Well, not really. All I did was turn this blog into a book. No new words were written (except when I had to correct a volcano name in a post), but I DID have to format the thing. Which was a total pain, but also a labor of love since, as you may have heard, I LURRRRRVED our adventures in New Zealand! I reproduced the blog as accurately as I could and seven copies of the book have been sold… To me. Here’s the cover, with my beloved Rangitoto volcano featured prominently.
Fun fact: my awesome mom painted me a picture of that shot of Rangitoto. It’s not framed or hung yet, but it sits on a console table right outside of our bedroom and every single time I walk past it, my heart aches a little bit, but in the very best way.
Our adventure over there began just over a year ago (58 weeks, but who’s counting?) and it’s been astounding to do comparisons between then and now. I feel like we went over with these two girls – not little little girls, but kind of little girls. Or maybe it was just their anxiety that made them seem so young? Whatever it was, they are different creatures now. Confident. Courageous. Mature (well, mature-ish). Compassionate.
Gracie has started a new school and was a bit nervous – it’s unknown, it’s where the big kids are, there are new people surrounding her, classes are harder – all the expected middle school angst. She was starting to get worked up about it, and when I reminded her about her first day at St. Mary’s College, it kind of clicked in her brain – that was the most difficult and scariest first day of school she’ll ever have. And already, she’s started to embrace the new school and make it her own – she tried out for (and made!!) the middle school volleyball team. She’s gone to a JV football game to support her friends cheering for the first time and a cross-country meet to support a friend running for the first time. I love that she’s doing these things and in the process, shrinking her new school, making it home. The change of scenery hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as last year, but it’s still pretty amazing to watch these girls navigate their lives. Tate’s in the same school and just rolling with it. She’s joined Student Council, has returned to tennis, and is only about an inch shorter than I am. Some first day pictures of them and a throwback to six years ago…
The Professor has settled back into his role as department chair and other normal, nerdy professor stuff. And also playing as much tennis as humanly possible.
Since we’ve been home, I’m trying to figure out what to do. Again. Worked on a project with The Professor and some of his colleagues in the spring. I thought it was terribly boring and sucked some of the life out of me, but it was a paying gig, so that was good. Now working on getting myself set up on a site for freelance writers. With the girls finally back in school, it should come along a little quicker than it did in the summer with all the vacations. And a couple weeks ago, our NZ landlord asked me to do something for her, so that was pretty cool – glad I haven’t been forgotten just yet.
In the meantime, I’ve become a contributor for a local mom blog, cleverly called the Columbia SC Moms Blog (https://columbiasc.citymomsblog.com/), and it’s been fun. I loved writing this blog, but it was with the intention of chronicling our Kiwi adventure. And I think people – you good people, in fact – were interested in what our life was like for those six months. But I’m not so arrogant to think that anyone gives one single flying flip about my musings on anything else, so I don’t want to post them here. So this fills a little bit of my bucket – and provides an audience of people who are actually looking for what other moms and parents are doing and thinking and handling. In case you’re interested, here are some of my posts:
And that’s where we are. It’s really, really, really good. And we’re even luckier than that.