Monthly Archives: July 2016

skin care in the teen years

My sweet Aidan has skin like mine, and that is not a good thing. I was hoping that since neither of my children were biologically related to me, they would be able to pass on all of my skin issues that started around the age of 13 and lasted into middle age.

Here is our current army of supports.


Aidan has super dry skin, which means white patches form on his cheeks. The technical term for this skin condition: Pityriasis alba.

We keep his skin moist and sun protected with Cerave. We have bottles in his bathroom, the kitchen counter, and even in the car. Another Pityriasis alba ally is Elidel. We usually do two 2-week treatments after our last beach trip of the summer.

Then there is acne. Aidan started getting cystic acne in 6th grade. The same time I did in middle school. With the arrival of his second cyst, I scheduled a dermatology appt. I had horrible cysts into adulthood that left permanent scars. Me? I  am super grateful for copper peptides and dermarollers… most of my scars are now gone. Oh, and spironolactone to keep that pesky hormonal acne away. For Aidan, there are much better topicals than there were in the 1980s. We use Onexton.

But…you have to remember to keep up with this regime. That has been our problem. I will scream upstairs for Aidan to wash his face. He answers yes from his bed with his face in a screen. Hence, our new plan. I have all of the above lovely items on our kitchen counter. Aidan comes downstairs before I go to bed to wash his face, Onexton on his T-zone, Elidel on his cheeks. I am hoping that in the not so distant future, he will care more about his appearance and take on these responsibilities for himself. But for now, me and my army of supports will keep his skin looking as handsome as the young man he is turning into.


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pushing out of the comfort zone

We are learning a lot about our not so little man these days. Heck, he is almost as tall as me… with facial hair!

But with adolescence has come a different Aidan. He is much more reserved socially, tends to hang out solo, not very active. Now, if someone had told me as a parent of 4 yr old Aidan that I would have worry about his inactivity, I would have laughed in their face. My job then was to keep that wild child ALIVE. We had visuals on the car seat (hold mommy’s hand, walking feet). We reviewed these each and every time we got out of the car.

Now he is content to hang out in his room. And, he would do this if we let him. But magical things happen when you force him out of his comfort zone.

Example 1: The FARM pool party event last night. At first he said he would just stay home. The event included alcohol (gasp) so kids had to be signed up for childcare in the clubhouse. He went reluctantly, but on the ride home said he had a blast hanging with the counselors in charge of the kids.

Example 2: Sunday Funday. Rahul took him to lunch and the Baxter today.


Then they came home and smoked chicken and veggies together on the Big Green Egg. Note: not one of our chickens. But dinner was AWESOME, and Aidan was proud to be a part of the cooking process. He even hung out at the pool (without being asked) and ate a TON at dinner.

So, the parent take away message: keep the teen engaged, even if he does not really want to. Pushing out of that comfort zone is a GOOD thing.

My take away – register Aidan for the Let There Be Rock Band Program. He might be too busy with school sports and band, but it is sometimes better to be more busy than less busy. We will try and see how it goes.

This parenting gig….live, learn and always be willing to grow as a parent.


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Let There Be Rock

Aidan finished a week of rock camp today. Not rock climbing. Rock and roll camp. Kids form a band, pick 3 songs to learn to play together, and perform on Friday. Whew. Lofty goal, huh? Especially since the “bands” meet for the first time on Monday of the camp week.

Aidan was lucky in that one of his band mates was a friend of his, and one he played in a band with last summer. It was fun to see them play together again this summer.

The band’s name: Struggle Bus.


They played 3 songs: Ticket to Ride by the Beatles, Seventh Nation Army by the White Stripes, and Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.


Struggle Bus was AWESOME! My hope is that Aidan can continue in their band program for the school year. Playing sports at school plus a band…. I hope we can make it happen.


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extreme gardening

The shrubs got a serious, and well needed hair cut this weekend. Check out some before and after pics. There is really nothing more that I love more than having power tools in my hands and sweating through my clothes.

Vitex before and after.



The Spirea before and after.



The front garden after.


So how did we do?

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the blue bird connection

My mom died unexpectedly last spring. I spent the spring and summer trying to process her death. The final fledge in August was super important for me.

I waited for my blue bird family to return this year, and they did.


The fledge happened when we were in Asheville, and I have been waiting for them to return. But they haven’t. And today it hit me…. their arrival happened the week after my mom’s death. The final fledge last summer helped Samantha and I heal in a way we would not have otherwise been able to.

And then the return this spring… for only a brief visit, unlike last year. It was like my mom was checking in on us. And when she saw that we were ok, flew on to do other things in her new life.

I will end this post with the fact that I am not a very religious person, but my blue birds and their very purposeful addition to my life, make me aware that there is a higher power. I hope with all of my heart that my mom is truly watching over us and is finally happy.


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summer updates

Well, I have officially been back in the full time working world for one month. Now that all the trainings are done and I am doing my “real” job, I am really liking it. The flexible schedule has been AMAZING, especially with kids in camps on different schedules. I started doing community outreach this week, so I got to hang out with 30+ girls at the Chatham YMCA Day Camp. I will be doing more of this at the N Chatham site starting next Wed. The goal with community outreach is to bring Girl Scouts programming to girls who would otherwise not participate. I have also hosted my first recruitment event in Vass, NC. Do you know where that is? How about Aberdeen, NC? Rural North Carolina. It has been fun to visit places super different from where I live. Here are a few pics of my outreach and recruitment. The first is the Friendship Circle. One of the many Girl Scout traditions.


A new Girl Scout planting her roots with a plant.


Now for things around the house. The woods have been trying to take back over. The Japanese grass, a highly invasive weed, has been inching closer and closer to us.


Today I used my lunch break to start my battle to take back the woods. Step 1: weed eat and mow to get the weeds low to the ground. Step 2: spray weed killer. This will be a long project, but I have already gotten the Japanese grass from the gardens, so this is the logical next step. It is such an eye sore.

Also on my gardening to do list – thinning out shrubs and bushes. I will rely on my handy dandy electric hedge clipper to thin out, then Rahul can use the chain saw f0r the final clearings. Some of these shrubs were planted in the late 1990s, and now there is one giant wall of shrubs in the front garden and against the house. Time for a hair cut overgrown garden!

More pictures to come.


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technology snafu

So this parenting thing in the tween years….not so easy. Especially in the summer months.

Samantha has been harder to police with technology and social media. I think this is because girls are just naturally more social and want to share more than boys. That is our experience, at least.

This week was one of no camps, and Samantha asked to spend the night with a friend. I agreed, but was a bit disappointed when I heard the over the top activities they did. Come on, I have been trying to get back to a 1980s summer. Click here for that movement.

Fast forward to pick up time the next day…. Samantha indicated that the mom “insisted” that she stay another night. I could not get in touch with the parent, so agreed to another night. Bad Move.

Around 11pm I started getting texts and calls from friend moms saying Samantha’s texts were “scary” and another mom asking her to stop texting her child. UGH.

Frustration on so many levels –

  1. Samantha did not do what she has learned about technology…. think it through before you say or do. Your words and actions are like toothpaste, once they are out you cannot take them back.
  2.  I could not get in touch with this parent in any way, which became more of an issue after getting texts and calls about things being scary.

Here is where technology goes after these types of incidents….

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 8.27.58 PM

And now I feel more hyper aware of where she is at night.

Lessons to work on for sure. Happy for a child that will talk to me about things like this.

Lots to learn in this parenting journey. Super grateful for my parenting tribe members who reached out to me last night. That saying, it takes a village? So true.

Feeling grateful,



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