Crawfish Boil: Nick's Graduation

Wish I was back on the Bayou.
Rollin' with some Cajun Queen.
Wishin' I were a fast freight train,
Just a chooglin' on down to New Orleans.
Born on the Bayou.
//Creedence Clearwater Revival
Blogging is my game and slacking is my name! Wow, hello 2016! The blog has been extremely neglected the last few month of 2015, and a very busy season is to blame. We have had so much going on since the summer that finding time to blog just got harder and harder! I still have so many photos I want to share form 2015, so I am going to try by best to start getting posts up over the next few months. Between new jobs and schedules, total home renovations, trips, and starting a new business, blogging has taken a serious back seat!  

Back in August of 2015, Nick completed an intense 9 week training at the Massachusetts Fire Academy. It was Monday through Friday and he stayed overnight during those days at a nearby fire house since the academy was too far of a drive from his house. This was the last piece of the "puzzle" he needed in order to officially be a paramedic firefighter for NPD. All firefighters are required to go through the academy shortly after they are hired. Nick started in June and finished in August, coincidentally the three HOTTEST months of the year to be training outdoors in full fire gear! I can't imagine what he had to go through and how hot it must have been for the recruits. It was a LONG nine week, and I know he couldn't wait to graduate and be finished. 

I decided that I wanted to throw him a big graduation party in our backyard to celebrate his accomplishments and for making it through the academy. His Mom and I drove out to the Fire Academy on August 28th to witness his graduation ceremony. It was a perfect day and we were both so proud of him and happy for him. I made sure the chalkboard wall at our house was decorated for the occasion as well.
Here is is being officially "Sworn in" as a Firefighter for NPD!

Here is the class photo for MA Firefighting Academy class #232! Way to go guys!

They got to March into the atrium behind a bagpiper, which was really neat!

He luckily sat right on the end so I could see him from my seat!

There were speeches from several key people from the academy, and the guest speaker just so happened to be the new Chief and Nick's department. 

One by one they were called on stage to receive their official diplomas! Families and friends were invited to get up and take pictures. I tried not to embarrass him too much, and was able to snap a few.

They had a class speaker as well who gave a speech to all of them. 

Each graduating class gets a plaque for the academy as a gift. 
After they all walked across the stage, the closing remarks were made it it was official, they were done!

Afterwards, we got to walk around the grounds and check it all out, as well as take some photos and meet the people Nick trained with over the last 9 weeks. 

So happy for my man!

Some of the buildings where they did live burn trainings during the program. 

It was such a beautiful summer day!

The very next day after is graduation was party day! But the planning had started long before. We had decided, for unknown reasons, to throw a crawfish boil for the very first time! A month or so beforehand, I made up some invitations to send out to family and friends. I got brown kraft paper envelopes and a small crawfish claw rubber stamp. I added the stamp to the back of each envelope to make it look like a crawfish as trying to escape. they came out pretty cute!

I used Vistaprint to design the invites, and it was pretty easy! They came out really cute!
Front side:
Back Side:
I had been scouring the internets for lots of crawfish boil decor and party necessities. MY phone was loaded with screenshots of things I needed to order and ideas for how to decorate.

I started ordering things and buying stuff from the party store and Christmas Tree Shop little by little. Soon enough, our whole dining room was filled with Crawfish themed party decor! I really committed to the theme and went with it- lol! Overboard schmoverboard.

Sweet little sign for the front yard! I got a lot of the stuff form a company called Mardi Gras outlet out of Louisiana. They had so much crawfish themed stuff and decent prices.
I love paper lanterns! I use them any chance I get.
How perfect are these string lights I found at Christmas Tree Shop!?

Chris, our tenant and friend who lives on our first floor prepared to make about 50 of his famous and super delicious jalapeƱo poppers. They are SO good and so addicting. I could eat a dozen!
The morning of the party I was really excited and so glad the weather turned out to be perfect. It was a little hot, but I would definitely take that over rain or storms. Nicks Mom and Stepdad came over early to help me set everything up. I could not have done it without their help! We worked and worked and finally got everything ready just as guests were about to start arriving. It all looked great!
These red bins I placed on the long table for people to discard the shells in. Plenty of paper towel was on hand too as the crawfish can get pretty messy!

The crawfish had arrived via an overnight Fedex package from Louisiana the day before. They were in a cooler on ice in our garage and I was so nervous they were going to die- but they were fine! Having never done a crawfish boil before, I really had no idea what to expect. I order 50lbs to be safe since I didn't know how many each person typically eats and how many guests were actually going to try them. I figured I would err on the side of too many rather than too little. And boy was I wrong, we had SO many crawfish… literally hundreds upon hundreds. I hoped people had brought their appetites!
Louisiana Crawfish Co did a greta job and I would really recommend them! The crawfish were all good sized and alive and well. They were also able to fulfill my order in the off season, as Crawfish peak is in the spring and this was late summer.
We borrowed a couple steam pots from family and friends and got them ready to go for the boil.
This came out just as I had envisioned! I wanted a long row of tables all the way down the driveway for everyone to be able to sit at together.

It came out so nice! The crawfish kraft paper table runner was super cute, and one of my favorite things I had bought!

Too cute!

The garage we set up as the food and beverage station. I hung the crawfish string lights and put up some folding tables.
Some close ups of the crawfish! Some got out of their net and they were pretty feisty. When they re tight in the net and cold they go into a sleeping state, but these ones were wide awake and ready to try and escape.

They look like little mini lobsters!
Ummm yeah, we had a LOT of crawfish.
Classic red solo cups for beer, and some cute clear cups with crawfish on them for wine and sangria.

I was so glad I found these lights, they were the perfect touch.

As people started arriving, the congratulatory cards and gifts started piling up for Nick. Everyone was so proud of him!

The backyard was in pristine condition after weeks of pruning and weeding. The yard literally looked like JUMANJI at the beginning of last year. this is night and day compared to what it was! It took so many long hours of work and back aches but towards the end of the summer we were so happy with how the backyard looked and we spent so much time out there.

Our deck was newly scraped and painted and it looked awesome! I also re-rocked the area under the grill, and bought some plants. We love our string light bulbs over the deck, they are our favorite touch in the back yard and look so cool and glowy at night.
This picture makes me SO happy because I know how hard we worked to get it to look like this. It does pay off!

Nick got a nice new wind chime from his mom that sounds like the ocean. 

I found these navy pots at Ocean State and them planted the reddish/orange flowers in them. It was a really nice contrast! The ones on the right I got pre-planted at Home Depot, and I really liked how some of the greenery hung down over the sides of the deck.
I love paper lanterns! I think i hung about a dozen of them for the party.
The Moms helped me get all of the appetizers and snack food out for people to munch on while the crawfish were being cooked.

Love this photo of Nick and I with his cousin Christina. She is the sweetest!

Crawfish boiling time! I read and re-read the instructions about 100 times, so I was pretty sure I knew what to do besides having never have done anything like this before. Those who know me know a grilled cheese is pretty much as far as I go when it comes to cooking. 
The front yard was looking cute and festive too! Thanks to Chris for taking my camera while I was busy cooking to get some of these shots. 

Nick's sister Kat helped out big time that day too! Thanks Kat :-)

Getting the pot seasoned and ready!
Our hilarious neighbor Miguel! We gave him an 8x10 of this photo for Christmas!

Before cooking them, while not have fun with them? Nothing like a good ole crawfish race tog et the party started…. it was too funny! Everyone actually got really into it.

Go go go go!!!!

Love these photos of everyone gathered around checking out the crawfish. 
Our neighbors grandson was so excited!

Me and my sweet firefighter grad! I was so happy for him and proud of what he accomplished. The party was the least I could do to show him!

We had corn hole set up on the side yard. 

After awhile, the pots were boiling and it was time to dump the poor crawdads in to their fate!

Nick did the honors….

I hope it was quick….:-(

We called every to sit as they were just about ready to serve!

The finished product!!! Yummoooo!!!

I loved how we could just dump big piles of them onto the table for everyone to dig in. 

The is exactly what I had envisioned and hoped for! Thanks to everyone who helped me cook! 

I love these pictures of everyone at the table eating and laughing!

Love these so much!!! So great to have Nick surrounded by his family and friends for such a special occasion.
Digging in! They were super tasty!

Our Grillmaster Chris! Ready to fire up some more food for the non-seafood loving folk.
Our neighbor Miguel brought over some mussels too!

Kat and Chelsea!

Nick and Kate! Nick trained Nick on the ambulance while he was doing his paramedic ride time, and they became fast friends. Turns out, his wife knows my brothers girlfriend and went to school with her.

My mom and aunt!
Nick and his cousins Sam and Dan.

Nothing but trouble, these three….
Some more cousins… Vinny and Anthony!

Our tenants and BFF's who live downstairs- Chris and Kayla! These guys are the best! they re engaged and will be getting married next year. They help us out so much and we don't know what we would do without them.

Our neighbors!
More cousins! Hsinpei and Misty.
Our friends Jaime and Noah! Nick does Crossfit with them!

Our other good friends Evan and Brenna- also newlyweds!!

The crawfish boil went great and I think everyone enjoyed it! I came upstairs afterwards to Nicks Mom and Art snaking the kitchen sink. Turns out you CAN'T pour a pot load of rice down the drain! LOL! Crisis averted!
The full moon was out!
The sun set and the real "partying" began! We had the music jamming, games being played, drinks being served. It was a lot of fun! Probably TOO much fun! Hence the lack of photos as the night wore on. 

Our neighbors set up dominos outside the garage. they play almost every night in the summer time.
See what I mean about the string bulb lights?! I love how they glow at night. It really makes the backyard looks so cool!

Love how everyone really let loose and had fun! There were so many funny moments and laughs throughout the night. 

Wake up Nick!! The party is still going!
That's better :-)
It's not party without beer pong!

We love our DIY washer drum fire pit. It works so well and we used it so many times over the summer. 

Another fan favorite it a game called "Chandelier". In particular, it's Nick's favorite party drinking game, so I promised I would get people to play. Once they started playing, they wouldn't stop! I think we played like 20 rounds at least! It's so fun and we play it survivor style, if you lose- you're out!

MORE FOOD!!! Because who DOESN'T need bacon wrapped everything at 1am!? Thank you Chris for keeping our bellies full all night lot and helping us soak up some of the booze...

Snagged my sweet boy for a photo and a hug. Happy party baby!
We don't event remember taking the one on the right….! This was after shots of horchata in Chris and Kayla's kitchen Oops!

The late night girls!
Thirty games later, Nick was still on the table dominating at chandelier!
Such skill! Such form!
Face-off, Nick vs Lindsay in the final round! No clue who won though….

And this is the last photo of the night my friends…. after this, I had to put my dear Nicholas to bed and attempt to clean up a bit before calling it a night. It was definitely an all day event and after getting up early to set up and cook, I was exhausted! But I went to sleep with a giant smile on my face because I knew Nick had an amazing night. Thank you to everyone who came and made his graduation extra special! We both really appreciated it.
The next day was very very slow moving…. and not feeling too hot. We did some clean up and then just hung on the couch trying to piece together and laugh about the night before. Nick had surprised me earlier in the summer with tickets to an outdoor concert at Look park with some of our favorite singers, JD McPherson and Lake Street Dive. It was a really nice night and we just spread out a blanket, laid down and listened to our favorite songs. It was a great way to end such a fun weekend! 

Hungover but happy!
Nick and I found JD McPherson early on when we started dating, and we love his music and sound. He is not super well known, but he is super awesome and we suggest you take a listen!

Lake Street Dive is another underground favorite of ours- listen and tell me her voice isn't AMAZING!

A perfect end to a perfect weekend. As I write this I am still smiling from all the love and fun we had that weekend. One of the best weekends of the summer, for sure. Congrats to my boy, we all wish you a long and happy career in the FD! To the moon….<3

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