Graduation Gifts.

What a whirlwind of a day!  I had weird pre-graduation nerves and ended up staying up until 2am the night before graduation – just couldn’t sleep!  We all got up early and put on our graduation finest, ready for a fun day of celebrations.  The most exciting part of all is that my fabulous little sister and best friend are here to join in on all the fun!  Thank you Sarah and Lindsey for driving all the way here from Ohio. :)

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I was so glad that they were able to be here to help me celebrate, and also so that Casey wouldn’t have to watch me graduate all by himself!  I never would have done all of this without his help, and it was really special for me to have so many people I love here to watch me graduate.

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Graduation time!

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The graduation ceremony was at the Charlotte Bobcats arena, which I had never been to – I was a little overwhelmed when I walked out and saw how big it was.  I have never been to an NBA game!

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We waited through all the boring graduation formalities and speeches, and finally it was almost my turn.  The best part of graduation was that we got to sit with our friends, rather than alphabetically, so I was sandwiched between Beth and Rachel – so fun!

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Emily Bohlen Malone…

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We were even on the jumbo-tron – pretty cool!

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After the ceremony we went to a delicious lunch at the Flying Biscuit Cafe, and then headed home for a few mandatory dorky graduation cap photos.

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It was a beautiful day for graduation – sunny and warm!

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We got these cool medals from the American Culinary Federation.  I might just hang it up with my marathon medals!

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With graduation over, and our stomachs full of lunch, we changed and started packing up the car to continue the celebration.  You see Lindsey and Sarah didn’t just come to watch me graduate (although they would have) – they came to enjoy the week-long celebration we had planned at the BEACH!

We loaded up 2 cars, leashed up the dogs (who got to come too!), and headed toward the east coast.  The dogs were so excited for the trip!

We loaded up all of the bags and smaller things in Lindsey’s car, and left just a few big things for the back of our SUV.  We put the seats flat so that the dogs had lots of room to roam, and wouldn’t feel too cramped on the 4 hour drive.

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After about 30 minutes of pacing back and forth, they both settled down…

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And just in time to see the sun setting over the sound, we arrived at our destination…

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The best graduation present ever – seven days in an oceanfront house in my favorite place in the entire world, Topsail Beach, North Carolina, and with all of my favorite people and my dogs.  Pure heaven!

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Huey and Indy’s first time seeing the ocean – so precious!

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And with that, I need to get out in the sand myself.  Lots more to tell and show you, but it will have to wait until the sun goes down…