Wednesday, September 28, 2005

September 28, 2005

Hi!! Wanted to let you know, we're just hanging out down here. The weather's fabulous; warm (in the mid to high 80's sometimes 90's) and we usually get some thunderstorms in the afternoon. We haven't been to the "cement pond," as Bill has begun calling it, in about a week -- everytime we plan on going, the sky gets dark and the thunder begins..... oh well, our timing seems to be off every day. I've been catching up on all my reading, finally finished my Tom Clancy novel, and got to read a book Bill won for me in a sweepstakes, "Cape Perdido" by Marcia Muller' it was really pretty good. I recommend it. This weekend is the Fall Arts Festival in downtown Celebration, it should be very festive, if I remember to bring my camera, I'll post some pictures. Hope everyone is well.....feel free to call or comment on the blog or email, we'd love to hear from all of you, enjoy your autumn!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wedding Photo

Here is a picture of the bride and groom taken by the professional photographer in Celebration who offered her services FREE of charge for the happy couple. The photographer is compiling an entire album for them, as a memory of their beautiful day.

Click on the link below to see Isabel's other photographs -- she is truly an artist!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Wedding That Calls for Lots of "Celebration"

This article appeared in the Saturday, 9/17/05 edition of The Orlando Sentinel:

Call it a Cinderella story. What began as a Katrina nightmare turned into a real-life fairy tale Friday when Shaun Thibodaux and Mike Becknel, residents of St. Bernard Parish outside New Orleans, were wed on the bank of a small lake in downtown Celebration.
As the new husband and wife kissed under a waning sun, hundreds of Celebration residents and businesspeople applauded, some of them dabbing away tears. Many of them had worked feverishly for three days to turn what was to be a tiny ceremony into a fete worthy of Cinderella and her prince. It was the least they could do for a couple who lost everything after floodwaters gushing through levee breaks submerged their house and belongings, and destroyed Thibodaux's fledgling business.When she viewed a satellite photo of St. Bernard, Thibodaux knew she had been hard-hit."It looked like a mud pit." The boutique she had started with a friend was gone too. "It was so cute," she said. "And we worked so hard. Our grand opening was Saturday when everybody was evacuated."Thibodaux, 38, and Becknel, 41, were to be married Oct. 16 aboard the cruise ship Carnival Conquest. Then Hurricane Katrina whipped in from the Gulf."The storm took everything, including the cruise line," Thibodaux said. With the Port of New Orleans damaged, the ship relocated to Galveston, Texas, taking with it their plans for a seven-day honeymoon cruise.Despite their losses, Thibodaux and Becknel were resolute about their future: "We thought, 'Let's just get married,' " she said.That's when Frank Scurlock, who is housing the couple and several other Katrina evacuees in his Celebration home, posted a note about the couple's small ceremony on the Front Porch, the community's Intranet site. Perhaps Celebration townsfolk could drop by the lake for the ceremony Friday, he suggested.Maybe they could even bring a gift. "As they literally have nothing, the odds of duplicating gifts does not exist," he wrote.The community immediately went into celebration mode. Within a few hours, enthusiastic residents -- who by Thursday had dubbed themselves "Cinderella's Mice Brigade" -- had offered to photograph the wedding as well as to round up a cake, tables and chairs, and flowers. By 2 p.m. Friday, the online thread about the wedding included more than 200 postings, and the guest list had grown from a few family members, friends and co-workers to about 150."The spontaneity has been incredible," said Joseph Judge, who helped organize the event. Residents embraced it because "it was an opportunity to see something good come out of something bad."Everything a bridal party could want was conjured in three short days as residents worked the phones and local businesses offered services. Al Valentino, owner of the Barber and Beauty Emporium in Celebration's Water Tower Place shopping plaza, donated haircuts and styling for the bridal party. An Olive Garden restaurant on U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee sent food for 100, and a newly opened Gooding's grocery store came up with the cake. Water Tower Florist donated bouquets and an arch.Residents dipped into their own pockets to purchase vials of bubbles, a horse-and-carriage ride and a two-night honeymoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort for the couple. A local music teacher recruited her middle-school jazz ensemble, and Joe "Magic" Depietto donated his services as emcee and deejay.On Friday evening, they gathered at the steps leading down to the lake, where an arch threaded with vines stood as a makeshift altar. Applause and the clip-clop of hooves marked the couple's arrival in a carriage. Then, to the music of bagpipes played by kilt-clad Don Larson, Thibodaux and Becknel descended the steps for a short ceremony officiated by Circuit Judge Alan Apte, a Celebration resident.As they joined hands, the temporarily homeless couple pledged their lives to each other and then added a clincher: "Wherever that may be."After the ceremony, more than 200 residents and well-wishers greeted the couple's arrival at nearby Celebration Lakeside Park. A table laden with gifts from residents and local merchants was flanked by one offering cookies and brownies baked by residents.As he watched the crowd, Scurlock said he wasn't surprised at the outpouring of support for the couple. "It's a very giving, loving community. It's one of the reasons I chose to relocate here," he said.

We weren't able to go because I've been sick all week, but this is one of the reasons why we moved to this town ...... it's an amazing place to live!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Grandparent's Day

With Grandparents Day just over, thought we'd show you Bill's grandkids and kids. Here are his daughter and son-in-law Denise and Frank (Butch) Bastin and their 3 children Kaitlin, Tess, and Lucus. They live up in Cheshire, CT so we don't get to see them too much, this is from Nov. and Dec. 2003.

Grandparent's Day (cont'd)

Also up in Middletown, CT, is Bill's son Del and his wonderful wife of almost 2 years, Debbie. No official grandchildren yet, but two adorable granddogs. As you can see here we love all of them very much, and wish we could see all 9 of them more often. We can't wait until they come down here and visit us and Mickey Mouse !!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - Part II

We caught the tail end of Katrina Wednesday evening and got some terrible wind and horrible rain, thunder and lightening. As I sat on our porch watching it with my glass of ice water, I felt extremely lucky. Yes, I have a few puddles in my yard and my poor neighbor lost her tree, but my house is still here, I know where my family is, I have electricity, food, water, safety, and relative health. I hope all of your friends and family are as safe and healthy. We are thinking of you all and praying for you and your families.
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