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Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time I wrote this blog.

I started writing here in 2008. It was surprisingly successful and I really enjoyed my Thursday morning blogging routine. Then, after writing and not publishing the last few posts I wrote back in 2015, I realized that EVERYTHING I wrote felt sad. Between grieving the loss of my father, and the other heartbreaking news we'd received, the sadness and fear bled into my writing. In truth, I love reading other people being honest and open about what they're facing, seeing their vulnerability, but I felt I needed to grieve privately, and I had to protect my brother's privacy because he wasn't ready to tell anyone that he was so sick. 2015 was a really hard year for me, and it was a rainy Autumn afternoon while I was sitting at an open house in Glastonbury that I decided I had to take a break from writing.

Fast Forward four years to today...a beautiful, sunny, perfect October day...2019.

Photo used with permission and taken by Ted Morton Photography. (Thanks Ted!)

Of course I still miss my dad. I ask him to watch over my son who is living overseas. My brother is alive and well and headed to Hawaii to surf, and I'm so incredibly grateful for that. 8 weeks after my father passed, my brother nonchalantly (if you know my brother this makes sense) told us he was in Stage 4 renal failure. Like my dad (and the 22 others in our family so far with kidney disease,) he had Polycystic Kidney Disease and he needed a transplant. I immediately started the process of getting screened to be his donor, and on March 30, 2016, almost exactly 10 years to the day my mom donated a kidney to my dad, we had a successful transplant. This topic deserves it's own post, which I'll do. (A lot of people reach out to me to talk about my experience and I welcome all of them with their questions! Seriously, if you know someone who needs to talk about living organ donation, I'm happy to help.)

Minutes before going into the operating rooms. 

So much has happened and so much has changed! The kids have grown. Our family has grown (by the addition of our exchange students who have lived with us - no more babies for me!) We've made incredible memories across Eastern Europe and Ireland. My work brokerage has changed. I finally love avocado.

My youngest is now a teenager! She's funny, and smart, and sweet & sometimes sour (like the candy she's always eating) and adores her brother, who is having a blast living in the South of France as a Rotary exchange student! Letting him go overseas for a year at age 15 was extremely difficult for me, but we all agree it's an incredible experience for him. [Note to parents: This is the downside to hosting awesome exchange students...your own child quickly realizes how amazing of an experience exchange is, and it's hard to disagree.] Julien is lucky to have wonderful host families, fun host siblings, new friends from around the globe, and while school there is a challenge, his French is improving!

Bon Voyage Julien! 
We have hosted 3 Rotary exchange students so far. Jasson from Romania was first back in 2013-2014, followed by Jérôme from Belgium 2018-2019, and this year we have Maggie from Denmark with us. We have loved hosting the kids, and it's no exaggeration to say they have become family to us. (In my heart I have 5 kids now!) We went to visit Jasson and his family in Romania in 2017, and he and his mom came this Summer to surprise my kids! We're hoping to meet up with Jérôme this Summer while we're in Europe, and he knows he's always welcome here.

2019 is a big 2-0 year for us. This Spring marked our 20th anniversary of buying our house. This Summer marked our 20th wedding anniversary. This Fall marked the start of my 20th year in real estate. In 2018 my real estate team left our big brokerage to open our own office under our team leader and broker, Carl Guild & Associates. It has been an amazing move for not only the 4 of us, but for the 40+ other agents who have since joined us in this new community-focused brokerage. We've just opened our 2nd office and I couldn't be happier with the decision to do this. I love that we do so much to give back to our local communities, which is something the big brokerage didn't do at all. I'm a mentor to several newer agents who are all doing a great job and I'm so happy for them in their successes!

So...what's next? I'll be sharing more of my adventures in real estate, our travel escapades, my experience in living organ donation, recommendations, green living tips, local news, updating the look of the blog, and so much more!

Thanks for reading!


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