1. I love sleeping under a ceiling fan.
2. The worst part about summer is mosquito bites.
3. I wear black to CrossFit every day.
4. My CrossFit shoes are pink.
5. If Shawshank Redemption is on TV, I will watch it. Every time.
6. I hardly ever wear lipstick.
7. I always wear perfume.
8. Smells hold the biggest memories for me.
9. I can only read one book at a time.
10. Orange is my favorite color.
11. I love black and white photography.
12. I love swimming in open water.
13. I am kind of obsessed with HGTV.
14. I hate emptying the dishwasher.
15. I played the clarinet through sophomore year in college.
16. I learned how to water ski on my honeymoon in Jamaica.
17. I loved climbing trees when I was little.
18. Salty trumps sweet every time.
19. I collect Bauer pottery.
20. I am terrible at cleaning mirrors.
21. I own 4 bikes.
22. I am terrible at turning off lights when I leave a room.
23. I love flip flops.
24. I love the scent of chlorine.
25. Frogs creep me out.
26. If I had an extra million dollars lying around, I'd donate it to University of Illinois.
27. I joined College Republicans when I first got to Illinois.
28. I am a Democrat.
29. The first thing I notice about people is their teeth.
30. I love extra-fine Sharpees.
Last night was Neenah High School's Senior Awards Night. It was quite a night. John, Jack, John's mom, and I sat through two hours and forty five minutes of non-stop scholarship presentations. Maddie was there, too, working the sound booth for Pickard Auditorium, making sure all the microphones worked during the parade of presentations. There were tears (of course!!) and lots of proud moments. It was a good night to be Emily Terlap. It was a great night to be someone who loves Emily Terlap.
My favorite moment of the whole night, though, had nothing to do with scholarships or recognition. After the ceremony, we were all milling around in the lobby and out comes Maddie wearing her Pickard blacks, still sporting a large headset around her neck. She flies into Emily's arms and shouts, "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!"
Oh my gosh! Could there be a better sight for a parent?
Scholarships are awesome. Having three high-achieving kids is truly a blessing. But the fact that my kids love and like each other is the truest sign that John and I have done something right as parents.
PS My second favorite moment: when Emily won the Clayton PTA scholarship, which I consider one of the night's most special scholarships. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that your elementary school is proud of what you went on to accomplish in the district.
Before Emily was born I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" from cover to cover. I highlighted whole chapters and dog-eared pages. I read passages out loud to John. I asked questions. I read articles. I subscribed to Parents magazine pretty much the minute I found out I was pregnant. I was definitely that kind of pregnant lady. I had high hopes for what kind of mom I would be, and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Of course, anyone who has children knows how this story ends: all the prep work in the world does not prepare you for the reality of being a mom.
Throughout the years, I have often looked to experts and other parents for advice on how to deal with the various stages: teething, sleeping through the night, middle school girls. John and I still check in with each other to make sure we are being the kind of parents we want to be. We've survived so many phases together. One thing that no one prepared me for, however, was how incredibly hard this just-before-graduation-phase is. Make no mistake: Emily is ready to go off to college. She's put in the hard work and has been accepted to a fabulous college. It's not Emily that needs a guidebook, it's me. I totally need a book entitled, "What to Expect When Your Beloved Firstborn is More Awesome Than You Ever Imagined She Would Be and She's Heading Off Into Her Bright Future." I'm not going to lie, this whole senior year has been a landmine of emotional "lasts" for me. Every time I turn around, I'm crying. Last swim meet? Tears. Last theater production? Tears. Last band concert? Yup, tears. Picking up extra graduation tickets? Tears.
Friends! This is some real-life hard stuff, and no one tells you about it ahead of time. Emily's definitely heading to Madison in the fall. My rational side knows this is a good thing, but my irrational side keeps thinking, "Wait! What? She's leaving?!?"
The truth is, I really like my kids. I can't believe it's time for them to be grown-ups.
When I asked my friend, Donie, she admitted that this stage is hard, but she promised me that the next stage is awesome. She told me I'm going to love it. I'm choosing to believe her on this one. I'm going to believe her when she says that I'm going to make it through this really hard part of being a mom. Life will be different, she said, but awesome. Different, but awesome sounds doable, right?
Here's to different, but awesome!
PS I'm not the only one who feels this way, right?!?
I thought I'd share a bit of gorgeousness from this past weekend's prom. I've got to say, I'm still in denial that I have two girls who are old enough to go to prom together, but it's true:
Both girls had a fabulous time.
After the dance, their group came back to the house for dessert and movies.
I'm so glad that we are the house where the kids and their friends like to hang out.
This year's prom theme was "Masquerade", which meant that all the girls went out and bought masks that they wore for pictures and then promptly left in the car for the rest of the night. : )
Hooray for special nights and memories shared between sisters.
I can't leave this post without sharing the story behind Maddie's dress. A few years ago, the girls and I were looking at prom pictures on Facebook. We love to sit together and look at all the girls' dresses and hair and shoes. We ran across this picture of Elle, one of my Texas "Fab 4":
I remember saying at the time, "Girls, look at this picture of Elle, she is prom perfection. She looks classic and elegant, and she'll never look back on her prom photos and say, 'What was I thinking?'" I guess that message stuck with Maddie, because when we started looking for prom dresses she said, "I just want to look like Elle did in her dress." I got to thinking, and said, "Well, heck, why don't I just see if Elle will let you borrow her dress?" I had a feeling that Elle would loan out her gorgeous dress. She has a generous and kind heart (like her mamma). Sure enough, she was happy to let Maddie wear her dress. When the box arrived and Maddie tried on the dress, she was thrilled--beyond thrilled. On Saturday, she looked in the mirror and said, "I feel pretty." It made my mom heart squeeze. Thank you, Elle-girl, for loaning out your dress. Thank you for being her style icon (she couldn't have picked a better one!). Thank you for your generous heart. Thank you, Donie and Elle, for being my friends.
A real friend will notice that the shriveled up violet in your "Grow Joy" pot is anything but joyful.
She will kidnap your pot, remove the shriveled up violet, and replace it with beautiful succulents.
A real friend will notice that your front planter looks bare and lonely, and she will fill it with colorful pansies so your guests feel welcome.
A real friend will meet you in the parking lot of the gas station and let you sob on her shoulder.
A real friend will see you sitting alone at church and then bring you over and blend you into her family.
A real friend will open her house every Mother's Day and share her day with you.
A real friend will cheer on your kids and be thrilled about their successes.
A real friend will help you sort out what to do when your kids mess up.
A real friend will bring your old dog a treat every time she comes over.
A real friend will encourage you to try all kinds of ridiculous, cockamamie things.
A real friend will be up for trying all the ridiculous, cockamamie things you come up with.
A real friend knows all your people and all your stories.
A real friend knows all your faults and loves you anyway.
A real friend is a rare and precious gift.
Thank you, Amy, for being a real friend. I love you!
"Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do
long after the mood you said it in has left you."--Trent Shelton
Well, four months are done, and I'm still finding "commit" to be a challenge. This is the point where I stopped blogging about my One Little Word last year. I'm going to keep plugging away at it this year, though (pretty much only because I picked "commit" as my word this year...). : ) Here's how I did in April:
1. After dinner family walks. Yes! We made it outside for a walk every time we could this month. Of course, we live in Wisconsin, so we didn't have a ton of nice weather in April. I'm hoping May is a better weather month (FYI--totally raining outside today).
2. Two family game nights. Yes! We did one with John's mom over Easter weekend, and squeezed the other one in this past weekend. We love doing these nights together--there's always lots of laughter and teasing.
1. CrossFit four times per week. No. I made it three times a week throughout April. I don't think I made it to any Saturday CrossFits in April.
2. Eat clean. No. I went a little off the rails in April, but then put it back together and finished strong. 3. Sign up for a yoga class with John. Yes! It is so fun to do this with John each Thursday morning.
1. Record all expenditures. Yes.
2. Come in on budget. No.
1. Make big progress on Mom and Dad's photo albums. Yes! I got a big push with this going to the scrapbooking weekend with Tricia.
2. Host two creative get-togethers. Yes! Amy, Kris, and I got together to work on a secret project, and I had a few of my high school darlings over to create.
It's so weird that the categories I usually do well in, I kind of faltered in this month. I guess that's why it's good to check in on goals, huh?
Here are May's goals:
1. Three date nights with John. I feel like we got lost in the shuffle of April.
2. Two family game nights. We have so much fun doing this. We need to be intentional about planning nights together.
1. Workout 3 times a week in addition to CrossFit.
2. Eat clean.
1. Record all expenditures.
2. Come in on budget.
1. Finish the 2000's in mom and dad's books.
2. Finish my secret project.
3. Start planning decorations, etc. for Emily's graduation party.