Tag Archives: Woodland Hills

We have a three year old!

23 Aug

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I can’t believe he’s three already. I’m still waiting for it to become real that he actually grew inside of me – as a result of two data points meeting in the right environment, – came out, and now walks and talks.

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I never had a birthday at school before, being a summer baby. Walter gets the best of both worlds: summer birthday and a special day at school! So his Nini made yellow cupcakes for him to share with his friends. Of course, he didn’t want one. He just wanted to go home once he saw Nini show up at school!

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Well, at least we sent the rest of the kids home with a sugar rush.

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Then this weekend we threw a water party!

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There is nothing better than seeing him have a really good time. He told me when it was over, “But I just want the party to stay!”

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Warms my heart to see this. I love all of Walt’s little friends and their curiosity and joy for life.

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While we were cleaning up our party, our new neighbors, who are apparently very well-known in the Ormewood Park community, invited us to a housewarming party they were throwing later in the day. We decided to stop by after nap time to introduce ourselves. Well, it was a true back yard affair! I got the green monster in my eyes a little bit after seeing their yard. Two decks, an amazing view, and enough green space to have the biggest water slide I’ve seen outside a water park. Walter convinced his daddy to take him up there two times. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight the crowd to go with him cause we saw one kid making his way back up the hill with a bloody nose! We ended up staying longer than we had anticipated (surprise surprise) because we found several friends there, including two of Walt’s preschool teachers from last year. I love when the world is small like that.

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We had such a good time celebrating this kid!

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The House

10 Apr

It’s like an episode of Love It or List It, and for now, we’ve decided to love it.

We took our house off the market and plan on doing some upgrades, mostly cosmetic like light fixtures and paint, some necessaries like a new roof, and then a really fun idea: possibly finishing out the gigantic attic.

The good houses in our neighborhood sell like hotcakes (for instance a house in our price range got multiple offers in 24 hours a couple weeks ago). For the life of me I will never understand why our house didn’t sell during the 7 months we had it listed in the last year, but that’s OK. We’re going to make it work to stay here and enjoy it and our neighborhood.

I already walk around with a new sense of joy in my surroundings.

Now, back to work so we can afford our mortgage.

The Truth

9 Apr

This is what it is like living in Southeast Atlanta in the year 2015:

I am a 30 year old female who is married, white, and has a young child. My family and I are in constant fear of crime. Well, not Walter, since he is 2 and fears nothing.

Dave and I don’t like sleeping on the main floor where the “master” bedroom is, and walking the dog at night always brings a little bit of what was that? and is he good or bad? when you see someone else on the street. I usually don’t fear women, only men, of all varieties. Especially the scrawny, drug-addict looking ones.

Our next door neighbor got robbed at gunpoint in her driveway at 9:15pm on Halloween (thank god we have a garage. I don’t always shut the door right away but I know where I can quickly grab a machete). The usual small stuff happens like mailbox and front porch thieves, car break-ins, the occasional home or business break in, and the weekly gunfire from Trestletree section 8 housing.

I love our neighborhood, but I am tired of living in “the ghetto” where there are more pawn shops and tattoo parlors than Home Goods and Whole Foods. I’ve recently decided, however, that I want to commit to this neighborhood, my neighborhood, where every day I meet more people that I like, and I know enough people that I frequently run in to friends at the grocery store. I want to connect with everyone.

I want to put South Woodland Hills on the map, at least for an Atlanta neighborhood. I want to start a newspaper. I want to volunteer at schools and churches in our district. I want to farm on some land nearby and ride bikes around town and show my son that an urban neighborhood, while filled with more people, does not have to mean more crime.

Any in-town neighborhood is going to have crime, but we have to stop this. We have to make people want to stop being violent and scary and unjust. I am tired of seeing all the green space being developed into low-income apartments (is there no sacred space left these days?). The ghettos and the slums need to go. Not the people in them, however.

We need to focus not on building up other countries but seeing the people in our own country prosper. We need to show everyone that we have respect for them by not subjecting them to poor housing, lack of education, and the burden of being given too much. We need education of all trades, not just your typical college, and universal childcare. The way we treat our children is the key to our future.

Soon enough they will become us. And we will become the old people.

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Saw this on a friend’s fridge and loved it.

The Vote

8 Apr

I recently left my church as an official member. I needed a break from them specifically, but I have also decided that I do not want to be a member of any church. Possibly ever again.

It is hard to be frank about the subject without being offensive, I think, or at least on the verge of hurting someone’s feelings. Religion is a very touchy subject to most people, and with good reason. It talks about the very depth of our souls. The whole scale, from atheism to fundamentalism, relates to the core of humanity.

Are we good people doing bad things?
Or bad people doing good things?

It is the yin and yang of this life, a life lived on a swirling ball of fire and water and really, really good luck — for us. So far, at least.

When I told the pastors I was going to pull myself off the membership roster, and that I was quitting my deacon duties (really, what more could I have done anyway, and they picked really good people this year to be on the board), they told me that the session would have to vote on my release. It was very Giver-esque. Maybe they didn’t use those words, exactly, but they did both mention my “discernment process”.

The past four years have been some of the most moving and instrumental in my life. I am so much happier and evolved than I was at 26. Unmarried. Childless. That was a long time ago.

I said from the very beginning that I loved Morningside Presbyterian Church. I asked people to come with me all the time and sang its glowing praises. It is a beautiful, simple building. It is filled with wonderful people. I love the congregation. The music is uplifting. And the message, one of extreme welcome (Come one, come all!) is great. I liked the scholarly pursuit of the Bible that was spoken about on Sundays. And that at other times we would have fun together in simple fellowship (and usually with a glass of wine!).

When Dave and I joined Morningside, it was still pretty small. There were the older people, the married gays, the older young adults that had already formed their own clique, and established families that had come in through the preschool. We didn’t really fit in anywhere, but we liked it. Everyone was smart and nice and welcoming. We probably became closest to Leslie and Lloyd at that time, and Jack and Jill, both remarkable couples. A new pastor had just started at the church, and we joined during his first New Member Class. We ushered sometimes, attended church every Sunday, and helped Jack organize baseball games.

Then I was the social activities coordinator, Clifton Ministries shepherd, wedding helper, deacon, deacon moderator, part-time photographer, commitment committee volunteer, season of service committee volunteer, communications committee volunteer… All things I like, all things I wanted to do. But when the need is that great for your time, it becomes work. And the problem is, there is great need there. And I want to help, I really do. But personally (I know others feel differently about volunteering their time), I cannot afford, any more, to give my time away like that. Because to be brutally honest, at times, by some people, I felt un-thanked, excluded, and treated with hostility.

The funny thing is, I believe more than ever in God. Or “God,” if that sounds better. It happened while watching Naked and Afraid with Dave one night. I thought to myself, “How on earth could we have gotten where we are today without someone or something helping us???”

I plan on visiting the churches in my neighborhood. I strongly believe that churches should be the foundation of community ministry. Their main purpose should be to help those in need (which can vary from mental health to finding a good repair guy for your house to homelessness). And everyone who lives in the neighborhood should have to pay a subscription for these purposes. And possibly attend meetings so that we are aware of what is going on in our immediate worlds. We are so focused on our smart phones these days that sometimes it is hard to even meet our neighbors. If my husband wasn’t already booked Thursday night then I would go to our town meeting in Grant Park. I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls recently, and their town meetings always look like fun.

There is a lot going on with me right now, but I’m excited about all of it.

The Fence

23 Mar

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Spring is here!

There might be other people that were more excited over getting a fence than I was, but they weren’t me, so to me it felt like the most exciting fence experience ever. I love when big things happen at the house. Like three years ago when we took down the giant, dying oak tree in the front yard. I sat on the porch with a beer and watched the whole thing. We used our wedding money to do that, so you know it was a big deal.

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Hollow from the ants. This guy was amazing up there.

Through a neighbor referral I found First Fence and hired them to do the “backyard”. I say that because it is really our side yard because we face the incorrect way for our street address/plot. 50% of people get majorly lost trying to find our house because there is an identical address over near Cheshire Bridge, which is 30 minutes away. Basically everything in Atlanta is 30 minutes away from us, unless you live on the East side of town. Then it is always 15 minutes.

So the fence guys were 30 minutes late, making me stress, before my very first WebEx meeting, that they would be installing forever the incorrect fence. Of course that didn’t happen, and they did a fantastic job. I’m just not used to working. I watch children. It’s what I’ve done since I was a child myself, at 12 years old. The only job I’ve steadily had. I’ve always done other jobs along the way, like the scrapbook store, frame shop, publishing, trucking compliance… I’m really a trade kind of gal who also happens to be a history, psychology, and doula scholar. Voracious fiction reader. If I stayed planted anywhere I might get pretty good at something, but I never have before.

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Yes!

Now Walter and Duggy (and even Petra) can go play in the yard without me constantly worrying about the street (and Duggy is a good dog but he occasionally runs away — who can blame him?). This fence is the best thing to happen to me since Walter was born! The first three days after we got it were beautiful and we played outside so much that Walt asked to go back inside — ha!

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Now we can really enjoy because mommy can relax!

My boy shines as bright as the sun.