official decision

the tear inducing reality is getting closer and closer. college is months away. but today, i am so happy to announce that our son is no longer ‘undecided.’ after months of asking God to lead and guide our son, after months of worry and baskets of paper work... and after the pre-knob weekend, bennett made his decision.

we are ecstatic! his choice is not all that surprising. for years he has collected citadel paraphernalia. this was always his first choice!  

  our path to the final decision making process has not been without headache and worry.  this is our first college bound child and everything is new. even with the best of help from our college counselor, the process at times felt overwhelming. but every bump we knew this was a part of God’s plan. 

the citadel was also our first choice for bennett. we felt he would benefit a hundred times over in a military
environment. we had our plan, but we wanted His plan. so jeff and i prayed and prayed that our boy be led to the college that was right for him. our plan isn’t always His plan.  our prayer was always to surrender this decision to Him. 
and we have been taught so much along the way. 

so today we are so happy that college phase one is behind us. we celebrated when bennett signed on the dotted line... and we wrote a check :)  he was a good sport to pose  for this picture. i know it may be a tad embarrassing to smile in the camera while wearing a school hoodie, balloons, cake and rubber-band bracelet (compliments of mary claire.) but the females in the house were quite excited! 

 we know God has something good in store for this boy.

we're having a ball

thanks snowstorm leon!

carhood envy!

guess what we are doing today? along with the rest of the state of south carolina! waiting for snow. school has been cancelled, the sirens are sounding, it's a pretty big deal. last night at 11:15, anna katherine and i made a trip to walmart. who would figure we would be without bread and milk (and everything else) the day before a blizzard? have you ever witnessed what goes on at walmart around mid-night? it's worth the trip ;)

so we are waiting. bennett is out in search of a car hood... how darn southern redneck stereotypical does that sound!? i am laughing as i type! i mean, we can't have 4 inches of snow with nothing to pull behind an atv vehicle ;) and sleds aren't easy to find. elizabeth's parents own a steel company so bennett will be able to hook us up with a fabulous loaner hood. we were brainstorming awesome pull behinds and we decided if he could find an old satellite dish we would be the envy of the country ;) neighbors get ready!

to be continued...

the diary of a dog and cat

a friend sent me a link that compared the diary of a cat verses the diary of a dog. pretty funny considering our dog is almost always happy and our cats act as if they are always being help captive! I copied and pasted from here

The Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! 
My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing! 
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm -  Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm -  Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm -  Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm -  Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat's Diary
Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. 

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now ...


today is our boy's eighteenth birthday. surreal. everything these days seem so sentimental. so i am just going to say happy birthday to the best son a mother and father could ever ask for! the day you were born was the single happiest day of our lives. it was the day we became parents. and we started our brood with a bonafide trail blazer!

now you can legally vote republican. 
with the exception of vincent sheheen of course! woo-hoo!

and legally buy chewing tobacco. but remember, eighteen also means your parents can legally require you to pay all of your bills and require you to live elsewhere ;) so don't even think about it! iphones are expensive and apartments don't come with cleaning ladies and stocked refrigerators. just a loving reminder. muah! we love you sweet, delicious boy! (a goldberg term i adopted!)

and the birthday cake... oh the delicious cake! it is a texas sheet cake and it is to die for! recipe here


{a happy long weekend}
a few instagrams!

 track season starts in one week!
 dot your i's and cross your t's!

mary claire gasped at the thought of someone buying this much fat back. "what are they planning to do with a buggy full of fat back?"
new studio background almost done.

time to pay up

these things eaten in combination can only mean a couple things:

1. the time has come to pay up for all the butter rich cookies! even though i still have 12 sticks in the fridge, all good things must come to an end ;) and i refuse to diet over the holidays.
2. if you see me, i am almost guaranteed to be in a rotten mood. especially on day two.
everyone has a diet that works for them and the three day diet is mine.  i first used this diet eighteen years ago when i was desperate to lose bennett's baby weight. i gained 50 pounds carrying that boy! a nurse gave me this diet scratched on a sheet of notebook paper. now you can find it all over the internet. it is a 900 calorie (hard core) plan that is not fancy or trendy!  you are on for three days and off for four. during the off days, i use weight watchers. my next favorite diet plan. 

 as you will read on the internet, there can not be any substitutions. however, i have to make a couple gluten free sawps. i use my gluten free bread in place of the crackers and whole wheat. still works like a charm.

1st Day of the 3-Day Diet:
Black coffee or tea 
½ grapefruit 
1 slice of toast 
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
½ cup of tuna 
1 slice of toast
2 slices of any meat (about 3 oz.) - I ate two hot dogs 
1 cup of string beans 
1 cup of beets 
1 small apple 
1 cup of vanilla ice cream

2nd Day:
personally, day two is two hardest! 
1 egg 
½ of a banana 
1 slice of toast 
Black coffee or tea

1 cup of tuna or cottage cheese 
5 saltine crackers
½ cup of vanilla ice cream

2 slices of meat 
2 cups of broccoli 
½ cup of carrots 
½ of a banana 

3rd Day:
3 saltine crackers 
1 slice of cheddar cheese 
1 small apple 
Black coffee or tea
1 hard-boiled egg 
1 slice of toast
1 cup of tuna or cottage cheese 
1 cup of beets 
1 cup of cauliflower 
½ cup of cantaloupe 
½ cup of vanilla ice cream

3-Day Diet Grocery List found here:
Tea - cold or hot
Artificial Sweetener - HIGHLY recommend All Natural Splenda.
Bread - Whole Wheat
Peanut Butter
Cottage Cheese
Hot Dogs - or any lean meat
Sting Beans
Vanilla Ice Cream - DOES NOT have to be light.
Saltine Crackers - DOES NOT have to be wheat.
Cheddar Cheese
Diet Soda - Optional

i keep reminding myself, i can do anything for three days.
thankfully today is my day three!
because i am craving a bowl of oatmeal. 
and cookies. and candy. but tomorrow morning you will find me minus a few pounds, happier and enjoying hot porridge ;)

christmas eve

it's the middle of january and as i stare at my computer i realize i have SO many christmas pictures to post. 
not really ;) 
this is about all i have.
after christmas eve service, the kids exchange gifts they have purchased (with their own money) for each other. it is one of my favorite things! they put so much thought... wait, let me rephrase, some of them put months of thought into the gifts and some work better under christmas eve pressure. i am not judging, i like pressure too!

mary claire made anna katherine the sweetest ornament with words that describe her. 
oh how i LOVED this!
bennett, growing up with sisters, always does a nice job in the gift department. 
as much as i pick on my kiddos, they are pretty good kids. 
mary claire bought bennett the cutest duck hunt game back in november. about two week's worth of allowance and boy was she proud. 

anna katherine who's love language is gifts, puts SO much thought into every last detail. this sweet girl will spend all her pennies to make someone happy. she ordered bennett these super cool water lights. they dance to the beat of the music. 
we stared in amazement ;) really! for the longest time!
we love this night! bedtime happens around 9:30. jeff left left for my sister's house. little roger got the nicest train from santa. and jeff had the pleasure of hiding it until the big day! 

even though my kids are big, they still get up very very early. a few years ago when one no named middle child woke us up every hour on the hour, we set the six o'clock rule. christmas could not, would not start a minute before 6am. this year they pushed it. at 5:45 two girls were at our door. jeff and i are christmas eve night owls, so were operating on about 3 hours of sleep. 

then all the planning and preparation is over in minutes. 

and then we leave to spend christmas day/evening with the graves side of our family. i hate to say "jeff's family" because after 24 years, they are just as much my family. we are so blessed to be surrounded with wonderful family on all sides. you do not see as much of them on my blog because of distance. but my nephews david and ryan are our heart as much as my sister's kids. and my children LOVE their graves cousins! my sister-in-law and i have commented on how social media actually helps them stay in touch. 

as for pictures on christmas... two pretty sad cell phone shots! i promise to do better next year! 

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