Loving, Learning and Letting Go


Sing along with me, won’t you? So 2013 is 11 days old, and already many changes are taking place in our lives. I love the new year and how everyone is so anxious for a new start. New goals to achieve with hope that they will come to fruition and life will be happily ever after. Well, I guess that sounds a bit sarcastic, but sometimes this false enthusiasm makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. The best New Year’s Resolution I ever made was to wear my seatbelt (that was many years ago before it was law). I think it’s the only one I ever kept. Do you ever ask why we see a new year as the time to make changes in our lives? Maybe it’s because we remember the New Year being represented by a new baby. A new baby means throwing all your goodness into that little person to make him/her even better. I don’t know. But it goes along with people starting new diets or exercise on Monday. Why not Wednesday? Why not Saturday when you have the whole day to yourself?? I just don’t get it.

So, I didn’t make any resolutions this year, but I do have hopes. Our year (actually 12-28) began with my husband selling his office building. This was big, and this brings lots of changes not only for him, but for the people who worked in that building also. No one lost a job, thankfully, but they all found a “new normal”. With this change, my hope is that I will see my husband more. : )

The next change was a new Jeep for Mary Cate. Did she need a new ride? Not really, but Alan and I felt she works so hard, and this was something that she really wanted so we did it (really more Alan than me). She is tickled pink. My hope?? That she can get everything she brought home from Christmas break into that jeep to get it back to school (fingers crossed).

Speaking of that girl, she also turns 20 in a month. Wow! Out of the teenage years in the blink of an eye and to think we both survived it. She reminded me last year at birthday time that she had almost made it through her teens without getting pregnant (again, fingers crossed jk). My hope for her is that she can continue to find the person she is, and maybe just relax a little bit (that will be a new post entitled “I got a 75!).

Many of my readers know this, but I really work 3 jobs. I am a teacher by day, teach Body Pump classes by morning (5:30am to be exact), and run the local tennis league here. The tennis job goes from about January through June, but I am always working to improve tennis in our area and recruit new players. This year LOTS of changes have taken place in league tennis. People don’t like changes=confused unhappy tennis players. My hope…that I can make them happy! : )
I’m changing who I am playing with also. It may be a good change, it may be a bad change. But I will never know unless I try.

What are your hopes for the New Year?

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Happy New Year

Hello on the first day of 2013!  With a new year always comes hope for new beginnings, and all the dreams that a clean slate holds!  I am sitting here wallowing in my sadness that is going back to work tomorrow.  : (  Mary Cate still has two more weeks off, so that’s what makes going back so difficult!

We rang in the New Year at our house with some friends and a bonfire.  We spent today in sweats, eating bad food, and watching Gamecock football.  Here’s our 24 hours in pictures.

I hope that 2013 brings you everything you dream for!!!  Happy New Year!!!!

The Fierce Four!!

The Fierce Four!!

Preparing the food...

Our bonfire.  Our backyard and our firepit have become our happy place!

Our bonfire. Our backyard and our firepit have become our happy place!


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Our Christmas 2012

Hey Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day! Here is our Christmas in pictures.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve




Christmas Eve dinner at our usual spot

Christmas Eve dinner at our usual spot

Christmas morning....

Christmas morning….

MC indulged me and we dressed like twins!  ahhh

MC indulged me and we dressed like twins! ahhh


Some of our special surrogate family.  Love them…

My surrogate mom and dad!! Love them bunches.

My surrogate mom and dad!! Love them bunches.

We go to our friend’s the Potter house every Christmas morning for a very yummy brunch, and then a rowdy round of present opening!  Next year we have decided to forgo gift giving and do something special in the community.  Love this idea!  Although I want for us to give handmade gifts.  We just have way too much fun opening these presents.

My mil opening her gift...

My mil opening her gift…

Dad in law

Dad in law

And the day ended with a phone call with my parents in Nevada, and a good movie!!

I hope that you all felt the love this holiday!!!!


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This Time of Year


This is my sorry attempt at Christmas this year.  I don’t know what it is, but I am just not in the mood to celebrate Christmas.  I feel like I just put Christmas away.  Now, I typically go all out at Christmas.  Every room in our house is decorated with about 6 trees, a full setting of Christmas china with a centerpiece, beautiful mantle, staircase decked out, nativity scene prominently displayed.  I am telling you it’s Christmas in every room.  And it takes a long time to do!  No one helps much with the decorating.  Alan will help outdoors, but Mary Cate would probably say she is damaged from helping me with Christmas in the past.  We’ve had many the fight untangling lights and putting up a Christmas tree.  I am sure I have scarred her for life.

So this year, I wanted it to be different.  I didn’t want to do it at all.  But Alan kept asking “aren’t you going to at least put up a tree?”.  I felt bad, so I caved.  But not completely.  I decided I wanted a live tree with big colored lights.  I don’t do colored lights.  This threw my family off.

Text to MC:  I think we’re going to get a tree tonight.

MC: oh, that’s nice.

Me: Yeah, I think we’re getting a live tree.

Phone rings:  Are you smoking crack???

I swear to you…she told her big sister while they were at the library that she needed to call me because she thought I was smoking crack.  Ha Ha Ha.  See, I told you, scarred for life.

I’m not against Christmas I am really not.  It is the most magical holiday, and the greatest time to thank God for His incredible gift that He sent to us.  Did we deserve this Savior..um no.  But He sent Him anyway.  But you see, Christmas these days has gotten away from that message.  It’s become everyone running around like crazy trying to find the perfect gift for the person who already has plenty.  My family…we have plenty.  It helps that we did some serious shopping around Thanksgiving time, but what do we really need?  We have each other, we have a home, food on the table, clothes (lots of them) on our backs, and MC is pursuing a higher education. We are content.  I don’t want to shop for that perfect gift for this family member and that  friend.  It takes my joy away.  This year most people will be getting a charity donation from us.  Seriously people, let’s do good with what we’ve got.  Do you really need another scarf, turtleneck, gift card, insert any other gift here?  I want to make things more simple  So I started with the decorations.  Even when I went into the attic to get some tree trimmings, felt no pangs to get the rest out.

I think another reason I feel this way around this time of year, is all those years MC and I spent alone at the holidays (and years I was alone b/c she had gone to her dads).  Christmas was such a rich time in tradition for my family growing up.  I loved every single minute of it.  Although, now that I am an adult, and realize how much work my mom did, I am not sure just how much she enjoyed it.   When I got married I thought these Christmas traditions would continue.  But of course he had his own family traditions and I was across the country from my family.  The first Christmas away from my family I cried all night long.  I was miserable.  Maybe that’s where it all began.  When it was just MC and I, we couldn’t always afford to travel home to see my parents, so we would spend the time alone.  Of course we have an awesome surrogate family that would have us over and that is great.  We still go there Christmas morning.    I  am still not sure of Alan’s family traditions, each year seems so different.  And we really haven’t made many of our own, outside of dinner on Christmas Eve, church, and then our friends on Christmas Day.

I also miss the magic in small children this time of year.  I love how excited little kids get about Christmas.  I miss that MC is not a little kid anymore.  I have enjoyed the kids at school and their excitement about the holiday.  One of the little girls I see often told me, with her eyes as big as saucers, the day after Thanksgiving break that the Elf was watching her and she had to be good.  That Elf on the Shelf thing is priceless.  But see, no little ones to share that magic with.

So, don’t get the wrong idea that I am depressed about this Christmas season.  I really am not.  I just am learning to live it a little more simply, and enjoy the magic of the season.  So if you get a charity donation from me, tell me you love it!!!

Merry Christmas!!  Really!!!


And maybe the magic of the Elf just might appear!!  : )


I swear she loves that dog more than me…..

Hey all! Mary Cate here! Yes I have been M.I.A. for quite awhile, but my life is in shambles (you don’t want to know). So what better to do when you are in the library and should be focused on pulling up your JOUR 202 grade than to blog! Right? (Okay no comments on that one)

So this dog situation. Reese. Gotta love him. False. He does not need any more love than he is getting right now. But actually, I think it would kill him. This dog is the prince of the castle. He is the only person (yes person) allowed in my mother’s chair while she is gone. She thinks it is cute that he waits for her there, but if one of us even thinks about sitting in that chair, the world is ending. This dog also eats better than I do in college. He gets eggs every morning and even got Thanksgiving dinner. Excuse me?
She once told me that she did love the dog more than me because he won’t leave her. I guess that makes sense but still I should get some love.
Oh and Reese knows he is loved more than me. He likes to gloat. He will get all up in her lap and then give me an evil eye. Or even better when she is gone, he will come lay by me and then fart right near my face. (Thanks dog)

So that is my version of Reese. Yeah he is a great dog but don’t let her fool ya. He does have his faults.

See? When has anyone seen her kiss me like that. (Not that I am jealous or anything)

See? When has anyone seen her kiss me like that. (Not that I am jealous or anything)

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Mama Bear

I heard somewhere that when you have children it’s like your heart running around outside of your body.  Isn’t that the truth.  I have never felt hurt, pride, joy, love, every emotion possible as strongly as I have felt it watching my daughter grow up.  It’s a strange phenomenon, but it’s so true.  It’s like the moment that little one comes screaming out of your body (yes, MC came screaming out!), you are a changed person.  No longer oblivious to how people treat each other, but now uncomfortably aware of every single word uttered, look given, and judgement made upon your child and your mothering (ouch!).  If you’re a mom, you know what I speak of.  It’s not always fun is it??

This was definitely the easiest time to take care of her, when she was sleeping!!

As MC grew older and began school, those little girl childhood dramas followed her (she didn’t play with me today, I didn’t get invited to so and so’s birthday party).  When those things happen Mama Bear starts to awaken inside me.  It starts slowly and  I would say anything to help make her hurt feelings go away, but inevitably she would hurt.  And that would KILL me.  It is so hard to see your child hurting.

Mama Bear works in the reverse effect also.  Like when your child is standing on the stage of her private school for receiving all A’s every single year!!  Then that chest puffs out  and Mama Bear softly growls and preens her fur.  Yes, that’s my kid.  Yes, I am a single mom.  Yes, I couldn’t be more proud!!

Moving on to high school in which Mary Cate decides to attend the public school after attending a private Christian school for all her years of schooling.  This was quite an adjustment for both of us.  She basically was starting over.  It ended up being a great 4 years, but with lots of Mama Bear moments.  We all know how mean high school girls can be.  I am lucky in that MC doesn’t keep many secrets from me.  I have had to learn that “I am not going to react when I hear something I should react to” face.  You know, you’re driving down the road, and she drops the bombshell, not usually about herself thankfully, and you have to act like it’s no big deal.  Because if you react??? Open lines of communication are gone..down the drain..,forever gone.  I was an expert at that…still am.

Prom picture. This night ended up being fun, but the events that led up to it?? Oh boy..

Now MC is in college, a sophomore living in an apartment with 3 other girls.  As a parent you mistakenly think that as your child moves onto college all the pissy girl stuff will go away.  Couldn’t be more wrong.  But now that she’s older and I am older, when she is mistreated my first instinct is to just go and kick some a**!  There have been times this year that a friend even wanted to drive down and help me!  Ha ha.  Now I would never act on this instinct (though at times I think my husband thinks I will).  But boy does Mama Bear growl, and she growls LOUD!

I do hope that all these trials that she goes through (and me too, because my heart does feel them all) will make her the person that can deal with just about anything in the adult world.  Children have to learn to handle the situations they are dealt.  I do hope that these experiences and the ones to come will make her that easy going gal when it comes time to have a real job.  Being an only child, sometimes it’s hard to get along with others because she has never had to share anything.  It’s life learning experiences, even if it is hard on my heart…

We’re at the beach this weekend, and will be watching the Gamecocks last game against Clemson!!!


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The Other Guy

Yes, you read that correctly.  There is another man in my life.  Both my husband and my daughter are terribly jealous of this other guy.  They might even say he is my favorite member of the family.  I might even have to agree with them.  Sometimes I get upset with my family (Alan and MC) because they vent to me…often.  This other guy…not a word.  Wouldn’t he be your favorite too??  This other guy even attends some family trips to the beach.  It’s not as scandalous as it sounds….this guy is my dog..REESE!!!  He’s the best thing since sliced bread.

I’d like to think he loves me as much as he loves that ball…but that might be going a bit too far.  My family does give me all sorts of grief about the love and attention I shower on my only son.  But I can’t help it.  I know all you pet lovers can understand.

I mean, look at that face!!!!  I would love to here from you about how your pets are your FAVORITE family member.  It’s a sickness I know….but we all know they are a part of our families!!!

Hope you all are planning on a great weekend!  I have lots of tennis in mine!  Yippee!!!

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My Loves…

This weekend was great! I spent it with my wonderful family. We sprinkled in time with friends and a Gamecock football win! Alan also got to spend time with his Sigma Nu brothers after the game. I feel so blessed tonight basking in the afterglow of my wonderful family. I LOVE spending time with them. Life is short, and I like making the most of our precious time together. I recently read in one of my favorite blogs about slowing down and enjoying it all. Good advice…you can read that here http://www.kellehampton.com/ Here are some pictures:

Our friends the McAbees. Steve is one of Alan’s best fraternity brothers. We tailgate with them before the games. Great friends!


A retake of a picture we took 2 years ago when MC was considering Carolina and Holden (Steve and Kim’s son) was a junior in high school. Now both MC and Holden are Gamecocks!!

It was a beautiful day for football and fun! Hope you all had a great weekend! Don’t forget to thank a veteran!!



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Our Guy

To truly appreciate this post, it requires a small history lesson and a little bit of transparency.  Here’s our story:

When Mary Cate was about 2 years old, her father and I separated.  He was in the Army, and since he was away most of her young life, this didn’t really affect her a whole lot.  She got to visit him for weeks at a time before she started school, and they had a good relationship.  We stayed in our current location because of him, even though I had family miles and miles away.  So, basically it was just us.  For 14 years, it was just “us”.  We had many ups and downs those years, but as our relationship shows, we clung to each other, and we are the better for it.  During that time, unfortunately the relationship with her dad crumbled, again, we realized how heavily we relied upon each other.  It was just “us”.  I could write pages and pages of what we went through when we were just “us”, but that doesn’t really tell our story.  Our story is that we survived, we made it through, and we are not just mother and daughter, but the best of friends!

Enter stage left…Alan.  It was just 7 years ago.  MC was in 7th grade.  We had discussed moving out west to be close to family.  Well, that didn’t happen, as we met the most wonderful man!!  Our relationship started slowly, and meeting MC was carefully choreographed.  She was wary at first, because of course, it had just been “us”.  But Alan won her over, and me.  Fast forward 2 1/2 years and we become a family.  Alan doesn’t have any children of his own, but ask anyone and they would tell you Mary Cate is his. He has been an amazing husband to me, and a WONDERFUL father to her.  They have the best relationship and it came at a time when she needed a male role model the most.  Very few days pass when I remind her to find a man in her life like Alan.  Strive for the best, don’t settle.

There are so many things I could say about Alan that I am thankful for.  I am thankful that he loves me faults and all.  I am thankful that he loves Mary Cate as his own.  I am thankful for his faith in God, his work ethic, his kindness.  The list goes on and on.  He walked into our life at the most perfect time.  Some days I am sure, he doesn’t feel we appreciate him because us girls can sure gang up on him.  But we do.  We always tell him, the day we stop teasing you, is the day you need to worry.  : )

So there you have it.  Alan makes 3!  Our Happy Family:


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This Week..

Has been crappy. I am not usually one to complain about things not going well, and certainly won’t use this blog as my output for complaining, but this week was over the top…crappy. And I would have to say that Mary Cate is probably feeling the same way. But the good thing about weeks like this, is that there comes Friday and you can put it all behind you. I won’t wallow in what didn’t go my way this week, but I will reflect on why it went wrong, what I did do right and pull my self up by my boot straps (bra straps, tennis shoe strings) and move on. Next week is a new week and therefore a new start.

Amongst all the disappointment this week, my daughter gave me some sage advice: “Maybe this is happening because something better is coming along”. Now how did she get so wise?

Now. let’s think of something funny. Mary Cate and I love the show Friends. I actually think that we have all the episodes on DVD. We have spent many days laying around in pajamas watching episodes that we’ve seen a million times and laughing our heads off. There are always times in life when we find ourselves in “Friends” situations and quoting that darn show.

Another one is that movie Airplane. Oh my gosh! Who doesn’t go to the airport and find themselves quoting lines from that movie. My brothers and I used to do that all the time and then laugh hysterically. So stupid I know, but it makes me smile to think of all those gut busting times of laughter… Happy Friday to everyone!!

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