Our graduate graduated as the valedictorian of her class on the Friday night before we left for vacation. I had forgotten but I did a very similar thing to her last year in July. She'd been at Gov. School for 5 weeks and my parents and I picked her up from the dorm, whisked her off to B'ham and then to Fl the next day. I had forgotten how stressful it was then which is why I did it again. Actually it was more out of convenience to my parents both times as they were going to be in town for Amanda's final production for Gov. school and for her graduation and they went with us to FL both times. But now I've written it down and will (hopefully) remember to not schedule a big trip after a life changing event. But the graduation itself went beautifully. She gave her speech and Trav and I got teary eyed. Tisra was so sweet to photographically document her every move before and after the ceremony. And Eric filmed the whole event which was a total lifesaver since we rushed out of the house without the video camera. And the day itself I was really kicking myself for planning things the way I did. I would have loved to have had coffee and a bagel with her the morning of the ceremony and just chit chat instead of cleaning like mad and ordering everybody around. The upside to all of the cleaning and remodeling was that we came home from an incredibly long trip to a nice clean house. That's always the goal but it really never happens. And if you read this far and stopped you'll realize that I just hit enter twice on accident and published this, argh. Anyway, the party we had afterwards was so nice. Our Nashville family was here along with my parents and *all* of our kids. I remember when Amanda and Grant were the only kids we had and now there are 9! And hopefully this year we'll get to meet #10 (Eric and Tisra, in case you don't know, are adopting from Taiwan.) There was lots of fun, lots of laughing and lots of food. It makes me miss the good 'ol days when we spent every weekend together during the summer.
The party went kind of late and we were scheduled to leave at 4am. There were many an expression of doubt from party attenders, including my parents who were leaving with us, but most people don't know that I get very stressed before we leave on a trip and typically can't sleep. And true to form, I didn't sleep a wink. OK, actually we decided to try to sleep about 1:30 and I dozed off for a minute before Amanda started banging around her bedroom. I got up to tell her to be quiet and that was it, no more sleeping for me. So I finally got up at 2:30 and showered. I can't take a long trip without a shower- yuck! Travis got up a little after three and we were checking the weather when my Dad got up about 3:30. He looked pretty surprised to see us up. So fast forwarding through the actual drive (yawn), we arrived in Riverview at 8 PM. Yep, 15 hours (FL in Eastern time so they're an hour ahead). We stayed there for about an hour, had some dinner with Trav's parents, left our cat with them and headed to my brother's house. Then we passed out. I'd had about two hours of sleep in two days and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Which, as I found out later, was a total blessing since we were sleeping on a futon and the bars stuck into my back. It was really nice to see everybody though. And now since I've already published this and it's gotten freakishly long I'll post more later.