She Did It!

After three and half years of late nights, too many hours spent in the library (and Starbucks!), and lots and lots of papers (on terrorism, and Pol Pot, and lots written in French on eighteenth century literature…and, sadly, even on existentialism)…

Paige graduated (early!) from Florida State University! Hip Hip Hooray!

(Tim and I are now the proud parents of TWO COLLEGE GRADUATES!) ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ

CONGRATULATIONS PAIGE!

Back to School (last time!)

Paige came home at the end of the summer for about 10 days of relaxation, interspersed with doctors appointments and dental checkups and haircuts. The time flew by, and before we knew it it was time once again for her to head back for all her sorority recruitment stuff…

Before the very last first day of school picture! (Selfie)

As she begins her final semester of college!

Tim and I drove over for parents weekend, and to attend her sorority’s “Red Dress Gala,” which benefits women’s heart health. Our drive over didn’t begin very auspiciously, but we did arrive eventually, and loved spending time with Paige and meeting her friends!

Summer

Summer was a bit of a whirlwind this year. Paige stayed in Tallahassee, working as a nanny for a local family and taking a class…coming home for beach weekends whenever possible. She also babysat for her cousins and a few other local families and managed to save quite a bit of money for the next semester.

Clay was working two part time jobs, sending out resumรฉs and applying for jobs on handshake and LinkedIn daily, contacting recruiters…and hoping something would turn up. Let’s just say that the environmental field is not what it was a couple of years ago.

Tim and I traveled to North Carolina to visit my mom at the beginning of the summer and to Washington D.C. at the end of the summer.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

I’ve been remiss in my blogging, once again. Here’s all the stuff I wasn’t blogging about…

Before Paige’s college suspended all greek life, her sorority held their philanthropy event- a Red Dress Gala for women’s heart health, and had a couple of social events.

She also spent a lot of time studying…

We loved having the whole family together for Thanksgiving….

Tim and I decided to be tourists one day, and took a trolley tour in St. Augustine (We’ve never done that before! ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚) We walked all along St. George Street And did some Christmas shopping, had lunch, and had a fabulous day.

The family went for a nice hike in Guana over Thanksgiving weekend before the kids had to get back to classes. It was a great way to end the weekend (after eating all that turkey ๐Ÿฆƒ)!

Clay got to spend a day out on the water doing some research before exams, which he appreciated!

I spent a weekend tackling a couple of projects- repainting our patio set, and chalk painting this table. I love how it turned out!

http://gtmnerr.org/

Level Dance Company performed in the homecoming parade, and Paige had a reunion with her Paris friends (from study abroad.)

Oops

The summer flew by. The kids were busy working and saving money for school. They both worked a LOT. We enjoyed having the whole family together under one roof again for a few months (me especially) and tried to savor the days we got to spend together. 




Sadly, the summer passed much too quickly and before we knew it we were loading Paige up to head back to school…


A few days later, while she was busy going through recruitment, Clay and I (because we’re the most awesome mom/brother EVER) drove to Tallahassee and moved all her stuff from her storage unit to her new apartment. And got everything set up. We made her bed, hung her clothes, set up her printer, put groceries away! It was eighty gazillion degrees in Tallahassee And probably at least a trazillion degrees humidity. No, of course I’m not exaggerating! ๐Ÿ™„ Trust me, it was super hot and humid. 

But Paige got a short break and was able to run to the apartment so we were able to see her and have lunch with her before we drove back. It was wonderful to see her again (and amazing how much I missed her already after only a week!)


Both kids seem to be settling in nicely to their classes. Recruitment went well for Paige and she got a bid from Alpha Phi, which made her very happy. She’s also quite busy with Level Dance Company this year, as well as doing some volunteer work. 


Thankful

We had a wonderful, relaxing (mostly) Thanksgiving. 

It was so great to have both kids home, and to have the whole family together again. We didn’t do anything very exciting – I think the kids were worn out, and were just mentally psyching themselves up for final exams – but just hanging out together felt like such a treat to me. 

Paige got home Tuesday and Wednesday woke up to get her hair cut and found that her car was dead. So that was kind of a bummer but also kind of a lucky break (that the battery died while she was home rather than at school, or driving home the day before!) it made for a bit of a hectic day with getting the battery (special battery for hybrid car) ordered and installed and running around getting last minute food items, but we got it all done. 

  
  
Clay wasn’t really feeling the whole school thing, apparently…

After getting her haircut and picking up her car, Paige had a reunion with her BFF, whom she hadn’t seen since last summer!

   
    
   
And then we just did a whole lot of nothing. 

The kids took a walk on the beach while I cooked. Paige bonded with Jack. The kids did a bit of studying and a lot of playing around on the Internet. We all read. 

It was just quiet and peaceful and…perfect. 

   
   
   
    
    
    
   
Sadly, Clay had to go back to work on Saturday and worked double shifts both days and Paige had to head back to Tallahassee on Sunday…but we finished the weekend on a perfect note, with a 27-2 victory over the University of Florida. Go ‘Noles!

   
 

FSU 29 MIAMI 24. Go ‘Noles!

Way back in August Tim and I bought tickets for the FSU/Miami football game. We decided that this weekend would be our “parent’s weekend” rather than the one the university decreed as parent’s weekend (which also falls on Halloween, ensuring exorbitant prices and long lines everywhere.) Anyway, we were looking forward to time with Paige in Tallahassee and I was so excited to go to a Seminole football game again – and a big rivalry one, at that – and teach Tim all about being a Seminole. 

Thankfully, we didn’t need to stay in a hotel (which is good, because (a) there weren’t any rooms available and (b) they were charging $500 A NIGHT!!) since my cousin Chip and his wife, MaryEllen, offered us their wonderful hospitality. We had a great time visiting and catching up with them. 

Unfortunately, because Paige is just a lowly freshman she didn’t get a ticket to the game. And because I am the best mother in the entire universe, I let her have MY ticket so she could go to the game with her dad. 

I know. Truly, my selflessness knows no bounds. That child owes me – big time. 

But, they had fun. Tim really got into the Seminole spirit. From Osceola and Renegade (his first thought was, “What’s that horse doing out on the field?”) to the war chant and the fight song…he is now officially A SEMINOLE! 

   
    
 
The next day, after an amazing brunch, we helped Paige get her flat tire fixed on her bike, bought her some groceries, and said goodbye to Tallahassee…

   
   
While we were gone, Clay was busy doing a presentation on oysters. I don’t really understand all the specifics…but it’s something about oysters filtering water? And it’s really cool! (?) and now he has oysters and mullet in his fish tank at home. 

Anyway, apparently his presentation went well 

   
   
 

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! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿป

  

   
 

 

If I could save time in bottle๐ŸŽถ…ย 

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

  
Thankfully, (and luckily for him๐Ÿ˜) it was the kind that washes off! Whew!

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

  

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.