Loving, Learning and Letting Go

My Daughter-My Hero

This has been a crazy couple of weeks.  Especially for Mary Cate.  In the last two weeks, she has discovered information that has had to cause her to move apartments..again!  Hopefully for that last time now.  In the last two weeks pieces of a puzzle that we were unsure about have all fit together, and it has ended up being not pretty, to say the least.  But I am so proud of the way Mary Cate has handled it, and I know that after making some difficult decisions, that she will come out on the other side okay. 

My Wish For You - Wall Art Print (Quote) for my girls room =)

We also celebrated her 21st birthday in a big way!  I had so much fun going out with her friends, and helping her celebrate.  It was hilarious to me that everyone we ran into was so surprised that her mom was with her celebrating her 21st birthday.  Why wouldn’t I be???  A bit of advice to those who read this…celebrate this stuff.  Big and small.  You never get another chance to mark this milestones with your children.  Mary Cate and I were just two for so long, that it doesn’t even occur to me to not celebrate these things.  I am just glad that she still wants me along!!

Today is hopefully the end of snowmagedden 2014.  Yes, I wished for the snow, but I like to be able to get out of the house.  I really have only been stuck for about 24 hours, but it has made me a bit stir crazy!!  We have been keeping Mary Cate’s dog Harley with us, for reasons mentioned above, and he is very much like a toddler–very active and wanting a lot of attention!  He goes back tomorrow though and I know MC and her new roommates will be glad to have him back.

I wanted to end this post with an excerpt from another blog I read at Momastery.com.  You should really follow her, she is great.  But I thought it was appropriate for Valentines Day weekend!

REAL love is not pink and fluffy and rose-y and butterflies. Real love is not shiny and whole and smiling serenely. Real love is not holding hands while running through fields of sunflowers or gazing over chardonnay while wearing sexy dresses and opening boxes of diamonds. It’s just not. That stuff is something else. That stuff is something that can be packaged and sold, which is why we see a lot of it this time of year.

Real love is tough as nails. Real love is busted up and scuffed and a little jagged and exhausted.  Real love is a nightmare at 1 am and a fever at 3 am and everybody else up at 6 and work at 9. Real love is ten band aids when there’s not a scrape to be seen. Real love is losing your temper seven times and apologizing eight times. Real love is overwhelmed and exhausted and just DONE at the end of each day. Real love is ADHD and autism and hurt feelings and sucky report cards and cancer and daddy’s gone and listen, babies- this is life- this is brutiful life- and there is still much beauty to be found. Let’s find it together. Real love is knowing that tears of exhaustion are not signs that you’re on the wrong track- tears of exhaustion are confirmation that you are pouring out every bit of your heart and soul and body and mind and energy in service to your people. And that means, perhaps, that you are on the right track. That you are living out a mission worthy of you. Tears of exhaustion are often a badge of honor.

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/#sthash.NkDd7LrA.dpuf

Have a great weekend everyone!! 
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Random Thoughts

January has been an interesting month.  Lots of time to reflect and sit back and look at what is happening around me.  A few observations that I have made this first month of the new year:

*Yoga is the bomb diggity!  I started taking yoga kind of seriously this month  I love it! I have mad respect for those yogis who can do all the stands and holds and such.  That takes such great strength, and I am going to keep practicing until I can somewhat get there.  My friends and I have been taking a Friday hot yoga class.  105 degrees, but at the end you feel so great!  It is the perfect way to end the week!

*Puppy kisses always make everything better!  It doesn’t really matter if I am having a fat day, crap day, skinny day, frustrated day, lazy day, sick day….puppies don’t care.  They give kisses and all that goes away.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all mankind took after puppies???

*Snow days are fun, but in small doses.  We got two full ones this week, and two half ones.  Day one was brilliant….I was in my pjs all day.  Day two–started getting antsy.  Day three- didn’t have to be in to work till 11, got in at 9:30.   I would love to retire, but what would I do with  my time????  PS: My husband does not do well with snow days.

*Momma bear instinct is always there…no matter how old your child is.  What happens when you become a mother that all things mean, unfair etc, that happen to your child happen to you.  Seriously, had someone told me these feelings would occur, I would have forgone having children (not really tho).  The one I have is awesome, but sometimes I just really want to kick some ass for her….

Don't mess with this girl!

Don’t mess with this girl!

*I plan great vacations.  Alan told me the other day that when he stays out of the planning things turn out great…example: Orlando trip.  We are planning a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary with an Elvis wedding and also Mary Cate’s 21st birthday.  I am planning the entire thing.  Should be a great trip.

*Sometimes a friend needs to hear how much you appreciate them.  Really, a few random kind words may make someone’s day, week or even year.  How hard is that??  I am so thankful for my friends, and will make a better effort to show them.  I have so many different friends from different areas of my life.  I am a lucky girl!

*So farewell January with your cold temperatures, snow, resolutions.  Bring on February..the month of love and a big birthday celebration.  Bring it.  I am ready!!


New Year Vacation–National Lampoon Style

Hi Everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope that your new year has started out right.  I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before about how a new year brings such new hope and exciting thoughts about what’s to come.  I agree with that, but my goal is to slow down a bit, try to relax, and enjoy each day as it comes!!

This post has to mainly be about our New Year’s Vacation!!  We bought Alan tickets to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando Florida for Christmas.  Of course his Gamecocks were playing, and Mary Cate and I had worked hard to book the trip AND keep it a secret until Christmas Day.  His reaction???  Not what we were expecting…BUT, he was excited, he just had to get through 14 days of end of the year work, in less than a week.  So, we let him work, and we became more and more excited for our trip.  Mary Cate’s big sister from her sorority, was inducted into our family for this trip, and I think she had lots of fun!

When we booked the trip we weren’t absolutely positive the Gamecocks would be playing the Capital One bowl but we took a chance and made sure everything was refundable.  Mary Cate booked us a room as the Econo Lodge, which the next day I quickly changed to the Holiday Inn Express.  There were lots of jokes and comments about that Econo Lodge!!

New Year’s Eve day, we pile into my Jetta (Jerri) and hit the road.  That was also part of the deal.  I would drive, so Alan could work.  This was very difficult for him in that he ALWAYS drives.  But once we got going he relaxed and was okay with it.  (of course before we got started the disclaimer that he couldn’t say anything about my speed or driving was put out there).

8 Hours later, we arrive in Orlando, and this happened:


It was a loooonnnnggg trip!  We made it safely to our hotel and then had to determine where we were going to spend New Year’s Eve.  We were pretty positive we wouldn’t last til midnight, so dinner  and some Duke football and we called it a night.  The girls still looked pretty though:



And here’s us:


The next day was Gameday!  We were hoping for beautiful 80 degree Orlando weather, then we were hoping that it just wouldn’t rain.  Neither hope worked out for us.  We started the morning at Bojangles for some tailgate food, when we run into another Gamecock fan with a cane.  She continued to be a buzz kill telling us that we are so screwed that we didn’t buy a parking pass and that there was no tailgating anywhere around the stadium and that the area was horrible…lock up your valuables.  Yea, Lady, thanks….

Bojangles in hand, we are off to the Stadium.  As we enter parking lot run by some interesting folk, pay our fee, we pull up to this:


And these were our tailgating buddies for the next 3 hours.  A few fellas from the University of Central Florida, like football, won tickets, and headed to the game.  Luckily for us they LOVED the Gamecocks!  This crew was lead by Alan’s new best friend John….  John called Alan Al, and me Ma!  He’s from Winchester NY and goes to school at UCF.  He was a great kid….here’s how that went down:


Yep, that’s what you think it is….  : )


Yes, it was cold and rainy, but this is what I love about college football…the people you meet.    So things got a little bit dicey and Alan was ready to hit the game (it is his vacation you know)


During the game, our friend John, came and found us and sat with us for a bit.  This was until the mean family sitting behind us got mad that he was standing up and got him kicked out.  That was a bummer.  But we still consider John part of the family!  Funny the people you meet.


These here are dangerous weapons.  Have you seen them before??  You bang them together to make lots of noise.  Well,  I ended up having to have mine taken away because I hit the man in front of me, not once, but several times.  The last time I was upset about a play and banged him hard on the head….ooops.  I laughed for about 20 minutes….

The rest of the trip was spent resting and doing some shopping at the Outlets in Orlando.  That was even almost too much for me.  The highlight of this day though was our visit to the World’s Largest McDonalds!


Seriously,  never seen anything like it!!

All in all we had a great trip.  Erica was a real trooper with our crazy family, and it was just so much fun to get away for a bit and have a good time!!


Our final mileage as we pulled into our driveway Friday evening!!


Happy New Year all!!!


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Goodbye 2013

This poor blog has been so ignored.  For those of you who like to read it, I apologize.  But I swear, from August to today has flown by in a nano second.  How do we find ourselves so busy this last quarter of the year?  I just don’t know.  But here is the last quarter of our year in pictures and some short little anecdotes.

Mary Cate moved into a new apartment and ended the summer with sorority recruitment as a type of counselor to those girls going through that tough time of recruitment (we don’t call it rush anymore).  I spent a week down in Columbia making her apartment homey, and taking care of her puppy Harley.


This was just part of the finished product.  It was fun being in Columbia for that week and taking care of Mary Cate and her roommate.  I would be such a good house mom!  : )

The end of August brought a new group of third graders and the beginning of football season.  I LOVE being back in the classroom and greeting my new class felt so great!  This group of 3rd graders are absolutely wonderful.  I love each and every one of them, and I especially love the way they love and care for each other.  They are really special kids and I am looking forward to this last half of the year with them.  Being back in the classroom, I have seen my attitude toward teaching change a bit.  I still have high expectations for my students, but I am a bit more forgiving and tolerant than I have been in the past.  I tease with my team teacher, that I am now the grandma they all need : ).

The fall of 2013 also brought Gamecock Football.  We started the season against UNC in about 115 degree heat.  Good win, though and it ended with a spectacular thunderstorm!  The best part of this season for me was being able to spend time with my sister and brother in law.  We found the perfect tailgating spot, and just enjoyed each other.  Looking forward to more fun next year!

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The fall also brought at trip to NYC with Alan’s work.  We had a blast.  MC was tickled because weather allowed her to stay an extra night!!!

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Finn also had his man hood taken away in November.  Poor baby, but he did well.  Our vet is just the best, and they sent me this pic when he was out of surgery:


Our Christmas was nice, and we will end the year with a trip to Orlando to see our Gamecocks play one last game!

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And this last picture about sums up the year.  2013 has been the year of the dogs!!  I am looking forward to 2014 and all that it has in store.  This is always a reflective time of year looking upon the past and making hopes and dreams for the future.  My hope for this blog is that I will give it more attention!  Happy New Year Everyone!


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On Winning and Losing

I like to win…who doesn’t??  It doesn’t just stop at sports for me, it’s about just about everything in my life.  I use to let it kind of consume me…doesn’t so much anymore.  I am not sure if it’s because I am getting older, or, as I am getting older I have a different outlook on life.  I have discovered:

1.  Winning (or not winning) doesn’t define who I am.  As a good friend said “I think my wife (or husband in my case) will still love me whether I win or lose.  And it doesn’t just stop there.  My kid, my animals, my family…they will all still love me.

2.  Winning (or not winning) doesn’t define my friendships.  If it does, then I don’t need those friendships.  I have a lot of competitive friends that are driven by a need to do well and win.  That is totally fine, but that isn’t for me.  When the competition is over…are we still friends??  That’s what matters to me.

3. Winning (or not winning) is no good if it wasn’t fun.  I want to finish and be able to say win or lose “That was a lot of fun”.  Once the fun is gone, then it’s time to step away and focus on other more fun things.  The only thing that wasn’t fun was that 10 miles my friend talked me into running.  I didn’t win, I didn’t lose…I did finish and within my goal time for me.  But when I was done, I can’t say I had fun.  : )

4.  Winning (or not winning) is not okay when integrity was compromised to get there.  I want to finish with my integrity in tact.

5. Winning (or not winning) should include good sportsmanship.

So those are my thoughts. I encourage you to gnaw on this and provide feedback if you’d like.  I will say, that this just isn’t about sports or activities, it’s about life.  Think about our attitude on a daily basis where we think about winning this or that argument, this or that decision, etc…. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Being Mom….

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I Wish I Could Be

More dedicated to this blog! I love writing and sharing the happenings of our lives. Unfortunately, life and its many commitments have kept me from here. I hope that I can do a better job in Spring with this writing and sharing funny anecdotes of our lives.

So here’s the Cliff Notes version of our lives since my last post:

I finished Real Estate School but failed my test
I scheduled well over 250 tennis matches this spring, along with dealing with LOTS of issues that the start of league bring
Mary Cate has gotten a job for the summer in Columbia, and just found out that she will be a trainer at that job.
Mary Cate received a scholarship from the Journalism department
Mary Cate will move into a new apartment with just one roommate in July
Alan and I went to Columbia and along with Mary Cate, the Gamecock club and a potential Gamecock got to tour the athletic facilities at USC. A wonderful time
Had a wonderful Easter weekend at the beach with my family that included my daughter from another mother
I’ve had a most productive Spring Break in that I have cleaned and organized this house, along with several days of playing tennis.
My tennis season has started off well : )
I am headed to Camp Lejeune in a week for an official accreditation visit. I’ll be away for a whole week! ACK!
It looks as if Mary Cate may get another B this semester. I think she will survive it
My cat has a fatal disease. I am watching him die. This is not fun.
Overall life is good, and I am going to make a new resolution to give this blog my attention once a week!!

Hope all is well with you!

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Off to Cola….

This poor blog has been ignored lately. Both Mary Cate and I have been so busy. I am back in a third grade classroom at school, taking a real estate course at night, organizing league tennis for my area, AND teaching Body Pump classes 3 mornings a week. To top it all off we had a pre accreditation review at school this last week. I am also school improvement chair person. So to say I have a lot on my plate would be an understatement at this point.

Thankfully, I am off to Columbia this weekend to visit my daughter. Her birthday has come and gone, and we have realized how things evolve as she grows older. As stated previously I used to pick her up from school on her birthday and have a day all about Mary Cate. Well, that has changed into a girl’s weekend together to eat, shop, and just have fun!! I am really looking forward to heading down to see her.

If you didn’t see my facebook post, I have to share the great thing that Mary Cate’s sorority is doing. She is PR Chairperson in her sorority and is responsible for ‘getting the word out’ on the many activities they are involved in. This one is near and dear to each sister’s heart because they lost a sister to cancer. Each year they have a bone marrow drive in honor of her. Mary Cate had sent a press release the to news station ABC Columbia, and because of the timeliness with Robin Roberts and Good Morning America they picked the story up and interviewed her and another sister. To say I am proud is an understatement! : )


I watched Robin Roberts’ special last night on ABC, and she really has an amazing story. She is so humble and beyond thankful for how God has blessed her life. Take a moment to think about being a bone marrow donor. You could change someone’s life!

As for me…. I am off to Cola!!!! WOOT

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And She Made it Through Her Teens

without getting pregnant! Yes, those are her words! But anyway, today is a big day. My baby girl has graduated from her teens. There are so many milestones along the path of raising a child. This one, I have to say is bittersweet. She’s a woman now (well, I guess that happened at 18), but it seems for real now. A sophomore in college, making plans for the future it seems unreal. But today I am going to take a moment and tell myself..a job well done. I couldn’t be more proud of that youngin!!!! Help me to wish Mary Cate a happy 20th Birthday! Here’s her years in a few pictures:

No more braces

No more braces

Always on Mary Cate’s bday I would pick her up from school and take her to do something special. Last year she was away at school. I cried and cried that day missing her like crazy. So we started a new tradition. Now I go to Columbia for a long weekend. We stay in a hotel, shop and eat yummy food! New traditions are great!
Love you Mary Cate! Happy Birthday!!!

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I Got a 75!!!

Mary Cate has always been very diligent about her schoolwork and doing well in school. I guess you could say this all started when she was about in the 2nd grade. I had put her back into the private school that she attended since preschool after a year in public school. That year of second grade was filled with homework. There was at least 2 hours of homework every night, and that was tough getting used to because the year before had not been so demanding. I remember sitting with her every night teaching her how to study and get organized to be a good student. Spelling was her hardest subject (still is), and it seemed we spent HOURS studying 25 spelling words.

Around 5th grade it all seemed to come together for her. She had wonderful teachers that taught her the importance of organization and good study habits. From the time she started receiving letter grades in school, she had never received a B. All A’s all the time. In grade school this was my expectation because I knew she could do it, beyond that, she put that expectation on herself.

Now, I have been known to call Mary Cate the extra credit whore. She would do ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING to earn extra credit in her classes. I remember once having to go to the store to buy paper towels and tissues for her teacher so MC could get extra credit. Well, I guess this was a good problem to have because she continued to excel in school.

Enter the high school years. Back in public school now, but in Honors and AP courses. This is where the extra credit really comes in handy. I don’t think MC would be embarrassed for me to say that she has even cried a time or two to her teachers about never receiving a B. Somehow it all worked, and she made it through high school without a B!!

This was great and I would encourage any parent to encourage your child to do well in school. Mary Cate was offered many scholarships! She had her choice of where she wanted to go. Although her standardized test scores weren’t great, the awesome grades in high school and her course load led to the colleges giving her a second look. She is fortunate to be able to go to The University of South Carolina only having to pay in-state tuition.

So, now we (or she) is off to college. The good study habits and high expectations for herself are packed away in that suitcase and she begins her college career. She is a little shocked that most college professors don’t give extra credit (wh wh what????). But she does it and continues to recieve straight A’s during her freshman year. Something her dad and I are so tickled with!!

Sophomore year brings the courses that will shape her future and her career. She is majoring in Public Relations, and has a journalism writing class this last semester. This class will become the bain of her existence. I heard all semester how the professor wasn’t fair, that he didn’t give A’s and that she was not going to do well in this class. I have to admit, from the sound of the syllabus, this guy didn’t think anyone was good enough to receive an A in his class.

Fast forward to one cold fall night in early December. I get a text:
“are you up”.
I didn’t answer. It was 10:00 and I was close to sleep. Twenty minutes later my husband’s phone rings.

It’s Mary Cate.

I can hear her on the other end of the line hysterical. And I mean HYSTERICAL!!! She is crying and sobbing and nubbing and all of it! I sit up immediately thinking something horrible has happened to her. I mean it’s 10:20 at night. Has she had an accident? Did she get attacked?? Is she pregnant?? And then it comes. I hear Alan say “Hey, if I got a 75 in college I would be elated”. Are you freaking kidding me???? She called late at night in hysterics to tell us she got a C?!?!?!!?! Alan continued to talk to her for at least another 20 minutes listening to her and trying to calm her down. (he’s the best isn’t he?)

The next morning I emailed her and said don’t ever call us like that again! Unless of course it’s a true emergency. ARGH!

Well, she did end up getting a B out of that class and it wasn’t the end of the world. I actually think it was a good thing for her because she has relaxed a little bit. She realizes that that B doesn’t define her as a person or even a student.

So the lesson here: Don’t push your children too hard. (although I set the tone, she really took on the ownership as she got older). Let their intrinsic selves learn what is and what is not acceptable for them.

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