Monday, August 31, 2009

My Top 5

Well, I went to the store today and I bought enough stuff for Steve, Ashley, and me to eat dinner plus some extra things for the week and when I checked out, it barely cost me anything!!! I think I am starting to notice at least a few advantages to this semi-empty nest! :) Hmmmm....let's see...

1-I have gotten TOTALLY on top of my laundry for the first time in probably about 18 years. I could do it when I only had two kids, but once four got here, it never seemed possible. Now my laundry room is just stacked with empty laundry baskets! Yay!!!! And it only took me a few loads on Saturday to do it! That is a miracle, people.


2-I leave my house clean in the morning and when I get home...guess what? It's still clean. And if it's one thing I love, it's a clean house. That feels so good to me!


3-I used to get a call or text message at school every day around 2:30. "Hey Mom! What are the dinner plans??" (I wish I could insert the look on my face when I heard that!)


I love my kids, but that daily phone call/text made me crazy. I have no idea what's for dinner when it's the middle of the afternoon and I'm still at school trying to get things done. haha

4-I can pull in and out of the garage without having to play car shuffle! We have the shortest driveway on our street and the most cars. It's so easy to get in and out now. (This isn't really my driveway, but mine looks similar!)



5-With fewer people, decisions are made much quicker.


Now the conversation goes something like this....

"What do you want to do tonight?"
"How about ____________?"
"Sounds good!" Decision over.

Lots of people=Lots of opinions=Lots of compromise!

Of course, I still miss my kids so much, but hey...you've got to look on the bright side a little bit, right??

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Been Going On...

So much has been going on over the last week, I am really just now getting around to catching up on my blogging. This week has kept us all very busy. Steve was out of town just about every day. I think he planned it that way so he would stay busy and not have a lot of time to think about missing Laura and Lindy. And Ashley and I have had so much going on with school. Every day we both worked late and went to bed exhausted. But we both love our classes!! When I got back to school, it seemed like I was just there. I have a very sweet group of second graders and I am looking forward to a fun year with them!

I cleaned up Laura and Lindy's rooms this week and I think I am finally getting a little bit used to them being empty. We have had fun skyping with them this week. Laura and Mark are coming home next weekend for Labor Day! Yay! Lindy has a home football game and it is a little farther for her to drive, so she won't get to come. :(

This weekend was nice. Friday night, Steve went to the Fantasy Football draft for one of the leagues he is on. He is doing two this year!


The draft was held at the Whitewater Center here in Charlotte. You can go whitewater rafting there, so all the guys did that first. It was a fun night. Since he was busy, Ashley and I met at Thai Taste for dinner and then she went to John's and I just hung out here watching movies. That was a great Friday night to me...especially after a busy week.

Yesterday, I don't know if I was just tired or maybe coming down with a cold, but I didn't feel very good. Most of the day we just hung around the house. We did go to lunch for Steve's brother, Mike's birthday. Then we went to his parents' house and had dessert and sat on their porch and visited. I took a nap yesterday afternoon and spent some time on my porch reading Paula Deen's book. Have you read this??


I've had it forever, but have just now gotten around to reading it. I just love her, so I have enjoyed hearing her whole story!

Last night we watched the Panthers play a pre-season game. It was disappointing. I hope they do better once the real season gets here! I am so excited about football season. It is supposed to be cool here this week so I know that is going to get me in the mood for fall! :) I made some banana bread this week and when I took a bite of it while it was still warm out of the oven, it reminded me of fall!


Here is my recipe that is super easy and a good way to get rid of your over-ripe bananas...

Banana Bread

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 c. flour
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
1 t. soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 stick margarine, melted

Combine all ingredients in order listed, mixing well. Pour into ungreased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Enjoy!


Today my brother Blake came to speak to our Sunday School class. He is such a great preacher/speaker. The class really enjoyed having him there. After church we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. It has been a long time since our whole family (minus the college kids) has gotten together, so we had fun catching up.


Here is Blake with Bailey...


Angie snuggling with Brooklyn. She is just like a little cuddly China doll!


Ashley and John


Steve and me....


My three nephews, Bryson, Brett, and Brad...


It's hard to believe the weekend is over and it's time to start the week again. Wow...the weekends sure do fly by, don't they?? The high tomorrow is supposed to be 70!!! I can't wait! Hope you have a great week! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Muffin Saga

It's Saturday! I made it through my first week of school!! It was a great week and I love my class. I will tell you more about all that soon. But I had something funny to tell you today.

Laura sent me this message this morning on Facebook and it made me smile. We always make muffins on Saturday mornings at our house and I think she was just wanting to continue the tradition even though she's at college. I just thought it was a cute story and wanted to share it with you! :) I miss all my kids so much, but they are having fun!


Laura Maddox August 29 at 11:27am
so i thought i would tell you the lovely story of my muffin fiasco.
Muffin Recipe:
2 Eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
muffin mix and pan and stuff...

On tuesday i went to the store with caitlin and our two friends and i decided that i would buy muffins. After i got the box of muffins i realized that i needed a muffin tin too. So i looked on a bunch of aisles until i found one. Then i looked on the back of the box (apparently not looking very hard cause i didn't see that i needed vegetable oil.) And I was like ohhh, i also need two eggs. Well...walmart only sells eggs by the dozen and that would have been too many so we decided to go across the street to harris teeter. Wellllll harris teeter only sells 6 eggs if you get the organic kind..sooooo i had to get the expensive organic kind.

Then we got home i was all excited about making muffins..but..oh wait! I didnt have vegetable oil...

A couple days went by and still no vegetable oil. So last night while i was out with elizabeth and abby we went to the bookstore to get vegetable oil from the market place that is inside the bookstore...it was closed. Well we went to another one and they were sold of vegetable oil (which is when i called to ask about canola oil) but I decided to buy muffin cups from there so i wouldnt forget. So when i went to that church thing i decided that I would borrow vegetable oil from the church kitchen and carried it around the rest of the night in a styrofoam cup and it looked like pee! After that i got back to the dorm and made sure we had everything..

OH WAIT. we are out of milk now..yay!! I couldn't ask anyone last night if they had milk because i didnt realize that we were out until like 2 and everyone was asleep. So this morning i asked the only two people who were awake ( 9:30 ) and they both didnt have milk so then i decided to check downstairs in the vending machine (who knew) and they had it! But i forgot app card to buy it with...so i went back and got my card and came back down and got vending machine milk.

Then when i got back upstairs i mixed everything i went to throw the egg shells away in our bathroom so they wouldnt be in our room after making the muffins and..(it gets better) i got locked out of my room!

So then i had to knock on the door for like 7 minutes and wake caitlin up until she came and let me in. Thats when i realized....i didnt own a can opener to open the blueberries with. I asked everyone that i could find that was awake (including a girl doing her laundry) and no one had one. So i rode up and down the elevator until i checked the second to last floor and there was a girl who had one FINALLY. Then i mixed up my muffins..but thats when i realized that there is a bunch of burnt stuff on the bottom of the oven and last night we already had a fire drill cause someone burnt popcorn.

Well i just got my muffins out of the oven..and they are a little darker than i would like and now that its lunch time I am so excited about eating these muffins. Especially since i dont have butter!!

The end.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tale Of Taking Two Girls To College

We are finally back from our marathon of moving two college freshmen into their dorms. Oh my goodness...that was exhausting. This whole "letting your baby chicks fly out of the nest" thing is reeeaallly hard! It was two very long days for us. But now Laura and Lindy are all moved in and they are so excited, so we are happy for them.

Thursday we woke up early to take Lindy to ECU. We had the car all packed and then it was time for Laura and Lindy to say goodbye to each other. They have never been apart before. They have always been together, even before they were born. Watching them hug each other goodbye was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. It was so sad.

Here is Lindy all ready to go. Laura was still in her pajamas since it was so early.


Then we were off and on the road. Lindy drove the whole way and Steve and I took turns riding with her. It takes a little more than four hours to get there.


When we got there it was soooo hot! Lindy is on the third floor so poor Steve got so sweaty carrying all that stuff up and down the stairs! Lindy and I got right to work and got everything set up and it all looked so cute. Steve did all the techy stuff like the TV and the computer, etc. In between all this we had to make the customary trip to Target for last minute things we needed and we took Lindy out to lunch at a little local restaurant.







Lindy's roommate, Chelsea, is so sweet. They are going to have so much fun rooming together.



Saying goodbye to Lindy was super sad. It is so hard to leave your kids and come home to their empty room. :( Here we are after a long, hot day...right before we left.


When didn't get home until around 11:00 pm. When we drove up, Laura had just gotten home from a night out with her friends. She got her computer and woke Ashley up and they skyped with Lindy! That was so much fun. We all got to talk to each other and we could see her and she could see us while we talked. I am planning on doing that alot!


I was so tired last night, I slept like a rock.

And just when we thought the fun was over...we got to get up today and do it all over again!

We got up and left around 8:00 this morning for Boone, NC. It is such a beautiful drive up there!

When we got there, they had an assembly line of students in front of Laura's dorm who took every single thing out of our car and took it up to the room for us. That is definitely the way to go! It was so quick and much easier...especially since Laura was on the 6th floor!

Laura's beds were lofted in her room, so it was a little harder to make up the bed.


Then we got to work on her closet. We realized we didn't have enough hangers and some other things we needed, so we decided to take a lunch break and then head to Wal-Mart. That place was a zoo today! I think every student at Appalachian was there along with their parents! We also had lunch at a really yummy Mexican restaurant called Coyote Kitchen. We loved it!

When we got back, it didn't take us long to get everything done and it all turned out adorable.




Here is Laura and her cute roomie, Caitlyn.


Saying goodbye the second time was so hard all over again. I could have hugged Laura forever. I will miss her so much!

But when we were walking away, she was walking back into her dorm and was excited to get started on this new adventure!

Now we are back home and I will probably sleep really late tomorrow. I am so thankful that my girls are happy and they love their schools, but I am glad this is the last time I will ever have to take anyone to their freshman year of college!! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back To Work And An Early Birthday

Today was my first official day back to work. Oh my goodness...it was long. We had a full day of staff development and sat in meetings from 7:00 this morning until 3:00 this afternoon!! Whew!

Laura and Lindy's 18th birthday is next week, but they will already be gone, so we celebrated tonight. Really they have been celebrating for a while now. I forgot to tell ya'll, but their friends planned a surprise party for them about a week ago. They went to breakfast with what they thought was just one friend of theirs. But when they got there, about 10 girls were there to surprise them. Then they "kidnapped" them and took them to the lake for an overnight sleepover! It was so sweet and they were completely surprised!!

Then Steve's mom and dad took them out to lunch this week at a very nice restaurant here in town. Steve's mom has made all their pillows for their dorm rooms and they are super cute. She is so talented at sewing!

So, anyway, tonight was very low key. It was just our family, minus Mark. We went to dinner at Cajun Yard Dog, one of their favorite places.








Then we came home and opened presents.


We gave them some money--$$$$$$! And they have been wanting some movies to take to college, so I bought them each two of their favorites.


Then I got them some Turvis tumblers from each of their schools and wrapped up some candy to go inside.


Then they just got a few other tiny little things like notecards and cute sticky notes, etc.

Ashley worked so hard in her room today. Yesterday Steve's dad and his sister, Debbie went over and painted her room for her and it looks so good. Tomorrow my mom and Steve's mom are going over to help her set everything up. She has lots of helping hands. She was exhausted tonight though! haha Welcome to teaching, huh??

Got to get to bed early so I can get up early again tomorrow. It's Lindy's last day home. She's leaving on Thursday. Keep us in your prayers over the next few days as we get everyone settled and moved in! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

You've Come A Long Way, Baby!

Does anyone out there remember that slogan for cigarettes from back in the day?? That just came to my mind this morning when I woke up. Today is our 24th wedding anniversary! It's so hard to believe that 24 years ago today we started this journey together. We were so young and so in love. And we had no idea what life had in store for us. I wrote about our story last year on our anniversary...how we dated all through high school, etc. You can go here and read it. God has been so good. He's given us four beautiful children and so many other blessings along the way.


Now we are about to take our last two babies to college this week and start a new chapter in our marriage. I know we are going to miss them, but the best thing is we still have lots of great times to look forward to together. Steve and I still really enjoy each other and we have a lot of fun together. After we get adjusted to the change, it will almost be like we are starting all over and we get to do all the things couples do when they don't have kids yet. We were only married for two years before Ashley was born, so we never really had much time for just the two of us.



Since we are in the middle of planning Ashley's wedding, I have been thinking about how different weddings are today from when we got married back in 1985. Weddings back then (at least around here) just weren't the huge productions that they are today. Here are just a few differences and similarities between the wedding I had and the wedding Ashley is going to have:

My dad was the pastor of our church, so he walked me down the aisle, then performed the wedding ceremony. My dad, Ashley's grandfather, will also perform her wedding ceremony.

I had over 500 people at my wedding and a full choir sang. Ashley will have between 250-300 people at her wedding and she thinks that is stretching it.

Steve looks relieved that the whole thing is over in this picture. He was pretty nervous standing before so many people. And my dad tied the knot reeeeaaallllly tight! haha


We had our reception in the fellowship hall of a church. Ashley will have her reception at a country club.

Our cake was made by a friend of ours who made cakes. She gave it to us as her wedding gift to us. It was just a basic white cake, but I thought it was so good because I loved her icing. Ashley's cake will have many layers and they will all taste different!

There was no dancing at our reception...just more of a meet and greet. Ashley will have a DJ and a dance floor.

I did my own hair, make-up, and nails before the wedding. I just used a curling iron and some of my own fingernail polish. Ashley and all her bridesmaids will make a day out of getting their hair and make up done.

We had a few dips and finger sandwiches and little quiches and maybe some chicken drumettes along with punch and nuts at our reception. Our church dietician made everything. Ashley will have her reception catered.

My dress cost about $300.00. Ashley's costs....way more than that!!

My bridesmaids dresses were rainbow colors, made out of taffeta, had puffy sleeves, were tea length and the girls wore white hose and dyed to match shoes. Yep...it screamed 80's!!! Ashley's dresses are burgandy and very classic.

We went to a little hotel in Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon and thought we were so grown up to check into that hotel as husband and wife. Ashley and John are going to an extremely nice resort in the Carribean.

Times sure have changed. I thought my wedding was wonderful. It was a day full of happy memories and lots of love from our family and friends. It was nothing like the wedding my daughter will have. But I'm hoping when she looks back on her special day, the main thing she will remember about it was the happiness and joy and love she felt as she and John started their new life together.

We still have that even after 24 years!! I love you, Steve!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Girls Night Out

Tonight was probably one of the last "girls' nights" we will be able to have for a while since Lindy is leaving on Thursday and Laura is leaving next Friday. Anyway...we have all been wanting to see The Time Traveler's Wife ever since we saw the previews. So tonight we went to see it.


We had mixed reviews on the movie. I thought it was just okay. It was a little weird to me. But I thought Rachel McAdams did a good job! My girls really liked it.

Before the movie we went to dinner at....see if you can guess??? Yep! La Unica! haha




Steve joined us for that! He didn't want to miss out on some good Mexican food.

We are still shopping and making sure we have everything ready for move-in day. Ya'll should seriously see our dining room and garage. That has become the dumping ground for everything and we have Target and Wal-Mart and Bed, Bath, and Beyond bags all over the place.

We have talked to Mark and he is doing great but we miss him already!

Tomorrow is a "Back-To-School Bash" for Ashley's school. Since so many of her students are below the poverty level or even homeless, they do this back-to-school giveaway to help provide school supplies and bookbags for the kids. I am going with her, so I am looking forward to meeting some of the kids and families at her school!

This summer I met a new blog friend, Heather. Her blog is called Step Inside.


Here she is with her cute baby. She is such a sweet girl and she loves the Lord. I just love her blog! We have alot in common because we are both from Tennessee and we both got married young. She also lives in Texas now which is where I used to live! Anyway...she is having a giveaway on her blog...a Forever 21 gift card! You should go check it out!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 Chick Has Flown Out Of The Nest....2 To Go!

I'm really behind on my blogging this week. I've been super busy trying to work in my classroom and getting all this college preparation done!

We have been shopping like crazy to get everything bought that all my college kids will need. I want them to be as cozy and comfortable as they can be while they are away from home. Target and Wal-Mart have seen alot of us lately!

Yesterday we moved Mark to Raleigh and into his new apartment. I just can't tell you how nice it is. It is definitely way better than anywhere I ever lived in college!! But I am so happy for him because I know he is going to love it there.

We spent all day yesterday driving to Raleigh and setting up his room and closet and getting his computer and TV all set up. Laura and Lindy went with us and they are so helpful. He is lucky to have sisters. They spoil him so much!

Here are few pictures of his apartment. They still have some work to do with hanging pictures, etc., but it looks great already!


This is their kitchen. I made a little booklet of recipes for Mark. It even has simple things in it like how to make rice or green beans. But I also added a few of his favorite recipes like oven fried chicken and taco soup. I can't wait to see how much time he spends in here this year! ;)


This is Mark with our neighbor Kelsey. She is a student at NC State too! They are like brother and sister. (I even think they look alike!)


So, we have one moved out, and two to go next week. There is sooooo much to do between now and then. In fact, I'm off now to go back to my classroom and get some more work done!! Hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Milestones

These past few days have been super busy for us. We have so many life milestones going on right now and we have been doing alot of getting ready for and celebrating those milestones!



Thursday night was fun because my mom had a little get together for all her oldest granddaughters...Ashley, Laura, Lindy, and my niece Brianna. She invited them out for dinner at PF Changs and then to spend the night at her house and watch movies and have dessert, etc. Unfortunately, Ashley got sick and couldn't go, but the other three girls went. They all have birthdays this month AND they are all leaving for college in about a week and a half. So it was kind of a celebration of all those things.

She gave them some birthday spending money (what girl doesn't love that??) and she gave them a very special book. My mom was a high school English teacher and she loves literature and poetry. She has a book of poems that she got from her mother that is her favorite. So she bought one of these books for each of her granddaughters.


She wrote a sweet letter inside the front cover of each one and inside she put special family pictures and her favorite quotes, etc.





She also underlined special poems in the book and wrote in the margins about things that she liked. I know it meant so much to Laura and Lindy. It is something they will always treasure.

I had a great time Thursday night, too, because I got to go out to dinner with a sweet friend of mine who I have been friends with since high school. I love her so much and her daughter just got married, so she was able to give me lots of tips and advice. I don't have any pictures of us though. We were too busy talking our heads off! haha

This weekend was tax-free weekend here, so we have been buying everything we could think of to finish getting ready for school to start. School supplies, clothes, printers, dorm room stuff, etc. I also found out that Ann Taylor Loft is giving teachers a 15% discount now just like J Crew does!


Just bring in your teacher ID and you're set.

Last night was a very special night for our family. It was Ashley and John's engagement party.


John's Uncle Stacy has a beautiful home with a pool and he went ALL OUT to host an absolutely wonderful party for both families last night. I think there were about 40 people there.




It couldn't have been any nicer. Stacy used to be a chef and he pulled out all the stops for us on food. He had the most delicious appetizers to start off with. Then he brought out platter after platter of amazing dishes like crab cakes and marinated pork tenderloin, grilled asaparagus and eggplant and squash, green bean and potato salad, sliced roast beef with horseradish sauce, etc... We ate so much.






We have met John's parents, but we had never met his extended family like aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You never know how those kinds of events will go, but they are all just the warmest and most hospitable people you would ever meet. Everyone was so welcoming and made us feel right at home. We had a great time getting to know everyone. There were lots of hugs all around and good conversation and a sweet prayer for John and Ashley and a few sentimental tears. It already feels like we are one big family together and I am so grateful for that.





Last night was also the night Lindy had to say goodbye to her boyfriend, Kevin. Needless to say, it was very sad for her. They are both going to different schools for college and those schools are not near each other. So, she is a little blue today. I remember when I left for Baylor and Steve was going to NC State. He came over the morning my family was leaving and we stood in my driveway and hugged goodbye and I cried my eyes out. He had made me a cassette tape of all of "our songs" during our high school years. I played that tape all the way to Texas and it felt like I would never see him again. It was just pitiful. So I know what she is going through. I am so proud of her for being really strong, though. The best thing about being separated in today's world is that you can text or e-mail or chat or skype! That will hopefully make it a little easier.

So...those are the ups and downs of life in the Maddox household lately! I'm sure the next few weeks will keep us on this rollercoaster for a little longer. I will keep you posted on everything!