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Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas!

My cards came early and I got them  addressed and stamped and to the post office the same day I got them.  I know that people in Massachusetts received them so hopefully they have all made it to their final destinations.

The very last gift I ordered that I was waiting on arrived yesterday as I was finishing up my wrapping.  Today I will clean the house (a little) to prepare for our Christmas Eve celebration.

Every year we go to the Moravian church with my family for the Lovefeast and Candlelight service. Jennifer's family joins us and afterwards we will come back to our house for a few appetizers and some merriment before heading to bed and waiting on Santa.

Tomorrow morning we will open presents then head to Mass.  Dan's sister Cathy and Eric will be arriving tomorrow morning as well.  After church we will go to my  mom's for Christmas lunch and more presents and then home for a nap, maybe. ;) We still haven't watched any Christmas movies so that might be on tap for tomorrow evening as well.  Although  we might do a bonfire and s'mores instead.  

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Peter's home, Sarah's swimming, and the Christmas cards will be late!

Peter's been home from school a week now!  His last in person exam last Monday morning and I picked him up right after that.  Then he had a paper and a presentation due on Tuesday (he recorded the presentation in PowerPoint) and submitted that.  And then  he had an online exam on Wednesday which he happily did from home.  He has been enjoying himself by staying up way too late and sleeping in way too late.  All his friends are home now so he is currently making plans with them.

Sarah has exams this week and will be done Thursday and then she will officially be on break.  Except for swimming.  She will be attending as many practices as possible - which means early morning and normal afternoon practices.  She's trying to shave time so she can hopefully make it to States in at least one event.

Here are some pictures that were taken for her Senior banner which is  currently hanging in the school gym with all the other senior winter athletes.


And here's a picture of the banner:

So what have I been up to lately?  Well, Christmas shopping for one.  And I'm almost done.  I'm heading out again this morning to get some final things and just currently waiting for all my online purchases to be delivered.  So while I'm ahead of the game (or at least not behind) on that, my Christmas cards will probably arriving at their intended destination after Christmas.

We finally got around to taking a family picture this past Sunday.  Typically this involves setting up the tripod and getting a picture in front of the tree or on the front porch. Two times it involved a professional photographer but that was only because we had fall family photos taken as part of a school fundraiser and I just used those.  Sarah wanted to do a family photo shoot with a professional this year but with Peter at school, I knew that there wouldn't be enough time to get the pictures done this past weekend and then have them back in time for a card. 

So we did the next best thing. We took my old DSLR camera (which I never learned how to use properly), set it on Auto, and asked my brother to come with us to Old Salem to get some shots.  The pictures turned out good and I was able to use some of those shots for our card.  I designed the card yesterday as quickly as I could on SnapFish and they should be here  by 12/21.  I'm hoping they come sooner but I doubt they will.  That means the absolute quickest I could have them back in the mail is 12/22 which means my local friends and family might get theirs by Christmas but everyone else will be closer to New Years. Oh well - it's the thought that counts, right?

And not to panic anyone, but there's only 11 days until Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thanksgiving break and a photo op with a tree that we left on the mountain!

Happy Advent! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  I know we did!

Our Thanksgiving weekend started on Tuesday. I picked Peter up after his last class. He was extremely  thankful and happy to be headed home for a very long weekend.

Sarah had swim practice on Tuesday night and then went out with some friends and spent the night so while I had Peter home and safe and sound under my roof, Sarah was gone!  Oh well.

Sarah had morning swim practice on Wednesday and when she got home, I took the kids to lunch. They picked Chipotle which was fine with me because I love a good burrito bowl. We also ran a few errands and I even at one point exclaimed, "It's just like the good old days!" because I was driving and they were passengers just like it always used to be.  I can't remember the last time it was just me driving both of them somewhere.  It was really nice.  (Jeez, how pathetic am I?) :)

I made a carrot cake, cranberry sauce, and a sweet potato casserole when we got done with our errands and before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving morning!

We headed to Mom's house around 12:00 and Jennifer and her family joined us and we feasted.  And I took zero pictures but Sarah sent me this cute one of her, Chey, Colton, and Peter:

I really wish they had taken a picture with Caity and Cody too because then we could compare it to this picture from Thanksgiving 2014:

Look at those baby faces!  Excuse me while I go she a few tears...

All right, I'm back.

We attempted to do our annual Thanksgiving evening Starbucks run but I guess everyone is giving their workers time off so none of the Starbucks around us were open.  But Sonic was open so the kids got shakes. 

We headed to the  mountains on Friday to get our Christmas tree.  We passed the crowded large tree farm and headed to the small, no-frills farm we've gone to for the past several years.  Sadly though, they haven't done a good job of replanting trees so the only trees left there are really tall.  We have 9 foot ceilings and need something under that to work in our house.  All the trees were taller than 9 feet so we made the executive decision to just take a picture in front of the trees and then headed to lunch.

Pretend, please, that this is our tree:

After lunch, we headed home and went to the closest already cut tree place and grabbed a reasonable sized tree from there.  Not as exciting as picking and cutting our own, but sometimes you have to pivot.  We'll find another no-frills pick and cut place in the mountains for next year.

Here are some pictures of us decorating the tree:


On Friday night, NC State played Carolina and you know we had to watch. Peter tried to get tickets but wasn't lucky in the student lottery so we watched from home.  And that turned out to be the best thing because he didn't want to have to drive back to Raleigh for the game, then drive back home for the rest of the weekend.  Although, he totally would have if he had gotten tickets. Anyway, it was a very tense and exciting game and thankfully NC State came out on top!  Whew!

On Saturday night we headed to Mass and then came home for dinner.  I made Philly cheese-steak sandwiches which are always a hit.  After dinner, Peter went to hang out with a bunch of friends and spent the night with them and Sarah went to hang out with one of her friends too.  

On Sunday, we had lunch at mom's, finished up Peter's laundry, and then headed back to Raleigh around 4:00.  We took a slightly longer route in hopes of avoiding all the post holiday traffic and thankfully, we did!  

And just like that, our long Thanksgiving weekend was over.  It was really nice having Peter home.  Today is his last day of class. Then they get two free days to study and then exams start.  He should be home early next week and will be home for A MONTH!  How exciting for me!

I will end with a  funny Peter story.  When he left for college I got him only one set of sheets for his dorm bed knowing he wasn't going to wash them very often (if ever). And I made sure to get them in a brown gray color to hide all the filth he would ultimately be sleeping in.

On the way back to Raleigh he started quizzing me about washing his sheets.  I recommended extra detergent and high heat because I knew they had to be pretty gross if he was going to wash them.  His main reason for not washing them was dreading making the bed back up and I don't blame him.  Making a bunk bed is a hassle. Well, I guess it was worth it because this morning he texted me that he really enjoyed sleeping in his clean sheets last night! So maybe he will wash them more frequently than once a semester! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

It was his birthday and I got the present!

Peter is a rushing a fraternity so he has only been able to come home twice this semester and that was for Labor Day weekend and fall break. But, thankfully he was able to come home this past weekend because it was his NINETEENTH BIRTHDAY!!!

We were all so excited that he was able to come home and spend a few days with us.  He was excited to see us but  he really just needed to come home and relax.  College is stressful - especially when you aren't used to being on your own, have a roommate you don't like, are rushing a fraternity, and trying to keep up with class. 

I left early on Friday morning and picked him up.  We got home in time for a late lunch and he hung out.  Sarah had swim practice and when she got back from that and got ready, we all headed to dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse.  Longhorn is one of Peter's favorite restaurants and that's where he wanted to eat to celebrate his birthday. Later that evening, he and Sarah went for McFlurries and a long drive. They used to do this a lot the last couple of years and it was sweet that they did it this past weekend. 

Saturday was his actual birthday and he slept in. He got up and watched a little college football, helped my brother with a chore at his church and mostly just relaxed.  (And enjoyed the fact that someone else was doing his laundry!)

Saturday evening we all went to Mass and afterwards Dan and Peter headed to the NC State game.  They just so happened to be playing Wake Forest in Winston so of course, he wanted to go! Sarah and I had dinner at Taco Mama and came home and watched the game on TV.  NC State lost but it was a really good game.  

Peter's fraternity is doing No Shave November to raise funds for prostate cancer so that's why he's sporting a little beard. 

Before the game, Dan and Peter grabbed some burgers at Kermits and sent me this picture:

Can you spot the ghost cat?

Sarah and I had a tasty dinner at Taco Mama and I forced her to pose for this picture:

And, what's a post without a picture of Buddy?

We had Sunday lunch at mom's house where we had birthday cake and presents and then we headed back to Raleigh around 4:00. 

It was a fast weekend but it was so good to see my boy.  And he will be home soon for Thanksgiving and then we get him for a whole month at Christmas and I can't wait!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Introducing Buddy

We have a new addition to the family and his name is Buddy! And just like every cat that we have ever owned (with the exception of Mikey whom I purchased circa 1996) we did not seek out this cat.  He found us, well,  in a round about way.

My brother, Brad drives a truck for a pallet shop.  And several of the men that work there, including my brother, have a soft spot for all the feral cats that hang out around the yard of the shop where they build/repair the pallets. These guys have been feeding these cats for years. And quite a few of them have gone home with the guys as pets.  In fact, my brother's cat is one that he rescued from work.

Many times there will be a sick kitten in the liter that the mom abandons and the kitten will die.  Other times, the kitten will be attacked by another animal and will die.  My brother and the other guys are used to finding deceased kittens and it's sad for them - these big burly guys are teddy bears on the inside.

Anyway, in September , my brother noticed a little black kitten that looked horrible. He felt bad for it and decided to get it and take it to the vet.  The kitten had an eye infection and herpes around it's mouth and according to the vet was roughly 7 or 8 weeks old,  The meds to clear these up needed to be administered twice a day and my brother didn't feel like he could take care of it with his work schedule so he asked me to look after it.

I agreed and we  brought it to our back porch where Dan and I started taking care of the poor little guy.  The first night he did not move out of the cat carrier. He ate some kitten food the next morning and we began to give him his meds twice a day as instructed.  

Around the 3rd or 4th day we noticed the cat had diarrhea and his rear end didn't look right.  I'm not going to go into the details but this cat was a mess! Back to the vet for another medication he went and Dan and I started giving this kitten a bath because it was filthy (and by filthy I mean constantly covered in poop. Sorry to be so gross.) At one point, we were giving him baths twice a day.  He hated them but he needed them.  

He was very sweet tempered and mild mannered but we were worried those first few weeks that he wasn't going to get better.  But thankfully the diarrhea finally stopped and his rear end healed up and back to the vet he went to be tested for feline leukemia and to get a rabies shot.  

Our other cat was not too pleased with the addition of the new cat but she is adjusting well.  This kitten is scared of her and leaves her alone.  But he is getting braver and more curious by the day and we are all smitten with this little cat.  Here are a few pictures of him:

This is the first picture I took of him when my brother brought him to us on September 30th. He was a mess!

And here he is now that he is fully recovered:

Such a cutie!

We struggled with what to name him. Dan wanted him to have a human name (something along the lines of Doug)  and Sarah wanted him to have a cat name (she suggested Booty since he had so many problems with his butt but I thought that was gross). I think Buddy is a good compromise.  It's both a human name and a cat type nickname so it works.   


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

HOCO 2021

Sarah's school celebrated Homecoming this weekend!  The football team won - yay!  And the school had a dance.  

Sarah looked gorgeous in her dress and had a great time at dinner with her friends before the dance and then hanging out with everyone afterwards at the "after party".  

You've got to have the official corsage and boutonniere photos!

And the obligatory group shot of all the friends and their dates. 

And the mom and daughter shot. 💜

And this is probably my favorite shot of the evening.  There's nothing like the love between a daddy and his little girl - even though she may not be so little any more! 💙

Such a beautiful young lady!  And those shoes were awesome but I think she spent most of the night without them on her feet! 

Apparently Sarah's date is quite the ladies man! 😆

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Four wisdom teeth, two college tours and alllllll the college applications DONE!

This past Friday, after all of the Harry Styles excitement, Sarah had all four wisdom teeth removed. She was originally scheduled to have them removed the Friday before the concert but she was very worried that she wasn't going to feel her best for the concert so I rescheduled.

It's a good thing I did because she is just finally starting to feel like her old self last night.  Her face was so puffy after the surgery (I don't think Peter's was that puffy) and she looked so pathetic.  I should post the pictures that she was sending to her friends after the surgery (which she doesn't remember doing). I warned her not to be texting and Snap Chatting while "under the influence" but she did it any way.  The picture that she sent Peter made me laugh out loud. 

On Saturday we took care of things around the house - laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc. and then went to Mass. We got caught up on Survivor that evening.  Are you guys watching season 41? 

I've got to be honest - I'm not loving it.  We were so excited for another season after the long break thanks to Covid but they are doing this season and I think next season differently.  They have made the time shorter - 26 days versus 39. And to make it more exciting (I guess) they've added more idols and advantages with risks and rewards and they all have lots of requirements about when you can use them and how attached to them.  Honestly, for this old lady, it's very confusing.  I can't seem to keep up with any of it.  

On Sunday, we had lunch at Mom's and then that afternoon, two cousins how I haven't seen in years, came for a visit.  My uncle and another cousin also came for the visit. It was very nice to catch up with everyone.  And it wasn't until after they left that my mom and I lamented the fact that we didn't get any pictures! :(

Sarah didn't have school Monday due to a teacher work day so we did two college tours.  Dan took the day off work so he could join us.  We headed out bright and early for the first stop of the day - NC State University!  Peter found us on Life360 and walked part of the tour with us until we got to his dorm.

After the tour we all four went to lunch at The Pit. We did manage to take this selfie:

After lunch, we dropped Peter off at his dorm and then we headed down the road to visit UNC Chapel Hill.  It was a nice tour. We did a lot of walking. The UNC campus is beautiful and bigger than I realized. If I was a step-counter (which I am not) I would have definitely gotten my steps in for the day between the two campus tours.

Sarah completed all of her college applications last week so those are done!  Can I get a "hallelujah"? The beginning of senior year is a VERY stressful time for kids and by default for parents.  But the applications are done and now we wait...and pray that she gets into her top choice. And also pray that if she doesn't, she's okay with it. Like I said - senior year is stressful! And I'm patting myself on the back as well because I got Peter's FAFSA updated and Sarah's completed.

Homecoming is this week so Sarah's  participating in all the different themed dress up days.  Sadly, though, when your kid is a senior they don't want to pose for pictures when they are wearing pajamas to school or when they are dressed up as a character.  Sigh.... so no cute pictures.  However, hopefully next week I will have a picture of her looking cute in her homecoming dress!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Harry Styles FINALLY!!!!

Way back in the fall of 2019, Harry Styles announced he was going on tour in 2020.  Sarah was beside herself with excitement.  I planned to purchase tickets for her and give them to her for Christmas that year. 

The tickets for the Raleigh show, which was going to be in August of 2020,  went on sale on November 22, 2019 at 10:00 AM. I just happened to be meeting with my care group that morning at our normal Chick-Fil-A spot. I set an alarm on my phone so I would not be late for logging onto TicketMaster to get in line for tickets. 

I told my friends what I was doing and not to mind me. But being the supportive friends that they are, several of them hopped on their phones as well and when the line opened, we got in line for tickets.  My sweet friend, Kendra, had the best spot of all of us so the rest of us got out of line. Kendra got the best tickets possible in my price range with her spot in line. I was so excited and knew Sarah was going to be thrilled on Christmas morning.

She came home from school that day and was telling me that she and her friend Gabi were wanting to get tickets to the show and they were scheming different ways.  I can't remember what they were talking about because it was almost TWO YEARS ago, but I informed her that they were already sold out but NEVER FEAR! because I with the help of my friends was able to purchase two tickets. There goes the perfect Christmas morning surprise but she was thrilled!  

I had assumed she and I would go together but I could tell it would be better if she and Gabi went as I am not that enamored with Harry Styles and probably would not appreciate it enough.  :) I started looking at hotels in the area as I knew I didn't want to make the hour and forty-five minute drive back that late at night. (I hate driving at night!) 

Anyway, you  know what happened.  The show was cancelled in June of 2020 thanks to some virus going around and it was rescheduled to October 12, 2021. Sarah spent a lot of time anxiously stalking Harry Styles social media to make sure the tour was going to actually start.

And thankfully it did! I am not sure she could have waited any longer. It was almost a two year wait from the time I bought the tickets until the time she was able to attend.  I even told her at one point that if she didn't want to go because she didn't like him any longer to let me know so I could sell the tickets.  She looked at me like I had lost my mind.

Once it was clear that the tour had started, she began her quest for the perfect outfit.  She bought pink pants with red hearts on them, a red cropped tee shirt, Nikes with a pink stripe, pink and red heart earrings, and pink heart shaped sunglasses.  She also bought a pink, clear purse (all bags into the arena had to be clear).

Since Sarah is now 17 and Gabi is 18, they were more than capable of driving themselves to Raleigh. And bonus, Gabi's older sister lives in Raleigh so the girls were able to get ready at her apartment and spend the night there after the show.

Sarah left school early on Tuesday. She and Gabi drove to Raleigh, dumped their stuff off at Gabi's sister's apartment and went to get their nails done.  I mean come on! A two year wait for a concert means you must have a fresh mani!

Then they ordered Panera and ate it while getting ready for the show.  They both donned their cute outfits and made sure to get to the arena in plenty of time to take some pictures before the show.

Sarah had such a great time at this show. In her own word from a text I received from her, "BEST DAY OF MY LIFE".  

I think it lived up to her expectations especially after such a long wait.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Fall break!

Peter had Monday and Tuesday off from school for fall break so I headed to Raleigh on Friday and scooped him up and gleefully brought him home!

He was excited to be home for several days where he could relax and unwind.  Adjusting to college is hard and being home for a long weekend was just what he needed.  And I will admit, it was good for my soul too. I really prefer when everyone is home under one roof. 

We didn't really have any plans this weekend. We had dinner at home on Friday evening. He really wanted to go to a Bishop football game but they had a bye this week.  Peter watched a lot of college football on TV on Saturday in addition to lunch from Bojangles which is his preferred football watching food. Sarah and a friend went to Greensboro to cheer on the Bishop Cross Country Team at a meet.

We all attended Mass together on Saturday evening and then enjoyed a delicious dinner at the 4th St. Filling Station. Later that evening we had a fire in the fire pit.

On Sunday we had lunch at mom's and watched more football. On Monday, Sarah had to go to school but Dan had taken the day off to spend some time with Peter.  The three of us had lunch at Nick's Hamburgers (so good!) and then drove to an apple orchard in Ramseur.  We were hoping to get some apple cider but they were sold out.  It was Monday and they were apparently very busy over the weekend as it is apple orchard time and only had a few gallons left.  But apparently a  mom's group visited  that morning for story time and bought all the apple cider.  Those darn story time moms!

And then on Tuesday, Dan was back to work and Peter and I finished laundry, got him packed back up, etc. and we had him back to NC State by 5:00 PM.  It was such a nice visit but it went by way too fast.

We are already looking forward to Thanksgiving break!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Webs, trees, pies, fire. The normal fall things....

It's been pretty quiet around here lately.  The weather has been beautiful. I love the September blue skies and the cool mornings and the warm afternoons!

Last week we woke up to three large spider webs in the backyard.  I tried to get some good pictures of them but this was the best I could do:


The spider that made them was no where to be seen (thank goodness) and they were gone by early afternoon.  It was windy that day so maybe they blew away?

I'm not a huge fan of eggs, but Dan loves them so I made a frittata the other night.  It was tasty, cheap, and easy to make so I will probably put this in the regular rotation. This one had cheese, bacon,  tomatoes, and basil in it. 

Here's a picture of my favorite tree on a foggy morning. The oak tree that Dan started from an acorn (from a tree in his front yard in Wellesley) is getting so big it's starting to block the shot!

And this one always looks lovely in the fog as well:

It was cool enough on Saturday evening that we were able to have our first fire of the season. 

I made a lemon meringue pie last weekend.  Sarah insisted that she wanted one because she loves meringue.  (Which I questioned because I'm not even sure she has ever had it.) I loathe meringue but I always aim to please when making Sunday dessert so I gave her what she wanted.  


The pie was delicious but the meringue tasted just like meringue. BLECH!  I think it's a texture issue for me.  Turns out, Sarah had never had a meringue pie and also DOES NOT LIKE meringue.  Next time I will make the base and just add fresh whipped cream because the lemon part was excellent!

And that's about all that's been going on around here.