Um, can we talk about this?
This lovely, huge mural is at a park on Main Street in my hometown of Porterville. I had no idea it was there until I went to visit last week and happened to see it. I hadn't been back in about a year, so I was surprised to see this new addition. First of all, I'd like to point out what a big deal music is to the city of Porterville, as you can see by the fact that there's a giant painting of the high school bands and directors in the middle of town. Second of all, I love that there's a giant picture of Mr. Anderson on it, since he was my band director and my mom's band director. Thirdly, I'd like everyone not from Porterville to finally realize that it was cool to be in band! Everyone was in band. I got to go to New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, the Grand Canyon, Florida (Disneyworld!), Universal Studios, and Disneyland all because I played that lovely alto sax. And yes, I can still march flawlessly, in case you were wondering.
Speaking of band and the great musicians who encouraged the love of music in thousands of kids in town, I'd like to take a moment to talk about my dad, who recently obtained his teaching credential. He's been a middle school band director for a couple of years, while in school, while also continuing his other full-time job of being a pastor. His graduation was the reason for my visit, as my siblings and I planned a surprise graduation party for him to celebrate this great achievement. (Fun fact: he also got the highest grades in his program - go figure.)
We had a fun time surprising him and Sam got a video of it, though I can't figure out how to transfer it to the computer from my phone. Oh well. Friday night was spent with our immediate family, and then Saturday was Nathan's first birthday party. I was so glad to be able to be at both family celebrations, since I miss out on most of those now.
Here's Nathan with his cake. That kid loves to eat. Definitely related to me.
Sam had to leave on Sunday, but I was able to stay until Wednesday to try and connect with as many Porterville friends as I could and spend as much time with family as possible. I think I did pretty well squeezing in dates with friends, though I didn't see enough of everyone and there were a few people I didn't get to see (like you, Ashley! So sad you weren't at church!) I realized I didn't get a picture with Priscilla or Briana or Juliann (boo), but here are the poor souls that I refuse to lose touch with who are forced to spend time with me when I'm in town.
It was great spending time with these friends, albeit bittersweet. I have so many special memories with each one of them, and they have all played a part in helping me become who I am. But it was hard to say goodbye, and sad to realize that we aren't present for the day-to-day interactions we used to enjoy. I'm so blessed to know these women; I only wish I could see them more frequently.
And, as great as it was to see friends, I must admit that my favorite part of my trip was being Aunt Kimmy. I love these kiddos.
I finally got to meet Charity! She is such a happy girl and loves to smile.
She also loves time with her Uncle Sam.
Unfortunately, Nathan didn't remember me.
Eventually he realized he liked me, but not until the day I left, after a game of peek-a-boo.
Spreading the love of cats to the next generation, naturally...
Speaking of cats, I got to see Lucy!
Ring Around the Rosie.
Samantha couldn't care less about posing for the camera when I asked her to (so unlike her Aunt Kimmy) but when we finally got her to smile, this is what she did. Awesome.
I also got to see my Grandma - miss her, love her.
And, of course, I got to see Misch. I feel like I look more like my sisters with blonde hair...maybe?
And, unfortunately, the only picture I got of my parents and me...not a quality photo, but quality parents. :)
So thankful for these opportunities to see my family and friends!