Sunday, October 18, 2009

Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo

There's also a Kokomo, Indiana...

Saturday afternoon I got in the car with those people (the ones who live in my house) and we went on a 3 hour road trip to that very place. The one in Indiana that is.

It didn't start off well.

Before we left, the Buckeyes were losing. That meant Paul was holed up in the basement until 2 minutes before we needed to pull out of the driveway. That means everything you think it means: I did all the packing, I got all the kids ready and on and on and on. It also means as he was running out the door, he grabbed whatever it is he needs for an overnight trip.

I jumped behind the wheel because a)Paul drives like a grandpa on a normal day b) he was so depressed about the OSU game that he would have driven even slower and c) we had to pick Gracie up at a birthday party on the way. Bottom line: the whole trip had a timeline. Gracie needed to be picked up at her party right when it ended... for obvious reasons. And, we were headed 3 hours away for a surprise party. Kinda ruins the surprise when you pull in WITH THE PERSON YOU'RE TRYING TO SURPRISE!

I knew the whole 3 hour drive I'd hear about the Buckeye's loss. Paul always tries to act like it doesn't bother him. Really, it depresses the life out of him. Over the years, he's tried to be more grown up about the losses, but I read right through it. He used to say, "Man! I can't believe they lost." He'd rehearse plays with me... like I'd remember them. He'd go over their record to see where they could possibly end up in the polls and then he'd decide if there was a possibility they could play in the National Championship game. He would go over all the scenarios with me. And, I was such a good wife. I'd listen and try to interject when and where I could.

His new grown-up approach sounds more like: "Ya know, the older I get, the less these Buckeye victories mean to me." Or, "They can't win 'em all." Or, "Just because Pryor isn't doing well... I mean Tim Teebow lost 4 games his sophomore year." These comments come... oh, every 5 minutes.

Since he is so "grown-up" about it now, he didn't wake up Sunday morning and say, "I had a bad dream the Buckeyes lost to the worst Big 10 team." He used to always wake up and say something like that after a loss. Instead, since we were in Indiana, every time he would see a Purdue sticker on someone's car, he'd just start yelling at them. "Oh!! GO AHEAD...GLOAT!!"

Poor guy!

We were on our little trip this weekend to visit our favorite teenager. Her name is Abby and she is turning 18 this week. Her parents planned a surprise party to honor her and bless her. No, it was not your typical surprise party. But, then again, Abby is not your typical teen. And, her parents, they're not typical either. If you're ever around them, you leave... just wanting to be better.

I'm going to continue to tell this story with pictures. Although, I know this is going to surprise you, but I forgot my camera. All the pictures were taken with my iphone... hence the quality.

I missed the first picture I tried to take. Gracie yelled, "LOOK! Horses!"

To which I replied, "Or deer!"

Clearly, she either needs to get out more or the poor kid needs some glasses.

In this picture, I was trying to capture the first Target I had ever been to. Many, many times in our married life, Paul and I have headed over to Kokomo, Indiana to visit the T family. When we were first married and we passed this same Target, I will never forget asking, "What's Target?" To which Paul replied, "Just a store. No big deal."

If I knew then, what I know now AND we had not been married, I may not have married him. Target- just a store! Are you kidding me? Just saying Target makes me happy. And, he didn't think it was a big deal. He knew about Target because he had lived with the T family for a couple of years.

I can't talk about it anymore. Just know it was the first Target I had ever been to. And, when I was trying to take a picture... with my phone... I said, "Oh! It's so dark! I can barely see the picture." He said, "You could just put any Target picture up and no one would know the difference." Can you believe him? Trying to compromise my character like that!

One more rabbit trail and then I'll head back to the party.

My good friend Jennifer tested my character a few weeks back... at church no less! I saw my mom walk in the doors of the church. She has those transition glasses... they transition between sunglasses and regular glasses. (I'm so smart.) So, I wasn't being very nice and I said, "I hate those glasses." And, I do. They remind me of Marcy from the Peanuts. Every time I see someone wear them I think of Marcy talking to Peppermint Patty, "Sir....." (Peppermint Patty, that's a discussion for another time, huh?)

So, Jennifer and I were sitting at a table and my mom comes walking up. Jennifer says, "Hey Peggy! I like your glasses!" Then, she looks straight at me and says, "Do you like her glasses?"

My chin hit the table and I said, "No! No, I don't like her glasses and I just told you that!"

I do like the frames, but that is beside the point. Can you believe my 'friend' would do that to me? I mean with friends like that..........

Soooo... Abby's party was in a barn and I do not think Pottery Barn themselves (haha!) could have done a better job decorating or setting up.

There were pictures of Abby growing up (Stacey can remember her camera obviously) all over the place... on the tables, hanging from the clothesline, etc...

Abby with my kids... side view. Too much work to move around to the front.
Ummm... I hate pork. I adhere to Old Testament dietary food laws. Apparently, over the years, the T family either a) didn't get the memo or b) they don't care. I'm thinking b. Final answer.

That bounce house cracked me up! Never seen one like that!

That's Stacey (Abby's mom) giving directions for the food. This is what she said and I am quoting her verbatim. "The food is laid out over there on the manure spreader... but try not to think about that too much."

Are you kidding? Pork on a manure spreader. I was done!
Jon and Stacey T praying for the food and the reason we are all together. And, speaking of praying for food, why oh, why do we pray it'd be blessed to our bodies? I don't want it blessed to my body!
Stacey always thinks of everything. A little picnic table with fall pictures for the kids to color.

Abby- they made her sit there while they tortured her and made her cry. Poor kid. (more on that in a minute)
Jackson can be good and sit and color. I am not going to mention that earlier I heard there was a fight outside and I sent Paul to check and yep, sure enough it was Jackson. (In his defense, I don't know that he's ever gotten in a random fight like this before. Of course it was the other kids fault!)
While Abby sat on the torture chamber, people came up and read blessings and prayers over her. This is Abby's sister Ellie, who is 9 years younger. She wrote about all the reasons Abby is the greatest sister and why she loves her.

This is Stacey's really good friend. She wrote a book, practically, filled with scripture and all the things she was specifically praying for Abby. She talked about watching Abby grow up and how it was such a joy and on and on and on.

Yes! I cried. A lot. I don't cry much. I fight it at all costs!
This is one of Abby's teachers. More of the same!

About this time, since there had been 3 people up so far, I turned around and looked at Paul and said, "Good thing you took some time and wrote all your stuff out!" Then I wanted to fall on the floor and laugh at myself. Well, it was either that or fall on the floor and crawl away in case he embarrasses all of us with his lack of preparedness. (If you have not read his first funeral, you must! Click here!)

This was a man who came to know the Lord through the T family. He talked about how Abby has influenced him. (He is also the boy Jackson got in a fight with.)
And, since his enemy stood with his dad, well.... Jackson must do the same. Please notice the lack of paper in the hand of my husband.

I guess I am happy to say, he did a great job. He was funny! He lived with Abby so he had all kinds of good stories. Like the time she wanted a drink and he thought she wanted apple juice with chocolate syrup in it and so that's what he gave her... and she drank it like that for quite awhile. Abby was one of the flower girls in our wedding, she cried when Paul dressed up like Barney for one of her birthdays and on and on and on.

Then he cried when he said how much he loved Abby and how she was like a little sister and how he'd love it if his girls turned out just like her. Then, because he is a walking book of memorized scripture, he gave her 3 verses for her life. He was last and so he also prayed over her.

And, he summed it up by saying how different our world would be if there were more Abby's.

He's right. I am not sure I can do justice in describing her. She is loves Jesus, she's pure, she's never been in any trouble. She's smart... wants to be a doctor or a nurse and probably wants to use that to serve the people of India... where she thinks she's been called. (Her and her dad went on a missions trip there in January) Abby is witty and funny and has a great personality. She can play the piano and act and swim and play soccer and.... have you heard enough?
Singing Happy Birthday!
They had live music... everything from worship to country to pop. They were so good!
And... somehow, Gracie makes a good friend at EVERY event she goes to like this. SO cute!

After this part of the party, they whipped out a bunch of teenage food and whole slew of Abby's friend showed up.

We left at 10 pm. We were tired and frozen. We took Ellie and our tribe and went back to their house and went to bed. I think the rest of the T family rolled in about 1 am.

It was a great night!

Happy Birthday Abby! We love you and we can't wait to see what God does with you!!

Aruba, jamaica ooo I wanna take you
Bermuda, bahama come on pretty mama
Key largo, montego baby why dont we go

Off the florida keys
Theres a place called kokomo
Thats where you wanna go to get away from it all


Tony and Rett said...

AWWW what a neat event! What a celebration of life!

She sounds like a wonderful woman. Someone others can truly look up to!

So glad you got to spend some time with her family.

Next time, though...stop by our neck of the woods! I promise, I won't sing the Boilermakers theme song...I'm IU alumni after all!

P.S. A friend of mine found out she's having a baby boy this week. His name will be...Paul will be proud...Tressel, after the coach!

gnangle04 said...

The T's kinda sound like my family...NOT!

Really though, what neat people! How many 18 year olds' are celebrated like that?

The "or deer" cracked me up!!

Chubby Baby Designs said...

WOW! What a blessing she is! Inspired me and challenged me to pray more for my children!

Gina said...

That sounds awesome! What a fun family!!