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Here’s What I’ve Been Up to For the Past Year

Posted by Carol on December 8, 2010

Obviously, it hasn’t been writing.

My last serious (by serious, I mean more than a few words) blog post was around this time last year. I have found that the busier I am, the harder it is for me to write even though it seems the opposite would be true. If I’m busier, it would be logical to think that I have more to write about.

However, I have found that when my brain is full of  “stuff I need to do” the creative section takes a back seat to the busy section. If I don’t have much going on in my life, the creative stuff has room in my brain to grow and develop into ideas and a story or blog post.  Is it like that for you, too?  Or am I just weird?

Wait, I think I already know the answer.

My lack of writing would mean that my life has been very busy and full since moving to Colorado in July of 2009. And that’s a good thing, but I miss writing and I miss you. So, it is my intention to start writing this blog again. Here’s hoping anyway.

Ok, back on topic – what have I been up to?  Hmmm, let’s see…

In the fall of ’09 I got my Colorado Real Estate Broker license. You can read about that here and here.  I loved it when I first started and I still love it. All in all, I am very happy with how my first year in the business has gone. I have a fantastic mentor who is generous, honest and wise. She is teaching me so much more that I would have learned on my own this year. I am happy to be working with Keller Williams Realty. It is a real estate company whose founder, CEO, and president are Christians and run the company on Christian principles.  I am working on getting a couple of professional designations to keep up my education and help me serve my clients better. And I even have a few transactions under my belt!

On the family front, Darling Daughter left for her freshman year of college this past August making Dear Hubby and I empty nesters. I was a mess when College Son left in the fall of ’07 – so much so that Hubby was very worried about what my mental state would be when my baby left. After all, she was just in kindergarten last year.

But I surprised both of us by mostly being ok with the whole empty nest situation. I think it is easier the second time around, but I attribute it to the fact that Hubby and I are in a much better place in our marriage than we were in 2007. And that is a very good thing!

As hard as it was to leave our friends, church, and home in New Jersey after we had lived there for 10 years, I am loving life in Colorado. We live very close to my husband’s brother and his family. They have become our dearest friends here. I just love their kids (it helps with the empty nest thing) and my sister-in-law is the absolute best! My mother-in-law lives nearby, too. This is the closest we have ever lived to family our entire married life of almost 25 years. And to be completely honest, while it does have its challenges, I have to say that living near family is better than living far away. 

 Also, jumping right into real estate almost as soon as our last box was unpacked, forced me out of my comfort zone and opened the door for me to meet many, many wonderful people both in and out of the real estate world. I tried (unsuccessfully) to start a business networking group, and even though it didn’t take off the way I’d hoped, I am very thankful for the contacts and friends I made through that attempt.

So that’s really it. That’s what I’ve been up to. Nothing really earth shattering or super exciting, but I am thankful and happy and look forward to our second full year in Colorado.

And I look forward to a new year of blog posts 😉

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Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, Dear Husband, family | 1 Comment »

Further Proof That Martha Really Doesn’t Live Here

Posted by Carol on March 6, 2009

Monday was Darling Daughter’s 17th birthday. I swear she was 5  just last week. I guess I blinked.

But anyway, in our family, when it’s your birthday, you get to pick what you want for dinner and, most importantly, what kind of birthday cake you would like.

For several years in a row now, Darling Daughter has decided that she’s just not that into cake.

I know!

So, for several years in a row now, she has chosen to have a giant chocolate chip cookie for her birthday celebration. In years past I have gone to the Big Cookie section of our grocer’s bakery and got a very pretty Big Birthday Cookie, but this year she decided she didn’t want all the flowers and frosting and fancy writing on her cookie. She just wanted a Big Cookie.

Well, I thought, if she doesn’t want all that fancy schmancy stuff on her Big Birthday Cookie, then I can make one myself and our grocer can just keep his Big Cookie this year.

Here’s how it came out:

laurens-17th-birthday-005

I’ll be taking orders via email. Don’t expect anything fancy.

Posted in Darling Daughter, Martha Doesn't Live Here | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

The Gingerbread House

Posted by Carol on December 9, 2008

gingerbread-house-002

I have written in the past about my lack of mad decorating skillz, but now I am offering proof.  Here is a picture of a gingerbread house Darling Daughter and I assembled this past weekend.

Notice I said “assembled” rather than “made”. I bought a kit at the grocery store that had all the parts ready to go. All we had to was “glue” it together with the royal icing and stick the candy in the right places.  Even so, I somehow managed to put one side of the roof on upside down. Fortunately there is enough sugar to hide even the worst decorating transgressions and keep our dentist in business for a very long time.

If you want to see a true gingerbread work of art, check out Linda’s masterpiece that she made from scratch. No kits for her, just lots of blood, sweat, and tears flour, sugar, and candy.

Oh, well. Easter will be here before we know it and I will once again get to show off my inner Martha Stewart when we decorate those eggs. With a kit, of course.

Posted in Darling Daughter, holidays, Martha Doesn't Live Here | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Carol goes to New York City

Posted by Carol on November 10, 2008

Lysa Terkeurst was not the only one to hit the big city this weekend. On Friday, Darling Daughter, one of her friends, and her mom, L, and I went into New York City to see Cirque Du Soleil. The show we saw was called Wintuk. It’s the story of a young boy’s search to bring snow back to his village. 

The show was fantastic and we were amazed by the talent and physical strength of the performers. We were not allowed to take pictures during the performance, but I got a few NYC shots and I snuck a couple of the grand finale of, you guessed it, lots and lots of snow.

nyc-nov-08-003

 

 

nyc-nov-08-005

You may recognize the “Panda and the Indian” from a previous post.

nyc-nov-08-0071Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

nyc-nov-08-009Times Square is that way –>

The show was wonderful and the boy faced great obstacles and big adventures to bring the snow back.

Someone should have told him that snow is highly over-rated. Before he fought off the snow monsters.

After the show, we did some shopping and then out to a delicious Italian dinner.  My feet were killing me by the time we got home, but then again, I don’t think I have ever gone to NYC without my feet being ready to fall off by the end of the day. 

And it’s always totally worth it.

Posted in Darling Daughter, pictures | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

A Wise Fool?

Posted by Carol on August 26, 2008

For those of you out there struggling through 2 AM feedings, potty training, the terrible twos, the first day of kindergarten and all those other wonderful but sometimes grueling milestones that come with raising younger children, here’s a glimpse of what’s to come when those little ankle biters grow into teenagers.

First, just a little background – our 19 year old son just started his sophomore year of college at a local school so he is living at home this semester.  His freshman year was spent at a large university over 1000 miles away, so he has had 9 months of total freedom from his parents.  No curfews, no calling mom if he is running late, no one telling him to do his homework, clean his room, etc.  And he did a very good job. 

Having him home again has been great, but has required some adjustments on both sides. For example, yesterday he helped some of his friends move back to college about a half hour away.  The original plan was that he was going to spend the night at the college, so we were not expecting him home.  We had been in bed for several hours when we heard the garage open at 1:45 AM.  College Son came not too quietly up the stairs and into our room.

CS – “Just wanted to let you know that I came home. They don’t have air conditioning at the college and I couldn’t sleep.”

Us -“Gee, thanks for letting us know. Good night.”

Next thing we know it’s 3:30 AM and all the lights are on in our house.  I got out of bed to see who was still up and what was going on and discovered that not only was College Son nowhere to be found, but neither was our 16 year old Dear Daughter.

Thank goodness for cell phones because I called DD’s phone and she answered it like it was 3:30 in the afternoon.

Us – “Where are you and CS?”

DD – “We went out for a drive to talk.”

Us -“You couldn’t just stay home and talk?”

DD – “No, we wanted a change of scenery.”

Us – “Well, come home right now and the next time you want a change of scenery, wait until morning and ask us first.”

DD – “Ok, we’re almost home.  We’ll be there in one minute.”

And sure enough, we heard the garage door open for the second time in the middle of that night.

Wouldn’t common sense have told CS that he should have reversed things a bit?  That he should have NOT woken us up to tell us he was home when we weren’t expecting him to be, yet when he was taking his 16 year old sister OUT of the house at three in the morning, that might be something we’d be interested in knowing?

I looked up the word sophomore in dictionary.com.  It is derived from two Greek words.  The first one is sophos which means wise.  The second is moros which means stupid. 

If the shoe fits.

Tee Hee!

Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, family | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Just Keepin’ It Real With a List

Posted by Carol on August 6, 2008

As I am sure you are all fully aware, August is here.  Although I am loving the warm summer days, and the longish daylight hours of this season, August is bittersweet to me this year for several reasons. 

They are:

1.  College Son is not 100% sure he does not want to go back to the evil college that took him over 1777 miles from home last year.  He has not withdrawn yet, and we have paid no tuition anywhere, so he very well could end up back there.  The ironic part is that I think it may be the very best thing for him to do.  We discussed it at length today, and even as my heart started aching thinking of him leaving again, the words coming out of my mouth were all the reasons he should probably return.  He’s got some very good reasons for staying here, too, though.  He has to decide by next week. Edited to add: It looks like CS is staying in-state after all! 

2.  August means school will be starting for Dear Daughter in a few weeks.  (Sigh)  If you have been reading my blog since before the summer, you know that she has some, uh, let’s say, issues with school.  None of which are her fault and I’m not just being a protective mama bear.  We’re not even sure where she will be attending school this fall.  Her old school? Most likely not.  A different public school?  Maybe.  A private Christian school?  That would be my preference, but slim pickin’s where we live.  Homeschool?  Not the best choice for her for a number of reasons, but an excellent option if we need it.  So, stress?  Yes.

3.  Dear Hubby has been out of town for over a week and counting.  Yes, he has a return ticket home, so not to worry, but, GET HOME ALREADY! (sorry for shouting)

4.  We will be having a house guest next week whom I have never met. This person will be here for 7 nights.  I normally LOVE, LOVE, LOVE company, but this one has me praying for an extra serving of the Fruit of the Spirit in my life next week.  And that’s all I can say about that.

So, August this year, not so much my favorite month.  September might be looking better.  We’ll see. Here’s what I’ll be doing in the meantime…

I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” 

Good advice, I must say.

 

 

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Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, Dear Husband, family | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Teen Logic

Posted by Carol on July 1, 2008

In our house, we never rarely use bad language.  My kids are not little, so it would not be the end of the world if they heard mom or dad “slip” and say a curse word now and then, but we don’t have to worry about them repeating things at inopportune times anymore, like in Sunday School or in front of the pastor.  But we just don’t do it. 

Both Dear Hubby and I were raised in Christian homes where there was no cursing, went to a Christian high school, and then a very legalistic Christian college.  If we had said a curse word at college, there would have been a distinct possibility that we would have our tongues cut out of our mouths with a dull machete. 

But other than that, college was a total blast.

Not that I’m in favor of using curse words.  As a Christian we do want to be salt and light and different from the world.  But I don’t fall over in anaphalactic shock if I hear a bad word.

All that to say, the other day my teenage daughter and I were talking and she let the word H.E.L.L. slip.  She caught herself and waited for my reaction. 

“So, you learned a new vocab word at school?” I said.

“Uhm, no, I just decided that H.E.L.L. is not a bad word to use.”

“Oh, why is that?”

“Well”, she explained, “we don’t use God’s name because He is holy and we want to show Him respect,  but H.E.L.L. is just a place made for Satan and his demons.  Why should we treat it with the same reverence and respect that we give to God’s name?  It’s just a word and by not using it we are putting it on the same level with things that deserve to be set apart.”

Allrightythen.

I think I will send her to my Alma Mater and have her explain things to the Dean.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Darling Daughter | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Un Ballo in Maschera or Carol Goes to the Opera

Posted by Carol on April 17, 2008

My grandparents came from Italy, so when my daughter had to sign up for her 9th grade classes, I was thrilled when I saw she chose Italian as her foreign language. I assumed that she wanted to study the language of her heritage and converse with her great-grandmother in her native tongue.  Later I found out it was simply because the French teacher is mean and she was sick of Spanish. I guess I’ll have to put my cannoli recipe away – it looks like we won’t be celebrating Italian heritage day after all.

This year, she is in Italian II. Her teacher, Mrs. B. is also from Italy. As a result, she not only can teach her class grammar and conjugation of verbs, but likes to expose them to Italian culture as much as possible. Each year, Mrs. B. takes her students to New York City to see the Metropolitan Opera perform at the Lincoln Center. They also do a little sight-seeing, stopping at Rockefeller Center to see the skaters and the tree all lit up, then off to an authentic Italian restaurant before getting all cultured at the opera.

My daughter went last year, and while they were at Rockefeller Center looking at the tree and skaters, she got a little pale and dizzy – almost passing out.  So when she signed up to go again this year, the teacher got nervous because she must have figured out that if one Italian opera makes you feel faint, the second one might be fatal. As a result, she invited me to come as one of the chaperones.  Not a problem – until I remembered that last summer Mrs. B. took a group of her Italian students on a two week trip to Italy.  Why couldn’t my daughter have gotten sick on that trip? Oh, I guess we would have had to pay the $5000.00 and actually have sent her to Italy for that to happen.  Oh well, the opera then it is.

We had a lovely Italian meal at Seraphina’s in New York City. We almost ended up at Tokyo Sushi because apparently it is a tradition to go out for Asian food before seeing an Italian opera that only the bus driver knew.  I can see how that could be.  An Italian class going to see an Italian opera with an Italian teacher might just decide to go out for Japanese food for a multicultural experience. 

Next, we were off to the opera!  Everything about the opera was larger than life.  The Lincoln Center was stunning, the set, the costumes, the singers all were grande.  Our seats were in the nose bleed section – apparently even the opera offers us common folk a chance at culture by selling the less expensive tickets in exchange for risking plunging off the 6th balcony to our death.  I suppose this happens every once in a while and the opera patrons just assume its part of the show adding to the drama.

And drama there was.  Un Ballo in Maschera is the story of the betrayal and murder of King Gustavo of Sweden by his best friend at a masked ball written by none other than Verdi.  Now, I do have a lot of sympathy for the King, I do.  But the whole darn thing was in Italian (duh!) and there were two intermissions and we had at least an hour bus ride home.  School starts very early, so we were looking at getting very little sleep.

Don’t mess with my sleep, Verdi. 

So by the time King Gustavo got stabbed, we mothers who knew the kind of morning we would be facing with our kids, were done.  Unfortunately, King Gus was not.  He just sang away, very loudly and strong from the stage floor, not at all acting like he was dying. He was declaring his eternal love for Amelia (um, she was his best friend’s wife, which may have had something to do with the stabbing and all – just a guess, since I don’t speak Italian). He also forgave all those who plotted his demise – very noble, but he should have thought of that before he started up with his BFF’s wife. 

The other moms and I felt like we were in that Seinfeld episode where Elaine has been coerced into seeing “The English Patient”.  She gets so fed up with his slow death that she can no longer stand it and yells, “Just die already! Just die!”  Oh that we had Elaine’s total lack of regard for those sitting around us who were actually enjoying poor Gus’s slow and painful death.

Maybe now I understand why my daughter almost passed out during last year’s opera trip.  If only I had figured it out sooner, I could have given Mrs. B a real scare by getting dizzy and plunging off the 6th balcony assuring that I would never be asked to chaperone again.

Posted in Darling Daughter, family, funny stuff | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Daughter, Joshua

Posted by Carol on March 24, 2008

It’s happened.  The thing I’ve been dreading since the day she was born 16 years ago has happened.

We already had a son when we found out we were expecting our second child due in March of 1992.  Of course, we were thrilled. 

For both pregnancies, we decided that we did not want to find out the sex of the baby ahead of time.  (Yes, that technology was available back in the dark ages when we who are now peri-menopausal were pregnant). I felt that finding out that  information was like opening your best Christmas present before the big day, then re-wrapping it and sticking it back under the tree.

Although I chose not to find out the sex of the baby, I would vacillate daily as to whether I wanted 2 boys or a boy and a girl.  Since I only had a sister growing up, I had no clue what it was like having a male child around the house prior to our son’s birth, but I had quickly grown to love all things little boy. Also, I thought it would be great for our son to have a little brother.

Then there was the part of me that loved the idea of a little girl. I envisioned lots of pink frilly clothes and all the other fun feminine things that come along with having a daughter. No, I did not think ahead to the moody teen years, but that’s another post for another day.

My husband, on the other hand, definitely wanted another boy, but not for the macho male reasons you might think.  He was thinking ahead to the moody teen years, and his thoughts included such things as teenage boys wanting to date our future maybe daughter. He felt much safer having another son.

Our son, who was 3 years old when our new baby was born, had decided that he was, in fact, having a little brother and called his little sister Joshua for the first two months she was home.

My baby girl, now 16 years old, can, at times, be that moody teenager Hubby envisioned. But the vast majority of the time she is a joy. She is smart, adventurous, and fun with a great sense of humor. She is also a dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty. So it was just a matter of time before the boys would start knocking on our door.  Some have knocked, but she has never answered.

Until now.

My baby has a boyfriend. But God, in His infinite mercy, has seen fit that the first boy that she would really like would live over 1000 miles away.

 Thank You, Jesus.

Posted in Darling Daughter | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Opera Trip – the Prequel

Posted by Carol on December 26, 2007

You have already heard about my very educational and culture filled trip to the opera.  What I did not tell you was that the morning of the opera, I had my annual appointment with my GYN and she came very close to losing me as a patient.

I have some very strict rules about the person who is my Gyn. 

Rule #1 –  They must be female. 

The only man who gets to see me naked is my husband. Believe me, its not that much of a privilege. You may point out that is pretty uptight of me to have a “female only” rule, and I would agree.  You may say that male Gyn’s are professionals, that they are licensed physicians.  Well, all I have to say is that my name is not on their license.  When they can produce a license with my name on it, I will reconsider.

Rule #2 – I cannot socialize with my Gyn outside of her doctor’s office. 

I did actually stop going to one doctor because of this rule.  I was speaking at a series of women’s events held at our church over a course of six Sunday evenings.  The Monday morning after the last session at church, I had my annual exam.  There I was, sitting on the edge of the exam table wearing that most flattering paper gown and the doctor walked in. 

The first words out of her mouth were, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”. 

Me – “Well, I have been here before, but it has been a year.”

Her – “No, definitely somewhere else, and not too long ago.”

Me – “Sorry, I can’t think of where it might have been.”

Her – “Oh, I know!  You spoke to the women’s group at my church last night, didn’t you?”

That is the only time I have ever felt embarrassed about serving the Lord.

Wouldn’t you know I started running into her every Sunday morning after that?  Sorry, but praising the Lord and Gyn exams just don’t mix as far as I’m concerned.  I’d much rather have her as a friend at church than a doctor.

I am only this way about my Gyn.  My other docs can be male or female. I can socialize just fine with any other kind of medical professional.  Blame it on my Baptist upbringing. I blame a lot of stuff on that.

None of my doctors have known about THE RULES lest they think I am crazy strange and decide to refer me to another kind of doctor.

What does all this have to do with the opera? Let me tell you.

Once again, there I am sitting on the end of the exam table the morning of the molto grande opera trip (after which I am now semi-fluent in Italian, BTW).  Only this time I am wearing a lovely pink cotton exam gown rather than paper when Dr. D walks in.

As she is looking over my chart, Dr. D says, “So, what are you doing the rest of today?”

Me – “Oh, I am going with my daughter’s Italian class on a field trip.”

Dr. D – “To the opera?!”

Me – “Yes! How did you know?”

Dr. D – “My daughter takes Italian at ______ High School! She’s a junior. Her name is C and what a time we had finding just the right outfit for this trip!  I wish I could go as a chaperone, but my other daughter has a band concert tonight that I can’t miss. Maybe I’ll go next year. If you go again next year maybe we can do some shopping in the City before the opera.  That would be so much fun.  Wouldn’t our daughters just die if they knew we were having this conversation about them?!”

There are over 1200 students at my daughter’s high school.  There are over 100 Gyn’s within a 50 mile radius of my house.  What are the odds of this conversation happening?  I think I should go play the lottery- oh, wait, I forgot about that Baptist upbringing for a second. How silly of me.

Posted in Darling Daughter, funny stuff, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »