was 10:45 p.m. That's like 2:00 a.m. for a 50 year-old mother of three.

But I looked at her, and I could see it in her face, and I could remember feeling that way so many years ago.

"Let's go. What's open?" I asked.

"Really? Sonic!"

I put on my foundational garments, ran a brush through my hair and slipped on some non-matching shoes and we were off. Before she could ask the question we hear 100 times a day ("Can I drive?"), I tossed the car keys in her direction, and off we drove into the dark, dark night.

She decided at the last minute she wasn't in the mood for French fries after all. She wanted fried cheese sticks. (And my question was, "Who doesn't?")

After we ordered, she asked, "Can we eat here?"

By now it was 11:10 p.m. That's like 4:00 a.m. for 50 year-old mothers of three, but I said, "Sure!"

And we did. And we talked. And she said it was so much fun. And she said she really needed that. And she drove home happy, content and ready for bed.

The entire date last 35 minutes.

The entire date cost $7.38.

And, no. I do not offer my kids fried cheese every time they get a little restless or bored. (Only about 50 percent of the time.)

It was so worth it... even if I didn't get into bed until 11:50 p.m. That's like 6:00 a.m. for 50 year-old mothers of three.

Dates don't have to be planned months, weeks or even days in advance. Sometimes the most spontaneous date can be the most enjoyable. (Being a planner, it's hard for me to admit that!)

Have a terrific Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings, the last installment of Josh's Journey for a while, pics and Randomness.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Good Wednesday afternoon!

Whew! If Summer gets any more "laid back," I'm going to have to start going to bed at 8:00 p.m. just to be able to make it through the day!

RANDOMNESS - I have a "tubing" story/confession to share. I tube on occasion, but I'm not a daredevil in the tubing department, and Mikie has specific instructions to NOT try to throw me off the tube. He knows he will have to endure a lot of hospital time if he attempts to drown me at any time during the course of our marriage. (And, yes. We talked about this before we committed to become man and wife. If he hadn't been agreeable, it could have been a deal breaker.)

I also have a very long history of not really enjoying swimming, floating or playing in lake water for any period of time. It creeps me out a little. (Needless to say, I wasn't raised going to the lake like Mikie was. I have had to adapt over the years.)

If I get so hot sweat is running down my back while the boat is in motion, it is a sign I need to slip into the clear lake water and cool off.

Slipping into the lake from the side of the boat is not my strong suit either. Most people just jump, but I'm nervous about logs and submerged trees, and I just know if I jump I will be impaled... and that might cause me pain.

Thus, I sit on the side of the boat and try to gracefully "slide" into the water without making a splash.

It doesn't work.

Because the boat curves "under," when I try to gracefully "slide," my legs follow the shape of the boat... and end up under the boat. As that is happening, my torso falls face first into the water... and I come up gagging... because I was expecting to gracefully "slide" and I'm never prepared for the face plant in the water.

It's embarrassing.

But now I am in the water. It is cool. It is relaxing. Nothing is nibbling my toes. I am actually cooling off even in my perpetual menopausal state. It is a good thing.

Last Sunday, Mikie forgot to bring the boat ladder. Mikie and I are unable to get into the boat without the boat ladder. Mike's problem has to do with a shoulder injury, and my problem has to do with absolutely no upper body strength. None. Nada.

"I can't get in the water and cool off. I won't be able to get back into the boat," I whined as the day became hotter and hotter.

"Don't worry about it. I'll be able to hoist you in... and one of the boys can push on your backside if I need help."

Two things a 50 year-old woman never wants to hear... "hoist" and "push on your backside."

One thing a 21 year-old or 18 year-old son never wants to hear... "push on your mother's backside to help her get into the boat."

It's not natural.

When the time came for me to get back into the boat, Austin scrambled out of the water ahead of me. He decided to help with the "hoisting" part. I didn't blame him.

Josh had long since retreated to the front of the boat immediately after I jumped in face first. He was not going to take a chance.

The Enchanting Belinda didn't raise no dummies.

"What if you pull both my arms out of socket whlie you are hoisting me?" I asked, nervously.

"We're going to do it in one quick, gentle motion. It will be fine," I was reassured.

I gave Mikie my left arm and Austin my right arm. On the count of three, both of them "hoisted" as hard as they could "hoist."

I landed face first on the back of the boat... my stomach, legs and feet still hanging off the boat.

Before I could lift my face from the boat carpet, I heard the dreaded, "One, two, THREE! HOIST!" once again.

Now not only did my face have carpet burn, but so did my thighs... and if I wasn't mistaken, my arms had been pulled out of their sockets.

"Wow. Way to help, Babe," Mike told me.

"You're welcome." I was in a great deal of pain, and I failed to hear the sarcasm in his voice.

"Was she helping?" I heard Austin ask as he tried to catch his breath.

"No. No, she wasn't. She was just dead weight letting us lift her into the boat."

I love it when my family talks about me as if I were dead... while I'm directly in front of them. They are so, so sweet.

"Well, what was I supposed to do?" I asked... still lying face first on the carpet. (I was beginning to think my lips had been rubbed off by the boat carpet, and I was getting a little snippy.)

"Some people actually throw a leg up into the boat."

"Yeah. I wonder how those 20 year-old people do that?" I retorted.

I had started to bleed slightly on my forehead and thighs, and the "carpet burn" was starting to become more and more painful.

I was not in the mood for criticism.

Thankfully, Roxie was ready to tube, so after I crawled back into my co-captain's chair, we were ready to ride.

All in all, I would recommend tubing as a great hobby for all families... but only if you have a boat ladder... and a spare pair of lips!

Somehow Melia and Roxie were able to get in and out of the boat without face planting. It must be an "under 50" thing.

Roxie was quick to show me her lips had stayed intact. Some people are just born lucky.

I can only assume Roxie and Josh are praying I don't get into the water again before it's time to go home. Not only is it time-consuming, but it is just too, too disturbing.

Wednesday Wisdom - We're transitioning into the summer months, and with the transition comes some bumpy spots. I decided to dedicate today's Wisdom to the raising of teenagers!

"Few things are more satisfying than seeing your children have teenagers of their own. " Doug Larson (I cannot wait!)

"Another possible source of guidance for teenagers is television, but television's message has always been that the need for truth, wisdom and world peace pales by comparison with the need for toothpaste that offers whiter teeth and fresher breath." Dave Barry

"Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla." Jim Bishop

“Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-o to a tree.” Anonymous


Since I'm late with the post today, I'm going to cheat a little. Okay. I'm going to cheat a lot... but I think you'll be glad I did.

Go to www.kellehampton.com and read her post entitled "Celebrate" dated May 29.

If you want to think in terms of celebrating EVERY day, she has some very basic, doable, beautiful ways to make the ordinary into a very special occasion.

I like how that girl thinks!

Have a wonderful Wednesday... what's left of it! I'll be back (tomorrow morning, I think) with Blog Linkage, Josh's Journey (11th Grade) and a fun Summer Date.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oven-Baked Squash Chips AND Refrigerator Dill Pickles


Wednesday's post will appear around 3:00 p.m. (I had registration at Roxie's school, and Josh has some guys coming over in a few minutes... and I'm not ready! Can you tell I'm a little flustered?)

See you at 3:00!

Good Tuesday morning!


Today, one day AFTER Memorial Day, I woke up, got dressed and dropped Roxie off at school at 8:00 a.m. I came home to find Josh up and dressed and heading to a yard job, and Austin packing and getting ready to leave for JSU. The Boy has three more days until he is finished with his Maymester.

Except for the heat, it does not feel very "summer-ish" today. Nope. Not one little bit.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'm going to share some leftover Railroad Park pics, tubing pics and nature pics as the post rambles on today. For newcomers, that means I didn't take a single "new" picture of anything yesterday. (But it was my last day of Summer, you see, and I had a huge to-do list.)

A little more Railroad Park...

And a little more tubing!

When Mikie's not trying to sling my children 100 feet into the air, it really is a good brother/sister bonding time. This picture was taken right before Mikie slung my children 100 feet into the air.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Speaking of lists, for those of you who are actually having a Summer, go to Six Sisters' Stuff on my sidebar today and get some good ideas from their post entitled "100 Things To Do With Kids This Summer."

I consider myself a "list" expert of sorts, and this one received my Stamp of Approval!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie and I decided to try to finish her summer shopping yesterday... and we did! That doesn't mean I/she won't buy one more item until September, but it does mean that the necessities are hanging in the closet, folded in the drawers and thrown over the back of her desk chair.

One down... me, Austin, Josh and Mikie to go!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Last week was a bad/sad/hard week at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842). Yep. There were tears, slamming doors, hurt feelings and a little hopelessness... And that was just me!

As always, those days and/or weeks remind me to live one day at a time. And here I am, one week later, and the bad/sad/hard week is a thing of the past.

That doesn't mean it was the last one we'll ever experience. It just means it doesn't last forever. No family is perfect. No one (except perhaps the Mom) expects things to go along swimmingly day after day after day. ("Swimmingly" is a summer word meaning "successfully, effortlessly and well." I'll try to use other "summer" words throughout the June, July and August posts. I know you are thrilled.)

That's not going to happen. Not here, not there, not anywhere.

I just wanted to remind you that although I don't post all of the "bad" stuff and I don't take pictures unless the kids are smiling (or sleeping), it doesn't mean it's perfect over here.

To the contrary, everything is very, VERY normal.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Josh's Journey - The High School Years - We're doing the "list" thing again. It is how my mind works best, but you already know that, don't you?

10th Grade

1. Josh started 10th grade with a full load... AP academic classes and extracurricular. He went to school from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

2. While working with the school counselors and administrators and the county officials, Josh's only "accommodations" involved being able to leave the classroom to wash and be checked out at a moment's notice. His work load was the same as his classmates.

3. It was during this time of our "new normal," Mike and I decided to change doctors. You may or may not know this, but great mental health doctors are not on every street corner, and at the time we found Josh's doctor, he wasn't listed under our insurance, but we didn't care. We had no doubt he was the doctor God wanted us to be with during the first three years of Josh's illness. Leaving him was a monumental decision and one of the most difficult things we have ever done.

4. Our search for a new doctor took us to a respected "group" of mental healthcare professionals... and while we thought we were receiving the help we needed, after two years it became apparent our "new" doctor didn't understand the severity of Josh's illness. It wasn't his fault.

The best part of Josh's illness being diagnosed at such an early age was his inability to "hide" it from us. People suffering from severe OCD are experts at hiding their illness. At 12 years of age, Josh wasn't an expert. He was just sick.

However, by the time 10th grade rolled around, Josh was tired of talking about OCD, and when asked most questions, he would answer with an obligatory, "Fine." Our "new" doctor assumed everything was under control after two years of treatment... and dismissed us.

Big, big mistake.

5. Josh worked his first job during the Thanksgiving and Christmas break. He worked at a local Christmas tree farm, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He only worked six weeks, but the physical labor had a positive influence on his illness. We were very hopeful he would be able to have a summer job when school ended.

6. We could travel as a family, but our vacations were short (three to four days max) and consisted of road trips... never more than three to five hours away. Josh was more than ready to be home by the time we had been somewhere two nights.

7. Josh continued to check in and out of school more and more often as the year progressed. By the time school ended, we saw his condition deteriorating, but he made it to the end of the year.

Once again, he was in the Top Twenty of his class and received a Physics award. He wasn't interested in sports. He was still interested in choir and guitar.

8. Josh did begin a job at the Chick where his cousin, Brad, worked. Working in a fast-food restaurant did not work well with Josh's OCD and after three months, he turned in his notice as it became more and more difficult for him to walk out the door to go to work.

NOTE - Some people view this as being lazy, but because we had been there from the beginning, we understood when Josh stood at a door and couldn't make one foot go in front of the other, it was much, much more than not "wanting" to go to work or school. He "couldn't" go to work or school.

As his parents, Mike and I found this to be one of the most frustrating aspects of Josh's illness. We couldn't effectively communicate to others the difference between "not wanting to" and "not being physically able to" complete a task.

Because Josh looked like a strong, healthy young man, people dismissed his mental illness as nonexistent or not relevant to a situation.

It did exist... and it was ALWAYS relevant to any and all situations... school, church, work, travel, friendships, etc., etc.

Tomorrow, we start 11th grade, and may I just say, it was not a good year! But we'll talk about that more tomorrow.

Oven-Baked Squash Chips

I actually made these last night. I'm not a big fan of the squash. The consistency bothers me more than the taste, but I'm always looking for a good, healthy way to put another vegetable on the table.

Since Mikie cooked out last night, we had barbecue chicken, grilled corn on the cob, fresh watermelon... and Squash Chips!

You will need the following:

1 yellow squash

1. Using a knife, slice the squash as thin as you can. This is the hardest and most important step, so take your time.

2. Spray a cookie sheet (or two) liberally with cooking spray. Line the squash slices up on the cookie sheets, but make sure they don’t touch.

3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

4. Sprinkle salt over the squash slices. BE CAREFUL during this step. The chips will shrink, and you don’t want to bite into a squash chip that tastes like ocean water. A little salt goes a long way!

5. Put the cookie sheets into the oven. Let the squash chips bake for 2 to 3 hours (check them at 2 hours and see how crisp they are). The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be. Patience pays off in this recipe!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

You will need the following:

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
2 cups hot water
2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. Cool to room temperature.

2. Place cucumbers, garlic and dill in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour brine over cucumbers and turn to coat.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring once or twice. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks.

What's that? Another way sneak/serve a vegetable with almost every meal? You bet!

Both the Squash Chips and Refrigerator Dill Pickles recipes came from Pinterest... my home away from home.

Have a tremendous Tuesday. I hope your day after Memorial Day didn't include dropping your kiddos off at school... and if it did, call me and we can "talk" about it! I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition and/or Party, Josh's Journey, more Randomness and maybe a couple of new pics. (I will not make any promises.)

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. You thought I forgot, didn't you? Here are my newest nature pics!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

I want to start today's post by publicly giving a big, heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all the men and women who are serving or have served our country in the Armed Forces. I also want to thank the families of those who serve. The sacrifice you have made and are making selflessly for others is extraordinary. I want you to know you are appreciated, admired and loved by The Faulkner Five.

And a very special "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to my friend, Andrew, who is celebrating his 21st birthday in bootcamp today. I am so proud of you and your family.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Austin and Melia celebrated their 4th Anniversary (of dating) this weekend. On Friday, Melia planned a fun date doing "Austin-Type" things. They went to a shooting range and a new-to-them Italian restaurant. It was the perfect date for The Boy. Perfect.

Melia comes up with good ideas for birthdays, anniversaries and other events all the time. It's harder for Austin. Especially when Roxie and I refuse to help. (It's time for The Boy to start doing these things on his own!)

But Austin did a good job. Since it was their 4th anniversary, Austin picked FOUR of Melia's favorite things and worked the date around those items.

1. He gave her a gift bag FULL of Sweet Tarts. Melia LOVES Sweet Tarts... and now she has enough for at least a year.

2. He took her to her one of her favorite stores and SHOPPED with her. He bought a pretty skirt for her to wear Sunday morning.

3. He asked me to go to Railroad Park around 5:30 to take pictures of the two of them to remember their 4th anniversary. (YEA!)

4. He took her to Brio's (one of her favorite restaurants) for dinner.

These two know how to make an anniversary special, don't they?

There was live music at Railroad Park Saturday night. I knew it was just a matter of time before the two of them danced... I just didn't know it was going to be "The Slide."

RANDOMNESS #2 - Sunday was a "tubing" kind of day, so after church, The Faulkner Five and The Lovely Melia went to Inland Lake for tubing, swimming and boating. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The only "Before" picture.

Something bad is about to happen.

Well, not too bad.

Melia looks good riding in a boat. You'll notice there is NOT a picture of me! I'm more of a "I-look-better-completely-dry-and-coiffed-and-in-low-light" kind of person.

I've run out of time. I guess that's my new "motto." I don't like it, and I plan on doing something about it in the very near future... but not today!

I'll be back tomorrow with TWO recipes, Josh's Journey, more Randomness and more pics.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, May 25, 2012

Graduation Week

Good Friday morning!

Quiet. Absolute, total quiet.

There are sleeping bodies everywhere. The den... the living room... the bedrooms.

If I did a Top Ten List of Things I Love About Teenagers right now, "They love to sleep" would be prominently displayed.

I know I said the following yesterday:

1. I would post a Date today, but I'm not.

2. I would post the next segment of Josh's Journey today, but today isn't the day for it. Monday is the day for that post.

It has been a week of "not sticking to the original plan." A week of overwhelming emotions. A week of not being able to put feelings into words. A week of looking back and trying so hard not to look too far ahead.

It has been Graduation Week.

Let the stories and pictures begin...

Josh woke up Thursday morning feeling sick to his stomach. He wouldn't lift his head from the kitchen table. He mumbled in response to anything I asked.

I was worried.

And then Roxie bounced in. "Josh. Can you take me and Kelci to the strip mall and Firehouse Subs at 11:00? Oh. And I need to drop by the eye doctor to pick up a new pair of contacts for tonight."

Josh never looked up. I told Roxie I would take her and Kelci, but they would need to work around my time table. I left the kitchen to finish working on "The Board."

One hour later, Josh came into my bedroom jabbering. Jabbering, I tell you.

"Are you feeling better?"

"Some. I'm going to take Roxie and Kelci to the strip mall and have lunch with them. Then I'll come home and do what I need to do before Graduation."

Roxie is officially in charge of Josh beginning today. She does a much better job. She isn't tired and defeated like me. She doesn't insist he make his bed, clean his room or do chores of any kind because she doesn't care for those things herself.

I think we should have done this years ago.

The finished Board and Josh's table.

Josh's favorite candy is the Twizzler! He loved the two containers full of his favorite on his table. He and Brad munched on them most of the evening.

We're on the way to the church... and Roxie photobombs. (Of course, she is a cute photobomber, so I let it pass.)

The Choir sang one last time during the ceremony.

Here's My Josh on his way across to the stage to pick up his diploma. His eyes are closed, but he's smiling. I decided to post because of the smile.

Roxie was so proud of Josh. She hovered over him most of the day... which freed up a lot of my time. (To work on The Board, you know.)

Josh and Kyle. Kyle has been a great friend to Josh this year. We have enjoyed getting to know him and his family. Sweet, sweet guy.

A very proud Dad with his son.

Josh and Morgan. These two have been together forever. Morgan is going to become a missionary, so we are excited to see the plans God has for her life unfold over the next few years.

Two out of three high school graduates. Wow! That happened a little too fast.

And now we're off to the church Reception.

Uncle Guy, Josh and Jared.

Roxie and Grandmother.

Josh and Grandmother discussing the Board. No, no. Discussing how MARVELOUS The Board looked!

Sweet Darren, Josh and Roxie.

Aunt Becky and Josh.

Roxie and Katie. Is it just me, or does it appear Roxie has forgotten who the Graduate is? Hmmmm.

Nope. I don't think it's just me. Roxie, Josh and Brad.

Roxie and AP. (AP doesn't like to have his picture taken, but after three kidney punches from The Chick, he decided to smile. A very wise move.)

Aunt Bev and Josh

I have more pics (of course), but I'll end today's post with Grandma giving Josh some much-needed advice... about something.

After the Reception, Brad, Katie, Zac and Melia came to the house before heading to the midnight showing of Men in Black III with Josh, Austin and Roxie. They came home around 2:30 a.m., declared a good time was had by all and headed straight to the nearest couch and/or bed.

It was a lovely, lovely way to end an exciting day!

I must make pancakes now. Lots and lots of pancakes.

And later this afternoon, I will nap.

That is my plan, and I'm sticking to it.

Just think. Next year Austin will graduate from JSU and Katie will graduate from high school. (And I will NOT have to prepare a Board for either one!)

Have a great weekend. I'll be back with everything I promised you today... Weekend Happenings, Josh's Journey and pics from anything and everything that will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

Definitely something for you to look forward to with great anticipation!

Take care, and I'll talk to you Monday.


The Enchanting Belinda
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