To say that the past few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind would be an understatement. It all feels like a blur. We left home on Dec 19, heading for Jackson, Tennessee, and Alicia's college graduation. The ceremony was very nice, but we were all anxious to get on with packing up her stuff. She moved out of her apartment the next morning and four cars took off for Panama City, Florida.
When our family arrived at the condo we'd reserved, we were shocked to discover that the condo had been foreclosed on in July and we were the victims of a thief/scam artist. Well, maybe that is a strong way to put it...but this man and his family have lost several condo units they had mortgaged and they have been collecting money from unsuspecting tourists ever since. I hope I'm never desperate enough to mess up much deserved holidays of others, but I really just feel sorry for this man. I plan to send him a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and pray for him as the wheels of justice slowly turn so that maybe we can get our money back. But the condo organization rented us another unit (there are lots of empties in Florida this time of year), and we happily moved in.
We celebrated a surprising white Christmas -- when we opened the curtains Christmas morning there was an extremely heavy blanket of fog covering everything -- we could hardly see the railings on our porch! Alicia's future in-laws lent us a tree with all the trimmings, and we had our traditional cinnamon rolls and tagless unwrapping frenzy. Later that day the fog cleared and we were able to go to the beach and dip our toes in the water.
The kids went to the beach a few times, and to quote our 16 year old, Sammi, the ocean water wasn't too cold once your body went numb (I took her word for it). The day after Christmas Alicia and I went to buy her wedding present -- a tree and basic trimmings, then all the girls went crazy at Pier Park mall spending their Christmas shopping money. We had loads of fun and Doug was worried about how we'd fit all of our new treasures in the car for the trip home.
Wedding preparations quickly took over our lives as we prepared decorations for the reception hall, tried on dresses again hoping they still fit, visited, partied, and fretted over details. The rehearsal dinner was a fabulous event open to all of the out of town guests, and we were quickly out numbered by Clay's relatives. We woke up early on Saturday to jump right into preparations, and before we knew it the music started!
Clay and Alicia looked fabulous, and I was reminded how handsome my husband is in a tux...he should wear one more often! The boys looked so grown up in their tuxes, and the girls were all beautiful. I teared up and started hyperventilating when Sammi walked down the aisle, but I was able to hold on until the prayer. I have to say I didn't pray much, but I got my eyes all dry! The wedding was perfect, as was the reception. We planned for 500 people! It was amazing.
I am so thankful for all the people who helped from Hiland Baptist Church. The members there are amazing -- they handled everything from decorations to clean up. We were able to enjoy ourselves and not worry about a thing. Clay's mother was a key to the perfection of the day -- she had lists and friends to cover anything that came up. I'm confident that Alicia is well loved and in good hands!
They are off honeymooning and we are getting reacquainted with St. Louis winter weather. I'm glad to be home, but I wish we were closer!