Taryn graduated! It's been a week now, & it's still weird to think that she's a high school graduate. A few days before the ceremony, I took some photos of her & her best friends up at the high school. I didn't get very many good photos with my friends at my graduation, so I wanted her to have plenty of fun ones!
Last Thursday was Baccalaureate, where Taryn led a prayer & sang with the choir. Mackenzie got home that night, & it was nice to have most of the family back together! We all missed Kiefer being there, though.
The ceremony was last Friday. Taryn sat up front with the chorale, & they performed a few songs. Since she was up front, she was one of the first to graduate. It was fun to see her & her friends walk the stage!
Sunday morning, we had our graduate service at NewPoint. Taryn went forward with her friends & classmates, & the church prayed over all of them & commissioned them forward into what's ahead!
On Sunday night, we had a little graduation party for Taryn. We went to my parents' house & invited some of Taryn's friends over for walking tacos, s'mores, & a diploma pumpkin roll.
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!
It's the start of a new year, so I'm supposed to do one of those "Year in Review" posts right?
As I said in my last post, I want this blog to be something I can look back on to remember how I felt about different points in my life, & since I haven't written in almost a year, I should probably catch up on that. So here's a bit of what I've been up to in the last several months, plus a bit of a refresher on the beginning of last year!
We started the new year in Springfield, MO (one of my favorite places) with some of my favorite people. It doesn't get much better.
We got a new puppy! His name is Padfoot, & I may or may not have made Laker take us on a 6 hour round trip to Kansas to get him. But I was browsing puppy adoption websites online (a common occurrence) & found his photo & started crying, so it had to happen. Hashtag no regrets.
January is also when Alex & Halli got engaged! I was lucky enough to be a part of it - Alex asked me to secretly photograph the proposal, so I was able to be there. More crying. Lots of happy tears in January.
Our first pup, Lily, turned one year old in February! They grow up so fast...
Alex & Halli came to visit for Valentine's weekend, & Laker & I cooked a nice meal from my Downton Abbey cookbook. Then Halli & I had a Galentine's celebration with my sisters. We had a sleepover, played Disney Sing-It & Just Dance 2, ate way too many sweets, & went out for Italian food. I need more nights like that in my life.
Alex & Halli also asked Laker & me to be their Best Man & Maid of Honor (technically I'd be a matron, but that makes me feel old, so nope). We were so excited to be asked!
In March, the wedding prep began! I met up in OKC with Halli, my mother-in-law, & Halli's mom to pick out Halli's dress. We also went to the food truck park downtown (which I highly recommend, as long as it's not during H & 8th - way too crowded for my introverted self) for my favorite margherita pizza & an awesome s'mores dessert.
We went to the Medieval Fair in Norman with Alex, Halli, Sarah, & Cary, & it was a lot of fun. We also took Padfoot with us, & everyone loved him - even the costumed workers. We constantly had strangers petting him & asking about him. Padfoot, however, was over it pretty quick.
AND I FLEW A PLANE! It was the coolest thing ever, & I can't wait to do it again!
In April, Taryn went to her junior prom, & was (in my obviously unbiased opinion) the prettiest one there. Her friends looked gorgeous too though, & she & Levi were precious, as always.
I also had the pleasure of helping to hostess a bridal shower for one of my closest friends from high school, Katlyn, & attended Halli's first bridal shower, which was held in Duncan.
Laker & I saw Circa Survive & Brand New in OKC, which is pretty much a dream pairing for Laker.
I helped hostess another bridal shower for Halli (this time in Shawnee), & attended Katlyn's gorgeous wedding. She was such a beautiful bride, & didn't let a little rain get her down!
We had Halli's bachelorette weekend, which was so much fun! Rapunzel is Halli's favorite Disney princess, so we had a Tangled-themed sleepover, complete with pink & purple decorations, paper lanterns, & a skillet cookie! The next morning, we went to The Brush Bar in Shawnee, where our friend Amy had prepared a custom painting for us. It was designed to look like the painting Rapunzel does in the movie! We all had so much fun, & I'd definitely recommend The Brush Bar if you're in the area.
I also got to see Dashboard Confessional & I melted the whole time because Chris Carrabba, & Sarah was with me & it made it even more perfect because I didn't have to melt alone. Laker & Cary were there too, but they weren't melting as much. Also, Augustana opened for them, & we missed part of it, but it was still great! I'm not 100% sure this was in May, but it was somewhere around there.
Alex & Halli got married! The wedding was so beautiful, with so many homemade touches added by family members. I think I made more things for their wedding planning & decorating than I did for ours! But it was worth all of the time & effort, because everything was amazing. I am so so so happy for those two! & the rehearsal dinner was also great - so relaxing, with the perfect lighting for us girls to have a spontaneous photo shoot in the evening!
They were married the week of our third anniversary, so Laker & I took a belated anniversary trip in the days after the wedding. We went to Wichita, KS for a couple of days, where we explored the botanical gardens, saw the Keeper of the Plains, & (as always) ate too much.
We saw Jurassic World. Which is a big deal.
Two of my other best friends from high school, Kate & Myka, married their husbands at the end of June, & I had the pleasure of attending their weddings as well!
Laker & I are also beginner astronomy nerds, & this was a good year for that! At the end of June, we checked out the "Star of Bethlehem," which was cool to see!
We went on a 4th of July camping trip to Duncan. It was a bit of a disaster, with lots of little things going wrong at every turn (Sarah & Cary got a flat on the way there, I stepped on a bee, there was a busted water main at one point, the list goes on), but we still managed to have some good times setting off fireworks, swimming, & exploring on my in-laws' land. Oh, & getting Summer Sno. Some of the best sno cones in the state, hands down.
I also recreated the outfit Bruno Mars wears in the "Uptown Funk" video. Because why not?
Laker & I went to Dallas for a weekend as his birthday/belated anniversary gift. We saw As Cities Burn & Listener. It was ACB's "Son I Loved You At Your Darkest" 10 year anniversary tour, & I also got to meet two members of Listener INCLUDING DAN so it was basically a gift for me too. Dan was so nice, & talked to us for several minutes & even offered to take a photo of me & Laker to commemorate our evening.
Maddie is (or was - she had her baby now!) pregnant! Taryn & I went to her gender reveal party, & both called that he was a boy ;)
I took the first round of senior photos for Taryn. I can't believe my baby sister is graduating this year!
Mackenzie also found out she was accepted to the spring 2016 Disney College Program in Florida! Such exciting news!
The three of us went on a triple date to the county fair with our boys. We ate a lot. That's kind of a common theme in my life, if you haven't figured that out yet.
Taryn turned 18, & Mackenzie & I planned a Faux-chella surprise party for her. It was the coolest thing, & we should probably go into the party planning business, if I'm being honest. We had a tent in the backyard, the best playlist (I might've made it), & even the Coachella astronaut, thanks to an old Harry Styles cutout. Everyone dressed like hipsters, & the girls made flower crowns. So fun!
I also watched the Super Blood Moon Eclipse, which was super cool.
Laker & I saw Hozier in OKC, & every moment was perfection (except for the guy that felt the need to vape next to us the whole time & the drunk girls beside me, but we'll ignore them because everything else was amazing). Seriously, so so so good.
We went to Sarah & Cary's annual Halloween party, which was the coolest. We were Janet Snakehole & Burt Macklin (a Parks & Rec reference - it's basically a costume of two characters' costumes).
The day after Halloween, we went to the Dia de Los Muertos festival with Sarah & Cary. It was really fun to do our sugar skull makeup & see everyone all painted up!
The end of October & beginning of November were tough for me. I haven't really talked about this much on social media, but towards the end of October, I was diagnosed with lupus (for reference, I was diagnosed the same day Selena Gomez announced she had it, coincidentally), & the same day found out I was being scheduled for surgery. In November, I had my surgery, where I was diagnosed with endometriosis. Many of you know I've had my fair share of health issues in the past few years, many of which are ongoing, so I was discouraged for a long time, & frustrated that things kept piling up. But I've just got to take things one day at a time, & trust that God knows what He's doing, even if I can't see what that might be sometimes.
Anyway. Beginning of November, I had my surgery. Hung out in bed & watched Netflix for about a week, took it easy for another week after that.
Taryn went to Fall Ball, which is a semi-formal school dance. She & her friends looked fantastic!
At the end of the month, we went to Duncan for Thanksgiving & spent a few days with my in-laws. It was nice to see everyone & relax for a few days!
Padfoot also turned one around this time, but we don't know when exactly. The shelter didn't have a birthdate for him, We decided for the future, we're going to say his birthday is November 3rd, which is Sirius Black's birthday. I realize most of you won't care about this, but Harry Potter nerds will appreciate it! Also, by this point, since he is about 20 pounds, we are 99% sure he is not going to grow into the 80-100 pound German Shepherd mix we were originally promised. But he's cute, so oh well. Lily's not the 35-pound Boston Terrier mix we thought we were getting either.
STAR WARS! SO GOOD! I just... Ah. We saw it 3 times. The first time was with Sarah & Cary at the Warren, & we (except Laker) dressed up.
A new tradition we seem to be starting is that I go see the Nutcracker with the ladies from Laker's side of the family each year, & I absolutely love it! The Nutcracker also seems to get better every year with the improvements the ballet is making. It's a great Christmas tradition!
We were with my family for Christmas this year, which was one of only a few days we were home during Christmas Break. It was nice to be with everyone!
Then we went to Atlanta for a night & on to Florida, which was magical (more on that later). Ending the year as it started, with some of my favorite people in one of my favorite places. As I said, it doesn't get much better than that!
We joined a new church, Newpoint, in April, & it has been so great for us! We are both involved with serving & have met so many people & made so many friends. We are so thankful that God led us to Newpoint, & for the growth & community we have experienced since joining.
I have spent a lot of time with my family, especially my sisters. Mackenzie has had a flexible work schedule, so she volunteered to drive with me to most of my doctors appointments this year. That meant several hours in the car together, lots of lunch dates, plus some shopping after the appointments! We had a few fun road trips too, like when we went to Norman & went to the opening of Postscript, a new stationary store. We've also had tons of Disney talks in the past few months, prepping for her interviews, planning for her move, & just discussing the company we love!
With Taryn in the middle of her senior year, she has been very busy with extra-curricular activities. I've loved getting to see her do the things she loves. She is currently president of chorale, & first chair of the cellists in orchestra. She is so talented & a wonderful performer! Taryn is also amazing at hair & makeup. She did all of the hair & makeup in Halli's wedding, & my hair & makeup for a lot of the events pictured here (my Leia hair, my Halloween look, etc.). I love how close we've gotten the past few years, & can't wait to see where the next few years lead her.
I (finally) got a new camera in the spring, & I've slowly been learning how to use it & trying to practice more.
It's hard to believe we're already halfway through January! Mackenzie left for Florida yesterday. We'll all be visiting her over Spring Break! She will be back in May, which is when Taryn graduates. Laker & I are doing some trip planning, which is always what makes me happiest. I'm hoping 2016 will be a great year!
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!
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.