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Monday, August 22, 2016

In This Moment

I remember my first day of college as if it happened only last week.  The fluorescent lights of the hallway leading to the classroom made me feel exposed and vulnerable.  I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, drawing in a scent of new books mixed with old wood and a trace of all who had come before me.  I can feel the butterflies in my stomach as the classroom door came into sight, and I still don’t know if they were there because of tattered nerves or from pure excitement.  I settled into the third desk from the back on the left side of the room before I allowed myself to glance to the front of the room for my first peek at the instructor.  Dr. McCormick was a middle aged man with a friendly face that put me at ease enough to scan the rest of the room.  Most of the other students appeared as apprehensive about the moment as I, which made me more comfortable.  My nerves settled, and I began to feel something else.  It was a mixture of relief and joy that I was finally sitting in my first college class.  I was living the dream I’d carried for two years as I worked forty hours a week in a clothing factory to pay for the car that would grant me the freedom to make it to this moment.

Today is that first day for Patrick.  When I started homeschooling my kids eleven years ago, I could not fathom the thought of making it to this point.  Like with every stage of life, I felt as if I would be teaching them forever.  

Two years ago, when Madison started college, I had to learn to let her go.  I feared failure on my part in preparing her for what was to come.  Reluctantly, I did let her go, and she grew into a strong, independent young woman.  

Now I must do the same for Patrick and, on top of that, learn to live without him in our home.  Moving him into his dorm room opened up a vault of nostalgia for me.  I remember clearly the day I moved into my first dorm.  Coming from another town two years after all of my high school classmates started college, I was on my own.  I loaded everything that was precious and needed into my car and said goodbye to the small town in my rear view mirror.  I fell into the dorm community and college with ease and fell in love with my new life.  

This is what I hope for Patrick, even though his is not as complete a break from home as my own.  I’m looking forward to watching him evolve into what I have always known he would become—an independent, confident young man with goals and the courage to pursue them. 

I have always believed that, when the time came for my first child to move out, I would be able to endure it if I had no regrets looking back.  I can say with no reservations that I have no regrets where any of my children are concerned.  I have enjoyed them to the fullest and appreciated every moment with the knowledge that, while I felt I would have them here forever, they would eventually leave.  Having sisters with children older than my own helped me gain this perspective, and I am thankful for that.  Still, on quiet nights when all of the distractions of the day have quieted, I allow my mind to wander to those places that take hold of my heart and tug.  I fall asleep in a mangled web of sadness, joy, pain, and accomplishment but never regret.  I wake the next morning with my eyes forward.  Everything in my past has prepared me for this moment, and it is in this moment that life is real.        

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Two and a Half Years

That's how long it has been since I last posted here.  I never thought there would be a day when I would neglect my beloved blog.  Perhaps it was facebook that drew me away with its ability to connect me to so many  loved ones instantly.  Maybe I became too busy for long posts and was enticed by the few lines and a picture I could throw onto facebook.  I don't know, but the longer I went without posting here, the more difficult it became to imagine catching up.  I have sat down many times and attempted to figure out how to do just that.  For a while, I attempted to catch up, but that made me even more overwhelmed as new memories were being pushed aside to wait in line.  I have decided the only way to return is to do so in the present.  I have so much to share from the past two years, but I will do so as new memories remind me of these past events.

As a quick catch-up, I will say that I am entering my last year of homeschooling, and I have very mixed feelings about it.  Madison is starting her third year in college and Patrick is about to move out to start his first year at ULM.  He will be the first to move out, and I also have had mixed emotions about that.  Carter is a senior and the last one that I have to graduate.  I am so close to being able to look back and say, "We did it!"  There are always people who will tell others that they are making a mistake or they won't be able to do something.  I am thankful I didn't let these people divert me from the goal I set twelve years ago.  This blog holds so many memories from our homeschooling journey.  I can spend hours sitting here reading and remembering, and when I feel that I haven't done enough, it is this blog that reminds me of just how much I did do.  The last few years have been difficult in so many ways.  They have also been amazing and rewarding.  I wish I could come back here and remember them in detail.  Starting today, I vow to renew my love for blogging and post at least once a week.  I hope by sharing the hard times alongside the good ones, I can be an encouragement to others.  Some good moments are spontaneous, but many others are a result of trials and failure and hard work.  That's okay, and it is normal-more normal than the sugar coated posts we view on a daily basis through the rose colored glasses of most social media.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

More From Madicakes

Here are a few more of Madison's cakes.  She had never filled an order for cake pops before, but she pulled it off.  She is never afraid to try new things.  .

We couldn't find a number two cake pan, so Madison made her own pattern for this order.

Madison made a birthday cake for my daddy.  He loves to hunt in Colorado, so she put a campsite scene on the top of the cake.  He loved it!!!
Here he is blowing out the candle with Vicki and Landon at Vicki's house.
Madison also made some cake pops for my birthday!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Summer 2012

 Madison and her "little boyfriend", Noah

 Josh's surprise birthday party
 Putting up new fence in the back yard
 Kite flying with Paw-Paw Byron
 Skatetown birthday party

 "Date night" with Noah

 Madison and Austin

 Lake Providence

 Re-painting the kitchen

 50th Wedding Anniversary

 House full of boys :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cruise 2012-Day Four

We spent our last day at sea once again relaxing, eating, and playing.  The wind was really bad, causing them to clear some of the higher decks. The last day of a cruise is always sad to me, but I kept reminding myself that it wassn't just the last day of our cruise..it was A DAY of our cuise.  I took a Thriller dance course while Madison and Carter watched.  We enjoyed some more karaoke, which we watched often during our cruise.  The kids loved the big shows at night, especially the last one and were amazed with the ice sculping.  We finally ordered room service on the last day--just because we could. We ordered coffee and cookies.  When asked, all three of the kids said that they would definately want to do another cruise!

Cruise 2012-Day Three

We docked at Cozumel on the third day, and the kids were amazed with how blue and clear the water was. It felt so weird to have the kids in Cozumel because Jeff and I have been there so many times without them.   I was so excited about showing them around.  We decided to spend the first part of the day at a beach then take a cab downtown to shop.  The weather was nice, so the day on the beach was amazing.  Carter got to paddle surf, which he had always wanted to do.  It was fun watching Patrick barter for prices downtown.  We ate pizza and ice cream on the back deck of the boat while we watched the sail-away.