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I wanted my last post from Massachusetts to be light and bouncy. Something positive and full of hope for a happier future. But the truth of the matter is that I’m desperately trying to keep everything together right now and I feel like I’m drowning.

I’m literally surrounded by boxes. Walls of boxes everywhere I look. And still, not everything is packed and the moving truck is coming this weekend. Packing up twenty plus years of my own accumulated possessions plus my children’s has drained every bit of optimism out of me.

I greatly underestimated how hard it would be to pack this house up on my own.

Also, some things can’t be packed into boxes…

On my mental “must do” list is to visit Nina’s tree and her grave one last time because I’m not certain I will ever get the opportunity to do so again.

I guess I should’ve started with that task because now I’m too drained to do it. Heck, I could hardly do those things on a good day. Now that I’m in a raw and frenzied state, I don’t think it’s in my best interest or my kids’ best interest to do one more heavy thing.

How do you say goodbye to a grave? Why do I feel guilty for not doing that? Humans are strange. Or maybe it’s just me. I mean, she’s not there, but yet I feel like I should say goodbye to that physical space she occupies.

Or maybe I’m just exhausted. Everything is a blur right now.

I know this post is disjointed. I know it’s not inspiring. But at least it’s honest.

This coming week is going to be a stressful one. I may not be able to post for a week or two. I just need to get to the new house, settle my children and find our new normal.

I’ll be back soon…

Flowers and Showers #SmellsClean

spring flowersMaryland is in a state of Spring explosion. Blossoms and buds everywhere. After a very harsh New England Winter, I want to weep with joy. Big fat tears of gratitude that life is springing from the earth. I was starting to wonder if Mother Nature had it in for the East Coast.

rose treeBack in Massachusetts everything is still in a state of dormancy. Heck, there’s still snow on the ground in some places. But these trips back and forth from one state to another in preparation for the move next week assure me that Spring is creeping its way up North.

Here in Maryland however, things are looking pretty perky. Greens, yellows and even bright shades of pink and red are all over my new yard. It’s a spectacular sight.


martin houseIt sounds like Spring too. All kinds of winged things are visiting the yard and we are delighted to have them as our guests. This is just one of the birdhouses the prior owners left behind for our enjoyment.

There’s even a hummingbird feeder hanging next to my kitchen window. I’ve never seen a hummingbird in real life before, so I’m pretty excited about that. I guess I better Google what to put in the hummingbird feeder. So much to learn about my new dwelling.

plug inSpring showers come hand in hand with Spring flowers. And today is one of those wet days. This weekend I’m running around the new house getting ready for the big move next weekend. Can you believe it’s upon us already? I’d like to say that things are all packed and ready to go. I’d also like to say that the new house is ready to receive both the kids and the boxes, but I’m not quite there yet.

So much to do in both places….

I decided to clean the new house myself instead of paying the money for a service. So this weekend I’ll be scrubbing tubs and floors. There’s something about a clean smelling house that makes it feel more like a home. I mean yeah, clean is important too, but the scent of clean is comforting.

And on this gray day, a rainy day when I can’t open the windows, I’m helping things along with some plugins and bright Spring scented candles.

If I can’t open the windows while Spring cleaning, this is the next best thing.

glade candleWhile shopping for cleaning supplies at Walmart, I took a quick run though the good smelling things aisle to check out the latest scents. Sunshine Cotton by Airwick sounded pretty darn good, so I tossed that into my cart and I also grabbed the candle you see above which has a clean floral scent. Just what this house needed to chase the slight musty smell of Winter away.

The air care aisle is full of bright Spring scents like Glade’s Sunshine Showers and Febreze’s Sage Lemon Grass. So many different scents that it was hard to choose just one. So I didn’t. I threw six of them into my cart and now I have what smells like an English garden wafting through every room of my new home.

So while the house might still be in a state of chaos, it will certainly smell clean. And that is a step in the right direction!

My next post will be bursting with more Spring goodness as I’m also heading into Washington, D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend. And I am absolutely GIDDY to share that with you! So much more to come.

Have a joyous weekend filled with the scents of Spring and I wish you much success with your own Spring cleaning!


This is a sponsored post from Acorn Influence. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tissues and Tylenol

Melanie is SickBoy did I get cocky this winter thinking I was going to make it through an entire season without getting sick. I came so close too! But it finally happened. I came down with the yuck and I’ve spent the entire last five days fighting it off. Not very successfully, I might add.

Leela ShamrockLife doesn’t care if you are sick. It still needs to be lived. This week we’ve had a bunch of school activities to attend and someone had to get the kids to said activities. Of course that someone would be me. So I tucked my box of Kleenex under my arm, stuffed some cough drops into my purse and half-heartedly tried to conceal the dark circles under my eyes and off we went.

Leela had a super cute social at school for Saint Patrick’s Day. There were sweet treats, giggles with friends and dancing to Taylor Swift tunes. I’m pretty sure they played every song she’s ever produced. And while I’m totally a-ok with Taylor Swift, listening to a hundred gleeful little people belt out each and every song was brutal on my fluid filled eardrums.

But I sat there and smiled as we moms do when we aren’t feeling our best. Praying the power would go out or that the fuse to the audio would blow. Neither of which happened.

Pi DayAnd then there was STEM night at Shannon’s school. At that point my fever had gone down and I was feeling a little better with a bit more energy. There were some pretty impressive science experiments going on that even I found fascinating. Shannon was more fascinated with the pies. Pi Day might be a little over her head, but it was totally in line with her tummy.

MelanieAnd here I am today. Feeling SO much better. I can actually breath out of one nostril now which is a huge gift. One cleared nostril and one ear that works again. Progress! I even had enough energy to put on some makeup. If you had seen me earlier in the week you’d know how much of an accomplishment this was.

It’s a good thing I’m feeling better because the move is coming up right quick. It’s just weeks away now and I’m knee deep in boxes. Expect some sappy posts coming up because as I’ve been packing I’ve come across baby clothes, photos and other mementos that are gutting me with each discovery.

More on that shortly.

How’s your week going? Staying healthy? Did you eat pie on Pi Day?

My Week In Food Pictures

princess popcornThe post I had planned for this evening was one that spoke of parenting trials and the joy of working through them with your children. It was going to be an inspiring post.

One where I told you that even if your kids are giving you a run for your money, it’s so worth it in the end. Parenting is rough, but gratifying. Good for the soul even. And we are warriors raising up a mighty army of children who will go forth and become amazing citizens of the world.

And then life happened…

I had a spat with one of my older kids which is still raging on and one of my kids has had three days of BS math homework that has lasted two hours at a time even though her IEP calls for abbreviated assignments which has left her exhausted and exasperated at the end of every evening.

Oh and me too. Exhausted, exasperated, mentally evaporated and every other E word that sounds frustrating. Yup, that’s me.

To say that I’m not feeling like a parenting warrior right now would be an understatement.

So instead we are going to talk about the only thing that’s gone right this week. Food. Are you surprised? I didn’t think you would be.

It all started on Sunday. I bought the girls the movie Tinkerbell and the Neverbeast so that we could have a mom and daughter movie night. And on those nights when it’s just mom and the girls, we make our traditional Princess Popcorn which is essentially a bowl of hot buttered popcorn and our favorite candies mixed in. Not nutritionally sound but super fun.

Now about the Neverbeast. This might be why our week has been a basket of crazy. Have you seen that movie yet? A mixture of scary and grab your Kleenex sad. Thank God we had a bowl of popcorn and candy to eat our feelings with. Not your feel good movie of the year. Good grief.

But Princess Popcorn was a hit as it always is and the girls asked if we could watch another movie to make up for the Neverbeast next weekend. More Princess Popcorn is on our horizon.

MusselsSo the school week started as did my work week. I had a couple of recipes that had to be written and shot before the sun went down which meant the the kids came home to a wonderful after school snack, Mussels Rockefeller.

kids eating musselsThe good thing about having such a hearty after school snack is that my daughter could work on her math homework straight through dinner and right up until bedtime with not a hunger pang to slow her down. Bonus!

kids polishing off musselsFour pounds of mussels polished off in under twenty minutes. Rather impressive if I do say so myself.

arugula flatbread pizzaThe day after the mussels snack, I greeted the kids with an arugula flatbread pizza. A much healthier snack. And I thought it would be well received. It wasn’t. I think they were expecting something much more grand judging by their sullen faces when they saw the pile of greens.

But we have a rule in this house. If you don’t like what mom puts out to eat, you’re really going to appreciate the next meal because this house is not equipped with a short order cook. Eat what you are served or I’ll see you at the next meal.

honey chickenNot that they suffered long. This was dinner that night. A recipe I can’t tell you about quite yet because I need to write the post for A Beautiful Bite. I can tell you that there’s chicken, bacon and honey in the mix. And while things have been rough this week, no one complained about dinner. A small miracle.

L.A. Burdick Chocolate MouseYesterday was the most onerous day of the week so far which is pretty comical because it’s only Wednesday. The week isn’t even over yet. So much more potential drama and math homework to come! But the fact that I survived yesterday made me feel like I deserved a little treat.

That treat came in the form of a Burdick Mouse. Isn’t it cute? I went to a baby shower for a dear friend this weekend and I won the baby shower game. My prize was a box of Burdick Chocolates which included this little mouse. I happily bit off his head and the rest of him with my glass of wine last night. He tasted like finishing the last problem in a math homework assignment. Delicious.

So that’s been my week so far. This week is a week of survival, apparently. And while I’d love to be your encourager, your cheerleader, the one to tell you that it’s all going to be a-ok, I’m not feeling it today.

Do know that we are in this together. The good times. The crappy times. And even though sometimes life sucks, at least we’re not alone in the struggle.

Also, thank God for good chocolate. And wine. Especially wine.

My Weekend In Pictures

ChesapeakeLate Monday night I got back from a whirlwind weekend in Maryland. The closing was on Friday and that same day I spent time at the schools in order to prepare for the transition, whenever that may be. There’s still a lot that’s up in the air right now and that includes an exact transition date.

But while I was down there, I spent some time exploring the area and getting a feel for what’s to be my new life. The new house is situated between the Chesapeake and farm country. Or at least it feels that way to me. The nearest Target is forty-five minutes away and the closest gallon of milk is a fifteen minute drive. To me that means we’re in the country. I’ve got pictures of horses to prove it…

Maryland Horse FarmCool, huh? I imagine lots of farm fresh eggs and produce in my future. Besides not having a Target around, this part of the county really doesn’t have much commerce at all. The only restaurant in the area is a Mexican one which is sort of awesome because if my town is only going to have one restaurant, I want it to be Mexican.

Another plus to living in a kind of remote area is that there’s little ambient light. So when it gets dark out, it gets pitch dark and you can see the stars shining brilliantly on a cloud free evening. I would’ve stood outside enjoying the display longer if it hadn’t been so frigidly cold last weekend.

The house is situated in a very wooded area. And while I cannot share pictures of the house yet (I’d like the kids to be the first ones to see it), I can share some pictures of my favorite trees on the property. I know it sounds strange to have favorite trees, but I do. Trees and birds make me happy.

Fir treeFor someone who loves trees, I know very little about them. Take this tree for example. Is it a fir or a pine? Are they the same thing? I haven’t a clue. All I know is that it’s tall and has outrageously large pinecones like I’ve never seen before and I love it.

crepe myrtleThis is a crepe myrtle. There are five of these on the property, but this one is the most mature. While the blooms of crepe myrtles are stunning, the bark is what I love the most. It’s smooth to the touch and so visually striking. I might not be an arborist, but I do appreciate a majestic tree.

Naval BaseThe house is in close proximity to three military bases. You can’t go anywhere in the county without seeing something military. And being a huge military supporter, this is a welcome thing. I also had to sign a release stating that there could be significant aircraft noise in the area when I signed the house contract. I’m pretty sure my sons will find that fascinating!

I know that’s only a tiny glimpse of the new place, but it will have to do for now. Much more to come when the time is right. Many of you left such supportive comments on my last post. I will spend some time this evening responding to them once the kids are in bed. This weekend was way too hectic to do much of anything by the way of blogging or commenting. And it wasn’t until this morning that I felt like I was getting some of my energy back. Moving is exhausting.

Not that I moved much of anything, really. The truly exhausting stuff is to come soon enough.

Thank you all for your supportive comments. It means the world to me.


Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

Leela and StitchAs we sat in the airport on Sunday, no one was in a jovial mood. Leaving Florida after nine days of fun in the sun was difficult. Especially considering all we’ve gone through this past year.

Nine days truly focused on having fun was blissful. No heavy conversations. No suffocating tensions. No worrying about the future other than what rides we would experience the next day. I can’t speak for the kids, but I can tell you that my shoulders felt a lot lighter that week.

I took the picture of Leela above while we were waiting for our flight. I think this image represents how we all were feeling at that moment. But vacations always end and goodbyes are inevitable.

And today I am about to start another goodbye process.

Tomorrow I close on the new house in Maryland.

Saying goodbye to my current home and life isn’t easy. I’ve lived here for over eight years. The fact that I’ve moved around a lot during my life doesn’t really help anything. Once you sleep somewhere for a period of years, moving your bed is not an easy thing.

And I’m definitely a creature of habit. I take comfort in schedules and knowing what comes next. The bus comes at 8:45am. I drink my first cup of coffee at 9am. Work happens between 9-3pm. And then the kids come home and there’s homework, cooking dinner, dishes, some downtime and then the bedtime routine.

That is my life. It’s not particularly exciting, but it is predictable. And for a woman who loves adventure, that might seem odd that I would take comfort in my normal dull life. But I do.

Now I have to start a new routine somewhere else. And as exciting as that is, it’s scary too.

Then there are other concerns…

I have no friends in Maryland. Well, I do have a few blogger friends there, but I don’t know them very well yet. Hopefully that will change.

But that having no friends thing is scary. I’m afraid to be alone in a new place. And I’m certain my kids feel the same way.

You will of course remind me that I’m an extrovert, but that really doesn’t make it any easier. Making new friends is work and I’m not entirely sure I have the energy to put into that kind of relationship building right now. I’m kind of mentally exhausted after the divorce. I’m not sure I have a lot to give right now.

And then there’s the packing up of this house, unpacking at the new house and arranging all that stuff so it feels like a home again.

Just writing that last sentence was exhausting.

But that’s what you do when you say goodbye to one place and hello to another.

It was just SO much easier to do when I was in my 20’s.

There’s so much more I’d like to say in this post, but I cannot. Matter of fact, most of my blog posts have been so surface as of late. Lacking a lot of personal info and a far cry from my normal posting. The reason for this is that I have an agreement with my ex to not write about the divorce anymore. And it’s REALLY hard to write about anything personal when you have that kind of agreement. But it’s what’s best for all parties and I have to honor that.

I can only share onward with you.

So with that, I’m off to pack my suitcase and head down to Maryland to close.

Goodbye Massachusetts, hello Maryland.

Bring on the crab cakes!

Cakeus Interruptus

CannolisEarlier this week I had grand plans. I finally had some inspiration for my poor neglected food blog. If you think I’ve been slow posting over here, it’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted anything over there. But this past weekend I came up with a delicious idea and my goal was to have the post up by Monday or Tuesday at the very latest.


And things started off swimmingly. The first day I baked the cake layers and the next I started working on the finishing touches. Just when I was ready to put the whole thing together, everything came to an abrupt stop.

Both girls came down with ailments at the exact same time that necessitated a trip to the pediatrician. And of course they would get a bug right before we are supposed to leave on a vacation. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Luckily their issues weren’t major, but they still needed to be seen. One had an ear boo boo and the other had a very sore throat that I needed to make sure wasn’t strep.

But the worst part about going to the doctor this time of year is the germ factory that is the waiting room. I didn’t want to go in with an ear infection and come out with the flu. So I’m officially that crazy mother who makes her kids wear masks while in the waiting room.

I’m sure you can tell how excited they were over that.

Actually, it was the nurse’s idea. So I blamed her. She knew we were going away and suggested the masks for extra protection.

Secretly I was more than happy to have them put those masks on. I don’t know if it really protected them, but it made me feel better.

Cannoli CakeSo what was supposed to be finished earlier in the week finally got done today after the case of cakeus interruptus. And it was certainly worth not giving up on. Isn’t it pretty? I named it The Best Cannoli Cake. If cannolis are your thing, you might want to check out the recipe. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat.

That’s what’s been going on over here. Cakes and co-pays.

How about you? How’s your week going?

Still Learning

IciclesI’ve been stuck in this house for days and at first it was wonderful. I even enjoyed the cancelled school as much as the kids. The first couple of days were like a honeymoon of sorts. Lazy sleep in days. No lunches to pack. Snowball fights in the yard followed by steaming mugs of hot chocolate. And best of all, no homework!

But as the time went on, the kids got bored. Bored kids are cranky kids. And after listening to the kids bicker over who was breathing too loudly and who was thinking bad thoughts about the other (didn’t you know my kids were psychics?), I had had enough.

The snow day honeymoon was over. All good feelings gone. And I was going to get those kids to school by snowshoe if I had to.

Luckily for me, just as I was nearing the breaking point, the snowfall ceased and the roads were cleared. The kids got on the bus and my sanity returned. I’ve never been as happy to see the bus as I was that morning.

So when I got an email inviting me to a cocktail party in the city celebrating the launch of a new app, I was like HELL YES! I had been in my jammies for days. The thought of putting makeup on and a bra sounded like just the medicine I needed to snap out of this winter funk.

Without much thought I rsvp’d YES! And off I went to make myself look human. Something you don’t worry about when you’re stuck in the house with four kids for days on end.

Stuck in snowAnd I really should’ve given it some thought because if I had, my good sense would’ve kept me home.

As a suburbanite, I expect the roads to be cleared and good to go once the DPW crews hit the streets. The snow is plowed and the roads are salted. And life is back to normal.

I assumed it would be the same in the city. It is Boston, after all. Surely they would remove the snow so that life could get back to normal.

But as I drove into the city last night, I saw locals walking in the streets because the sidewalks were nowhere to be found. Cars were still buried in snowdrifts and the streets were almost too narrow for more than one car to be traveling in either direction.

I started to panic about where I’d park my car. The only thing that gave me comfort was that the directions indicated that there was a municipal lot which I assumed was an indoor parking garage.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The municipal lot was an outdoor lot that was one big snow pile.

And being the optimist that I am, or the desperate woman wanting a civilized evening out, I put my SUV into the lot and figured that the word SUV guaranteed I’d be able to get out. Sport Utility Vehicle must cover snow, right? It’s got to be in the owner’s manual somewhere.

As it turned out, no. Having a SUV does not guarantee that you will not get stuck in a snow drift. Staying home does.

And by the grace of good samaritans and a liberal amount of ice melt, I was able to get out of the lot after much rocking back and forth and a few swear words tossed in for good measure.

I wish I could say that the evening was worth the frustration. It really wasn’t.

And when I got home, which was still early enough that my kids were in bed but not yet asleep, I went in to kiss them and say goodnight.

My youngest asked me if I had a good time. No, I said. It really wasn’t a good time. But mommy learned a good lesson.

You’re still learning lessons she asked? I thought you would be all learned by now.

I chuckled at that and assured her that you never stop learning. That even as adults we make mistakes. Mommy still has a good amount of learning to do.

With a tuck, a kiss and a prayer, I closed their door. And within seconds I could hear one telling the other to hush and the other telling her sister to take a leap.

I guess some lessons take longer to learn than others.

The State of Melanie Address

MelanieHere we are. It’s February 2015. I made no resolutions other than survival this year, so I’m doing pretty well all things considered. And I figured now was as good of a time as any to fill you in on what’s going on with me, my life and all the craziness that surrounds it. So let’s get you up to speed…

As you already know, I’m moving. And most of you figured out that yes, I’m moving to Maryland.

Oh what a journey I’m about to take you on.

But when that will happen is anyone’s guess. I have a house to sell here and a house to close on there. Lots of variables that affect the moving date. Needless to say we are all anxious about reaching closure on this. Unfortunately we only have so much control in this situation.

It’s a hurry up and wait kind of thing.

So much is in flux right now. And in case you didn’t pick up on this about me yet, I don’t do flux well. Nor do my children. This has been such a challenge for all of us, but we are pushing through. Finding our way. And making plans that will prepare us for the journey ahead.

As far as my work goes, that’s been in a state of flux as well. This week I’m interviewing with two different companies which is pretty exciting. I adore working because it gives me a great sense of purpose and I’m curious to see what doors are going to open as I move ahead. While change is not my thing, I still love the adventure that a job brings. So I’m crossing all crossable parts that the interviews go well. An employed Melanie is a happy Melanie.

What else… what else…. hmmmm….


Such a big word isn’t it? Dating. Yes, that’s part of 2015 as well. More on that as the year unfolds, but yes, it’s on my radar. On my flight plan, if you will. More on that when I’m ready.

But for today I’m going to leave you with a song. One of my very favorites. No song speaks to my life right now the way that this song does.

Learning to fly. Yes, I am.

Catching Up

Girls in SnowWell hello there! Excuse me for a second while I blow the dust off my laptop. WOOSH! Lots of dust over here. Cough cough.

I’m so sorry for the lack of posting but by God do I have a great excuse. Actually I have two of them.

First, we got absolutely clobbered by Juno. Thirty-one inches to be exact. And it would be the biggest understatement to say that I was terrified of this storm. Having grown up in Michigan, it wasn’t the snow that was scaring me. I’m familiar with snow.

It was the seventy-five mile per hour winds that had me on my knees praying for the power to stay on.

I was so worried that the electricity would go out thus eliminating our heat. And I knew if the heat went out that there would be little help to be had. No vehicles were allowed on the roads and there would be no evacuating. Wicked scary stuff.

You know, when you’re a kid a snowstorm is a blast. But when you’re a parent it’s a different story. While my kids were looking out the window with happy shining eyes, planning all the fun they’d have in the snow the next day, I was worrying that we’d all become humansicles. Frozen. And not the Disney version.

Michael ShovelingAfter an evening of howling winds and a curtain of falling snow, we woke up to a blinding white landscape that had the kids begging for their snow boots before I even had a chance to assess if there was a way to let them out of the house without letting three feet of drifted snow fall in.

And as you can see from the picture above, one of my kids wasn’t enjoying the snow as much as his siblings. But why only one son shoveling while I have two you ask?

Oh well you see, my other son is a total slacker. Just hanging in the house cozy as a bug, watching his brother dig out the sidewalks while he sipped a mug of steaming hot chocolate.

Except that total slacker was ordered by his doctor to do nothing the least bit physical because he injured his kidney and ribs earlier in the week in a very bad fall which caused internal bleeding. INTERNAL BLEEDING!!!!

Oh my mama heart.

I can hardly handle external bleeding. Whenever the doctor told me he had internal bleeding I assured her I was going to pass out.

So he’s not really a slacker. And I plan on wrapping him in bubble wrap which I should’ve done years ago.

And people think I worry too much. Puhhlllease. Internal bleeding. Ugh.

AidanA week of scary injuries and terrifying weather. I think that’s a good excuse for my silence, don’t you think?

Oh, and this picture above. Yeah, well I felt so bad for my kid that I made him nachos. He loves nachos. I made a big ole heaping platter of the stuff covered in gooey cheese, taco meat (ground turkey, shhhh don’t tell) and shredded lettuce for a bit of health.

You can see by his reaction that the addition of greenery was highly offensive. Completely unacceptable. A nacho blasphemy so I’m told.

But it didn’t stop him from eating it. Nor his siblings. Within minutes my snow-kissed rosy faced kids came inside to join their injured brother in polishing it off.

And as they stood around munching, I couldn’t help but think how lucky we got this week. Our guardian angels must be exhausted.