Saturday, August 27, 2011

It was the Best of Summers, It was the Worst of Summers

Wow. It's hard to believe it's been a month and a half since I last talked to y'all. But this has been one heck of a summer.

As you know, we spent the first half of our summer frantically renovating and moving. I am SO glad that's over.

One of the best parts of the summer was celebrating my one-year anniversary with my wonderful, outstanding, beautiful wife. We returned to Joe's Italian (YUM!) for our anniversary dinner. (Those of you who attended last summer's wedding of the year will remember that Joe's catered our reception.) Joe's is also where we went on our first date and the day we got engaged. Needless to say, it will be a keystone in our love story for ever and ever.

Remember this...?
The Wedding Party (Eat your heart out, Will and Kate!)
And this?
The coolest groom's cake ever!
At the Lucky Snapper in Destin on our honeymoon!!!
 And here we are one year later:

About to head to Joe's!
She's so stinkin' cute!
I forget where we were going this time...
I can't believe our first year of marriage has flown by so quickly!! Seems like it was just yesterday that I was fighting back tears as I saw her walking down the aisle. There are no words to describe how much I love Jackie. But I want her to know that my love for her is never ending and unconditional. God has brought us together, and for that, I am eternally thankful to Him for blessing me with such a wonderful wife.

Sadly, the day after our anniversary, tragedy struck our family. Jackie's Uncle David died in a car crash on his way to work. That week was a whirlwind of emotions, but what I learned is that you should always always always make every effort to see your extended family every time you can. Although I had only known David for a relatively short part of my life, it didn't take long to see what a kind and loving man he was. He will truly be missed.

Shortly after David's wreck, we learned that he had written his own eulogy and posted it on his blog years ago. It was touching and also very funny. Hearing David's words read aloud at his memorial service was a wonderful and calming experience for me. Words can't really describe it. I told Jackie that it made me want to write my own. While we both agreed that it may seem a bit morbid, we fully realize that we are never guaranteed tomorrow. She said she might write her own, too.

This summer also included a trip to North Carolina to pick Mom up from a visit with her sister and niece. It was good to see them, even if it was for less than 24 hours.

Here's a picture I snapped on the way as I flew past South of the Border:
South of the Border (on the NC/SC line)
There's also been a lot of other family stuff going on that I won't get into on here, but needless to say, I am ready to put most of this summer behind me!

I want to focus the rest of this blog on some of the good things that did happen this summer.

Jackie and I became parents of two rambunctious kittens, named Garfield and Odie (formerly known as Tiger and Tony [aka Woofy]).
They only look innocent when they're sleeping. (L-Odie, R-Garfield)
Jackie's mom fostered Garfield and Odie, and their two brothers after the momma cat abandoned them. After she took good care of them for a couple of weeks, we finally brought them down to our place. They've been so much fun, but they are SO mischievous!
Garfield's "Why did you wake me up?" face.
Odie snuggled up for a nap!
Garfield has already used 2 of his 9 lives in the span of a week: first he was stung on the nose by a wasp, which caused his face to swell up, and then he jumped up on the super-hot oven door when Jackie opened it the other night.
Garfield likes to help me study. It would help if he could read...

I also learned a new skill this summer: cutting Jackie's hair. Luckily (for both of us), it turned out looking great!
Adios, long locks! Hola, new do!
In other random summer news, my parents and I took a quick trip to the greater Orlando area for my Uncle Laurin's retirement from the Air Force. (He's my mom's little brother.) After David's death, I knew I wasn't going to pass up the chance to go on this trip. We hadn't seen Laurin's family in about 5 years, so it was great to catch up! My mom and I both cried like babies during the slideshow when pictures of my grandparents came up. (I miss Popeye and Gran Peg so much. I sure can't wait to see them in Heaven some day!)

One of Uncle Laurin's former commanders officiated the ceremony and gave a really interesting account of my uncle's career. I never knew what all he did until that day, and all I can say is that I am so proud of him and his many years of service to our country!!!

Me, Mom, Uncle Laurin, and Dad
This past weekend, Mom celebrated her 29th Birthday (for the 30th time). We took her out to eat at Texas Roadhouse (yum), and we got her a cute little cake from Publix.

This was the picture of the day:
Boomer had his eye on the prize!
And last, but certainly not least, I've been busy preparing to teach this fall at the University of Montevallo!!! I've accepted a one-year temporary position teaching Mass Comm and COMS classes. I'm really excited! Our first day of class is Monday. I'm really looking forward to a great year (and hopefully many, many more)!
Hello Montevallo! Hello beautiful campus! Hello red brick roads! Hello front end alignment for my car!
That's about it for now. This summer has been super busy, super fun, super emotional, super sad, super crazy, super exhausting, and super educational. It has taught me a lot about myself, my emotions, and who I am as a man. I'm grateful for the lessons that this summer has taught me, but I am glad to see it go.

I'm vowing to have less drama and more happiness in my life. And these last two pictures make me very happy, so please enjoy them:
In the words of Liz Lemon: "I want to go to there."

Dear Summer 2011, I'm glad to see the sun setting on you!