Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Spring is finally arriving in Charlotte.  We've been spreading mulch and,for the first time, I have successful tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings.  I'm putting out chard and kale tomorrow I'm hoping to start planting carrot, lettuce, beets, and radishes in the next week.

It used to be that I'd start the spring garden over UNC Charlotte's spring break (which is always the first week of  March).  But I figured out last night that it's been years since I've done that.

7 years ago, I had my colon resectioned due to diverticulitis.
6 years ago, I was on bed rest with the twins.
5 years ago, I had 8 month old twins and I was a zombie.
3 years ago, Christopher had  been in the hospital and I was catching up from that.  I think I sprung a little.
2 years ago, Bridget started her hospital odyssey and I know for a fact that Spring sprung the 10 days from when we entered until we left.
Last year, no one was in the hospital, I was still in recovery mode, and it was still cold in March.  I really didn't have the emotional energy for a big garden and I kept expecting that every cough would send us back in the hospital for a week.

Now?  Now, I'm having a lot of fun getting my hands dirty.  Bridget is coughing.  She is actually coughing quite a bit right now.  She is coughing enough that her classmates ask why she coughs so much more than they do.  ((Frowny face))  And she's coughing enough that we're checking her numbers and they are 'ok'.  Not great, but ok.

BUT.  (all my friends have a big but)  We know what to do now.  We have prednisone at the house.  We have a recent history of everything turning out ok without low O2 numbers.

And we have, what feels like, the first spring in a bazillion years where we can hang and play and enjoy the sunshine.

It feels like it's been a really, really long time.

Monday, March 09, 2015

First Family Skiing Trip

Yes, it was expensive.  It's probably one of the more expensive vacations we've ever taken.  But that, my friends, is not saying much.  We camp.  $50  day for lodging and food for a family of 5 is "expensive" to us.

But I am telling you right now, it was worth every penny.  Our condo/hotel was one of the, um, less fancy ones.  But the view was amazing. This was the view when we arrived.

This was sunset.

And this was sunsrise.

These are the kids enjoying the pool size hot tub (WHOOOAAO!) in the bathroom.

But what about the skiing?  Wasn't that the point?  Yes.  Yes, it was.  So, let's talk about me for a minute here.  When I rollerblade, I prefer flat spaces and going  UP hills.  I hate, hate, hate going down hills at any rate of speed.  So when my ski instructor took me down the bunny slope at breakneck speed (not really, but it felt that way), I actually had to stop him and tell him that I didn't think that skiing was going to work out for me.  Yeah.  That is exactly how lame I am.  The bunny slope scared the bejeesus out of me

So, I took many, many deep breaths and we did it again.  Much slower with with me pizza wedging from side to side all the way down.  And I did that again and again and again and again.  On the freaking bunny slope.  They stopped actually checking my tag on the way up the "Magic Carpet" moving sidewalk because I did it so many times.  Apparently, an old woman with a bright pink ski jacket stands out on the bunny slopes.  

Oh, yes.  For those  of you not on Facebook, I fired Dave as my teacher when the first thing he did was take me to the top and show me how to do a "Hockey stop."  I don't know much, but at that point I knew I needed to learn Pizza and French Fry.  

So on Day 1, I foolishly thought I could take a Green Run.  I probably could have done it with someone who wasn't as advanced as Dave. But Dave is a naturally very, VERY good skier.  And when I wiped out just getting off the chair lift, he froze like a deer in headlights at the Mac Truck in a pink ski jacket coming down after him. 

Day 2 was A LOT better.  It was a lot warmer so the snow was very slushy, which real skiers don't like but Bunny Slope experts who hate speed LOVE!  I learned to turn and traverse the slope.  I did parts of a green run that did not require a chair lift.  I made many people's day when I wiped out several times just standing there on my skis.  The best was when I put on my skis and promptly fell on my arse right in front of the family deck.  I turned around to see who was watching me and 4 people immediately began to look for birds in the sky.  I'm a professor.  I can tell when the audience doesn't want to be called upon.  

I'm really looking forward to going again.  But my goal, at this point, is to become a master of the green slopes.  I am not, at this point, aiming for anything higher than that.  

But what about the kids? Well, the kids had a great time.  Here they are getting fitted for the Sugar Bear School.  

They all passed Level 1, beginner on the first day.  However, the twins were red-shirted part way through Day 2.  Christopher  had the skills but not the confidence.  Bridget had the confidence but not the skills.  The instructor said all we need to do is keep them out on the slopes at this age, and they'll be fine skiers eventually.

Conor, on the other hand, is a natural just like his dad.  He passed Level I on day one and Level II on day two. The instructor said he was very good and with a bit more practice would be ready for the BLUE runs.  That's intermediate, folks.  Conor can pizza and hockey stop and generally be a very good skier.  He, too, wiped out on his first chair lift (and Dave did, too, a zillion years ago) so maybe that's common.  But Conor had a blast and I think, this may be one of the sports he's really good at.  

I have to be honest, and Conor agreed, dance class, where they tell you to focus on this body part and have it do that sort of thing is exactly the sort of skill that help when you're learning any new sport. I am so proud of him, I can't stand it.  Really.  He is amazing.  

And finally.  Feet. Imagine a duck's foot and you will have a good idea what my feet look like.  I was  very concerned that I would not be able to fit into any ski boots.  Apparently, though, I am not the only duck who likes to ski.  I will be honest with you:  my feet are rarely happy.  But when I took off my ski boots and put on my F'uggs (Fake Uggs), my feet have never, ever been happier.  Good to know that I can wear ski boots and my feet can actually be happy, too.

We're already planning our next ski trip.  

Friday, March 06, 2015

We're Going Skiing

For the first time as a family, and as a first time in my life, we are going skiing.

The reason this is a big deal (beyond the obvious that watching an old lady--me--learn to ski is going to be very funny) is that during the worst parts of the financial woes of the twins in daycare, a minivan payment, and no raises, we fantasized about what we would do when we had $2000 extra per month to deal with.  Yes.  Those of you with children know what I'm talking about.  Those of you without children just re-upped your birth control.

In all honesty, we still have substantial debt to pay off.  I'd like to pay it off as quickly as possible and live as spartan as we've lived before to use all that money to pay down the credit cards. And for the most part we are (Stitch Fix, Ipsy, Club W, and Lakeview Farm Fresh Milk Home delivery excepted).  FEEL FREE TO USE THOSE LINKS AT  ANY POINT!!  :-)

But the ski trip is a Real Splurge.  And something that, while we can currently afford, would normally be used to make another big payment off those cards.

I. Don't. Care.

I would rather take another month to pay off a credit card and have a family experience when all our kids still like us. We are incredibly cheap in hundred different ways (homemade bread and yogurt are two).   I want to see my children romp in the snow, learn to ski, and basically spend quality, active time together.

We'll take a few years skiing  in the NC mountains.  And then when everything is paid off, maybe we'll check out skiing in Colorado or Utah. Or somewhere extra fancy.  Really, the extra fancy is  not  nearly as  important  as the short time we've  got together before  our children are gone out in this world.

Feel free to wish me luck, but refrain from saying "Break A Leg" because  I think that's a real possibility!!