Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Grace's Room

Last year, Julia's room got a makeover. This year it's Grace's turn.

She has been wanting to move from her current room at the top of the stairs nearest us (and the hall bath), to what is now Amp's sewing room at the far end of the hall. The main thing being that she doesn't like the wallpaper in her room, but it is in perfectly good condition and we have no interest in removing/replacing or removing and doing enough clean up work on the walls for them to be painted.
Cutting in walls and ceiling

Over Memorial Day weekend I repainted the room, and on Tuesday we moved her furniture while she was back in school. The hardest part was the prep work, especially in the case of a room like this where I had newly put up crown molding. Lots of spackling, sanding and caulking. That was done the previous weekend and in the evenings.
Finished colors

Grace chose a light peach color that looks very nice. Most importantly, she is happy with it.
Looking well-lived in already, days later

The room is slightly smaller than her old room, but it has a small walk in closet that gives her a lot more storage space than she had before. It's also on the sunny side of the house and is one of the warmer rooms in the house, compared to her old room which is on the shady side and is one of the cooler rooms. She's always chilly, so she likes this.

Next is the master bedroom re-do, which I am already doing the prep work on.

Then my office.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Senior Prom

The next major event of graduation season was the Senior Prom, held last night at Drexelbrook, a restaurant and banquet facility in Drexel Hill. In a coming-full-circle moment, I lived in the Drexelbrook Apartments for my first year of life until my parents moved to our childhood home in Springfield.

As has happened for the Junior Prom and the Homecoming Dance, one of Julia's friends from the Drama Club who wasn't otherwise committed for the dance asked Julia if she wanted to go with them. There are lots of good people in the world...

The day started with curly hair straightening by mom, followed by makeup done by a friend who graduated last year but was home from college. Mom had put her sewing skills to use in altering Julia's dress, which looked pretty terrific. Julia hates wearing fancy shoes, so she has become known for wearing all sorts of sequined sneakers. You can't see it in the pictures, but she has some pretty amazing gold sequined sneakers to go with the dress.
Makeup and hair by a friend

Her friend Andy arrived with their parents and we took a bunch of pictures on the deck.
Julia and Andy

Then it was off to another one of the Drama kid's houses, where everyone gathered for more pictures and to wait for the limo bus that would hold 20 or 25 of them for the trip to Drexelbrook and then back to Post Prom at the high school afterwards.
The Drama Club crew

The Prom itself went from 7:30 to 11:00, after which there was Post Prom from 11:00pm to 5:00am.
Drama Club crew again

Post Prom is a very big deal in our school, as it is in many these days (we had no such thing back in the day). Countless volunteer hours and a ton of 100% fundraiser money goes into these things, which are staggering in scope and detail. This year's theme was "The Journey Begins", with a train motif.
Post-prom entry

Gyms, the auditorium, the cafeteria and many other spaces were decorated with theme motifs and loaded with games and activities to keep the kids busy. Once they checked in, they were locked down until 5:00am unless special permission to leave early had been granted. We had permission to take Julia home whenever she wanted to go.

While Prom was going on, the school was open to the public for two hours so that people could come and tour the school and see what all had been done. My favorite part, from a nostalgia perspective, was the older gym that was lined with displays for all the different sports teams, clubs and other groups. Each was loaded with pictures of the senior members of that group.
Drama board with 7 or 8 of Julia

Julia was on a few of the boards, most notably the Drama Club board where she was in 7 or 8 pictures from the 7 different shows she had been in, and the Chorus board, where she was a member for all four years.
Julia on the Chorus board

During Prom, we got a few texts saying that she was having fun, but we wondered how long she would last at Post Prom. Our thought was not very long, and she surprised us by lasting until about 1:15am, at which time I got the call to come get her.

She was one exhausted but happy girl. And there's nothing to make a Dad happier than that.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Graduation Party

It's hard to believe that my little girl is a senior, and will be graduating with her class in less than a month. The month next is chock full of graduation related and end-of-school-year activities, not the least of which was a graduation party for Julia.
McKenzie Brew House - downstairs

We were a little late deciding what we wanted to do, and opted for renting out the downstairs of McKenzie Brew House, a nice place very close to home. Timing was difficult, as many of her friends already had graduation parties on the calendar, and finding a date that would't overlap with too many of her "important" people's parties and other events wasn't easy. We ended up with Friday May 19, and were one of the earlier parties.
Julia and BFFs

McKenzie's did a really nice job, with good food, good desserts and a full bar (yay for the adults). We brought a cake of our own and set up a "make a takeaway bag" candy bar. People seemed to enjoy that.

The party ran from 6pm until 10-ish, and we had a great turnout of Julia's classmates (especially from the drama club), kids from her classes, teachers from throughout the years, and of course family and friends of the family. In all we had about 75 people in and out over the course of the evening, a core group of which stayed for most of that time. Even a couple of Julia's best friends from last year were back from college to attend.
Grace and friend with selfie silliness

One of the great treats for me leading up to the party (other than that we didn't have to do much of the work!) was in putting together a slide show of pictures of Julia from throughout the years. McKenzie's had a few large screen TVs on walls around the room, and were set up to plug a laptop into and play whatever we wanted. Making the slide show was a wonderful trip down memory lane, and had the side benefit of finally forcing me to do something I had been meaning to do for a very long time - get all the digital photo history of our family gathered together in one place. It has always been my fear that an old computer will fail, or a backup hard drive will get corrupted, and with it will go every picture from several years of our life. We don't print many hard copies of pictures anymore.

Anyway, the slide show grow to the point that it had about 200 pictures and ran for about 20 minutes. It looped all evening, and got rave reviews.

All told, Julia had a great time being the center of attention, and the party was a complete success.