Me Time! Oh How I have missed you!!

So, at 6PM, I heard the sound of the garage door closing.  I was alone.  My husband, son, and daughter had just gone to a high school football game.  I had that moment where I wondered if I should have went too.  I thought part of me was going to regret that I didn't go, but the other part of me--the tired part, the exhausted part, was just so thankful that FatherWinter was fine with taking Honeybee as well.  Truthfully, I had not thought of him taking her, but not complaining that he had.

It was Superbug's first high school football game and the guys were sure to have a great bonding experience.  As they walked out the door, garage door descending, I debated about what I should do next.  Should I see a movie?  War Room was released and I really wanted to see it, but that was a movie I think I'd like to see with FatherWinter.  With a little work, I might be able to convince him to see it with me.  I thought about going out to grabsome Panda Express and some red velvet cupcakes from my favorite cupcakery.  But, and isn't this horrid, I didn't want to drive.  Truth be told, I just wanted to chill. And that's just what I did.

I ordered my favorite pizza in the world that I never get because FatherWinter hates the brand. I got my special garlic cheese sauce.  I grabbed my cheese sticks.  I had it delivered, which is a no no, but I was exhausted.  The delivery guy delivered it and we had a wonderful albeit conversation about faith. Then, after eating to my heart's content and cleaning my mess, I went upstairs, popped on the television, and watched nonsense until I fell asleep.  It was great.

The family came home about 11PM.  I didn't move even as they settled into their respective areas.  I simply rolled over, adjusted the pillows, and fell asleep.

I don't get me time often.  But when I do, it's more than enjoyable to me.

Time is Relative

It’s amazing to me how fast time can seem to glow and at the same time crawl to a snail’s pace. I’m learning as the month slowly progresses to September that time is going to do what time does—continue at its own pace.  

Finalization Progress.  A couple of days ago, I contacted Mrs. Care to see how things were progressing with Honeybee’s finalization.  We’d heard nothing since our lawyer had sent in the paperwork on my birthday.  I wanted to know if she had heard anything before I contacted our lawyer.  [And] She had.  There is still a delay occurring in the court system where Honeybee’s finalization will occur.  Sigh.  The court system only just received her court case files from her other hearings last week.  That information has to be processed and then the paperwork which was sent in this time.  BUT, that processing cannot occur until the cases and casework that was submitted in earlier cases (before Honeybee’s) is processed.  Where we’d once been told we could expect to receive finalization notice before Labor Day now seems to be before the end of September.  Insert HUGE sigh here.  I got off the phone feeling a bit disappointed.  While nothing changes here because our Honeybee is still with us, happy, and growing, she is still not legally our daughter.  And it still isn’t completely done when finalization occurs.  We still have to get new birth certificates and social security cards.  It is my sincere hope that FatherWinter and I can take the day off work and go down to Vital Records together once we have the finalization notice.  We can just go to Vital Records and get the birth certificate and head to the Social Security office to get her new card.  Hopefully, that will be sooner than later.

Daycare.  Yesterday, I went to pick Honeybee up from daycare.  As NanaWinter still watches her on the latter part of the week, the staff knew yesterday would be her last day there for the week.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the information that it would also be her last day in the baby care room.  Oh my goodness!!! Can I tell you how emotional I felt myself getting?!  Next week, my Honeybee will be going to the big girl class.  She’ll sit in big girl chairs in big girl tables.  She’ll learn songs and colors and new experiences.  She’ll make friends and have a great time.  At least that is my hope.  But isn’t it funny how time can flow so slow in one scenario and flow so quickly in another?  I kid you know it seems like I was just dropping Honeybee off at daycare for the first time and getting emotional over that.  Now, there’s a milestone here and I’m amazed by it.

Superbug.  So I spent part of yesterday updating our family’s Google calendar with all of the appropriate information for Superbug.  His county has come out with the school calendars and there are abbreviated days, holidays, parent days, and activities that must be locked in before they catch us unaware.  This year opens new doors for Superbug.  He is a chess whiz.  He gets to join the chess club at school and he really wants to.  There is an option for school chorus this year.  He wanted to do it last year, but the major performance was going to be the week we were out of town and I didn’t want him to be disappointed that we couldn’t come.  The option exists this year.  There are also a few other things that he gets to do that he couldn’t do last year.  It’s such a blessing to see the little man that he is becoming. He has his own interests now and I hope that he will be allowed to pursue them.  I loved that my great-grandmother was such a loving individual, but she was very sheltering.  A lot of things I wanted to do, I couldn’t and I always felt bad about that.  I plan to continue to take her example of being a loving and wonderful mother figure and apply it, but also allow Superbug an opportunity to spread his wings a bit more and become his own little person. 

Announcements.  Well, the last four weeks have garnered three weeks of pregnancy notifications.  There is something in the water for sure.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t decided to swim around my way lol.  I’m super excited for the new expecting mommies.  I wish them all the joy in the world.  Babies are truly a joy.  I'm so happy those I love get to experience the same.  

Weekend Recap: Superbug Returns and Yummy Meals

Superbug is back!!
Superbug has returned!!  Woohoo!  It's been more than a little interesting having both Superbug and I away from home at the same time, but in different locations.  Technology is certainly a great tool as I was able to FaceTime with FatherWinter and Honeybee every night.  Superbug has a traditional cell phone and not a smart phone, so I was only able to call him nightly.  I loved hearing his voice, but certainly missed him.

He had a great time with his birth father as always and came back with all of his school supplies and a few new outfits.  That was certainly awesome!  I'm very thankful that Superbug has a great relationship with FatherPharoah.  They always make some pretty cool memories when they are together.  Plus it's a great boon that everyone gets along and genuinely enjoy each other's company.  I know that my family isn't the only one that operates well as a blended family, but I am told it's an exception and not a rule. (Honeybee's Guardian Ad Litem enlightened me).

Anywho, I picked him up the day after my arrival from the airport, got back through the summer traffic congestion, and quickly changed clothes to take the family to a rather nice restaurant to celebrate my in-laws 46th wedding anniversary.

I have to tell you that I really enjoyed this place.  They make all of their food from scratch using locally available produce and meats.  Everything is made in house including the bread and pastas.  I loved everything.  I had my crab cakes (I know.  I know, but I love crab cakes).  They were very delicious, but I think the ones in SC had them beat.  But that doesn't take away anything from them because the crab cakes were amazing here too.  Now, hands down the smashed potatoes I had at this local restaurant were SO good.  They tasted like my great-grandmothers.  They were real potatoes and were seasoned so well.  Loved them.

Superbug wolfed down his breaded chicken tenders (which he claimed were awesome with a big thumbs up).  FatherWinter had his ribs and devoured them.  It was a great meal and a wonderful time to spend with the in laws.

I hope I'm blessed to see 46 years in marriage.  It would be more than wonderful to do so.   We'll see what God has in store!

Welcome back to my Superbug!!!


Charleston, SC

While on a business trip to Charleston, SC, I decided to take some of my down time to visit a few sites in the city.  I've never been there before, but have always wanted to partly because of the deep historical and architectural significance.

The city didn't hesitate to share its history with me.

The city's children could run up and through this fountain.  On a humid day, it hit the spot

I  took a walk near the Charleston Waterfront Park and just enjoyed the beautiful fountain, the cool breeze, and the beautiful architecture that was constantly surrounding me.  My colleague accompanied me and I was very fortunate that she also loves and appreciates such things.  She's traveled extensively in Europe and saw a lot of European inspiration in the buildings.  She thought about how the colonists settled in the area and saw the connection immediately.

Most of the older or restored buildings had markers that designated their year and any awards they won for the resoration

The Art Institute has a campus in Charleston.  Some of its students went across the street to sketch on the stairs.

We found this jewel in a hotel courtyard.  If you look carefully, you'll see the bottom fountain bowl is actually multi-colored.
There was so much for our eyes to feast on it that it would have almost been easy to forget to feed our bellies.  Almost...

We stopped at a local restaurant called Charleston Crab House.  Can I tell you how much I loved these crab cakes?!  Oh my goodness!  They were so yummy I ended up writing a review on them for Tripadvisor.  The service was great.  The food was spectacular and it was visited again the next day!!

It made waking up every morning to prep for meetings a lot less painful.  Though I have to admit that my meetings weren't half bad.  New experiences will never be taken for granted.

Meeting bound....
In the afternoons, I was able to return to the our hotel and enjoy some quiet time.  I took advantage of room service only once.    I wasn't really that impressed....except for the cake.  The cake was amazing.

Not the Lobster Roll I was expecting, but I won't complain.

This Carrot Cake was pretty good though

All in all, it was a very productive trip.  I hope to return one day with FatherWinter and the kids.  It has a lot of wonderful attractions and things to keep everyone entertained.  Plus, it has tons of history and I love that.  Of course there is also tragedy here.

It was my sincere desire to visit Mother Emanuel AME Church to pay homage to the victims of the Charleston 9 Massacre.  Unfortunately, it rained a lot in Charleston and the area wasn't so easy to navigate for me in the rain.  The downtown streets flood quite a bit there.  I do plan on returning to pay my respects the next time I am down.

Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Business Travel: Has it been that long?

So, today, I started the first leg of a very rare out of state business trip for a program I'm backfilling while its assigned analyst is on maternity leave.  No problem.  I've done business travel before.  I mean, heck, before I became mommy and wife, I was traveling (at one point) 3 weeks out of the month.  I had points for every airline, well over 40-50k worth of hotel points for most business hotel chains, and some of the chains even remembered me and my preferences--placing me in the same room with the same perks just because they remembered them.  (And this was before the days of electronic preferences).  But eventually, I found myself getting bored with that life.
 I had a scrapbook full of hotel card keys (before they charged you if you took them) and photos of all of these great places, but I didn't have a personal life.  Shoot, my personal life was work.  My friends and family no longer started phone conversations with "Hello", but with "what state are you in today?".  They thought it was fun and glamorous.  For a while, I did too, but about the same time I discovered I was pregnant with Superbug was the same time that I realized that a life on the road by myself wasn't exactly what I was looking forward to for the rest of my life.  So shortly after his arrival came a company personnel change.  I found myself off my contract and taking a job that involved minimal travel.  I haven't been on a business trip beyond a day trip in eons.  That never bothered me.  I just figured that portion of life wouldn't be happening anytime soon...until this week. My goodness...things have certainly changed.

First, let me be clear.  I am no longer the completely laid back, easy going, vibrant and wide eyed 20-something that traveled three weeks out of the month.  That little girl loved layovers and delays because they gave her time to explore.  This thirty-five year old woman prefers flights that have a 90%+ departure/arrival on time rate and minimal conversation.

So imagine my joy to discover my flight to Charleston, SC was nonstop and required no shuttling to rental car locations because it was right below the main terminal.  LOVE LIFE!  Then, imagine my amusement to find out the entire rental car location was empty of cars except two--a minivan and an SUV.  Can you guess what I chose? LOL

HUGE vehicle, but I enjoyed driving her

After getting the vehicle and locating our hotel, I found another thing had changed in this age of hackers and technology.  With my current company, travel arrangements (hotel and airfare) are made and paid for by the company executive team. This means no corporate credit card, just authorization documentation from the company that must be faxed since credit card information is not allowed to be exchanged via email.  Well, the company had sent the information, but it wasn't received in the proper format.  No harm, no foul.  I was able to get the company to re-fax the information, but it was still an interesting experience from how things used to be.  It got me wondering about things that I would suggest for a week long business trip (for parents).

A beautiful hotel

1.  If you can make it with a carry-on, do so.  I'm a fan of Cetaphil moisturizer.  It's become more of a necessity than a luxury.  Because I couldn't find the travel sized containers, I had to take the big jar. Hence the check on for me.  It helps to move in and out of the airport with less as opposed to more.

2.  Make the most of technology.  I  miss my Superbug and my Honeybee with all that is in me.  I also miss my FatherWinter.  I am very thankful for the invention of FaceTime.  Tonight, I got to see my daughter sitting on her potty for the first time.  I got to give her kisses and smiles through the telephone.  My Superbug is having an amazing time with his paternal family.  Technology allows him to share that with me.  I've been taking some amazing pictures and enjoying the ability to share them with family and friends.

3.  When there is down time available, take it.  I've never been to Charleston.  I was able to see a small part of it today and I was struck by its beauty and the irony of its past and recent events combined.  I was so thankful to be able to be a part of today
4.  When at the hotel, verify that you aren't in the flight path or in earshot of the plane.  It's 10:21 p m.  The jets flying over this hotel are so loud.  It's going to be an interesting night.

I plan on sharing some of my down time sights with you in a future blog post.  Hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I do.


Weekend Recap: Of Showers and Packing

It's been a weekend full of emotions.  Saturday found us enjoying a baby shower for one of FatherWinter's colleagues.  They are having a beautiful baby boy and celebrated the impending arrival in the cutest baby shower.  From word puzzles to wonderful guests to adorable was such a beautiful event.

There was a really cute game where guests were invited to create their own baby out of Play-Doh.  These were some of the awesome results.

After the announcement of winners, there was a guessing game of jellybeans in the bottle.  Guess who guessed the closest number?  Superbug!!  So he won the jellybeans!!

Afterwards, we loaded up on sweet candy gift bags and returned to the house to prepare for church the next day.  FatherWinter is currently training for an officer position in the church.  Part of his training required him to sit with his fellow brethren during Holy Communion service in a nice white suit.

Now you have to understand this is a pretty big deal for me because FatherWinter doesn't wear many suits.  It's not that he doesn't like them.  He actually loves them, but FatherWinter can usually be seen at church wearing his sweater vest and dress pants.

So of course, I had to take pictures of this great moment.

FatherWinter cleans up nice doesn't he.  We also took a couple of family pictures that I'm looking forward to sharing with you in the future.

After church service was over, Superbug and I took the joyous journey to visit his birth father. Superbug is extremely excited to spend part of his summer vacation with FatherPharoah and I'm glad that my family is a great blended one.  It was great seeing FatherPharaoh and I'm sure Superbug is going to have a great time while visiting.  The ironic thing is he wasn't and isn't the only one out of pocket for a week.

I will be traveling for business this week.  Yep.  This promises to be an interesting event to be sure.  I haven't been on a trip in a very long time.  I know one thing though...FatherWinter is sure to enjoy himself while we are gone!

That was our weekend in a nutshell!  Looking forward to talking with you soon!!!


Weekend Recap: Pictures are worth 1000 words!!!

  • Good Food
  • S'Mores
  • Great Company
  • Wonderful Memories....Sounds like an amazing weekend to me!
This past weekend, FatherWinter, Superbug, Honeybee, and I all found ourselves at various points of the day at Wilderness Presidential Resort to spend some quality time with my brother and sister in laws.  It really was a great time.

The kids (ours and my adorable nephews and so talented niece) enjoyed swimming and playing on the playground.  The men (FatherWinter and our brother in law) showed that they "still have it" at the gym defeating a group of young men several years younger than them in basketball.  The ladies (myself and my beautiful sister in law) enjoyed conversing in the lot, talking about the soon coming arrival and the family in general.  A couple of hours later, the family enjoyed S'mores over a homemade fire pit with great conversation.

FatherWinter and our clan didn't leave until after midnight!  It was a great time and I highly recommend it if you are ever in the mood for clean and enjoyable family fun.  There is tons to do and a great place for building memories with the family.

Love, Live, Laugh--Date Night

Well, that was quick! In my 35 by 35 post, I mentioned that I would like to have monthly date nights with my husband. I haven't even mentioned this to him yet nor am I even certain he reads this blog, but God grants us the desires of our hearts. Last night, my husband and I had the opportunity to laugh out loud and be a bit carefree as we went to see Kevin Hart, one of our favorite comedian/actors perform.

Now, to know me is to know that I have a love of Kevin Hart. To know my husband is to know that he enjoys laughter (and magic). For his birthday (February), I surprised him with tickets to the Kevin Hart show which was coming to DC in August. I thought I’d purchased tickets for Friday only to realize rather quickly that I purchased them for Thursday instead. Not a big deal as I am certainly up for mid-week excursions. But I have to admit that, as I write this a day later, I am exhausted.

My son is going kayaking tomorrow and I'm so proud I could cry.

This summer has been a season of firsts for our Superbug.  This is the first year that he is attending summer camp through our local parks and recreation department and not through the summer program at our church.  It has been his first time learning to mow a lawn solo.  It's his first time attending a new camp without his regular "church kid" crew.

I was initially worried about how Superbug would do with new kids and making friends.  While he is almost nine, he can have difficulty with the social and emotional maturity seen in other nine year olds. He misses some social cues and can sometimes alienate those whom he is trying to impress because he is simply trying too hard.   This experience, however, has been great.  He has met new people, had some great new experiences, enjoyed tours, and has come home with great stories each and every day he's attended camp.

He's going kayaking!!!
Today, when he came home, he was super excited because he is going kayaking tomorrow!  Can I tell you I felt this strange joy?  I was so excited for him.  The excitement on his face is amazing. I felt like crying.

For some of you reading this blog, it's not a big deal that an eight year old is going kayaking.  But for this country girl, it's a huge deal! I've never been kayaking.  I've never even been fishing.  I never had the opportunity to do either.

When I was carrying my son, I made a bunch of promises to him while he was in the womb.  I promised him amazing experiences.  I promised he would have an awesome childhood.  I promised him that he would always know his mother loves and loved him.  I promised to take him to zoos and plays to musicals and movies.  Everything I ever wanted to experience but couldn't because of finances or stereotypes would be available to him.  That was my promise.

God has been very good to allow a lot of those things to come to pass.  Superbug has been to amusement parks and zoos.  He's been on real summer vacations with real memorable experiences. He has had amazing Christmases and wonderful Mommy-Son nights.  If all goes well, he'll get his first passport stamp next year.  These were things I only dreamed about.  I'm so glad that God has allowed us to do these things for him now.

So, it is more than a little amazing to know that he will be kayaking.  Of course, I'm still Mom and would love to be there to take pictures.  I'm going to ask the counselor if she would be kind enough to do so.

This camp has been a wonderful and amazing experience for him.  When we finish our last session, I'll have to see about getting some additional pictures to share.  He has taken some great trips, swam every week, come home with a huge grin and sleeps soundly every evening.

I can hardly wait to hear his tales of how great a time he had kayaking.  Stay tuned!


What a difference a year makes...

A year ago today, I was actively running around making sure every coworker, friend, family member, best friend, and associate had their flyer to aid in Honeybee's fundraiser.  I was biting my nails with worry because I'd already had a conversation with people who thought the entire thing "tacky" and "tactless".

I got angry and then worried that others would feel the same.  Then, I was embraced by wonderful and loving people who reminded me that it's rare that a family has an extra $$$$$ lying around.  If this assisted in removing some of the fees and stress, then so be it.

Slowly bit surely, posts started coming in.  People were sharing their photos of hot wings, sliders, and yummy appetizers from one of the local restaurants.  I was touched and humbled by those people who went and ate lunch and dinner on our behalf.

Though we only raised a small amount from that event, I was simply honored and appreciative of all those who took time out of their day for us.

Today, things are a bit different (insert smile as I write this).  Today, I'm watching my daughter hand books to her daddy to read.  Today, my family is sitting in the family room.  Spaghetti was on our menu tonight and watermelon.  Our music has been laughter.  It's been a wonderful and great day.

We still wait for the final letter decreeing everything to be legal, but we are just secure in our togetherness.  We are enjoying being a family.  A year ago, it crossed our minds that this may not occur as we wanted it to.  We were still in the midst of custodial decisions, but we still moved forward.

Today, we are thankful just to be.  May that never change.