Change

So, yeah. Change.

Here we are. Most of you know that we are undergoing some major life changes in our little family. Here’s the deal.

After years of the Knight telling me that ‘there is life outside the DC area’ and that ‘the rest of the country doesn’t plan their trips to Trader Joe’s around rush hour,’ I relented.

I grew up in the NY suburbs (Long Island). I have pretty much lived there and here (Northern VA). I don’t really know any different. Honestly, I love it here. We have a great life, wonderful friends, a comfortable home, and good jobs.

However, what is missing is balance. Frankly, I can never get enough time with Max, or Oli for that matter. I am proud of being a working mom. But for the past 2.5 years I have longed for something different.

We had talked about moving to Charleston for several years. We went down a couple of times and we like it but we weren’t wowed enough to make the move.

Along came Greenville. Oli is from what they call Upstate South Carolina. He grew up about 45 minutes to an hour from Greenville. His brother and sister-in-law live there. Coincidentally, back in 1999, I had a work assignment that took me to Greenville for an extended period of time. It was fine, but nothing to write home about.

So each time we visited Oli’s brother we would stick around the house. This past September we stayed longer and explored the area. The area has completely changed. There has been an amazing amount of development thanks to several large corporations moving to the city – BMW, Michelin, etc. Clemson has a satellite campus there. George Hincapie even moved there and opened a training center. 
So our tour went well, dtarting with the amazing four-story Children’s Museum. We were sold. Oli was shocked when I told him I could see us living there. The downtown area is amazing. For my DC friends, imagine a cross between Old Town and Bethesda, and throw in a river with water falls and beautiful parks and trails. The downtown has a wonderful mix of restaurants, shops, artist studios and green space. There are theaters, museums and a very nice library. There is even a minor league baseball park.

greenville map

Greenville is located in the northwest part of SC. They area is called the “upstate.” It is near the mountains.


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A view of the downtown from Falls Park. The pedestrian suspension bridge is even more striking in person.


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The heart of downtown

 

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Greenville skyline

Then I started researching home prices. Helllo!?! We can buy a house within walking distance of downtown for what you would buy a one-bedroom condo for here.

 

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Main Street (I don’t know how they got a picture with no cars or people)

 

It took us a while to get to the point of admitting that it was what we wanted to do. It was an extremely difficult decision for many reasons. However, knowing that we could have a fresh start and get out of the DC rat race was just too tempting to resist.

We are optimistic that once we get settled we will wonder why we waited so long. Greenville is a great little city with so much to offer. Our house is still on the market but we decided it is time to leave my job and start enjoying life. I’ve been very surprised by the mixed emotions I have been feeling this week. As much as I didn’t totally love my job, there are parts that I really like. My coworkers are all fantastic and I am really going to miss them. I did well in my 11+ years as a government lawyer but it is time to try something new.

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Liberty Bridge at night

What will that be? I don’t know exactly. And I kind of like that. I can do anything. The idea is to buy a house that we can afford without either of us working (we will live on the Knight’s retirement income). We are hoping to find a nice little home within walking distance of the thriving downtown area. Walkability is our priority, so we will have to resist looking at the houses that are farther out. As you might expect, you can get a lot more for your money when you go just a few miles away from downtown. We will see what we find.
Oli will continue his consulting gigs and when I am ready I will find something new to do. I am only half joking when I sai I want a job at Trader Joe’s. I think that would be great fun. More realistically, I am hoping to pursue my passions for running and healthy eating by helping others get fit and healthy. I recently became a certified running coach and I am going to explore some formal nutrition education to get some certifications in that arena.

On the way in to work I saw a powerball advertisement on the sign of the bus. I realized that every time I fantastize about winning (which isn’t going to happen since I never play) the first thing I think of is quitting my job. Well, here we are. I’m not going to lie. It feels really good to be released from the constant pressure of this job.

There are a million other things to say, but those are the basics. We are super happy to be able to do this.

Thursday Thirteen

It’s Thursday, at least according to my calendar. I am going to write the first 13 things that come to my mind.

  1. It’s only Thursday?
  2. The week after a vacation is tough.
  3. A busy weekend lies ahead. I’m solo and I’m hosting a bridal shower.
  4. Where the heck are those darn cherry blossoms?
  5. The first time I saw the cherry blossoms I was disappointed. They weren’t what I expected. I love them now.
  6. In general, I find it important to not set my expectations too high.
  7. When I was studying in England many of my classmates found Stonehenge disappointing so I was expecting it to be nothing special. I was pleasantly surprised when I went. It is all a matter of expectations.
  8. Now I am daydreaming of traveling to Europe. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, though it could. I have my heart set on a trip to a tropical destination, however.
  9. We had a great trip to Nashville. It was the first time I met the Knight’s best friend, even though we’ve skyped for years. The Little Prince loved him (and his family) from the second they met him and just climbed right up into his lap.
  10. I’m planning to cook lots of carbs while Oli is away. Pasta and Pad Thai are on the menu.
  11. I’ve been having trouble sleeping this week. I find it so much harder to be positive and cheery when I’m not fully rested.
  12. I have been good about getting my exercise, however. Exercise is not the same as training.
  13. At the rate I’m going, each swim is costing me around $25 since I pay a monthly rate at my gym. Not good!

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Thursday Thirteen – March edition

Realistically, this will be the only Thursday Thirteen this month so I am calling it the monthly edition.

  1. March is my birthday month. What a month it has been. Two snow days so far, including one on my actual birthday. It was a wonderful unexpected surprise. My birthday celebration included a roaring fire, lots of cuddles and many yummy eats (over my birthday weekend).
  2. I officially have a little under a year to plan by 40th birthday extravaganza. I need ideas.
  3. Max loves the snow and vehemently objected to coming inside after both of his snow outings. The Knight things he is a snow endurance athlete in the making.
  4. I originally intended  to give the Knight a guy’s weekend with his best bud (in Nashville) as a gift. Then I decided to make it an adults only weekend away. When I presented this gift, however, the Knight informed me we were not going to Nashville without the Little Prince. 🙂 I’m cool with that, since I get upset when I have to get my hair done and miss my evening time with him. So, next week the three of us having a little family trip. I can’t wait.
  5. Some of you know I’ve been enjoying Blue Apron’s delivery service lately (I still have a few free weeks to give away if anyone is interested). Well, the Knight decided he could do just as well so after I sent him recipes (and added the items to the grocery list) he started Oli Apron. He has been stepping up his sous chef duties this week and it has been so fun.
  6. I know everyone agrees that it is time for Spring to come. I am just so excited. I can’t wait for all of the outdoor fun we’re going to have.
  7. The “pick your track” email for Team Z came out today. You basically pick one of four tracks based on your fitness level, goals and experience. I found myself wondering what the heck I am thinking planning a Half Ironman in 4 months since other than running and lifting, my training has been sparse at best. What do you pick when you’ve done an Ironman before and are comfortable with speed work, but it has been a long, long time. I can comfortably run 8 miles but biking more than 15 right now will be more than I’ve done in a long, long time. Yeah, I think it will be track 1 for me, but I’m really uneasy about how soon this race is.
  8. I have not been getting my swims done. I have a bunch of excuses that don’t amount to anything. I just need to get it done. I am hoping that I will be more consistent when the lake warms up and I can walk 7 minutes and being in the water.
  9. Max is doing so amazing well and I really need to write a whole post about him. I have been great about keeping up my Max Memories blog. (Let me know if you want the private link.)
  10. Work is going well. I had a huge win this week (on a case I litigated months ago). My boss said it was “a critical win” for the Agency. His praise in response to my email announcing the decision was “Excellent outcome!” Nothing more. It was only about $8 million at stake. Thanks, boss! (My first line supervisor did say “Congratulations!” as well as “thanks for your good work!” so that’s something.)
  11. I posted on Facebook about my sister’s post that has really made me think. She wrote “Someone is praying for the things you take for granted.” This is so thought provoking. There is so much in my life that I need to be ridiculously grateful for. It really changed my perspective.
  12. I was ‘this close’ to signing us up for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again this year when I learned that it sold out in 36 hours. Darn! It wasn’t meant to be.
  13. I need more hours in the day. Anyone else?

Gratitude

Tonight I am feeling the need to express some gratitude. Facebook just didn’t seem like the right place so I am writing here. You know, on my equally or more public blog.

Listing my good fortune is a regular habit for me. I don’t know how it started but whenever a negative emotion hits me I automatically start listing all of the things I have to be grateful for. It is overwhelming, actually. I mean, if you real get down to the basics, how about breathing, running water, electricity. Then there’s freedom, love, my abilities, etc. I could seriously list about 1000 things without a bit of effort.

Well, it has been a hard week. The a Knight is away and the stress of the past two weeks has taken a serious toll on me and apparently, my immune system. Not only did my period come over a full week early (TMI, sorry) but I developed the beginnings of a head cold shortly after my long run Saturday morning and then a stomach bug hit me some time yesterday. Fortunately I am successfully winning the fight against both things but let me tell you, solo parenting while sick is the pits!

That’s a lot of complaining for a gratitude post, I know. So here is what I am especially thankful for tonight:

1. My solo parenting is short-term – and voluntary.
2. The Knight will be home Saturday (or in 3 sleeps, as we would explain to the little Prince).
3. My immune system is pretty awesome. Not only have I not succumb to the full sickness that could have gotten me (my sister has the full-blown stomach thing) but also I don’t ordinarily get sick.
4. I have a job that provides me sick leave – and the ability to use it. I don’t have to worry about not being able to pay my bills when I get ill. I also feel free to use my sick leave when I need it.
5. Daycare. For the first time today I took Max to daycare and then came home and slept. Blessing!
6. The little prince is healthy. My biggest wish right now is that he not feel even a bit of what I have felt this week.
7. Support. I haven’t needed to call in reinforcements but I know that they’re out there if needed. Thank you, friends!

I am already on the mend. I had six tortellini and some applesauce for dinner tonight. Progress.

Think healthy thoughts and be grateful everyday!

It’s Thursday!

  1. Having an extra stressful week here.
  2. Trying to maintain my perspective and focus on the positive.
  3. There are LOTS of positives!
  4. I utilized my office building stairwell as a gym this morning. Climbed lots of stairs. It helped.
  5. Want to hear what really helped? I went to our staff meeting, where one of my coworkers brought rice krispie treats. I started reminiscing about having rice krispie treats in my special needs bag at Ironman. As some of you may recall, when I got to my bike special needs at IM Florida 2009 I told the volunteer that I wasn’t going to make it. I was behind my goal time and it wasn’t looking good for me to make the cutoff. But I persevered and you all know that I made the cutoff (by only 7 minutes, but wow, 7 minutes to spare.) It was a nice out of the blue reminder that I can bounce back and I am strong.
  6. I’ve been using Blue Apron occasionally over the past month. It is a service that sends you ingredients and recipes for meals you cook yourself at home. Overall I am very pleased with it. This week we’ve made two meals. One was stellar and one was just not for me. I couldn’t get the smell of it out of my nose for hours. Has that ever happened to you?
  7. The Knight leaves tomorrow. I’m bracing myself. It is only 8 days. Right?
  8. Last night was the first night in a long time where the Knight wasn’t home for the Prince’s bedtime (he went out with his buddies for a rare guys’ night). The Prince has gotten in the habit of having his daddy put him to bed (after mommy time, of course). It was a disaster. It took close to an hour and a lot of tears to get him to sleep. Hopefully the worst is over and future bedtimes will be easier. Cross your fingers, please.
  9. I am totally over winter! I know you know what I mean.
  10. I do love fires, though. There is at least one great thing about winter.
  11. Since last week I have attacked a few of those pesky to-do list items. I am making progress.
  12. I have made 34 posts to my MaxMemories blog so far! It has become a really fun project. I just wish I had started sooner. I highly recommend starting a project like this. Just start a blog, word document, jar or whatever where you post one memorable moment or thought per day. It is easy and so worthwhile.
  13. I have tried to respond to all comments recently. You can check the box for notification of follow-up comments

Thursday Thirteen 2014 – Third Edition

  1. I am on a ROLL with this blog thing!
  2. Our trip to Tampa this past weekend was terrific. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Max had a blast and we all soaked up the sunshine and warm air. It was so great seeing old friends!
  3. Now that we’re back, I need to plan our next trip. I need to have the next vacation to look forward to. My anniversary gift to the Knight was originally going to be a guy’s weekend for him to visit his best buddy in Nashville. Then I thought that since it was an anniversary gift we should do a kid-free weekend away together. The Knight looked at me like I had two heads when I told him. He said we can’t go to Nashville without the little prince. Next up: a family trip to Nashville.
  4. Sunday is my 10-year job anniversary. Times flies – well, sort of.
  5. This month I’ve gotten back to lifting weights. I have resumed using heavy weights and it feels great. I’ve noticed a difference in how I feel.
  6. There are big decisions afoot. Trying hard to be grateful for options and not be overwhelmed.
  7. I did something little that has made a big difference. I organized my work bag using small zipper pouches. I can’t believe how much better this is and how happy it makes me. Now I can find whatever I need and more importantly, the little prince doesn’t create a disaster when he rifles through my bag.
  8. My current work frustration is my work email address. It spells out my first name, which is Catharine with an ‘a’ instead of an ‘e’. The problem is that when individuals outside the Agency email me and misspell my name they don’t get any kind of notification that there was an error. Therefore, they never know they haven’t reached me and assume that I have just not responded. Our IT department doesn’t see a problem.
  9. Apparently, I have not been clear about my involvement with Arbonne and the fact that I have become a consultant. I guess I need to be a little more assertive about this whole thing while balancing my desire to not pressure people or be annoying.
  10. It is SO cold out. 11 degrees when I left the house this morning. Brrrrrr!
  11. Fifty five days until Spring!
  12. It was really hard to get back into the work groove after having a few days off.
  13. With less than two months to go, it is time to start planning birthday festivities. I’m thinking spa…

Thursday Thirteen (Again)

Hi there! Thanks for the great comments and emails in response to my last Thurs13. I received encouragement on a variety of things as well as a ball chair recommendation. Woo hoo!

More randomness to share this week.

  1. I have a new iPad – the Air. I had been using my iPad with a broken screen for the last 3 months. Santa brought me a replacement. Long story but I just got it up and running this week. Holy cow! It is a whole new world. I am pretty excited about the new retina screen, the speed, and the lighter/smaller design.
  2. Speaking of Christmas, it was pretty obvious that my family knows my sweets preference. There was definitely a theme. I have always been a big fan of peanut butter filled pretzels, and I couldn’t believe that the Knight found dark chocolate covered ones. O! M! G! My sister bought my Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which are on par with my favorite Trader Joe’s ones. Good thing I’m back on track with training.
  3. Back to the iPad thing. I discovered a new app that I am really excited about. I have been a huge fan of Evernote for years. Recently my biggest use is to store recipes. Well, whadayaknow. They now have an Evernote Food app. So far it is wonderful. It even automatically imported my recipes from my Evernote account and made a cookbook. Seriously cool stuff!
  4. February means two weeks without the Knight. Fortunately the weeks are spaced, but I am still not too happy about it. We do fine when he is away but he is seriously missed by both of us and it is just plain hard to solo parent. Hats off to the single and military mommas!
  5. For the past year or so I’ve been indulging myself in 5-10 minutes in the sauna after my workouts. This is as close as I get to meditation and I feel so great afterwards. Why did I
  6. We really want to become a “no shoes in the house” family but we just haven’t gotten there yet. I think the biggest obstacle is figuring out how to store our shoes downstairs or figuring out what to do if we want to continue keeping them in our bedroom closets.
  7. I recently made a big change to my hair, which pretty much no one noticed. 🙂 I stop highlighting it and started just dying it back to it’s natural light brown color. The salon is using a demi-permanent color which is less damaging. There is TON of grey on this head. For real.
  8. My mind is swirling with a long to-do list of relatively non-urgent items. I’ve written them down but it only helps a little. It is worst at night when I am trying to sleep.
  9. The biggest items on that list are 1) find a good accountant (my previous attempts have been unsuccessful); and 2) set up a 529 account for Max (we have a savings account but we need to get a 529. I can’t decide which one). I just need to do it.
  10. After being reminded of the 3 am wakeups involved in the Goofy and Dopey challenge, we are leaning towards the Wine & Dine for our next Disney race.
  11. Pie Night is coming! I’m so excited to be able to eat this year (although the fabulous Bob the Pie Man was incredibly kind to make me my own Chicken Pot Pie last year. Love that man!) If you’re not a friend of Bob’s and you want to attend, let me know. And if you’re a friend of Bob’s and you don’t get an invite by late February – oops. Let us know. 🙂
  12. I am seriously looking forward to Spring (and Summer, and Fall). How many more days? Not a fan of Winter.
  13. It was hard for me to come up with 13 things this week.

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