The of Class of 2015

I’ve alluded to it many times the last couple of weeks, especially if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, but our daughter MacKenzie Grace graduated high school last week.

Complete with honors and accolades, this girl of ours walked the stage and received her diploma, ending a chapter in her life.

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Graduation was met with mixed emotions.  MacKenzie was thrilled to end this part of her life, and I was a wee bit sentimental over it all.  Some how I managed to hold it all together while she walked the stage and now we are ready fort he next chapter to begin as she prepares to go off to college in August.  She was one of only 32 Honor’s grads in her class of 500, so to say that Audley and I are proud of her does not begin to describe how we feel.

Here is a glimpse of our graduation celebrations that brought in friends and family from six hours away to celebrate this special moment.

This is where I thought I was going to loose it .... She put on her cap for the final time.

This is where I thought I was going to lose it …. She put on her cap for the final time.

I loved having all of my children together for this special occasion; my step-daughter Samantha and her huband Justin drove in to stay with us!

I loved having all of my children together for this special occasion; my step-daughter Samantha and her husband Justin drove in to stay with us!

MacKenzie's best friend from back "home" surprised her by coming in for graduation!  We've been planning this treat since November and loved having Sara be a part of our special day!

MacKenzie’s best friend from back “home” surprised her by coming in for graduation! We’ve been planning this treat since November and loved having Sara be a part of our special day!

My three girls celebrating the day

My three girls celebrating the day

You have to love the bond between a brother and sister!

You have to love the bond between a brother and sister!

Of course Audley and I were super proud of this girl, just as we are proud of all our children!

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No momentous occasion is complete without generation pictures ….. I loved having both sets of grandparents in from Alabama and Tennessee for this big day!

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The Jones grandparents

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Watkins Grandparents

For MacKenzie there was nothing but joy.

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And the excitement at getting to be the center of attention for the evening.

Class of 2015

Class of 2015

What’s next for MacKenzie?

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She applied to several colleges and universities and was accepted to every one of them.  After several road trips talking to admissions and recruiters, MacKenzie Grace will be attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the fall, majoring in Athletic Training.

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We tried our best not to influence her in any way, but allow her to make the decision that fit her best, and it seems USC has exactly what she wants with the clearest plan to make her dreams happen.

And based on her text message I received just days ago when her rooming assignment arrived, we will be doing a lot of planning and decorating this summer.

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And of course I will share it all with you!

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Monday Morning Reality

  It’s funny how often you see where a “mommy” post has gone viral.  It may be something dealing with the silliness of toddlers, the craziness of childbirth or the exhaustion of a momma.  It may be a letter to a daughter or the value of raising a good teen boy…..

But in all of those posts, I never seem to read the reality of raising three teenagers.

So, I’m going all “Mommy Blogger” for you today and sharing a wee bit of the craziness, frustration, emotion, and pride that is my life.

Never once in a “mommy blog” have I read where someone’s son got ISS (In School Suspension) for singing “If your Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands” in Algebra class.

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Nor have I read where that same boy found himself in ISS three weeks later for making mischief on a school bus while on his way to the tech school.  And to say that same boy spent another day in ISS for eating a sandwich stolen by another boy (it’s on video that he was guilty only by association) from the table where food for underprivileged kids is kept would be unheard of…..

But having your 15-year-old come out of his bookworm shell and assume the role of class clown & mischief maker does happen whether you like it or not.

Birthday date with Bradley ... we went to lunch and the movies

Birthday date with Bradley … we went to lunch and the movies

But it’s amazing how that same boy, finds a passion for cooking and creating food in the kitchen making this Momma wonder if she has a budding chef on her hands.

And that same boy might also take on the role of jock and decide to trade in his baseball bat & gloves and soccer ball he played for 8 years to roll around on a mat with stinky, sweaty boys while his Momma screams like a mad woman from the stands to “TAKE HIM DOWN!!”

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That’s my reality.

My reality is also a lump in my throat & chills down my spine every time I see him dressed in his Air Force JROTC uniform.

AF JROTC

AF JROTC

So is this bedroom he deemed clean before he left for several weeks to work hard, building houses in Tennessee with his uncle.

Lookie what Im going to clean while the boy is out of town!!!

Lookie what Im going to clean while the boy is out of town!!!

No post I have ever read prepared me for the day when my 16-year-old daughter made a 180 degree turn from tomboy to princess; and from living in the shadow of an older sister (who is an overachiever) to becoming Miss “Let me see what else I can do” in a matter of months.

Madeline's 16th birthday just after Varsity lacrosse tryouts

Madeline’s 16th birthday just after Varsity lacrosse tryouts

Nothing remotely prepared me to have this same former tomboy chosen as a spokesmodel for a local photographer and stylist.

Photography by Jennifer Rae Grimes

Photography by Jennifer Rae Grimes

 I was in no way prepared when she tapped into her creative gene discovering an outlet for her frustrations in the form of art which lead to many trips to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby as well as an invitation to take ART II HONORS for her upcoming Junior year.

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Madeline’s version of “Lily” artwork for her bedroom.

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Pink flamingos

And when this same girl threw away the track cleats and soccer ball for Lacrosse sticks, making the Varsity squad her first year out, we prayed for the safety of ever player she came into contact with.

Number 6 is a beast!

Number 6 is a beast!

The penalty box was like a second home while this Momma screamed from the stands, offering the referees her glasses and questioning their ability to officiate at least two three four times a game.

In the penalty box......

In the penalty box……

In the penalty box again....

In the penalty box again….

But the pride that comes from having a 16 year volunteer to spend two weeks at a youth camp for handicap children asking absolutely nothing for herself “because they need her”….

And the fact this girl can rock can rock the 80’s better than I did?

1980's day for spirit week .... channeling Oliva Newton John

1980’s day for spirit week …. channeling Oliva Newton John

That’s my reality.

So is celebrating that “C” she managed to pull in Algebra II.

And no post I’ve read ever prepared me for the emotion of having your firstborn complete her senior year of high school.

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No where was I warned that she might turn in her basketball shoes and color guard costumes to pursue Figure (bodybuilding) Competing.

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Nor did I ever read anywhere that senior year could quite possibly send a Momma to the insane asylum as the idea of taking THREE AP classes seemed like a good one in theory despite Momma’s misgivings.

The ulcer received by that same senior gave Momma a brief “I told you so” victory.

No where have I ever read about an already over-commited child stepping up (without being asked) into the Momma role to take care of her Mom by changing bandages, emptying drain tubes, and even shaving her legs after she had major surgery.

I never found a post that fully prepared me emotionally for the time I let this girl of mine board a bus at 5:00 AM with 25 other kids bound for New York without me chaperoning for the first time in her life….

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Or my heartbreak because she chose NOT to go to the senior prom because it was a waste of money she would rather spend on workout clothes.

I did want to see her all dressed up…..

But then there is that moment when you get an invitation to the French National Honor Society induction ceremony and the notice that your girl is one of only 32 Honor’s graduates in a class of 500 kids and she earned the Health Sciences scholarship…..

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And as she walks that stage this Momma yells with all her might, “THAT’S MY GIRL!”

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Yeah, that’s my reality.

From our cruise in November 2014

From our cruise in November 2014

And I adore every minute of it.

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College Road Trip (or three)

I would love to say my lack of posting lately has been due to an influx of clients at the gym or that I am off having way too much fun, but the reality of my life right now is I have a high school senior.  Not your average everyday high school senior, but one who is an overachiever,  extremely determined, a wee bit OCD, and making me a little nuts at the moment.

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Not really sure where she inherited those traits, but I seem to recall a senior year similar to this one several years back.

And a little throwback here.... Audley and I during our senior years.  His 25th reunion was this year and mine is next.  It's crazy that our oldest is now a senior.... This was just yesterday!!

And a little throwback fun …. Audley & I during our senior years. His 25th reunion was this year and mine is next. It’s crazy that our oldest is now a senior…. Seriously, This was just yesterday!!

While Madeline and Bradley are patiently awaiting their seasons (ROTC, wrestling and track), MacKenzie Grace is keeping me plenty occupied with the season of senior year.

So far we have ventured to an academic dinner in Greenville where a representative from Harding University (a private Christian school) in Arkansas flew out to meet and talk with her about school.

We have also traveled ourselves, taking road trips to Auburn University (who doesn’t offer her major, but is her favorite place on earth),

MacKenzie Grace's happy place

MacKenzie Grace’s happy place

Samford Hall at Auburn University

Samford Hall at Auburn University

Faulkner University (where she was given the opportunity to shadow an Athletic Trainer on the sidelines of a football game)

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Helping treat an injured football player at the Faulkner game

Helping treat an injured football player at the Faulkner game

and most recently to the University of South Carolina, where my child walked away saying her last choice of school just became her first.

On the campus of the University of South Carolina in downtown Columbia

On the campus of the University of South Carolina in downtown Columbia

Seriously, A Gamecock?

Seriously, A Gamecock?

{I think the Marble Slab Creamery on campus won her over.}

Always the foodie

Always the foodie

So far she has been offered a $16,000 scholarship to school in Arkansas, and a $3,500 scholarship Faulkner University, but seeing how she is in the top 10% of her graduating class, carrying a 4.6 GPA, in Beta Club, Student Leadership, Mock United Nations & Jr. Civitans, the University of South Carolina has a whole lot more to offer financially, including free Grad school if she completes her undergrad there and passes her national boards to become a certified Athletic Trainer.

So after a whirlwind month of traveling and interviewing and applying, we play the waiting game.

Who will accept her (she has one acceptance already), who will give her the most bang for her buck, and who is willing to win her over with the best academic offerings?

Audley and I made the decision a long time ago that when it came time for college choices that we wouldn’t make the choice for our kids.  We are more than happy to offer advice, but when it comes to where they will excel the most and feel they will be at home, even if it’s 11 hours away in Arkansas, we won’t interfere.  Now that time is actually here for our first, I am a little nervous, but I am confident that the right choice to fit her goals and dreams will be made.

As a proud mom, I’ll share her decision when she makes it!

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The Wedding

Our daughter is now a wife.
It seems so surreal.  It seems just like yesterday that I fell in love with this adorable little girl at church and soon thereafter met her father, fell head over heels in love and married him!
Audley & Samantha
Seventeen and half years after Audley and I walked down the aisle, he walked his daughter down the exact same aisle where she and the love of her life were married by the same man who married Audley & I …. my father.
I cried.
So did Audley.
Samantha was beautiful.  There is no denying it.
Of course as her mom I have the right to say this.
It was a sentimental day.
Samantha wore my pearl earrings, a gift from Audley to me on our wedding day.
Her ring bearer’s pillow was made by my mother using fabric from two shirts, one belonging to her great-grandfather and the other to her great-grandmother, both who passed in the last year.
And I made her cake.
And the peppermint bark.
And the cheese wafers, chicken salad, peanut butter cups, cheese platter, pimento cheese, and the champagne punch.
(Samantha picked her menu…. she likes cheese)
The ceremony was beautiful.
It was really sweet.
But the most precious part of my day was adding another son to our family.
I couldn’t be a more proud, happy and very tired mother.
 
Happy Monday Y’all!