Monday, November 7, 2011


Today I turn 40.

Up until a few weeks ago, I really didn't see this as a big deal. I still really don't. I'm not devastated to be turning 40. Hell, I don't even feel like 40 is OLD. I can't really put my finger on what the problem is, but I definitely feel off.

I don't know if it's hormones or a "mid-life crisis", but I am not feeling happy about lots of things right now. Since I have no other things to blame it on, it must be the fact that I have this "momentous" birthday.

I feel like, nothing I do is right. That I haven't reached goals I feel like I should. That something is empty or unfulfilled. As I said before, I can't put my finger on what it is, but I'm not happy about it.

I'm sure I could chalk it up to the fact that I've got three young kids, a husband, a job and volunteering responsibilities that have me pulled in 17 different directions. But I don't know. I have friends with similar responsibilities, and they seem fine. But then again, I wonder if I seem fine to them

Don't get me wrong. I love my husband and my kids. My job is great. It's just that something seems off.

I often feel as though my husband and kids don't appreciate me. I know that they do, it's just that I don't feel it. Ever since I was a little girl, I have needed the validation, the hugs, the "I love you's". I can't explain it, I just crave it. Maybe it's the middle child thing (as I feel as though my middle child is the same way). The thing is, even though I know how my family feels about me, I don't get the validation (except from the littlest one) very often. I'm always fighting with the older two, or they are fighting with each other. It's exhausting. There are times that my husband and I just interact like roommates raising children. I can't tell you the number of times, we've spent evenings in silence, him on his ipad, me on my laptop.

so, instead of looking to the positive, I find myself dwelling on the negative, the goals unmet, relationships unfulfilled.

My kids fight all the time

I can't keep my house clean

There are always bills to pay

I am ungrateful when my husband buys me a gift and I focus on how it is not exactly what I had in mind

I haven't' come anywhere close to my fitness/weight goals

I am hoping that once this day is past, I can get out of the funk that I seem to be in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ghany girl

They say that the sense of smell can bring back long forgotten memories. They are so true.

As a pre-teen, I had the pleasure of attending Camp Alleghany, a camp for girls in West Virginia. My mother had once been a counselor at this camp and I had heard so many stories of her time there.

I remember being completely nervous and anxious heading off on the charter bus, but so excited for my new experiences.

I attended 'Ghany for three years (not consecutively, as my sister had the chance to go as well). They were the most amazing summers of my life. I had never attended a sleep away camp before, or since, so I don't really know if my experiences there are unique to this camp or not; I would like to believe that they are.

I try explaining why 'Ghany is such a great place to my husband, and he ends up looking at me as though I were crazy (he may be right, but not about camp). Even as I write this, I have a hard time coming up with words to describe and explain why Camp is so special to me.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of taking my oldest daughter for her first Camp Alleghany experience- a week of Mini Camp, allowed for first timers. As we stood on the banks of the Greenbrier River waiting for the Barge to ferry us over to Camp, so many emotions filled my heart. The sound of the Barge scraping the ramp was such a welcome sound. Sarah and her friend (who chose to attend Camp with her) were filled with nervous energy and couldn't wait to get across the river.

As the Barge neared the opposite side of the river, the line of counselors dressed in Blues & Whites, linked arm in arm, greeted us with a familiar song..."A welcome we're singing to you today..." Tears welled in my eyes as I remembered being serenaded in a similar fashion many years ago.

Once we were checked in at the store and the infirmary, we walked to Junior Camp to tent row. The second I entered her tent, I was smacked in the face with a such a familiar scent, it nearly knocked me over. The aroma of the tent alone transported me back 25 years to when I was a camper. It was amazing: the campfires, vespers, the walk through the woods to the dining hall, dances with Greenbrier boys, drama productions, the Old Johns, assemblies, hospital corners & inspections, Blue/Gray competitions (go Gray!), mail call, Cooper, Frannie, glass bottles of coke & fireballs at the store after dinner, peppermint patties & peanut butter, lunch under the apple tree. Big sigh!

I am positive that my daughters now think I am crazy, but I am hoping that Sarah will now have a glimpse into why!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Growing up, I was not part of the "popular group". I spent many years during my adolescence wondering if people liked me. Trying to wear the right clothes, do the right things, have the right "stuff", so that I could be like those girls everyone flocked to.

I was overweight and short with frizzy hair that wouldn't do a damn thing. Eventually, I found my circle of friends and was fine. But there was always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind and in the bottom of my heart of "am I good enough?"

As I got older, I gained much more confidence and the world around me seemed to care less that I wasn't Ms. Perfect. I dated, I married, I had kids. I have a job I enjoy and usually I feel pretty confident about who I am.

Every now and again, something happens to rip me open and expose that little girl who feels left out. I begin to question if I'm part of circles that I thought I was. I wonder, do people really like me, or are they just pretending. Basically, my self-esteem gets so flipped I begin to question things.

This week, I had two of these situations happen. One left me scratching my head, the other pissed me off completely. I am sure that the parties involved had no intention of slighting me and I am manufacturing the problems in my own messed up head. But, how do I really know? The questions keep surfacing. As grown up as I try to be, the little left-out girl in me still surfaces--wanting to be part of the "popular group", wanting to have close relationships with the "cool people", wanting to be someone that others want to be with, not just a hanger on.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

what were they thinking

This past weekend my local community was reminded again at how fragile life is and how quickly things can change.

In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, May 15 I heard the far-away sirens through my open bedroom window. It struck me at how long they lasted. It didn't seem like lots of sirens, just a really long one. I remember thinking how odd, and maybe I'm imagining this. We woke the next day to news of a horrible car accident that had shut down the road only a few miles away near the soccer fields my oldest plays on.

As the details emerged, we discovered that it was a one car collision with a tree. Three of the five occupants of the vehicle were killed and one was injured. I found my self assuming the driver had been drunk, but was also remembering how wet the roads were that night. I had hoped it wasn't kids, it's prom season you know.

Later in the day the names and ages of the victims were released (they were all 18 or older) along with the information that the driver left the seen and was arrested three hours later. The youngest victim, Haeley McGuin was a local high school senior, just weeks from her graduation. The other two killed, Spencer Datt and John Hoover, were recent alumna of the same high school.

My heart immediately dropped. I travelled back in time to February of 2010 to the death of my student, a senior. The situations of their deaths differ, yet the grief still very much the same. Both situations lend themselves to "teachable moments".

When my student committed suicide, the troops mobilized and we talked to the kids about reaching out to others in need, talking to someone about what is troubling you, not bottling in feelings. We talked about anger and betrayal by a friend we thought we knew. We talked about the signs that something is not right.

In this situation, it has been suggested by the state's attorney that alcohol was involved. This is a prime opportunity for the community and the school, but most importantly parents, to talk about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Growing up, I knew about the dangers of drinking and driving. I was a member of my schools SADD club. I went to parties where there was drinking, but I absolutely never drove after drinking. Typically, I was the one with a car, so I was always the designated driver. But really, I didn't hang out with a big drinking crowd. But I knew to NEVER get in the car with someone who was drinking.

I know that the message is still out there, but maybe it is not as strong as it used to be.

I hear many stories as a high school counselor that concern me. There are many parents out there that either aren't present enough in their child's life (physically or emotionally) or are too present, working too hard to be their child's friend. my plea to any parent of a teenager is this, you are not supposed to be your child's friend at this stage in their life. They need you to set rules and boundaries, and yes, at times they are going to say they hate you. Allowing your child to set their own rules is a recipe for disaster.

So, hug your kids. Let them know you love them. But set limits and rules. Let them know that they can call you, at any time, no questions asked for a ride. Let them know that people do die; Haeley McGuire, Spencer Datt, and John Hoover did not get into that car expecting to die.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

puppy love

After months of missing our Zoe, we decided that it would be time to bring another dog into our lives. After weeks of scrolling through and local rescue group websites, we fell in love with a litter of lab mix puppies.

Without telling the girls, we submitted an application to adopt and waited to hear from them. We had a phone interview and arranged to meet the pups in person last Saturday. We woke the girls very early since we had to drive 45 minutes away and were meeting the pups at 8:30 am. The girls thought we were going shopping to hit some "early bird specials".

The girls chatted away while Pat and I smirked the whole way there. We turned into the boarding facility and no one batted an eye. Pat told them that we had to visit one of my friends first. We drive down a long driveway to the kennel and pull up front. Megan actually reads the sign and says, "Kennel? Zoe's dead, why are we at a kennel?" Sarah finally realizes what is going on and gets all excited. Then, they see the puppies in the play yard. The girls go crazy. We calmed them down and told them that we were just visiting them and were not taking a puppy home!

We played with the pups and fell in love with them all. We set our sights on Max, but then come up with Rex and Marley as our backups. The next step in the process was a home visit and the rescue group began the long process of finding someone who could come out to the house. Meanwhile, I got an email telling us that Max has been spoken for. We were all crushed and began to rethink our second choice. Pat went back to the boarding facility and took a look at them all again. After learning from everyone involved with these puppies had Rex as their favorite, we decided to go with Rex.

Our home visit was yesterday morning and by 2pm, I received an email saying that we were approved. The rescue group was anxious to get him placed and drove him to our house at 8:30pm last night!

I was a busy evening, buying food, toys, a collar, etc. Once the puppy came home we had such a ball playing with him and trying to figure out a name. We narrowed it down to Crosby (for Syndey Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins), Brody, & Chance. Pat and I really wanted Crosby, but we couldn't get the girls to go with it. Megan really wanted Nick (since the puppies were born on Christmas Eve), but no one really wanted it but her. We went to sleep without a definite name for him.

The puppy slept pretty good, getting up only at 2am to go potty. He settled down pretty quickly too!

So this morning we decided on Chance Nicholas as the pups name. He is a sweet lovable boy who loves to snuggle and play. He's already figured out how to go up and down the stairs and has gotten his first bath. The girls are smitten, and so are we!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

i suck

I totally suck.

I haven't updated here in way too long. Of course, I really don't know who reads this besides my parents, upon occasion.

Obviously, our basement is finished by now, and at some point I will post pictures. We absolutely LOVE it and the girls are down there all the time. Pat was given free reign to purchase the TV he wanted, so now hangs on the wall a 55 inch LED TV. He is so happy to be able to watch TV without needing to wear his glasses or contacts!

Sarah turned 10 on Feb 23rd and we ushered it in with her very first slumber party. We had a total of 9 girls (including our own 3) running around the house for a Spa themed party. We painted nails, made scented bath salts, gave each other chocolate facials, made lip gloss & watched a movie in the NEW BASEMENT! The girls were asleep by 1am, so they tell me. I shut the basement door and didn't hear a peep all night!!!

Our latest news is that we are about to get a new puppy! We are in the screening process for a rescue lab mix. We've met the pups and are about to have our home visit on Saturday morning. The girls are so excited (the adults are too!)

Hoping to update a bit more regularly, and with pictures, soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

basement update

I haven't posted a Basement update in a while, so I thought I'd bring you up to speed on what is happening.

Shortly after the last pictures were taken, we realized that we had a water problem in the basement. Ever since we moved in we have had an issue with the walkout stairs in the back. During heavy rains, water runs down the stairs and overwhelms the small drain and then begins to seep under the doorway into the basement. Pat fixed the problem earlier this summer, by changing the drain cover to one that rises higher than the ground and has vertical slats to allow more water to flow in and prevent it from getting clogged by leaves and debris. No more leaks!

So we thought.

Right after we signed the contract for the basement renovation, we had a weekend of steady rain. The next morning, the basement floor bore the tell tale signs of water seepage. This time in a different spot, just to the right of the basement door. Pat got a little nervous about dropping all this money on the basement just to have it ruined by water damage.

So we looked in to waterproofing companies. I began to get a pit in my stomach just thinking about how much they were going to slam us for. Pat called two companies to come out for estimates. The first company gave us the whole song-and-dance with a binder full of pictures of how the basement was constructed, the perils of heavy clay soil, water flow, etc. His solution was to dig a hole inside the back wall of the basement and install a new drain-similar to a french drain-all the way along the back wall to the sump pump. And then also replace the sump pump. There was more to it than that, but I really started zoning out at that point. The price he quoted us was over $9,000, with a discount for doing it between Thanksgiving and the New Year, making it a little over $6,000. To be honest, I was expecting the damage to be more.

A second company came out and gave Pat the same diagnosis. The sales woman was less of a hard-sell than the first one, and recommended the same fix for the basement at nearly half the price. We locked in and unfortunately had to pay the basement contractor extra and lose 2 days of work for them to take down the studs along the back wall and then to put them back up after the waterproofing was done.

All in all, I am glad we did it. We now have peace of mind that we won't have water in the worth it!

Here is what the basement looked like on New Years Eve. The drywall has been hung, mudded and sanded. Closet doors have been hung and the wood trim is up as well.The house is dusty, but we are getting there. We have picked the paint color and it is going up on the walls this week. Once the paint is up, I'll be able to pick carpet to be installed when the contractor is done. CANNOT wait for it to be finished.