family

August, Where Did You Go?

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School is back in session. Child #3 is living her best life as a teen. Not quite ready to drive, but on the path to turning 21….in her mind anyway. Fall sports and a robust social life are in full swing as well keeping adults on the go or in the car! Check out me and my mini…

Work, work, work. Some say summer is slow, but for me I go, go, go. Keeping up with purpose work, professional engagements, community involvement, household chores and so on. I blinked and the month has come and gone.

Big things are in motion for my boys. Each charting their own path but lots of hustle and promise on the horizon. Moments like this make me celebrate being a mom.

Travel time. I had a little adventure to see my family up north. Good times, good memories. 2 kids in tow to visit the grandparents. Time well spent with relatives I don’t get to see often. Recharged and ready. Bring on Fall and all its adventure.

Cool Fall air has got to be on the horizon now that September is here. August has been way too hot. Despite the heat, I had a blast this summer. Fun fashion stops. Retail therapy on steroids. Plane rides, train rides, scooter rides and Uber rides made my summer one to remember.

As September sets in, its time to focus and wrap up the year. What’s left on the agenda? More writing of course!

adventure, family

On the Move

Life is full of adventures. With me, you never know which road I am going to take or which path. That’s what makes me special. Just when you think you know my patterns, I will change things up.

I beat to my own drum, as my Mom would say. I find the road less traveled interesting. What scares some excites me.

I am on the move. Changing my scenery. My front yard. My back yard. The four walls of my home are changing. Going back to the basics. I hear my oldest brother in the background saying “What are you a gypsy? Moving again?” Just living my best life, I reply. I can live big or I can live small or anything in between. Some choose to stay in one fixed place for their life. Not me. I am on the move!

I am trading in the nice house in the prestigious suburban planned community for a more quaint home on a decent-sized plot of land. A little more privacy. A little less home owners association rules. A few more birds chirping. And lot less cleaning to do.

Thank you Zillow for the hours and hours of entertainment from the convenience of my comfy couch. I feel I am an HGTV expert and I know love bathrooms, kitchens, renovations and the endless possibilities of revitalizing the old into the new.

A shock to some. A little peace to me. Happy to have supportive folks around me, crazy enough to ride my waves of change and live the excitement life can offer when you take chances.

Burning the candle at both ends they say. Early morning workouts (can’t miss), long work days (can’t miss) and then move, move, move. Lots of heavy lifting. Lots of shifting. Where to put things? How to re-organize life inside my four walls. Exciting and challenging all at the same time.

I opted to move myself. My family is a well-oiled machine. We band together to get things done when needed. Our time frame. Our labor. Our budget. This process is definitely not easy but I am happy with the progress. My body, on the other hand, is beginning to think I am a bit crazy for the torture it is going through currently, but like all things this phase will soon pass.

Started to add the personal touches to make the house a home. I even did my first DIY project: I chalked a mirror that didn’t fit into my new space as it did in the old one. Pretty fun project. Very simple and cheap ($7 can of spray paint). The outcome was better than expected since I am not super crafty. The cool thing about this piece is its purpose. A welcome board. A sign-in space of sorts. An autograph board. A leave-a-positive-message place. So many uses. One tiny investment. A piece of renewable art within the house that can be forever changing. Need some color pop? Just change the color of the chalk. It’s the little things that make me smile.

Living my best life today. Keeping my perspective fresh. Stay tuned for updates on the dreadful moving process and upcoming DIY projects that are on the horizon. The awful stress of selling a home and having strangers trample through your house is happening at the same time. Not to mention your home is showcased online showing all your personal space.

Oh the comments people make on this or that. When you sell a house that is used, it’s normally lived in. Therefore the process of selling is annoying. Your house is supposed to be perfect yet lived in. Talk about an irony. Add kids, a busy life, and and and…

I figure why not write about it. I am an open book anyway.

Enjoy my rants.

anonymous letters, family

The Next Chapter Is In Motion

Motion: fast motion, slow motion or no motion. Which one is it?

Right now, I would say we are stalled. Where do I go? Who will help me? What am I entitled to get? Why do things cost so much? Why do I have to pay for that? How can I get a job paying 40k/year with no training, experience or advanced degree?

I almost think high school needs a “Welcome to Adulthood” class as a required step for graduation. No sugar coating things. Make them live as an adult for 60 days. See how many pass that class! Much better choice than a baby class because if you can’t be an adult, you certainly shouldn’t have a baby anytime soon.

Welcome to adulthood. Welcome, my friend. Welcome to the world of bills, bosses, crappy work hours, and so much more. It’s called adulting!

Yes, adulting is the coveted thing smart ass teens long for. Their freedom. Their ability to make their own rules. Their ability to do or not do.

They forget when you cut the cord, nobody does your laundry. Nobody pays for your car insurance. Nobody pays for that cell phone you are on 24/7. Nobody pays for your haircuts, clothes or toiletries. Why do kids today think adulting is the thing to do right now?

Kids these days don’t think about savings accounts for a rainy day. They don’t think about what happens if they can’t pay their rent. They just think somebody will help them. A form of entitlement, I guess.

This isn’t just something I see from just my parenting lens. I see it with others. Maybe not all, but a lot of kids in the middle-class suburbs where my kids have been raised. Very different from my upbringing.

To get started, I must go back a short bit. To sum up the past 9-12 months of my life could only be categorized as an insane yet thrilling roller coaster ride with many twists, turns, ups, downs, loop-de-loops and all the insane tummy drops that go along with the above!

But during it all, I remained calm on most days. I relied on my friends and family for moral support and I endured a lot of sweat in the gym to keep me grounded. All of which got me to today with a big smile on my face. I may even drop 10 pounds from reducing my stress now that this big day is here. I’ll call this the turning point.

As I sigh on one chapter coming to an end, I grin with a new one beginning. I hold my head up high and cheer loud and proud for my middle child who graduates high school. Not the straight-A student but a hard worker with a heart of gold. He battled to get to this point, but he did it and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

As he enters adulthood with that diploma in hand, he will be ready to tackle his life adventures with confidence knowing he graduated. Wherever he travels, whomever he falls in love with, whatever trouble he gets in, or whatever career path he chooses, his momma will still be there for him through thick and thin.

It’s time to cut the cord! My role changes now. I am a supporter from this point forward. I am no longer a life guide, decision maker, and prime financial supporter. Turning into an adult comes with responsibilities and growth. His decisions may frustrate me at times but they’re his decisions to make. The big 18. The legal adult. Legal adults get bills, accountability and headaches.

He can choose to drink, smoke, get a tattoo or worse. He gets to choose and learn from mistakes as well as celebrate accomplishments. It’s his road/path/journey.

It’s funny when your know-it-all teens realize that soap, haircuts, gas and other things are expenses just like rent, food, clothing, vehicles, etc. The real world hits quickly. When you finish up school, it’s time to get a job and be a contributing adult. How quickly one learns that adulting sucks on most days!

It’s time to let child #2 soar to his new heights. My job is done for now. May he take the strength and wisdom I taught him over the years and springboard into his own level of happiness.

Dream big kiddo. Seize the day. You deserve the very best and I know the best is still ahead for you. Embrace life and all the experiences in front of you.

Choose your friends wisely and think before you make you make decisions with long-term consequences.

xoxo,
Your Mom

adventure, family

Passport, Please

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12 years it sat in a strong box. Waiting to be reissued. Waiting for a glorious stamp or two. How did I let it get so dusty and neglected?

Work, kids, commitments, and so much more all stood in my way. They all halted my adventures on an international scale.  Although I didn’t really have a need to travel internationally, I could have, and maybe should have, but it was going to be such a pain to update my passport because I had a name change since the passport was originally issued (thanks, marriage). I made excuses and I let time slip away.

Well, the passport expired in 2007. That means I have been procrastinating a bit and my life of adventure was limited to stateside sights. I won’t complain as I visited a lot of places in the U. S., but adventure awaits me over the border.

Today I just did it. I dusted off the old book, gathered my documents and got photo ready. I looked up my location list to do the deed. This time, I took my youngest along to get hers with me.

I thought back to my teen years and thought of the adventures I had with my parents when I went to Europe a couple of times. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, among others. The food, the culture, the shopping, the language, each was an experience in itself. I need to show my youngest the world.

She is an adventurer just like her mom. So why not? Why wait? A plan is in motion. A new destination each year for the next five years. Some travels alone. Some with friends. Some with family. Maybe even a school trip will be on the horizon. She will be ready. I will be ready. Memories are on the horizon.

No need to cram for documents and rush to travel. We are both ready to go-go-go. On a whim or with a plan. We will get going when we want to.

We have a five year plan. A plan to travel and explore and hopefully stamp those passports. Where will we go? Who will we meet? When do we leave?

No answers to those questions yet but we are one step closer to adventure. We are planning: The time of year. The possible destinations. The gift of travel. The experiences to share.

As I write I think of all the countries that read this blog. I think who I might see on a train, on a plane, etc. You may know me, but I don’t know you. If by chance we meet, please say hello.

Passport adventure blogs to follow as the future becomes the present. Send me ideas of must-see places to put in my 5-year travel plan.

adventure, family

Summa-time Fun, Part 1

“This summa I want to have a wicked fun time!” said the girl in her true Bostonian accent. I want to take on some new adventures that would keep me moving physically while allowing me to grow in other ways. The plan is set. The sizzling summer weather has arrived. Now it’s time to take action.

I have the usual fun in the sun planned for lake days, quick getaways and maybe some time at the neighborhood pool. That’s all good but what can I do that is different? Fun. Adventurous. And of course, memorable.

Zip, zoom, scoot, watch out new driver coming through!

Electric scooter rides in downtown Atlanta is the first of my many adventures this summer. What an amazing time! First I had to learn how to use the Lyft app for scooters to get the juice going on the scooter. That was both cool, interesting, and to me, exciting. Then the ride itself was refreshing with the wind in your face thanks to the scooters having a little pep to them. I did my own balancing act as I zoomed by folks. I may have even done a one-leg move at some point. And maybe, just maybe, I was close to crashing at one time. Clearly that would have been somebody getting in my invisible lane. Before you know it, life is just carefree in the moment. You can breathe in your surroundings. The fresh air, giggles, sunshine, the chitter chatter of passers by, the people watching, and the scenery is just amazing.

On this adventure I visited Ponce City Market area and stumbled across the scooters. It was a total accident because I really wanted to rent a bike that day and take a quick ride to see the graffiti I had heard about. Good thing they didn’t have any bikes because electric scooters sounded more interesting.

Curiosity got me and I had to check it out. I then rode along the Atlanta BeltLine which is full of graffiti and cool architecture. I didn’t want to put it back but I didn’t have much time this day. What a fun adventure I had with my family and surprisingly it wasn’t too expensive to rent the scooters. Looking for something fun to do? Check out the BeltLine in Atlanta, GA.

Teen Tidbit: Scooters are a great teen activity to do with your kids if you are looking for something new and appealing. People always ask me for ideas so here you have it.

Not too long after my scooter escapades I had a kayaking trip planned with friends. Then a torrential downpour hit and the trip was cancelled. Such a let down, but the following weekend was absolutely perfect weather to hit the river. I didn’t have a large friend group on the second weekend, but I did have a plus one. My middle son and I we were off on an excursion. Both of us could kayak but neither of us had experience on the river we set out for. Isn’t that part of the fun?

One hour drive and oh no, the boats are sold out for the day! Are you kidding me? We drove all this way to the middle of nowhere for a big let down.

Sigh! I must have had disappointment written all over my face and the lady said well, we have a smaller boat used for kids that you can go in. It’s easier to maneuver but it’s also tippable. Just my luck. “Will it hold me?” I questioned. Yes. “Will I be able to get back in easily if I tip?” “I don’t know,” she said with a smirk.

Now that I’m feeling super confident (not), my son says let’s just do it. Ummm…okay says the 150-pound athletic fit person who will have no issues jumping back on the kayak after tipping in rapids! Okay, you got me. I’m in. Here goes nothing.

The trip starts with us sliding down a 100 foot hillside covered in burlap in our mini kayaks. It was definitely a dry run…..

I was nervous but the descent was fun and I didn’t even scream. Then the hauling of the kayak to the water and an “aha” moment of okay, we are really doing this! Just me and the boy.

Off we go with no idea how many miles we were traveling or what was ahead of us in the form of rapids or water depth. The GoPro camera was on to capture our memories and we just started paddling into the unknown. The scenery was amazing. We saw beautiful birds and many turtles from small to large. It was just fun to be one with nature.

We had moments of peacefulness as we just floated. We had adrenaline rushes when we neared the rapids. We got our people watching on as much as we got to bird watch. The variety of people was plentiful and the rapids were just enough for me. Some gently rolling rapids while others had dropoffs that made me gasp. I almost tipped 2-3 times but I didn’t. I survived. I didn’t tip. I was so proud of myself. My son and I had a blast. We made some amazing memories and I learned I would want to do this adventure many more times in the future.

Travel Tip: Looking for a day trip check out Broad River Outpost just outside of Athens, GA. I highly recommend this in a large or small group, a couples adventure, teen trip or maybe even a girls day. It’s just good fun.

We may love new things or hate new things but we will never know if we like or dislike anything unless we try them out on our own. It’s that simple. I was glad I tried these two new activities this summer. I had fun. I made memories. I got to tell you all about my adventures.

Wonder what’s next? Guess you’ll need to wait for my Summer Adventures, part 2. Until next time…

family

For Dad

 

We sat in the parking lot in Virginia, 7:45 am last Sunday.

“My dad would be so proud of me,” I told the teens in the back seat. “I found the 24/7 taco place.” Street tacos with cilantro and onion on corn tortillas. Authentic. Just like the tacos he took me to eat at one of the first real taquerias in Atlanta over 30 years ago.  “Yelp says it’s a Richmond institution.”

Now, I can’t say I am truly just like him. He’d have ordered the tripe or tongue tacos or other more exotic meats. I’m a carne asada and al pastor girl. He would have gone crazy on the hot-hotter-hottest salsa bar. I chose the only one that said mild.

Dad, who loved to talk about how he didn’t even eat a taco until he was 25. He spent the rest of his life making up for lost time.

Then, after cheering for my daughter and her teammates at a lacrosse tournament, those teen girls and I drove a bit north to Kings Dominion.

Even with his broken body, my dad loved a great roller coaster. He could tell you the history and all kinds of fun facts about any coaster in the country, not to mention the first time he rode it. We even belonged to American Coaster Enthusiasts growing up. So spending Father’s Day at Kings Dominion was a fitting way to honor him. He also loved carousels, band organs, all things carnival and amusement. I don’t ride every roller coaster but I hope I’m getting better at embodying his sense of adventure.

What’s funny is I didn’t start out this Father’s Day thinking “what would my dad do today?” I didn’t set out to make the day a tribute to him.

It was after I stood back and reflected that I saw that some of the ways I do life and travel naturally reflect what he taught me by example.

Cheer for your kids. Be interested in what they like and want to do. Nurture those interests.

Eat at little, out of the way places. Take the scenic route sometimes. Try the local specialty. Support small, family businesses.

Be curious. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.  Ask more questions. Keep learning.

Ride roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. Embrace life’s ups and downs and even the rough, bumpy spots.  Delight in the unexpected. Enjoy the ride.

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family

Words to my Mother

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I wrote a Mother’s Day poem for my Mom 27 years ago.  Just weeks before graduating from high school.  All the fighting and sneaking around and lying I had done.  All the awards and trophies and certificates, too.  So many things we had endured, loosely but inevitably connected.

I had chosen to go to college in Ohio, so I was facing being away from her for the first time.  I guess this poem, my gift to her, was my way of showing her that I had begun to understand what she had done for me.  What she had given up for me.  Our bond, which would now be stretched across state lines.

I remember crying as I wrote it, one line in particular.  I remember carefully writing the title in crayon, and smudging it with stuff to bring to mind the kindergarten creations of so many Mother’s Days past.

I laid it on her bed, always neatly made first thing in the morning.  On her paisley pillow, not far from her Pall Mall golds, her ashtray and lighter, the plastic tray filled with her earrings.  There was no fanfare.  I just left it there.

I don’t remember her reaction to the poem.  I’m sure she said thank you, but that may have been it.  With all the flurry of activity around my graduation, I’m sure it just got lost in the shuffle.

Nearly a dozen Mother’s Days came and went before my Mother passed away. At that time, I was pregnant with my first natural-born child and a new Mom to two toddlers. I was exhausted and overwhelmed trying to clean out my parents’ 25-year-old home.

I was sifting through the basket of papers she kept right next to her bed.  Underneath a few People magazines I found file folders with birth certificates, legal papers, these were important things…

then I saw the mauve paper peeking out.  And I knew just what it was. My poem.  Just next to some of the most important things in her life.  My poem.

My mother was not the type to gush.  I clearly got my sentimentality from my Dad.  But seeing my poem in with all her most important papers was all I needed to know.

I nearly lost that paper a couple of times, but eventually I had it framed and it still hangs next to my bed, just like where my mother kept it.  Some of it makes me chuckle now, the overinflated ideas and revelations of a too-big-thinking teenager.  But a lot of it still holds true.  I’ve shared a few lines from that poem below.

Hope you all are celebrating Mother’s Day in whatever way honors the women in your life the best.  Take some time to write words to a woman who has meant something to you.  Our words and our time are some of the most precious treasures we can share.

 

mother

I am born of you

out of a painful love that has

already outlasted my lifetime.

You surround me with your

words and your listening silence

and your arms…

 

mother

we are different stages of the same woman

who learn from each other like learning

from a separate self…

and that is why I say I am always with you – because

I am you

and happy to be, lucky to be

thankful to be

 

mother

what is to be is something we don’t know but I can see that it will involve distance

and I wonder how I will make it –

but I know your love can cover the whole world in its maternal infinity

and your wide arms will tuck me in each night even long after I am gone.

 

mother, (mom)

I would not have this future without the past you’ve so unselfishly given and given.

Thank you for my life. I love you.

-Beth

Mother’s Day, 1992

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