Category Archives: family

2018 in review

Highlights only, y’all. We all have enough lowlights daily.

January

  • School roller skating party
    Monkey’s third time roller skating. He’s not very good at it, but he always gives it a go before spending the bulk of the time playing games in the arcade area (lol).
  • Snowpocalypse!
    While we get snow 2-3 times each winter, it’s typically in the 3″ or less range. In January of 2018, we got a whopping 7-10″! It was beautiful and lasted a few days. Perfect.
    Our front yard
    snow

February

  • Sleigh Bells at Lincoln Theater
  • Started volunteering with local group
    I make food, and Monkey and I serve it to folks at a downtown mission once a month. He loves doing it and it sparks super interesting convos with him on the drive home. We both feel good helping out in our community and are looking for more opportunities where kids can assist.

March

  • Snow
  • Beatles cover band with kids at Cat’s Cradle
    Seemed like a fab idea. Take our kids to our favorite venue and invite their besties to come, too. OMG, y’all. Kids weren’t much interested in the music, and ran completely wild for around 25 minutes before we called it and left. Sigh.

April

  • Margaret Cho
  • Superchunk at Cat’s Cradle
  • DW’s new band’s first show
  • Bulls games (2)
  • Easter with Granny and Papa
  • The MM turns 5
    Had his first real birthday party at a bounce house place with his preschool buds and other BFFs.

May

  • Preschool graduation for the MM
    My baby graduated from preschool. Wasn’t he just born?
  • Dad’s heart scare
    My dad was admitted into the hospital for a three night stay with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat – his was in overdrive and he didn’t even know it). It was very scary while doctors tried to figure out what was up and why. He is on meds and has a heart doctor that he sees regularly, but has been basically fine since he was released. Hopefully this trend continues.
  • Out! Raleigh
    Yearly LGBTQ event that is a lot of fun for the whole family. Typically, we get beers and hang out in the bounce house area watching the kids jump.

June

  • Disney Cruise!
    So, this was a mixed bag, primarily because our kids were overtired and over stimulated and refused to use the kid’s club.

    Highlights
    : Castaway Cay, Disney’s private Carribean island. All of us swam and floated all day in the ocean, had delicious food and drinks, and had a wonderful time. We also swam with Sting Rays, which was amazing. We loved the Beauty and the Beast show we saw on the boat, the food was excellent, and the waterslide SUPER COOL!

    Lowlights
    : Kids fought A LOT, refused the kid’s club, wanted to be in the pool constantly (there were 2 very small, overcrowded pools, which was disappointing).We’ve talked about possibly doing another cruise in the future, when kids are little older, so who knows?
  • Kennedy Space Center
    Super cool, especially the Atlantis space shuttle exhibit. We saw the Endeavor in LA, but this was spectacular on a whole other level. It was hot as hell the day we went, and the kids were kind of a nightmare in the beginning, but I’m really glad we persevered because it was a great experience. I want to go back and explore more.

July

  • Raleigh SuperCon
    First comic con with the kids (well, if you don’t count Monkey’s actual first con at 7 months old). We all had a really fun, geeky time and decided we are totally going to hit all of them in our general vicinity from here on out. Mama and Mommy are happy to be back in our element, getting sketches and autographs and nerdy merch. Yay!
  • SC beach trip
    We’d decided to skip the family beach trip this year since we did the cruise, but we ended up going for a long weekend, because free beach trip.
  • Bulls game

August

  • The MM starts kindergarten, Monkey starts third grade.
    W.O.W. Both kids in regular, full-time school. The MM doesn’t care for his teacher, but is doing really well, making friends, and learning a lot. Hoping next year’s teacher will meet with his hard-won approval.
    Mommy and the MM on 1st day of Kinder
    1st day sch
  • Comiccon: Second con, this time, the kids dressed up. Monkey was Ninja Deadpool (his own invention) and the MM was Mario.

September

  • Car Seat Headrest at Cat’s Cradle
  • Uneventful Florence
    We were told to prepare prepare PREPARE because this would be bad. Ended up not being much at all for our area, thankfully.

October

  • Breeders show in Columbia
    My parents live in Columbia so it worked out for us to see one of our all-time faves, the Breeders!
    Got a signed album
    breeders
  • Bro’s wedding
    My brother remarried in a nice, intimate ceremony at the beach. I got to spend time with my fave (though problematic) aunt and see my uncle, who I’ve not seen in years. Had a wonderful time reconnecting.

November

  • Durham comiccon
    Not the greatest con, but still a fun day.
  • Election
    This year, DW and I were all the way in. She text banked for many Dem campaigns across the country, I did poll greeting for early voting, and we both did poll greeting on election day. Felt amazing and will continue the trend and get more involved . Next up: Doing all we can to get IDs for NC voters prior to next election.
  • Superchunk show at Motorco
    This was a free show on election night with a photo showing you at your voting location. So good!

December

  • Monkey turned 9 (!!!)
    Party to come in early Feb at a trampoline place (his “fake” birthday party as he calls it).
  •  Hamilton!!!!
    LOVED IT!!!!!! So much that I’ve purchased tickets for us to see it again in NYC in June.
  • Trip to NY
    This was an impromptu getaway that was supposed to be for one night, but ended up being an amazing three night Mamas extravaganza! We were invited to see a fave band play a private gig so we quickly got flights and a hotel for Sat. night and got my mom on-board to watch the kids. It snowed like crazy overnight in NC, so we got bumped and kept getting bumped until late Tuesday. We squeezed in a play (Wicked), a visit to the Met, lots of shopping (the Nintendo store, y’all!!!!), and sight-seeing. It was wonderful.

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30 day challenge: day 19

Something you miss

Well, I could go with the obvious and say SLEEP, but let me try for something a bit deeper. I definitely miss DW’s dad, more for her and her mom than for myself, of course, but it  would have been cool to see him with Monkey. He was diagnosed with leukemia back in 06 and died in early 08, so he didn’t even know we were about to start trying to get pregnant. I gave the eulogy at his service, so I’ll just reproduce it here to give you an idea of what kind of man he was:

I have had the great fortune to know FiL for the last 13 years. In that time, he was like a second father to me. From helping me move, to opening his home to me when I needed a place to stay for a month, to making me feel like a member of the family at holiday gatherings, he was always generous with his time and affection. I am proud and honored to have been asked to speak by FiL’s family.

When you think of FiL, fossils come immediately to mind. Whenever he got a new fossil, he’d excitedly show it off and explain why it was so precious. I learned so many fascinating things from him. FiL pursued his interests with a passion that was catching. Whether it was fossils, ancient history, bee keeping, photography, tennis, stained glass, or tropical fish, FiL didn’t do things halfway. He became an expert and brought others along on his adventures. When people asked him how he got into selling fossils, he would mention the rock hounding he’d done with his dad and brothers as a child. That interest soon developed into fossils.

FiL started his business primarily to fund his own collection. He was a self-taught paleontologist. If you wanted to engage FiL, all you had to do was mention fossils. The show in Tucson was a yearly highlight for him – two whole weeks to talk fossils! He loved fossils so much, that he was incapable of not buying them. If one was good, then 50 were better! His house is a virtual museum of fossils, though some might say it’s more like a warehouse! MiL’s attempts at helping FiL get his inventory organized would generally be met with the refrain, “I fly by the seat of my pants!”

FiL was a big animal lover, and a special friend of the wild rabbits that live in his yard – they’d come to the window, looking for the carrots and apples that FiL often provided. He even had some of the rabbits eating out of his hand. Of course, when he didn’t oblige, there was always the grass in the front lawn – and FiL was generous with that, too!

I have so many fond memories of FiL. On holidays, FiL, MiL, DW, and I would make some rum and cokes or have martinis that DW made, put on some Johnny Cash, and play cards. There would always be a point at which FiL would get to laughing and not be able to stop. He’d laugh so hard, he’d cry and the rest of us loved it. It was so infectious.

After DW moved out of the house, FiL started joining us on outings to the mall or on other errands that I know weren’t of interest to him. It was just a way to spend time with DW. It was obvious he took great pride in her and truly enjoyed her company.

MiL, DW, and I liked to rib FiL for his dashboard dining habits and his love of talk radio. He loved to take the opposing viewpoint in political discussions and it always made for a rousing and stimulating debate.

When DW and I would leave after a visit, FiL always told us to be careful driving, or watch for the rain. It was a sweet way of showing his love and concern. FiL worried about those he loved.

FiL always wanted DW to watch movies that he enjoyed, or listen to a song that moved him. DW would usually grudgingly accept, but I suspect she enjoyed knowing that her dad wanted to share the things that he loved with her.

I remember when MiL had surgery several years ago that FiL never left her side. He even got her roommate moved so that he could stay overnight with her.  There was definitely a special bond between FiL and MiL.

Everyone who met FiL took an instant liking to him. He had an easy smile, and was gentle, kind, generous, and never critical of others. FiL was a loyal and loving husband and father – someone you could always count on. FiL, you will truly be missed and we’ll remember to “enjoy every sandwich.”

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30 day challenge: day 13

Goals

While I definitely have some goals I’d like to reach, I’m happy to say that at 40, I’ve already achieved many of my goals. I’m married, have a child, finished my education (BA and MA), own a home, have no debt (other than mortgage), have established myself in my career, and bring in a good paycheck. I feel so fortunate to be able to say all of that (and quite proud of my/our accomplishments as well).

In terms of future goals, most of them are personal as opposed to professional:

  • First and foremost, to be as good a parent as I can be. I plan to put my child(ren) ahead of everything else, including my own career goals. We plan to schedule our work lives so that we are always home when our child(ren) are not in school. We planned and budgeted so that DW could be a SAHM, and hope to have DW work part-time when he (and any other child we may have) start school so that a parent will be home when he/they are out of school. I remember just loathing after-school care, so I hope to avoid it for my kid(s). I realize that life may throw a curveball or two, and that’s okay, we can adjust. This is just the ideal that we are working toward.
  • Buying a house is one that we hope to reach once DW returns to work. We are in a 2 bedroom condo now, which is just bursting at the seams. However, staying put allowed us to have my wife be a SAHM, which is totally, totally worth it. Still, I’m so looking forward to more room in the future.
  • Traveling is another important goal. We can’t wait to explore places we love and new places in the world with Monkey!
  • HAVE FUN! That is always a goal, no matter what you’re doing in life 🙂
  • In terms of my professional life, my goal is NOT to ever be a manager. Hahahahaha! Seriously though, I returned to school to avoid this. I hoped to develop specialized skills that would allow me to make a decent living doing something that interests me without ever having to move into middle management. I think that would suck the soul out of me and want to avoid it if I possibly can. I don’t have a goal to make more money as I make a very nice living and I’m not looking to invest a ton of extra time and effort into work. I’d rather invest it in my family and myself.

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30 day challenge: day 5

your siblings…

I have one brother, who was born when I was 7. I was excited by the thought of having a little sister, but when a little brother arrived, I was less enthusiastic. Honestly, I think even if he had been a she, the reality of having a younger sibling wouldn’t have appealed to my 7-year-old self. I was used to being an only child; the center of attention. It really bothered me when my friends would come over to play and instead of playing, they’d want to ooh and aah over the new baby.

I wasn’t a very patient or involved big sister, and I feel badly about that as an adult. He was always my annoying kid brother and for the most part, I didn’t want him around cramping my style. We did have our moments, though. I remember my mom would send us to the movies on Christmas Eve day (so she’d have time to wrap gifts and stuff) and that was always fun. He occasionally slept with me and I used to sing to him, which he brought up to me in recent years. Once when my parents were out of town (I was 18, bro was 11), my boyfriend B had a big party at his house. I brought J with me and installed him in B’s room with his Nintendo, but he ended up outside with all of us. The cops came and J ended up in the house and I ended up outside. I quickly got to the nearest payphone and made sure he was in the house (he was and he was with B). When I got back to the house, J was SO happy to see me. Then he informed me that one of the cops that came to break up the party was his D.A.R.E. teacher at school. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It was SO not funny at the time, but it’s an awesome story now.

My brother and I aren’t close even as adults. When my family moved to Indiana, I was 19 and my brother was 12. So we only spent 12 years together as siblings in the same house. We’ve lived far apart for our entire adult lives. He married a woman that is difficult, to put it nicely, so that is a bit of a wedge between us (and between him and my parents, unfortunately). They have 2 adorable kids that I wish I were closer to (my parents are hugely involved with them).

I will end with a couple of shots of us. First is us as kids (circa 1977), second is us
as young adults (circa 1994):

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leaving baby pt 2

We left baby again with MiL last Thursday night and it went pretty well. I put him to bed at around 6:30PM and we left the house around 8PM. He woke up at 8:45PM and was not too terribly fussy. MiL tried to get him back down, but it didn’t work, so he stayed up and played with her until we got home (12:30AM – groan). She said he was fine and had fun playing, so I guess it’s a win. We got to bed by 1AM and baby slept until 7AM. The next day pretty well sucked as we were all tired and grumpy, but hey – we did it! I doubt we’ll be making a habit of it, but it’s nice to know that if something comes up that we really want to do, we can and the world won’t end 🙂

My mom is coming for a visit this weekend (arrives Friday AM and leaves Tuesday AM). It will be nice to see her and all, but I think I’m mostly looking forward to sleeping! She always gets up with baby and sends me/DW back to bed. WOOHOO! I don’t even feel bad about it since she only gets to see him a few times a year. She loves the extra Granny and baby time so more power to her! We are going to a friend’s baby’s 2nd birthday party while she’s here. It’s at some kiddy place with bounce houses and such, so it should be fun. I’m thinking we may also hit the Getty Museum and Travel Town if it’s nice.

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the more moms, the merrier

Remember that two mama family I mentioned a few posts back that we sat in our pediatrician’s waiting room with? Remember how I was bummed out that we didn’t try to strike up a conversation? Well, fast forward to yesterday at our first Gymboree music class. For once, we were not the only two mom family in the group! There they were! When the class ended one of them approached and was like, “Weren’t we in the waiting room with you guys at the ped’s office?” So we exchanged information and are going to arrange a play date! Their son is 1 week older than S. How totally crazy is that? I am SO excited! They live very nearby. It seems like we were totally meant to meet. So glad we ran into them again and got a second chance to connect. Here’s hoping we all hit it off.

The Gymboree music class went pretty well for baby. He enjoyed banging on the big drum they had in the middle of the room and he really liked playing with the scarves. I think he got a bit overwhelmed a few times (got kind of clingy), but with time, I think he’ll really like it. He interacted with a few of the other babies, which was cool to watch.

I am feeling much better these days. I am back on my a/ds (almost 2 weeks now) and things are really improving. My patience seems to be making a comeback and I’m dealing much better with the sleep situation. I am able to see the positive in it (my gorgeous baby snuggled up to me in the night) rather than focusing on the sleep I’m missing. I was even able to enjoy my weekend in the midst of work craziness without it consuming me. Ahhhh.

My dad is in the hospital and has been in and out for the last month with horrible stomach issues. They finally pulled his gallbladder, but it doesn’t appear to be the cause. I am getting really worried and I know my mom is at her wit’s end. Here’s hoping they find and fix whatever is causing his suffering. It sucks!

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