Stuff.  And more stuff. 

The past couple of weeks have been busy..ish, but I couldn’t tell you anything specific that’s been going on. Just, you know, stuff. Paige came home for a visit and we spent an afternoon at the vision center as she was fitted for contacts and tried to learn how to master putting them in and taking them out. We spent almost 4 hours there. 

   
 
Eventually, (finally), she figured it out and we got out of there before they started charging us rent. 

In spite of her not-so-spectacular beginning with the contact lenses, she’s been doing great…and likes them a lot more than wearing glasses all the time! It was nice to spend some time with her, doing girly stuff. We won’t see her again, most likely, until Thanksgiving break. 

  
  

I’ll have to settle for FaceTime and snapchat updates until then. 

  

  
Clay has come over for dinner a couple of times (there’s nothing like a free steak dinner to get a “starving” college kid to come home!) and has been busy rescuing a pathetic, sick bird he found in the road and doing a bit more shark fishing/tagging – in addition to the usual school work and work work and research projects. He’s a busy kid. 

  
  
     
 

  

  

And that’s about all the news. Which is, really not any news. Just…stuff. 
   

  

Sharkskin and Pigskin

While Tim and I were frolicking in Scotland, the kids have been busy at school. 

Clay, in addition to going to his classes and working, is also still working on his research project and also has been catching, tagging, and releasing sharks for NOAA. 

   
 
Paige has been experiencing all the typical college stuff…including football games, late nights, and napping. There was a bit of suitemate drama for a couple of weeks, but after a transfer the “3 amigos” are left and they all get along great and are best friends. 

Paige was also getting quite a few headaches and having difficulty reading, so after a quick eye exam it was determined that she needed reading glasses. They seem to be helping. 

   
    
    
    
    
 
Last weekend was Paige’s birthday so I drove to get her and brought her home for the weekend – she wanted home cooked food and to sleep in her own bed and to cuddle with Jack. It was so wonderful to have her home for a few days, although, honestly, I could do without doing that drive 4 times in 4 days. Ugh. 

  
I have no idea what that means. Kids! 💁🏻

  

   
 

 

Qué Pasa?

While I miss the kids – a lot, I must confess that this empty nest thing is really not so awful. It’s quiet. And the house stays clean. And there’s barely any laundry. I haven’t been cooking…there’s just Tim and I. It hardly seems worth the effort. We’ve been eating out, or grilling something, or having salads, or just “foraging.” 

We read a lot…

  
And take walks on the beach…

   
    
  
 
  
We’ve acted like tourists and walked around St. Augustine…

   
   
And we’ve been planning our first “empty nester adventure” in a couple of weeks, which I won’t say more about because we fly space available and I don’t want to jinx anything. (#nonrevsuperstitions!) but I will say that I’m excited!! 😊

Clay has started his classes and has been working quite a bit. He has met with his professors about his research project and is planning a night sampling soon (to see if Erika’s higher tides brought in any unusual creatures.) He also went out the other evening and caught and tagged sharks (for NOAA.)

   
    
 
(I agree – he looks demonic in this photo. )
Paige has mastered Uber and has gone grocery shopping with a friend…

  
She seems to be eating healthy…

  
Although she is not a fan of the heat and humidity in Tallahassee!

  
And she ran into (literally!) an old friend the other day, whom she’s known since 2nd grade. Their lives have taken such parallel tracks, it’s funny. They first met through rhythmic gymnastics, then again at The Florida Ballet, then again at the performing arts high school, and now at college…and they have the same major and are in the same computer class!

  
And finally, Jack. Jack has been…well, exactly the same. 

  
Some things never change…

If I could save time in bottle🎶… 

Have you ever noticed that the more you try to slow things down and savor every moment, the faster things seem to move? That’s how this past week seemed to go. Actually, to be honest,that’s how the past few years have seemed. But this past week especially – I felt as if I was grasping at every precious moment with my family, trying to save each memory, each laugh, to pull it out later when I am, inevitably, missing them and feeling melancholy. 

   
    
    
   
Sadly, my attempts at slowing time down failed. We moved Paige into her dorm in Tallahassee last week and it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. We arrived bright and early Thursday morning and I think we must have beat most of the crowds (who apparently, according to Paige, arrived en masse over the weekend). Paige really likes her roommate and her suite mate – which is good, because their room is teeny tiny! We got everything all set up, and bleached the heck out of the disgusting, moldy shower (I’m not even kidding. It was gross.) and cleaned and organized. I took Paige and one of her childhood friends out for a last lunch, and then…said goodbye. 

I did NOT cry. 

Much. 

Anyway, she’s been meeting up with friends and attending convocation and seeing movies on campus, and yesterday started her first day of classes. So far, she likes them. It helps to know that she’s happy and settling in nicely to her new home. 

   
    
  
    
    
 
   
 
Clay has been busy too. He’s been working, and today he is speaking about his research project at orientation for the incoming class of freshmen at Flagler. He starts classes on Thursday. He has found time to attend a Jacksonville Armada soccer game and to go back to camp for a day to do some life guarding. And, of course, to do a bit of fishing! 😉

   
 
He also surprised me on my birthday with his new “tattoo.”

  
Thankfully, (and luckily for him😏) it was the kind that washes off! Whew!

Finally, I’ll share an image from Paige on her impression of our state’s capitol…

  

Empty Nest. For Real. 

This past week has flown by. I absolutely hate how fast this time has gone by. I have two more days with Paige before we load everything up in the cars and make the trek over to Tallahassee to get her settled into her tiny little dorm room. 

It’s weird…I think Tim is fine. But I’m feeling, honestly, just a tiny bit panicky about leaving her there – in spite of our “practice run” for six weeks this summer. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through this before and know, no matter what, things will never be quite the same again. Oh, she’ll come home…and she has her bedroom and all her stuff here, but it just won’t be the same. And of course, there’s the fact that Paige is my “baby” and my buddy, and the constant worries about sexual assaults on college campuses and whether she is eating right and getting enough sleep…

When Clay left for college, I still had Paige at home (and also, the Chinese exchange student. But let’s not talk about that. 😏) This time, our nest is truly empty. For the first time in 21 years I will have time to myself, time to be “Lisa” instead of “Mom,” and I have absolutely no idea what to do with that. Honestly, I don’t even know anymore who I AM if I’m not “mom!”

For 21 years my life has been filled with taking care of these little human beings we brought into the world. From changing diapers to preschool and play dates to arranging birthday parties and sleepovers and then to driving them to gymnastics, soccer, ballet, Taekwondo. For many years, I was driving Paige 45 minutes to an hour, each way, to her dance lessons, 5 days a week…plus back and forth for rehearsals for various performances. I spent many, many weekends on the road driving with Clay to Taekwondo competitions around the state, and dance competitions with Paige. I nagged them about homework and about keeping their rooms clean and writing thank you notes and about brushing their teeth. I encouraged them to work hard and to read and to take challenging courses. I taught them to say sir and ma’am and please and thank you and to chew with their mouth closed and that if they couldn’t say anything nice, they shouldn’t say anything at all. 

I had a full time job, being mom. And now, what? I’m retired?

This just feels weird. 

And I feel weepy about that. I blame my hormones. 

I have plans. I do. I want to take a photography class and also another stained glass class. Tim and I want to travel. And I will do all those things…as soon as I get this piece of dust out of my eye, and blow my nose…

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

    
    
 

My snapchat story

With both kids away for the summer, I’ve learned to take really fast screenshots of their snapchats so I can see (and share) what they’ve been up to. Coincidentally, I’ve also learned to snapchat, in a middle-aged mom kind of way. 

 I’ll take any method of communicating and keeping in touch with the kids!  
Via snapchat, I learned that the dining hall was serving breakfast foods for dinner…and that Paige and her friend were very excited about waffles!

    
And apparently, they had some free time…

   
I’ve also resorted to stalking Facebook and Twitter on occasion, which is how I found these photos of Clay…

   
 
All the camp counsellors 
   
   
Clay has one more week of campers and then he’s home. 

Paige had a friend visit her in Tallahassee last week, and also received an exciting letter in the mail..

  
     
  

   
And then she came home for the weekend and we went to the beach and talked and laughed and went shopping and had a Nashville (TV show) marathon and had a wonderful, girly visit. 

And then she had to go back. 

But only two more weeks of summer term!

   
   

I’m on summer Time

  
Summer is flying by. I’m slowly pulling the house together – hanging pictures, and going through the few boxes that remain, and I continue to try to purge stuff. I’m just, for some reason, not in a great hurry to get things done this time around. Usually whenever we move, I’m frenzied about having the house all put together and everything in its place, pictures hung and everything where it belongs asap. This time…not so much. Maybe it’s because the kids aren’t here. I don’t know. But it’s all getting done at a slower pace…and I’m okay with that. 

   
    
 Paige is halfway through summer term at FSU. She had her first mid-term on Friday and has her second one Monday. She’s been exploring the campus and Has gone out to “the Rez” the past two weekends and had a blast. 

   
    
    
    
    
   
Even though I miss her like crazy, I’m really proud of her for getting out there and doing stuff and making friends and (especially) studying! And I really look forward to hearing from her and getting texts and snapchats from her – the highlight of my day!

   
    
    
   
Clay has been working hard at camp all summer. His birthday was last weekend but he wasn’t able to come home…the camp staff had a break between campers and they all went up to the mountains for a 48 hour camping trip and went white water rafting. He loved it!

  
While he was gone, I got his birthday present…

  
Since he’s been missing his bird, Buddy (he had gotten Buddy for his birthday when he was 10, and Buddy died a couple of months ago), we got him a new, baby cockatiel. He named him Dexter. 

I’ve been bonding with Dexter, just a bit. He’s kind of sweet. 

   
    
   
Even the old curmudgeon, Tim, likes him…

   
    
    
   
Clay was able to get away for a quick visit home this weekend. I think he was more excited to meet Dexter than to see boring old mom and dad, but that’s OK. 

   
   
We had a fun day at the beach before he had to head back to camp. I always love getting to spend time with my kids. They’re turning into pretty awesome people. 

   
    
    
    
    
 

Surprise

Both kids caught rides with friends and surprised us by coming home this weekend. It was so great to see them and to have the whole family together under one roof for a couple of nights!

Paige and I took a walk on the beach Friday evening, before Clay got home…

   
    
    
 
…and we ran into Priscilla the pig. Tim and I saw her earlier in the week out on the beach in a Shamu costume. The evening Paige and I saw her she was strolling in the sand wearing a pearl collar and a jaunty little pink polka-dot bow. She’s, apparently, quite the well dressed beach pig!

   
   
Both the kids loved seeing the pets and catching up on some cuddling…

   
    
   
On the fourth, one of the other camp counsellors who lives nearby stopped by for a while. We hung out on the beach in between rainstorms and stopped by the neighborhood pool party/cookout for some burgers. Mostly we just relaxed and enjoyed this special gift of time together as a family. 

   
    
    
   

Learning to live with an empty nest…

Paige is now ensconced in her dorm room for the summer, learning to live with a roommate, and sharing a (teeny-tiny) bathroom with three other girls. It’s a lot of change. 

She’s having to learn to share her space, but also to speak up for herself (such as when someone had the lights on until 1:00 am and Paige had an early class…). She likes her classes, so far. She’s taking Introduction to International Relations and Environmental Science. She’s found a couple of old friends already, from her old high school and from elementary school. 

   
   

   
       

I’m not going to lie – it was very hard for me to say goodbye. I’m so filled with conflicting emotions. I’m excited for her, and worried about her (have you SEEN the statistics on sexual assaults on college campuses?), and proud of her…and I miss her. A lot. 

   
   

But I know she’s going to have fun and make amazing friends and fabulous memories. 

Tim and I have been kind of enjoying the peacefulness of our new home. We miss the kids, of course, but the no-drama, no-bickering, serenity is, truthfully, rather nice. It’s quiet and mellow and calm. We’ve just been relaxing and sleeping in and reading…and taking walks on the beach. 

   
       

Day by day

In spite of my best intentions, I can’t say that I’ve made a lot of progress turning the new house into a home. There are still not any pictures hanging on the wall. There are still lots of unpacked boxes in the garage. And there are still random piles of “stuff” that I haven’t quite managed to find a home for. The good news is that the old house is empty (except for a few things in THAT garage) and all clean! In my defense, other than focusing on getting out of the old house, we’ve had a couple of issues here at the new house to deal with – a broken air conditioner in the upstairs, and messed up plumbing in one bathroom (fyi, per the plumber – those “flushable” cleaning wipes, which apparently the previous cleaners used…are not truly flushable. 😏) 

Paige has had a couple of friends out. She’s trying to soak up as much sun and summertime fun as she can before she leaves for Tallahassee in ONE WEEK! She’s had fun exploring the beach and St. George Street in St. Augustine. 

   
         

   
     

Clay is able to sneak away and text me from the staff room every couple of days. He seems to be having a grand time at camp!

  
We are “bunny sitting” for him this summer while he is working at camp. Roger is actually quite great. I always love a quiet pet! We’ve been giving him “salads” a couple times a day and I think he is getting a bit spoiled with all these treats!

   
 

Paige will be leaving in a week to begin her new life as a college student at Florida State University. We’ve been trying to make sure she has everything she needs, including her graduation gift from Mom & Dad – a new laptop ( so she can write super awesome papers in college!)