OMG you guys! Two posts in two days! As I pulled together my 2017 round-up, I started to think about things I want to improve on in 2018.
Goals for 2018 (NOT resolutions, because fuck that – lol)
Read! I love to read, but I’ve cut way back on it due to laziness. I just bought a book light and am ready to get back to it!
Initial list (because I already own them):
- I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi
- Antagonists, Advocates, & Allies by Catrice M. Jackson
- Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (OMG YESSSSS!!!!)
And beyond! (See? I’ve been keeping track of books I want to read!):
- What Happened by Hillary R. Clinton
- Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (graphic novel – started it but fell off at some point)
- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
- We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish
- The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Cornel West
- The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
I’m kind of all over the place, but whatevs.
Another goal is to strengthen my body. I think my kids are finally old enough that I’m ready to focus on myself a bit.
- Pay more attention to the food I eat.
- Incorporate exercise (family bikes?, family walks, use the free gym at work).
I have heartily and often called 2017 a dumpster fire for obvious reasons. This year started out with a lot of fear, tears, and rage and continued to be a rollercoaster of mostly negative emotions. It has been a challenging year for all of us, I’d imagine, but I want to make sure to recognize and acknowledge the good. I have to acknowledge the good to be the best mom I can to my boys who deserve a present and sane Mama. After all, my kids were 4 and 7 this year and a lot happened! So here goes.
- Women’s March: I know, I know, I’m starting with a politically related event. I have to as it gave me so much hope and strength to see the number of attendees, the diversity, to march with my boys and explain why we were there. It was also the first time we have been recognized as a family by a stranger at a non-gay event. That was pretty awesome ❤
- NC Chinese Lantern Festival: This was our first visit to the Festival, which was really REALLY cool! There were Asian-themed light displays (lanterns, Chinese soldiers, foo dogs, etc.) as well as holiday related displays. Our whole family enjoyed it and planned to go the following year (see December, below).
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens: This was our first time visiting the gardens and it was beautiful. We need to get back here in the warmer months to see things blooming!
- HKonJ march: This is a yearly march organized by the NC chapter of the NAACP. Again, recharged the spirit and made me want to continue to RESIST. I went to this one sans family and met a long-time blogger friend Sarah! No brainer great memory.
- Hedwig play: DW and I are ridiculously obsessed with Hedwig and were SO excited this was coming to our neck of the woods. It was great seeing it in play form (we’d only seen the movie about 500 times prior). LOVE Hedwig!
- Snow: We get snow 2 or 3 times in the winter and it is always an experience our family loves – especially because we hail from Southern California. It’s pretty, you get snow/ice days off school/work, and it’s fun to play in when there’s enough of it. I also enjoy putting out birdseed and watching the show ❤
- More snow!
- Artsplosure: Katena: This is a huge inflatable structure designed to be “lit up” by the sun filtering in through the thin colored plastic walls. We went to another one of these back in LA when the MM was a baby and loved it. Fun for kids and adults. A friend and his two boys joined us and we had a great time running around, taking pictures.
- X show at the Cat’s Cradle: Los Angeles legends X came through and it was incredible. These folks are getting up there in age, but still manage to rock it and sound great. The nostalgia and LA feels were high.
- Boating: A co-worker and her wife (no, we are not the only gays in NC) live on a lake and bought a new boat. They kindly invited our family over for a ride and some swimming in the lake and in their pool. It was great fun and the first time either boy has been lake swimming. They were both fans.
- Monkey begins reading for pleasure: On a whim, I picked up a copy of the first Capt. Under.pants book at Tar.get and handed it to Monkey in the car. When we got home, he laid down on his belly on the couch and read for over an hour! This was probably my most favorite thing that happened in 2017. The birth of a reader. He has been into it ever since and has read tons of books. My heart, you guys. MY HEART!
- Car Seat Headrest show at the Cat’s Cradle: We like them, we saw them, it was good. Seeing bands is a passion of ours, so I added all of them to the list to remind myself that we continued doing things we love as a couple.
- Durham Bulls game: Love our Bulls! Planned to see one game per month over the summer, but only made it to two. Cool ballpark, beers, food – SO FUN!
- Sold condo: After a couple of years of pain renting out our SoCal condo, we decided we were over it. It sold quickly for more than double what we paid for it 14 years ago (!!!). We socked most of the profits away to put down on our current house once we exit the dumpster fire. Sorry to be a downer, but we want access to money in case we need to make a quick exit from the US. We did use some of it…
- Bought new cars: We bought a black 2017 Toy.ota High.lander, which we are in love with. Also replaced our ancient Hon.da CRV (purchased in 2001!) with a silver 2014 Hon.da CRV. So, no car payments, no paying interest, and in solid vehicles for years to come seemed like a good way to spend some of our profits.
- Family beach trip (Edisto, SC): This was a VERY mixed bag, but I’m counting it in the win column because the kids had a fantastic time with their cousins. We had a little bday celebration for my nephew on the first night there, which was also a lot of fun.
- Paperhand puppet show, Of Wings and Feet: This is a local group that makes the puppets, which are incredibly, and puts on various shows. I didn’t realize that this particular show highlighted resistance. It was poignant, funny, and inspiring. The boys and I even went on-stage at the end to act as protestors. Loved it.
- Superchunk/Ex Hex/Waxahatchee @ NCMA: This was a Merge Records showcase at the NC Museum of Art’s open air theater. All three bands were really fun, but Superchunk was the highlight. We’ve loved them for many years and think it’s SO cool to see them here (they are from Chapel Hill) and get to go to shows at the Cat’s Cradle (epic indie rock club in Carborro, which is next to Chapel Hill). The museum is very close to home, so that was a plus as well.
- The eclipse: This? WAS SO FREAKING COOL! I didn’t have much in the way of expectations, and I was blown away. I immediately regretted our decision not to travel to Columbia (which is where my parents live), where they had 100% totality. We had 93% totality and it was amazing.
- Durham Bulls game: Go Bulls!
- Helium show (Hopscotch Festival, downtown Raleigh): We were HUGE Helium fans in the 90s and count ourselves fortunate that this revival came through our town. Mary Timony (singer/songwriter/guitarist) did not disappoint. First show we’ve seen at the Red.Hat Amphitheater.
- Monkey goes tree climbing: We have an arboretum near home that I follow on FB. They published this event to climb trees that looked really cool, so I got Monkey a spot. It exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait for it to come again. I’m totally climbing next time. You get a little instruction on how to use the equipment and there is an instructor there to help while you climb. You climb up huge old oak trees – 40-50 feet in the air!
- Carolina Tiger Rescue: Who knew we had a tiger rescue within 30 minutes of home???? We had a great time wandering the grounds looking at bobcats, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, lions, and tigers. Really great facility that cares for these animals who need somewhere to go. Will definitely be back.
- Guided by Voices show at Motor.co: First time at this super cool venue, across the street from Fullsteam Brewery, which we checked out as well. GbV is one of our favorite groups from back in the 90s (they are still touring and making records, God bless ’em), and this is our second opportunity to see them in NC. Fun ass show, per usual.
- Cults show at Cat’s Cradle: Show was okay, but a night out at the Cat’s Cradle is always a good time.
- Hosted Thanksgiving: This was my first time hosting Thanksgiving and it went very well. I made a turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a squash casserole, and biscuits. MiL brought pumpkin pie and apple pie. A friend brought a roasted veggie casserole. Meal was delicious and we had the house cleaned up and appropriately spiffed up for the holiday. I call it a success.
- Hilton Head/Savannah trip: My parents have a time share on Hilton Head and we try to join when they go. This year, it was my mom and us (my dad was still in Houston, serving his time with FEMA). We typically do a day trip to Savannah as it’s only ~45 minutes away. This year we finally made it to the famed Bonaventure cemetery. We have a family plot there, where my great great grandfather and grandmother are buried. It’s a beautiful place with a ton of history. The boys were being out of control, so my mom offered to drive them around a bit so we could look in peace. We walked through the oldest area of the cemetery, took pictures, and then headed out to play at Forsyth Park.
- NC Chinese Lantern Festival: See January, above.
- Finalized DW adoption of the MM: We started this process early in 2017. After problem after problem after setback after setback, it was finally official in December. Thanks to my special friend SB for making it happen! So now both boys have been legally adopted by their Mommy. Suck it, 45.
- Tig Notaro show: A close friend here in Raleigh is a HUGE Tig fan and bought a bunch of Tiggets to her show (that is her phrase – lololol). DW isn’t a fan, but I really like her as does my mom, so we went and it was great. I typically like my comedy more on the edgy side, but I got a bunch of laughs and a night out with the girls.
- Christmas: Nothing out of the ordinary this year, but we love the holidays, so it’s always special. The MM’s “big” gift? Hulk riding a car. Monkey’s big gift? Nin.tindo Switch, with games and accessories from multiple family members.
And I must mention our fantastic karate family as playing a big part in making 2017 less of a suckfest. We absolutely love our dojo and our shihan, who is such a strong, caring, liberal woman who I’m proud to call a friend. It’s a wonderful community and we feel lucky to be a part of it. Monkey loves it and continues to thrive and improve. The MM, on the other hand, is the king of NO and decided he was done, much to our chagrin. Hoping that when he gets a little older he has a change of heart.
Not a bad year, right? It was fun to remember the good times and not focus on our national nightmare for a bit. I need to do more of that in 2018.
In closing, RESIST, my friends!
We ended up not doing quite a bit on the bucket list. I think we’ll still enroll the MM in swimming lessons at a local indoor pool, and we’ll probably be getting bikes before next summer. I kind of feel like I’ve failed as a parent that my almost 8YO has never ridden a regular bike. Gotta get on it.
We did go on our yearly Edisto trip and it was kind of a disaster. We probably won’t go next year. My brother brought along his GF and basically hung out with her, leaving the rest of us caring for his 2 kids + the extra friend my niece brought. I told my mom it was a bad idea to include the GF, primarily because, call me crazy but, I thought a week focusing on his kids who just went through a divorce might be nice. There was a family blow up around mid-week over it. We’ve had these issues with him before. The sad thing is all the cousins absolutely love hanging out and that will be a bit curtailed. Thinking we’ll visit my parents more often so they get to see each other, but vacationing together is rather miserable. The kids all had a great time and that is most important.
Since my last update, we attended another Bulls game, which is always fun, and both boys attended their various camps, which they enjoyed. Grandma also moved to NC and bought a house, which is a whoooole other post all on its own.
The MM update
The MM started at a new outdoor preschool this year, which we were/are excited about. We love their philosophy and that they are outside playing in the woods most of each day. He has been enjoying it, but we are having some hiccups lately. He has been hitting other kids, primarily one girl (!!!!). He got sent home yesterday because he did it more than 3 times. I’m not sure why he’s doing it and we are talking to him about it. He had consequences as well (no tablet time yesterday and he had to miss his Li.ttle G.ym play date). He is super stubborn and kind of defiant sometimes, and he acts like he doesn’t really care about consequences. Typically, though, he’ll come around and end up apologizing sincerely at some point. Hoping this is a stage and that it passes quickly. If I recall correctly with Monkey, behavior issues vastly improved at around 5, so here’s hoping.
We signed him up for fall baseball with the same league Monkey played with and it was a complete failure. He participated just fine the first practice. After that? Nope. Would not go on the field, nothing. We tried for a couple of weeks and then pulled him. Sigh.
The MM loves to build Lego sets, play with superhero figures, and play on his tablet (he is not as into it as his brother). He is a funny, deep-thinking, opinionated kid.
Monkey is now in second grade (wtf) and unfortunately, he has a bad teacher this year. She is far more interested in kids falling in line than in their learning. Monkey has gotten in trouble for humming, talking to classmates, and typical 7YO boy stuff. One day she sent him from the room crying because he was daydreaming (he says he was thinking) and that was the point at which we went in and talked with her. She told us he is a sweet boy and not at all a behavior problem (but she’s sent home 7 “reflections” as of this writing). She is a stickler for the rules and we are trying to just work with it. I’m keeping track of everything and am prepared to escalate if things get worse. Sigh.
Monkey is still loving reading (makes my heart so happy), and his tablet (heart, not so happy here – lol). He is a kind, loving, gregarious kid.
- We sold our condo in CA (in June) and used some of the proceeds to purchase 2 cars: a black 2017 Toy.ota High.land.er and a silver 2014 Hon.da CR.V.
- Halloween is almost here! Monkey is going to be Frank.enstein’s Monster and the MM is going to be a cat (for a friend’s party this weekend) and Buzz Lightyear for Halloween (getting to reuse that awesome costume of Monkey’s).
- In early December, we’re going to Hilton Head for a few days with my mom.
- My dad has been in Houston since the hurricane, working for FEMA. He’ll be there through the end of the year at least, with a break at Christmas. Guess his 45-supporting ass is at least paying his dues. Sigh.
- I continue to rage through the dumpster fire that is our current administration. Trying to muster the courage to make an appointment with a therapist…
- Visit Granny, Papa, and cousins for pool time. NOT DONE
- Go on yearly Edisto beach trip (mid-July). DONE
- Get library cards. DONE
- Attend one Durham Bulls game per month. June: DONE July: DONE
- Go boating with local friends. DONE
- Get bikes for the family (finally). NOT DONE
- Put an Intex pool in the back yard. NOT DONE
- Go strawberry picking with friends. NOT DONE
- Enroll in swimming lessons (the MM). NOT DONE
- Attend summer camp. DONE
- Help Grandma move to Raleigh (mid-June). DONE
- Go to Carowinds (mid-August). NOT DONE
- Plan a local family vacay. NOT DONE
Hello, friends! I am back to provide updates to the bucket list as well as just a general update.
First, I put down a deposit for a 5-night Disney.Cruise for next June! I am so ridiculously excited!!!! I know the kids are going to LOVE it. I hope DW does as I know she’s mainly agreeing for me and the kids – she is not a big beach/pool vacation person. That said, she freaking LOVES Disney, so…
DW leaves for California on Saturday to help her mom finalize her move. They will both fly back next Wednesday. My parents are coming to help me with the boys from Sun-Wed, so that will be nice. They cut short a beach vacation with friends to do it, which is both amazing and unnecessary. I mean, hell yeah I’ll love the help, but I could manage by myself, too. They insisted 🙂
Last Saturday at Tar.get, DW picked up the first Captain.Underpants book for Monkey as he’d expressed an interest. He started reading it in the car, and when we got home, he sat on the couch reading for an hour!!!!!! At bedtime, he finished the book. So proud, y’all. This was a first for him. They are headed to the library today to pick up more in the series.
Now for a bucket list update!
Attend one Durham Bulls game per month:
June – Merge Records night
The family and our friend H went to the Merge Records night Bulls game. It was fun, but the Merge part was a big old letdown. We are huge Superchunk fans from way back, so hoped to see Mac and Laura out on the field, hear some tunes, etc. They had an organist playing Merge artist songs, a random Merge employee throw out the first pitch, and an unknown-to-us guy and his kid sing the national anthem. Sorry but YAWN. We love a Bulls game, though, so it was all good. This was the MM’s experience:
- On the way to ball park: I want pizza.
- On the way to seats: I want pizza.
- In seats: I WANT PIZZA!
- We get pizza. He fairly quickly eats his (huge) slice and then immediately: More pizza!
- Get a second slice: I want cotton candy!
- Boys share some cotton candy. The MM gets out of his seat: Okay, let’s go home. LOLOLOLOLOLOL!
At least he agreed to get and wear a Bulls shirt this year. He wouldn’t do it last year, much to DW’s chagrin. Yes, we are one of those families in matching Bulls shirts for every game.
Go boating with local friends (first time for both boys)
A co-worker of mine lives on a lake and recently bought a fancy, brand new pontoon boat. They also have a pool. We were invited out last weekend and we all had a blast. We picked up a couple of life jackets (buy 1 get 1 free at Dick’s!), pack some snacks and beer and were on our way.
It was an hour drive from our house to their’s (co-worker has an hour commute to work). I was like, “This is insane! I can’t imagine doing this everyday here in NC!” Then we got to their house, on the lake, lots of land, beautiful. I was like, “Oh, now I get it.” We changed into swim suits and headed out on the boat.
Had a nice cruise around and then Monkey announces he wants to swim in the lake. Head back to their dock and Monkey gets in lake (with life jacket). MM decides to get in lake (this was a shocker!). Mama gets into lake. We had a total blast! I can’t remember the last time I swam in a lake. Then co-worker’s wife asks if Monkey would like to kayak. He’s never done this before and says he wants to. Child gets on the kayak and is like a freaking pro! Figured it all out in like 5 minutes and did great.
Then we got hosed off and went in the pool. Drank some beer, floated around, listened to music. Then lunch – pimento cheese, tuna salad, turkey and cheese sandwiches; chips and guac; iced tea and lemonade. Heaven. A bit more pool time and then we headed home. Boys sacked out easily. We hope to repeat this trip as we all had a really good time.
So as not to sugar-coat it, here are couple of not-so-great parts of the lake trip:
- A neighbor was mowing his lawn while we were swimming in the lake and apparently a couple of (non-venomous) snakes escaped the mower by slipping into the water and one was heading for Monkey. Co-worker was telling us this but none of us could really hear over the lawn mower noise. We never saw the snake (only co-worker and wife did) and all ended well, but man I bet Monkey would never step foot in a lake again had he seen that snake near him in the water! Shudder.
- When I went in from the pool to use the restroom, I slipped on the wet floor and busted my ass. I fell between the toilet and vanity and hit my leg, hip, arm and head, and slammed my right hand in the fall. I sat there stunned for a sec, thinking, “Am I okay? Did I break anything?” I did not, but I’m still pretty sore and bruised. Just glad no one was the wiser – how embarrassing!
- Visit Granny, Papa, and cousins for pool time
- Go on yearly Edisto beach trip (mid-July)
Get library cards.DONE
- Attend one Durham Bulls game per month
(First one is this weekend for Merge Records night!)June: DONE Go boating with local friends (first time for both boys)DONE (Hopefully more to come!)
- Get bikes for the family (finally)
Put an Intex pool in the back yardDW has nixed this plan 😦 It makes her uncomfortable since our yard isn’t fenced in. Ah well – guess we’ll have to visit the local pool instead!
- Go strawberry picking with friends
- Enroll in swimming lessons (the MM)
- Attend summer camp:
- The MM’s first summer camp experience (Super Hero camp with bro at what will be the MM’s preschool next year)
- Monkey’s summer camps: Chemistry, Art, Karate, Super Hero
Durham Bulls baseball (tentative)Monkey has decided he doesn’t want to do baseball. Mommy has a sad, but we will be enrolling the MM for fall ball, so she has another shot at it!
- Help Grandma move to Raleigh (mid-June)
- Go to Carowinds (mid-August)
Plan a local family vacayCarowinds will probably be it. Mommy doesn’t want to do another beach trip.