Category Archives: College

This is How We Say Good-Bye

So, it’s all very, very good. We’ve had college in mind for 18 years. We’ve saved for it for 18 years. We didn’t really hope she’d live in the basement.

We paid for books, drove her to games and rehearsals, pushed her to work hard. We filled out the applications, did more than stress our minds out, cross our fingers and say our prayers. But geez, this is the deal? She actually LEAVES?

I’m¬†paying for this pit in my stomach?


This picture sits on my desk. This was my baby Cope starting kindergarten, just a little while ago.

I remember her so well at this age. She had a little brother and a baby sister who accompanied her to school. She wore a yellow rain jacket and Elmo backpack. On the first day of kindergarten she came home and threw a ginormous tantrum, collapsing on the couch in a deep sleep from sheer exhaustion. This would continue to happen throughout her childhood ūüôā

She lives with passion, this girl.

What a privilege it has been to be her mother. There are no perfect mothers, but I have tried to be a good one. I’ve pondered: Do I regret other “opportunities” I didn’t take so I could be home more and raise children? Do I regret any of the stories read, the bedtime routines, the wake up and go to sleep times? I regret none of it. I have no greater accomplishment.

Suddenly she’s this girl: so confident and smart and compassionate and beautiful.

We had a great August. Slow days of packing and purging and sorting. What to bring to college when you have to put it on an airplane (2 carry-ons per passenger, nothing over 50lbs.)

We also had hostage-like negotiation sessions over clothes – she is always raiding my closet!A certain sister already had her room packed up before Cope left, chomping at the bit to move downstairs instead of across the hall from mom and dad.

Cope and I and flew across the country, hovering above the great Salt Lake. It was getting real.

I was that really strange mom taking photos of my grown daughter while she slept beside me.¬†I found myself gazing at her skin and eyelashes, wondering how this thing called “TIME” works. I thought of Erma Bombeck’s poem, WHY DON’T YOU GROW UP?

Guess what? They do.

Although Utah is a desert, we went hiking and found TREES!

We stayed with my sister and family where Cope walked little Autumn to first grade. On the first day, Autumn cried and clung to Cope. Cope looked at me with big eyes and panic, mouthing, “WHAT DO I DO?”

I said: Give her a hug and kiss, I’ll see you later, and walk away.

Oh dear, I feared I would be Autumn in a few days.

We made it! She has a room key. I don’t. What the heck?

We love her dorm and roommate!

After buying out the entire local Target (when people tell you that bringing your child to college is the most expensive trip you will make – THEY ARE RIGHT. I, the tight-fisted budget mom was suddenly spending her feelings on lamps and hangers and “Honey, look at this llama lamp, do you want it for your room???! No? How about mug with your initial or how about M for Mom? Make-up? Do you want make-up? What can I buy you???”) Who was this woman???

We spent HOURS debating about room decor (Believe me, Pinterest IS NOT YOUR FRIEND). However, after agonizing over the tapestry and bedding for literally DAYS, we had just what she wanted. Bless you, Amazon, and your free Prime 2-Day shipping.


“Dad, mom knows she’s not staying, right?”

We walked around campus, reliving the college years (Gregor and I met at BYU!) Cope patiently endured us.

¬†This is a much bigger pond than our little town…

Of course we had to get pictures with the BYU cougar. “Moooooom!” And yes, we are now completely dressed from head to toe in True Blue BYU fan gear. I’m sorry if you find me annoying for the next four years ūüôā

On the bright side. The BYU bookstore has the best cinnamon gummy bears IN THE WORLD. This is not a joke. For $2.50 a bag, I’ll just eat her way through college.

On the wall in the bookstore: We went to spy on her the next day at freshman orientation (we didn’t see her). Um, is this what they mean by “helicopter parents”? Clearly, we are part of the problem.

We made up an excuse to meet up for a few minutes before our flight took off. When she came walking across campus she looked like she could be in college. Oh wait…she is?

Final hugs good-bye, in the Joseph Smith building, where Gregor really fell in love with me ūüôā

And so it begins.

We left her in the capable hands of mighty Mount Timpanogus, my most favorite mountain. Can you see her lying across the top, left to right? Keep an eye on my girl, Timp.

She will, as this girl does, read. And study. And learn. She will, as BYU’s motto states: “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.”

The Class of 2017. “You Are the Y.”

Excuse me while I go get a tissue. As Gregor says, “this is the happiest sad I think I’ve ever felt.”


Tossing this, keeping that

I’m getting so good at throwing stuff out. ¬†Really husband, I am. ¬†I had an epiphanic moment the other day: ¬†Just because we have space, doesn’t mean we have to cram it full of STUFF. ¬†Get it out. ¬†I like to think the house is going through a great purge. ¬†
We don’t have central air (why are New Hampshirites so against this wonderful invention?) hence, we have our windows open all summer, spring, and fall. ¬†Wonderful for that fresh air feeling, not so wonderful for those horrid allergies. ¬†When humidity hits in August, it feels like we’re sitting on a wet couch all month. ¬†I want to roll on the floor and have a great tantrum. ¬†
Instead of the coming tantrum, we got a new couch and chair.  A leather couch and chair.  It seemed to be the right choice since our children are older.  No one has thrown up, or peed on, the couch in ages.  With leather, there are no dust mites for us to battle with.  With one nice swipe, messes can be cleaned.  I wanted to go red leather or green or bright yellow or cream leather.
We went brown.  Because we still actually do have children in the house.  I wish it was lighter, but there it is.  The problem is now I need new couch pillows, lamps, accoutrements!
Now we have to sell the red couch. ¬†In the meantime, we didn’t know where to put it, so we put it in the kitchen. ¬†Alas, all our craig’s list offers fell through last week. ¬†We haven’t eaten at the kitchen table for a week as there is no room in the inn. ¬†Forget what I said about the vomit and pee above, YOU want this couch, don’t you? ¬†This should probably not be a side note, but I was ever-faithful at washing everything after unseemly incidents. ¬†
The irony is that we all love to go sit on the old couch instead of the new couch. ¬†I lay down on it at 2 for my 20-minute power nap (I’m serious, it works wonders), Paige reads on it, Cope snuggles into the corner with a good book. ¬†But I’m afraid the couch in the kitchen has made for a rather cluttered feeling.¬†
On other tossing topics, I went to town in the study.  Toss, toss.
Paige got bored and did some yoga while waiting for me.

I tend to take everything out instead of concentrating on one area at a time. ¬†It’s a flaw, I know. ¬†I’m trying to do better. ¬†This room is now CLEAN! and a much more lovely place to be.

But I do have some trouble tossing certain items.  I had two full shelves of anatomy & physiology texts, health books, bio texts, lab notes, conditioning drills, nutrition.  I have a strong emotional attachment to many of these books, many of which I used in college.
But we have run out of space and some books I never look at.  I decided two shelves must be whittled down to one.
I looked through all my lab books, remembering the hours of practice, drilling, quizzing, worrying, walking to class with my sister.  We still say that A&P class with the cadavers was the best class we ever took.  How could I part with the lab books?  But did I need six of them?  I bargained with self:  Take pictures and then toss.  This is the exciting part of this post:

Ah yes, being arm deep in adipose tissue, muscle, and arteries – who would have thought it would be at the top of my college experience? ¬†You know, when you can say sternocleidomastoid and know where it is and what it does, you feel smart. ¬†That’s a huge piece of education. ¬†Competence = confidence.
None of the knowledge was wasted education. ¬†I may not be able to name every bone in the foot anymore, but I can still spout anatomy phrases at choice moments. ¬†I can discuss the obliques with the best of them. ¬†And when my children incorrectly use the words Rectum, Colon or Anus (these are hilarious words for a child), this mama can set them straight. ¬†And then it’s not nearly so hilarious. ¬†We are all about being anatomically correct around here.
I gave away a large pile of books, but snuck that lab packet back on the shelf.  It fit perfectly, like it was meant to be there all along.
Other items hard to toss?  My college CDs.
I went through a big country phase in college. Hey, I went to school in Idaho. I was bound to love the cowboy. ¬†Could I have married a man farther removed from being a cowboy? ¬†That husband of mine likes to roll his eyes at my “country crap.” ¬†Offensive! ¬†However, we are making progress. ¬†The other day we had a long conversation about what he would like to do if he weren’t doing the job he’s doing. ¬†Trucker? Business exec? ¬†Lawyer? ¬†Florist? ¬†CIA agent? ¬†Airforce? ¬†Plumber? ¬†Landscaping? ¬†Accounting? ¬†NBA basketball coach? ¬†He shook his head at every profession I threw at him. ¬†Until I said, “cowboy on a ranch.” ¬†
“That would be fun. ¬†Maybe when I’m retired.” ¬†That my friends, was exactly the right answer. ¬†I always knew the cowboy and I were going to end up together. ¬†
I gave away all of the above (and more!) except for Working Girl because it has a special place in my heart regarding a certain college cross-country try-out I miserably failed at.
What the heck do I do with 200 Garbage Pail Kid stickers? ¬†I still don’t know.

Something else I have a hard time letting go of? ¬†Calendars. ¬†I started taking pictures of dates…all the way back to 1997 when Gregor and I were dating. ¬†“Pick up rings,” and “Matt show” when Matt Nathanson was just starting out, playing to the college crowds. ¬†There’s our wedding date, starting our first job at Proctor Academy, all those Wed. and Saturday soccer games, all the indoor soccer games with Meredith, Mindy, Ale, and Megan. ¬†History.
There’s the calendars when Cope and Nelson were babies, when they started talking. ¬†Cope said the funniest things: ¬†“Satan made me do it.” ¬†Woah. ¬†And, “If Gaston is good, I will share my snack with him.” ¬†

And then Nelson was jumping off of everything, jumping out of his play-pen, saying “Mama,” and “Ca-ca” for cracker. ¬†My intention was to record these events and then toss the calendars. ¬†But I couldn’t do it. ¬†I put them right back in the closet. ¬†I did give away bags and bags of stuff, swear. ¬†And I am getting better, husband, at cleaning out some things. ¬†Just not all. ¬†I don’t believe I’m the only one with this problem…?



So after speaking with my mother-in-law who has her last son on his mission (Elder Ian Makechnie!) and talking about the financial cost of a mission and crappy medical care on a mission I had a major panic attack.  Maybe just a reality check.  Saving for college and missions.  It looms.  It creeps upon us closer and closer.

If any of our children go on a mission and the cost is still $300/month, then $300 x 24 months = $7200. ¬†That’s not pocket change! ¬†If the cost is $400 a month, then $400 x 24 months = $9600. ¬†Ah, the panic…we’re teachers living on teacher salary. ¬†Must have plan.

Years ago we set up a tax-exempt Fidelity account strictly for education. ¬†Only $50 a month is put in but guess how much it has accumulated? ¬†$14,211.16. ¬†Cool. ¬†That will buy some books at least! ¬†Really though, it’s pretty amazing how fast it accumulates and it’s sobering to see the HUGE pay-offs by starting early. ¬†We also use a UPromise credit card which contributes a % of spending to college funding.

Alright, so I went to our on-line banking system, ING. ¬†I love ING. ¬†It’s a savings account that gives the best interest I know of. ¬†I set up an account strictly to store money for our tax bill that is due every Christmas. ¬†I also set up an account for each child. ¬†Click¬†here¬†to start saving with ING.

Now, thinking of missions and college. ¬†Nelson is the most likely to go on a mission so I set up a recurring transfer from our local bank to his fund. ¬†Only $50/month = $600/year. ¬†A doable monthly expenditure. ¬†But in ten years when he needs money? ¬†He’ll have $600 x 10 years = $6000. ¬†I’m counting on him working his booty off in high school. ¬†He’ll hopefully be able to earn the remaining $1200 or $3600.

Now for the girls. ¬†I didn’t set up as big a transfer though they may need it as well. ¬†Just $10/month. ¬†$10 x 12 months = $120. ¬†$120 x 10 years = $1200. ¬†It’s something.

Maybe we’ll discover $20/month is doable. ¬†Maybe we’ll earn more money in the future and be able to contribute more. ¬†For now, this is good.

So, the point is:  SAVE.  PLAN for the future.  I feel so much better.