Author Archives: collinshc

About collinshc

The musings of a mom who's thrown away her sanity and all the parenting books!

Happy Birthday to Me! (Not Really)


Thursday was my birthday. Tuesday, my boss called to tell me I was being laid off. After the shock wore off the crying started and lasted much longer than I would have liked. I’ve spent the last seven years working from home and truly enjoyed the freedom that allowed. Tuesday the rug was pulled out from beneath me. My birthday was not very happy–Riley was on a three-day field trip with school and I was here all alone…staring at my computer not knowing what in the hell I was supposed to do. I began searching websites for jobs, but quickly discovered that there aren’t that many editorial jobs open here in our little town of New Bern.

Thankfully, I have plenty of friends who immediately started sending texts and e-mails filled with job search websites and other job postings. One friend sent me a link to a company here in town looking for a part-time copywriter to help with blog entries and web content creation. I thought, “What the hell…” and sent in my newly revamped resume with my fingers crossed. This opportunity sure would beat the other job I applied for–an administrative assistant at Cherry Point Air Station.

I have a lunch interview with the owner on Wednesday. My fingers are crossed for a good outcome. I would love nothing better than not having to rely on unemployment checks for the next 15 weeks. Oh, and it would also be awesome for my boss to discover that I wasn’t on the market long…that someone else appreciates what I can do much more than he did.


Riley is Heading to Nationals!


Riley qualified last month for AAU Taekwondo Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale! Officials made the decision to let her fight a boy since no girls were available at her level. Let’s just say that she did VERY well. The poor kid was crying by the second round and eventually just quit–he couldn’t finish the fight.

Here’s the awesome video (Riley’s in red):

We head for Ft. Lauderdale on July 1 and won’t be back until July 8. It’s going to be a long trip, but I just want her to do well and have a great experience.


Here it is!

Well, here we go again! We close on a new house April 30 and plan to move on May 10. The new house is much bigger (five bedrooms, 2.5 baths) and is still in the Creekside Elementary district. We’re only moving two miles away from our current home, but the move is still causing plenty of headaches!

Riley is enjoying Spring Break this week and on Friday she and Charles will be heading to Williamsburg and Busch Gardens for the weekend. She’s really worked herself up over a couple of the roller coasters, but she’ll do fine. Once she realizes how much fun they are, she’ll want to ride them over and over…

Piper went through a rough patch a couple of weeks ago. We really aren’t sure what happened, but we think she may have been bitten by something in the yard in addition to having a bladder infection. Not a fun time, but she seems to be back to her old self.

Um, I Haven’t Forgotten…


That I have a blog. I didn’t really care for Blogger and posting images became a real pain in the ass so I just avoided the whole process. Enter WordPress. So far, I think it’s much easier to navigate and knowing code is not necessary to post, so, that’s a plus. My blog will live here from now on…I think.

The past five months have really been a blur of school, work, taekwondo classes and tournaments, work, swimming lessons, Brownies (but thank God for the cookies!), more work, family visits, urgent care clinic visits, work, holiday parades, volunteer opportunites, work, and reading (yeah, like I really have time anymore).

We got a dog, Piper, from the local animal shelter in August. I don’t know what drew me to the shelter that day, but I felt I just had to go. I noticed she was the only dog not barking–she just sat there, looking at me with the sweetest eyes. I played with her a bit and fell in love. The name Piper came to me before I even laid a hand on her. Turns out she was adopted from the shelter as a puppy, but returned by her owner because she was getting too big.

Sweet little girl waiting for a home.

Making herself right at home.

When we brought her home, she was 20 pounds and estimated to be six or seven months old. Now, five months later, she’s 45 pounds and a bundle of energy–completely earning her nickname, Hyper Piper.

Loving the back yard.

Piper enjoying the back yard.

She’s completely changed our lives–we love her tremendously. The cats? Not so much. Bailey tolerates her, but Sophie lets her know who really rules this house.

Come On Irene!

The latest track (as of 12:53 p.m 8/26/11). We’re the red dot…
Okay, I know the song is actually “Come on Eileen,” but I just couldn’t resist! Irene is making her way to our shores…the rain just started a few minutes ago. Winds are predicted to reach 50+ mph this evening, then increase to 90+ mph tomorrow around noon. We’ll get plenty of rain, but I’m hoping the flooding won’t be too bad and that the power holds.
Just to take my mind off the seriousness of the situation, I came up with a Hurricane Irene Playlist:

  1. “Under Pressure” – David Bowie & Queen
  2. “Before the Storm” – Queensryche
  3. “Panic Switch” – Silversun Pickups
  4. “Only Happy When it Rains” – Garbage
  5. “Ocean Breathes Salty” – Modest Mouse
  6. “Please Don’t Go” – Double You
  7. “Invisible Sun” – The Police
  8. “Ghost Town” – Shiny Toy Guns
  9. “Hurricane” – Panic! At the Disco
  10. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – Scorpions
  11. “Wave of Mutilation” – Pixies
  12. “Flood” – Jars of Clay
  13. “Float On” – Modest Mouse
  14. “Destroy Everything You Touch” – Ladytron
  15. “Weather With You” – Crowded House
  16. “The Iron Sea” – Keane
  17. “Daylight” – The Judybats
  18. “Beautiful Day” – U2
  19. “Walking on Sunshine” – Katrina & The Waves

Like it? I think it’s a pretty good mix. I just might have to put this together on iTunes as a way to remember this weekend.

Charles came home at lunch and says traffic is already miserable heading out of town. Grocery store parking lots are full and the line at the little ice stores that dot Highway 70 toward the beaches have long lines of folks waiting to fill coolers. Everyone seems to be waiting until the last minute to prepare. Thankfully, we did most of our preparations Wednesday night into Thursday, so we’re ready to ride her out.

My big worry is the beautiful beaches that we’ve come to love. The weathermen here are saying that extensive beach damage/erosion will occur along Emerald Isle Beach/Atlantic Beach/Salter Path/etc. and that it make take quite a while to get things back to normal. I also worry about all the wild horses out on Shackleford Banks, but I’ve been told they’ve made it through similar storms just fine.

Wish us luck! We’ll keep you posted…

Pirates on the Brain & Art Worth Framing


All I can think about right now is pirates! The Beaufort Pirate Invasion is less than a month away and we’re working on the ultimate costume for Riley. I’ve already ordered her a new, handmade captains coat and muslin shirt on Etsy and I even found a good baldric to hold her sword. All that’s left is finding a good pair of boots and pants to complete the look.

I got the idea to make Riley her very own pirate flag. I don’t know what possessed me, but I’ve started the design, pinning all the pieces in place, but now I have to sew it. Problem is, I don’t own a sewing machine–I’ll have to do all the stitching by hand!

I think it looks pretty good so far, but I just hope I can pull this off! I’m really excited to see everything coming together.

Riley’s been busy the past few weeks attending weekly art camps offered by her art teacher at school. She’s loving every moment there and has brought home great work! Our favorite is below…we actually framed it and have started a “gallery” of her artwork.

Drowning in a Sea of Stress


Can you die from stress? I know the answer is a solid “yes,” but I’d really like to avoid that outcome. The pressures of work, combined with keeping the house clean, the laundry washed, the dishes done, cooking meals, carting Riley to Taekwondo three times a week, swimming lessons once a week and life in general–it’s all becoming too much to bear. At 37, I feel like an 80-year-old woman.

On top of the stressers mentioned above, I’m in the middle of dealing with some weird, doctor-stumping skin issue. I’ve had two biopsies with no real answers and I’m now in the process of finding a doctor at The School of Medicine in nearby Greenville, NC. I’m also still dealing with problems related to my septoplasty surgery two years ago. I’ve been going to an ENT doc whose tried to solve my issues, but, following a CT scan and having an endoscope shoved up my nose, has decided to take a biopsy of the lining of my nose. I’m thinking it’s not going to be a very plesant experience, as he’s prescribed Valium for me to take before I leave the house on Thursday, again when I get to his office and again after the proceedure. Sounds like it’s going to be fun, huh?

I’m just hoping I’m back to normal by the next day because we’re driving to Concord, NC (just outside Charlotte) to take Riley to her next Taekwondo tournament. We’re staying at my step-sisters house and my parents will be driving over from Tennessee to spend the weekend with us. I haven’t seen them since Christmas so I’m super excited.

At her last tournament two weeks ago, she took third place in forms and first place in sparring. We were so proud!

Master Cann gives Riley last-minute instructions.

Giving it her all!

Excited to get her first-place trophy.

The over-celebration.

Presenting her form.

Showing off her third-place trophy for forms.

So, this week and weekend will be busy: Lots of time in the car and not enough time visiting with family. The tournament will be an all-day thing, but at least my Mom is going with us–I can chat with her the entire day!

Oh, we visited D.C. for Spring Break. Click here to see some of the photos posted on Charles’ Facebook page.