Family · Home Decor · Real Estate

Just Reduced ~ $409,900 for a 4/2 in Estero!

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This gorgeous home features REAL hardwood floors, upgraded light fixtures, totally renovated kitchen, master, and guest bathrooms, freshly painted exterior – you name it! 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car garage, and all for $409,900! Walking distance to Estero High School, just around the corner from both Miromar Outlets and the Coconut Point Mall, and a lazy stroll through the trees for a trip to Riverside Park ~ you cannot ask for a better location. Take a peek for yourself –  give me a call to set up your own personal tour. 239-281-4844

OR

Click Here for the Full Listing!

Family · Florida Gators

Emotional Chaos: The last 35 years and counting.

When making life choices, I seem never to take the easiest path to anywhere. From choosing a middle school out of my district (because who doesn’t want a clean slate. . .at eleven years old?), to choosing to keep the baby I conceived whilst losing my virginity, to marrying a man I knew I wasn’t in love with because the man I was in love with wasn’t ready to marry me. Yet. (We’re married now! But, I digress.) The trend has not ended with age and wisdom. Nay, for me the whole “you are at eighty who you were at eight” appears to be SO. Very. True.

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“She’s imperfect, but she’s kind. . . she is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie”- Sara Bareilles, The Waitress

My oldest son moved away a few months ago. This is normal life-stuff. He is nearly nineteen and a freshman in college. Of course, he moved away. However, eight days before he moved five hours north of where we live, my family and I sold the home he was raised in and purchased a brand new home on the other side of town. Eight. Days. That’s what I gave myself between two life-changing events. Have I mentioned, I am not very good with change?

As it turns out, neither is my son. So, here we each sit. Disheveled and unsettled. Anxious yet excited. Proud of our accomplishments, and sorely missing the joy of sharing those successes with one another. Parallel experiences, making each moment of growth that much more bittersweet. You can’t be a mere sixteen years apart without some degree of healthy (?) codependency. I find comfort in this, whatever his future therapist may say. . .

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Jesse and I, Boston 2015, to see Natasha Pierre at the ART

Now, more than a full month later, everything still feels wrong. Half-finished. Paused. Tonight we had tacos for dinner. Without Jesse.  Tonight I tucked my children in and hugged each one goodnight before climbing into bed. Well, two of my three. Because there is now always someone missing. Always one chick fallen out of the nest. Now instead of walking through their rooms on my way to sleep just to see that they’re safe and sound, I have to text and hope that he responds before I fall asleep. Or worse, I have to make myself not.

I don’t care what anybody tells you. When the nest starts to fall empty, it really, really sucks.

 

Maybe if I’d waited to move out of the home he grew up in. Or maybe if we’d moved into this new home just a little bit sooner, so he had more time to leave his mark here. In this way, when I wallow my biggest wallow, I find my mope to be intolerable. I know women who have lost children. Cancer. Car accidents. Suicide. Mine just went to college ~ it’s every mom’s dream! How dare I?

 

Let me share a little secret with you ~ everybody has their own hell. I have been lucky enough not to have suffered the loss of a child. Well, that’s not true. I’ve lost several, but all in the womb.  My point ~ I am not so shallow that I don’t see how insensitive this can be to those that have suffered the unimaginable. It’s just that because I haven’t. . .because I was given this gift of seeing my son grow into an incredible person; a brilliant, compassionate, talented person who I genuinely enjoy and admire, when he’s gone it leaves such a void in my heart. In my day. Please don’t make me apologize for that. I know I’m lucky to have him at all. The thing of it is, that doesn’t make me miss having him around any less. . .

So, I cry sometimes. I mope often. I play the piano, and I miss my son’s voice after school every day.

When does that get easier?

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   Just a boy and his Mom. . .               (circa 2007)

 

 

Family · Florida Gators

The first first day, minus one.

Last Monday was the first day of school for my two younger children. Jake is a brand new sophmore, with all the confidence and swagger of a triumphant senior. (Teenagers, am I right?) Noah, king of the first grade, hops somewhere between gentle sweetheart and ninja warrior. My children are phenomenally different, and I like all reasonably good moms, treasure them with everything that makes me, me.

There is one more in my nest, and his name is Jesse. Today was the very first day of his freshman year at the University of Florida (Go Gators!!!) Go Gators!While walking around Gainesville during preview weekend, I felt at times overwhelmed by the understated elegance of this bustling college town, and the tangible accomplishment just waiting within reach of my baby boy’s extended arms.

Here I am, former teen mom turned grown up Realtor, writer and mother of three. My biggest accomplishment to date is that none of my children turned into the harsh statistics I was warned about by Ms. Burke – my high school guidance counselor. (People don’t forget, Ms. Burke. I still hope you regret the HORRID advice you gave me in my time of need!!! #couldntBemoreWrong #IRaisedAWonderfulManAnyway #AlsoIMarriedHisDad #SuckIt) Ahem. I digress.

It would be easy to feel inadequate in a place as steeped in dignity and accomplishment as the campus of U.F., with the sweeping live oak trees draped as they all seem to be in whisps of moss, and the sprawling brick buildings that add character and charm to the natural beauty of Gainesville as a whole. It’s safe to say, I was impressed – but more than that, I felt immediately at home. UF Campus Jesse will be safe and successful in this place. That is the feeling I was left with, which is as nearly as surprising to me as Jesse was himself, nearly 19 years ago!

It isn’t that I imagined mourning for his absence all the long years post-high school graduation, but I will confess: I really expected to struggle with the not-knowing that comes of more than four hundred miles between  our front doors. Finding comfort in the campus was a lovely surprise. Here’s one surprise however that’s less lovely: life continues to moves on without him in it.

School has begun for the two little birdies still in my nest, and we’ve returned to the years old routines of waking up before dawn, singing silly songs in the car during drop off and pick up, negotiations of milkshakes for green days and hanging out with friends for extra chores around the house. But I have one less person in the car to sing with. One less place setting for dinner every night. One less person to share my days with. . .

 

My unexpected milestone turned out to be just making it through the first first week of school, minus one. It didn’t pass without tears. Or cookies. Or wine. But, I survived. And do you know what? So did everybody else. It’s time for my baby gator to get out there and begin living his own life. I’m just grateful he’s found such an incredible community to help lay this new foundation!

Still, he’d better come home for the new Gilmore revival. Some things should never change! ❤

 

great to be a gator

Family · Real Estate

Rainy Day Workplace (or how *not* to waste a work day in your kitchen!)

Four years ago my husband and I had our youngest child, Noah Benjamin. There is a massive age difference between Noah and our two older sons who are both teenagers now, one in high school and one in middle. Recently I’ve begun shifting my career focus from working as a dedicated buyers agent to having… Continue reading Rainy Day Workplace (or how *not* to waste a work day in your kitchen!)

Cooking · Family · Real Estate · weekend leisure

My Crockpot, My Friend

This morning when I left for work there was a train set in the middle of my living room, a laundry basket blocking the hallway between my bedroom door and the kitchen, and shoes. Shoes just everywhere ~ I live with one grown man and two teenaged boys in addition to the giant dog and hyper toddler. These shoes are large, and haphazardly tossed here and there! What I’m trying to say is that things were not – in order – upon beginning my day. So, here is my question of the day: when you get home from work, do you also feel compelled to put everything around you back in order before beginning the rest of your evening routine? I can’t even take my shoes off and make a cup of coffee before I pick up the toys, empty the dishwasher (then refill it!) and sometimes even vacuum if the rugs look mussed up enough. I can’t really be the only one who does this. . .right? So it’s on mornings like these that I know before I even pull away from the curb that when I return sometime tonight, I will instantly feel put upon and stressed. This is just how I’m made. BUT I think I’ve found a solution ~ it’s called. . . . The Crockpot!

Rest assured, more recipes will be forthcoming – collecting really delicious crock pot recipes has become a new passion of mine – but for now you’ll have to settle for just one. Luckily, it’s a good one!

Click here for Cilantro-Lime Chicken Recipe!

cilantro lime chicken

Oh. Yum. Oh.  And here’s a few shortcut tips you can take right to the dining room table ~ don’t bother defrosting the chicken (breasts, thighs or tenderloins, it all works!) just dump them in frozen right along with everything else. Add about half a container of sour cream right into the crocker before serving, and I urge you to try it as a dip with some tortilla chips as well as using this as a main course! We’ve had it over rice, as burritos, by itself as a main dish – no matter which way it is always a tummy filling, crowd pleasing, one pot clean up delight. So. . . what are you waiting for?

Family · Real Estate · weekend leisure

Professional Guidance versus Bossypants : Walking the Tightrope

One of the traits I pride myself on in real estate – and something I try to point out as modestly as possible – is that I am NOT a pushy agent. There is nothing worse when trying to decide which home to purchase, or worse, IF one of the homes you’ve toured is actually… Continue reading Professional Guidance versus Bossypants : Walking the Tightrope

Family · Real Estate · weekend leisure

The Jitters (and why my kids dread new clients!)

Hello world. This morning I am less-than. ( < ) Today I pitch to new clients why I am the person to sell their beautiful waterfront home, and I am READY. All night I prepared for this appointment, including the three dry run throughs my new clients and I shared in my dreams. Unfortunately, the day did not start on an upbeat. My runny nose, pissy children and hectic schedule have left me treating myself to a hazelnut macchiato (hot) and granola yogurt parfait at Starbucks, trying to shake the feeling that I am the trigger that flips the hateful monster switch in alll three of my children, which always seems to be flipped on my most professionally crucial days. It’s that, or maybe they are consipiring to take me out of the Real Estate business all together.

How do you know when you are at the end of your rope because your kids shortened it over their natural little life spans, or because your stress just bled right out of you and into the air surrounding those precious babies. Infecting them. Like chicken pox or influenza. My gut is telling me I already know the answer. Which means that today I’ve learned something new in my adventure as a professional woman: There are going to be days where you have to own your own bratty-ness. I was off my game as Mommy this morning, because my real world responsibilities were a little scary. Admit it, and be free. No excuses. That’s the way I need to try and live. Hello World ~ today I was kind of a shitty mother! I didn’t remember Jesse’s field trip money! I was furious because Jake’s golf clubs knocked over three baskets and a bowl of fishy crackers and he just started at me, like I wasn’t cleaning up his mess fast enough. So I Yelled At Him! (And not in a productive way either, I think I literally said “helllooo, I am not a MAID. . . “) And when Noah wouldn’t put his shoes on, I pretended to be fun and hyper, clapping and sing-songing at the top of my lungs. But it was a ploy. I was ready to scream!!!!

And now here I sit, with one appointment in just a few minutes and then hours to prep myself one more time for my big 2pm. . .and I’m just curious ~ why isn’t it okay for grown ups to make a mess of things anymore? I am learning that I can’t do every single thing exactly the way I used to. Something’s gotta give, and unfortunately there will be days where that “something” might be my patience. I didn’t hit anybody, or sling mean words toward my precious boys. I was just totally at my limit, and not the sweet snuggly mom I like to be. Doesn’t make me wonderful today, but I am going to try not to punish myself over it all day long, and I’m sharing this with you because I’m pretty sure – if we’re being honest – you’ve had this day, too. So go to Starbucks and give yourself an “I forgive you” latte. It’s okay not to be perfect, sometimes. ❤