Monthly Archives: May 2016

It’s finally official

I found out on Thursday that I am officially the new Girl Scouts Director for Chatham and Moore Counties. This has been in the works for almost 2 months, and the waiting was super hard. I wrote about the road to get me to this phase of life here.  This job feels like a good fit for me… the best part? I get to work from my home office!

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I have not had a salaried job in almost 5 years, and with two kiddos in private school, we need me to have a salaried job.

With the return to full time work, Friends TALK will need to look differently. But I am happy to report that it will continue. I had to sign a non-compete clause, so I will not be able to offer programming in Chatham or Moore Counties.  I totally understand this, since we would both be targeting the same population. I can, however, offer programming in other counties and continue blogging and the newest endeavor… podcasting!

The podcast and the upcoming publications feel like the right way to reach more girls and get back to the full time working world.

Wish me luck!

Kristan

 

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middle school exploratoriums

At Carolina Friends School, the last 3 weeks of the school year are devoted to exploratoriums. So each week students study a certain topic in depth.

Week one for Samantha was Equestrian Vaulting. And, yes I had to sign a waiver that said she would be doing gymnastics on a horse without a helmet. A big pause before signing that one, but I did it.

Here she is with Prince, a 20 year old horse who was a gentle giant with the tween girls.

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And here are her two performances. Yes, my non trusting child stood up on a horse!

Now for Aidan. He spent the week in the Smokies – hiking, writing poetry, and somehow (like most 12 yr old boys do) found a car collection. Here are some of his pics. Note: The blurry black dot in the grass is a bear!

I love that they get these experiences at school. A very different middle school experience than mine, for sure!

Kristan

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projects

This weekend was filled with projects. Some pretty boring, others a lot of fun.

Lets start with boring because to make this project even more boring, I have no before and after pics.

Earlier this month, we headed to Carolina beach for our first spring camping trip. It had rained at our last fall camping trip and we had to close up the camper with a little water on it. OMG, the mold and mildew we found was terrible. We cleaned it as best as we could and vowed to find a more permanent solution when we got home.

We started with the Wet and Forget product we used on our deck for algae. That only got rid of about 50% on the outside. Google helped us find a product from Bass Pro Shop that had awesome reviews. And, it was awesome. Visualize me in my garden clothes (long sleeves and long pants so that the bleach did not irritate my skin) spraying, wiping, sneezing as I cleaned the mildew off of the inside of the camper.

Lesson learned: if there is any rain during a camping trip, you must pop that thing up to dry out when you get home. No  matter how tired and desperate you are for a real shower.

This next boring project comes with a picture that looks like something from Sanford & Son. Remember that TV show?

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We have to have the duct work under our house replaced. One of those pesky 20 yr home ownership tasks. But, the house crawlspace is where all things have gone to die for 20 years. Think: hundreds of plastic toys, the dreaded double stroller, tons of hoses in my vain attempt to water our gardens with a low pressure well system, boxes and boxes and more boxes. I could keep going.

My highly motivated by currency child and I set to work Saturday morning while Rahul was on soccer dad duty with Aidan. Check out our handy work. And, this project was completed without the need for an emergency chiropractic appt Monday morning. Go old lady me!

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Ya’ll, 1800 Got Junk is amazing. You go online to make an appt, they come and load your junk, and you pay based on how much room in the dump truck your junk takes up. Ours was half a truck. Done in less than one hour.

Now for the fun project. I saw a video on Facebook about how to dress up a fence with small bird houses and instantly wanted to do this to our fence. I have been trying to figure out what to do back there…. no plants because I would have to hand water them.

Before.

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After.

Now for a weekend surprise. Samantha was working on some craft project in the workshop during Quiet Hour. Now, for folks not familiar with Quiet Hour… this is one hour on weekend days where we are silent and relax. Read: mom and dad nap. It has been a Godsend in our family. Back to the story…. some people tell me I go off on tangents, but I have no idea what they are talking about.

Samantha came back to the house and saw this baby white breasted nuthatch hopping on the deck. I think he bonked into the window and was stunned because he let Samantha pick him up and hold him for a few seconds before flying away. She said he was super light.

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One last surprise. A gift I gave myself. My very own Beyoncé.  Readers of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened will know the story. For the rest of the more intact mentally sane people, click here to read the story.

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She makes me laugh so hard, and the message is such a good one. I have already gifted small Beyonces to 2 friends who needed cheering up. Rahul asked if she was really going to live on our front porch. He can be such a “Victor” at times….sigh. Doesn’t he know that saying? When mom is happy, everybody is happy?

So that folks is a wrap up of our weekend. Exciting stuff. Check back for more!

Kristan

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the structure of summer

Last summer was an epic fail at our house. The kids did a few camps, I was not working, but I was not in a place to provide a lot of good structure for them. Death and grief are sneaking things. Thankfully, Rahul (the more social parent) saved us from complete and total neglect. I am determined to be better this summer.

Here are our plans so far.

1) Camps. The kids will do 3 weeks of camps…only things that are of interest to them. Horseback riding for Samantha, rock and roll camp for Aidan, one week at CFS & one week at the FARM for both.

2) Summer Bridges. These books are a LIFE SAVER.

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The books have activities that “bridge” the grade your child is leaving to the one he is entering. The goal is for there to be no gaps. Super easy and straightforward. A page a day is the expectation.

3) Doodle and Tinker Crates.

 

Samantha gets Doodle, Aidan gets Tinker. They get all the materials to think and be creative once a month. All for less than $30/month. Hello, I would spend more than that on just the materials myself. Plus they have creative people to come up with the actual activities.

3) Math IXL.

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Ok, less fun than the crates but necessary. Why? The website breaks down each grade level math skill so you can target specific areas to work on. Great for non math brain moms like me. And, your kid’s progress is tracked so you know when they need to move to the next level.

4) Exercise.

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Both kids have Fit Bits, and the expectation will be that they take 10,000 steps daily. This is my attempt at getting my kids to move (while only having a screen on their arms). In the 1980s we did this all by ourselves… and without supervision. Times they are a changing…sigh.

5) Book reports.

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Long ago I gave up on the idea of just “reading” for 30 minutes. There needs to be a tangible result. Thankfully my in laws offer a monetary amount for each book report written for each book read. My kids are highly motivated by cash, so this works for us.

This is my top 5 of how to structure summer. I will post later on how to get chores done and how to account that these have happened each day. Check back.

Kristan

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weekend updates and more

Samantha had her friend birthday get together on Friday (teacher workday, so no school). 3 girls + Starbucks + $20 = an afternoon of fun.

Rahul is helping us get fancy with coffee.

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It is called Chemex, I think. Pour over coffee. I have to admit it tasted great, but my sweet husband could not make it fast enough for my need for caffeine brain 🙂

I had a nice Mother’s Day, but my heart was a bit heavy knowing it was the first without my mom. My amazing friend Courtney gave me this advice –

I know you’ve been able to reconcile a lot of the complex emotions related to your mother’s passing, but there is no guide for anticipating and marking these difficult times. For me, it has been important to let the wave of grief roll in and to try to sit with it and not push it away. It always rolls back out, and I feel better for having let it “wash over” me. I can’t articulate it all that well, but for me it feels like it somehow gives the good memories and the gratitude a little more room to grow. It may work differently for everyone, but the importance of acknowledging those feelings (I think) is universal.

She was so absent from so much of my life, but she was still my mom. That connection is deep even when the relationship is complicated. Sigh. I am comforted by her presence in our back yard with our new back yard birds. In my heart she is now at peace and happy. I will try to make that my focus.

Other random updates:

My friend Liz and I have this very silly competition… who can get the closest to empty before refilling the tank. This was my attempt last week-

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I had 1.2 gallons left. Sigh. Liz has made it to less than .4 gallons. I guess she is the true rebel…. for now.

Check out one of my favorite spring flowers – Nigella.

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And, I learned these facts thanks to my master gardener friend…. the aromatic seeds have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes (particularly in Turkey, the Middle East and India) and the seeds can be used for gluten free flour.

Check out a new dinner dish – tomato & lima bean casserole. A hit with the whole family!

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I will leave you with this pic of a double rainbow from dance carpool last week. Please know that I was stuck in stopped traffic when I snapped this picture. Amazing, huh?

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That’s it for now.  More later this week.

Kristan

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Unofficially official

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Still keeping the details under wraps, but I will be returning to the full time working world soon. I thought a lot today about the long road to get here. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, but I have been tested in many ways on this journey.

I left the full time working world in the spring of 2011 because of school district budget cuts. Click here for that story. I told myself I would take the summer to reflect and figure out what I wanted to do. Here are some things I tried:

  1. Adjunct teaching, both at night and weekend classes. Neither of those time slots worked very well for our family. Oh, and the pay? I could make more working as a barista at Starbucks. For the amount of work you do, it actually ends up being less than minimum wage. Plus the course offerings were always sporadic so I never knew  from semester to semester if I was going to be working or not.
  2. Teaching social skills at St Thomas More. Had a great meeting with an administrator in June of 2013, then a “thanks but no thanks” email a month later. Super strange since we had a great connection face to face.
  3. ADHD tutoring. This seemed like a really good option, but not one referral. I think the practice is small and that is why? Who knows. Just did not pan out.

Part of the difficulty in finding work was that I wanted to be able to continue doing Friends TALK, and the need for a flexible/work from home schedule.

We joke regularly at our house that I have mastered the non profit world. The money comes in and goes right back out, as it is supposed to in the non profit world. But with 2 kiddos in private school, we need some “for profit” income as well.

I will always be grateful for these 5 years. I was able to write, develop a non profit organization all by myself (not an easy feat), but I am looking forward to returning to the full time working world. I had WAY too much time on my hands last summer. Leaving me with unstructured time is just not a good idea. I am much better with a schedule and things to do.

We will have to make some adjustments in our family life, but the kids are both much older than they were the last time I was working full time, so I think with some structural supports and accountability, things will be fine. I will write more about what those supports and accountability will look like in a later post.

And, once things are “official” I will post about what I will be doing. It is an amazing job opportunity that is a great fit for me personally and professionally.

Kristan

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the final and best bday celebration

This final celebration was possibly the best of them all for Samantha. My brother and Samuel came to visit this afternoon. Kids had to miss after school activities in both families, but I am proud that we carved out this time to hang out.

Lots of fun in the pool, of course.

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And, my gluten free quiche (thanks to Agony of De-Wheat) was a HIT…. Samuel, a super picky eater had THIRDS! This was all that was left…

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I am not a great cook, so this made my heart super happy.

Then the most amazing gift EVER…

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My brother gave Samantha a taxidermied raccoon. She named it Rory and squealed with excitement. Her love of Furiously Happy makes our connection so much stronger, and also makes me furiously happy.

Samuel left with Samantha’s first Ukulele, and one of Aidan’s first Rubik’s cubes. I love that we can share interests and have these types of memories as a family.

So many laughs and good conversations. We are already planning the next visit so we can get BLTs from Merritt’s.

Sometimes I forget how important it is to share your life with your family… you know, the original members. The ones you grew up with in the unsupervised 80s.

Kristan

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