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What a GRAD day

This was my Picture of the Day Saturday.  It sums it all up :)

A few months ago my sister was distressed that I didn't have something "big" planned for Thomas's graduation - I have always thought of HS as an expectation and while it should be marked (just like a birthday) I really didn't have anything over-the-top planned.  She wanted to do something but we couldn't travel up there with end-of-year schedules so she said, with her family's hectic schedules and all, that they would come here.

My dad arrived Thursday and then Saturday Thomas, Marie, Tom, and I were going to meet my mom and the VJ's at a state park for a hike -- because my sister and son really like to hike.  My husband, older daughter, older niece, and BIL were going to tag along.  My youngest niece, Susan, and my mom didn't want to hike so I was going to drive with Tom and the kids and bring Mom and Susan home with me.

The meet up didn't go as planned. . .

We arrived at the national park that a neighbor had suggested and found that they were still about 45 minutes out.
 The kids set up their enos and Tom and I went on a walk (at this point all pictures from now until mid-way through the party have been lost - I asked someone to take the pictures off my phone to free up some space -- they were taken off my phone but not saved anywhere!  Not even in the cloud. . .thought that was automatic?).

Relying on my storytelling without pictures is boring and discombobulated.  That's why I love my pictures :)  But. . .I'll try.  On our walk we didn't go all the way to the Twin Arches because I knew Tom would be making that 1 mile hike again soon with the rest of the family so we went to the top of the last set of stairs and headed back, hoping that the rest of the crew would be soon be there.
Marie never travels without a deck of cards so we got started on a Euchre game.  We were tied up at 4-4 when the VJ's called, hopelessly lost.  At this point they were going in circles, thanks to Siri, at one point had ended up in a dry creek bed (in their brand-new vehicle) and we needed another plan.  Thomas and Marie had gone off to hike and eventually made it to one of the arches before heading back and heading out with us to another location.  Luckily Thomas had sent me a couple of pictures so I have those to show. . .

 Next stop:  Frozen Head State Park

An hour later we arrived and met up. . .(there should be pictures here but. . .)

Mom, Susan, and I headed home and three VJs and three Bells headed out for the graduation hike.

I guess it was a killer -- all uphill and then all downhill.  And the downhill was harder!?!

Rest stop?

The three oldest Foster grandchildren:
Love these two!!!
Thanks to iCloud sharing :)

They arrived back home where our neighbor, Barbara, and I had been busy preparing for a dinner for 14.  I had a picture of that spread too (and the cake, cards. . .).  Oh well.  We did burgers, brats, "Grandma's potatoes", baked beans, chips and salsa, veggies. . .plenty for all!!

Cake and pictures. . .

Everyone who was in attendance wrote an encouraging message on his mortarboard.  And he was given lots of generous monetary gifts. . .he'll be paying his own way (mostly) so these are much appreciated.

And we took LOTS of pictures with the grad:
Tommy (our neighbor photographer) and I vying for the best angle :)
My entire heart, all right here 
Photographer and my "right hand" - dear "framily" to us

Aunt & Uncle extraordinaire 
E and Thomas actually were in 7th grade together in middle TN - then graduated from the same east TN school!
Next year it's AVJ's turn!
And the middle one will be the last of six Foster grandchildren to graduate from HS
What a day, what a night. . .what an incredible 18+ years it's been. . .we cannot wait to see what is next!!! He is an extraordinary kiddo that we have been blessed to raise. Praying his future illuminates God's glory!

The very next day he and his sidekick were off to Cedar Lake Camp. . .

Life marching forward :)



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