I can't believe my youngest sister is graduating this weekend! I did a similar post for Mackenzie when she graduated (has it already been 2 years since then?), but I wanted to celebrate Taryn & all of her accomplishments.
Taryn is such a beautiful person. She has so many talents - singing, cello, guitar, painting, makeup, hair, there's really nothing she can't do. She's smart, funny, & has an amazing personality. She loves making people laugh, & making people feel good about themselves. Taryn is very creative, & is such a fun person to be around. She is sweet & thoughtful, & is a wonderful friend, sister, & woman of God.
Taryn has earned an awesome scholarship to NOC in Tonkawa to be a part of their Roustabouts performance group, & was also asked to play cello in their band (even though the band doesn't generally have a cello!). I am so proud of her for pursuing her goals, & for achieving so much at such a young age. She is constantly impressing those around her with her talents, yet always stays humble & thankful for her gifts.
I am so excited to see where Taryn goes from here, & am (not-so-secretly) thankful that she will be nearby as she starts her college career so we can continue spending time together. She is one of my favorite people on the planet, & I love her dearly!
Here are some photos of our times together throughout the years!
We had a girls' day the day after our Disney World day (notice: we're already pre-sunburned). We toured a couple of the Disney resorts, starting with the Polynesian. We had breakfast at 'Ohana, where we were able to meet several characters. I Disneybounded as Lilo (Lilo & Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies!). She was the first to come to our table, & was very energetic, dancing & moving around. Mickey was next, dressed in his island attire. Next was Pluto, with his lei. This was my first time to meet Pluto - Donald is the only one of the classic 5 characters I haven't met now! Finally, Stitch came through. I loved getting to meet him!
Breakfast was served family style & was all-you-can-eat. We had eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, Mickey & Stitch waffles, & sausages. There was also a tropical bread with pineapple & raisins.
You can see Cinderella's Castle from the beach outside. We took the monorail to the Grand Floridian, & on the way back, Mackenzie & I grabbed Dole Whips for the ride home.
The Grand Floridian is the prettiest hotel I have ever seen. We stopped to get bath products at Basin White, one of my favorite bath stores, then explored the hotel.
I was so excited to see that they already had their Easter eggs on display! Disney makes incredible Easter eggs, & I have wanted to see them for some time now. There is so much detail put into each egg, & they're made with edible products. I was so impressed!
As I mentioned before, Mackenzie was accepted to the Disney College Program this past fall. For those who don't know about the DCP, Mackenzie had to go through an application process, followed by a series of interviews. After passing through each round, she was notified of her acceptance to the Spring 2016 program!
As a DCP cast member, she will be working at Disney World in Orlando (although some go to Disneyland in California, too!). DCP cast members can be assigned to work in the theme parks themselves, in Disney businesses at Disney Springs, or at Disney resorts. These can include a variety of jobs - anything from being a character performer to cleaning staff to restaurant service. Mackenzie knows she was assigned to work in restaurant service in part of Magic Kingdom, but will find out exactly where later on. She will also be living in Disney apartments with 5 roommates who are also in the program during her time there.
We are so excited for Mackenzie! She worked so hard to get into the DCP, & it is a dream come true for her. Our family has a huge love for the Disney company, & we are looking forward to visiting her for Spring Break!
However, before she left, Taryn & I wanted to make sure Mackenzie had a good send-off. We planned a surprise going away party for her with just the family (& Ben & Levi, of course), & tried to make it worthy of her new Disney lifestyle!
Taryn & I made all of the decorations, most of which were based on things we found on Pinterest. For the most part, we didn't follow exact instructions, but just based our ideas on the photos we looked at. We did however, use the exact recipe for the Oreo Fluff Dessert as our "Grey Stuff." I'll post links below - Just click on the titles.
Toy Story Alien Balloon
Pooh & Piglet Balloons
Wreck-It Ralph Sugar Racer Kabobs
Oreo Fluff Dessert ("Grey Stuff")
Mickey Party Hats
For the balloons, I either drew the designs on with Sharpie, or drew the designs on paper & taped them onto the balloons. Taryn had the difficult task of hanging them!
The Sugar Racer kabob candy holders were things I already had. I purchased them at $1 Tree, not knowing what I'd use them for, but they were so cute! I bought wooden skewers for the candy, & purchased several kinds of gummies & some marshmallows to put on them.
The cupcakes are red velvet. Taryn decorated them with whipped cream icing & Oreos.
As mentioned above, the Oreo Fluff Dessert is exactly from the Pinterest recipe. We dipped graham crackers in it, but you could also dip Oreos or other cookies.
Taryn & I covered regular paper party hats with colored scrapbook paper using hot glue to make the Mickey party hats. We didn't have a pattern - We just eyeballed everything & they turned out really well!
Laker made all of the signs to go with the food on the computer, & I made the "We'll miss you," banner with chalkboard wrapping paper. Laker also helped me make some super cute photo props, which we totally forgot to use. Oops.
& Ben kept Mackenzie away while we were decorating!
For Mackenzie's gifts, I made her three things:
The first had nothing to do with Disney. Mackenzie & I share a love of dramatic, sometimes ridiculous TV shows, which means we both loved Gossip Girl - especially Blair Waldorf. I made her a mug based on this design. I don't have a picture of the finished product, unfortunately!
The second was a dinglehopper hair clip. If you don't know what I'm talking about & are confused as to why I'd want my sister to wear a fork in her hair, you need to watch more Disney movies, but I posted a couple of clips below, just in case! I got the idea from this post.
Next up is a pin holder, designed to look like Mickey. I based it off of this painting design, but since it was being made to hold pins, I used felt, added the word "pins", & added a rod & string at the top so Mackenzie could hang it in her apartment. You may be wondering why she would need something specifically to hold pins. At the Disney parks, many workers collect pins. They wear them on their lanyards & trade them with park guests. So I figured Mackenzie might like a place to keep her collection! As you can see, she already has a couple added - her birthday button from check-in week (She turned 20 the week she left home!) & the Ravenclaw Head Girl badge I got her as part of her birthday gift.
Her last gift was a Scrump doll, based on Lilo's doll in Lilo & Stitch. This is a bit more of an obscure reference, so I posted a video of that scene too. I used the instructions for this sock doll, & then I sewed on buttons, hair, & a face. I made it in colors to match her room in her apartment.
Mackenzie is all settled into her apartment now & had her first training today. We're so excited to see what's next for her!
It's absolutely insane to me that my little sister is not only 18, but graduating high school & about to move out of my parents' house.
I feel like I was somehow older than she was at that age.
Not that she's any less prepared than I was. In fact, she's already doing really well for herself! She's graduating #8 in her class, earned a full-ride Baccalaureate scholarship to UCO, & did all of that while being concert mistress of her high school's orchestra & a part of the chorale.
Here's a little trip down memory lane to celebrate her graduation!
Sorry for the month-long disappearance from this blog. For a while, it seemed like there wasn't much to write about, & then all of a sudden, it felt like everything was happening at once, & I was incredibly overwhelmed.
Some great things happened in the past month. My brother got to visit a few times, Laker & I went on some fantastic dates, we celebrated Galentine's Day, Nana (Laker's grandmother) celebrated her 80th birthday, & we went on a Springfield trip with some friends. I'll post about all of those things eventually, I'm sure.
However, I also lost my grandmother this month, & it has been extremely difficult. She was only 68, & this year would have been 50 years of marriage for her & my grandpa. Losing her was very unexpected - She was fine, & then she got sick one day & was gone a few days later. We've all just been in shock.
I remember once when we were little, my grandma took my cousin, Dawn, & I to Hobby Lobby, & a man thought we were sisters & my grandma was our mom. Being so young, I was shocked that he couldn't tell she was our grandma (after all, she was our MOMS' mom), but looking back, I realize it was probably because my grandma was always so feisty & energetic - always on the move.
My grandma was a funny, stubborn, loving woman who valued her family above all else. The love she shared with my grandpa is inspiring. She was so proud of her kids, & spoiled her grandkids & great-grandkids. She was truly one-of-a-kind.
One of the things my grandma passed on to us, probably without meaning to, is her ability to serve behind the scenes. When I was little, she taught me how to draw mermaids whenever I asked, & she made my Easter dresses. When I was in high school, my first job was with her (cleaning at a doctor's office), & she helped teach me how to drive on the way to & from work. She made my senior t-shirt quilt when I graduated from high school, & she & my mom put together all of the flowers & boutonnières for my wedding. She never did any of this to get credit or attention - she did it because she loved us & she loved to help, sometimes more than she should. But she was generous & stubborn (another quality she passed down without meaning to!), & we were all thankful for everything she gave us. I see this trait of behind-the-scenes generosity & service in so many of my family members, & I like to think it came from my grandma.
It's still difficult to believe that she's really gone. This all happened so suddenly, & she was always such a strong person. My grandma was a loving, wonderful person, & she will be missed by many.
I want to say thank you again to everyone who has supported me & my family during this time. We had several meals donated, flowers & plants brought to the family, & so many people who encouraged us & came to the service to support us. I also want to thank Colleen & some other friends who chose to remain anonymous, for leaving all of this at my doorstep within an hour of me arriving home that day. It was overwhelming to receive so much support on such an awful day. Thank you.
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.