One Day at at Time

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Yes, I’m still here and yes, I am still working on that bathroom. Two coats of Kilz primer, two coats of gray paint (even though I paid $54 a gallon because it was “guaranteed to cover in one coat”- insert eye roll here) and two coats of white paint on the stripes (yep, back to the cheap stuff!) take quite a bit of time. With 14 foot ceilings and only an eight foot ladder, I have stood on the top of that ladder and reached so much that muscles in my back and shoulders that I didn’t even know existed are no longer sore (but they had their sore moments let me tell you!) I have learned exactly how long it takes for the paint to dry enough for a second coat to go on without making a mess and exactly how long you can keep your brush in a sealed baggy before it dries out. Another handy lesson was to paint an odd number of stripes so that you don’t have to paint at the ceiling or floor more than once… well unless your room has all these weird inset and ceiling height changes like mine. Fortunately I also now know how to get Kilz out of a very expensive jacket that belongs to my son but was borrowed by my husband…paint remover and prayer!

However you guys, don’t be feeling bad for me because it has certainly not been all work and no play… you people know me and we all realize that would never work! So there have been plenty of fun times and fun trips (both family trips and girl trips) to Nashville, Carrollton, Atlanta and Greenville. My oldest son has gotten engaged (She met me ahead of time and STILL said yes… bless her!), my brother-in-law Rick Allen won his election to the United States Congress (#PickRick) and I’ve learned that there is a reason young people have kids (as Joe Wills says, “It’s a young man’s sport.”)

Through it all I’ve learned a lot about myself and what it takes to motivate me. But most of all I have learned the best method to my madness is to take it one room at a time, one project at a time, one day at a time. No, it is not totally done yet but we’re close enough for me to call it!

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1989 Called and Wants Its Wallpaper Back

Wallpaper Hell

This wallpaper is older than my children, my marriage and the World Wide Web. I’ve wanted to remove it since the day we moved into the house in 2005 but with cathedral ceilings in this bathroom (who does that??? In a bathroom???) it was always too daunting. Until now…

I can’t decide if I’ve finally gotten the courage or am afraid it is now or never. Either way it has proved to be every bit as difficult as I thought. You see not only is it hideous outdated ugly old wallpaper but it is also VINYL. (Dear wallpaper manufacturers in the 1980’s, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???) Oh yeah, did I mention that it also was glued directly to the drywall… cardboard drywall. Yep, you are thinking to yourself right now, man I wish I were Wendy and got to go through the 14 levels of hell she did while removing this wallpaper… yes, it is good to be me! So once I get the twenty-three layers of wallpaper off the wall, I then have to Kilz the walls because by that point the walls are basically the equivalent of cardboard boxes. It’s a pretty picture aint it? Oh and just for your reference, when using Kilz in a small enclosed toilet room, it does in fact make you light headed, extremely dizzy and nauseous with a headache equal to… say a jack hammer directly on you skull. So when they say “well ventilated area” they are not teasing… turn the fan on. You’re welcome.

Cardboard Walls Back There  Naked Walls

So here I am two weeks into this process and I am maybe one-fourth of the way done. (Yes, you should pray for Tim because when he gets home from a long hard day herding cats… I mean shaping high schoolers, I am quite a joy to be with!) The good news is that I truly now know what NOT to do… the bad news is that there is still lots to practice on.

So the next time you want to remove wallpaper… go with your gut people, call a professional as fast as your fingers can dial and tell your spouse they’ll thank you for it later.

Mr. Reeve

Teach teacher teach

 

They call him Mr. Reeve… which is SO strange to me because my husband has been the only Mr. Reeve in my life for the last twenty plus years (I know what some of you are thinking but no, his dad was Dr. Reeve.) However the kids in Will’s fourth grade class at Dunbar Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee don’t know or care about any other Mr. Reeve. (Their loss honey, their loss!)

I’m pretty proud of that oldest son of mine. He has done some amazingly wonderful things in his 23 years and the latest one is teaching at an inner city elementary school. His first day with students just happened to be the day Matt and I were in Memphis to pick up Luke (who spent his summer working at SOS in Memphis for the second summer.) I can’t tell you how excited we were to be able to go see Will in his classroom and hear all about how his first day went. Naturally, Luke and Matt were a bit unruly acting… no different than the nine year olds that Will spent his day with… yeah, no surprise there.

I found it a bit surreal to see my son, who just yesterday set off for kindergarten, in HIS classroom, in what has become HIS city, fulfilling HIS dream. Will is a realist and no, everyday has not been all glitter, unicorns and rainbows. But for every bad day there have been two great days. He’s learning that just because you are called to be somewhere, it is not necessarily going to be easy. There are always going to be challenges and trials but hopefully those are going to be followed by victories.

So to you my firstborn son. Congratulations on entering the real world as a gainfully employed adult. By the way, you now get to pay all your own bills… including your cell phone and car insurance. What? Oh, you are quite welcome son!!

I Lied…

Sweet Matthew

I’ll never forget the day I heard words coming from the mouth of my son that I would have bet the farm I would NEVER hear. Matt was about four years old at the time and I’m not really sure what was going on, but I’m sure it went something like this.

I said, “Matt, did you do so and so?”

Matt emphatically replied, “No ma’am.”

To which I replied with all the motherly stern I could muster, “Matt, don’t lie to me….”

Matt then looked at me with his sweet little cherub like face and said, “But mommy, I lie to you all the time.”

I don’t even have the words to tell you what went through my mind. And his four year old little self was SO SERIOUS. His expression truly looked like he was thinking “poor woman, she thinks I tell her the truth….tsk, tsk.”

Finally after I gathered my small amount of remaining wits, I did as any good mother would do, I sent him to his room and told him I would be back to talk with him as soon as I stopped laughing.

Apparently, I lie to you guys too. I told you I’d pick my blogging back up and I didn’t. Oops! But I think I’m back now. There will be some breaks now and then. Especially considering the fact that the boy in Memphis is moving in his new house soon. And you know how I love to control help my boys.

Just so I don’t lie again, let’s just take this one blog post at a time, k? K.

I’m Now A Professional Yard Crasher

YC Collage

So last September I get a text from my Ansley in Nashville to let me know that she has just been chosen to be on DIY’s Yard Crashers…. WHAT?!?! And can I come up ASAP to help? Well of course I said YES! (ROAD TRIP!!) Seriously, I know if I can just get a break, I am meant to be a TV star. (Why me you ask? Well, first I can talk about anything anytime to anyone and second, they are really good with hair & make-up so they can make anyone beautiful.) But I digress… back to Yard Crashers.

For those of you that don’t know, the show is basically this: TV host (who is a real contractor) scopes out a local hardware store to find someone there who needs a new back yard. He goes to their house, assess the yard, tells them to call some friends to help, then comes back with a local construction team and incredible plans to make the yard AMAZING!! Then the yard is transformed in two days. Yep, I said TWO DAYS!! You cannot even imagine what can be done in a back yard with 6 TV people, 5 contractors, 3 stone guys, 2 home owners, about 9 friends and two days. Truly crazy!!

They took my friend’s completely useless back yard that they NEVER, EVER used and made it the most used room in the house. But it was not easy! I may be permanently scarred from this but it was so worth it. After all I can now put ALL THIS on my resume: deck sander, railing/fence/gate painter, street scraper, mulch hauler/spreader, pebble layer, champion shovel user, water passer-outer, trash picker-upper, mud boot buyer, sod roller, not to mention antique wood waxer. (Oh yeah, you are wanting to hire me right now aren’t you???)

I will confess I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and had no idea that this many muscles could all be sore at one time. There is nothing like a little manual labor to put things in perspective. The professionals that worked with us (shout out to Brandon Nutt Construction, Franklin, TN… whoop! whoop!) were not only amazing at their craft but unbelievably patient people. Imagine having to do quality work quickly and with a bunch of untrained, unskilled, unruly friends while TV cameras rolled. Yep, those guys deserve a HUGE reward for putting up with all of us.

So, in the end how’d it turn out? Well you won’t see me with my own TV show anytime soon (I know, I worked my razor sharp wit while muddy and sweaty but they must have missed it…their loss) but that back yard? It looks like a dream. Once the plans were laid out, I thought nice but when it was actually completed, it was like something you only see on TV… oh, wait, that’s exactly what it is!!

Before: (You really can’t tell how sloped the yard is from this pic so trust me!!)

YC Before

During:

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After:

YC After

Yes, I’m a pretty skilled worker at this point… but you’d have to pay me a ton to do it all again!!

My Ansley is going to be on TV y’all!

You have all heard me talk about my Ansley (I blogged about her here.) Well way back in September of 2013, Ansley and her husband Adam were chosen to be on the DIY network show “Yard Crashers”. I KNOW!! Can you believe they got picked to be on TV?!? And get a free yard in the process!

Naturally being the phenomenal good friend that I am, I drove up to Nashville and worked harder than I have ever worked in my life for this:

Yard Crashers

So y’all tune in cause you might just see the back of my head or a close up of my gloves. I’ll be the one sweating…

Yes, I Am Still Alive

May Adventures

Yes, I realize I have been silent for some time… I’ve kind of been half too busy, half too lazy. Keeping it real people, keeping it real.

Here’s the thing, all my boys are typically home for May so all I do is focus on spending time with them along with doing all that I can to assure that Tim’s end of the school year goes well. This year Luke and Matt were home all of May and we all traveled to Memphis with a nice stopover in Nashville for Will’s grad school graduation. We finished off May by heading to Charleston to see our beautiful niece Rachel marry Robert and y’all it was all a blast!

So before I turned around it was June and I was shipping off Luke to Memphis to work his second summer at Service Over Self (check it out here, a GREAT ministry!) and Matt off to Greenville to serve on Furman’s summer orientation staff. Obviously, Tim and I then headed off on a few vacations and adventures of our own.

So as July hits I assure you, you will get tired of hearing from me! Enjoy your fourth and stay cool….

Living in Memphis…

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My oldest son is a home owner… what?!?!? Now don’t get your hopes up about it being a grand place that you can go spend the night in just yet. As of right now, it has no bathroom, kitchen or even an attached front door. But what it does have is tons of potential and a pretty fantastic owner.

Will has essentially settled in Memphis Tennessee where he will be teaching the fourth grade in an inner city school starting this August. While I don’t love that he is going to be living nine hours away, I do love that he knows what he wants to do and is not afraid to do it. So now that he has his dream job, he decided the next item on his list was to buy a house. (Obviously, making a list of life goals is a first-born thing… being a youngest child myself, I never made a list of life goals, heck I don’t think I’ve ever made a list of anything other than groceries!!) But my Will is a quintessential oldest child. He makes lists and actually does the things on them… I know! How crazy is that?!?!?! So this amazing child who graduated from Georgia Tech in only four years (even though he changed his major and managed to be on the Dean’s list his last five semesters), got his master’s degree in one year (and somehow got not only the schooling paid for but also got a stipend to live on) now has a fabulous home right near his new school. Y’all, I could not be more proud of this guy. He was truly a joy to raise and even though he was our practice child for all intent and purposes, he turned out AMAZING and I only wish I had two more just like him (I kid, I kid! I’d take three more just like him….)

It came as no surprise to me when I was on the phone with him recently and I was teasing him about not getting to see him more often when his Wendy side came out. He quickly said “I’m just doing what you raised me to do MOM!!” Ahhhh…. How I love that boy!

Don’t You Wish Your Family Was Fun Like Mine?

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We had a family wedding this past weekend in Charleston that was fabulous! For those of you that are not part of the Reeve or Walton family… I’m sorry for you because we are a fun wedding bunch!! Just to give you a taste Go here

Yes, that is my middle son Luke and yes ladies, he is single….

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.