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Sunday, November 17, 2013


Happy birthday, Karsen! You are TWELVE! (?!?!?!) One more year until you are officially a teen, however the teenage angst is already here in our house daily! Sixth grade. Middle school. Things are a' changing!

Just yesterday we went shopping, and we did not agree on a shirt. You loved it, and I hated it. You said "Don't dull my sparkle, Mom". LOL I cracked up. It hurt my feelings for a second, and then it just made me laugh. I think this is foreshadowing of the years that are to come.

As IF anyone could dull your sparkle...

You loved performing in the 5th grade play last year, but you refuse to let me record you singing! You love to sing even more than you did when you were little. BUT you refuse to sing on command. Absolutely not. Only when you want to of course!

This is my favorite pic of you from this past summer.

This year you loved soccer, and you decided maybe you didn't want to do gymnastics anymore. That was tough for me to swallow, but I realized I just wanted you to have fun no matter which sport you chose. And you happened to have quite a foot on you when it came to soccer. Yay!
You don't believe in Santa anymore. And you said this would probably be the last year you dressed  up for Halloween.
However, you have fleeting moments when are definitely still your Daddy's little girl.
Funny enough, you are probably the person in our house with the MOST common sense, and I love that about you.  Math is your favorite class in school and this last report card you made all A's, with averages higher than 97% in each subject. The Principal's List. So proud.
You are definitely in between. You now raid my closet, and find things that I don't tend to wear or I'd forgotten were in there. On your birthday Dad took you shopping and you decided you did not want hot chocolate, you wanted a hot caramel mocha latte. Dad took this picture of you in my scarf  :) with your big girl coffee. Oh my. Be still my heart. Slow down, sweet girl.
Yep, times are a' changin'. Not so much a little girl anymore. At this last pediatrician appointment for 11/12 year old well check-up you were:
Height-62 inches or 5 foot 2 in at 90% height on growth chart
Weight- 90 lbs or 40% weight on growth chart
(yes, you gained 20 lbs in the last year!) WOW!
We are very close to being the same size in most clothes suddenly!
And here is your 6th grade, middle school school pic!

Happy 12th birthday, Karsen Grace!

Karsen, you are a light in our lives. I love your spirit and your quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) strength and determination. We love you to the moon and back! Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle! Love, Mom

Looking back over the years....


Happy 14th birthday to our first born.
We can not believe you are 14, Dylan!
You are such a daily joy in our lives. Your quick wit and sarcasm still make us laugh (and sometime shake our heads) every.single.day.of.our.lives. Sometimes I am just blown away by your insightfulness. You truly are an old soul. Check out your "Save Ferris" shirt. Clearly you are several decades ahead of your time.
Marching to the beat of your own drum is something you do with ease now. No worries about what anyone else thinks. Your confidence has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. And that makes my heart happy.

Glasses were a new look for you this past year. At the end of 8th grade you happened to mention that "sometimes no matter where you sit in class, you can't see"! I got you in to the doctor within a few weeks and was shocked to find out you were blind! The glasses took care of that though, and I think they just add to your charm. Rather Clark Kent-esque if you don't mind my saying. :)

Your recent 13/14 year old stats at the pediatrician's appointment were:
Height- 73 inches, or  6 foot 1 in tall and 95% on growth chart
Weight- 118 lbs or 50% on growth chart  
Tall and skinny.
It goes without saying that it is truly a challenge to find blue jeans that fit right now. Sigh.

You are our resident movie critic and pop culture connoisseur. One of your favorite movies all time is "Pan's Labyrinth" directed by Guillermo del Torro.  One of the things you asked for your birthday was a painting of the fawn from the movie. Your Dad surprised you with the above painting on your birthday. Your reaction was priceless (and captured on my iPhone). However, I have promised you to "not post it on any form of social media". So, I will honor your request. :) (for now) just so you know that contract expires when you go away to college.

When we moved back to NC this Fall, I thought it was  important to get you involved in activities right away. I signed you up for golf, and who would've guessed it, but you were a natural. Your 3 man team won 1st place in the division this year, and you even got your first birdie! Way to go, Dylan! I had fun going with you to your tournaments and watching you act like your golf club was a light saber in between holes. :)

Here is your 9th grade school picture. You definitely changed so much in the past year. You can't see it here, but you have a Captain America shirt on underneath your collared shirt. This picture epitomizes where you are in life right now. You look and sound like a grown man in so many ways, but you are still so little boy underneath all of that knowledge and vocabulary....I still see glimpses of the boy that stole my heart 14 years ago. I am so excited to see where your path may lead.

Happy 14th birthday, Pa!
We are so proud of you every single day, and I count it a blessing to be your Momma!
Looking back over the years...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

first day of school 2013-2014

Karsen, 6th grade

To quote a friend when she saw this picture, "Watch out Middle School, here comes Karsen!"
Um, you have no idea how happy this girl is to get up each and every morning to go to school. Happy! She was actually less enthusiastic after the 1st day-because they did NOT do any Math. LOL there is time for that sweet girl. Plenty of time. I hope they are ready for her energy and determination. Her goal this year is to  make it into the Honor Society. :)

Dylan, 9th grade

Dylan was very excited about starting High School! He's a freshman.
A freshman that just so happens to be a smidge taller than 6 feet.
He said, "High school is epic", and he LOVES that other kids assume he is a junior.
 P.S. He got glasses!  I had no idea the kid was blind. Seriously.
He loves them, and I think they suit him.  Hello, Clark Kent. ;)

I am amazed at Dylan and Karsen's uncanny ability to adapt to change.
Not only adapt, but they embrace it and thrive in it.
There is a lesson for me there.
I am very proud of both of them!

Monday, September 23, 2013

everything has changed

Oh my word, it has been so long since I have written a blog post. Looking back on this year, I have only written 15 posts this year. It sounds like crickets in here, huh?

Well, anyone that knows me well, would take that as a tell-tell sign that I have not been doing well. If you have wondered that, then you have been right.

Not to be negative, but this year has been a tough one. I have been quiet because there have been things that I don't even have the emotional energy to talk or write about. Also, I have an amazing husband who is deeply private, and I felt like if I couldn't talk about what was going on with him, then I couldn't talk period. I had to respect his privacy.

Long story short. Everything has changed. We are back in NC! Can you believe that? So long, Ohio. We will miss you.

The kids and I said our bittersweet farewell 6 weeks ago, and Chris left two weeks later. This big decision came after much deliberation and prayers (and way too many arguments, if I am being honest here).

We are back in NC! Back in the same house, same school district, same church, and same proximity to our families & friends and the Atlantic Ocean :) (Yes, that matters to me).

Here's a the brief and less scary version of the circumstances that brought us all home.

Chris had a health scare April 9th. He spent several days in the hospital in the Neuro-ICU, and he walked out with so many questions and more uncertainty than a healthy 35 year old man knows what to do with. He is doing fine now. We have followed up with several Neurologists and Cardiologists over the last 5 months, and he is healthy.  He finally has some peace of mind that he is going to be OK. Peace of mind is priceless. A blessing, really. Something that we used to take for granted.

We are thankful for that peace of mind. We are thankful for our little family. We are thankful for his health and mine. We are thankful for happy kids that deserve happy parents. After being faced with the unthinkable, it is very easy to discern between what is important and what needs to change.

We felt led with every fiber of our beings to move back to NC to be closer to our family, friends, and all things familiar. Those 3 things matter so much to us, and we decided that the decision was easy.  Nothing mattered more than following our hearts back home.

So, we are home!
Was it an easy decision? NO.
Did we have doubts? YES.
Do we still have doubts? YES and NO.
Are the kids happy? YES!
Are we going to be OK? YES!

Right now, my heart is full. And we are home. More details about my new job, the kids' new schools, and everything in between to come!

“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.”
~Carlos Castaneda

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Harbor Island Day 5

Harbor Island, Summer 2013
We had night after night of amazing sunsets
the night we took family pics was no exception
I can't believe how big the kids are compared to this picture
2 years ago...

Harbor Island Summer 2011
and check out this comparison  
Karsen 2011
Her face just cracks me up in this one.  
Karsen 2013
And so focused in this one
Her height definitely improved in the last two years
Way to go, KG!
Our kiddos sure are growing up fast.
way too fast
Where is the pause button?
You're gonna miss this,  You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
 these are some good times, So take a good look around
 you're gonna miss this

- Ashley Glenn Gorley


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Harbor Island Day 4 wordless

Harbor Island, SC Summer 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Harbor Island Day 3

it's a daily ritual at the island
the shrimps boat come and go
several times throughout the day
and we sit back, relax and watch them
hard at work
with no seemingly pattern to their course
and with them always come
the dolphins and the pelicans
(so fun to watch) up close
you could even differentiate the fins of the dolphins
and there was one particular dark, and uneven fin
I would look for everyday

 and then after a long day
as the sun fades the boats return back to the marina
just to do it all over again tomorrow
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Harbor Island Day 2

thanks to the tropical storm
the first day consisted of scattered showers
that quickly forced us to run into the house
from the beach
after a long day of back and forth it finally brightened up
and we headed out to explore the island

low tide was the perfect time to walk out
in search of the perfect conch shell

seeing this sight
was one of the highlights of the week for me
do you see the rainbow?
this was our view to the east
and then we turned around to make
our way back to the beach house

and saw this up ahead
and we kept walking
as it was setting
just showing off for us
and making me remember why this
is my favorite place to be
I always say that the times in my life when I've been my happiest are the times when I've seen a sunset. -Chris Evans.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Harbor Island Summer 2013 Day 1

12 hours after leaving Ohio
we arrive at the gatehouse to check into
our little secret haven for the week
and these flags just made me smile
I love the great state of South Carolina
the Spanish moss, the palm trees, the dozens of little islands
and I just love their state flag
to pieces
the first day of our vacation consisted of
arriving and crashing onto the nearest flat surface
in sheer exhaustion
just happy to be in a beautiful place
day 2 was a little more exciting
stay tuned....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

fourteen years

Happy 14th Anniversary to us!

Even though everyone told us
we were too young and crazy
I'm so happy we followed our hearts.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

first and last

Hey! We are here. The latest news is Dylan and I just survived 8th grade Algebra. It was touch and go there for a while, but we made it. Sigh* Not without being a little traumatized.

The kids have officially finished another school year. Possibly, the fastest year of our lives to date. Seriously.

Here they are on the their first and last days of School Year 2012-2013.

Karsen, first day of 5th grade Aug 2012

Karsen, last day of 5th grade May 2013

Dylan, first day of 8th grade Aug 2012
Dylan, last day of 8th grad May 2013
This resonates as Karsen all of sudden is going to the 6th grade, and Dylan is officially in high school. *gulp!

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." ~Dr Seuss

Thursday, May 2, 2013

some things stay the same

A lot of things have changed since way back when

Dylan, Batman Age 4
but some things stay the same.

Dylan, Clark Kent Age 13
Evidently, a love for superheroes never grows old.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that heroes and dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten by heroes.”  
~Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

it's ridiculous

I've read it 10+ times
it was a school requirement the first time
the other times I read it just because
It is ridiculous how excited I am about this....
google image
first of all
well, hello there, Leo
you are perfect for this role.
the great jay gatsby
The tough thing is that I have to WAIT to see it
my sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks
and she loves it just a tad MORE
than me
if you can imagine that.
any other English high school requirement nerds out there? ;)
"With every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, April 28, 2013

soccer saturdays

spring soccer has been a big part
 of our Saturdays as of late
(way too) early morning games on the weekend
umbrella chairs, blankets, and coffee in hand
it take a few minutes to warm up on those brisk morning
especially for little girls that know more than their momma
and refuse to wear leggings (sigh) under their shorts
despite the freezing temps 'round these parts
this looks says it all
"mom, stop taking pictures of me please"
I just snap away anyway
and wonder silently to myself
when in the world did her legs get that long?
we shiver
we cheer
we bring drinks and snacks for the team
to celebrate a win or tie (or loss)
at the end of the game
either way, they all have so much fun
during Saturday morning Spring soccer games  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where are you, Spring?

So, this has been the longest winter of my life. Last Thursday, I did a celebratory dance and was so happy because I wore flip flops for the first time in over 6 months. No kidding. Little did I know that 48 hours later I would be sitting at a soccer game in my down coat watching the snow come down.  Karsen had a friend spend Friday night with her, and here we are sharing a Snuggie during the game.

SERIOUSLY!? How do people live in such conditions? I am ready for Spring and I want it now. I have been cold way too long.

Even Dylan is tired of it, and he never complains about anything!  To be honest, I am having a hard time with Ohio right now. Nothing personal, Ohio, but you just aren't for me. You are always gray. You totally dictate my mood, and I wish you didn't have that much control over me. When you are cold, you are so cold. I am over you!

Can you tell which player on the soccer team is from NC? The one in the fleece blanket maybe?

I am hoping this weekend's game is much warmer. Hurry up, Spring!

"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall."  ~Nadine Stair

Deciduous Heather