Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My how things change

When you have small children or babies, I felt like I sometimes got caught up in the mindset of "There's no end to this" ... referring to changing diapers, baby food, formula, big bulky double strollers, heavy over-packed diaper bags, our super over-crowded 780 square foot house in NJ, and the list goes on. Oh and let's not forget what seemed like hundreds of cardiologist visits in the first year of Tyler's life. But the good news is, things change. For the better. Life keeps evolving and so should we. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it?

Fast forward to now. I attended a parent function recently in library at Grand Oak Elementary school, the A+ school I am proud to call ours. It's the school that will educate both of my kids all the way through 5th grade. I was there for the "Parent coffee chat" with the principal, to hear about everything going on at our school in the first month of school. I promised myself I would get more involved this year and even got pulled into the yearbook committee a few weeks back (eek!). This is the school where Julianna attends 2nd grade and Tyler will be in next year for Kindergarten.

My kids are growing up and I am lucky enough to be involved with the PTA & school, walking into school every morning with my kids, and getting involved with their education. I guess I have evolved as a parent too. We've come a long way from the days of formula and diapers. Now my kids are older and in school. Instead of baby talk, I can now discuss the books we have read, talk about friends and life, have 'mature' conversations, and we also have many new friendships in our still relatively new world of North Carolina.

I love that I am lucky enough to still be involved with school even though I work. Working from home affords me this luxury. I get to walk the kids to school, pop in for lunch when I can, pick Julianna up from the bus stop and pick Tyler up from preschool.

EDIT 10/24 - I was just recently laid off from my job after 14 years. Looks like I will be getting even more involved in school stuff for a few months or until I find new employment! 

I've had some of my own personal milestones this year. I started running, which was something I always deep down wanted to do but never had the guts to try. I registered for my first 5k race, another dream I've always wanted to do but shot myself down immediately in thinking, "I'll never be able to do that". I am also working out 5 days a week, early in the morning before the kids get up, on top of running and eating very healthy. I am healthier in my mid (er uh, almost upper) 40's than I was throughout my entire extremely overweight (50+ lbs ago) and unhealthy 30's. It's a daily battle - I have bad days and good days like everyone else. But lately I've had a whole lot of good days! The bad thing is we are about to enter fall and holiday baking. My downfall! haha!

EDIT 10/24 - I started writing this post over 3 weeks ago, and my life got put on hold for a bit - so I ran my 5k this past weekend! I ran the entire time and it was such an accomplishment for me! I am signed up for another 5k in December and possibly a family run on Thanksgiving day! 

It's amazing when you set goals and do small things that make you happy, and how it overflows into other areas of your life and it plays into your overall happiness. A big part of being happy with me is 'acceptance of me'. I have learned to finally accept me, and stop comparing to everyone else and thinking I need to be a supermodel to be happy. I am what I am and will strive each day to be healthier and work towards my goals. Every day is a new day and even if I had a bad day yesterday, I wake up saying I will make today better.

I chopped a foot of my hair off as well recently and love it. 10 years ago, I wouldn't have had the guts to do that either. For a long time, I hid behind my long hair, big clothes and very overweight pre and post-baby body. Now, I feel like I'm climbing a mountain but I still have so much more to explore! I also feel like this year, my marriage has sort of matured to a new level as well.

Another awareness I've had lately is that these 2 little people we have been raising are actually turning out to be pretty OK kids! They are happy and respectful. I try to back off and let them do their own thing, and be themselves. It's empowering to me to be able to let them have their own little lives and grow up right in front of my eyes. I try not to be that helicopter parent as often as I used to, I try to give them their space, something else I've been making a conscience effort to change lately as well.

Walking to school on a typical day

New short cut for me! 

After the finish line at my first 5k this past weekend. 
My family (including Pepper) was there to meet me!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What's new in our world?

My goal is to blog at least once a month with updates. I used to do it every few days when the kids were younger in order to document our life for them, in hopes they would one day go back and read everything and appreciate us capturing our lives for them to later enjoy. Funny thing is I think I had less free time then, and yet somehow I got it done. Most of my new North Carolina friends probably aren't aware that I have been doing this for the last 7 years (wow!).

Here is the status-quo on things. I'll do a separate update on myself next time.

Tyler's health has been nothing short of stellar. He is now down to one cardiologist appointment a year, and we really like the Pediatric Cardiology group he goes to, which is affiliated with Levine Children's hospital in Charlotte. Regardless of this current health, there is still that looming 'what if' for the future. That feeling is always in the back of my mind.
He's in Pre-K this year and loves school. Apparently he behaves and listens to the rules (Bahahahaaaa!). I really thought he would be THAT kid in school. So far, he hasn't been, with the exception of the toy hitting incident, which was isolated to one day. I talked to him and he promised not to do it again... If only! Next year will be the big test, when he enters Kindergarten. The good news is, he will be in the same school as Julianna and I know she will check in on him during the day. He keeps saying that he can't wait to be in the big school with sissy.
Tyler is really the epitome of a Mama's boy. This kid just adores his Mama and I love every minute of it. Everyone always told me how different boys are, and there couldn't be any truer statement. At night, he asks me to snuggle with him and puts his arm around me, and tells me he loves me. My heart almost bursts into a million pieces when he says that. Don't get me wrong, Julianna is the love of my life too, but she has a much more special relationship with Brian. She is definitely Daddy's girl.

School is treating Julianna good. She is happy in school, happy when she gets off the bus and loves all of her friends. Our school does not give out homework, however all kids do need to read for 20 minutes each night. Some nights are a struggle trying to get her to read. She would much rather be playing with her American dolls or Barbies, or with her neighborhood friends, or on the iPad (like most kids!).
She is making so many new friends, and hopefully some will remain life long friends. This is something I never really had as a child since we moved around often, and I switched schools very often bouncing between public & private until I was in 10th grade.
Me and the kids walk to school every day unless it's raining or unless it's too cold once Winter hits. The good things is, even during Winter, you don't get that long lasting frigid cold like we got in New Jersey, so we should still be able to walk some mornings during those few months.

We still own our house in NJ and rent it out. Right now we are in between renters and the house needed some cosmetic work, including interior paint and some other work (like dig up & cover/seed the firepit our renters thought it would be fine to put in the ground the backyard - WTH!). Brian went back to New Jersey a few weekends ago to do work on the house, along with my In Laws who helped him out as well. They did a lot of work in that little amount of time and the new listing is out there now. Crossing our fingers we get renters soon.
We also needed to part ways with our old Property Manager and hire a new one. The old property manager did not work out and we needed to go with someone new. Our new manager has been wonderful to work with and he is local to Hopatcong. We feel that he and the property management company will do a great job.

End of summer
Summer came to an end, and while we've had some abnormally hot weather, we are finally coming into some cooler days. It should start to feel more like fall any day now. The Macaulay pool closed up mid-September and with that, came the End of the Year "Dog pool party". Everyone brings their dogs and lets them loose to swim and run around. It's controlled doggy chaos, but lots of fun. We brought Pepper and she was a trooper... we put her in the water and then she ran for the gate!
When we were in NJ, the end of the summer meant it was time to winterize the boat, and put it on the trailer in the driveway for 6 long cold months. Not here. No winterizing. We will be going out on the lake as weather allows all fall/winter. One of the many perks of our beautiful North Carolina weather.

Adjusting to our new life in North Carolina
This is our forever home. After 2 years, I still have no hesitation in saying this. We love living here and have zero regrets about making the plunge to move out of New Jersey. I love our house, and I love our neighborhood. Not everyone gets lucky like we do with such terrific neighbors. I am never leaving our house. Not to mention, I am never moving again. This last move was taxing - I am not doing that again. As far as where we live, again I feel we really lucked out, this has turned out to be the best possible scenario for us as far as where we live and all the amenities & quality of life. It's fun to still explore all that this area has to offer. We can drive up to the Mountains for a day or go to a food truck festival in Charlotte or explore Lake Norman (which we will never get tired of).

I am still missing my friends from NJ - I don't think that ever goes away. There is a certain familiarity that comes with long time friends. It's that comfort level of just being able to send a text or calling any time of the day or night, and picking up where you left off, having that quick intimate conversation with your friend that only she can understand, because she knows EVERYTHING there is to know about you, and there's no judgements. It's that person who has a special place in your heart forever, even though you don't talk to them every day or even every week. It takes a long time to find people in your life like that again. This is a process still for me. I still feel like an outsider sometimes and miss those special friendships. For me, I would say this is still the hardest part about relocating and everyone who has done it says it takes a long time to get adjusted with that aspect of your life. Don't get me wrong, we have met some fabulous people and made some amazing new friends, but true deep down friendships take time to develop much like a marriage does.


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