Saturday, May 7, 2011

College Dude No More

Well, he done did it.

Nathan graduated from Southeastern University last night, magna cum laude. (And if you’ll allow this mama to brag a bit, he was only about two-tenths of a point away from graduating suma cum laude.)

Of course, I took boatloads of pictures but since I’ve haven’t loaded them to my computer yet, I’ll post a few from his graduation party Thursday night.

It was held at the house of his (soon-to-be) sister-in-law and her husband, whom he will be living with this summer. Nathan is especially happy that his summer residence has a swimming pool.


Since Snowy wasn’t around to interact with the College Dude, John and Joy’s dogs tried their best to fill the canine void.

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Sarah also enjoyed the pool a little later in the evening.


The tennis table battle took place as scheduled and I really whipped him.


Or. Maybe not. Quite.

But it was a fun (and a very close) contest.


John cooked burgers and we gathered in the kitchen to pray for the food—and the guest of honor.

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John and Joy have the most darling little boy, Spencer. Nathan will get plenty of “hands on” training this summer.


Here is Nathan (just out of the pool) with Michael, his best friend and roommate from college. Michael will be the best man in Nathan’s wedding.


There was a lovely cake.


Meagan, knowing her fella well, also bought a little cheese cake as well, since she knows how much he loves it.


It was quite obvious how much Nathan appreciated her cheese cake effort.


Really . . .


… really obvious.


Nathan, we are so proud of you!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

One Tear For the Road

(Note: I started this post a few days ago but just got it finished up today while we were traveling here to Florida. That’s why it might seem like we’re backtracking in the Smith timeline a little.)

Snowy would like to start today’s post by giving you an update on a recent event in his life—namely, The Annual Super Exciting (And Also Fabulous) Canine Summer Hair Cutting Event.

Before . . .


. . . and after.


I think he looks just a tad puzzled in this picture like, “Hey! Where did my fur go?” But believe me when I say that he is so much happier (and cooler) in his new and nearly nekkid permutation.

While Snowy was lounging at the Canine Salon and Spa, his big sister put in a few hours of forced hard labor before our big trip.

prep for FL trip

Of course, her dad had a few jobs of his own since a U-Haul had to be rented which meant installing a hitch and wiring brake and signal lights. He also did some sort of mysterious work on our tires. He is quite the mechanic.



Snowy’s very own personal job was to secure the perimeter and carry out stealthy, highly secret reconnaissance missions. Whatever would we do without him?


So. Just what sort of items—slated for the eventual use of the future Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Smith—was Snowy actually guarding?

1. One lawnmower (nonworking but fixable) which had been left at our home by the previous residents.

2. One grill which used to be ours; however, since we are now using a grill that was (also) left behind when the people before us moved out, we are giving our old grill to Nathan and Meagan.

3. One beige leather recliner that has been in the family for thirteen years. We had originally bought two matching recliners to put in the RV that we used to live in; when we sold the RV, we took the two recliners with us and they have been in all three houses we’ve lived in since then.


In fact, the twin to the recliner we’re giving Nathan is currently in his (old) room at home and it’s where I sit every time I write a blog.

Here are me, my computer, my feet, and my dog—in our faithful old recliner.


We’re also giving Nathan his old mattress and box spring which he absolutely loves. (I must admit that it is a very comfy set.) For several hours during the loading process, we placed the box spring in a temporary (but fairly fetching) fashion out front--mainly in an attempt to make all the neighbors jealous of our fab front porch decor.


We also loaded in some bedding, linens, his skis and ski clothes along with some other Nathallaneous stuff.

I must admit that I got a bit teary-eyed a few times during the whole process because it was all so final. So very, very final.

This table--which has heard all the stories and laughter of a thousand family meals--is never going to be quite the same.


He’s not going to summer camp. He’s not going off to college. He’s not visiting friends in another city.

He is leaving our house. For good. Mattress and all.

As we packed, I started feeling all melancholy because of what we were saying good bye to. And then I started feeling all joyful because of what we will be saying hello to—namely, a wonderful daughter-in-law.

So with all those emotions chasing each other around in my heart? I’m sure you can understand that as we pulled away from our house, the Smith mama sitting in the front seat had one tear for the road.



Hello from Savannah, GA! We're in a small but lovely Sleep Inn that we got for $39 a night. How great of a bargain is that?

My darling (slave driving) husband made us drive till 8:30 last night since his darling (non slave driving) wife had a minor, multi-factoral melt down yesterday morning and caused the whole family to be a little later in leaving than we had planned.

Since we're pulling a small U-Haul (containing lots of household goodies that we are donating to the College Dude and the soon-to-be- wife of the College Dude) we can't make quite as good time as usual; however, we should be pulling into the Hawley house by mid afternoon today.

A big graduation party is slated for tonight where it appears that Nathan is going to require me (as part of the live entertainment), to take on all of his college friends in table tennis. (Nathan and I have a long standing rivalry in table tennis and we usually try to play whenever we get within, say, a thousand miles of each other.)

So that's it for now. I'll work on a longer post today in the car with pictures and everything but for now, I need to shower so that we can pack up the van and hit the road.

Savannah to Winter Haven . . . here we come!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What To Do With An Ugly Meatloaf

Last Tuesday I made a turkey meatloaf.

It was a basic ol’ meatloaf recipe: 2 eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, a few seasonings. Mix. Bake. Yada yada. And etc.

However, when the time came to consume said meatloaf, Steve was suddenly called away for an emergency pastoral situation, leaving Sarah and I to face the ugly meatloaf on our own.

And it really was ugly. I only had a pound of turkey instead of the 1 1/2 pounds the recipe called for and I should have put in only one egg instead of two. So consequently, the whole thing was kind of over-eggy in general and had a pale, egg-colored appearance in particular. And that lack of color just sorta offended the part of my soul that loves making food lovely.

Since the sudden change of plans meant that we wouldn't be sitting down to a real meal as a family, I decided to go to Plan B. I just sliced off a few pieces of meat and made them into sandwiches for Sarah and me instead of doing an official meal with potatoes, veggies, side dishes, etc. And Sarah and I dined together quite happily on our ugly (but hidden) meatloaf.

However. The next night all three of us were home for dinner and when I opened the fridge to find inspiration for the evening meal, there It was. The Ugly Meatloaf.

It was perched furtively in a corner trying to hide behind a container of yogurt. And may I just say that its appearance had not been at all improved by 24-hours of sitting in a cold box under a blanket of Saran wrap. In fact, if it were even possible, ye olde Ugly Meatloaf was even uglier than the day before. I only wish I had remembered to take a picture of it because it was a meatloaf only a mama could love.

As the Ugly Meatloaf and I stared disinterestedly at each other, I had a small inspiration. I remembered a recipe I had made a couple years ago called Frosted Meatloaf that had turned out to be a fairly attractive dish. And so it occurred to me that the time had come for a Meatloaf Makeover. A Meatloaf Intervention. A Meatloaf Miracle!

I removed my non-lovely meatloaf from the fridge and placed it in the microwave where I warmed it at medium power for about five minutes while whipping up some instant potatoes on the stovetop.

I then frosted it with my potatoes and sprinkled on some paprika. Things were looking up.


I baked the meatloaf for about 15 minutes just to get everything all hot and then added some ketchup and cheese. (It actually looked a bit prettier when the cheese had melted a tad.)


Would this meatloaf win any culinary awards? Never.

But let me tell you that it sure got a much more lively response when it was placed on the table than it would have in its previous nekkid permutation.

Because there’s nothing worse than a previously nekkid meatloaf.

I’m just sayin’.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Chaotic Conniptions This Conundrum Is Creating.

Sarah and I had a terrible thought yesterday. Our terrible thought was this: For four years we have all been calling the College Dude, the, um, College Dude.

But on Friday, he is graduating and at that point he can no longer legally be referred to as the College Dude. So. What to do? What to do? What to do about the College Dude?

Do we call him the Grad Dude? The Almost Married Dude? The In Between His Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Dude? His Mama’s Little Boy Dude?

Ah, the chaotic conniptions this conundrum is creating.

In the meantime, since he is still a real and genuine College Dude, I have been busy sending out College Dude Graduation announcements on his behalf.

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While all the while pondering the pending conundrum.