Monthly Archives: November 2017

Christmas 2017

We will  not be traveling this holiday season. Why? My foot surgery. Click here for the back story. Super happy about potentially being able to run again. Oh, and walk barefoot on the beach. Feeling very grateful for 2017 technology.

But, being home meant that we could get a real tree… something we have not done in 5+ years. I had forgotten how good the smell of a fresh tree could be. Samantha even asked for a tiny tree for her room. This was a good sign since she previously said she would not celebrate Christmas b/c she is an atheist…. sigh. I found a nice blue bird ornament to remember my mom, and we set up our Clark Griswold lights. Bring on the holiday season….the home version 🙂



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traditions and remembering Nana

My blue bird family is my reminder of a happy version of my mom. For those new to the blog, a blue bird family moved into a non blue bird house the week after my mom died. I have lived here since 1996, and we never had blue birds before. I know in my heart this family was my mom’s way of watching over us that painful summer while we processed her death. We have watched them every summer since, and that final fledge in August of 2015 was the catalyst for me moving forward with the healing process.

So, it came as no surprise that today, the day my mom always came to help us decorate the Christmas tree, the last family to fledge in late summer returned for a visit.


It is very common for late fledglings to stay with their parents for their first winter. So today mom, dad and 3 babies came to check out the blue bird house I mounted late in the summer. I need to get a baffle for this pole in case they decide to move into this house next spring. Or maybe we will have 2 families with us in 2018!

I am so grateful for my blue bird family. They are my reminder that my mom is still watching over us and still with me in this positive way.


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Lake therapy might be a reality

We FINALLY got the appraisal back for our upcoming cash out refinance. The house appraised for enough for us to put the home equity line of credit into the first mortgage and get enough cash out to put 20% down on a camper converted house at Lake Royale. The entire family is visiting the lake this weekend, and we will have 3 places to check out. The 3rd place is the most expensive and it is not furnished… and it needs work done to it. Plus I really do not like the sloping lot. So we are looking at 2 real options. Both are fully furnished. Pros for the most affordable option? It has a fenced in back yard for Smooch and it is the least expensive. Pros for house #2 – an amazing view, bigger kitchen and a better use of overall space. Both are 2 bedrooms and 2 bath.

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Honestly, my heart would be happy with either of these views. I am so happy that I have found lake therapy that would make the entire family happy and not just me.

Fingers crossed it all works out. What an amazing gift this would be for my upcoming 45th b-day and 15th wedding anniversary!

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It is official

This happened today.


The kiddos had their Oath ceremony at USCIS. For the back story (and it is loooong), click here.

The letter said to wear “proper attire.” Samantha came downstairs in a t shirt and track pants. When I nixed her outfit, she went on and on about how I taught her to be true to herself and those clothes were her being true to herself. So in a proud parenting moment, I told her to put on appropriate clothes unless she no longer wanted to be a US citizen. The things we never think we will say to our children.

When we arrived at the office, I presented the appointment letters to the guard at the metal detector. She replied that this office did not do appointments, I needed to go to the office 2 blocks over. As I FUMED, Aidan nudged me and said “mom, I think she is joking.” Hardy har har. This is not a topic we joke about at our house.

Both kids had to sign their Certificates of Citizenship in cursive in multiple places. Neither learned that in school so this was a lengthy process.

But after lots of ceremonial activities, we left with 2 Certificates. I was told by so many that it could not be done. Challenge accepted and completed. No one tells this mom no.

My kiddos really do not understand the importance of these Certificates, and we did not either in 2004 and 2005 when they came home to our forever family. But I hope one day they look back and thank me for giving them all the options they deserve. They were considered US citizens when they stepped foot on US soil with me. Now we have additional paperwork to make sure that is actually true, regardless of the political climate in our world.


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dating in 2017

I will speak in general terms, but we are navigating this issue at our house.


My own mom was not present for me when I entered this phase of life, so I am determined to be there for my kiddos and help them both navigate the complexities of first relationships. Putting a copy of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by, Judy Blume on my bed with a stickie note saying “come to me if you have any questions” will not be my parenting strategy during these complicated years. I often wonder how my life would have been different if I had a grown up to go to with my insecurities, fears, etc during those years. But, we cannot look back. Instead look forward.

Step one: figure out the actual date protocol. We agreed on a movie matinee with a parent close by, but not on the actual date.

Step two: create a code word if person on the date feels uncomfortable. No questions asked, just come if code word is texted or called.

Step three: establish what you feel comfortable with on said date. Do you want to hold hands? Yes or no. You can change your mind, but your date should not pressure you to change your mind.

Step four: try to relax and have fun. Remember that this person is your friend first and being true to yourself is the best way to get to know this person.

Whew. I hope we are doing the right things. In some ways, I feel like my kids are so much more innocent than I was. I think this is partly because they are so connected with each other in ways that we could not connect in the 1980’s. We had to get out there to learn about each other. My kiddos can do so much of that virtually.

My goal is to keep the lines of communication open. I will always be the parent, but I want to be approachable and willing to talk things out.

Wish me luck. When I started this blog in Feb of 2006, it was to document my busy life with toddlers. And here we are almost 11 years later navigating other issues.


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Aidan as a leader

This was a great weekend for Aidan. He was one of the student guides at his school’s open house.


He led tours around campus and answered questions of parents interested in the school for their kids. Go Aidan.

He also hosted an out of school get together with his science project group at our house. There are about 10 teams in the 8th grade and only 2 teams will be selected to go to the NC State regional competition. Aidan’s team met today and worked on their car. I was so proud of Aidan for organizing this activity and taking such an interest in a school project. They have a solar panel and a car. Here is the latest version of the car.


Fingers crossed their group does well in the evaluations week after next.

Now, Samantha also has some updates. But since both of my kids say their friends read our family blog, and it is “embarrassing” I will refrain from sharing her updates. But I will say there have been a lot of “firsts” for her recently. And if there are middle school students reading this post…. come on, give an old lady a break. Most of what I post is super boring for tweens and teens, so leave my kiddos alone. This blog is to capture all the things that happen in our family. One day many years from now, we will look back on these posts and pictures and laugh at the memories.

Parenting in the digital age. Not easy at all. Learn as you go.


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self care

I will start off by saying there are A LOT of things that I like about my job. The flexible work schedule being the most important benefit. Unless we want to make lifestyle changes, I have to work full time for 5 more years so our kiddos can attend Carolina Friends School through high school. Then that magical thing called tuition reimbursement starts. Our kids can go to DOOK, or any private out of state college, with the full tuition paid up to the equivalent of DOOK’s tuition. And that is one big tuition bill. So basically, college tuition for free.

But my job is very stressful, and not because of the long hours. The hardest part is being yelled and cursed at on a regular basis by adults. And adults not behaving the way grown ups should behave. To combat the stress, I have learned some very helpful self-care strategies. Here are a few of my favorite ways to recharge –

Hiking. Today was a 45 min hike at Merritt’s Pasture. Check out this view. It is said to be the most beautiful sunset place in all of Chapel Hill.

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Friday afternoons by the fire pit with my good friend Rob.

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I can do this job for 5 more years for my kiddos. They love their school and are thriving there. I have another post about school for Sunday. I am excited because it is a good one. So, I will continue to practice self care and work work work!



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