Friday, June 25, 2010

Torrey Graduated from 8th Grade ... a Month Ago!

First, I realize I am late with this post. As in really late. The day was crazy.  With a capital C. And, around 10:00, when I thought I could call the day finished, I started getting text messages from my sister demanding to see pictures. I tried to do a post then, but the new computer and I were not bff's yet and I could not post any pictures to blogger from iPhoto. And, in my frustration almost decided to not do a post about the day. Almost.

The fun actually started on the night before. My parents flew into town. I was a bit giddy from having completed 15 (out of 16) conferences. Torrey was feeling like a high schooler. Prematurely I might add. And, there were gifts. It was a good night.
Oh, I forgot the BEST part. Someone got her braces off the day before. Joy. Joy. Joy. Perhaps she wasn't so premature with the high school thing after all!
 In between Grammy and Gram who enjoyed watching her open her presents.
Torrey got a charm bracelet for Christmas. Dean and I have had the most fun filling up the bracelet with charms that represent big days in Torrey's life. She got her class year and a shoe to represent heading into high school and her first dance. Linda and Paul gave her a diploma for 8th grade graduation and she got a popcorn charm for getting her braces off.
My parents got her a beautiful cross necklace from Israel. The stone inside is greenish-blue. Love it.
Someone enjoys a little cash. She squirreled it away in her savings account pretty quick. Proud of her for that!

Dean and I got her a guitar. She has been wanting one, but I didn't know she could play the thing.  She whipped it out and played a song.  She has been amazing us with songs she is teaching herself. Dean was hoping she wouldn't love it so he could have it for himself!
The next morning we headed to school for her graduation ceremony.
She walked in (and out) with her friend Ethan. Makes me sad to see her so grown up ... she has become an amazing young lady.

Each of the students were presented with a Bible (to use in their 9th grade Bible class) and a diploma. Her friend Elizabeth gave a beautiful speech. A young man who graduated from Second 5 or 6 years ago gave a challenge to the students. It was a lovely service.
The class of 2014. Torrey is smack dab in the middle!
My dad and I ran across the street before the service so my dad could buy Torrey flowers. She loved them ... and, he loved getting them for her!

Oh, sweet Torrey.  How much you are loved!  And, how much you love.  You have been our greatest gift ... beyond what we are worthy of! God has plans for you that are beyond your wildest imagination.  We can't wait to watch them unfold as He continues to grow you into the young lady He has planned for you to be since before you were born! Enjoy High School ... and make every moment count!
Torrey Elisabeth Townsend
Class of 2014

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This Vacation is Brought to You by British Airways

This post marks the end of our trip to Israel in March.  Let me begin by saying that I should have done this either there or sooner ... I am blaming jet lag for the fact that I can't remember half of what we did!  Must go back.

Anyways, all was going according to plan until Tuesday.  On Tuesday we heard rumblings that British Airways was going on strike beginning Saturday ... which would be the day we were due to head home.  On British Airways.  We didn't take it seriously at first, but around 10pm Dean checked the status of our flight home only to discover our flight from London to Houston had been cancelled.  He then spent the next TWO hours on the phone with a customer service rep trying to find a way home.  She finally determined that our best bet would be to take the flight to London and hope that we could make it out on a flight on Monday.  

And, that is how we got to spend two days in London on British Airways.

I will stop here and admit that I had a hard time enjoying myself because I was beside myself that I was missing school on Monday.  I felt a bit unprofessional.  When I got home, my school didn't mind a bit ... and no one ever said anything about my jet lagged state.  And, trust me when I say that me in a jet lagged state is not pretty.  At all.

I will also say that jet lag was beginning to kick my butt in London.  

All that to say, we made the most of our time in London ... we figured out the tube (trial and error ... all I'm going to say), rode around on a tour bus, froze (we left a mediterranean country and live in the south ... winter is not our friend), ate fish and chips and mushed peas (Torrey loved), and reveled in the years and years of history that was all around us.  Must go back.

Dean and Torrey on the tube (aka the underground).  We liked it when it wasn't packed with people, which only happened once.  Because of the Olympic games coming to London in 2012, several of the lines were being repaired and we had to hop off and on a few times ... proud to say we became pros.  Sad to say it took a few errors to gain the pro status!
We stopped to take touristy pictures in front of a bank of telephone booths.  (And, shout out to me for putting two pictures side by side ... please don't ask me how I did it.  I have no clue!)
We rode around town on a double decker bus with a tour guide.  You hop off and on when you feel like it (or get bored) ... sometimes your tour guide is hilarious and sometimes not so much.  From the bus we passed the following sights ...
Westminister Abbey ... I think.  It could be St. Paul's Cathedral.  It could be Parliament.  Remember my comment in the first paragraph about doing this earlier?  I give you Exhibit A.
Big Ben.  He made it into quite a few of our pictures ... mainly because we stayed close to the river.
On the bus we learned that the light posts with crowns are on land that belongs to the Queen.  She owns quite a bit of London ... I'm just sayin'.
When Torrey saw a brochure for the London Eye, she HAD to ride it.  You get in a pod with 25 of your closest friends strangers and go around once.  It takes about 30 minutes.  The view is fantastic.  I do not advise riding if you are scared of heights as the entire pod is glass.  Torrey liked it from the ground, not so much from the top!
This was taken BEFORE we rode the Eye ... not as big of a smile afterwards.  Live and learn.  Live and learn.
We were close to the ground here ... either just got on or getting off.  Jet lag.  
The amazing view from the top.  You can see Big Ben, a boat on the Thames, Parliament, Westminster Abbey.  It was a clear day so we could see pretty far.  Worth the trip ... to me anyways.
  Torrey by the river with Big Ben in the background.
By far one of my favorite pictures from a vacation that wasn't supposed to be.  But, I'm glad it was because it was a great adventure for my little family.  Thanks British Airways!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

I'm sure you are thinking that the "sweet surprise" is the fact that I am finally updating my blog. It has been awhile. So long, in fact, that my blog said "who are you?" when I tried to log on. Nice.

Today we headed to our favorite swimming hole. That would be the one in Linda and Paul's backyard. We spent Memorial Day there ... but, you didn't know that because the updates on the blog have been, well, never long ago. One day this summer you will check in and see an update about Memorial Day and you will smile because it was fun. But, I digress ... as usual.

Anyways, we went to Pinehurst with our towels, the dogs and the key to Linda and Paul's house ... because they weren't home. They are traveling across America to go to Paul Andrew and Stephanie's wedding. Summer School is keeping us home. You didn't know about Summer School? Man! I have to update the blog!

We pulled up to the house and there in the driveway was Mike and Jessica's truck ... because great minds think alike. Actually, Mike was on his way to the airport to attend the above mentioned wedding. He didn't stay long. At all. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon in the pool. A HOT afternoon in the pool.
A. enjoyed showing off his Spiderman bathing suit. The only time he spent out of the water was when he was on the side ready to jump in ... he is becoming quite the swimmer!
E. and her goggles. Scrumptious!  She swam and swam and swam ... and most of the time her goggles were perched precariously on her face. Later in the day I realized she was wearing the goggles, her life vest and purple beads. Girlfriend knows how to accessorize!
Just in case you think E. holds the market on scrumptious ... A. is pretty delicious himself! I had to take this picture because he wanted to see himself in the last one. Technology is amazing.
Torrey found a friend. A. announced that Torrey was his friend. Swoon. E. came up to me later in the day and said "Excuse me Ma'am. Would you get off that seat? I want to get on it." ... Ma'am.  

And, I totally sacrifice my dignity to show you this picture of A. swimming in the deep end ... and me in my bathing suit. Please, for the love of Pete, focus on the child!

We didn't know that Jess and the kids would be at the pool. We haven't seen them since they arrived back in the states from their exile in Germany. Love that they live close. Love that we could spend a quiet afternoon swimming together. Love that it won't be the last time.

We actually snuck up to Linda and Paul's because Torrey has been dying to get Zoey in the pool. Anyone who knows Zoey knows that she loves her family. Period. We knew that, while Hattie and Gussie are sweet dogs, they would have sent Zoey straight into therapy. So, since Hattie and Gussie were gone, today was our one and only chance.
Zack was a nut about the pool ... he didn't want to get out. Zoey wasn't quite sold on the whole pool experience. It didn't help that she walked up to the pool and walked right in ... I guess she thought she could walk on water. She did enjoy her perch on the float, though!

So, thanks Linda and Paul for letting us use the pool. Please don't take back your key!