Monday, April 29, 2013

Mindless Monday, Blog Linkage

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I think Austin's College Graduation will go down as one of my favorite "milestone moments."

The weather was perfect... cool, breezy and a little cloudy.

We had 20 family members and friends in attendance in our little section of the stadium to help cheer him on as he walked across the stage.

We had the BEST servers possible at Top of the River, and I was really pleased how fast everyone received their food, drink refills and anything and everything else we could possibly want.

Austin's cake/cupcake combo turned out very well, and everyone grabbed a cupcake as we left the restaurant... after 10:00 p.m.

Austin's cake was actually a brighter red, but I "photoshopped" the cake color to take some of the glare off.

All in all, it was a good... No. Make that "GREAT" evening, and one I will never forget.

We found out during the commencement speech Austin's graduation class was the second largest in JSU history. SEVEN HUNDRED SEVEN students graduated Friday night.

Dr. Meehan called out each and every graduate's full name... slowly and distinctly... with a five to ten second pause between each diploma recipient... which meant the list of names went on FOREVER.

Austin's name was smack dab in the middle, so an hour or so AFTER receiving his diploma, the last graduate walked across the stage, and we were free to be with our graduate.

I'll let the pics tell the rest of the story...

As soon as graduation was over, families start flooding onto the football field. More than half of our party had left earlier in the evening to wait at the restaurant, so we watched for Austin to "come to us" in the stands.

It wasn't long until Melia spotted The Boy/The Man.

It may be because I am his Mom, but The Boy/The Man kind of sticks out in a crowd, doesn't he?

And as he made his way to us, The Faulkner Five, it was evident The Boy had left the building.

Austin is a man now. A big, tall, strapping, good-looking young man.

He kind of took my breath away. Much like 22 years ago, when I held him for the first time as a 9 pound, 6 ounce big, long, strapping, good-looking bouncing baby boy.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Do not get me wrong. I am NOT saying listening to the names of 706 students who were NOT The Boy was fun... but it was necessary.

And as we all know, when things aren't fun, The Enchanting Belinda tries to make it a little more bearable... by taking pictures in the stadium.

Roxie and Josh.

And because there was absolutely nothing else to do...

Katie joined the fun...

And finally, Zac.

DISCLAIMER - I think you all know, the only person really having fun taking pictures in the stadium was The Enchanting Belinda.

The kids cooperated, but let's face it. Their idea of fun and my idea of fun do not always agree.

I guess the sweetest moment of the evening (to me) happened when Josh jumped over the railing down to the football field to meet Austin as he walked toward us.

I don't want you to think Roxie wouldn't have been all over jumping the rail and greeting her brother, but her flowy dress stopped her in her tracks. (Well, the dress and my hand on her shoulder!)

Mikie took over my usual role as the WE-HAVE-TO-GET-TO-THE-RESTAURANT-AND-GET-EVERYONE-SEATED-IN-OUR-PARTY-AS-SOON-AS-POSSIBLE maniac, and I continued to relax and enjoy the moment.

You see, I've been the "maniac" for years and years, and I've finally come to the realization I cannot control the restaurant... or the workers... or the food prep... or the time we have to wait when our extended family goes out to eat together.

It has also come to my attention, there is no one in our extended family who will starve if we indeed do have to wait for a table or our food.

Within two miles of Top of the River are countless fast-food drive-thrus, and if the worse possible scenario plays out ("I'm sorry, folks. We've run out of all of our food. You'll have to leave the restaurant as soon as possible."), we will ALL survive until we are told to "Pull up to Window #1, please."

It's okay.

Austin and Grandmother.

Austin and Grandma. (Can you find the photo bomber in the picture?)

Amber, Austin and Jared... and do not forget Baby Mackenzie who will be arriving mid-June.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention The Lovely Melia. It was a huge night for her, too. She and Austin have been dating five years this May, and have been separated by the 90-minute drive to and from JSU most weekdays for the past four years. It hasn't always been easy, but they have made the best of the situation.

Melia's mom, dad and brother celebrated with us Friday night, too. And The Faulkner Five are looking forward to attending Melia's graduation next May.

The milestones just keep a-comin'!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I first posted this little nugget in May of 2009. I decided it would be okay to post it ONE MORE TIME.

The Gift of Austin

Ah... The Gift of Austin. Our very first gift. Our most anticipated gift. The gift we stared at for hours at a time. The gift we held for days on end (even though everyone told us it would spoil the gift). The gift we ran to whenever he made a sigh, whimper, sneeze, cough or coo. The gift we (I) blinded with the camera because every second of every minute of every day was worth recording for posterity. The gift we read to, sang to, played with, dropped everything we might be doing to fulfill whatever he wanted RIGHT THAT SECOND. The gift that never skipped a bath. The gift that never had a dirty face or nose or hands or outfit. The gift we practiced all of our new parenting skills on... and yet the gift survived and thrived.

I remember sitting at a band concert two years ago, and hearing Austin's name announced as the new Drum Major for our high school band. Mike and I were stunned (as was Austin). He was only a junior. He had no conducting experience. Mike and I did not know how to teach him this skill. What were we going to do? How was my little freckle-faced, green-eyed boy going to take on such a huge responsibility?

A short three and a half months later, Mike and I were sitting in the bleachers as a 6'3" young man in a white Drum Major uniform walked into the football stadium with the band following close behind. We watched him step onto his podium, call the band to attention and then direct the band. Was it a "perfect" first time? No. He had a little help from the band director's wife. Was it amazing to realize that my little freckle-faced, green-eyed boy was showing traits I had never imagined him having before? Yes, indeed. Who was this young man... so tall and self-assured (on the outside)? I had no idea, but I wanted to know him. Just like I had known the little boy before him.

The Gift of Austin has been talkative, self-absorbed (at times) and does not like to multi-task. The Gift of Austin has also been giving, trustworthy, hardworking, loving and a true homebody. He has taken his role of big brother seriously. (We found out how seriously when Josh became ill.) Does that mean I never get angry with him? No. Does that mean he takes out the trash without being told? NO! (When is that going to happen?) Does that mean he is a perfect teenager? Sorry... No such thing.

For a woman who lives for the "firsts" in life, I have loved sharing the majority of those with Austin. The "firsts" coming up in the next few days, months and even years are a little scary for both of us, I think. But Austin is up for the challenge (even though I may not be).

He is, has always been, and will always be, my joy.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'll be speaking at a Faithful Moms group this Thursday, and I am pretty excited.

This is what my young friend, Kristel, messaged me about the meeting:

"The mommies chat in the kitchen/living room while the kids play inside/outside/all around us. There will be a light breakfast and drinks. Usually everyone eats and chats for the first hour or so, it's very casual. There is no specific topic. Our purpose is to encourage mothers as Godly women, mothers and wives, and also to pass down the truths of our beliefs to our children. Just so you know, the children at the meeting will be in infancy all the way to a few school-aged kids, they will be playing while we meet, so noise and interruptions are typically the norm."

Except for the "difference in age" thing, these are my people, and I cannot wait.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Mike and I attended our first Sunday School Social with our new Sunday School Class Saturday evening... and it was so much fun.

I think/I hope/I pray I made some new friends this past weekend.

Since Mother's Day is coming up (and since this story came up around the dinner table Saturday night), I decided to re-post it today.

A Mother's Day Tale

My very first Mother's Day. I remember it like it was yesterday... not 1991. Mike was determined to do everything the "right way" to make it a very special day indeed.

He knew I was supposed to have a corsage. However, when I was growing up, you wore a red corsage if your mother was living, and a white corsage if your mother had passed away. I don't know if that is a Southern tradition... or just practiced in my little part of the world. That being said, Mikie didn't know the rules.

He called our local florist in Cullman and asked for a corsage for a "first time mother." (Code for BIG!) The florist asked him, "Is the mother living or deceased?" This totally threw Mike.

He thought she was kidding, so he responded, "Now, why would I buy a deceased mother a corsage?" The florist was not amused.

"I'll take care of it," was all she said.

When Mikie went to pick up my Mother's Day corsage the afternoon before Mother's Day, he picked up the biggest orchid corsage (with matching ribbons) I had ever seen. I shouldn't have been surprised thinking back on my giant homecoming mum, but I was.

"Wow. That's quite a corsage," I said weakly.

"Yeah. The florist was a nut though. She kept asking me if you were dead or alive. But in the end, she did a great job, don't you think?" he asked, pleased. (To Mikie, bigger is always better in the corsage department.)

I didn't even ask what he was talking about because I had started wondering what to wear with the giant purple orchid. What I had originally picked out was a floral dress which would have looked wonderful with a small red corsage, but not with a giant purple one.

I finally settled on a celery green dress (solid), and while it might not have been the BEST color choice, Austin was only three months old. (Code for I DIDN'T FIT INTO ALL MY OLD CLOTHES YET, SO IT WAS THE ONLY OTHER CHOICE!)

The flower was so large, I couldn't hold Austin on my left hip because his face and head kept getting buried in the flower. Plus, he kept grabbing for the ribbons. (The only thing worse than a giant purple corsage is a dead giant purple corsage.) I balanced him on my right hip for most of the day.

A few days later, I explained the tradition to Mike. "When they were asking if the mother was alive or deceased, they meant MY mother," I explained.

"Oh," he said. He paused, thinking. "I liked that you were the only one wearing an orchid though. It made it more special." (Code for I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU A PURPLE ORCHID EVERY YEAR FOR MOTHER'S DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!) And he has.

In the year 2009, I can count on one hand the corsages I see on Sunday mornings... even on the older women. But you can always spot me. I'm the very proud Mom wearing the slightly smaller (NOW) orchid corsage in the upper right balcony.

It's fun. It's tradition. It's a story to tell. And I love it!

Blog Linkage

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "Mother's Day Gift." If using twine is your Mom's thing, this would be a great gift for her... or a birthday or Christmas gift for a different female family member.

2. Do you like no-bake desserts? Well, I do. Especially if chocolate is involved. Go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "No-Bake Reese's Fudge Bars." I haven't made them yet, but it is only a matter of time. ("Time" meaning this evening!)

Have a most wonderful Monday. I'll be back Friday with... Hmmm. I don't even have a clue!

This could be interesting.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda


  1. Belinda, you made me cry - sitting here at my desk at work eating my lunch and blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. I've walked your path of the first baby graduating college and the mother instinct comes flooding over you and the memories all bump up against each other til you think you will burst; it's a good thing pride in the child takes over or we'd all be a big blubbering mess!

    1. This is definitely a situation where knowing I am "not the only one" makes a difference. (I'll try to make you laugh Friday!)


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