Monday, August 17, 2009

North Carolina Vacation

We had a wonderful family vacation in "Outer Banks" (or OBX) North Carolina despite the twelve-hour drive with a broken air conditioner!

We had a great time visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Century of Flight Monument in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills (named after foul tasting rum "that would kill the devil" which washed ashore after shipwrecks). Other fun sites we visited close by were Jockey's Ridge State Park, a 426-acre park, and site of the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast, located in Nags Head (tying lantern to a horses head or nag, and luring ships to shore for plundering).
We visited three lighthouses and museums which included Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Island lighthouses. This is the view from the top of Cape Hatteras lighthouse, the single person on the ground in green is my mother, who joined us on the trip.

This is Bodie Island lighthouse in Buxton, located close to our beach-house in Avon, which was apart of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, and one of the best places to look for seashells.
Everyone had fun "body surfing" and "boogie boarding" in the big waves. This beautiful, natural, mostly secluded beach, with the finest white sand, was 1,000 feet from the beach house we rented for ten days. A little over 1,000 feet in the other direction from our house was the "sound" side of the island with huge waves which brought wind-surfers and kite-borders from all over the world.
Other highlights of the trip were visits to fabulous museums, Ocracoke Ferry and Island, national wildlife refuges, island marshes, boating/fishing piers, and sea-life art galleries. Cherished moments included relaxing in the hot tub, reading on the deck's hammock, collecting seashells, watching the Sandpipers (cute little birds) play "chicken" with the waves, walking the beaches at night and viewing the lighthous' spotlights, and watching the sunset on the ocean's horizon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Graduation Gifts & Nursing Pinning

After my surprise graduation party, we opened gifts and cards--I want to thank everyone who sent and gave cards, and for all of the thoughtful gifts!

This is the card I received from my family, and it really does summarize how I feel about starting a real job!

Next, we celebrated our own version of the "Nursing Pinning Ceremony" since I was unable to attend mine. I was again surprised by my amazing husband who presented me with two Nurses Pins. . . in the form of Diamond Earrings!!!

The girls got to do the honors--Brittney, Aubrey, and Merinda each assisted with the "Pinning."

I graduated with my Bachelors of Nursing Degree from BYU-Idaho twenty years after I first began college. I have tried to stress the importance of finishing college before being a mother, because being on the twenty-year plan just too difficult (even with all of my family's incredible support). However, after the surprise party, special "nurses pinning", and vacation to North Carolina, it ended better than I could of ever imagined!

Surprise Graduation Party

Brad threw me a surprise graduation party at the park. I was so clueless, that even after everyone yelled. . . . . . "surprise" I still didn't know it was for me. Finally Merinda had to say, "Mom, this party is for you because you graduated, silly!" I have been pretty dense before, but this one takes the cake!

It was a wonderful party with all of my good friends such as the Bishop and his wife...

Longtime friends, and dear friends from Church (The Thunhorst who sadly are moving, and Clayburns who were also in our same ward in Saint Louis), and my running partner and her husband.

And the best neighbors anyone could ask for, like the Masons and Durbins (Ursala left, conspired with my daughters, and was responsible for the decorations and helping Brad bring everything together).
I can not thank my husband and children enough for all of their support and the many sacrifices they made during the past three years. I also want to thank my wonderful husband for acknowledging my graduation, and for truly making this all come to pass, for without his help and support I would never had made it--Thank you Brad, I love you!!!