Big day

Today my beautiful daughter starts college. I couldn't be more proud of her- from the start she was perfect, I went into labor at about midnight of her due date & she was born that afternoon. She did everything right about the time she was supposed to or earlier-- like she was walking at 9 months but still didn't have a single tooth. When she tested for kindergarten, the tester accompanying her back to the cafeteria to return her to me was shaking her head... I was thinking "uh oh, she's not ready" but then I got the results and the head shake was due to Paige's extraordinary readiness emotionally to attend school- she wanted to stay LONGER at testing. The only "ding" she had was that her birthday is in Aug. making her younger than most of her classmates. Before she could attend her first day of school, we moved from the Cincinnati area to South Central Kentucky which had started school before we had even moved. Paige had missed about a month of school but quickly became one of the top students.

My kids never attended pre-school-- they did not know how to read when they entered school. I taught them the alphabet & how to write their names but I felt my main duty was to prepare my kids to be able to sit still, listen and be ready to learn-- in other words, I taught my kids self-control & how to behave. This seemed to have served them well because all of my kids are top students and other adults & teachers rave about my kids' behavior.

So last Thursday I drove Paige & her stuff about 15 minutes away to the local university where she will be part of the honors college-- all paid for by scholarship. Yep, her nickname (from another parent) of Perfect Paige seemed to run true again. When she was considering colleges, she was guaranteed full tuition at most in-state universities due to her participation the previous summer in the Governor's Scholar Program. Paul (hubby) told Paige that we would pay for the rest wherever she went because she had done such a wonderful job working in HS to get the grades & scholarships. Even with this offer, she chose to attend local university because her first choice would cost (us) about $10k for room & meals whereas she was automatically eligible for free room & book allowance by attending local university. Her state money for getting good grades in HS would cover her meal plan. She checked into comparison of education because ultimately she plans to go into pharmacy school- the local school would provide her with the education without costing us anything. An incredibly mature decision made almost a year ago-- ironically latest Readers Digest has an article on "10 things every parent should know about college" "1. Beginning adulthood without debt is worth far more than a designer diploma" & "10- Honors colleges at public universities can offer as fine an education as the Ivy League." So she will get her undergraduate degree (Chemistry) for free as long as she keeps her grades up.

During HS she took 3 Advanced Placement classes- Psychology & Biology as a Junior, Chemistry as a Senior. She got 5 on all three year end tests- top score- meaning those HS classes would count as college credit. So for $90 test, she gets college credits-- well-worth it. As an incoming freshman, she is taking organic chemistry this semester!!!

On top of this, she has decided to keep working weekends at her newly acquired job at the Kroger close to home. She feels a certain amount of responsibility to stay on since her best bud vouched for her- Paige had no paid real work experience- although anyone that knows her would hire her in a minute-- she was Valedictorian and was a (paid) tutor since she was a sophomore. Her athletic career (3 years participant at state track meet- took 3rd place this year in triple jump) is a testament to her work ethic... though not exactly gifted physically, she worked her butt off so she attained these successes. It's funny because her supervisor gave her some grief over not having work experience- he obviously doesn't know how lucky he is to have Paige. He also was rather snotty when he asked about # of hours she wanted to work... she only wants weekends due to college starting. He asks "Are your parents rich?" to which she replied "I just need some extra spending money because I got full scholarship." Anyway, I am glad she will be working because it rather forces her to come home on weekends- she doesn't have a car so will need to rely on us to get to work. This may change if she learns how to drive stick- Paul's truck is a stick shift & rarely used because he has co. car for work travel but it only seats 2-- she can't take family (automatic) car to college since I need it to transport boys anywhere.

Saturday morning Paul & I picked her up after our workout at the track (we've been using the college track for years since it's rubberized.) She spent a few hours at home before heading off to Kroger to work her shift. Last night I drove her back after her Sunday shift so she could attend her first class at 8 am this morning. I didn't think I would miss her but it did feel weird-- maybe it was because Paul left for biz trip last night so it was first night without Paige & Paul being home in a very long time. I am sure I will adjust to the new normal-- Paige being on campus vs. up in her room. My little girl is growing up. As I type this my I-tunes is playing "Zoe Jane" by Staind-- this is a song that so reminds me of Paige. I once mentioned that if she has a wedding, she needs to have that song playing to dance with Paul- there won't be a dry eye in the place if that happens.

Last week's work.

Last week I had a break from window treatment jobs so I finally got around to some projects I'd been planning to do all summer.  One much needed project was staining the deck. The dogs mess up the deck itself while the squirrels scratch up the railings. So all the horizontal surfaces really needed new stain. First I scrubbed the deck with bleach & then applied a coat of stain. Of course I happen to pick one of the hottest days of the summer to do this project-- so one morning I started staining at 7 am.  Here's a few shots (for LT)
Deck after scrubbing but before all of it stained. 

I was waiting for the stain to dry a bit so I could move the grill onto stained part & finish the rest. Thought it was a good time to do before/after shot. See the neighbor's pool being so damn tempting in the background... no one uses the darn thing!!
Deck steps torn up by the dogs- deck table is in rock area waiting for this job to be done- you may notice Jack on the stepping stones- the dogs hate the river rock & actually use the stepping stones. 
Fortunately I didn't have to do the vertical surfaces- except a few uprights hubby added underneath the steps to support them more. You may notice the two chin-up bars on the supports behind the ladder-- hubby uses the tall one for chin ups  & "Bubka's" (exercise where he pulls himself up & inverted- so his feet end up next to the railing above his bar.) The shorter one is for me & kids. 
Aluminum framed chairs with plastic
"wicker" is easily updated with "Fusion" spray
I also spray painted the bejezus the weekend before staining the deck- enough so my poor little fingers hurt from holding down that little sprayer top. I used "Fusion" spray paint in True Blue on these very old (purchased about 10 years ago) chairs that have plastic "wicker" seats. Originally they were silver frames & tan wicker. Years ago I painted the frames hunter green to match the (then) deck table. Then the wicker that was wrapped around the arms started shredding off so then they were hunter green with silver "armrests" & tan wicker. Thought I'd try out the Fusion paint that adheres to plastic & I definitely like. I like the bright pop of color. These chairs are no longer used with the metal deck table because I found some metal chairs at Sam's club that matched  it for like $20 each last year. Instead these blue ones are used down at ground level for pole vault days. Hubby typically uses one along the runway to rest his poles on. Boys & I typically use the others down on the mat end  to catch steps (take off) & video.  Along with the blue chairs I sprayed the metal table (now black instead of hunter green) to match the chairs. Also touched up the chairs since there were a few little spots of rust-- this way they should last forever if I keep them up in this manner. I really love both the table (over a dozen years old) & chairs because they are such easy care if I just spray paint them every so often to keep the rust at bay.

I had to take this one to show you part of hubby's workout- see the white spots on the black runway mat? Those are chalk HANDprints from hubby walking on hands to increase balance & upper body strength. Things are a little different at this house. LOL The tally marks on the bricks is actually his work- not kids... he uses chalk to mark runway & to keep track of how many vaults or sets of workouts he's done. The kookiest part- in our basement shower is a 50 gal. trash can filled with cold water- hubby dumps ice into it & stand in there for about 15 minutes after workouts. I know, we are a strange household. 
Jack usually gets to eating right away- so he gets the pouch food with gravy & leaves Sully just the kibble-- yet Sully is the overweight one. You can see my tomato plants, dill (got ravaged by caterpillars) hot peppers and herbs (above retaining wall) along with one of the blue chairs and corner of table that goes back up on deck. 
Sully is more interested in keeping food away from Jack than eating... it was already pretty hot that day- Sully doesn't like the heat. 
Sully being hot. 
Thought I'd throw in a couple of photos of the pooches for your viewing pleasure since Jack was in other shots anyway. =)