We decided to hold a party for Nate so that people could say good-bye. I posted an invitation on Facebook and also on our church's website...I was seriously hoping that people would show up. Well, they did! 170+ showed up!
Now, we have a 2500 sq ft ranch style home in an older neighborhood of our town. Our front room is not that big but we do live on a quarter of an acre (that's big for in town lots in California!). There were people everywhere! It was absolutely crazy and yet, oh so fun!
The menu was Texas style: chips, salsa, a very, very, very hot Texas chili, and Texas sheet cake. In fact, that chili was so hot that I had two Mexican friends try it first and one said that there is no way a "gringo" could ever handle such hot food! Yikes! I was a bit nervous putting it out on the counter but did and the guests loved it....in fact, out of the big roasting pan of chili we only had a couple of cups left at the end of the night.
In the above picture there is a table against the glass doors. Daisy came up with the idea of having family and friends sign the poster paper so that Nate could have a long lasting memory of this great send-off. We took pictures of it which we will take with us to San Antonio to his graduation.
We had people in the front yard, people in the family room, people in the backyard, and people spilling into our library. By the way, this was a wedding gift that Phil and I gave to each other. I had about 2000 books and he had another 1000+ to add to the "pile". So, we decided that library shelves would be a great addition to our home and a great gift for two book lovers.
Now the real work begins as we catalog them and shelve them in their appropriate spots.
Good friends are always a blessing and especially at events like these. In our growing church we rarely find time to chat with our close friends. There are so many new families to greet and get to know. So, when there is a moment to say hi to long ago friends it is a treat indeed!
Thanks to Norm and Susan, Eric's parents, we have this wonderful player piano that is always a hit at every gathering. People love to hang around this fun instrument and sing along.
This picture is a bit blurry but it is a fun one for those of us who have been praying for our Pastor and his wife. They have been on a waiting list for a Chinese adoption for a few years now and had just found out that they had a six year old girl recommended for their family. We were all gathered around the computer screen to see the picture of their new addition.
Phil and Ken talking about...stuff. Ken is Eric's cousin's husband. I have known Ken for as long as I had known Eric, really. I met him and his wife only a few months after Eric and I met. This is the family that my kids go to Mexico with each year. Sounds like we will miss this year's trip due to weddings but next year? The girls can't wait to go with Cousin Ken and Cousin Laura on a mission trip.
Our church is full of young ladies and gentleman...it is exciting to see them all grow up. They are such great kids. Full of life and love for their Lord.
So....I hear this ruckus out in the backyard. I grab my camera and head out to catch Nate climbing out of the pool. Um, the weather was in the 50's which means the pool was quite a bit cooler. Yikes! Who threw him in? was the question of the moment. Come to find out it was our Pastor and some men of our church.
One gentleman came up to Nate and asked if he could call his wife with Nate's phone...his battery had died and really needed to let his wife know that all was okay. Funny thing is? Nate didn't even think about the fact that his wife was sitting inside our warm house!
Our Pastor (and close friend) came along side Nate and told him how they, as the men of the church, did not want him to experience his first hazing at the hands of people he did not know. So, they proceeded to carry him over to the pool and throw him in!
Just rewards for Nate who has many times pushed an unassuming friend into cold waters of our pool!
As always, where there is good fellowship there seems to be great wine. Erik (to the left) is quite the wine connoisseur and brought over some nice white wines to help with the mouth burning chili.
Another thing you will find our youth doing at our church is playing games. Catch Phrase is one of our faves. Later on we played Balderdash. We have a lot of fun just hanging with these kids. Who said that raising teens was so difficult?
The party lasted until midnight and then we got ready for another day of good-byes. While I was at Starbucks getting Nate's phone and personal belongings from him my dear husband and younger son were at home cleaning up the house. This was no small task! 170 plus people leave quite a trail of dirt, dishes, and stains in their wake.
I was feeling rather blessed by their gift to me.
Phil has been quite the blessing during this transition time in the life of our family. There are just so many changes in such a short period of my life. I don't think I have ever experienced such a time as this.
This is the room that we watched Nate vow to protect our Constitution. It was emotional as ever as I so wished Eric could have been there to see this. We both knew that Nate was military material and hoped that he would choose to join the Air Force. Eric would have been so proud to watch his son do what he did so many years before.
What a great young man God has placed in our family. This really is a great time for him and I am so proud of him. He will do well in the military.
Our family was not the only one that went to Sacramento to see Nate be sworn in..."Uncle" Rick and his son Zach joined us. I've known Rick just about as long as I had known Eric as well. Rick and Eric became fast buddies while serving on the USS Carl Vinson. Rick moved back here when Eric died and has purposefully stayed in touch with my kiddos. They know him as Uncle Rick because he just always been in our lives. He even lived with us for awhile. It was great to have him there to support Nate.
Good-bye for now, big brother! Gabs loves her big brother and will be so surprised when she sees him in June. He will be a different person...a man!
We head off to San Antonio sometime in March to watch him graduate. Kind of a great excuse to go to such a fun city that I have never been to before. It will be just me and the girls. The two little ones will stay home with Phil. We just can't afford to take everyone....very sad...but, the time with the girls will be so much fun. I'm looking forward to it and looking forward to seeing Nate again.