2007: A Big Year!
This was a big year for us. Lauren and Tony graduated high School and got married, and I finally finished the Ph.D.
Lauren graduated from Male, and Tony graduated from Fern Creek. Tony's graduation was in the morning, and Lauren's graduation was in the afternoon - both at Freedom Hall. Then, we had a joint celebration for them at our house.
We bought them a "fixer-upper" house about a mile from UK, so that they could begin the undergraduate programs in Fall 2007. You literally pulled up the floor and dug out a chimney to level the floor and did so much work to that house. I am convinced that there wasn't anything you couldn't do once you put your mind to it.
I finally finished that last degree. I wasn't sure who was prouder of me - you or Daddy.
We Interrupt this Vacation for a Wedding!
We had planned a Rardon family vacation for the weekend following July 4th in Gatlinburg this year, because we wanted to see it decorated for the holiday. Lauren realized on Tuesday, July 3, that the Saturday we were going to be in Gatlinburg was 07-07-07. She thought that would be a great day to be married with seven being a lucky number. She approached me with this idea. I told her to discuss it with you, thinking you would nix it right away. But, I had forgotten you were the guy that proposed four days after you met me. You said they were already committed to one another and in love, so why not.
The next hurdles were dress and venue. Lauren and I went with Kim, Chrissy and Diane to find "the dress", while Lauren assigned Tony the task of finding a venue. She found a beautiful dressd off the rack that fit her perfectly. And, the rest of us were able to find dresses as well. Tony found a really cute country chapel venue that had just had a cancellation. By this point, we decided that God was in this or something would have fallen through and were all in.
There was a tux rental across the street from the chapel. We made a reservation to have you all sized when we arrived on Thursday, then you picked up the tuxes Saturday morning while the girls were at the salon getting Lauren's hair all fancy. That was a story in itself. The salon had a fancy name and beautiful pictures on the web-site. Yet, it was up a very country winding road that appeared to be in the back of a home. But, she had a great experience, and her hair was beautiful.
We all got ready in the rooms provided by the chapel. Then, we had a wonderful wedding, followed by a brief reception with cake and champagne. We followed that up with dinner at the Apple Barn, where we took more pictures in our wedding "garb". One of my favorite pictures of us is on the porch of the Apple Barn in the rockers. We're laughing about something, and you look so happy.
After the wedding, Lauren and Tony moved out of the 6 bedroom family chalet into a wedding cottage of their own.
We followed up the wedding with a catered reception in Louisville.
Before the graduations and the wedding, we took a couple trips. We went to Branson, Missouri, for Spring Break. We had heard that it was the Gatlinburg of the West and wanted to check it out. We saw several shows, toured the Titanic museum, and generally toured the town.
We visited Jim and Keegan in Oklahoma the week of June 16-24. We toured the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, where the bombing took place, went to an Oklahoma Redhawks game, toured the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and visited with the family.
Fall Break took us back to Gatlinburg, because Thomas Kinkade was their doing a show and signing. We bought one for us and one for Tony and Lauren.