Solar Eclipse, back to school and a new resident

On August 21, 2017 there was a total solar eclipse. We were not in the path of totality, but we got a great view from our front porch.

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It was back to school for the kiddos on Tuesday. Here is my token first day of school pic. They LOVE these photo sessions…. not 🙂  It is hard to believe that I have a 7th and 8th grader.


And finally, our newest resident on Wild Azalea Lane. We named him Frank. He moved into our tiny water garden this summer and loves my water lilies. We suspect he is a bit like me, likes to be by himself, since his species normally lives in a pond with other frogs. We are calling his little water garden his own apartment where he can live without having to interact with a lot of people…. except now that I know he lives there I say hello and goodnight to him daily. Welcome Frank.




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celebrating the end of summer

It is almost over y’all. This will be the summer that I learned to relax by the pool with my friend Rob who introduced me to Kava tea, and I became obsessed with living near a body of water. Oh, and I learned that I might be able to run again!

The kids had a great summer, but it was the fastest summer ever.

Samantha and her BFF having their last celebration.

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And Aidan having an early bday celebration with friends. Note: we had A LOT of food to keep all of these teenagers alive for less than 24 hours.

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Aidan’s big smile was worth getting a really bad night’s sleep. It is hard to believe he will be 14 next week and a 4th year middle school student.

Our last day of summer will be spent watching the first solar eclipse. Glasses ready…. what a way to end the summer of 2017.



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the beach and my foot

The beach sand was not kind to my pitiful right toe. For folks who follow the blog, I finally broke down and had someone tell me exactly what the problem is back in April. Click here for that beautiful X-ray of my toe…. with no cartilage at all to prevent the bones from scraping on each other.

I was coming to terms with the fact that I would never run again, but when walking on the beach sand barefooted caused severe pain, I decided there had to be other options than this… toe fusion…


Joints shaved and fused together with a plate and screws which means no pain, but also no movement (i.e., you can no longer bend your big toe).

At the beach, I decided to look for other alternatives via Google. A good and bad thing to do as a lay person. By the time we came home, I had a few options I was interested in exploring.

But after 3 long walks (not runs) on the beach and barefoot walking, I was in serious pain. I decided it was time to try out the cortisone injection to reduce the inflammation as a first line of treatment. There are some people that can get these injections a few times a year and it makes the arthritis tolerable. So I went in for the giant needle. Of course Samantha came along and asked to see my initial X-ray. She also demonstrated the full range of motion with her big toe for the podiatrist. Sigh. That kid is destined to be in some sort of medical profession.

The podiatrist was also excited to share with me that her practice has decided to offer a less invasive option than the toe fusion after seeing the initial 5 year data on this intervention. It was one of the treatments I had Googled at the beach. Here it is.


Next step? A second opinion from a foot and ankle specialist at Duke. Rahul is working on that for me.

But I am getting giddy with excitement that I might have an outpatient surgery option to fix my feet so that I can run again. My brain wants this so much. And more importantly, I want to be able to walk on the beach sand without pain.

So fingers crossed this fancy silicone implant can help me. Outpatient surgery, only local anesthesia, no driving for only 2 weeks seems doable. I might be getting a new toe for Christmas. If Santa can bring that, I will be one happy girl!


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no one tells a mom no

Warning, this is most definitely going to be a long post… so much to process.

When we adopted in 2004 and 2005, we were told that technically our kiddos were US citizens when they stepped foot on US soil with us. But, we took the extra precautions and readopted in North Carolina and obtained Passports and Social Security Cards for the kids. Fast forward to 2017 with Donald Trump and his new immigration policy.  All adoptive families were strongly urged to get the additional documentation of the Certificate of Citizenship, which is the ultimate proof that your child is in fact a US citizen. We decided to go ahead and apply. Mailed in all required documents in Feb. Checks were cashed immediately but we did not hear back about the status of our application until mid July.

Additional documentation was requested for both kids. The biggest barrier – we needed to produce a document saying their birth name and American name were connected to the same child. That document did not exist. So, I did the practical thing – I asked for our applications to be returned and our money refunded.

We came home from our beach vacation to a denial of our request for a refund, and the pre-established 30 day timeline for the additional documentation was already halfway done. I called and asked for an extension. They had our money from Feb-July, but we only have 30 days to have a document created…. so unfair.

So many phone calls I cannot count. Vital Records, Clerk of Courts, USCIS, attorneys. The bottom line… the only way to get a document that has both birth and American name is to file a petition with the Clerk of Courts, have a hearing scheduled at least 5 days after, then Vital Records will unseal the document needed for the application. No attorney said that they could get all of that done in 10 days.

I was determined and came up with 2 back up plans.

Back up plan 1) contact the adoption agencies that processed our adoptions to see if there is any paperwork that links the names. Aidan’s agency was bought by an agency that was bought by another agency. I was super reluctant to call that 3rd phone number. So imagine my surprise when the post placement social worker said she would try and find his file and look for a document we could use. She found his file (from 2004) and looked through it line by line…. all 1029 pages and found ONE post placement report that listed both names. And this report was signed and notarized. SCORE! I will be forever grateful for Amy. Rahul joked that that he would have hung up on me instead of digging through all those documents. Every now and then there are “Amy’s” that come into your life. The attorney that processed Samantha’s adoption is now deceased. And we were working with him as an independent attorney, so the agency he was associated with has none of Samantha’s paperwork. But… now that we knew that one of Aidan’s post placement reports listed both names, I reached back out to the home study agency. And yep. Both names on one report and if we pay $15 we can get a copy that proves it.

Back up plan 2) my middle school boyfriend is now an attorney in Raleigh. He was so nice to help me with the paperwork to petition the court for a hearing. I was going to petition the court on my own behalf since I could not find an attorney that could do it. I had it timed out to where the hearing would take place on Aug 16th. I could take the approval by hand to Vital Records and get all paperwork in the mail by the August 17th deadline.

Thankfully I do not have to pretend to be an attorney on behalf of my children….who are OBVIOUSLY US citizens. People like Amy and my middle school boyfriend make the world we live in tolerable. There are good people out there…. even in the midst of the bureaucratic nightmare called Immigration Law in 2017.

But the real take away message as I seal all those documents to mail to USCIS so that my kiddos can get those Certificates of Citizenship? No one tells me no for reasons that do not make sense. I will always be a fierce advocate for my children. And they are US citizens and have been since March 2004 and October 2005.



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August beach trip

Our August beach trip is always bittersweet. It means summer is almost over, but this trip is our favorite because of that. Our last chance to unwind and reconnect as a family. Check out pics of our fun. My favorite activity, of course, was feeding the Lorikeets.


And this…. Aidan driving the jet ski. Click here for that amazing first time experience.

Life is always better at the beach. I am super grateful for these memories.


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our first trip back

Many, many years ago on a cloudy day on our beach vacation week we headed to the NC Aquarium to see some ocean life and kill some time with 2 toddlers. We had a great time… until we were almost at the end of the Aquarium. Samantha spotted the coin making machine and asked if she could make a special Aquarium penny. I honestly had no coins, so said not this time. What happened next would make Shimpi family history.

Samantha, the calm/go with the flow/easy kid threw a fit. An epic fit. I had to carry her out kicking and screaming. Also note that at that time I was a behavior specialist for a school district. As I carried my kid out kicking and screaming, I had to walk by a family of a student on my caseload. He was acting very appropriate…unlike my kid.

As I carried her out to the car, we passed the ice cream shop. Samantha instantly stopped screaming and calmly asked for some ice cream. I laughed out loud. Hell no. You don’t throw a fit and then get an ice cream treat. As soon as I said no, the tantrum clicked back on… and is lasted the whole way back to our beach rental. 40+ minutes.

We have told our sweet Samantha that she was banned from the Aquarium after her visit that day. Last night at dinner (amazing by the way, that’s for another blog post) we laughed about that day at the Aquarium.

So we had to make a stop at that coin making machine today. And guess what? She got to make a coin. Full circle y’all.


Also important to note on this trip… Aidan, who used to run through the Aquarium at lightening speed, told me we needed to make sure we saw all the exhibits and not go through them too quickly. Really? On those early trips, all we would see was the back of Aidan’s head as we chased him.

Family memories. No, family beach memories. They are the best.




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growing up

I realized at our last beach trip that Aidan had real facial hair. Facial hair that needed to be shaved. The problem? None of the guys in the family were ready for this change.

I get it. This is big. But Rahul finally got Aidan a razor and today showed him how to use it.  This picture makes me sad that Aidan is growing up, but also happy that he has an amazing dad that helps him navigate these changes.


I love these 2 guys more than just about anything. These are what we call memories.


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