Family: Claire Mullen

Family Matters: Aging gracefully(ish)

By: Claire Mullen Age is just a number,” they say. A saying fit for a tattooed septuagenarian with a penchant for Harleys, or perhaps someone who helps with grandkids during the week and runs marathons on Saturdays. I imagine that the person who first coined the phrase “age is just a number” intended for it […]

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Family Matters: Survival of the Littlest: One Mom’s Mission

By: Claire Mullen I’m ashamed to confess what follows, but in the interest of saving lives, here you have it: two out of two of my children have had near-drowning incidents. Our family is able to retrospectively chuckle at my son’s mishap, because it ended just about as quickly as it began, with my loafered […]

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Blanketing Our Children with Love

By: Claire Mullen For far too many children in our community, a blanket, made quite simply from two rectangles of colorful fleece, stacked atop one another, fringed around the edges with scissors, and knotted together to bind them, is the most comforting thing they’ve been given in a long time. The blanket, to these particular […]

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Family Matters: Split Ends and Laundry Bins

BY: CLAIRE MULLEN Self-care. A concept that seems to me, a 35-year-old mother of two young children, to be a luxurious thing of the just-me past. Perhaps something to look forward to in the less chaotic future. But what self-care most certainly is not is something that I’m practicing and excelling at in the here […]

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Family Matters: Toto’s Ginger Cookies

BY: CLAIRE MULLEN Last year, on the Saturday morning before Christmas, I found myself standing with fuzzy-slippered feet in my flour-bombed kitchen, over a plate of warm-from-the-oven cookies, inexplicably weeping and laughing all at once. I remember thinking that the frenzy of the holiday season had officially done me in. A breakfast of three cups […]

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Family Matters: Big Love for Tiny Babies

November. A month on the American holiday calendar that offers each of us the opportunity to spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving reflecting on what we are all generally most grateful for. For some families, November also heralds in an annual observance more specific in nature: Prematurity Awareness Month, with World Prematurity Day falling […]

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Family Matters: This Youngster Rocks the Neighborhood

Most times of year, if you should find yourself traversing the Forest Lakes neighborhood, you would likely pass 306 Sylvan Road without a second glance. The stately two-story home is situated on a corner lot of a residential intersection and is mostly hidden from street view behind lovely old magnolias and pines. Easy to miss […]

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The Corona Chronicles: Back to School Edition

BY: CLAIRE MULLEN Back–to–school is a ritual of sorts for children and parents alike.  For my family, it has become tradition since the early preschool days for each of our two kids to make a rare and much-anticipated solo Target run with mom to purchase their school supplies.    This momentous occasion is the one time a year that I say […]

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Diving in With Mrs. Gwen 

The year was 1973, and the newly constructed, state-of-the-art YMCA on Fort Bragg Road was the talk of the town.  Jim Lewis, the Y’s executive director, and Program Director Sandy Saunders were tasked with staffing the aquatics department.  As fate would have it, a Terry Sanford High School junior, quite aptly named Gwen Poole, walked […]

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FAMILY MATTERS – How Does Your Garden Grow?

By Claire Mullen There’s a whole lot of buzz around the Cape Fear Botanical Garden these days. And no, it’s not just the bees. While there’s always been something exciting to see and do year round, there are some recent extra-special additions to our garden that you simply must go and experience for yourself. The […]

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The Great Bike Revolution of 2020

I will never forget my favorite bicycle.  It was a Christmas gift surprise from my grandparents, and I can vividly remember being led down their long hallway, into their garage and discovering my shiny new Schwinn in all her glory – a big, festive bow tied between the handlebars.  I was so proud of my sleek new “big-kid” ride.  I’d […]

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Family Matters: On Mother’s Day

By: Claire Mullen There is a Hallmark version of Mother’s Day.  It begins on a lovely spring day with Daddy sneaking out of bed as soon as he hears little footsteps coming down the stairs to allow the day’s honoree the forgotten luxury of sleeping in.  While Mama pretends to rest through the banging and clanging coming from the kitchen, her clan […]

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Family Matters: The Coronavirus Chronicles

By Claire Mullen  As of today, the day I’m sitting down to write, there are two confirmed coronavirus cases in Cumberland County.  By the time you read this column, there likely will be more. Who knows how many? Our circumstances will have changed even more drastically than they already have.  I like to think that […]

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Date Night: An Evolution

By Claire Mullen   It’s February, and, much like the flu, love is in the air.  Our family’s Christmas decorations are still tarrying in their plastic containers on the dining room floor, yet we’ve blown through more Little Debbie heart-shaped snack cakes than I care to admit.   Many of you have already carved out some […]

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Junior Master Gardener program provides a chance to give back 

By Anna Hiltibidal  By joining 4-H programs in Cumberland County, my family has had a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We have found that 4-H takes pride in leading our school-age kids to achieve progress in their own lives while learning to work well with others.  My family is a part of the Junior Master Gardener 4-H […]

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Forms of Ownership Interest in North Carolina Real Property: Your Interest Matters 

Prior to recording a deed, the buyer should discuss with their attorney how they should take title to the property. The question of ownership interest is extremely important and is posed throughout the purchase process beginning with the sales contract and loan application, if funds are being borrowed to purchase the property.  My experience as a real estate closing attorney has been that many buyers do not […]

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How to survive when birthdays and holidays collide 

By Tiffany Haywood  In a family where four of our six children have birthdays in the middle of the busiest holiday seasons of the year, survival is key. Here a few tips I’ve learned to keep my holiday cheer intact when birthdays and holidays collide.    Be Flexible  Tip: Be willing to move party dates around. Scheduling […]

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A Puppy For Christmas

By Crissy Neville  A pretty new puppy or cuddly kitten under the Christmas tree may sound like the perfect Christmas present for that someone special. However, unlike most gifts, furry friends are not so easy to return or exchange after the holidays are over if your gift idea is not the right fit.  It is […]

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Gather together- for Family Game Night

By Catherine Pritchard  The family that has fun together is more likely to want to spend time together.  One way to plan for fun is by holding regular Family Game Nights.  With a little preparation and imagination, Family Game Night can become a tradition that everyone looks forward to, whatever their age. Games can be elaborately difficult or ridiculously […]

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There through the storm- and afterwords, too

By James Johnson  ’Tis the season. Soon the entrances to supermarkets and the street corners at busy intersections will be graced with the familiar sight of members of the Salvation Army, bells in hand, asking for whatever pocket change one has available so that money can go toward helping those suffering through poverty during the coldest months of […]

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