Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jack!!

Dear Jack,

Happy 13th Birthday!  I am sitting here trying to comprehend how 13 years have already passed since you completed our family.  I remember that day so well--we couldn't wait to meet "Baby Jack".  Through the years you have brought so much joy to so many people.  People just like you--you're kind and funny and fun to be around.  I love that you appreciate things, both big and small.  I don't think a day goes by when you don't thank me for something, even if it's just washing and folding your clothes. You get excited over little things--like when I bring you a snack when I pick you up, or fix your favorite meal for dinner.  You aren't afraid to show you care, and I love that about you.  I love that you tell me you love me at least once a day--there is nothing I'd rather hear.  You are growing into such an amazing young man, and I am so proud to call you my son.  I hope this next year is filled with all kinds of love, laughter and good memories.

I love you big bunches,


Friday, June 6, 2014

Congratulations, Emily!

The future is yours, sweet girl.
I am proud of all you have accomplished,
but I'm most proud of the woman you have become.

I love you,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Open Letter to Neenah Joint School District

Dear Neenah Joint School District Administrators, Teachers, and Staff,

Graduation is less than five hours away, but before I watch Emily cross that stage and receive her diploma, I'd like to take a moment to publicly acknowledge and thank the people who helped make Emily's Neenah experience such a positive one.

We moved to Wisconsin smack dab in the middle of Emily's 5th grade year.  Lucky for us, we found a house where the neighborhood kids had the privilege of attending Clayton Elementary.  I can't say enough about the fabulous job Kim Benson and the rest of the staff did welcoming Emily (and the rest of my kids) into the Clayton family.  Kim Gregory, one of the hardest working teachers in the district, helped Emily find a place in her dynamic classroom.  Terry Walotka spent a whole bunch of  time making sure Emily was challenged academically. Cheryl Miller embraced our avid reader and offered her a place to volunteer and help out. Clayton is an incredibly special place, filled to the brim with great teachers and staff.

The transition to middle school can be tricky, but the Argonaut teachers made it smooth and painless.  Emily completely loved being an Argonaut.  Janet Macklin is a rock star in our house (all three kids loved her!), and Jennifer Merritt will always hold a special place in Emily's heart. Jeff Martis and Brian Guilbeau love teaching, and Emily could tell.  We still talk about discussions that took place in Jim Kuenster's classes. Mr. Kuenster is definitely the reason that Emily gets asked to edit her friends' papers all the time (hooray for grammar!). Shattuck Middle School is home to many excellent, dedicated teachers who helped Emily enjoy her middle school experience.

Emily's past four years at Neenah High School have been nothing short of amazing. She was lucky to have many teachers who took an interest in her successes both in and out of the classroom. She had teachers who would meet her at the crack of dawn to go over problems and others who would answer questions via text long after work hours ended.  She had teachers who made her laugh and a couple who made her cry.   She was pushed out of her comfort zone more than once, and she became a better person as a result.  Emily took classes that challenged the way she saw the world and found activities that helped her develop leadership skills. Oftentimes, we don't know what kind of impact we have on people.  It is my sincere hope that Diane Underhill, Rich Frost, and Dianne Pacolt know what a difference they made in Emily's life.  All three teachers went above and beyond for Emily.  They are once-in-a-lifetime teachers: teachers who love teaching kids and are passionate about the subjects they teach.  Outside of the classroom, Carrie Raeth spent a tremendous amount of time coaching Emily during her four years as a member of the swim team. She helped Emily become a better swimmer and a better leader.  Aaron Hoffman taught Emily a whole new set of skills and helped her find a home in Pickard.  Brian Wunderlich and Nate Werner helped make Emily's senior year even better by bringing their infectious enthusiasm to Neenah High School.  Both men live and breathe the motto, "Neenah, with pride."

Tonight Emily will complete her career as a Neenah Rocket.  What a ride it has been!  Thank you, Neenah Joint School District administrators, teachers, and staff, for all you did to help prepare her for her future.  I know that Emily will always look back on her time in the district with pride.


Vicki Terlap

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One Little Word: Commit (June)

"Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do 
long after the mood you said it in has left you."  --Trent Shelton

Hi Friends!

I can't believe it's already June 4th--yikes!  Graduation is tomorrow (!!!). I have 4 graudation parties this weekend, Swim Camp starts on Monday and my summer swim team starts next Wednesday.  Life feels a little wobbly right now.  I keep hearing a circus song in my head as I try to juggle everything that is going on right now.  I am a little worried about looking back on my May goals and seeing how I did, mostly because I can't even remember what my May goals were.  (Oops!).  May was a whirlwind, for sure.  Alright, here it goes:

1. Three date nights with John.  Um.  I don't think so.  We did go out to celebrate our anniversary, so that's a bonus, right?
2.  Two family game nights. No. 

1.  Workout 3 times a week in addition to CrossFit.  What?!?  Did I really think I was going to do this? I did get to CrossFit, I didn't do much additional working out.  
2.  Eat clean.  I'll give myself a B+ on this.

1.  Record all expenditures.  No
2.  Come in on budget.  No

1.  Finish the 2000's in mom and dad's books.  Seriously?!?  The whole 2000's???  What was I thinking?  I did finish an entire album and we gave it to Mom for Mother's Day.
2.  Finish my secret project.  Not yet.  Progress was made.
3.  Start planning decorations, etc. for Emily's graduation party.  Yes!

Wow!  That was painful.  But really, what was I thinking?  I spent most of May going to end-of-the-year concerts and awards ceremonies.  I attended a 4 day swim conference.  I hosted out of town guests and a bridal shower.  Most of May felt completely booked with events.  June looks even busier. To that end, I'm going to go easy on myself with the goal setting this month.  I need to come in better than 1/9 in June!

June's Goals:

1.  Celebrate Emily's Graduation and 18th Birthday in a big way.  
2.  Get out on the boat together!

1.  CrossFit
2.  Get out on my bike.

1.  Make it through this month without killing the budget.

1.  Finish my secret project.

Okay, June, bring it on!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rest in Peace, Maya Angelou

Talk about a woman whose legacy will live forever.  
So many of my favorite quotes came from Maya Angelou.
Rest in peace.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

30 Random Things

1.  I love sleeping under a ceiling fan.
2.  The worst part about summer is mosquito bites.
3.  I wear black to CrossFit every day.
4.  My CrossFit shoes are pink.
5.  If Shawshank Redemption is on TV, I will watch it.  Every time.
6.  I hardly ever wear lipstick.
7.  I always wear perfume.
8.  Smells hold the biggest memories for me.
9.  I can only read one book at a time.
10.  Orange is my favorite color.
11.  I love black and white photography.
12.  I love swimming in open water.
13.  I am kind of obsessed with HGTV.
14.  I hate emptying the dishwasher.
15.  I played the clarinet through sophomore year in college.
16.  I learned how to water ski on my honeymoon in Jamaica.
17.  I loved climbing trees when I was little.
18.  Salty trumps sweet every time.
19.  I collect Bauer pottery.
20.  I am terrible at cleaning mirrors.
21.  I own 4 bikes.
22.  I am terrible at turning off lights when I leave a room.
23.  I love flip flops.
24.  I love the scent of chlorine.
25.  Frogs creep me out.
26.  If I had an extra million dollars lying around, I'd donate it to University of Illinois.
27.  I joined College Republicans when I first got to Illinois.
28.  I am a Democrat.
29.  The first thing I notice about people is their teeth.
30.  I love extra-fine Sharpees.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Last Night's Real Winner

Last night was Neenah High School's Senior Awards Night.  It was quite a night.  John, Jack, John's mom, and I sat through two hours and forty five minutes of non-stop scholarship presentations.  Maddie was there, too, working the sound booth for Pickard Auditorium, making sure all the microphones worked during the parade of presentations.  There were tears (of course!!) and lots of proud moments.  It was a good night to be Emily Terlap.  It was a great night to be someone who loves Emily Terlap.  

My favorite moment of the whole night, though, had nothing to do with scholarships or recognition.  After the ceremony, we were all milling around in the lobby and out comes Maddie wearing her Pickard blacks, still sporting a large headset around her neck.   She flies into Emily's arms and shouts, "Congratulations!  I'm so happy for you!" 

Oh my gosh!  Could there be a better sight for a parent?

Scholarships are awesome.  Having three high-achieving kids is truly a blessing.  But the fact that my kids love and like each other is the truest sign that John and I have done something right as parents.



PS  My second favorite moment:  when Emily won the Clayton PTA scholarship, which I consider one of the night's most special scholarships.  There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that your elementary school is proud of what you went on to accomplish in the district.