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Cari’s Tree

Every May 19th we make it a point to visit the tree planted in memory of our Cari.  In 10 years it has grown pretty tall, probably 30′.

A few years ago we planted some Salvia I believe it’s called.  Last year the damn mowers weed whacked the plant to pieces but this year they let it be.  Along with those purple flowering plants we planted some annuals along side them.

We had a busy day this May 19th with a full day at Great America for a dance performance.  He went on his first roller coaster that day, Goliath.  I skipped it, she did too.  He went on it with some friends though and there were no regrets.  The weather had forecast thunderstorms all day which never really materialized yet the park stayed empty.  We literally walked right up to the American Eagle  and other roller coasters and either got right on or had to only wait for one group in front of us.  I’ve never experienced that.  Usually it’s an easy hour wait just to go on the ride once.

When that was over though we raced home to get in our annual visit and flower planting.  We didn’t bury her so this is our place to go instead.  I like this better than visiting a cemetery.  I think it’s good for all of us that we have this place to go 🙂






1Q 2019

Often times I let too much time pass before I write about our lives …

She turned 12.  He turned 10.



NYE this year we took to the slopes of the UP with even more families than last


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President’s day we were at the lake for some of the best sledding



She performed a lead role in her school’s drama club


His indoor soccer team scored a first place trophy


She performed in her first dance competition and performed at the zoo



He worked at a food pantry with cub scouts

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He learned what happens when you let an egg sit in vinegar for an extended period of time


He shaved his head again this year to raise money for childhood cancer research


He finally won a trophy in the pinewood derby


I’m spent a lot of hours working unpaid for a project that hopes to benefit us down the road.  But those unpaid hours have made for a challenging early spring.  I have had to pull back on that and focus on billable time.  I’m also in the midst of rehabbing our 3rd rental with a 4th on the horizon.  While the hope there is to build a tiny set of profitable rentals I’ve yet to see pay day 😐


Christmas Eve 2018

Another year of christmas decorations, lists, holiday shopping and present wrapping in the books :/

Things seemed more stressful than in years past

Probably a result of a variety of things

Some self inflicted, others not so much

The lights on our house, however, looked pretty solid this year if I do say so myself


There were years where I felt like spoiling the kids was a good idea

Then there are times when I feel like maybe that wasn’t well planned out

Now (@1:13am) instead of winding down after a full day I’m wide awake

When they were younger this day was (seemed) easier

I was challenged this year

I recently decided to part ways with a client whom I should probably never have started up with in the first place (over 4 years ago)

The money was stable though and most of the time things were good

But the regularity of less-than-positive dialogs simply became too much

The kids were actually disappointed when I told them I no longer work there.  Timing maybe wasn’t well planned as they enjoyed going to their Christmas party.  Plus the owners daughter was about the same age as mine and they played well together whenever they saw each other.  But I submitted my letter before any invite for that event came my way (assuming I was going to be invited anyways).

It probably didn’t help that the most recent of those negative meetings coincided with 12/14

Honestly that probably had a little bit to do with my decision but I’m better off

However, only if/when I receive payment for my most recent invoices will I be able to completely relax about all that

Speaking of 12/14…we invited a few friends and immediate relatives over last minute to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Side note, if you felt like you should have been invited but weren’t … please grow up and get over it!  

That said, it really was a nice day for the kids & I and family & friends too I think

The kids seem much more aware (I think that’s the word I’m looking for)

One of them had the idea to release balloons so I picked some up and after singing happy birthday most of us wrote notes, tied the notes to a balloon and the kids and some adults released them up into the sky.  Perhaps hoping that our notes reach her???

I was able to take a picture of the kids notes … a very raw moment

And a number of people posted or commented online or sent messages throughout the day.

No time of the year is ever super easy.  The holidays, december in particular, just compound the issue.

Even though today may have been more challenging than most I think these kids are grateful and will appreciate all the effort

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Candy Cigarettes???

Who puts candy cigarettes in a pinata? Serious, WTF?  Maybe I’m just going overboard but come on?  Now I have this kid who thinks it’s cool to hold a candy cigarette and pretend he’s smoking.  Sure we had those things when we were kids.  But people also smoked on planes.  And bars were filled with smoke.  It was different then for sure. But I absolutely hate seeing him holding this fake cigarette likes it’s a real one.  Now we have to talk even more about why those things are bad for you why people get addicted and all that shit.  Thanks to whomever decided that was a great idea.  Actually, FU

Our POTUS … god he sucks.  NOT MY PRESIDENT is what I just say over and over to my self.  “Mr. [President], what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” Thank you Billy Madison!  In just a few short days we’ll be touring the white house.  I can’t even imagine running into the dude.  What possibly could I say to him other than WORST PRESIDENT EVER or WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST QUIT or SCIENCE IS REAL or POLLUTION IS BAD …

Oh, and why in the world does my 6th grade daughter need permission to take a cough drop at school?  Is she going to overdose on them?  Seriously?  You don’t need to call me to ask if it’s okay if my daughter has a cough drop because she’s coughing.

I really just wanted to write about that damn candy cigarette but decided to throw in a couple other things … I’ll get over it but if he starts smoking one day … 🙁



This was originally written in May 2018 but I didn’t post this until September …

I suppose that’s why I haven’t written in nearly 5 months

But plenty has been happening …

I took the kids on a 6 hour drive to the UP around NYE.  She skied and he snowboarded for 3 days.  They really did amazing.  And I hope we can and will do it again for years to come.  They even handled the drive really well, making it 3 hours before having to use the bathroom and then made it another 3+ until we finally arrived.  And for someone, that being myself, who doesn’t really like long drives I didn’t mind the trip and would totally do it again.

We went with friends, which was so necessary.  Being just the 3 of us and the chairs lifts only having 2 seats meant I went with one of the kids and someone had to go with the other.

Did I mention that this may have also been the coldest few days ever?

When I was packing up the car at 6 in the morning it was -8 degrees.  1 hour into our trip it went down to -15.  On the ski hill our balaclavas would freeze on the way down and thaw on the way back up (thankfully the chair lifts were with the wind, not against it).  We had an outdoor hot tub too and the resort (which was still stuck in the 80’s) also had a pool.

Such a fun trip!

For MLK weekend we took off for the lake house.  He tried skiing there and she tried snowboarding.  He seemed to enjoy skiing though so next time we take a long trip he may end up choosing ski’s over a board.  It also snowed while we were there and were able to sled on our property.

Both of them participated in the school’s variety show.  He was in Sumo’s vs Senior’s and she did a dance to Party in the USA

She skipped out on Orchestra but is still taking lessons on the Viola which she is getting pretty good at.  He’s learning the guitar and can play parts of a few songs now.

Our Spring Break vacation was in the Riviera Maya again.  This time at Hotel Xcaret.  GC came along for the trip too.  The resort, which was really amazing, also included passes to a bunch of the local eco parks.  Xel-ha and Xplor …. Xenses, Tulum, Xcaret … everything was awesome.  He and I zip lined.  Road a 4×4.  Swam through a 2 mile underground river.  She and I did a bike zip line.  We crossed a floating bridge.  Saw tons of Macaws.  He and I paddle boarded.  The 3 of us kayaked.  He met a friend who lives in PA, shawn.  He talks about him every now and then hoping to meet up again some time.  We shall see … I could stay in that weather forever.  It was hard to leave 83 degree s and return to where it was 38.

She’s doing awesome in school with all A’s at this point.  Neither of them hardly ask at all for help with homework too.  So far so good!  It’s only just over 3 weeks until school is out for the summer.

In 2 days I’m hosting my 2nd garage sale … I’m not looking forward to it but emptying the house of so much clutter has felt good.

And then in just over a week we host our 9th Cookout for Cari BBQ.  9 is crazy to think about.  It’s mostly the idea that she’s not here and wondering how life would be different.  We definitely would have went down a slightly different road together … would probably live in a different area, with different friends, and slightly different careers.  The kid situation, would it be different?  Probably more siblings.  I don’t know, it’s just unbelievable that we’re in this situation that we’re in …

that’s it for now :/