Hats Off to the Class of 2013

Wow! How did the whole month of May go by so fast?! Between Mother's Day, my parents' anniversary and both of their birthdays, May is always busy, but this year it was extra jam-packed with graduations. I wonder how many times the average person hears Pomp and Circumstance (a.k.a. The Graduation March) in their lifetime? I've heard it three times this year alone and I've decided that's my favorite moment of a graduation ceremony (the hat toss is a close second). I don't know if it's the formality of the song, the quiet that falls over the crowd when it's played, or that it is accompanied by that first glimpse of the graduates in those robes and funny hats that make everyone look the same. Whatever it is, that music always brings a smile to my face and reminds me of how I felt when I graduated from school. Over the past few weeks, I've attended the graduation ceremonies for three of my cousins and a graduation party for my cousin's boyfriend. I'm hearing Pomp and Circumstance in my sleep after all those ceremonies, but I was so honored to be there to see my cousins get their diplomas and to document the celebrations.

Congratulations to the class of 2013!

The first graduate of the season was Luke, my cousin's boyfriend. Luke loves crawfish, so my cousin planned an old-fashioned crawfish boil to celebrate, complete with corn and potatoes. Some tasty cookies and bars from Bake My Day, a local favorite, were served for dessert. We all put aside our football loyalties for the day (we're a family full of Alabama fans) to celebrate this Auburn grad, although there may have been some crimson and white worn to the party. I'm not naming names...I'm just sayin'. :)

Next up for graduation was my cousin Cassie. Everyone celebrated with a picnic at my aunt and uncle's. Once again the weather was perfect for being outdoors. I don't know how these graduates got so lucky! Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken legs were on the menu, along with two types of homemade ice cream and homemade watermelon cupcakes for dessert. No one makes homemade ice cream like my Uncle Stan. I am partial to the vanilla myself, but there was a deliciously sweet chocolate version at this party made by my cousin's grandmother. I think she put like 10 candy bars in that ice cream base. Talk about decadence! Of course I tasted both--this was a celebration!!! After dinner there was a massive water-balloon fight, that ended up being a full on water-bucket war. I stayed in the safety zone of the patio, but the guys and the kids sure had fun. Now I've got myself craving some more of that homemade vanilla ice cream! Maybe my uncle will whip some up for the 4th of July! Yum!

The third cousin to graduate was Allyson. I can't believe all my "little" cousins are graduating. It's kinda making me feel old! I remember when these kids were born, so watching them graduate from high school is kinda surreal. After a quick bite of cookie cake, some photos and card opening, Allyson was off to celebrate with her friends.

Last week I finally made it to my third and final commencement ceremony of the year. For this one, we traveled up to Birmingham to see my cousin Chase graduate from Hoover High School. My aunt and uncle had an awesome spread of food at their house beforehand. Potato salad, broccoli salad, a cheese tray (with Brie...my absolute favorite!), veggie tray, pasta salad, shrimp cocktail and filet of beef sandwiches were served buffet style. Needless to say, we all ate like kings. Everything was delicious and it was yet another gorgeous day!

Well, if you stuck through this post until the end, you're probably either hearing Pomp and Circumstance in your head now too, or you're hungry from me talking about all the food I've eaten at these graduation gatherings. Finally, I have to send a congratulations to my cousin Alex, who will be graduating from Fairfax High School in Virginia next month. I won't be able to travel up for his graduation ceremony, but I hope he has as much fun as we all did celebrating the graduates down here in Alabama. :)