Several years of my childhood were spent growing up in Starkville, MS. While we were there, we were blessed with some amazing neighbors who, through the years, became more like family than friends. It's been more than 20 years since we moved away, but we've all kept in touch and have visited with one another many, many times. Mrs. Carol (who could totally pass for the next Martha Stewart...minus the criminal record) e-mailed us not long ago to plan a surprise birthday party for Beth (not to be confused with my sister, Bethany...although they've been friends since birth). It took all of a week for the party to lose its surprise status, but it was a ball of fun, laughter, and "strolling down memory lane" all the same.
Our family, my parents, and Bethany and her family all scooted down to Starkville from our various Alabama cities. Once we got there, we spent the first who knows how long chatting and catching up with everyone outside. Please note that it took my mom all of about three seconds to get a grandbaby on her hip!
From there, it was time to eat!! Our family always loves to dine, but when Mrs. Carol and Mrs. Mary Sue have been in charge of the menu, we have to wipe the drool from our faces. These ladies have amazing talents in preparing and serving beautiful (and even more delicious) meals. Once upon a time...oh, about nine years ago...they went above and beyond anything I had ever experienced when they catered a gorgeous wedding reception for one Josh and Allison Lewis. Delightful!!!
The "kids" (which included everyone under the age of 50...I might get myself in trouble over that one) all sat inside to eat in the dining room. Now remember, I live in a house with three children aged four and under.
I'm used to noise.
But we were a particularly exuberant bunch that day! It was only when I stepped out onto Mr. Bill and Mrs. Carol's brand new front porch where the grown-ups were eating that I witnessed the stark contrast to the madness I had just left.
They were enjoying a peaceful meal with the quiet tweeting of birds to accompany them in the background. I'm pretty sure I could hear the tinkering of china as they partook of their delicious lunch!
After we all stuffed our tummies, it was back outside for some playtime. The kids had loads of fun on the swingset that Mr. Bill built.
This isn't the house they lived in when we were next-door neighbors, but they had this same swingset in their original home, so it was particularly fun for me to watch my little ones swing in the same seats I used to sit in. And of course, Mr. Bill is as good a pusher as ever!!
Once they were done swinging, the bigger little ones (did you get that?) decided to take a stroll through the immaculate garden...
...while the littler little ones (confusing, isn't it?) stuck closer to home.
Emma got tired after a while, so she quickly turned into a little cuddle-bunny.
But all it took was a couple of notes of "Happy Birthday", and we were all back at the house and ready to eat again!
Beth is a special girl, and we were happy to be able to celebrate her 25th birthday with her.
Besides the food, there were two other highlights of the trip for the kiddos. The first was Engineering 101 with Mr. Jeremy. He took pieces of leftover wood from the deck and made all sorts of fun things for the kids to enjoy. Who knew that holding a piece of wood out for a child to walk under could be so much fun?!?
But it wasn't all about Mr. Engineer and his mad skills...Jack gave him a little guitar lesson as well!
The other big treat of the day was playing with Ziggy, the puppy dog (although I don't know if Ziggy would agree that it was all that much fun!)
If you haven't noticed many pictures of the Beths, that's because they spent most of their time looking through old photo albums and reminiscing about their days together (although I heard quite the frequent unnecessary comment about me in my somewhat awkward preteen years!)
Wow...what a day! We ate, we played, we laughed, and we ate some more. The only thing left was Snoozer Time...and Bailey was happy to knock that one off the list!
Whenever all of our families were together, we used to take a photo of the five girls together in order of height on a staircase. Since we're all grown women now, the stair picture doesn't work quite as well, so we huddled up for one last shot before we headed back home.
Goodbye until next time. We love you all!!