You Can Call Me Lou

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I’ll never forget one of the first times Tim called me. No cell phones back in the dark ages, so he called the home phone. I heard the phone ring, then Mom called me to the phone and I said, “Hello?”… “Um, can I speak to Wendy?”… “This is Wendy.”… “OH!! Well who in the world is LOU?? I heard your mom call her to the phone and almost hung up!!” Tim said.

I don’t remember when it started because I am certain I was less than six months old, but my family nicknamed me Lou. Rumor has it, my great grandfather on my Dad’s side, Pap Paw, thought I looked like Lu Lu on Hee Haw. You see I was a very healthy baby and Lu Lu was a healthy woman, therefore since I was not quite a “big” as her I only needed one Lou. It’s funny, my family never called me Wendy Lou but I have a sweet friend who I worked with, Terri, who started calling me Wendy Lou from the get go not having any idea that Lou was my family nickname. So obviously, I look like a “Lou”…. who knew?!?!?

To this day, my family will call me Lou in person, on the phone, in emails, in texts… whenever and where ever. And I automatically answer because it’s always been that way. Now my CRAZY Uncle Tony tried to give me new nickname when I was ten but thankfully “Smelly Booger” only stuck with Tony and my brother Todd. Yep, you can call me Lou… but don’t even think about Smelly Booger.

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Longing for Masters Week!!

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Yes it’s here… that time of year when I am REALLY tired of winter but spring is still a long way away. I find myself not only looking at the spring fashions wishing it were warm enough to at least wear a short sleeve shirt but longing for Masters week. In this part of the world, we begin the countdown to Masters pretty early for several reasons. First, it is the official beginning of spring to all of us in the Augusta area. Second, tons of people rent their house out so they have to get it Masters ready. Meaning the house looks like it is going to be photographed for a magazine (reason #4,563 why we don’t rent!!) And third, it is spring break.

Yes, you will NEVER EVER hear of a spring break in the Augusta area occurring any time other than Masters week. Now to those of you not steeped in Masters tradition, that means our spring break always starts on Monday following the first Sunday in April because Masters ALWAYS ends on the second Sunday in April (more than you ever cared to know? You’re welcome!) The good news about this is that you can plan your spring break years in advance resting in the knowledge that it WILL be that particular week. The bad news? It is so hard to wait that long for spring break. Especially when your college kids are enjoying an early March spring break.

For years we stayed in town for Masters week because, uh, I worked there and taking vacation that week was really frowned upon by the establishment. WHAT?!?! This past year, Tim and I had tournament badges so I REALLY wanted to get to go as just a normal person (I admit, it’s a stretch for me to be normal but I gave it my best shot.) So hubby and I have been torn this year, should we stay or should we head out of town??? Naturally, there are tons of fun things to do in town Masters week but there are also about a million extra people. That’s the rub, stay and play with a million of my closest friends or get out of town and enjoy peace and quiet… hmmmm… it really is a harder decision than you can imagine. And when we decide, I’ll be sure and let you know.

I Blame Target

My intended bag and what became my weekend bag...

My intended weekend bag;  what became my weekend bag…

Then there was that really fun weekend trip to Greenville where we got to the hotel and realized that my bag was still at home… in Augusta. It wasn’t like we had anything to do other dinner, an amazing concert, take Matt out for his birthday, see my parents, tour Furman… good times without clean clothes or make-up people, good times!

Now I am one of those people who is ALWAYS up for a road trip and can pack in less than ten minutes while blindfolded. Weekend girls trip- sure! Head up to Nashville to see one of my besties- love too! Atlanta to see my fav niece and son- alright! Carrollton to see the family- bring it on! So I can’t use the excuse that I’m not an experienced traveler and as much as I would like to blame my hubby for not getting my bag, I can’t. The truth of the matter is… it was totally Target’s fault. You see I ordered some new ankle boots (end of season sale!) and wanted to take them to Greenville to wear. Because, hello, nothing says February in Greenville like cute pants and ankle boots, right???? Tim in all of his OCD-ness was packing the car a good five hours before we needed to leave and wanted to take my bag for me but I told him not to because… Target promised my boots would be delivered that day. So as we waited, we ran a couple of errands and when we got back to the house…. NO BOOTS! Well naturally I was so distraught that as we left the house and got into the car I totally walked right… past… my… bag… sitting right by the door. The horror!!

There are really just no words for how I felt when we got to the hotel and I realized that clean clothes and make-up would not be part of my weekend. I mean we all know that I will win no style awards but every once in a while I come up with a cute outfit for a big event… and people, this weekend was going to be my best style weekend EVER!! It was going to be EPIC!! (ok, maybe that’s just a bit dramatic but it’s still fresh, so can we just go with it?)

This is when I realized that Target is not only fully to blame but may have just planned this because with only thirty minutes in which to get some replacement things… there was only one store close enough to get everything…yes, yes it was, Target was the only option. So seventy dollars later I was equipped with passable make-up but that was it. Did I still have a fun weekend? Yes! Did I win any hair, make-up or style awards? Heavens NO!!! but you know what? We had a great time and laughed over and over and over about my sweet bag sitting home… all alone… bless it…

Where Did the Years Go?

Matt Birthday

It is crazy how I look at this 6’2” man and think of him as my baby! Unfortunately for him, that is how I will always think of him and today is his 19th birthday…. WHAT?!?! No, no, no, shouldn’t he still be 3 years old with his pudgy cheeks and sweet little smile?? What happened to the days when he would climb up in my lap, poke his thumb in his mouth and fall asleep? (Yeah, he may kill me for that!)

We realized about the time Matt was four that he would be our last child, so from them on I looked at everything he did with “last eyes” because I knew whatever it was, this would be the last time anyone in our family did this. Don’t get me wrong, some of those things I was shouting hallelujah that it was the last time!! Other things not so much. Now, Will and Luke will tell you that Matt is spoiled but let’s be honest, they are all three spoiled. (living the truth, people, living the truth!)

I retired right before Matt’s senior year in high school and it was the best decision I’d made in a long time. I enjoyed every second of every day that I go to be home with him. Matt is funny, caring, outgoing, handsome, smart, charismatic and loves Jesus. He is one of the best writers you’ll ever read and as his mom I should know! There is a crazy connection between the two of us that I will always cherish. Plus, he loves his mom as you can tell from the best mother’s day gift ever:

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He’s one of the biggest blessings God has given me and I’ve loved every minute of being his mom. Happy Birthday Matt!!

The Ladder

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There is a ladder in my dining room. Yep, it’s not scary that it is there… no, to me it is scary that I no longer even notice it. That means it has been there a while. Oops! You see I’m doing some painting and redecorating around the house therefore I just leave the ladder in our least used room so that I don’t have to drag it in from the garage every time I need it. (I know, pretty brilliant huh?!?!)

Back in December, we inherited a moving van full of beautiful antique furniture from my sweet mother-in-law and once I got it in our house I realized that our walls looked a bit…. shabby shall we say? Now some of them had been painted after we moved in back in 2005 but others… well I don’t think they have ever been painted other than the white builder grade paint used back when the house was built in the 1990’s. (Pretty bad huh?!?!) You know for a while, I could overlook it and “pretend” I was still deciding what color was the right color… yeah, that was fine for the first few years but after nine years it doesn’t really work so much anymore. So, inspired by the new furniture, I decided it was time.

I waited until January so that all the boys would be out of my hair… I mean back in school. (Hey, it’s rather difficult to paint around all the college stuff spread from room to room to room. Yes, it was all your stuff Luke.) Thus far I have gotten about a quarter of the house done. My hope is that by the next time all the boys are home in May it will be done… yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

So if the next time you see me out and about, it looks like I am REALLY getting gray, have no fear, my hair dye is still working just fine… it’s most likely paint.

Learn To Let Go

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Tim and I raised three boys who graduated from high school, are all in college (one already in grad school… woohoo!) and are pretty amazing men if I do say so myself. I tell you this so that hopefully you will hear what I am about to say. There are some things that you should JUST… LET… GO. Now if you are raising girls, I got nothing. Sorry! (But I have a cool friend, Annie Downs http://www.annieblogs.com/ who has an amazing blog for young women.)

When it comes to the men in your life, there are some things that you should just let go. Like hair length. Our boys could have hair as long as they wanted so long as it was clean. Seriously, if you’re afraid your friends or people at church are going to judge you because your boys have long hair, you REALLY need new friends or a new church (last time I checked, my Bible didn’t mention hair length…just sayin.) Is it going to matter in ten years that your son had long hair when he was a junior in high school? And how awesome is it going to be to show his wife-to-be those embarrassing pics! Why not let your son express some independence in a way that is safe? (I’ve yet to hear of someone getting seriously hurt by the length of his hair.) Same goes for facial hair in my book… LET IT GO!

Only one of my sons was a clothes addict. The other two, blue jeans and a tee made them happy (heck, athletic shorts and a tee made them ecstatic!) but for years I tried to force them into khaki’s and collared shirts causing us all to be unhappy. When one day my husband (who is the farthest thing possible from a clothes horse!) caused me to realize, if others don’t like what my boys have on and judge them as bad kids because of that, then I’m sorry for them because my boys are great students, grounded in their faith and just plain good people. Who cares what they wear? And just FYI, one of those non-dressers now voluntarily wears a shirt and bowtie to work every day.

When my oldest was two, my dad looked at me and said, “Pick your battles. You’ll realize how little of this will matter when he is grown.” It took us some time to grasp this but when we did, it was game on! So the next time we see you and your family, don’t worry about how long your hair is or what you have on… cause we won’t even notice.

Snow and Ice and Earthquakes … OH MY!

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I’m not real sure what is going on in your world, but here in Augusta we have experienced snow, sleet, ice, an earthquake and 40 mph winds all in the span of four days… what?!?!? Now y’all I can put up with a lot. Let’s be real, I have three sons and have seen (and cleaned up) more than I ever thought possible. So I’m well equipped to live without power for 55 hours. But there was one thing I REALLY missed.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that what I missed the most was not a hot meal or lights or even being able to keep up with the news and weather. No, between our gas fireplace, candles and halogen flashlights I was pretty good. We even had hot water so we could shower everyday… but what I couldn’t do was dry… my… hair. I KNOW!! It’s crazy how badly I missed my hair dryer. People, I don’t enjoy walking around with a wet head and I am quite certain that my husband was looking at me by Valentine’s Day and questioning what he ever saw in me. We haven’t made it twenty-five years for nothing but I am pretty darn sure that had he seen me like this in 1989, there would have been no wedding. It… was… bad!!

Good news is that I was able to read without feeling guilty. Cause, what else was there to do?? Couldn’t cook, clean or do laundry. For some strange reason we had zero cell phone service even when we were in the cars charging them. And let’s be real here, Tim had our yard cleaned up before the last branch had been on the ground five minutes, so there was really nothing to do. BUT READ!!! Just between you and me, I may have actually enjoyed being without power… well, other than the whole Frankenstein’s Bride hairdo I was rocking.

One of a Kind

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She was a grandmother many times over when we met and I was just a bit older than her oldest grandchild. I was the woman her son had chosen to spend the rest of his life with and I’m sure I wasn’t anything like what she dreamed of for her precious baby boy. Yet she never made me feel like anything less than royalty. She welcomed me into the family with open loving arms and acted like I was just what she always wanted for Tim. She taught me many things in life, but the best lesson she ever taught me was how to be an amazing mother-in-law.

If you know Ruth Reeve, you know she is one of a kind and an extra special person. She has more friends than you can count and any one of them would concur on what an amazing and caring person she is. Today is her 92nd birthday and I’m thankful for all the birthdays I’ve seen her celebrate. Icepocalypse 2014 is keeping us from being with her today but I feel certain she will be well celebrated.

So heres to you Ruth Reeve, world class mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and if I can be half as wonderful a mother-in-law as you, I will feel like the biggest success in the world.

Yes Sir, He’s My Baby

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Man this global warming is really getting bad. We’re expecting our second winter storm in less than three weeks here in the Deep South. Last time it didn’t quite go as planned and blasted an un-expecting Atlanta area while it barely hit here in Augusta. Frankly it was disappointing! If they’re going to cancel school, I’m at least hoping for beautiful white yard… lasting longer than 10:00am.

Anyway, this time looks real and they’re saying ICE! So I did what any good southern wife does… I immediately made a to-do list for my husband. (What?!?! You thought I went to the grocery store? No, I already have Funyuns, cheese dip, guacamole, tortilla chips and ice cream… we’re set there.) You see I learn from mistakes. They closed the schools last time FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS and with hubby being an administrator in our local high school, naturally he was home… with NOTHING to do. Remember this is the guy who has wheels on his butt. He has to have something to do. I on the other hand am perfectly content to sit down and read… for hours… and hours… and hours. Tim can’t even sit down and just watch TV. If he is watching TV he is also answering email, surfing the web and who knows what else! So to say these two days were a strain on our marriage is putting it, ummmm…. mildly.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. So this time I’m prepared. I’ve put together an extensive list of all the closets that need organizing, knives that need sharpening and things that need deep cleaning. I’ve even thought of a few things I’d like built… just in case. Yep, this girl does one thing well, she learn from her mistakes. I dearly love my husband and I want nothing more than for him to be happy….so another big bad winter storm? Bring it on… this time my list is ready!!

Birthday Lunch, Box Wine and Family

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You learn something new every day. This past Saturday, Tim and I went to Carrollton and took his mother out for an early birthday lunch. Dana, Ruth’s other daughter-in-law, joined us and even though I’ve known (and loved!) Dana over 25 years, I learned many things…

Tim and I dated at Tee (Tim’s brother) and Dana’s house. We would just go over and hang out with them or babysit their kiddos. (We were poor and they would feed us, so it was a win-win situation people!) We don’t get to Carrollton as often as we like, and we certainly don’t get to see everyone we want when there, so it was great to have some time with Dana. I learned so… very… much…

Being a just few years younger than Dana, I look up to her to keep me on my toes regarding what is hip and current. Lo and behold, box wine is now hip and current… who knew?!?! Well, it may not really be up and coming but I about spewed my drink when Dana told me she switched to box wine because she was getting embarrassed by all the wine bottles she was taking to the recyclers (can you say two bin habit?) Now I promised her I would not mention this to anyone, so y’all keep this on this down-low, K?? Thanks! She also may or may not have mentioned that playing into this decision was the fact that she kept running into a certain member of the clergy who she was certain now thought she supplied her whole neighborhood with wine. We got to laughing so hard and loud that I’m afraid I may never be allowed in Plates again… oops!!

I have said for many years that it was wonderful to have family that are friends… I know it’s rare and I’m grateful every day for all of my in-laws. Besides, Dana will be SO GLAD I didn’t mention the HUGE stack of ones in her purse that she “claimed” she had left over from a mission trip… yeah! That’s a good story… let’s go with that… seriously, where else could someone thin and beautiful get a HUGE stack of ones in the Atlanta area?!?!?!?!? Love you bunches Dana!!