Category Archives: Family

We reap what we sow

Have you ever had your toddler sass you with a phrase or intonation that was a dead-on impression of you?  Or perhaps a middle schooler roll their eyes with a disdainful expression that you’ve seen “somewhere” before.  Maybe even a high schooler or young adult disagree with you about something and throw your own logic back in your face?  No?  Maybe it’s just me then.  Just kidding, I know I am not alone here on this one.  There is no better mirror on our own parenting than in the faces, words and actions of our children.  I, for one, have seen some not so great mirroring of my own over the years and will honestly say; parenting is a constant work in progress.

Today I was privy to a portion of a particularly nasty and public conversation between two people.  These people are related to me and the conversation was one that my sister and I shared with our father 3 decades ago.  OUR conversation, though seriously explosive and resulting in a 7 year long estrangement and forever deconstructed relationship, positively paled in comparison to what I read today.  As I sat back and picked my jaw up from the floor and judged it all, I realized how horribly sad this situation is.  So broken.  The father, has long had anger issues and has never acknowledged that he could be mistaken on any subject.  Ever.  A father who can not ever be disagreed with.  A father who loves to spoil his kids and participate with his kids as long as it is something that holds his interest.  The daughter, a child of a 2nd and 3rd marriage to an older father and younger mother.  The boundaries?  As far as social media and family rumors go:  loose boundaries, spoilage resulting in entitlement and now anger, frustration and lashing out.  A lost little girl needing guidance, love and security, but unable and unwilling to ask.   A truly tragic truth, some lessons are never learned, only repeated with likely the same sorrowful results.

We reap what we sow.  Mamas and Papas those little hearts need boundaries.  They need to feel safe.  They need to trust that we have their backs. They need to know that they can screw up and we will be right there to help brush them off and give them solid advice and encouragement for the next go around.  They need to learn how to argue respectfully and know that sometimes in life we can agree to disagree and respect each other’s points.  They need to know as they navigate kindergarten recess, middle school lunchroom, and high school cliques that we are there every step of the way; not fighting their battles but cheering them on and fueling their self-esteem.  Sometimes it means making the unpopular choices and denying a sleepover, checking in with a parent, monitoring social media and cell phones.  Honest conversation.  Hard conversation.  Those boundaries are setting that foundation for later in life when those preschoolers on training wheels are spreading their wings as 19 year olds on motorcycles and preparing to move out.  Setting up boundaries and expectations early is the difference between a selfish, entitled young adult unable to make a committment waiting on society to give them a trophy for showing up to work on time and a confident and aware young adult able to understand the value of a dollar, a strong work ethic and the importance of following through with committments.

We don’t have to be our kid’s friends, they will have enough of them on their own.  Our job as their parents is to lay the groundwork so that they will be adults we want to include as friends. Anything else is a disservice to them, heartbreak for us and only adds to furthering moral and social decline in our society.

And for the love, keep your poop off social media.

Day of rest

All day long.

Actually, we were up pretty early after Homecoming night to sell Christmas wreaths at church for the youth group after the 7:30 a.m. Mass.  After Mass, I covered for a friend at Middle School Youth  Group (marshmallows and middle schoolers….you know that’s going to be funny!).

We were all dragging though.  By the time we got home from youth groups, swimming and dropping off at cheer practice, there has been literally someone asleep or in some state of nap-rest for going on 6 hours now.  It’s been glorious!

I love when my people rest.  I love when I can sneak in a nap.  It happens far too infrequently, but today it did and I say, “GLORY to God!”

Naps rule forever!!


What is “busy”?

I find myself muttering frequently, “why are we all so effing BUSY?”  It’s ridiculous.  It takes 2 hours and 25 texts for 4 women to decide on a mutual night to celebrate a 50th birthday.  FOR.  THE.  LOVE.

I’ve been mulling it over lately and I realized that actually WE are not really busier, but our children are getting older.  All this “new” independence and ages and stages of childhood to adulthood brings entirely new agendas for each kiddo.  Truly it is more a matter of keeping up with all the different lives going on and slowly stepping back and letting them manage their own business.  Gone are the days of laying out clothes or choosing the blind eye to the ensemble hand-picked by independent young’uns and then off to whatever Mama and Papa had planned.  Period end.

Fast forward 18 years, now it is Mama and Papa with their activities and then each kiddo with their own activities.  Add it up and that’s a whole lotta colors on the calendar.  For us, at this point, some of those colors aren’t really our worry.  Some of the colors just involve a little bit of coordination and conversation but not true involvement on the parental unit’s behalf.  It is a strange new world.  One where I have finally decided that I will forego Open House because I have already been to High School, enjoyed it immensely and have ZERO desire to go back.  I do not want to re-live high school through my children’s activities.  This is where they begin to spread their own independent wings and start taking ownership of their business.  They dang sure don’t need me up in their grill stirring the pot of high school drama.  Sometimes that means they screw it up.  Sometimes we have to step back in and re-evaluate the way things are taking place and prioritize and time manage.  A few steps forward and a bunch more backward.  That’s how the baby bird learns to fly, right?  That’s also how we un-busy ourselves a little bit more.

And suddenly WE aren’t as busy, but our kids are starting to lead their own lives and it’s a little scary, a lot new and a whole bunch good.  I just need to keep repeating that to myself.

That’s a wrap!

Sunset tonight brings our vacation to an end.  We finished up with the monumental task of buying a new (to us) vehicle–about as much fun as a visit to the dentist.  Once we get a few things adjusted and it sits in our driveway it will be a little more fun, for now though it is a bittersweet moment for this sentimental sap.

We’ve had our “Green machine” since our oldest daughter was a baby.  14 years, 240,00 miles, countless park visits, potty training, beach days, sports practices and games, concerts, friend visits, family visits, school bus, taxi, girls weekends 2 new drivers, and longevity and dependability during the toughest season of our marriage.  She was and is a faithful girl.  She might currently be a little rough on the aesthetics (Florida sun and failure to wax regularly are a real thing) and drinks a little oil, but she is solid and beast!

Fortunately, to soften the blow, she will go to our oldest son as an alternative transportation for work and days when his motorcyle isn’t the best choice.  Which means the morning vehicle shuffle is about to get all kinds of interesting up in here and a car key hanger is going up ASAP in the kitchen for easy access.  In the grand scheme of life, these are minor inconveniences and not even worthy to grouse about.  Three cheers for our Yukon, well done, good and faithful servant and greetings to our Enclave.

May this next season be as fruitful and faithful as this one.


Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

     There is an appointed time for everything,
    and a time for every affair under the heavens.
 A time to give birth, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to tear down, and a time to build.
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
    a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
 A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
 A time to rend, and a time to sew;
    a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
 A time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time of war, and a time of peace.

Home, sweet, SWEET, home!

The last time I took a 2 week vacation, I was 24.  I took the week off from my (NEW) job before our wedding and the week after for our honeymoon.  Every other vacation has been the standard week and for the last decade our vacations have consisted of traveling to see friends—which is GREAT, do NOT get me wrong, but it’s quite different from a “vacation”.  So, if that gives you a little insight to what a big deal our vacation was… might have an inkling of our excitement these past 2 weeks.  Truly just bordering on the surreal, “pinch me” kind of moments.

Alas though, all good things must come to an end. Memories were made and as our daughter said, “I like vacation.  Vacation is awesome!”  I absolutely agree with her!

Thursday night, the Hubs and the girls and I–with the dog, all enjoyed a little hike along the river trail near the cabin and a leisurely swim in the river enjoying the evening with no agenda aside from packing.

Friday morning AFTER an eventful night (for me–everyone else was sleeping) of seeing a baby bear climb down from a tree in our backyard and haul a** back into the forest after being chased into the tree by a neighborhood dog, we began the trek back to my mom’s house.

First stop was the grave of one of the co-founders of AA.  It was a brief visit for the Hubs and though we didn’t really talk much about it, it was emotional.  For me, this man played a tremendous part in essentially saving my husband’s life by giving him the tools to manage his life, to manage his addiction, to help others navigate alcoholism, to have a second chance at the life God meant for us to have… was powerful.  I didn’t even get out of the car.  Hubs was quietly wrangling his emotions.  This moment, at the end of an amazing and long-dreamed for vacation, was a huge moment.  So much gratitude.  From both of us.


The next two days were spent with my mama, her hubby and my aunt (who was passing through on the way to see my cousin) were precious one-on-one times, rest and strolling around town.  Deer watching.  Firefly spotting.  No reason to rush.  Good stuff.

Initially, we planned on hitting DC for the day on the way home, but after realizing that our pup might not have as much access as we thought to the outdoor monuments, summer parking in DC, and 4000degree weather…we decided to make DC it’s own trip later this year or next.  THAT decision meant powering through and making the 16 hour trip in one shot, giving us 2 days of vacation at home before going back to work.

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Sweet puppy!

Since we knew it was going to be a long day, it makes total sense for the morning to start out with a puking and pooping puppy, it was a rough beginning and a long a** day  with our final time of 17.5 hours home—thank you crappy N. Carolina for your humongous lunch time clusterF!  In the end though, we made it home, slept in our beds last night, got the grocery shopping done, laundry started and house mostly cleaned.  Aaaaand hit the YMCA.  It was a good Plan B.  Because transition back to real life is a toughie.


Now, it’s off to bed and enjoy ONE MORE DAY OF VACATION tomorrow!!!



Summits and sunsets

Today we put our boy on the plane back to Florida for a few days rest and lawn mowing before he heads to the Keys with his girlfriend’s family.  Tough life, right?  However, that also marks the downward slide of this amazing vacation.  And that’s ok.  It’s been phenomenal.  A favorite compliment to us this week was “we look like we belong here”.  True.  You never know what God  has in store for us and looking back 10 years ago, I would never have pictured this.  Ever.  Man,  God IS good.  And full of surprises.  So, who knows!

Yesterday, we let the kids sleep in and then spent the day at Mt. Cranmore enjoying the ropes course and zip lines (ok sort of—it was a great workout, but a few of us are not height fans and were thrilled to be done with that part!), ski lift (amazing views, cool breeze and lost sunglasses found again after a return trip up the lift), mountain coaster and general enjoyment of the ski resort during summer.  We were able to spend time with Hubby’s cousin at his super cool home followed by a yummy Chinese restaurant afterward. We were fortunate enough to catch the sunset on the way back home on the Kancamagus Highway.  It was a wonderful way to cap off the day and end the boy’s mountain vacation.


Mt. Cranmore-summer fun

The boys summited Mt. Washington the other day.  I still have no pictures yet, but they had a tremendous experience.  Adequately prepared, they experienced the crazy weather that accompanies an enormous mountain from 70 degrees at start to 30 degrees and socked in with wind at the summit.  Periods of visibility to less than 200 yards to completely clear within 10 minutes.  Lunch in the AMC shelter and a break from the weather with 25 other hikers.  8 hours of hiking.  Both agreed they were glad to experience the highs and lows of the weather and the challenge it brought as it made the glory of the summit that much more appreciative.  If that isn’t a great analogy for life, I don’t know what is.  Nothing worth having comes easy.

Today we will explore a bit more locally again, light hiking with the pup and prepare to head to PA tomorrow to visit with my mom and her husband again before we head south and home.

So, for now, I’m going to continue to soak up this porch, this weather and this time.

Blessed.  Truly.


Sunset fun

Romans 8:18 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.




It’s all about the journey

Yesterday, we had a pretty chill-day.  It’s actually incredibly difficult to force down-time when there is so much to see and do, but mother nature helped us out with a rainy start and finish to our day.  Although we did manage to sneak in a walk through town and a quick walk on the river trail in-between storms.  A little driving around and napping, too.  It was good stuff.  However, even on a “chill day”, I didn’t have to try hard to get my 10,000 steps in.

This morning started out at a brisk 57degrees and cloudy; a temperature that my brain and body are still trying to compute.  The boys were planning on heading up to hike Mt. Washington and the girls and I were going to do some shorter hikes and then it just was dreary, cold and not looking so promising.  They decided to go for it anyway.  (and at this moment, have just summitted).  They will eat their weight in pizza for sure at Fabyans.

We picked an “easy” hike up Lonesome lake trail to Lonesome Lake and to check out the huts that you can stay in.  1.6 miles.  Straight, friggin’ up.  Easy?  I don’t even believe those AT trail people and their descriptions anymore.  At one point I honestly just started praying out loud the old stand-by of “Come, Holy Spirit” with a Hail Mary to round it out because our youngest daughter was so hangry that I was about to go Mommy Dearest on her.  Fortunately, prayers don’t fail and we made it to the top with our family intact. And what a view.  Hangry passed and going down was FAR EASIER than going up—although my rear end will be talking to me later today. So….. at 1:30 p.m. and 13,000 steps already, our hikes (plural) have turned into A HIKE (singular)  and now we will clean up and explore before we pick up the boys later.  And that is A-OK.


What an amazing world we live in.

Oh, and on the way down, we passed folks heading up to stay in the huts with full backpack gear, but the most impressive was Mama toting a toddler on her back.  I told her that she was my hero, because a practically empty teensy backpack was all this Mama could do.  Awesome!!