20 July 2017
12 July 2017
A salad is a personal thing. You can put on it what you like; and in the proportions that you like. My family made me a perfect salad. I am happy and proud to know that they know me so well that they made a salad that I would have made myself, with no direction from me other than, sure; I'd love a salad.
And on a side note, I'm so happy to live again near a town that has a salad bar in the grocery store! My kids have never seen this concept in Arkansas, and it has been a hit with them, too!
10 July 2017
Country living. It makes me smile every time.
30 June 2017
26 June 2017
24 June 2017
14 June 2017
On a related note, this is precisely the activity that the Young Women were doing in our ward for the coming week' activity. We just didn't know that it was already a "thing" and that there was a Facebook page. Like us on Facebook at Del-Mar Rocks.
13 June 2017
09 June 2017
By way of background, I left my job at a law firm in Cabot in February, 2017. We had a parting of the ways. It ended fine, no hard feelings, but, I was on the job hunt for a few months, when James told me for the one-hundredth time, why are we still in Cabot?
Rachel has graduated. Samantha has graduated. Charlotte will be starting high school in the fall. I have no job. Now is the perfect time for a break. Let' go.
But should we? We have so many friends in Cabot that I found it so hard to imagine our family living anywhere else. The kids had essentially grown up here. We came to Cabot after Hurricane Katrina and we were welcomed like royalty. The crime rate is low; we never lock our doors. The doctors are good, and the big city of Little Rock is easily accessible. Again, so many good friends to James and me, but, also to our kids. Why move? James loved his calling; his Dad was close by. Why leave that?
Because we should. Because it's time. Because there's a whole world out there and we have only been in one corner of it. So here we go.
I looked on Craigslist and found a solo practitioner who was advertising for help. I knew the town where he practiced because I had gone to college there. It was forty five minutes south of my mom's house and an hour north of my brother's house. I applied. They called and said, so I have your resume and I'm interested but there's one big elephant in the room - you are in Arkansas. I said, yes, sir, I am. But, I can be in Maryland, just give me two days. That was a Monday, we set up an interview on Friday and on Wednesday, James and Charlotte, Josephine, JMichael and I all left for Maryland. Samantha could not miss school (she couldn't even be late) and she had to work, so we left her home. We arrived at Mom's, I interviewed on Friday and he said, you are great and I would hire you and you could start on Monday, but, again, you live in Arkansas.
I said here's what I think. I think I drive back to Arkansas with my family. I will fly back here alone on Wednesday. I will work for you for two weeks and then I'll leave for my daughter's graduation, to pack a house and move my family, then I'll be back here by June fifth to start permanently. The leave and come back was James' idea. It also allowed me time here to look for a place to rent. Win/win!
And my new boss said, that works for me. You're hired.
And so, after having three of my first five weeks of work off, I am now working full time in Chestertown. We are living a little north of here until we decide where we want to buy a house.
I'm making more money; the kids are excited about the new scenery. JMichael is just excited. He's a happy kid. Charlotte left behind the horrible end of the year drama she had in Cabot, saying good riddance and I'm off to conquer new worlds. Josephine was excited to get the GT placement letter in hand and leave town, though for her saying goodbye to friends was a lot harder than anyone saw coming. Lots of tears from her and her sweet group of buds. Samantha was excited to get here and is loving not working, just tanning and relaxing. She misses JonBoy, her boyfriend, who plans to come see her for her eighteenth birthday next month. Leaving was harder than she thought. JonBoy was there for every stage of it and she had a group of about five friends there with her until we pulled away from the house. She cried until we got to Tennessee, then, though still sad, she started to look into the adventure and move on. She still misses AR.
Rachel, meanwhile, stayed in Arkansas. She and her boyfriend, Evan, will be coming out here in mid-July, after they have all their loose ends wrapped up. Out of respect for his parents, Evan wanted to give them more time to accept his decision to move east, and they have both given notice at their jobs and have started packing. We miss them. I understand how Evan's parents must feel, but, the kids are 22 and 19, so they can decide. I'm just thrilled they will be here soon.
01 June 2017
25 May 2017
At ALE the kids have classes as computer worksheets. They read, they test, they move at their own pace. They have a teacher over their shoulder constantly and the student to teacher ratio is really low. Lots of talking, lots of nurturing. Charlotte was sent to ALE at a time when that was just what the doctor ordered. She was the darling of her teachers, charming them with her sweet compliments and blunt comebacks. She is not afraid of anyone and she shines with one on one attention.
Next time you have the pleasure of talking to Charlotte you can ask her yourself why she was sent to ALE. She may or may not tell you and I will leave that to her. As a matter of fact, she purposely did not tell any of the students she went to school with why she was sent to ALE, just to see on social media what would happen. Rumors flew, and she had the sad satisfaction of watching the people she once called friends belittle her and tear her down. It was sad to watch, but, she did it that way so that she could see how people would react. She was disappointed in almost everyone. Kids are very cruel. Those who held her up are still her friends, and while that was a painful lesson, she has grown and she has learned.
You wish so much for your kids. You want to shelter them. Then, when they are hurt, you want to heal them. The beauty of it is, that they have to grow. I am proud of Charlotte and how she has handled her trial. She is a strong young lady. She won and she will continue to shine.
19 May 2017
18 May 2017
05 May 2017
30 April 2017
23 April 2017
These two amazing young ladies are all about doing things their way. I made sure to impress upon each of them, You will only get one senior prom. One. If you do not go, that's up to you. But you will never be a high school senior on prom night again.
Neither of them went to prom. They were both asked, actually by multiple people. They both have a grandmother who sews and could have had a custom dress. Nope. Rachel had finished school in the December before prom in April and she just didn't hang out with high school kids anymore. Samantha said it's all about getting dressed up for pictures only to go to the after party in shorts and a tshirt, so what's the point?
She's not wrong. The school district throws a huge after-party with bouncy blow up trampolines, roly-poly suits, door prizes like laptops and dorm sized fridges, and tons of free food - the community donates it all and the students are encouraged to come - no admission. This year they had a hypnotist and a DJ from the big pop station in Little Rock, Alice 107.7. But were my kids there? Nope. Working.
Samantha did go hang out with a few friends after work that night, who did go to prom, but, true to her words, only stayed a little while and then chilled with a bonfire and movies until late.
Make your way ladies. Make your way.
22 April 2017
07 April 2017
05 April 2017
Warning - Lots of pictures in this one!
So James and I have now been married for twenty years. Twenty. Wow. We used to joke that if we made it to five years he would not be able to "deselect me", as he called it. We flew past five and now we are working on our second set of twenty. Then another. Then another....
A few photos of the early days, and more recently: