The Year in Review

I’ve attempted to write this Year in Review several times, but it always seemed to come out with a negative vibe, but alas, it is the New Year! 2017 and pretty soon, it’ll be two years and I”ll have completely moved to a different phase soon. Four months late, but here goes:

A LOT has changed, since we’ve switched to civilian life and this will likely be one of the last posts where I mention the difference, since there’s no going back to the military for us. When you move with the military (generally and from my personal perspective) you know where you will receive your medical care, at 100% coverage, you know where you will buy groceries, without tax, finding a dentist that takes military dental is as easy as a couple mouse clicks and you’ll meet families just like you.

This year, we’ve realized Standard Retiree insurance is NOT going to cover it, there are many levels of dental care provided by Delta Dental, which I had to unfortunately navigate after accidentally seeing a PPO not a Preferred Dentist. What??!!! Grocery store vetting has been a challenging and costly adventure, yet we’ve been so blessed with family and friends willing to share their free-ganic groceries with us. Tuna, Pickles, Squash, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Liqueur, Jam, Honey, Fruit, Crab, Pork, Nuts, EGGS!! (May we never forget the bounty of eggs we have received this Summer.) I’m sure there are more that I can’t remember. It has been a miraculous year of good eats.

bread-pork-beer

Bread, Pork and Beer. This year we joined the world of Sourdough Bread making, eating home grown meat and brewing our own beer. The last will not likey be repeated any time soon as ready to purchase beer is actually less expensive and less time consuming. It was a fun science experiment and marriage test, but we’re moving on.

ice-creams

I went nuts with the ice cream maker this year. I stopped counting at 15 different flavors. The boys’ favorite….cookie dough and vanilla. I also managed to make a reasonably accurate It’s It.

Now friends. Hmm. That’s been an interesting challenge for the boys and myself. Hubby is fine with no friends….only semi joking.  Brendon is currently missing his Bestie from last year’s school now that we’ve moved them to yet another new school. (See previous blog post.) And John, despite his attempts at escaping school each morning, we’ve heard he has a best friend at school. Strangely bearing the same name as his Father’s dearest longtime friend. They are so similar! Me, well, what can we say about me? I have my family here, which includes four sisters and their families, my military besties who hear all about the highs and lows of my life through online chat sessions, and I am constantly joking with hubby I’m going to post a photo of my boss’ wife with a tag line that reads: The Making of a Bestie, but I’m trying not to suffocate it at the outset.

We have been sicker as a family than any other time in our married life. Even me!! I know, the apocalypse must be near! I’d like to blame this partly on above mentioned lacking medical care access/coverage by the general population, but who can say the real reason. On bright note, we sold our burden of a house in North Carolina; delightful to receive a tax bill last week and know it belongs to someone else! Oh yeah!!

istagram-favorites

Some Instagram favorites. Cracking crab, courtesy of the Vines. Our trip to the coast. Easter and learning about dairy cows with Ms.Roxanne.

Where is this going?! If you’re still hanging in there with this blog post, I’m sure you’re about to ask this very question. Well, let me tell you. My dearest Hubby has retired, again. He quit his job after one of my epic mommy tantrums (I may or may not have received a traffic light camera ticket the same day) this past Summer. It was on the heels of his request to go part time for several months being unfulfilled and I was getting a wee bit stressed out trying to manage my work, side projects, the house and have the boys home full time.

mantime

Mantime. Yes, we purchased a Flowbee…it works pretty well, but with a hairdresser sister close by, it’s hard to stick with the Flowbee full time. With Vance managing dinners, we’ve become subjects to his historic favorites. Stew and Chili dogs; usually with a non meat option on the side for me.

boy-moments

Two great boy moments of the year: Brendon surprising me with cleaning the bathroom and one of our weehoo rides.

We’re currently looking to relocate again, in closer proximity to the boys’ school and hubby isn’t sure he wants to go back to work outside the home, EVER. We’ve joked for many years about him wanting to be a house hubby and turns out it is a reality at the moment. The only problem being, if we want to build our forever house, he’ll likely need a steady stream of outside the home income for a few years; we’ll cross the bridge in 2017. 

As for how it’s going at home with Dad running the roost. Well, let’s just say, Day One was the real low of stay at home Dad life. It was bedtime and said dad was chasing the boys to their room at bedtime, calling them “little sh*ts”. They were running for cover and I was enjoying the scene. It’s only Monday morning Mr.Mom. He’s finding out that “kids in school all day” and “free time” of a stay at home parent is not what it seems. There are floors to clean, laundry to fold, homework to supervise, meals to cook and taxi duties. Dare I say, the boys are thriving and Vance is really HAPPY for the first time in a very, very, long time, circa 2001.

sonoma

We were able to get away to Sonoma this past year. A much needed vacation without our minis.

My Job – Going back to work has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I realize how much I do love architecture and working, but being away from my little family so much has been a real shift, along with a steady decrease in time for my sewing. And I only work part time! Imagine if I worked all day. Work is going really well; we are steady with projects (dare I say busy?!) and we turned in what I’ve deemed a local record – 5 projects on the final day of the year for permit review. In lieu of a proper post about my work, I’ll say, Tom Hartman, one of my ASU professors, was right. It’s always best to work with friends. You already like/trust one another and in the midst of chaos and deadline they won’t leave you high and dry. Working with Jason (aka Shakey) has fit that bill perfectly. It’s been a crazy amazing year of work, with only a few days of frustration between the two of us.

work

Shakey and myself receiving Small Business of the year. Just kidding. ha! It’s the photo from our class reunion a few years ago…no other Roadrunners made an appearance; foreshadowing? (middle) Getting my dad into the Realm mix. And last but not least me, at the end of the work day. I always look like I’ve been through the ringer.

dandilion

My favorite photo of the year. May all our dandelion wishes come true in 2017!

 

 

Bittersweet

Exterior Front 2

Today was the end of a bittersweet journey for us. Following a terrible renter who refused to pay their rent on time or sometimes pay at all and 8 months on the market, paying the mortgage and poa dues, we closed on the sale of our North Carolina house.

The house we bought when Brendon was a toddler and John’s first home. A fantastic, fully loaded on a golf course house that served us very well for 2 years as our primary residence. It was in a beautiful gated community and I cherished the very active Mom’s Group there that kept me in friends and support with my family on the other coast. We made lots of memories and thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the community was overbuilt and selling when we were PCS’d to Hawaii was not an option.

McNulty Map

I don’t remember why I drew this map, but I ran across it today…

While, three years later, we’ve still sold at a loss, I am proud of us. We didn’t fold under the pressure. We’ve weathered the bad house purchase storm. And even though our financial situation is drastically changed, we stuck to our promise when we signed on the dotted line. Don’t think the VA wouldn’t have it any other way! They do not endorse short sales. I’m also so very thankful we weren’t so far upside down and that we had the means to pay the balance. 

Yesterday Brendon was asking why we couldn’t keep the house and how he’d love to live there again. I thought it’s true, the house was simply fantastic and something we couldn’t afford if it were located in California, but our life has changed and I don’t envision us moving back to the South anytime soon. In the end, it’s just a house.

Master Bedroom

It’s true, all you need is Love! The rest is just stuff.

To celebrate? Champagne? No, but maybe some bittersweet chocolate.

**If you are looking to buy or sell a house in NC, I highly recommend our realtor, Gary Barrett. I can’t tell you all the ways he went way beyond the call of duty on this house and can whole heartedly say this sale most likely wouldn’t have happened without him. He really had our best interest in mind and I am so grateful we talked to him before we left NC, even though we put off selling our house for 3 years.**

Golf Course