The Boys Are Back In Town… Almost

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The month of May will be here tomorrow… WHAT?!?!? Am I the only one who it snuck up on?? It seems just yesterday that the boys were leaving after Christmas break (and when I saw the mess that was left in their wake, I may have actually been grateful that they weren’t coming home again until summer…oops!!) But I do love May for lots of reasons: Tim’s birthday, Will’s birthday, my mom’s birthday, my favorite cousins birthday, my nephew Andy’s birthday, Mother’s Day (plenty of notice boys… books are always good), school ends, summer begins, and our household occupancy doubles while my laundry/cooking/cleaning TRIPLES! I have learned to make very few plans in May because I know it’s the longest my boys will be home all year and we just plan to soak it in.

Other mothers talk about having their college kids home for the summer and I must say that I have never had that experience. Our oldest son worked every summer and spring break for his entire undergraduate life. It looks like both our middle son and youngest are headed down that same path. I’m not complaining, because I believe it’s good from them to experience all that they can while they are young and unencumbered. (Plus, none of them are dumb and they know there is no way their dad would put up with them staying in bed until noon.) Do I miss them? YES! Would I love to have them home for a longer period of time? Sure in theory but I’m pretty sure we’d get on theirs nerves about the same time they started getting on ours!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tim and I are loving the empty nest! Seriously, when your kids do what you raised them to do it’s hard not to be happy for them (besides, I’d be crazy to mind less laundry, smaller messes and cheaper grocery bills…just sayin) it also means that when any or all of the boys are home we put everything aside and just enjoy our time with them. So for the next month there will be late nights, tons of good food, great conversations and more fun than you can imagine. Seriously, I may be worn out and used up come June but it will all be worth it!

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Opposites Attract

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Tim and I will be celebrating twenty-five years of marriage this summer. Twenty-five years? Am I old enough to have been married that long? (Well I was 10 when we married…) I question how life passed so quickly? More importantly I question where are we going to go to celebrate? You think I’m being petty, but this is a big deal because when it comes to vacation getaways, Tim and I could not be more different.

For me it’s pretty simple: beach, chair, book, ocean and PLENTY of sunshine. That is really all I require. There is just something so soothing and tranquil about the sound of the waves combined with the smell of the salt air and the continuous breeze to keep me from getting too hot. I mean it people, this is what heaven is to me. Ahhhhhhh……

Tim on the other hand loves a vacation with a lot of doing! No sitting still for him. Whether it is exploring a nature trail, taking in the local attractions, going on a zip-line, climbing a mountain, or anything else that is NOT just being by the beach reading a book. No sir, no sitting around reading for my man. (I know, how in the world have we lasted this long?!?!?!?!)

Funny story, one of my favorite vacations was when Tim and I went to a resort in Cancun, Mexico just the two of us. I loved it so much because we did nothing but enjoy the pool, the ocean and Mexican food (again, heaven!) How did I get Tim to go for this? Well, he had his appendix out on Saturday and we left for Cancun that next Thursday. Yep, he was not allowed to do anything but rest, relax and recover. Does this make me a bad person that I enjoyed the trip so much? I’m going to say no… I just made the best of a bad situation. Right?!?!?

So you see there is a dilemma… there is also a budget. Combine the two and you’ll understand why we have no idea where we are going…yet. But you see I’m an optimist and I truly believe we will find a solution to this problem. Who knows, maybe we’ll find a beach with a zip-line over it!!

He’s A Lot Like Me… Bless Him!

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As my children grow older, I see more and more of myself and Tim in them every day. My oldest son, Will, is very much like me… poor thing! We share a love for reading, are consummate rule followers and when we are invested in something, we give no less 110%.

I love it when my boys are home, whether together or separately. Will, who is currently in Memphis, Tennessee getting his master’s degree, was home for a bit by himself and I noticed something about myself. I spend far more time reading when Will is home. Maybe it’s because he’s a reader too and will plop down on the sofa across the room from me and crack open a book. Maybe it’s because he is uber low maintenance when it comes to… ummmm… everything. Maybe it’s because he leaves no mess in his wake!!! Whatever it is, I LOVE it! How many women get to discuss book likes/dislikes with their son? How many sons/moms favorite store is a bookstore? How many women share a book collection with their son? Yes people, Will is a lot like me…

The other thing I noticed when Will was home is how dedicated to his craft he is. I had no idea at 22 what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (well other than be married to Tim of course) and here Will is not only knowing what he wants to do, but knowing where he wants to do it! Will’s heart has been stolen by urban education. He wants to make a difference in the lives of inner city kids. As I write that I think “WHO ARE YOU SON AND HOW CAN YOU BE SO SMART????” and then I think, well obviously he’s my son…. I kid! I kid! But seriously, I can hardly believe how amazing he turned out, after all everyone knows the first child is the practice child (I said being the baby in my family!)

What a joy it is being mom to this guy… at least 99% of the time!! I say this often, it is never dull in our life and that’s just the way I like it. Now excuse me while I try to think of something nice to say about the other two…

Holidaze…

Today is December 27th. Could there be a less heralded day of the year? On the twenty-sixth you are still coming off the high of the twenty-fifth and if you are like me trying to clean up the mess. But on the twenty-seventh it’s like… nothing. Life should go back to normal but you don’t really want it to because one, you don’t want the holidays to be over and two, you don’t really want to begin the process of returning your life and home to normal…cause that’s a lot of work!! I mean you have to disassemble the tree, take down all the Christmas tchotchkes, begin to make a dent in the pile of laundry that has accrued and remember where all your old stuff goes. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it…which may be why I don’t want to actually do it!

Part of the problem for me is also knowing that before I blink the boys will be heading back to school and let’s be honest, there was just something fun about a house all decorated up for Christmas. When the decorations come down and the kids head back to school, all I am left with is January. January?!?! Other than a few family birthdays it’s got nothing. I mean sure there is MLK holiday on a Monday late in the month and that’s all great but it’s not like it’s a holiday where you get together as a family. It’s more like a holiday where you just take a break from doing nothing to do…. nothing. Plus, as we have discussed before, I like warm weather and sunshine neither of which is found in January.

But why rush things? In just four short days it will be New Year’s Eve and all kinds of great football begins. Also, this is the last year of the much maligned BCS and that in its self is a reason to celebrate. My boys are all still home for a few more days and now we have the time to stay up all night watching all those movies we keep saying we want to see. Plus, I also have a great excuse to crack open some of the hundreds of books on my shelves…after all it is still the holidays! So I’m publicly changing my mind… because December 27th just may be the BEST day of the year!! Now, biggest decision of the year- which to begin with book or movie?!?!?

Book Buying Ban

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We’ve discussed that I have a problem, a serious BOOK problem. Well, apparently it is worse than we thought. I realized last Wednesday that I bought a book that was already on my bookshelf. No big deal you say? Well if I told you how many times this has happened in just the last year, you would agree with me that I do indeed have a BIG PROBLEM.

So I’ve decided how to punish myself…. I mean solve this problem. For the next 365 days I’m imposing a Book Buying Ban on myself. I am not allowed to purchase a single book. Nope, not a one unless I read every book in my house first. What you think that sounds easy? Sure for most people but you have to remember I have a wall of bookcases in my living room and it is FILLED with books that I have not read. Plus there may or may not be another rather large bookcase in the bonus room that is half full of books that are unread by me. Ooops!!

I’m going to allow myself to get books as gifts (generous of me don’t you think??) but I’m even going to put a hiatus on library books (lots of books to read!!) It’s a little bit scary because the book of the century may come out any day now and I’ll be dying to read it but this is my final decision, no purchasing books even if they are on sale or used. YIKES! This may be difficult but I can always add to my “books to buy” list and go on a HUGE buying spree next November… please tell me books go on sale for black Friday?!?!?!?

Bookworm Wednesday

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Y’all know I love books! But I’m quite certain that I am the last person on the Earth who hadn’t read this book. And I’m really not sure how I could have missed it for all those years. Of course it’s not a very thick book, so it wouldn’t have hit my radar that way nor was it required reading when I was in high school like it was for my boys. That is truthfully how I came to FINALLY read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (just don’t tell anyone that my son recommended it because I would hate for him to lose his man-card.)

I’ve read plenty of books that referenced P&P but yet never read it. Truth be told, I tend to not read old books unless someone enthusiastically recommends them. Well that changed this summer when I was once again trying to reorganize my over full bookcases. I pulled P&P off the shelf and was laying it aside when my son walked through and said, “Oh, that’s a great book! I bet you loved it mom.” Ummmmm, I then had to admit I’d never read it. He was shocked and said he was even a bit disappointed in me. Well, we can’t have that now can we?

The start was a little rocky because of the manner of writing in Miss Austen’s time. The structure of the sentences were not only different but long and wordy. I found myself rereading portions multiple times so that I could figure out what was really being said. That didn’t last long however, since I was quickly pulled into the story and dragged along as Elizabeth Benet journeys through life. I have to say I totally identified with her quick wit and unfiltered speech. Often I read books and it is TORTURE! I want to scream, “Just say what you really think!” Dancing around what you really mean has never resonated with me because I say what I think most of the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not rude or ugly about it, but at the same time I see no reason not to be honest and upfront.

Well for the one other person in the world who has not read P&P, I’ll not tell anything further and get accused of “spoiling” it, but suffice it to say, it ends well. Sure you saw some of it coming but because of the delightful way Miss Austen writes, you enjoy it in spite of any predictability. Now, on to another classic recommended by my son…

Thank You Mr. Conroy

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We’ve covered the fact that I am a voracious reader before in this post https://wenreeve.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/true-confession/ and while I am a fan of many I’ve never really been a “groupie” of any author but when I heard that Mr. Conroy was going to be in Nashville speaking and signing his new book “Death of the Great Santini” I knew I would move heaven and earth to be there!

My Ansley introduced me to Mr. Conroy when we first met in 2006. You should know that hands down he is her FAVORITE author of all time and has been since she was in her teens. At her recommendation, my first book by Mr. Conroy was “The Water is Wide” and I knew right away that it was love. Mr. Conroy writes in a way no one else even comes close to in my mind. He takes me so deep into the story that I find myself taking on the feelings and struggles of the characters in the book and literally become so wrapped up in them that I struggle to walk away. There is no way I can read his books back to back because I get so involved that I border on morose and know for sure my family would never put up with me like that! If you have never read Mr. Conroy, shame on you. He is a prolific southern gentleman, scholar and writer of prose who pulls from deeply personal struggles in every book. His gift is such that I feel intimately acquainted with each and every character in his books. In my mind I have walked where they walked, ate what they ate and lived their life with them.

Amazingly, not only was Mr. Conroy going to be interviewed about his new book (by Ann Patchett no less- WHAT?!?!) but he was going to sign books afterward. Y’all, I would have been fine just to hear the interview. He. Was. Amazing. Like Ann Patchett said in the interview, “Pat, you write in such a way that we fall in love with a man you hated simply because of your compassion.” Mr. Conroy had us alternately laughing and crying over and over all in the space of an hour. He is bright, funny, charming and lights up when he talks about his family and his books. Then he went into the lobby of the auditorium and singed books for anyone who wanted one for over two hours (I say over two hours because that’s how long we waited and there were more after us!!) When it was your turn, he not only introduced himself to you personally, he looked you in the eye and shook your hand as if you were the only person in the room!!! Then he quietly talked with you while he signed your books. OH MY GOODNESS!!!

It was a night I will always remember and he is a man I will never forget. Mr. Conroy, thank you for being exactly what your mother wanted you to be, a quintessential southern gentleman through and through.

True Confession

My name is Wendy and I am a reader. I feel like I’m confessing an addiction and maybe it is of sorts. I know you’re thinking, what?!?!? How can one be addicted to reading? Well, let me explain. It all started as a little girl. My parents are both avid readers, so I grew up with it being something you normally did- on vacation, at night after dinner, before going to bed. I read anything I could get my hands on from the back of cereal boxes to random magazines laying around to old newspapers to the back of products. Silly me, I though everyone was this way.

I especially loved vacation. Our vacation time was spent camping/fishing in the North Georgia Mountains and before we left town, we’d always stop by the library to check out some new books to take with us. First criteria for a book? THICK! Yes, my nine year old self wanted to find the thickest books possible because you could only check out eight books at a time. I know, only eight books for a week in the mountains?!?! Crazy huh?? So of course they had to be thick books and thick books can be hard to find. Needless to say I developed a love for all genres of literature. From historical to contemporary, chick lit to best sellers, Christian to mystery books.

The realization that I was abnormal didn’t happen until after I married. My husband and his family read but not like my family. They might read an article in a magazine or a “must read” book but they were rather tame with their reading. I’m sure they thought my hubby had lost his mind when they realized the extent of my “problem.” Let me put it this way, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, the kids went around the room discussing what their parents did for a living. Since his teacher was our friend, she relayed what Will told the whole class, “My mother reads.” My sweet firstborn thought that’s what I did….for a living!! (Oh if only it were true!!) I tried to explain to him that I did plenty of other things like house cleaning, laundry, cooking…. but I knew with certainty by the look on his face, he didn’t believe a word I was saying. Even at five they know what you really love to do.

I tried to taper off my reading once I “retired.” Thinking I needed to try to find other hobbies like ironing, cooking, cleaning. But seriously, I took a long hard look and decided I’m ok just like I am. I spend time on my Bible study (teaching teenage girls you gotta keep your game up) and our house is spotless…. (what? it’s my blog) ok, maybe not spotless in the traditional sense but clean enough, the laundry is done and one look at us tells you we’re well fed. So yesterday, I read an entire book. Nothing heavy, just what I call popcorn for the brain. Maybe I felt guilty for reading but not anymore. I have decided I’m better if I’m reading. It’s my outlet and my escape and I deserve it. So take that world!!  (now I’m getting down off the soap box and on to another book.)