Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Clock Struck Midnight...and she's gone...

(the title is referring to Steven Curtis Chapman's song - Cinderella)

It's been a week since we dropped Pris off at college and I think I have pulled it together enough to write about it now. The weekend was rough for me, then it was better Monday and Tuesday. On Saturday when I was in tears, Annalise came and hugged me and said, "I don't want to start crying again because I'll never stop." That didn't help. Wednesday evening I was a little sad again because she wasn't here to ride up to our women's Bible Study. But I'm adjusting. It was weird at first because it felt a little like grief. I felt embarrassed to say that or to even feel it. I have felt grief before and I knew I had no logical reason for feeling it now. She's not even very far away and she's in a great place. People try to reassure me with telling me what a great head she has on her shoulders and how she'll be fine. It's really not that. I'm not worried about her. I know I'll just miss her being here every night. But mamas have to grow up too.

We took her up Friday at lunch time. When we arrived there was a team of students outside each dorm, waiting to help the freshmen move in. We pulled up and within seconds everything was unloaded and carried up to her room. She found out later than the group had been going over the list of names when they saw hers and because they liked the way it sounded they were repeating it over and over. That explained why a girl had later said that she had heard Priscilla's name about 100 times that day!

When we got up to her room, her roommate was already there and had the room all arranged nicely. Kezzi, Hope, Annalise and I got her all unpacked and settled into her room within an hour or so then we went to lunch at the cafeteria. After that we went around taking care of business like getting a mailbox, a parking permit and books. Then the students met their orientation teams on the lawn while the parents had a meeting in the chapel. I couldn't have been more pleased with the meeting. My favorite part was when they opened up the microphones for the parents to pray for the students. I was moved to tears to hear so many fathers and then a few mothers pray out loud for their students first year. It really was beautiful.

We had dinner and then Ford and the boys met us up there for the parent/student meeting. That meeting was awesome too. Great messages from the president of the college, his wife, the dean of students and others. They had a panel of professors on stage in a question/answer format. All of them were characters! And I loved the things they had to say. They were asked what mistakes they made in their college days and what advice they had to pass on. They got talking about putting too much emphasis on the grades and advised the students to care more about actually learning and growing. They had a lot of great things to say.

Next we hung around on the lawn where they were serving ice cream. They had various tables set up according to majors with upperclassmen there to answer any questions. Since we were going home for the night and coming back in the morning for more parent/student meetings, we decided to not bring our kids back the following day. It was just not worth them getting up early enough to leave the house by 7am so they said goodbye there. Annalise especially broke my heart as she held onto Pris for some time. She sobbed all the way to the car.

The next morning we went back up, Ford, Kezzi and I. We had a lovely time of worship and more great speakers. I was particularly impressed with the standard of conduct. They simply expect them to live up to their Christian faith but without all kinds of specific rules. They said the dress code was "modesty" and admonished the girls to care about the Christian brothers. They told them to get in the habit of checking with other girls in the dorm to find out if a particular outfit is ok and to hold each other accountable. (I have marveled every time I've been up there at the girls clothing - for the most part it's been pretty modest.) The dean of students also went into detail about the internet access and how there were blocks in place but if attempts were made to go to unwholesome sites, they would be flagged and talked to. They went on to explain why and because they cared about their lives and their future, they would intervene. Other policies were covered and again, I was very pleased with everything. After a quick lunch, we said goodbye too.

We've talked to her several times (Yes, I know it's only been a week and I haven't been pestering her. I've waited for her to call us. ) and it sounds like she's having a ball. She's loving meeting all the new people and especially playing ultimate frisbee with the ultimate frisbee club. She called me last night after a more than three hour game! Today was the first day of classes. I'm so thrilled that she is going to have the opportunity to learn from some really great men and women and have the opportunity to meet some fine young people too.

We are going up to pay tuition and visit with her tomorrow afternoon. She wants us to take her off of campus so she can visit with us and not be distracted by all of the people she's meeting. She doesn't have to twist my arm to take her away and keep her all to ourselves!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Countdown

We are in the countdown phase of Priscilla leaving for college. Five days. On Friday we'll be taking her down and getting her settled in her new room.

This morning we stayed home from church to get things packed up. We've been so busy the last week and we have something planned for every night next week, so this morning was our only chance to get some things done. My hope is that if we tackle all of this today, she will have a nice relaxing week ahead.

It's been funny to note this week, that while she is on the verge of being more independent than ever, she has been continually asking me about what she should do about this or that. "Should I come to the get-together this Saturday night or stay home and finish my essay? What if I take my laptop and finish it there and then hang out with everyone afterwards?"

She was getting overwhelmed last week with everything that had to be done, so I offered her a plan and she gratefully accepted it, relieved to not have to think about those details. She jokes, "Mom, can I take you with me to college?" No, dear. But somehow I will find a way to be there whenever you need me.

I really am so excited for her. At the same time, I've been trying not to face the reality that looms ahead until I absolutely have to. Last night, while talking to some friends about the little details of getting her ready, one knowing mom looked me in the eye and said, "You'll be all right." Oh, yes, of course. But then why am I suddenly choking down the tears? One week, she promises. It'll only take a week to adjust. Hmmm. Dare I believe it?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Voted World's Best Sauce by Shadybrook Acres

Quite a few months back I bought a bottle of this amazing sauce at Sam's and we've been in love ever since. Yesterday we bought twelve bottles during our Sam's shopping trip. After watching how we descended upon the first bottle at lunch today, I am wondering if I should have bought more.

Today at lunch Hope was commenting that we are the weirdest eaters. She was wondering how many people would eat what we were eating for lunch. Part of our lunch fare was a block of cream cheese with this sauce poured over it as a spread for crackers. That turned into a spread for the whole wheat bread Kezzi made yesterday and then we added shredded chicken to the sandwhich. Of course, as accompaniments we had to open the marinated artichoke hearts we also got yesterday and the black olives. We've come a long way from the standard peanut butter and jelly that used to make up 90% of our lunches when the kids were little!

I'm sure over the next few months we'll come up with a new cookbook called 101 Ways to Eat Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Changes

We began work on our new formal garden this spring. Thanks to a friend's husband, who is a professional landscaper, we had a great start with a plan down on paper. It's still a work in progress and may remain so for quite some time. I am quite the ambitious gardener in the spring, but when the hot water sets in, I retreat to the house. I hope to add some trees to it this fall and maybe finish the walkways before winter. Another new addition was the painting of our house. We got rid of the green and went with tan. Priscilla is the one who chose the color. Too bad we couldn't have painted in some green grass! This project is also in progress until we finish painting the block walls of the walk-out basement, which you can't really see from this angle. That will be another project for cooler weather.

Kezzi's Puppy

Yes, that's right. Kezzi has a puppy. Kezzi, the one who said she hated dogs and that she would NEVER EVER have one and wouldn't even marry someone who had to have a dog, has a puppy. The first night she brought her home she set up the baby playpen and slept IN the playpen with her! Just goes to prove the old saying - never say never.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It's August Already???

Wow! Like always, the summer has flown past. I've actually been too busy to even think of blogging. Just keeping up with email has been a challenge, not to mention the garden! I've canned too-many-to-count pickles (bread & butter and dill) Also lots of jam - peach, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry. Now it's high gear for tomatoes (salsa & spaghetti sauce), peaches, and green beans!

Kezzi was gone for a month but is home now. She has been a dream come true. It's like having two of me working around the house. On her own, she sees what needs to be done and does it. "Mom, how about I tackle reorganizing the linen closet today?" It's wonderful!!! So many things are getting a deep clean and reorganization. It's a wonderful way to begin a new school year. I love it when I get to be the one saying, "You've done enough today. Take the rest of the day off!" She's decided to not worry about what she will do next and for now she plans to help me around here and work for her dad occasionally. She'll get no argument from me!

The boys and Hope have also been a huge help this summer. It's been my first experience with boys who are growing strong enough to tackle big jobs. They've grown up so much this past year. Luke has reached the benchmark of being taller than Kezzi, who's the shortest of the girls. It won't be long before he's passing me up.

Pris is getting ready to head to college in about two weeks. She already has her first assignment which is the reading of a book and a paper due upon arrival. It's going to be an adjustment around here for sure but I'm so excited for her!

Ford and I have been enjoying evening boating trips down the river. Last year he bought two rafts at Sam's and equipped them with batteries and trolling motors. We take about an hour and a half to go up river and then come back just before dark. It's been such a peaceful way to spend an evening. Much better than restaurants and movies!

Well, that's about as much time for an update as I can spare. I've got to get back to the kitchen! Hopefully, things will slow down soon and I'll have more time to write.