battening down!

it's a wrap! sixth grade and eleventh grade are history as of today. the last year as been (praise God) pretty smooth sailing. thinking back to bennett's eleventh grade year, the one that shaved a few years off my life, i was so thankful that in comparison, anna katherine's was a piece of cake.

the eleventh grade at our school is known to be a tough one. the kids are usually in their last year of a foreign language, higher level math classes, chemistry... all while trying to raise their grade point averages for college applications. 

mary claire made a smooth transition to middle school. because moving one hallway over can be dramatic for some ;)  we weathered a few stereotypical middle school issues. she is a different animal compared to her sister. i often think she fits the first born mold more than her brother.

every evening at dinner time we received a play by play of her day. it usually started with, "SO do you want to hear about the drama in my grade today?" followed by every friendship, teacher, grading, lunchroom... if it happened on the middle school hallway,  dramatic detail. 

may days her righteous indignation was off the charts. {sigh}

 bennett is back and forth between camden and clemson. he is working, taking fire classes and a couple classes at clemson. that boy has matured is ways i never ever dreamed possible. i credit his eleventh grade year to so many life lessons learned. his failures have made him successful. he is only half way through college, so i do not want to speak too soon. 

but we praise GOD everyday for who he is becoming! we joke that grace should be his new nickname. because if any of our children have ever experience God's undeserving grace, is is bennett graves. 

so we are battening down the hatches for summertime. the freezer is stocked with ice pos and jimmy springs is on the dash of the car. i love this time of the year! mary claire and anna katherine are involved in swim team. anna katherine has taken a job as a life guard. mary claire has already finished her summer reading ;)  mary claire is taking a trip with our youth group. anna katherine will be involved in some local mission work, that i am so excited about!

 jeff is, per summer tradition, working on the boat.  i am working most weekends, but making the most of every opportunity of family time! we still haven'y confirmed vacation plans... but that's how we operate ;)

happy, happy summer!

official senior!

anna katherine "officially" became a senior this week. an assembly program made it official. the seniors sit in a few front rows. there's a speech, the seniors exit, the juniors take the seniors seats... and just like that the juniors officially become seniors. {sigh}
it has been a fabulous school year! good friends, good grades, just a really good time. the pictures here were snagged from her FB we enter that dreaded senior year, i want to document happy times.

spring break

rewind a month and we were enjoying a quick spring break trip to charleston. jeff's work territory includes charleston, beaufort, and hilton head ~ score!  we tag along when we can. we entertained ourselves during the day and met you with jeff for dinner. 
i went to college in charleston for two years before transferring t columbia college. funny how well a mind can remember  sights, sounds, and amazingly directions. before we left,  i realized i would be  scraping the barrel for things in charleston we have not done. the angel oak was one of them. (like how does that happen!?) the last time i visited was, hmmm... 25 years ago! 

the girls were amazed. really, they were. i loved how they were full of questions about the root system, insects and development of the area. we left googling facts about this wonder.

we visited the beach. 
i will always love... and i mean love... everything about the ocean.

this trip we decided to try all new restaurants. i emailed a few charleston friends for recommendations, googled directions and we enjoyed some fun and creative meals.  (awful cell phone picture)
one evening after crossing the ravenel bridge, we realized a double suicide  had just taken place as (or seconds before) we crossed the bridge. our hotel was at the base of the bridge. the commotion, the newsflashes, the feeling that we had passed by this left everyone with uneasy feelings.

we walked a lot! we made multiple trips to trader's joes and tjmaxx we had some great, meaningful conversations. 

we enjoyed some serious nail art. 
(kitty cats on two fingers)
we missed bennett, but enjoyed hanging out as a family of four.

do not tell daddy

the moment when you check the mail and realize your oldest child may meet Jesus sooner than you expected. while bennett has done very well at clemson (praise God, thank you Jesus, we put in out time in high school!) 

he has an awful time with respecting the LAWS set in place by the state of south carolina. he feels as if  a "do not park" sign applies to everyone else except him. bennett's parking violations on campus are going to require an additional student loan ;) 

today it was an "off campus"  violation that may set in motion his come to Jesus meeting. he parked in a handicap spot! you did what! the city of clemson had a picture to prove he was "over the blue line." (so not "in a handicap" spot, but technically breaking the law by being 1/4 of the way in one.)

1/4 of the way or all the way... it was an overdue handicap ticket violation and the truck is registered in his daddy's name. 

my husband. God love that rule following sweet soul. he is a rule follower when it comes to finances, highway, waterway... laws in general. my car required a new tag this year... long story short, the treasurer's office  didn't mail "my sticker." how many times did i hear "go to the dmv and pick up your sticker." too many to count. the taxes were paid, i just needed a large chunk of precious time to wait in line at the dmv. 

three days later i was driving to an appointment and talking to him, i was pulled over for "an expired tag."  i assured the officer it wasn't really expired, i just needed to pick up the sticker.  he was kind enough to escort me to the dmv to pick up my sticker :)  yep, the dmv was less than a mile away and the officer followed me there. we try to avoid saying, "i told you so."  after my police escort, i gave jeff permission to use it as he feels fit.

so when i opened the mailbox and realized that jeff was being summoned to court for bennett's handicap violation, i knew the level of trouble that young man had just brought upon himself. "bennett, may God save your soul, because even i cannot."

 i rarely say, "do not tell your daddy" but this was a "do not tell your daddy he has been summoned to court until you try your best to take care of this matter."  fear is a great motivator. bennett took care of this matter lightening fast. and hopefully learned a lesson. hopefully. 

Happy Mother's Day

 my sister and i consider ourselves blessed beyond measure! 
the mothers and grand girls (minus the tiny one) celebrated the gift of being a mother at laura's tea room! 
what a perfect afternoon!

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