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!!

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….

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…

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.

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!

Chocolate Then Church

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It’s Easter weekend and while most of us celebrate Christmas in a really big way, I always wonder why we don’t put the same emphasis on Easter? After all, to us who are Christians, there could be no Christianity without the sacrifice of Easter. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad it is not a secular commercialization of a Holy day but I hope going forward we really spend time thinking about who and what we are celebrating.
Now when the boys were young it was a very BIG DAY at our house! I mean when else were the kids given tons of candy before 8:00am?? (Yeah, not real sure who came up with that tradition but I am pretty certain they did not have three boys.) Candy in the morning was made even worse by the fact that we then dressed them up and expected them to behave for the next few hours while we all went to church. Again, not much forethought on our part… I mean why on earth did we not give them the baskets AFTER church?!?! Hind sight people. But what I did love was the pure unadulterated joy on the faces of those boys as they ran around hunting eggs, eating candy and celebrating life. They didn’t really understand the holiday for years, but what a reminder to me as a harried, busy, overwhelmed mom of what really mattered. Celebrating new life and the sacrifice of our Savior.
So this year, even though they’ll be no little boys running around here on a sugar high, Tim and I will still be celebrating not only new life, but the selfless sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. And I’m hoping wherever you are, you will be celebrating the same!!

My Crazy Runs Deep

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You can see from the photos above, that we have had this cream chair for YEARS. We actually inherited the chair in early 1995 when Tim’s grandmother, Haddie, passed away at 95 (yes, she was born in 1899.) It was a nice chair when we got it but twenty years and three boys later it was looking …. ummm… less than stellar. I looked into having it recovered but then Mercer busted my bracket and I realized I wouldn’t win the billon dollars therefore ”no tengo dinero” for recovering a chair. So naturally, I decided surely I could do it myself with all my non-existent experience in reupholstering furniture. People, hear me when I say this, there is a reason they charge you so much. JUST PAY THEM!!

Going from this:

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To this:

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Cost me not only a million hours but also most of my finger nails and all movement in both hands. (What, you think I’m exaggerating?!?! Try it for yourself and let me know how many thousands of staples you have to remove with a flat head screw driver and needle nose pliers before crying uncle.) But once I got here there was no turning back besides I could tell from Tim’s sly comments like “we can pay someone to finish that, please stop lying on the floor rocking and wailing” that he didn’t think I could do it. OH, GAME ON HUBBY, GAME ON!!

Now since this all began because I was a cheap idiot as a money saving effort, I looked around for some scrape fabric to use. When I found an old chenille bedspread from my mother-in-law I just really loved the idea of using this. Now, I’m super happy with my fabric choice but in a classic case of “if I knew then what I know now” I would have started on a much simpler chair because the seat back of this thing was a booger! My second mistake was not quite remembering how it went back together. OOPS!! Yes, I diligently photographed along the way but you really need a photographer just sitting around documenting for you… seriously, you get to going pulling off fabric and think SURELY I’ll remember where this batting goes and how it was stapled on… yeah, not so much.

Well, here is my final result and while I will win no awards, I have realized it is a bit like child birth. IT IS HORRIBLE as you go through it but just hours later you find yourself saying, “on the next chair I re-upholster…” Yes people, crazy obviously runs pretty deep in my family.

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The Great Pillow Crisis of 2014

So Tim had not been sleeping great on our mattress. And I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact our mattress and Tim are both old. In lieu of shelling out a small fortune on a new king sized mattress set, I did what every good wife does, I polled my friends. My Ansley mentioned that they inherited an “older” mattress set and in order to make it work for them, they went to the local warehouse store and got a mattress topper for around $100. People, that was right up my alley.

I moseyed along to our local warehouse store and found one for less than $110… go me!! Well mission accomplished, Tim swears he slept better that night than he had in years, so yay Tim! Me on the other hand slept worse than I have in years… yikes! After a few nights of really trying to convince Tim and myself that I was sleeping fine, I realized that it was my memory foam pillow coupled with my new memory foam mattress topper keeping me from sleeping. Well before I go any further, I have to tell you that I am THAT GIRL. You know the one who takes her pillow EVERYWHERE? No matter how stupid she looks in the lobby of the Ritz or St Regis holding her pillow in what she has just realized is a ratty, faded old pillow case. When I traveled for work, I packed my pillow before I packed my clothes. I didn’t care how I looked as long as I slept well. My pillow has yet to miss a girls trip, family vacation, wedding, or any other overnight I go on. So this is a really big deal that I now have to find a new pillow (to be honest, I’d rather go swimsuit shopping on NATIONAL TELEVISION!! It’s really, really bad people!)

The good news? We have approximately one hundred pillows spread amongst the beds in our house (ok, maybe there’s only sixteen and I don’t really know why I have 3 or 4 full size pillows on each of the boys beds but frankly right now I’m too tired to care.) I’m on about night six of trying and so far no luck. But I have hope. Either I will find the perfect pillow, or I will be so tired that I will cease to care. Who knows, maybe this is God’s way of breaking me of my pillow dependence… one way or the other something’s gonna give and chances are it won’t be Tim or the mattress topper.

Life Changing

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There is no getting around it… the world is divided into two distinct people groups- those that LOVE sweets and those that don’t. I fall into that latter group. Now don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that I don’t like sweets it’s just that I prefer, you know, mashed potatoes or hash brown casserole when it comes to dessert. Well, until recently that is.

Having three boys who stay hungry, I have always kept my freezer stocked with ice cream. They all have their favorites: one tends to like plain, another likes anything coffee flavored and the last one loves mint chocolate chip. These days I try to stock up when they’re going to be home and I try to mix it up for them. On one of my recent trips to stock up, Mayfield was on sale so I tried some of the new flavors. One of them, as I told my Thursday night Bible study group, CHANGED MY LIFE! Oh my y’all, it is ah-maz-ing.

It’s a caramel flavored ice cream with salty caramel and chocolate covered pretzels called oddly enough Crunchy Caramel Pretzel. It is the perfect blend of salty with sweet which I think is why I have fallen in love with it. I mean, I may or may not have eaten a small cup this morning at 9:15 when I pulled the carton out to photograph it. There may have also been a conversation with Tim in which I was a bit short with him because not only did he eat some of what I lovingly call MY ice cream but he put it back in the fridge not the freezer (let’s just say he won’t make that mistake again since I reluctantly agreed to share if he would promise to always put it back in the freezer.) So if you haven’t given up sweets up for Lent, I suggest you head straight to the store to buy some. Be fore warned, this may kill your swimsuit diet but rest assured it will change your life for the better! And yes, you will thank me later.

Pulling Tim into the Smart Phone World

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We were out of town this weekend visiting family since my two stateside boys are on spring break. Somehow the conversation turned to cell phones and we realized how short of a time they have been in our lives. Tim got his first BAG PHONE back in the late nineties and not only did it weigh 100 lbs but it was difficult to get service. Also, it was only for dire emergencies… we would never have used it to just chat. Just like today… NOT!!

My first cell phone was a small white flip phone and I really did not want it or any other phone. (We’ve discussed how much I abhor talking on the phone, WHY would I want one with me constantly?!?!) But Tim, who seriously likes talking on the phone, surprised me with one around 2005 and now like the rest of the world I panic if I leave the house without it. Times have changed and as a whole, we rarely use our phones just to call people. The best cell advice I was ever given was from a friend who also has three sons a few years older than mine. Leigh told me to get unlimited texting for everyone in the family. She explained that boys will text a hundred times more than they call. BEST ADVICE EVER!! Because my boys text a million times more than they call… they are their mother’s sons after all!

We’ve all come a long way in my family with everyone in our family having a smart phone… well, except for Tim. He still has an old fashioned phone and now he’s the one kicking and screaming not to enter the smart phone world… not because of principle mind you, no with Tim it is purely an economic decision. But he’s softening. His coworkers harass him endlessly because he’s the only person in his entire high school without a smart phone (well, maybe I exaggerate just a bit…I think there is one ninth grader without one) and now that Luke can Facetime me from Europe and Will can Facetime me from Memphis anytime they want he’s almost ready to jump on board. Yep, nothing like your kids to force you into spending more money…