Time Flies…

This time of year I often feel like time is moving faster than I’m able to keep up with, somewhat like a gerbil racing in its wheel.  I also wonder if I’m accomplishing more at this faster pace or just spinning my own wheel.

As the new school year began 8 short months ago, I almost felt myself physically bracing for all the changes that lie ahead for my high school senior son and my college senior son, which inevitably will lead to an empty nest for my husband and I and our dear 12-year-old chocolate lab.  I considered recording all the “lasts” we would experience throughout the year to share on Facebook with catchy captions, but it somehow seemed too morbid so instead I just braced myself for the ride.

Here we are in the midst of our last high school baseball season after a 16-year run of watching both boys play.  How did we get here so fast?  When the last pitch is thrown, the last out is called, the last game is over and I watch my son walk off the baseball field for the last time, it will feel like it has been so much more than just a game, but instead a metaphor for the many seasons of raising children.

Throughout this 18-year time span so many decisions are made and lessons learned. Growing up can certainly be described as a team sport with fans, coaches, umpires, team mates, opposing teams, celebrations and defeats, knowing when to bunt or when to aim for the fence, while at times feeling alone at the plate.

As a mother, I’m grateful for a book club with other mothers, an insightful leader, and a wise author to guide us through this transition toward having adult children.  I highly recommend, Now That They Are Grown: Successfully Parenting Your Adult Children, by Ron Greer http://www.ronaldjgreer.com/now_that_they_are_grown As a mother in the group said, “We are the first generation to take on parenting with the intensity of a CEO only to work ourselves out of a job.”

As 2 graduations approach less than 2 months away, the tight grip I was trying to hold on to my children’s lives is slowly loosening as I tentatively yet faithfully try to change my focus to the journey that will unfold with many “firsts” instead of focusing on all the “lasts”.

Snowpocalypse 2014

Snow Jam 2014.  I love a good snow day and this one will certainly be remembered until the end of time.  Somewhat like where were you when JFK was shot, the Challenger exploded, the planes hit the World Trade Center?  Like all good Realtors on a Tuesday morning I was out looking at houses.  Very reluctantly, I headed to Tucker with a co worker to see his new listing as the first snow flakes fell in Buckhead.  I was feeling unsettled as my LaGrange Facebook friends were already reporting the freezing rain that was falling fast.  My dad had finished his morning walk at the LaGrange Mall to find ice had covered his car.  My son’s school had called an early dismissal.  I had made the executive decision to cancel my own caravan so the young family in the home would not be out in the snow that was being predicted to fall late morning. There were so many signs yet everyone was moving forward with their day in their normal Tuesday fashion.

Heading back to Buckhead down 285 it was becoming obvious this Tuesday was no longer business as usual.  After a very slow trek down the highway and growing very short on patience we decided to abort mission to return to the office and just get home. Having run most of the roads around Chastain Park, I thought I knew every hill within a 5-mile radius.  I did not know Powers Ferry was a roller coaster of winding hills.  Four miles seemed to last an eternity as we witnessed the calamity that was unfolding around us.  Almost 5 hours after beginning the 15-mile journey we arrived safely at my home to find my Michigander husband shoveling the driveway.  I guess you can take the Yankee out of the north, but you can’t take the north out of the Yankee.

I’m sure stories will be told for years to come.  Fingers will continue to be pointed looking for someone to blame, many will be thankful for new friends made in makeshift shelters and unexpected acts of kindness, children will forever remember the night they got to spend the night at school, and northerners will have fun laughing at our snowpocalypse caused by 2 inches of snow.

The snow is slowly melting and next Tuesday caravan will go on as usual with all good Realtors lunching in beautiful homes around Atlanta, and the south will rise again.

 

 

Why do people buy and sell homes?

So why do people buy and sell houses?

Bottom line it’s usually because of life circumstances.  My husband bought his first condo because I think he was ready to be an adult and was ready to ask me to marry him.  He probably thought owning a condo was a good step toward both of those ambitious goals.  Why did we buy our next home?  I was expecting our first child and the 17th floor of a Buckhead condo didn’t feel like the best place to start a family.   Our second home? Our 4 ½ year old son would soon be starting Kindergarten forcing us to consider important education decisions. We decided to move to a great public school district instead of paying private school tuition. Our next home?  We tore down our 1920’s bungalow to stay in a great neighborhood and increase our property value more than we could have with a renovation.  After that, with my husband and I both having careers in real estate, we got a little carried away and moved more times than I originally planned over the years.

Sure everyone is interested in interest rates and how the market is doing, but it’s the people that live in the homes and the circumstances at the time that prompt the move.  Having been blogging for a couple of years now, I’ve realized the posts I enjoy most are the ones that are from personal experience while still relating to great schools in the Atlanta area and all the things affecting families and children with their changing needs and interests.  For that reason, all my posts will now be original instead of stats or information that can be found on Google.

I have a wealth of information on all things relating to home buying and selling in and around the Atlanta area and would love to be considered your “go-to” for answers and advice.

Happy New Year and to a year full of many happy life circumstances.

$100,000 Price Reduction on Amazing Home near Chastain Park

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Baseball Season in Atlanta

A recent girls night out was a much overdue outing among good friends that met over 10 years ago through baseball loving sons.  The bond established on the bleachers overlooking a baseball field certainly ranks up there with dorm room friends and office friends who you often spend more time with than your own family.

Looking back, did we all really enthusiastically leave Atlanta and head off to Humble, Texas for our 10 year old sons to compete in a PONY regional championship?  It wasn’t because any of us thought our child was the prodigy that was going to make it to “the bigs”, we just loved watching our boys play a game they loved, and quite simply we didn’t know any better. We were naïve enough to love the coaches, love the team as a whole, and love the adventure we were embarking on for one week of our eight week all star summer vacation.  While my husband could still give you a play by play of each game, I remember more of our off field experiences; happy hour at the Country Inn and Suites on rained-out afternoons, entertaining little brothers at the local arcade, being perturbed that the fields were not up to our Buckhead standards, and watching the 10 year olds feel like big guys sharing rooms with their teammates and keeping their parents at a safe distance to enjoy their freedom.

From 10 year old ball, the boys eventually went in different directions; a few played another year or 2, some throughout high school, and a couple keeping the dream alive into college.

As we most recently shared stories of impressive summer internships, older siblings with real jobs and impending marriages, I hope our children will come to know the joy they brought to us and hold those memories as dear as their parents will.

Atlanta Private School Admission Letters Mailed April 5th

I remember this day well when my own children were waiting to see if they had been accepted to their school of choice.  The letters typically arrive on Saturday after being mailed on Friday.  After many months of visiting schools, completing applications, and going for interviews, the decision day finally comes.  From my experience with my children and their friends, everyone got into a school that was a good fit for them academically and socially. Best of luck to everyone that is waiting!

Go to this site: http://www.aaais.org/calendar/2013-04 to keep up with different schools open houses and deadlines.

5025 Riverside Park Drive, an Outdoor Enthusiast’s Dream

Recently driving down Riverside Road along the Chattahoochee River in Roswell on a Saturday morning gave me that itch only runners know as they pass other runners out on the road. It’s such a picturesque hidden gem that feels more like a resort area than a suburban neighborhood within minutes of the major arteries leading into downtown Atlanta. The winding paths were being enjoyed by runners training for their next race, the weekend warrior looking to burn a few calories, bike riders, and happy tail-wagging pets. Just beyond the path, the Chattahoochee River was dotted with fly fishermen among the river rocks and rippling flowing water.

Located just steps from this outdoor enthusiast’s dream is the upscale gated community of Riverside Park. I’m delighted to be representing the seller on the sale of their home at 5025 Riverside Park Drive. The sophisticated finishes within artfully extend to the outdoors for full enjoyment while entertaining or just spending time with family.

Navigating the College Admissions Process

As my younger son gets closer to embarking on his college career, I’m debating about taking a leave of absence from my job to navigate the process for/with him.  I’m actually joking, but a parent could easily make a full time job out of scheduling SAT tutoring and college visits, overseeing applications and essays, and meeting with the college counselors to micro manage the entire process to ensure the perfect “fit” for their child for the next 4 years.

As much as I’d somewhat like to be “that” parent, I’ve often felt like I missed that special micro management gene that knows the perfect activity for a class party, the perfect teacher gift, the perfect number of Gatorades for a successful team celebration, and the perfect SAT prep course for the perfect score.

My older son was the typical first child and very independently executed his college acceptance process, which I almost ashamedly admit to not reviewing a single application along the way.  “The baby”, as we still refer to our 6’5“, 16 year old will need more guidance and encouragement.

Knowing that tutoring him through the ACT/SAT testing was outside of my expertise, I consulted with Applerouth Tutoring and was very impressed with the services they offered. Those services and guarantees for higher scores came with a high price tag that unfortunately are only open to those families able or willing to “invest” in those extra points to ensure their children’s applications are competitive. That’s another blog post for another day.

I’m also reading “Colleges That Change Lives“, by Loren Pope. I love the idea of a small liberal arts college which I truly believe can catch a previously unengaged student off guard and give them their first Ah-Ha moment of their academic life.  I was one of those students that landed at beautiful Rollins College in Winter Park Florida after graduating from LaGrange High School in small town middle Georgia.  After enjoying spring break in Panama City Beach, FL, I returned home and declared I wanted to go to school in Florida.  At the interview with the school admissions counselor, my mother pleaded, “We’re from a small cotton mill town and Dede’s never really had a chance”.  Shocked and slightly embarrassed, we concluded our interview, toured the picturesque, lakeside campus highlighted by palm trees and Spanish- Mediterranean architecture, and six months later I moved into Ward Hall to experience the best four years of my life.

I may not be able to convince “the baby” to take the liberal arts route I so loved and forego the SEC big sports loving college atmosphere, I so hope he finds a “fit” that provides a few Ah-Ha academic moments and leads to a fulfilling career that allows him to reach his full potential in life.

Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 Education Guide Hits Newstands Today

Each year I look forward to the latest Education Guide from the Atlanta Business Chronicle to see how each school’s test scores changed from the previous year.  The scores on my blog will be updated to reflect the latest scores for all the school districts featured here, but here’s a preview of Fulton County’s High Schools ranked by SAT scores.  To receive the new edition of the Education Guide, email me at dede@atlantafinehomes.com and provide a mailing address and I’ll be glad to get one in the mail to you.

Jan 23, 2013, 11:39am EST

Fulton County public high schools ranked by SAT score

Senior Online Editor- Atlanta Business Chronicle

Who tests the best in the metro?

Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual Education Guide hits newsstands on Friday, Jan. 25, and it will certainly shed a lot of light on metro schools. But we also have some data that you will only get online. We will publish high school SAT scores by region so you can see the best and worst performers.

Today, we take a look at Fulton County public high schools:

  1. Northview High School — 1,769
  2. Johns Creek High School — 1,729
  3. Milton High School — 1,681
  4. Roswell High School – 1,677
  5. Chattahoochee High School — 1,674
  6. Alpharetta High School — 1,660
  7. Riverwood International Charter School — 1,631
  8. Centennial High School — 1,582
  9. North Springs High School — 1,459
  10. Independence High School –1,377
  11. Westlake High School — 1,316
  12. Tri-Cities High School — 1,299
  13. Creekside High School — 1,250
  14. Langston Hughes High School — 1,231
  15. Frank McClarin High School — 1,198
  16. Banneker High School — 1,160

For high schools, we show the mean scores for the SAT of the 2012 senior class. This score is calculated by using the student’s most recent test administration. The highest possible score is 2,400.

Source: Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

Click here for Atlanta’s public high schools ranked by SAT score.

 

The Wood Acres School – Academic Excellence in East Cobb

Quick Facts about the Woods

  • Wood Acres was founded in 1969 as the Wood Acres Country Day School. Originally located on the corner of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads in East Cobb County (yes, it was once just a beautiful forest!), the school provided unprecedented educational programs for Early Childhood students.
  • Wood Acres moved to its present location in 1983. A multi-million dollar campus renovation was completed in 2007 in preparation for program expansion and growth into the middle school years.
  • The Wood Acres logo, the oak leaf and acorn, comes from the original campus oak still seen on Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb. With the addition of Turner Hall, Wood Acres adopted its mascot, Navi-Gator. The compass rose, found in the school plaza, provides the school community a daily reminder of the importance of direction and purpose in all that we do.
  • Many schools, both public and private, tout low teacher-pupil ratios (TPR) but embedded in the numbers are additional non-homeroom teachers and support staff. Wood Acres’ TPR is a true representation of the importance we place on small class size and personal attention to a student’s learning. The Twos average TPR is 7:1, Threes, Fours, and Kindergarten average is 8:1, Grammar School (first through 4th grades is 16:1 and Upper School (5th through 8th grades) is 18:1. These TPR averages include applicable teaching assistants as they directly impact instruction. Toss in all our specials teachers (i.e. music, art, etc) and our TPR drops to an amazing 5:1 in the Early School, 8:1 in the Grammar School, and 8:1 in the Upper School!
  • For the discerning family who compares both educational value and expense, The Wood Acres School has no competition. Our tuition is not just competitive; it consistently ranks on the top of lists comparing quality vs. tuition. Wood Acres firmly believes that a first class private school education should not cost more that college tuition! Specifics concerning tuition and fees can be obtained during your on-campus tour or by calling the Wood Acres Financial Accounts Manager.
  • Leadership at Wood Acres ascribes to the tenets of 30 years of research on effective schools. Hence, The Wood Acres School focuses on a clear and focused vision, high expectations for student achievement, strong instructional leadership, a safe learning environment, close monitoring of instruction and time on task, a positive school climate, and close home-school-community partnerships. Through these lenses leadership and teaching teams constantly evaluate themselves for continuous improvement.
  • Wood Acres is accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Founded in 1901 this commission accredits both private and public schools in the state.
  • Wood Acres does not ascribe to any one teaching methodology, any one curriculum approach, or any one academic mindset. The programs and adopted curriculum are strongly research-based, geared to national standards, and represent myriad approaches that have proven successful for student achievement and academic success.
  • Although an independent school, Wood Acres students do not wear school uniforms at this time, although a smile is a prerequisite throughout the school day! Spirit wear is popular and available through this website.
  • Choice in education can be both an invigorating experience as well as a challenging one to implement. The Wood Acres School works closely with prospective families in hopes of making a great educational match between student and school. One visit to our campus will help you shape your child’s educational journey.