“My Senior”

My posts are a little “senior heavy” right now . . . but I expect I’ll be posting less senior/graduation related material after May 10.  Then it will be college related material . . . just kidding.  I do plan on writing on more varied topics in the future, but right now, this beautiful girl is pretty much all that I’m thinking about:

Taken at the Galveston Railroad Museum.  Photo by Starling Hope Photography.
Taken at the Galveston Railroad Museum. Photo by Starling Hope Photography.
My girl.  Photo by Starling Hope Photography.
My girl. Photo by Starling Hope Photography.
Jami Webster Jinkins -- Photo by Starling Hope Photography
Jami Webster Jinkins — Photo by Starling Hope Photography

Kicking and Screaming . . .

but not really.

I’ve been going through photos for a “graduates” slide show that will play during the home school graduation ceremony in May.  I have to narrow it down to 13 photographs that will display while the audience hears a recorded message from me and AJ to Jami.  It is SO hard to narrow 18 years down to 13 photos.  And I haven’t even begun to write the message yet (which cannot be any longer than 90 seconds — thankfully, I can talk pretty fast, so I should be able to squeeze a lot in).

Since she’s going to community college for a year or two, it’s not like she’ll be leaving home the day after she graduates.  But I am still having a hard time with this!  I want to set the clock back, but that’s not the way life goes.  And I’ll be okay later.  But for right now, I do feel like kicking and screaming (quietly).

One of my favorite photos of my girl.
One of my favorite photos of my girl.

My Heart

This girl stole my heart from the moment I saw her 18 years ago....
This girl stole my heart from the moment I saw her 18 years ago….

When I first learned I was going to be a mom, I went into shock/panic mode.  I’d never really been around babies or even small children, other than my younger sister — and there was such a wide age gap, that I was busy with high school things while she was in her little kid years.  It wasn’t until my sister was probably 12 or 13 (and I was 22 or 23) that we really became close.  I didn’t know how to relate to babies or small children.  What does one talk about?  How do you play “baby dolls”?  I always had my nose stuck in a book throughout my childhood, so I was clueless on how one interacts with small ones.

I think it was about 3 months into it when I came out of the “Oh my gosh I’m pregnant what am I going to do? I can’t send it back!” phase.  Suddenly, I started getting a little more excited about things, but I tackled it from a very “Oh my gosh we are responsible for this small human being and must only purchase the best of everything” attitude.  And I’m not talking about designer baby clothes.  I’m talking “Has this car seat been tested and approved by NASA?  What ARE the best baby bottles?” and so on.

I was determined that if I was going to be a mother, I was going to be the best mother I could be.  But I was still afraid.  Her daddy, AJ, kept telling me things would be okay.  And even when it came time for her to be born and a c-section became necessary, he sat next to me in the OR holding my hand and telling me it would be okay.

And it was.

She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  In a nanosecond, I went from being afraid and worried that I might not even like being a mom, to realizing that I would do ANYTHING to protect this beautiful child that God had somehow seen fit to bless me with.

Over the years, I am sure there are some things that I/we could have done better as parents, but overall, I think we did okay.  It doesn’t hurt that she was pretty amazing from the very start.  She is a happy girl, rarely complaining (and when she does complain, it’s for a good reason and doesn’t last very long).  She’s creative – building wonderful worlds on paper with her command of language, making beautiful jewelry with her imagination, and filling our home with music at her beloved piano.  I love hearing from other people how much they enjoy spending time with her — she brings a lot of happiness into the lives of the people around her.

I just can’t believe she’s already 18 years old.

Where does the time go?

Happy birthday, to my beautiful Jami-girl.  I could not hope for a sweeter, lovelier daughter and I thank the Lord He chose me and your daddy to be your parents.  I love you.

— Mommy

Green Furniture and My Little Star

It’s been a busy two weeks … AJ’s been on vacation (summer break) … it always goes by MUCH too fast.  He only has one week left, and then it’s a random state holiday until Thanksgiving.  Here are some of the things that we’ve been involved in:

On Father’s Day he noticed his dad’s next door neighbor had put an old dressing table, probably circa 1930’s, at the curb.  Ever one for a challenge, AJ got our brother-in-law, Tom, to help him load the rickety old thing into the bed of my truck.  There was also an armoire in even worse shape … unfortunately the truck would only hold the dressing table without risking further damage.  When we got home, he began disassembling the dressing table in his spare time (what little he has).  He reglued veneers, carved replacements for missing pieces, began gluing the thing back together, and after sanding it, stained it an English Chestnut, per our daughter’s request.

Here’s the finished product in her newly painted bedroom (her color choice, not mine!):

It’s been a few months ago, but he also built the coffee table below from solid wood floorboards salvaged from his dad’s house when they had a new floor put in.  He brought the floorboards home, removed all the nails, planed them down to a suitable condition and then designed and built this table for me.  He has enough wood left to build two matching end tables, as well!

There are no nails or screws in the table … he used all mortise and tenon joinery and dowels to put the table together.  Pretty cool, huh?  I found the baskets at Target and they fit perfectly on the lower shelf.  They hold our magazines and a few games.

Last night was the 2008 Summer Children’s Musical Theater Workshop Performance.  I was blown away by the professionalism of the production.   Keep in mind, the workshop started this past Monday at 1:00 p.m.  Last night’s performance consisted of 15 actual workshop hours, plus whatever time each child put into practicing at home.  Here are some photos from the dress rehearsal on Thursday:

“Consider Yourself” from Oliver!

Jami is sitting on the second step from the bottom, on the right hand side (above the little girl in the green kerchief).

“It’s a Hard Knock Life” from “Annie”

“My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music

Jami is in the foreground, left hand side … her best buddy, McCauley, is in the center.

“Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof

This was my FAVORITE.  Jami got to play a main role (Hodel) that involved speaking and solo singing parts.  In this shot, the Matchmaker is telling her she’ll make a good match for her.

Another shot, where Hodel is singing about finding the perfect  match. 

I have to tell you, my doors were blown off … when this kid sings with her iPod … well, egads!  But she sang BEAUTIFULLY in this piece.  I kept wondering where she’d been hiding that voice.  Her instructor was very pleased, so I’m thinking that if she continues in this music/theater/dance direction, we may have to look into voice lessons.  We know two very good instructors, so I’ll have to talk with Jami and her daddy to see if that’s a direction we need to go in.

Have a blessed day!

Painting Update

Well, just touching base … the Cuban Orchid went on beautifully.  It took two coats to get the coverage and deepness of color that we wanted, but as my sister has told me many times:  “One coat coverage is a lie.  Any paint label that reads “Covers In One Coat” is just false advertising …”  She told me this a few years ago when I had a “panic attack” while painting my kitchen cabinets.  I could not figure out why the primer was bleeding through … she said, “Do two coats and you’ll be fine.”  And I was. 

Now the Fuchsia Flock is a different story.  It’s going to take THREE coats of that to get the coverage and color we want.  I just don’t think there’s a better paint out there than Valspar and this little experience with Olympic reinforces my opinion.  Right now the wall looks terrible with just one color on it, but I think it will all be okay in the end.  (At least I hope so, because it’s going to take a 5 gallon bucket of Kilz to cover up that pink paint if we have to shift gears … )

I can’t put the second coat on for another two hours and rather than stay up until 2 in the morning (including wait and paint time), I am hitting the hay and starting fresh in the a.m.  See you on the flip side!

Doing a Little Updatin’ Around Here …

My girl is on the precipice of teen-hood.  Of course, I doubt she sees it that way … it’s an adventure!  It’s exciting!  It’s “Mommy, get a grip … I’ll be okay!”

(Fortunately, she promised me that no matter how old she gets, she will always call me “Mommy.”  I don’t know why, but I do not want to be called “Mama” or “Mom.”   Maybe it’s because those are MY mother’s names and I want to be “special”?)

Anyway, we’re doing some room shuffling around here.  A few weeks ago I sold shutters to a couple here in town who own a furniture store.  We negotiated a deal where they got a discount on their shutters and I got an equal discount on some mattress sets that we needed.  My girl is downsizing from a double bed to a twin so that she’ll have more room.  Since we’re moving her into the smaller bedroom so AJ and I can share the larger one as an office (for him) and scrapbooking spot (for me), we decided to go ahead and bite the bullet — paint her “new” room before we put all the furniture back in.  She knew EXACTLY what she wanted. 

I suppose you can detect a “surfer” theme here?  AJ’s taken her out a few times to try out her surfboard and she’s doing pretty well.  So rather than red with a horse theme (what I expected), she threw me a curve ball when she requested this!  We went to Lowe’s to pick up a couple of gallons of paint after I picked her up Sunday afternoon from church camp (She was gone for four days — that was really weird!  I’m not sure if she enjoyed it, as she is really a little homebody, but it was good for her to stretch her wings and try something new.)

Here are the colors she picked.  The first color is on three walls, and the second color is on the fourth wall:

Cuban Orchid (Valspar)

Fuchsia Flock (Olympic)

I can tell you, NEITHER of these paint chips do the VIBRANCY of her selections justice.  It is some BRIGHT in that bedroom.  But it is perfectly girly, perfectly teen-ish, perfectly tropical surfer girl.  And when the walls are good and dry, we’ll move it all back in, I’ll find the vintage reproduction surf posters I used to decorate for AJ’s 40th birthday three years ago and I think MY surfer girl will be very happy.

I hope so … because that pink is going to be a bear to cover up if we ever change the color of the room … and we just may never do that.  (I hate to paint.  This is truly me loving my girl.)   

New Orleans

We went to visit my dad and his girlfriend in New Orleans this past weekend.  This was a difficult trip for me … my parents divorced about six years ago and my sister and I are still dealing with a lot of issues as a result of that.  Whoever says “wait until the kids are grown” doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  The only difference is adult kids don’t worry about their security when their parents divorce. 

The fact remains, my father is getting older (he’ll be 72 in February), and who knows how much longer anyone will be around?  So we went to visit.  On Saturday we went to the Audubon Zoo … that was interesting and Jami enjoyed it greatly.  I’m not a big zoo person … so five hours was a plenty long time to walk around looking at a bunch of smelly animals.  LOL  Seriously, it’s nice to do every once in a while, but not as an all-day event.  Saturday evening, his girlfriend made shrimp creole for dinner and Sunday morning we went to Cafe Du Monde, across from Jackson Square in the French Quarter, for coffee and beignets.  Cafe Du Monde has been serving coffee and beignets 24 hours a day, year round since 1862 … although I expect they closed during the major storms, especially Katrina …. (more text below the photos ….)

The scene across the street from Cafe Du Monde …

An Irish girl in her Greek hat, waiting for her French donuts …

Coffee with chicory, hot milk … and French Beignets … can’t wait for the sugar and caffeine jitters to start …  LOL

After breakfast, we hit the road for the 6+ hour drive home.  With a lunch and dinner stop, it took us about 8 hours to get home.  We were really tired, but when I listened to the messages on the machine, I was so glad we went to see my dad.  Our next-door neighbor, a retired Marine, was found dead next to his pickup truck Saturday morning.  He’d apparently had a heart attack.  He was only a few years older than my dad.  So in spite of our “issues” I was glad that I’d finally made the trip over.

One concern that I was not able to broach with my dad over the weekend was his salvation … he is not a Christian, although he believes that he is.  And because of different things that happened in his marriage to my mom (the Bible thumper),  this is not something that I am able to talk to him about.  He gets extremely angry.  I keep praying that the Lord will send someone across his path that he will listen to.  It was difficult to explain to Jami that my father has heard the Gospel, knows the truth, and chooses to reject it rather than relinquish control over to God.  It disturbed her greatly, but I encouraged her to pray for him (and his girlfriend) …

Your prayers would be appreciated, too … his name is Jimmy and his girlfriend’s name is Adrienne (nickname: “Lamb”) …