Friday, December 18, 2009

Kaitlin Gets Married

First came the lingerie party...

My social work girls
And the wedding
she was gorgeous


Growing up as a preacher's kid, we moved a lot. It had its advantages and disadvantages but one of those disadvantages was that I really don't know where to call "home." So if it's where the heart is, add that it's where some of the best days of childhood where spent, a little house off of France Xing, is my favorite place in the whole world. Today it no longer houses my Grandma, Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin, and I have to admit that I'm still a bit bitter about the fact that life doesn't always work out the way it should. I've been in the house once since my Grandma died and it was incredibly hard. But for this second time since then, I only saw the outside of the house and the feelings that it left me with are indescribable.

France is my mother's maiden name and so since my uncle built the house and owned the land, what better name could there have been?

The memory is stamped into my mind as plain as day. We'd take long, unbearable trips from wherever we happened to be living at the time and finally we'd turn down this road. I can still hear the crunch of the gravel under the tires and feel my little body shaking with excitement. Just like clockwork, I could hardly breath. I was at Grandmas!
Drive down around the back, step over our hand prints that Uncle Kit had helped us put in when he laid the concrete, and Grandma would be there at the window, waiting for us, usually with Ramen for the kids, and vegetable soup for the grown ups. Open up the pantry and of course my favorite foods were always there.

That night Jaclyn and I would get tucked in on the couches by Grandma, and fall asleep to the sound of her clock while she sat in her chair and watched over us. You'd want to wake up early, earlier than anybody else, because that meant you'd get the spot on the coveted stool, right next to Grandma, making biscuits that will never be matched.

The stories could be endless, but that tree right in front of the house, I'll never forget the day it got hit by lighting. We were all in the bathroom having fun with bathtub toys when it happened. The next day my cousin Lindsey and I sat among its broken limbs, hidden from view, as we watched family members taking things from my Grandma's house. Grandma had decided to start giving things away and I couldn't decide who to be more angry at; her or the people who were actually taking her up on it. You couldn't get rid of the things in grandma's house! Everything was always in exactly the right place. She let me pick out a little girl figurine that sat on her mantle above the dining room table. It's one of my favorite possessions. But today that tree is still there and you'd never know that it once hid two little girls as they watched a part of them being taken away and not understanding why it had to be so.

This is the woman in the mountain. Can you see her? Funny how I was afraid she might be gone. But she still lies there, looking up at the sky. Lucky me.

This view is one of my favorites. I don't know why. Maybe it's just because it's my favorite gravel road on earth. Maybe it's because those trees were my playmates. Everything in me wanted to shrink down and become a little girl again. I don't think I have ever been so happy as those days spent tromping around the property with my cousin Lindsey. Our imaginations would run wild which meant the things we could be, were endless. My heart craved those days and I could hardly stand it. Odd that I could be so overwhelmingly in love with a plot of land. I wanted to stand there forever. But instead, that big girl that I have somehow become, got in the car, turned down this road, and drove back to where my uncle now lives. His house is still one of my favorite places on earth because it houses some incredible people, but my heart still aches for home.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The weekends Consistancy

The adventures of the weekend...

Friday night, all the cooks in the kitchen minus Adrienne.

Ramen counts as cooking right?

Grace and I were making things for Kaitlin's wedding shower. This is a recipe from my aunt that I renamed... :)

Saturday I went to Candi's aunt's lakehouse. My batteries died 10 minutes in so most of these are off my new phone but I don't think it did a terrible job.

Chillin on the back porch before lunch.

Throwing balls for the dogs.

From left to right: Cooper a Schnorkie, Teddy a Morkie, and Rawdy a Corkie.
All crossed with Yorkies, it's a Schnauzer, a Maltese, and a Cocker.

Stephanie's first time fishing ever. Did not catch a thing. Can't decide if I'm upset or relieved.

The boys went canoeing. We later followed them. Sorry no pictures. I didn't trust my skills enough to keep technology dry.

and then that evening, I am sorry to say, came Rock Band 2. Sorry for the poor quality. There wan't enough lighting for my phone.

and Sunday, Kaitlin's bridal shower.

gum every time she got the question wrong.

Most of the Social Work contingent all on one ottoman.
The winner of the clothes pin game.

Friday, October 09, 2009

new arrival

My new 2nd cousin was born at 3 am this morning. This is Melanie Autumn Grace France.

A very tired mommy.

and Daddy.

school's out!

This week my Social Welfare Issues and Policies class went to DC with the main intention of talking to our senators about state policies we felt needed some work...
I looked at my stuff ready to head out the door and decided I needed to branch out.

Yeah my camera's pop out screen makes these pictures easier but well...they look like this. This is Lisa and Kaitlin.

Playing Rook

Candi nonchalantly tells me she's my partner.
The other van. Yes we are getting passed by a truck going up a hill. It took us twelve hours to get there, for various reasons.

But then we finally got unleashed in DC and well the results were fantastic.
China Town!

Our hostel

Monday Morning
Me, Candi, and Kaitlin
We were always a force to be reckoned with, especially on Tuesday when we were all in business suits walking as a mass.
This guy picked this flower from the bed by which we were standing and then proceeded to try to get Julie to pay 2 dollars for it. He almost started crying when she wouldn't... hmmmm new business strategies anyone?

Me and Marie on the Metro

The National Association of Social Workers or NASW is the big cheese in our field that can take your career away if you move the wrong muscle... You know what I mean. We get daily lectures about this. So being that we are Social Workers and each profession has it's own jokes that are only funny to you and dumb to the rest of the world, the following pictures became necessary.

The men...they may be small in number but they still think they're pretty cool and we don't tend to disagree.

The ginormous board room. I wish you could see the size of this table. It had a window looking out on the Capital Building.

When visiting the monuments there's just something wrong about only smiling next to it. You have to get creative. I very much enjoyed watching others find crazy ways of taking pictures of them. Here are a few of my entries.

Playing with the shadows
My new classic...

gotta love the unnecessary play-by-play
I found this on the war monument. Never seen that before but it's cute!
mmmm north cackilacky
Nothing interesting. Just a cool picture I took. Or at least I thought so.
The big day. Tuesday meeting in the worship room before going and meeting with our Senators.
Our fearless leader, Mrs. Baker.
After Tennessee Tuesday Breakfast with Senators Corker and Alexander and their staff, we went to go present our cases to some of their aides. This was my group and it was incredibly fun to be able to be a voice for our clients. Some of the issues we brought out, they were having to vote on that day and were really glad to hear our opinions.
We thought we were hot stuff.
And well it's pretty clear that we weren't far off lol.
Tickets to the Senate
in between appointments, off came the heels.

Last day was the Holocaust Museum and a service project but I don't have pictures of the first because they weren't allowed. Sorry.
Caught in a sand storm on the mall. Enlarge this one. I find it rather funny.

We responded to letters from prisoners in which they asked for books and then wrote them back. It was a lot of fun.

Yeah so Mrs. Baker apparently LOVED it. ha ha