What a blessing it was today to celebrate the graduation of our 18 year old daughter from homeschool. We have worked long and hard for this, and it was a well-deserved accomplishment for her.
It was a great blessing to have her 20 year old brother there with us.
They had a lot of fun together, and she enjoyed giving him a hard time in her speech :) He has just returned from a deployment in Iraq, and it just happened that he was able to be here for this. He helped a lot with the decorating and everything too, which was great.
The colors definitely suited our daughter - lots of lime green, orange, yellow and hot pink, with zebra stripe accents. I surprised her with balloons, and was thrilled to find ones with polka dots - another of her favorites.
We bought some really bright colored daisies. Her favorite flower is a gerbera daisy, but they didn't have those, so we settled for crazily dyed daisies.
She spent hours and hours over the last few weeks pulling out special mementos and pictures, and designing her photo collage. This is all her own work.
Here are some closer views of the pictures that made it onto the collage. Sorry about the quality. I was in a hurry and didn't think about the flash. She scattered some of her favorite quotes among the board too.
The two year old was so good today - even without a nap. He just wandered around, amazed at all the decorations, people and food. Here he is getting his first glimpse of the chocolate fountain :)
We had all sorts of goodies, but I missed getting a picture of some of them. The friend who coordinated the whole party for us has the chocolate fountain, and we had marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, pretzels and popcorn puffs for dipping. We had pineapple too, but I put it in the refrigerator and we all forgot to get it out until the party was over. OOPS :) On another table, we had the cake, lime punch and crackers and cheese. There was no shortage of snacking ;)
The 7 year old also enjoyed the chocolate fountain - don't you think he looks guilty here as he heads back for more? Notice, not a single drip of chocolate on the plate. Um, yeah. He probably licked it :/ I do think there are traces of chocolate on his face...
My husband started off the speaking with a speech/sermon on why we homeschool. We were all doing pretty good until at the end he broke down and got choked up. That of course made it hard for me and my daughter to get through our speeches :)
I wasn't originally planning on giving a speech. I knew I wanted to say a few words, but the morning of the graduation, I woke up at 4 am, knowing I needed to do more. I decided that when I got up for the day I would jot a few things down. But then I kept waking up every two minutes telling myself I needed to be sure and include such and such, until I finally gave up on sleep and got up and wrote the speech. I'm glad I did.
My daughter was very nervous about giving a speech, but she did a wonderful job.
My favorite thing was how she honored her Dad in her speech. It was so touching, and he cried through the whole thing :)
We surprised her with a diploma and tassel. She didn't know we had ordered it. I really hadn't thought about it until we went to her friends' graduation ceremony and their parents gave them diplomas and tassels.
As a homeschooled student, the diploma isn't accredited, but it was definitely a symbol of what she has accomplished. Besides, I doubt many people will care whether it was accredited or not.
We enjoyed the opportunity to visit with family. My dad and his wife were able to come all the way from the other side of Nebraska to help her celebrate. They are on the left, and my husband's parents are on the right. The lady standing and visiting with them is our good friend Lorrie. We weren't originally going to do a ceremony, and when Lorrie found out, she insisted on coordinating the whole thing for us. I knew it would be too much to try on my own, being three weeks from delivering a baby, so Lorrie stepped in and offered to do everything. And she literally did do everything. They even provided the cake, and all the other food except for the crackers and cheese which was the only thing I had to bring. She took my daughter shopping for decorations and coordinated people to help with the set up and decorating. We showed up, did a little decorating, and enjoyed the fruits of her labors. It was SUCH a blessing, and I owe her big-time. She even arranged for a friend of theirs to do my daughter's senior pictures - which we were not charged for. I can't even begin to tally up how much all of this would have cost if it wasn't for Lorrie.
My in-laws with the little brothers.
This is my oldest son, and my father.
My daughter enjoyed visiting with all her friends.
She has some... colorful ... friends.
After the ceremony they all enjoyed hanging out together outside. There were frisbees and footballs flying, and lots of laughing and giggling. We ended up finally having to leave before some of the friends left. We had another cookout at the lake after the party, with all the grandparents, and one of the out-of-town friends who spent the night at our house.
Lots of silliness after the ceremony. Not sure why she wanted to do it, but my daughter had her brother flip her over a couple of times. They had fun anyway.
One of the things she had on display at her party was her jewelry that she now sells. She does home shows for a company called Premier Designs, and she wanted to show everyone what she does, so we set up a display table.
After the ceremony, we went to the lake for a big steak cookout. It was a lot of fun.
Really messy fun...