Luke and Europe In A Nutshell

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I could write a nice long rambling blog about everything Luke did while studying abroad in France but why? Especially when he says it best:

To spend even a week in a European country is an experience of a lifetime, but four months? Well, according to my calculations, that’s the experience of 16 lifetimes, and that’s exactly what I did during my spring 2014 semester. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was more like 13 countries. I lived in the small French city of Metz, right where Germany, Luxembourg, and France all meet: the perfect launching point for a semester filled with the works of masters such as Michelangelo and van Gogh, the ruins of ancient empires such as Greece and Rome, and the fine wines of France and Italy. I have walked the Cliffs of Mohr, skied the Swiss Alp’s Matterhorn, and been amazed by Gaudi’s masterpiece: the Sagrada Familia. From Dublin to Athens, Barcelona to Amsterdam, and all in between, I have seen more in my 21 years than a lot get to see in a lifetime. But as I look back and the reality of it all sets in, I realize that, more than the places, the people I met were the ones that changed me. They are the ones that, in some way, will stay with me forever. I’ll always remember the five Scots that helped me take Dublin by storm, and Ashley, the Australian who I toured the underground tapas world of Barcelona with, and then the Nigerian street vendor from Athens who sold me the bracelet I still wear, and his story of how poverty has defined his life. I’ve seen the best that Europe has to offer and tasted some of the best food in the world, but it took me over 15,000 miles of travel and a semester abroad to discover what is life’s greatest potential for adventure: the human race.

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Today’s A Great Day

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Twenty-three years ago today my life changed forever. My first child was born and no matter how much you love each of your children, there is just something special about your first born. When we got to the hospital, the doctor said “are you ready?” to which I replied “NO!” and he said “too late!” Yes, this was when I realized I had the greatest doctor in the world. Who, by the way, delivered Will with a broken arm. It was broken playing church league softball. He had it set afterwards. Nope, never has my life been normal.

Will’s was an easy pregnancy and delivery. So easy in fact, I clearly remember sitting in the delivery room thinking two things. First, I need to call my mom and apologize for all the times I was bad and second, I already want another one. (Oh don’t look shocked, you all know how strange I am.) Will was put in the NICU because his blood sugar was higher than normal which they attributed to him being a big baby (8lbs 8oz, 22 inches long) and I have never felt worse in my life. I wasn’t all sad because he was in the NICU, no I felt so bad because there was my enormous, essentially healthy baby boy in a room full of teeny, tiny, truly sick babies. (I’m certain the other mothers wondered why the ginormous baby was even in there and I was a bit worried that I had somehow contributed to this by drinking gallons of sweet tea from Wendy’s while pregnant with him… oops!)

There are literally millions of wonderful things I could say about Will but I’ll just say this, if you gave me the chance to raise a thousand more just like him I wouldn’t even have to think about it before saying YES! Will has truly been a pleasure to raise and is a joy to know. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, when your kids become adults and you actually want to spend time with them, you are blessed beyond measure.

Happy birthday Will! Thanks for making parenting seem so easy that we did it again… twice!

Blink and They Grow Up On You…

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It seems like just a week ago he was going to pre-school for the first time. How is it possible that he’s now graduated from Georgia Tech with his undergraduate and Union University with his Masters? Oh yeah, and he has a job… a real job. You know the kind with benefits, a 401K, retirement plan, insurance and responsibilities. Better him than me!! I kid, I kid. Super proud of this guy.

After getting his undergraduate degree, Will knew that he wanted to get his masters in Urban Education because let’s be honest, he has been drawn to Memphis Tennessee since the first summer he went there with our church for a mission trip (I blame you Roy McVeigh!) Teaching has also been on his radar since he was in middle school and since he worked as a tutor at GT it just solidified his love for teaching (it also convinced him he wanted to work with younger kids… ones who weren’t quite as stubborn as college athletes.) Will found a graduate program much like Teach for America, only in our opinion better, called Memphis Teach Residency (read about it here and feel free to support them as well!) The beauty of this program is that they mentor and coach you through your one year graduate program and then see you through your first three years of teaching. Who wouldn’t love someone to walk you through your first few years as an adult?!?!?! Great program full of great people and Will is blessed to be a part.

You know I’m proud of all three of my boys but I feel a bit sorry for the younger two. Not only did Will graduate from GT in four years, with honors, he has now graduated from grad school and he’s been financially independent for almost a year… and he’s not quite 23. Yep, he’s set the bar pretty high. Good luck with that Luke & Matt…

This Kid Gets Me

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There are people that get you and then there are people that GET YOU. Mother’s Day started off innocently enough… I’m texting a friend and every time I type “you” my phone autocorrect to “you’re not my dad!!!” I show Matt and we get a great laugh out of it as I think to myself “stupid phone!” Then later in the day as I’m texting my hubby who was playing golf (his gift to me), I type “babe” and it autocorrects to “little hitler”… it was at this point that I knew someone had been messing with my phone. I slyly glance over at Matt who has an enormous grin on his handsome face and he says, “Now type ‘home’.” Which I did and an entire paragraph appeared on my phone spouting redneck drivel proclaiming that the south will rise again. Matt and I started laughing so hard we couldn’t stop. It was classic Matt because y’all, this kid gets me.

I really thought that was his entire Mother’s Day gift to me and seriously it was more than enough. Nothing makes me happier than stuff like that. (Obviously, the bar has been set very low and I’m easy to please!) So when I got up this morning and saw this, I knew this child had great insight in to my soul.

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Here’s the thing, I love fun and funny with just a small bit of touching thrown in. Well played Matthew, well played. (Yes, that’s Riley Kate holding Matt’s thumb in the above photo.)

This Is What You Get When I Am Your Daughter

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Since it is Mother’s Day weekend, I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to my mom. So here is a poem that I wrote and hopefully you will pretend to like:

She’s much like my husband, a people magnet

Often confused for my sister, she’s so young & attractive.

Whenever that happens, I never cause a scene

Because I am hoping I inherited her genes!

My boys will say she’s the best cook in the state,

I have to agree her food really is pretty great!

She’ll say I’m the baby and call me a prima donna,

But I don’t really mind, cause I love my momma.

So here’s to you mom on this your special day,

It was cheaper than a card and your gift’s on the way!!

 

LOVE YOU MUCH MOM!! And yes people, my poem writing skills are available for hire…

 

 

Trip-Trap

Y’all, I have way too much trip-trap (that’s a Lynne Denney-ism for needless items you accumulate that at the time of purchase you think you must have or your life will not be complete or random things given to you by even more random people.) Even on my desk I realize that there are more items that I don’t use than those I do (computer- yes, faded coaster- no, old paint samples- not so much.) For instance, there is the candle in the star holder that I got in 2004 playing secret Santa at work. No I don’t like it but someone gave it to me ergo I feel compelled to keep it (yes, I obviously have some issues… no surprise there.) It has no special meaning to me, I cannot remember who gave it to me and it has become nothing more than a dust magnet.

Then there are the 7,000 pieces of trip-trap that sit on our bookcases because they were gifts… from whom I have no idea and I’m sure the person that gave it to us doesn’t remember either. It kind of reminds me of in the Bible where they mention the altar to the unknown gods… just in case they missed a god, you know??? Well I have bookcases full of unknown trip-trap just in case the giver stops by and wonders if I still have the ceramic apple with the candle inside (yes, I really do have one of those and no, it is not attractive or useful… unless of course you are the giver in which case we LOVE IT!)

It’s no coincidence that I am noticing this now as the weather warms up and the boys head home. You see I love spending time with my boys just a bit more than dusting the trip-trap I’ve accumulated over a lifetime. So while I won’t necessarily clean it out anytime soon, I will put it on the list. You know, the list titled “Things to do once the boys are no longer home”… yeah that list!

ps If you don’t know who Lynne Denney is, first- who are you? second- read this.

126 Days Later… He’s Home

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It was a long Saturday partly because Tim likes to add an hour or four buffer just in case there are any snafus when heading to the airport and partly because we had waited for this day for SO LONG!!! We picked up Matt on the way and thank goodness had enough time to eat at Chuy’s (if you’ve never been to Chuy’s then I’m sorry for you… when you go, try the creamy jalapeno dip. You WILL thank me.) There was very little traffic and we made good time until we got almost to the pick-up area at the airport in Charlotte.

I will warn you because there was no one to warn us. If you are picking someone up from the Charlotte Douglas Airport, then good luck because there is NO hourly, daily or long term parking for what looks like it’s going be the next hundred or so years (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration… maybe.) They have torn down all parking areas and are in the process of rebuilding them in the form of a fifty story parking deck (or so it seemed to my untrained eye.) In the meantime, you have two options: park and shuttle in from Virginia to pick up your loved one or simply time it just right and pick them up right outside baggage claim (of course you will need NASA like precision with your timing.) Now maybe it’s just me, but typically when I go to pick up someone from the airport, I am going because it is easier to be picked up than to spend hours being shuttled out to your car once you get back. Well, apparently the master planner at Charlotte Airport didn’t know that (now you do and you’re welcome!) We arrived with about fifteen minutes to wait thinking that was the perfect window. Nope! Thanks to the lack of parking, you are only allowed to stop for 42 seconds before they make you move on and you have to pull back around… which sounds simple until you drive on and realize that the pull around loop is approximately a fifteen minute ride… if you are the only car in a fifty mile radius. Sweet Tim dropped Matt and me off to wait while he left on what felt like a three hour tour. It was slightly ridiculous and I’m tired just reliving this people!

I told myself I wasn’t going to cry… I lied to myself. There was just no helping it. When you haven’t seen your son in 126 days, you just are overwhelmed when you finally get to hug him. I have to say, there is no sweeter feeling than seeing that handsome mug across the baggage claim area and knowing he is finally home. So yeah, I cried just a little and didn’t even care who it bothered. Of course the first order of business once he got back to Augusta was food… Jimmy Johns to be specific. One “Gargantuan” sandwich later, all is right with the world.

It’s His Birthday!!

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Today is the love of my life’s birthday!! I thought about telling you fifty-three things I love about this man since today is his fifty-third birthday, but I decided no one would read past number ten except for him, so I’ll just spare you. Tim and I are different in many ways and when it comes to birthdays we are really different! When it’s my birthday, I like to pick the restaurant and truthfully the gifts as well. Not that I don’t trust Tim to do it, it’s just that he has less than stellar taste in gifts and Waffle House is his go to place (he once gave me a shower stool….you feeling me now?!?!) So when it’s getting near his birthday I start asking him where he wants to go and what gifts he wants. The answer is always the same, “wherever you want to go” and “I don’t want anything, I have everything I want.” See how easy it is being me?????

But really that sums up this wonderful man. Tim is content with spending time with people, doing what they want to do and just enjoying every day as it comes. He rarely gets mad, never raises his voice, puts others first and doesn’t even understand the concept of holding a grudge. (Told you we were really different!) I know that I am the most blessed woman in the world to get to call this man my husband and though we have our differences we also have our similarities. From simple things like pretzel dogs at Sonic to our love of traveling to our total joy in getting to raise our sons. Even though he is a mountain person and I am a beach person we can agree on the fact that we love to be together. (yes, in typical Tim style, the beach usually wins.)

So today join me as I celebrate the greatest husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend in the world. I have loved you for over half of my life and I don’t plan to stop… Happy Birthday Timmy! Waffle House here we come…