How can she be 19 already?

September came here to Savannah with Hurricane Hermine.

It flew off the Gulf Coast and swirled across our area with all it’s wind and rain, thankfully, leaving us with no damage around our home unlike many in it’s path.


Mary turned 19 on the 2nd and, along with my many confused thoughts of unbelief, she stepped into this new age with beauty and grace, as she does with many things.

“How can this be?” I asked myself many, many times as the day approached. “She was just this little girl with curly, blonde hair, just a few days ago, right?”

Time flies and they grow up so fast.

The birthday question lingered in my thoughts for quite a few months. What should we do? Her 18th was shadowed with heartache and grief, but again, as is her way, she let it go by and worried more about how I was doing after the death of Pat.

I was determined to do something special this year. I wanted to do something big. Something she really, really wanted. I wanted to please her. I wanted her to remember this day this year with fondness.

Of course, things don’t work out as I plan. Nothing big happened. No great adventure was in the schedule.

But time.

Precious time was available and we spent it together, the three of us and a special friend.

This made the day special. Time with my youngest daughter who has quickly left all the ‘little girl’ behind (except maybe watching Scooby Doo)  and becoming such a confident, loving young woman. A young woman, like her sister, who is too smart for the world’s own good, who does her best no matter how frustrating it may be, who gives her all no matter how long and hard the list is and always lets me know, in one way or another, just how she loves me and her dad.

So here are some moments from Mary’s 19th birthday! I loved every minute of it.


She had to work on Friday, but was home early enough to enjoy some paper shredding. There were three boxes waiting for her on the dining room table when she got home. After dinner she got to see what was inside.


Mary loves all things ‘elephant’ so she was happy with this little trinket tray with a cute elephant on top.


She’d been looking at this jewelry stand for a long time, but didn’t want to spend the money on it every time she had it in her hands. It always found itself back on the store shelf before we left. This was great for me, because I finally got back to the store by myself, snatched it up, and hid it until her birthday. Then I would silently chant, ‘don’t buy it. don’t buy it.’ every time she looked at it again while we were shopping together.

I found a really cute necklace with a Lab pendant, which she’s wearing in the picture, and a cute sign for her wall in a dog theme, that rounded out the evening of gifts. Nothing flashy. Nothing too expensive. Just things I knew (hoped) she would love to have.

I think her most favorite thing for her birthday, though, was our house guest!


Our friend, Melissa, came to visit before her weekend with her sister! We hadn’t had any Melissa time in quite a while and we were all happy to have her here to share Mary’s birthday. The two of them were off and chattering about all the things they’d been doing since the last time they’d seen each other. It was a wonderful thing to hear around the house. Of course the visit was too short; we could keep Melissa here a lot longer, but more plans are in the works to spend more time with her in the future.

I had fun taking pictures of these two! It was adorable. Melissa is telling her all about how she took pictures for me and I snapped away, capturing the joy that is apparent on both of them with their laughter and happy faces.


(Neither of you better yell at me for posting these, either!)

The next girl in line for Mary pictures was Maddie.


I don’t think Ellie would pose like this. She needs some practice.

Soon after we were on our way to find some dessert. The air had gone out in the house throughout the week and there really was no way I was going to turn the oven on to bake a cake. Besides, when the birthday girl is an awesome baker, it’s kind of daunting to present her with a box birthday cake.

Besides, she really wanted to go to the Schnitzel Shack for Black Forest Cake, but, alas, with the storm, they were not open. She was even willing to go to Dairy Queen, but they were closed, too! So we headed across the street to see how busy Chili’s was on this Friday night right after a storm.


It looked busier than it was, so we got a table and enjoyed some birthday dessert.


We stopped at Sam’s Club where Mary picked up her own birthday present. She’s been working a while, paying her car payment and saving money, so she decided to treat herself to a new, HUGE, television. Of course, we had to give her a hard time about it being bigger than the one in the living room, but she was so happy to be able to buy something with her own earned money. As hard as she’s been working, she certainly deserves to spoil herself.

Happy 19, Mary! I hope it was a happy one.

Study Buddies & Denim Blues

Creative Memories has a couple new, awesome albums out this month! I can’t wait to get my hands on them. Even though my girls are out of school, I have tons of school pictures to get in albums along with all the school events, school friends and band pictures to do!

(from the email I rec’d from Creative Memories)

Introducing Study Buddies


This new Collection will have Moms everywhere doing a happy dance. First day pics, friends, activities, report cards…all will look fabulous against Study Buddies’ friendly colors and designs.

The Collection includes: 12×12 foiled bookcloth Fast2Fab Album, Predesigned Refill Pages, Paper Pack, Slide-In Pack, Stickers and Embellishments.

You’ll also have a Bundle with a complete Fast2Fab, Embellishments, Black Pen & Tape Runner…plus savings!


Here is everything that is new this month! Creative Memories is back and is staying strong! I am so glad.


You can find everything on my website! Click on this picture of the new cardstock colors and it will take you right there!


Missing Mom

It’s been a year since that frozen moment in the Atlanta airport waiting for my connection home. It was expected. I knew it was coming. It still brought me to my knees.

My phone rang and I saw who was calling, my phone dangling from the cord where it was charging after my first flight toward home, in the middle of the airport near the gate I needed to make it back to Savannah.

I’d flown to Sacramento because Pat was in the hospital after falling at home early one morning. The call was frantic. The details filling up my head, my head spinning, my surroundings blurring in a wave of confusion and disbelief.

The racking sobs and realization that by the time I got to California, she may be gone.

But she wasn’t.

Days filled with doctors and teeter-totter details. Preparing for rehab for an injured back, then preparing for comfort care.

Trying to stay in the back ground because this wasn’t my real mom by birth or legality. Not knowing my place. Feeling, more now than ever, that it wasn’t my place. I wasn’t part of the family. I was there for others.

But in the airport when she said, ‘She’s gone.’ the loss was great. So much more than when my real mom died so many years ago. The childhood loss of a mother in such a dysfunctional setting was devasting, but different.

This loss was the end of the connection to a mother who saved me in young adulthood; who saved the life of my unborn child; who led me through those years of struggle, gave me guidance, accepted me for who I was and the choices I’d made. This was the loss of my girl’s grandmother.

I knew it was coming. I knew she didn’t want us there in the room when she left. She managed to make her journey back to her beloved husband how she wanted, but I was devastated to not be holding her hand; to not see her eyes one more time.

But I know she is okay now.

I have a short flight home to compose myself.

I missed my daughter’s 18th birthday.

But I use all the love and lessons I learned from Pat; her love for her children, her love of life, her ability to give so much without knowing how much she gave.

She never believed she literally saved my life.

But she did.

I love you, Pat! I will see you again.