Monday, November 17, 2014


Each student is required to recite a poem at morning exercises.  This was J's day.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

September Vacation

Knowing that our time in this area is limited, the Outer Banks has been at the top of my must-see-before-we-leave list.  In September we were able to make it happen. 

We left on a Saturday, right after soccer games.  Daddy is always on the hunt for more pressed pennies, so we made a few unscheduled stops like this one: 

We stayed the night in Richmond, then proceeded south the next morning.  We stopped in Norfolk at the Nauticus museum.  We almost had the place to ourselves!

We also got a shot with Grave Digger (still looking for those pennies.....)

The kids' first view of the Atlantic Ocean.  The weather was nice for most of our trip.  Sunny, high 70's.  The wind was constant (there's a reason the Wright Brothers chose Kill Devil Hills for their flying experiments), and after the first few days the seas became fairly rough.  But not bad enough to keep us away!

We visited the Roanoke site, learning about the Lost Colony.  

And saw most of the famous lighthouses.  

Bodie Island

Cape Hatteras

The kids also learned to Boogie Board

Currituck Lighthouse

 And of course, we had to visit the Wright Brother's Memorial.  

It was so cool to learn about their process, to walk the path of their first 4 flights, and to see the reconstructed workshop.  I also did not know that this is one of the only national memorials where one of the people it is dedicated to was actually at the opening ceremonies (Orville).  

The details: We stayed in Kill Devil Hills in a condo I rented online.  It was wonderful!  We had plenty of space, and the beach was a short walk across the street.  The condo was equipped with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, board games, books, beach chairs, sand toys - everything we needed.  We spent time at the beach each day, but also explored the surrounding area.  Because we visited after school was back in session the crowds were very manageable.  Still plenty of people on the beach, but it wasn't "crowded".  It was a 4 star family vacation!

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Revelation

We know we're moving.

It's not until next summer, but the thought always lurks in the back of my head.... "you're moving... are you ready?.... where will you live?  what will you do?  when will it happen?  are you purging the house yet? do you really need to buy that?  you'll just have to pack it....."

As you can see, I have a very ACTIVE inner monologue.  This is the reason I look tired all the time.

I've worked since I was 14.  My longest stretch without a job was late 2009-early 2012, after I was laid off (a dark time).  I've been working part-time for going on 2 1/2 years, and while the job is.... a job, I can't complain about the workload, the pay, or the hours.  I like working.  I like the interaction with other adults, and frankly, I like the satisfaction of earning a paycheck & contributing to the family (or to my handbag collection).  When The Move was decided, I started thinking about where I would work and when I would start to look for that work.  Matt and I talked about it.  He encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do & where I should do it.  There is a Prestigious University in this new town of ours, and I like the idea of being able to say "Oh yes, I work at _____." But then I started looking at jobs and working hours, and thinking.

Right now it's Fall.  School has only been in session for 9 weeks or so, but every day when I finish work at 1pm, I feel like it's a sprint to bedtime.  Errands, exercise, soccer practice, music lessons, church activities, meetings, school pickup, doctor appointments, cleaning, laundry, dinner prep, lunch prep, grocery shopping.  You know the drill.  Most of my days end with me mentally tallying up what didn't get done, and feeling bad about it all.  I know things will quiet down a bit once soccer ends, but it starts again just a few months later.  

I found a full-time job at The Prestigious University that I think would be perfect for me.  I know we're a long way out, but I like to plan & plot & process as much as I can, and this job had me doing all those things.  And then A Revelation came.

At the end of one of those long-sprint days, I suddenly thought "Why would I do that to myself?".  If I only work 20 hours a week right now and I feel like I'm barely keeping it together, what makes me think that working 40 hours a week is do-able?  Much less a GOOD idea?  Do not mistake what I'm saying.  I know there are millions of two-income households who do this every day, and are just fine.  They've got it dialed in (or at least they look like they do), and I envy them.  But for me and  MY household, I just couldn't stop thinking: Why?  Why add to the stress?  Why add to the guilt?  Why add to the last minute pizza runs that still happen too often for my liking?

I am incredibly fortunate that I have the option to think these thoughts, much less make a decision.  And then I read an article online that gave me great comfort about opting out of working.  The perspective was that having someone at home running the household is a gift to the family.  It's a gift that one of us doesn't have to spend precious weekend time slogging through the grocery store.  It's a gift that we can sit down to dinner at 5pm each day.  It's a gift that someone doesn't have to take off an entire work day to wait for the cable installer to show up.  It's a gift that the end of the work week doesn't mean facing 14 loads of laundry or squeezing in extra time working on a PowerPoint sales pitch while the kids are at track practice.  Staying home can be the contribution that I need and want to make for my family.    

And suddenly I felt better.  I felt like the choice - which was never really even a choice - was made.    

And I'm grateful.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

No Good Reason

For days I've thought about how to get back to blogging.  And why I stopped in the first place.  There was no defined reason.  Life, really.  You know, the same life that allows relatives to go months without talking, or random phone calls to go unreturned, or pictures to remain undusted, or to-do lists that languish for weeks.

And there was also the feeling that my online life was becoming a drudgery.  The internet is such a crowded space, with so many voices talking, talking, talking all the time.  

And sometimes I really just don't want to add to the noise.  Because that's what so much of it feels like - just a lot of white noise, with no real substance or place or meaning.  A jumble of not very well-written words that do little or nothing to uplift or provoke meaningful thought.  So much narcissism. 

But we've had a lot of changes around here, with more to come in the next 10 months, so I guess that while there's no real excuse for not blogging, there's also the same lack of reason to not get back to it. 

And here we are.  

To update: 

  • April: Soccer season, games every weekend, a new car for me, a job offer for Matt (or was it two?), and another interview.  
  • May: Soccer season continues, The Honda gets rear-ended (not my fault!), Matt started a 2 month stretch out of town, another job offer, school ends.  
  • June: Kids go to day camp for the summer, Matt still gone, Matt accepted a job, I applied for a new job.  
  • July: More day camp, a visit from Grandma H, job interview for me (I didn't get it), Matt is home!
  • August:  My birthday (it was wonderful), Grandma M visits, M starts middle school, J starts at a new school, soccer season begins.    
  • September: Soccer continues, family vacation to the Outer Banks, Matt gets a new car, we say good-bye to The Honda (I had that car longer than I've had Matt!), Matt moonlights, and the countdown to finishing residency begins.
And here we are.  

We are all healthy and well.  

Pictures to come.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Who Authorized This?

How can my baby boy be 6 already?  Who let that happen?

The morning began with a few snuggles & a selfie.

Because it was a school day, we started with presents!

That night we had Lego cake.....

And then that weekend, we headed to The City for some family fun.  

His favorite part was Go Karts!  

At 6, Justin lights up a room.  He has a large vocabulary, enjoys reading, wakes up happy every morning, and is enthusiastic about almost everything except vegetables.  He loves to run and jump, is a Mario master, can ride a 2-wheeler, is learning to swim.  His favorite colors are red, orange, and green, he has requested high tops for his next pair of shoes, and would probably live very happily on just string cheese.    

Sunday, February 9, 2014

January (and a little February) 2014

January was a heck of a month.

Although our weather is normally fairly mild in the winter, Mother Nature seems determined to show us who is really in charge around here.

We've had 9 snow days in January.


In a normal year, we may have one or two.  We have also had many of the oh-so-frustrating two hour delay.  Although I'd much rather have my children be safe & warm at home than travelling over icy country roads or in a classroom that can't keep up with the sub-zero temperatures, I can't tell you how ready I am for sunshine and spring.... although according to Groundhog Day, that won't come before April.  I'm also thinking that there will have to be a warm weather getaway planned for next January.  Let's call it a necessity.  For my sanity.

This day we got around 8" total. 

January also brought us the beginning of Birthday Season, where we celebrated this dude:  

And then Birthday #10 for this Girl:

Per her request, she wanted a fluffy cake with fluffy icing.  So I made an angel food cake & topped it with a chocolate whipped cream frosting.  It was quite delicious. 

This weekend we did run away for a little family fun at the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky.  
Other friends had said good things about it, and an indoor waterpark at a constant 84 degrees seemed like just the thing to thaw us out.  

It was VERY fun!  Great Wolf & Kalahari are very close to each other in Sandusky, and I chose Great Wolf because it seemed to be geared for younger kids.  And it was perfect for us!  There were a few larger water slides for my daredevil 10 year old, and plenty to do for my dog paddler.  

I found everything to be very clean.  The rooms were spacious, the resort was much quieter than I expected, and there was plenty to do - most of which we didn't have a chance to explore.  Unfortunately, M came down with a cold on Thursday, and although he came with us, he didn't have a chance to enjoy the resort as much as we did.  

I can't speak to the restaurants or food there - Sandusky has lots of restaurants, and we ate out for all our meals.  The prices looked high, but on par with what I expected for a "resort".  We also did not experience the arcade (but it looked fun), or the other games/ activities there.  BUT, I would highly recommend Great Wolf for families with kids under 12.  We only spent one night there, and due to the length of the drive, I would definitely spend 2 nights next time.    

The rest of February is going to be focusing on M's job hunt, prepping classroom Valentines and slogging through a No Spend month.   Wish us luck.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Few Great Things

No trip to "The City" would be complete without a stop at Costco.  
Along with the 12 other things we didn't really need, I picked up some of these:

I've never tried No Slip hangers, but I am now a fan!  I wish I had bought more (my local store only had a pack of 35).  Not only are they no-slip, but the slim design really does cut down on space.  Leaving room for more clothes!  My husband will be thrilled...

I've also been enjoying my Kindle more than I guessed I would.  Nothing will replace the feel of a book in your hand, but you can't beat the sheer convenience of the Kindle.  I try to keep a few dollars in my Amazon account so that if I see a Daily Deal that piques my interest, I can jump on it.  A few months ago I picked up this: 

I don't mind a supernatural theme, and I have found this series oddly compelling.  There are 7 books, and they are light, quick, and the characters are mildly endearing.  I would classify these as "beach reads"(if I was anywhere near a beach).

Finally, I upgraded my phone recently and am still getting everything back in order, including my music.  When I found myself at the gym with no music to run to, I turned to my trusty podcast list.  This is a particular favorite:

With topics as varied as Hessians, New England Vampire Panic, Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, The Nazca Lines, Boudica, etc., it is a fountain of information in 30 minute segments.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


2013 was a good year for us.  

Nothing earth-shattering happened.  

We didn't win the lottery.  Or swim with the sharks in Indonesia.  Or complete an Ironman.  

But in its own quiet way, 2013 was really good to us.  

My job was renewed for another 2 years.  J started kindergarten.  We enjoyed a fabulous vacation in Florida.  Husband completed all his professional licensing.  Everyone stayed healthy all year.

All good.  

Specific to me, I had surgery to fix my wonky ankle and am now back to my normal activity levels.  I comfortably wore a bathing suit in public.  I completed several moderately rigorous exercise programs (Chalean Extreme, Body Revolution, C25K).  I read for pleasure more than I expected to.

2014 is looking to be a good one, too.  

I have a handful of personal goals I want to accomplish, and it's looking like there are a few things on the horizon that could be significant for us as a family.  

For me, the following is on my Goal List:
  1. Remodel the Kid's Bathroom.  Floors, paint, light. 
  2. Caulk & touch up all the trim in the house.
  3. Buy & install new pantry doors. 
  4. Run a 5K race. 
  5. Organize the laundry room. 
  6. Replace all the doorknobs. 
  7. Organize the kid's schoolwork/ artwork. 
  8. Go through each room of the house, organizing and purging.  (This is the one that is most needed, and least likely to get done).
  9. Buy 4 new bras.  
  10. Read at least a book a month.  
Wishing you a joyful and prosperous 2014!