Soccer Camp {Summer Bucket List 2015}

  
We have only done about half of the items on our list this summer, but the kids and I needed to slow down. It has been good for us. Some of these things will be our firsts for Fall, so they will not be forgotten.

This week, Mason got to go to Chiles Soccer Camp. Our program won the State Championship this year, and Coach Bryan Wilkinson runs a high class program. Plus, the players are awesome. I am thrilled that Mason got to attend. 

Here he is on the morning of the first day.   
And this is what he looked like when I picked him up. The heat really got to him. 

  
Even so, lots of water, protein and pep talks later, and he was ready to go back on Tuesday. 

He had a fantastic second day, making it to the final three of some sort of competition they were having. However, he was not happy with third place. He is a fierce competitor!

Man, if he’s not my Daddy made over! He’s all Bandy. 
By the third day, Mason was a pro. He did not even mind getting up extra early for the trip into town. 

A special thanks goes out to my cousin Kelly Sikes and Carol Cothren. They bought Mason his new cleats and cool new sports bag. Mista Justin got him a matching Camo water bottle.

   
    

I owe Mista Justin a huge thank you, also. He drove Mason in to camp two days this week to save me from having to make multiple excursions. I think he and Mason enjoyed the “Man” time without me, Miss Julia, Bella and Corinna in the way to spoil their stinky grossness. 

If this week is any indication, Mason is going to be eating me out of house and home before long. That boy has inhaled everything put before him. On Monday, he even asked Mista Justin and me to make him deviled eggs. He’s never had them before, but he was craving them after running all day in the hot sun. Mista Justin showed me how to make them the way that my Mama always did, and Mason gobbled them down. 

  
 

This and That {aka An Incredibly Longer Post Than I Had Planned}

1. I am late to the game, but my guilty pleasure is now “Orange is the New Black.” Mista Justin and I rarely get to watch television, so when we are here without kids, it is nice to have something special to watch and relax. It’s super naughty, but it’s good. 

{Source: Pinterest}

2. Jackson-Dogg is doing great! For the past 12 years, this is what I have woken up to:

That smile comes with lots of kissss and hugs. There is nothing like it, and I treasure every second with him and Molly.

I saw this print in a pizza shop on St. George Island (or South Georgia Beach, as Miss Julia likes to say), and about cried thinking of my babies.

  
3. I was going through closets this past weekend and found my sorority plate.

  
I actually de-pinned from ADPi due to work, internships, and class commitments but, thankfully, I am still friends with my Diamond Sister, Karen. She is amazing and has been a huge supporter of mine this past year. I guess diamonds really are forever. 

4. Early in our relationship, Miss Beverly, Justin’s mom, bought me a copy of The Book. It’s a modern translation of The Bible, and it is really easy to understand. I especially love the introductions. I am currently working my way through Job. 

 

5.  We stopped by The Collection in Medart recently and Mason loved it! I knew he would when I first went there during Spring Break. What a great place to take pictures. 
Can you believe how tall Mason is getting?

He is such a big boy, but he’s on the couch watching Thomas the Tank Engine as I type. I am glad. I want him to stay as innocent {as possible} for as long as he can.

  
6. I usually buy teacher planners from Erin Condren, but I am on a budget and needed to cut back on how much I spend on classroom supplies out-of-pocket. Happily, while buying a graduation gift, I stumbled upon this Spartina planner at Blue Abaco in Tallahassee.

  
It is small enough to fit in my purse and, to my surprise, there is even enough space in it so that I will be able to jot down lesson plans. It is beautiful. The colors are cheerful and bright, the stickers fun, and the sections thorough and well thought out. I appreciate that there is plenty of space for notes. Luckily, it was well within my budget. I saved about $50! 

7. I have spent most of July sleeping, reading and spending time with the kids. I have also done a lot of reflection over all of my blessings. One of the ways I wanted to move forward was to make a list of all of those individuals who have helped me and encouraged us over the last couple of years. It is truly endless. I am constantly adding names. 

I am not able to do much in return right now, but I thought I could at least say “thank you” the old-fashioned way– in writing. I invested in nice stationary and have been mailing out cards in batches. If you have not received one, it is coming! 

 

8. The kids and I recently had lunch at a new restaurant in Thomasville called The Sweet and Savory Sisters (SASS). It is located in the old train depot and is a lovely place. The service was spectacular, even during a busy lunch. And the food was divine. 

   
 
This is truly the best shrimp-n-grits I’ve ever had, and I have been to Charleston and Savannah multiple times. Mason ordered an adult portion and ate most of it himself. 

Of course we were in Thomasville so that the beautiful Miss Laurie at A Wild Hair could fix us up. Miss Julia loves to have her hair cut and curled by her. She’s like family.

 

Her hair sure looks auburn in certain light. She gets that from my Bomba’s Scotch-Irish family, the Powers and McClures.
9. I have a very mild prescription for eye glasses due to astigmatism. I usually only need them when I am extremely tired at night or if my allergies are bothering me and I’ve got a lot of pressure around my face and head.

This month has been bad for my sinuses, so I have been wearing them a lot. I feel old.

 

10. Almost all of my closest friends have July birthdays. 

I am not into astrology, but I do find it intriguing that there is this connection between me and all of these people born around the same time. For those who know, what’s the relationship, if any, between December and July birthdays? I am a Sag. 

Happy birthday to Kaitlin, Tanya, Millie and Angie! We love you!

   

  

  

  

St. George Island {Summer Bucket List}

I am very sad that I am not going to be teaching in Nassau County this year, where all of my family and most of my friends are. When I think that the kids and I could be living at the beach, close to tons of people who adore them, my heart aches. I am homesick, pure and simple, and more than a little disappointed. Our plans when married had always been to move to Amelia Island eventually.

This weekend, to alleviate that sadness, Mr. Justin and I planned a beach trip after church. We headed down to St. George Island, where all Tallahassee-area natives go. I have never spent any time on the island, because it is only a bit shorter distance than driving home, where I can spend a weekend and see loved ones. However, it’s time I dig down and get rooted, I guess. 

 

The beach was beautiful and the weather was perfect.

We packed snacks and a kite and just relaxed in the sand. The water was a little choppy, but Miss Julia loved swimming. Mason was a little more cautious, because he saw the red warning flag at the station. I actually got stung by a small jelly fish. This is the first time it has ever happened to me, and it hurt really bad. I will not detail how we got the stinging to stop. It’s gross!

To entertain himself outside of the water, Mason insisted on an epic battle of some sorts. He’s really into Ninjas and Power Rangers right now.  
   

This is pretty much the longest anyone has ever gotten Miss Julia to sit still– and it required burying her feet in sand.  How cute is Corinna’s retro bathing suit? It’s a Tommy Bahama and was a gift from her Aunt Emma.  

 

After we left the beach, we were starving. We stopped at a local pizza place located right at the island entry. It was delicious. Of course, we followed that with ice cream cones.

It truly was a perfect day! So relaxing and peaceful. It was fun– a family day that I have only dreamed about since having my babies. Just laughter and joy. No fussing. 

   

  

If I Could Write a Letter to Me

Cleaning out closets this week, I came across a newspaper clipping from when I graduated high school in 1994.

  
I would say that my 18-year-old self was very hopeful. I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive long-term relationship {the gentleman has since apologized and made amends} with an older guy, and I had only a few people reaching out to me to urge me to end it. My family was not part of that effort. 

I spent the summer before my Senior year at the Florida Governor’s Leadership Conference at Stetson University, and it became apparent really quickly to the elite friends and faculty I met there that I needed to end the relationship. So their mantra to me was, “No one can make you feel inferior unless you let them.” It was ingrained in me.

Yet, even as they were all saying this to  me, and I was trying to apply it to my relationship, I was embarrassed of my parents who came to pick me up in their beat up old car, I was embarrassed of their clothes, I was ashamed of my small town upbringing,   I was utterly mortified of being so poor, of how I look, of my perceived lack of intelligence.

I fit in and, yet, I did not fit in with these leaders at all. 

Talk about inferiority complex! 

I could not look around me and see that these people saw any value in me and did not care where I came from or how I was raised. I had two boys fighting over my attention. Yet, I had no sense of self-worth.

I still struggle with this. Hence, the last decade of my life. 

So, here I am, almost 40 and working on fixing this. And I pray that I do not pass this same complex on to my kids, as it was passed on to me. 

Speaking of, I also found this beautiful photo of my Mama. I think it is from her Sophomore year. I had forgotten I had it, but, when she first died and I dreamed of her, this is always how she looked to me.

  

Happy 6-Month Anniversary to Us

I woke up this morning to the sweetest message from Mista Justin, who actually remembered that today is our 6-month anniversary.

Rebecca, dreams really do come true.  In the past…..

     I really didn’t open myself up to anyone, but now I find myself wanting to share my everything with you.  

In the past…..
     I made my own decisions about everything, but now I find myself discussing all of my thoughts and plans with you. The plans that I have for the future are no longer mine, but ours.

In the past…..
     love was but a word, now every thought and every emotion is overflowing with feelings of love, love for you.

In the past…..

     I thought that the kind of relationship we have only existed in dreams, but NOW I know that dreams really can and do come true.

Rebecca, I love you with my heart, my soul and all of my being.
Happy 6 month anniversary!

❤ Justin

This man has brought me so much peace. When he’s in our home, there is laughter and joy. He is showing me that love really is patient and kind, and he is leading me spiritually, something I have longed for and never had. People keep commenting on how happy I look. I am! It’s amazing how feeling cherished and valued changes your own outlook on life. But, more than anything, I have hope now. 

 

Then, this afternoon, I received this beautiful bouquet. The roses smell unbelievably good and are stunning in their arrangement. Fresh flowers are the quickest way to my heart. Gellings Florist in Monticello out did themselves.

   


By the way, for those of you wandering, Mista Justin and I actually met on Tinder! We were both on the verge of deleting the app and he had only just downloaded it a couple days before; however, he contacted me and asked to meet up on a lonely day when I came back from Jacksonville after burying two family members in one week. 

After quickly moving over to facebook to check connections {we had none} and making plans to meet for a movie, which felt like a safe option, he asked if we could have dinner instead. Driving over, I suddenly realized how foolish the arrangement was, but I had this peace come over me and a small, still voice telling me to go, that I was meant to meet him.

We had dinner at Miccosukee Root Cellar in Tallahassee, and then sat for four hours just talking and listening to the live music.

I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever laid eyes on, so tall and slender. I also liked his Southern dialect, which sounds very New Orleans coastal at times. My neighbor calls him the “River Boat Gambler” when he’s outside smoking his cigars and that truly fits him and his swagger.

The truth is, though, that I caught Mista Justin trying to discreetly pray over his dinner and my heart was his. 

Afterwards, he walked me to my car, buckled me in, and backed away, without even a peck on the cheek. He also texted several times to make sure I got home safely. 

So, despite its reputation– and I was getting some CREEPY stuff– Tinder works.  

But the truth is that God just works in mysterious ways, even through social media. 

I love you, too, Justin! My mama and Aunt Bertia would have eaten you up. ❤️
 

Five On Friday {7.28.15}

1. Miss Julia has chosen a ballet school! We visited two at the beginning of the week and, surprisingly, she selected the more strict, structured and less glamorous one. She said it reminded her of South Georgia Ballet and her teachers there. I am so proud of her and excited for the upcoming school year.

  

2. In between dance academy visits, we went school shopping, because Mason has outgrown EVERYTHING he owns! We also caught a movie, one of our favorite pastimes. How scary is what happened last night in Louisiana?  We need to pray for all impacted but, most importantly, we need to pray for this country.
  
Aunt Kaitlin deserves mad props! She joined us for Minions. It was like listening to nails on a chalkboard for almost two hours, and I was ready to pull my hair out, but she was a great sport. We are blessed to have her in our lives.

3. I downloaded a new app today called First 5. During our Bible study at work, my friends and I were discussing the idea that we need to focus on JESUS as soon as we are awake, before the world and social media distract us. Now, Proverbs 31 Ministries has developed this app for just that purpose. You can even set an alarm and connect to others. It looks amazing, and the best part is that it’s FREE!

  

4. I had lunch yesterday at Indigo Cafe in Tallahassee. I had their roast beef special, which is a strange choice in the heat, but it was DIVINE! My mom used to make roast on Sunday afternoons, and this meal tasted just like I was eating at her kitchen table.

I met a blogger friend of mine, Paula Kiger, from biggreenpen.com. She and I connected last year sometime, and she has been a great virtual friend and cheerleader for me. It was fantastic to actually meet her in person, and she patiently listened as I talked her ears off. She is a beautiful person, and I very much enjoyed our time together. 

Guess what? She even gave me a big green pen! 

  
5. I love Reese Witherspoon’s new brand, Draper James. I practically drool over her Instagram feed everytime I see a dress she is wearing from the clothing line. 

   
 
Magnolias on a dress? On a handbag? Yes, please.

According to the website, Witherspoon is trying to capture the beauty and elegance of the Southern lifestyle, while making products as much as possible within the USA. In fact, she posted a video this week from a visit to a factory in Blue Ridge, Georgia. I love thiconcept.

The only drawback is that the line is expensive, in my opinion. Almost everything would be a splurge for me. This in itself seems contradictory to Southern culture, which has developed in a large part from our ability to survive through economic hardships. I would like to see the products expand to include more “teacher budget-friendly” items.

I am eyeing the stationary, though. I swear, I could spend my last dime on pretty paper!