I have been practicing and training for over 2 months for Fred Astaire's Showcase event at the Palladium in St. Pete on May 31st, and I can't believe it's finally over. I had 2 individual numbers (with my dance instructor), and 1 group number, and I must say, I have been having the time of my life!! I absolutely love dancing, and this to me was my little 'dancing with the stars' type of moment without the 'star' part (since I'm no star) and without the judges part since this was just a show for fun! But I did the whole nine yards, including the spray tan and the hair and makeup!! Lol! My first number was a hip hop dance to Mercy Me's song Grace Got You. My 2nd number was to the song Stray Cut Strut, just because I think it's a funny song. The group number was to the song Surf Crazy, so of course we had the fun beach theme going on! The lighting was not that great for photos, so the pictures are a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea. Tim and all the kids were there, and I am really wishing we had taken a family photo - argh! Plus my friend Nancy and another dear friend, Ronda, came to cheer me on! The week before our best friends, the Perrella's, and our favorite former next door neighbors, the Talkington's, all came to the dress rehearsal! I felt very blessed for all the support and for the incredible staff at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brandon. It has been an experience of a lifetime!
Well, Nicholas' birthday was a week long event! It started at midnight on 5/16 (his actual birthday), when I stuck a candle in one of the pancakes I had made for Nicole and her 2 girlfriends who were spending the night, lit the candle and put it in front of Nicholas and we sang, 'Happy Birthday" to him as the candle did its best impression of the leaning tower of Pisa! Lol! Then at noon on his birthday, Tim and I took him to a nice restaurant for lunch and then took him to Cricket Wireless and chipped in on a new phone for him:
When we asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday he said he wanted to go visit the Hoffman's, our dear friends in North Carolina. He had to work the weekend after his birthday, so we went Monday through Thursday of this past week. Noah is at college doing a summer A term, so the rest of us loaded up in Tim's vehicle and drove the 10 hours to the Hoffman's! When we arrived Monday evening we were welcomed by this cute little sign from the Hoffman's! Now you can see why he wanted to go there for his birthday! Laura is definitely the hostess with the mostess! We had a lovely dinner together and then just spent the evening hanging out and 'visiting' as my dad would say. The next day, Leya (the daughter) took anyone who wanted to go horseback riding. So, Nicole, Nicholas, and I all took our turns on her horse - so much fun!
When we came in from horseback riding we were greeted with a work of watermelon art created by Nathan who carved Nicholas' name using a watermelon - how cool is that?!!
That afternoon Tim and I took a dip in the pool, and Leya challenged him to jump in pretending he was walking on water. Check out the photo I snapped of that - I don't know if it looks like he was walking on water but it sure made us laugh pretty hard! Then we had a tea party with just us girls. It was a peach black tea, and I haven't historically been much of a tea drinker but this stuff was fabulous! We started out the tea party trying to be prim and proper, but we rapidly declined with burps and just overall uncouth behavior that left us in stitches laughing at ourselves! We settled into some deeper conversation that was really precious and life giving - love this family SO much!!
That evening we celebrated some more with steaks on the grill from one of their own cows cooked by the master chef himself, Mr. Scott Hoffman! And then it was time for cake and ice cream. So sad the pictures I took turned out so blurry, but you get the idea! After cake and ice cream we asked Nicholas to share what his life is like now and what he wants to do in the future, and we all went around the circle and prayed for him. It was a very special moment for him that I could tell he appreciated a lot!
The next day, Wednesday, we went on a lovely hike up in the mountains, with cool breezes and a lake vista below - so sorry the picture doesn't capture the beauty we saw!
That evening Scott and Laura and Tim and I sat outside by their pool planning a joint vacation with them that we have been talking and planning with them since the beginning of the year. They had invited us to join them in July in Montana to help them celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary (she was in our wedding and we were in theirs), so we had fun dreamscaping about all the fun things we want to do while we're there. We had all purchased most of our plane tickets already, so now it was just a matter of planning the fun stuff to do, along with car rental stuff. This vacation planning is hard work and we were at it for a few hours!
The next morning (Thursday) Scott drove Nicole and I to the airport early where we hopped on a cheap Allegiant flight home, while the boys left in Tim's vehicle to go on their own adventure. They originally were going to go ziplining and hiking, but they ended up going to Samaritan's Purse Headquarters in Boone, NC. They will be leaving in 2 weeks (from yesterday) to go to Alaska and join Samaritan's Purse building a church in Dillingham, Alaska, so Tim wanted to connect with some of the people there since they were so close. He had also heard that they were developing a ministry to pastors, so he wanted to see if there was anything he and I could do to help in that effort. Long story short, they ended up spending most of the day there. Nathan said it was very inspiring, and he felt like he learned some valuable lessons as they spent time with an Aftercare Manager with the ministry's Heal Our Patriots Operation, and with the senior staff Chaplain. They spent the night with friends from church who have and were at their cabin up there, and then drove to Jacksonville on Friday to visit with Nathan's childhood friend, Josh, and his wife and their baby! It's been a full week, so Memorial Day (today) was spent completely holed up in our house by Tim, myself, and Nicole, while Nathan & Nicholas had to work! I spent some time this morning remembering the people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and prayed for their family members. I hope everyone has enjoyed this Memorial Day with family and friends honoring the memories of others who have given us the freedom to do so. Blessings to all!
We celebrated Mother's Day last night instead of today due to all the of the kids' schedules, and I loved having all of us together! It is such a rare thing now, that when it happens it just fills my cup! Tim picked Noah up from his dorm yesterday (he's doing a summer term there at Florida Polytechnic) and then the two of them went to Nathan's college and helped him clean everything out of his dorm room and move back home for the summer. Once they got home, Nicholas got home from work and Nicole came home from a graduation party and we all got ready, loaded up in Nicole's van, and went to church together. I absolutely loved it!! We snapped a picture together on our way into the service in the lobby, so here it is:
We had a lovely dinner together at home after the service and then played Quiplash on Nicholas' Xbox that he connected to the TV. What an ingenious game using your cell phones and a lot of your own imagination! I loved listening to the banter of the kids during dinner. There were definitely parts of their conversations that I didn't understand due to the generation gap, but it didn't matter - it was just a lot of fun for me watching them have a lot of fun!
While I'm here, I might as well talk about a couple other things that have happened since my last update. One was that I was able to meet my former IBM boss and a coworker for lunch in Tampa. I loved catching up on their lives! Here's a picture of us as we were leaving Bahama Breeze:
The only other thing noteworthy and photoworthy was the day after Easter, Nicole went skydiving! Yesterday my phone sent me one of those 'rediscover this day' photo collages, and a year ago it was Nathan jumping out of a plane! Anyway, I got the following pictures of Nicole and her friend, Rachel (who also went) clowning around on one of those 'your face here' cutouts, then suiting up, walking to the plane, and then an out of focus picture of Nicole high-fiving her tandam skydiving partner after they landed. She absolutely loved it, and I loved that she is safe and sound!
That's it for now! Hope everyone has a super fantastic Mother's Day!!!
Tim & Jodie