Birthdays and other nonsense

It’s probably time for an update so I’m going to work backwards here…

We just celebrated Zoe’s 14th birthday on Sunday. IMG_6057 I filled my little house with 7 teenage girls and 10 family members. It was cramped but fun. Blowing out 14 birthday candles proved to be a daunting task as it took her 4 tries to get them all out. I certainly hope this insanity made up for her 13th birthday. We had just moved into the house and there was no money for a party so we celebrated; Zoe, her brother and myself, with cupcakes and the meal of Zoe’s choosing.







Remember Hope? The little lady fighting for her life a little while back? Here she is. Healthy and beautiful. Last month we were, once again, guests for the Red Heart Affair Gala which is an annual event put on by a local organization, Health Awareness Network Connection, to honor heart disease survivors. Zoe was honored last year and was invited back this year as an alumnus to award another survivor. Her honoree, Micah, is another of Dr. Boyle’s transplant kids. Unfortunately, Micah got sick at literally the last minute and was unable to make it.






I love Christmas. As soon as possible after Thanksgiving the tree goes up. It’s a family affair. Even Gabe hangs around and gets in on it. We put on our Santa hats, I get some Christmas music going, and we get ta decoratin’. Buying for teens can get expensive so I try to keep it simple. Each kid gets 5 gifts; something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read and then a little something extra that they’d really like to have. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it’s working well. It makes them stop and give their lists some thought instead of just filling it with junk they don’t really need or want. Quality over quantity.

This was our first Christmas in this new house and I have to be honest, I was concerned about the tree fitting. This house was built in 1900 so it’s over 100 years old. It’s a decent size house, square footage wise, but the rooms are small. In 1900 people had less stuff. It gives the house character, but makes fitting my modern-day conveniences a little difficult. I’m pleased to say that the tree fit beautifully with minimal rearranging.


Twice now I’ve mentioned a move and a new house…I feel like a little explanation is in order.  In 2011 we moved out of a little townhouse into a big, beautiful rental in a great neighborhood. Sadly, 4 months after moving in, we were notified that our landlords hadn’t been paying the mortgage on the house. They were filing bankruptcy and the house was going into foreclosure. The bank bought the house back and allowed us to stay and pay rent to them until it sold. In June of 2014, the house sold. We were notified and had 90 days to move. Finding a house, in a decent neighborhood, that fit our budget, our family, and allowed our pets proved really difficult. We ran out of time. Gabe went to stay with his dad while Zoe and I went to my mom’s house where we shared a bedroom. I continued to look for rentals and even attempted to buy, but student loans and no down payment made that impossible at the time. During the 6 months we stayed there my budget got tighter which made the house search more difficult. Low and behold, my mother and step-father ended up in the same boat I had been in and their house sold out from under them causing me to be on the house hunt, under pressure, once again. At literally the last minute I found an affordable house, in a live-able neighborhood and the owners were willing to rush the paperwork through to make sure I could get us all moved in time. So here we are, a year later, in a 116 year old house that isn’t in my preferred neighborhood, but my kids and I are back under the same roof so I’ll take it without complaint.



Zoe decided to try out for the basketball team this past fall. Clearly, she made the team and thus, I became a basketball mom. I’m a basketball fan so sitting though these games wasn’t a difficult task for me. However, I never realized how cut-throat the world of middle school girls basketball is. I’ve seen less fouls called in an NBA game. Sadly, Zoe’s team went the entire season without a win, but those girls tried damn hard. They learned a lot and grew as a team. I think this will serve them well when they play in 8th grade.

As much as I’d love Zoe to become a runner like me, she found a sport she likes so I’ll take it.






In October the kids and I visited camp for a family weekend. Since Gabe is too old to be camper now, these family weekends are his only chance to get his camp fix. We went on a weekend when 2 of Zoe’s friends were going to be there and Olivia was nice enough to bunk us with one of those families. Although, the girls mom snored and I’m thinking we should have requested the other family as our cabin mates…. Zoe made the tutu in the picture on our first day and proceeded to wear it all weekend. In typical Zoe style, here she is looking all Hunger Games in a tutu and pink sneakers. I used the weekend to become known as the crazy mom who was up with the sun running laps around camp. I get that label during every family weekend we attend.

That place really is magic.





I also added Cheer Mom to my resume this school year. I knew she would make the squad with all her years of dance. While she made a beautiful cheerleader, it really wasn’t for her. This is when I became 100% sure that she’s my daughter. Getting a crowd pumped up is clearly not her thing. Yes, this makes me proud. Sitting through the football games was torture for me so I’m not sad to say that cheer was a one hit wonder with Zoe.








When dance resumed this past September, Zoe started Pointe. She adores tap and Jazz and has been tempted to quit ballet once or twice over the years, but this moment right here is what’s kept her there. I’m told she’s a very strong dancer. It takes time to be able to get up on your toes all the way and Zoe was one of the first in her class to do it. She’s a true ballerina now.

In April the Ohio Dance theater is holding open auditions for their annual production of The Nutcracker, performed in December. Zoe plans to audition. Fingers crossed.

Cheer mom, Basketball mom, etc… I’ll always be a Dance Mom.





Thanks to camp and a generous donor, Zoe and I got the opportunity to attend the One Direction concert at OSU in August. It was 5 hours (round trip) in the car on a weeknight, the day before Zoe’s first day of 7th grade, but it was so worth it. We got home at 1 a.m. and were both exhausted the next day, but she got to mark this off her bucket list. She was able to see her favorite band, live. Shortly after this concert, the band announced that they were breaking up. That news, while heartbreaking for her, made this concert so much more special. Zoe can say that she saw 1D live, in one of their last shows before splitting up.

After this concert, I have to admit that I’m now a 1D fan…..