Chocolate Then Church

Image

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!!

Advertisements

Snow Globes and Such

Image

One thing I know for sure- we all have struggles and times when it is not fun to be us. A while back, My Ansley (who has a one and three year old) was talking about how tough life felt and how exhausting it seemed. For some reason all I could think about was a snow globe. When you see them sitting on the shelf they look kind of blah. Sure they may have a pretty castle or scene in them but what’s so special about that? Now, turn a couple of four year olds loose and you see what all the fuss is about. Those wee beasties will pick up and shake each and every one of those snow globes over and over and over. Afterward, when you look at them you see a thing of rare and exquisite beauty. It mesmerizes you and you can hardly look away because just a few hundred pieces of glitter have made the ordinary look extraordinary. Life is like that sometimes, we look back and see that when it was all shaken up is when it was the absolute best.

Am I saying we should live in turmoil? NO! I’m simply saying that the times in our lives when the kids are little, the house is small, and the paycheck is just barely enough, tend to be some of the sweetest times I can remember. A Friday evening was spent watching the kids play in the yard, Saturday mornings brought the sport of the season (football/basketball/soccer/baseball) and all the fun that comes from watching kids run around with no idea what they are doing! Sunday mornings were for church and nothing is sweeter that hearing a five year old retelling Jonah and the whale. Sure there are meals to cook, laundry to wash and a bigger mess to clean. But friends those years last less than a fourth of your life! There will come a day when your house is painfully quiet and your refrigerator is sadly full. When you will look back at the photos of the chaos years and realize, yep, these were the best days.

What I’m simply trying to say people, is that life is a beautiful thing if you will only try to view the chaos as shiny pieces of sliver glitter swirling all around! After all, I promise you that you will laugh about it …. one day.

In My Swagger Wagon

The Swagger Wagon's 2012 Senior Trip

The Swagger Wagon’s 2012 Senior Trip

I still drive a minivan only we call it the swagger wagon. Yes, I realize that I have no children at home and one would think that by the time all of your children are out of the house that you have earned the right to drive a nice adult car but then the van comes in handy and you just can’t part with it. Y’all, this swagger wagon is practically family at this point, I mean it has taken us on vacation to Florida every year since 2007, moved one child to Georgia Tech four times, another two times, one move to Furman, gone on the senior trip with the class of 2012 (without me- yes my son and his friends begged to take it), moved a child to Memphis, brought home some amazing antiques inherited from my darling mother-in-law and taken us on more road trips than I could ever name.

No one sets out to purchase a minivan when their kids are out of car seats, but as I was searching for my next car in late 2006, I realized that with the length of my oldest son’s legs at the time, there were very few choices he could fit in. It was a light bulb moment people! As we tried to squeeze all three boys in the back of a smoking hot candy apple red Volvo, I quickly noticed that Will’s chin was resting on his knees and decided maybe we should pursue something a bit roomier. Right then one of the boys saw a van with the sliding door open, a drop down TV/DVD combo and heard the words, “You can even plug in any video game system and play while you travel.” It was game over at that point. Game…Over… To humor the kids we walked over to check out the vans and I realized that not only could my long legged son fit comfortably, but there were enough seats to keep them all separate. It’s the little things in my life people….

Many times we have discussed getting rid of the swagger wagon and each and every single time I think about how handy it has been. Plus, when you buy a van with half grown kids, you can afford all the whistles and bells. Can I say I really love my heated leather seats? Not as much as Tim but if I’m being honest, on some super cold days it’s been close people….real close.

30 Years And Counting…

ImageImage

We’ve been friends for 30 years… 30 YEARS PEOPLE!! That is a really long time to continue liking someone who is not family and we not only like each other, we truly love each other and cannot imagine doing life without the others. We’ve definitely had our share of STUFF- cancer, divorce, career changes, infertility, marriage issues, faith crisis, children and so on but the one constant? Unfailing love and support.

It started innocently enough, we were at cheerleading camp the summer before heading into our junior year of high school. Each room was a suite for four people so my best friend and I looked around to find two unsuspecting souls others to share a room with us. Our eyes locked with theirs and a beautiful friendship was born. I know most of you found your dearest and best friends in college. Maybe you were sorority sisters or were random roommates/hall mates but we are part of the smallest friend group in the world- lifelong friends from high school. We didn’t go to the same college, in fact we set off to three different schools yet we not only stayed best friends we became closer with every year.

Once all the kids were old enough (we have 11 amongst the 4 of us) we decided it was time for some girl trips. (I’m sure when you think of girl trips you think of wild, crazy, not family friendly times but we are a different breed… no, we are NOT boring, just different thank you) We can spend an entire weekend watching movies, eating amazing food, playing cards and talking, lots and lots of talking. I use the term “watching movies” loosely because we’ve started hundreds of movies on these trips and yet only Shawn and I tend to see the endings. I don’t care if we start the movie at 8:00pm, Kay and Lynne are just not going to make it to the end. It’s like it is engrained in their brains to release melatonin and fall asleep before the ending. I’m seriously not making this up people!! Inevitably breakfast is spent with Shawn and me recapping the movie for the sleepy heads sometimes having to start from almost the beginning (Lynne has actually fallen asleep before the opening credits finished but don’t tell her I told you, K?) Is it weird? Yes, but it’s just what we do.

Now that the kids are mostly in high school and up, we’ve gotten more creative with our trips. When you have four people splitting one room you can afford to go places that are super nice like the St Regis or the Ritz-Carlton (feel free to comp our room hotel people) and that is exactly what we do. We’ve started working our way through the east coast Ritz-Carlton’s one by one always staying at club level. Why club level you ask? One word, MACAROONS. Yep, Lynne is our self-proclaimed travel agent and she is in LOVE with macaroons. (I think she single handedly created the great macaroon shortage in Key Biscayne Florida in the summer of 2012 but I can’t prove it.) Another perk of staying at club level at the Ritz? ADULT ONLY POOL. Hello!! We’re there to enjoy a break from our family so it’s the perfect place to hang out and what else, talk.

So ladies, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of being the Awesome Foursome, I want to take this time to thank you. Thank you for not sharing with my kids all the trouble I may or may not have gotten into, times that I made a fool of myself in front of a boy and most importantly, how gifted I am with a roll of toilet paper and a few trees. Remember, I know your secrets too!

That Boy of Mine

Image

Life with three boys has never been dull. They all three have such different personalities and bring something different to the mix. One of my sons (who shall remain nameless!) had the most, uh, vivid personality shall we say?!? I clearly remember the day when he was just under two and we were at Sam’s Club in Atlanta. He was definitely less than thrilled to be going grocery shopping and decided to let me know. I set him in the buggy and as we walked into the store he began yelling at the top of his little lungs, “I WANT MY MOMMY!! I WANT MY MOMMY!!” over and over and over and over… y’all I was dying!! Here I was a young and dumb mom, knowing we were in a big city and thinking they are going to call the police to come take my child! I kept calmly saying, “I am your mommy. I am your mommy.” and then, just like that, SQUIRREL!! He suddenly stopped yelling and started looking around acting like all was normal. I. Was. Dying. I’m sure my heart didn’t stop racing for hours!

That wasn’t the last time he employed his “watch me freak out mom” tactics. We were again out in public (yes, you’d think I would have learned about taking him in public!) This time I had to fuss at him about running off. I sternly corrected him when he grabbed his thighs with his fat little hands and began backing away from me yelling, “Don’t beat me! Don’t beat me!” OH…MY…WORD. You would think I beat him on a regular basis, which I didn’t but at that moment I may or may not have wanted to! Of course, I began to freak out until I looked at his face and realized he was LAUGHING as he yelled this! I can’t even. This little stinker got me again even though he wasn’t quite three. I knew then that if I survived raising him, I was going to be able to do anything.

I’d like to tell you those were the only times he did something like that but I’d be lying to you. He, unfortunately for me, has my sarcasm along with my sick sense of humor and quick wit which he never lets me forget! I finally made peace with the fact that this child was going to be trouble when he was four. Not sure what had happened, but I looked at him and said, “Don’t lie to me.” He looked back at me with that sweet angelic face and said, “But Mommy, I lie to you all the time.” Yes friends, I knew right then it was going to be an interesting ride and he has yet to disappoint.