Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I haven't celebrated with that many people in a long time!"

To say Jen's 31st birthday was a hit may be an understatement. The gifts, cards, care packages, text messages, blog comments, and video messages were overwhelming! Matt, Jen, Mom, Lindsey, Aunt Penny, and I kicked the party off in the 11th floor conference room at 2:00 this afternoon. We started by opening gifts and then had ice cream and birthday cake, our Mom's chocolate pound cake- Jen's favorite. Then we watched all the video messages- some were sweet and sentimental, and some were just downright hysterical, but all were heartfelt and very much appreciated. They will be a wonderful keepsake for her for years to come. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, for making her feel so loved on this most special of days.

"31 Flavors," continued...

 19. I was a pretty smart student but highschool and I didn't always 'mesh.' Actually, there were a few classes I just altogether clashed with. One such class was geometry. I had pretty much given up on the class for the rest of the year and was convinced the teacher had a true hate for, not only the subject matter, but me as well. About the time I started receiving sub-par grades was about the time she started dishing out extra credit for getting test papers signed. To stay afloat in the class, I had to get every paper signed. Trouble was, Mom and Dad would KILL me if they knew the grades I was averaging. One day, a class period away from hell-on-earth, I realized I hadn't gotten my paper signed. I slipped it out of my bookbag and asked the teacher if I could be excused. He permitted, and I rushed down to Jen's Government and Economics class. I knocked on the door and told the teacher I needed to see Jennifer in the hallway; it was a family emergency. Jen met me around the corner, "WHAT?! What family emergency?? What are you talking about?!" "Well, you've gotta sign Mom's name on this paper. If you don't, I could potentially fail this class. Mom and Dad will flip and may even threaten to send me away to some strict boarding school. We are going to have a full on family crisis if you don't do this for me." (Yes, I poured it on for dramatic effect). She snatched the paper out of my hand, forged Mom's signature, and stomped back to class. Whew. Crisis averted.

18. For those who don't know, Jen's a huge baseball fan. She went to nearly every highschool baseball game, usually with me in tow. While traveling to an away game one stormy Friday afternoon, the rain began to come down in sheets. She scrunched right up to the steering wheel and squinted her eyes through the rain. "Lauren, I mean this rain is really coming down hard. Do you think I should pull over? I mean it's really hard; I can barely even see. Can you see? Should I pull over?" As she blinked the headlights on and off, and after I relished in the moment for a few seconds, I gently replied, "Well, it might help if you cut on the windshield wipers." Problem solved, and we were once again on our way.

17. When we were all living in Jackson, Jennifer and Matt lived just up the road from Lindsey and me for about six months after they were married. Jennifer would bring her and Matt's dog Traveler down to our house on her way to work in the mornings. Traveler would spend the day playing in the backyard with my dog Layla at "Doggie Day Care." One afternoon, I arrived home from work, and opened the front door to find I was smackdab in the middle of a crime scene- blood streaked and splattered across the foyer walls. Given that we were living near a not-so-safe area of Jackson, I was, to say the least, horrified. While I stood paralyzed in the foyer teetering between fainting and quasi-consciousness, Travey came slinking around the corner with his head hung low in shame and tail tucked cautiously between his hind legs. When my head cleared, the first thought was, "Oh no! Where is the kitty?!" Then I noticed the white bulge at the end of his tail. It looked like an enormous Q-tip had sprouted back there. I immediately called Jen at work to get the details... "Oh yeh, Lauren, sorry about your walls. I was in such a rush this morning that when Trav went to jump out of the car, I slammed the door too soon and chopped off the end of his tail. The vet said to just wrap it up good to stop the bleeding, and he should be fine." Good, glad to know the dog'll be fine. Oh and by the way, thanks for the heads up. 

16. While heading back to Jackson from the beach four summers ago, I spent about 45 minutes defending my love of Widespread Panic music to Jen. In the midst of the heated discussion, I proceeded to veer off the Interstate at the appropriate exit, only to veer right back on again. Neither of us noticed until we got to Pascagoula, where Jen casually asked, "You think we oughta turn north at some point?"

15. Speaking of Interstate-exit-mishaps, in college I had the hardest time remembering to take the Vaiden exit off of I55-South to go home to Kosciusko. I'd sail right on to West before realizing I'd missed the exit. Several times, however, I caught myself just as the exit was fading from the rear-view. Jen happened to be hitching a ride with me most of those times. I refused to let that exit beat me, so instead of driving to West, I'd pull over to the side, check to make sure nothing was coming, throw it in reverse, and hightail it back to the exit. On one trip home, after I missed the exit and after traveling back up the Interstate in reverse with me three times too many, Jen decided to get out and walk back to the exit. So here I go, maneuvering in reverse up the Interstate while she stomps along beside the car yelling something about how dumb I am. Even after I made it to the exit and was going forward, she still wouldn't get in the car with me until I had safely pulled into a gas station parking lot. I told her I didn't know why she had to get her panties all in a wad and be so dramatic about it. It sure beat wasting 15 minutes taking the West exit.

14. On away-game weekends in college, we were often found in good ol' Starkville. One Friday afternoon, Jen and I decided we'd live it up there for the weekend, so we loaded up her Acura and took off. She fell asleep just outside of Oxford and since I had only gotten 'general' directions from her before she dozed off, it wasn't long before I had a sneaking suspicion we were lost. I hated to wake her but not one to be a big fan of being lost, I went ahead. "Jen, hey Jen. Hey Jen. Hey, look up for a minute would ya. I think, well actually I'm pretty sure, we're lost. Would ya just look up for two seconds and see if any of this looks familiar?" "Ugh, Lauren!"In her exasperation she flipped her eye mask down, leaned up and looked out the window, "Are you kidding?! It's all kudzu and cows out there. How the heck do you think I'm supposed to know where we are?! We're somewhere in Mississippi, keep driving! Wake me back up when you think we're getting close." Thanks, Jen. All I can say is thank goodness for kind farmers who occasionally do some roadside meandering. 

13. When I was three Jennifer cut my hair the day before playschool picture day. I had an eye that turned in when I was little (at least that's what Mom said, probably because she thought telling me I was cross-eyed sounded too harsh), so I'm sure I thought the new do looked pretty good. Well, in all actuality I really looked like some hobo kid Mom found and felt sorry for. So she stuck a cute dress on this choppy-haired, cross-eyed kid and sent her to school looking like the ragamuffin offspring of the village idiot. Terrible moment. 

12. Jennifer, Lindsey, Griffin, and I got all backwoods-Christmasy one year when we were teenagers and decided it would be fun to hike out into the woods, chop down our own Christmas tree, cart it back home, and trim it with all kinds of homemade ornaments- very Laura Ingalls Wilder style. We trudged around through the thickets a while until we saw the prettiest little cedar on the edge of the woods. The sawing commenced. The little handsaw we'd brought that I'd found in my childhood toolset just wasn't cutting it. Literally. So, the hacking commenced. But no hatchet or ax. We just hacked that little cedar to pieces with what was left of a handsaw. Then the shooting commenced- from the hunters in the woods. So, we waved our little Santa hats (yes, we'd worn them to feel extra festive) around like mad. Once we got the tree back to the truck, we realized it was way too big (think Chevy Chase's Griswold family Christmas tree). So, we sawed the tree in half and drug it into the bed of the truck. Being novice Christmas tree harvesters, we'd forgotten gloves so our hands were covered in sap. When we got back in the truck we noticed our hands were sticking to everything. (Note to self: It's hard to drive when you can't move the position of your hands.) We got home and had to cut the tree in half again so it'd fit in the gameroom. By the time we got it up, we were so sick of dealin' with that stinkin' tree that it just sat there, in all of it's pitiful dry- and undecorated-ness, until mid-January.

11. You'd think we'd learn to not deal with Christmas trees anymore. Not ones to easily give up though, we gave it another go about ten Christmases later when we were living in Jackson. This time the actual obtaining of the tree came about way easier. We just headed to Lowe's, picked one out, and had a very helpful young man tote it to the car for us. Yes, car. We'd forgotten to borrow a truck. So, the three of us- Jen, me, and nice Lowe's guy- just stood around for several minutes scratching our heads. Jen remembered that the back seat of my car would lay down so we stuffed the tree in, tip first, and strapped it down. At a snail's pace, we crept home down Old Canton Road to the sounds of Christmas carols and horns honking and the sights of twinkle lights and my trunk banging up and down on our sweet little tree. Ran into another problem at home. Couldn't get the tree into the stand because of all the undergrowth. I remembered Dad sawing all that junky stuff off in Christmases past, so I called the only neighbor I knew (the one and only Matt Sample, pre-Jen) and asked for a saw. No saw. Plan B. Went and grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen. Jen held the twigs taught, while I hacked. That was the most beautiful tree we'd ever had. It also helped that the good Lord let us keep all our fingers so we could decorate. 

...Hang in there, we're nearing the final 10! Good thing she's not turning 100!

Prayerful Ponderings:
Praise the Lord for a happy birthday for Jen and for loving friends and family that matter so much in times like these. Please remember the family of one of Jennifer's nurses, Kerri. She was killed in a car accident on her way in to work this morning. Jen really liked her and remembered her as being a kind, compassionate and caring person. How our hearts ache for her family. 

The Vandy Verse: 
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:1-14


  1. Wow~Jennifer~sounds like you had a great B-day!!! Good for you! My B-day is on Christmas day~ (& an angel was born-me-lol) which can be good and bad~I used to get two gifts~1 for X-mas and another for my B-day, my favorite cake, birthday calls and wishes~as time went by & I as I got older~ only 1 gift for x-mas and B-day together~and now ~on Christmas morning everybody is opening their gifts~then I slowly start singing "Happy B-day to me"~then everyone remembers that itis my B-day~oh well~but that is okay~as I get older I just soon forget too~I just will stay 39 for ever!
    I will keep Kerri's family in my prayers and along with you, Matt and your family
    Hugs & kisses~~

  2. Jennifer, I'm so glad you had a wonderful Birthday, sounds like ya'll had a blast, wish I could have been there. Todays 3l-flavors were hilarious, don't know when I have laughed so much in a week. Ya'll keep them coming. I pray your doing well today, God Bless you and your family. I was sadden to hear about the loss of the nurse Kerri, I will keep her family in my prayers also. Love to all, Melinda Mc


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.