Thursday, March 31, 2011


My child is destined for stardom. She will rule the world someday, thanks to her heart-melting grin and captivating blue eyes. People stop me regularly to comment on her cute voice, her shining smile, or her entertaining personality.

And recently? We were greeted by celebrities who couldn't wait to meet her.

We were having a nice family dinner, on vacation in sunny Florida. Within sheer moments of our arrival, the first world-famous celebrity appeared by Amelia's chair. Always one to please her fans, she immediately gave him a hug.

Throughout our dinner, more celebrities stopped by to say hello. And before we left? We met one of the most beloved actors in the entire world. And he wanted a photo with Amelia! No question, it was a dinner to remember.

And yeah... my girl is superstar.

(Chef Mickey's restaurant, Walt Disney World)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, March 28, 2011

First Day

In the Autumn of 1983, a five-year old me entered Kindergarten. My father parked the red Chevy Caprice Classic along the curb of the steep hill adjacent to school. My sister and I clambered out of the car after saying our quick goodbyes to Daddy. He was headed to work at the chemical plant; my big sister was in charge of leading me by the hand to Mrs. D’s kindergarten class. With my left hand in her right and our homemade corduroy book bags slung over the opposite shoulders, we crossed the threshold into our first day of the school year.

My young heart skipped a beat. Where many in my place were nervous, I was brimming with excitement. My sister was in my place this time last year. I knew the school, I knew the teacher. I had nothing to fear. But as I looked into the expectant eyes of the teacher and that comforting grip on my hand began to loosen, my confidence waned.

I could not hear the cheerful welcome from Mrs. D.

My heart, giddy only moments before, fell into the pit of my stomach.

I felt the last, light brush of my sister’s fingertips and she pulled away. I watched her bounce down the tile, cinder-block walled hallway and around the corner towards the first grade classroom. My brown eyes began to fill with tears.

A touch on my shoulder jolted me back to reality. I finally heard her voice.

“Good morning, Julie! It is so nice to have you today.”

I glanced briefly at Mrs. D. Her eyes sparkled with kindness, her smile was warm. My eyes scanned the room, quickly taking inventory of the colorful posters, the plethora of books, the green chalkboard exclaiming, “Welcome to kindergarten!” in the unmistakable hand of a teacher. I inspected the wooden easel, splattered with years of drips from classes past. Kindergarten looked okay… but I still wasn’t sure. I felt small, alone. I longed for the comforting grasp of my sibling’s hand.

Then I saw her - my best friend. The one person I knew so well. She was happily chatting with girls we knew from church while her hands rhythmically slid the red beads on the abacus back and forth. She looked up, she grinned at me. My heart skipped a beat once again.

This was going to be a great year.

This is my first submission to the Red Dress Club! Please comment and let me know what you think.

Is her thumb green?

I admit it.

I am terrible with plants.

Every single houseplant I have owned suffered an unfortunate (and premature) demise. Same story with outdoor flowers. But will I give up? No! We planted more flowers this weekend. Amelia was very exited to help. I am hoping she has a much greener thumb than I do. If so, maybe these new flowers have a chance at a full season of life.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Today is a very exciting day! My sister-in-law, paralyzed from a frightening fall in early July, is returning to Atlanta to participate in additional rehabilitation. She has come a long, long way since her accident and extensive spinal surgery, but there is much more available to learn from a team of true experts.

Rehab is not easy, and the Shepherd Center day program is like Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island (minus the yelling, humidity, and bugs eating you alive). It will be tough but absolutely worth it.

We are SO PROUD of her for making the decision to return.

We are inspired by her fighting spirit.

My lovely sister-in-law, this one is for you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beautiful Princess

The clip-clop, clip-clop of plastic princess shoes is a never-ending sound in our home during daylight hours. Princess fever has hit at full force. Jeans? Pants? Things of the past. Our little queen-in-waiting requires skirts and dresses now, often with a fluffy and sparkly tulle skirt to complete the ensemble.

With Amelia's birthday fast approaching, this was the perfect time to browse the lovely princess costumes from I selected the Rose Princess Costume for Toddler. It met all of my discerning princess' criteria:
  • It is pink 
  • It is frilly
  • It comes with a shiny crown

 Do you know what else? It has built-in LED lights on the skirt! She was instantly transformed from a regular pink princess into twinkling royalty with a press of a button.

(Photo from website - apparently, my princess does not allow photographs.)

Shipping was very fast, and the quality is nicer than you would see in the big box discount stores. Plus, you don't have to wait until Halloween!
Need an Easter Bunny for an upcoming school or church event? Want some memorable Easter photos of your kids in bunny ears? Costume Discounters has several costumes to choose from. Super heroes, movie characters, animals... even sexy costumes for grown-up masquerades. Most everything you can think of, in all sizes.
Dress-up play is great for the imagination. Surprise your little Superman or Snow White with a new costume today!

Note: I received the Rose Princess Costume at no charge for the purpose of this review. Costume Discounters had no input in this review. All opinions are solely mine.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fiction Friday: She replied!

I can't have a Fiction Friday without a dedication to one of my favorite children's authors, Judy Blume. I wrote a post back in October about my little brush with this famous icon:

OCTOBER 24th, 2010

A Favorite Email

Do you have childhood books you remember vividly?

Do you remember these?

Photobucket  Photobucket

My heart broke for Ramona Quimby when she misunderstood a school fad and cracked a raw, gooey egg over her head. And when she overheard her teacher calling her a "showoff" and a "nuisance". And as she fought off pestering from Yard Ape. I identified with Margaret's desire to grow up and away from her life as an "underdeveloped little kid". These girls were so... real.

Several years ago, I read a grown-up Judy Blume book titled Summer Sisters. I liked it. I visited her website to see if she had any others, and came upon her email address. A real, live email address for this writing icon. I just had  to email her - Judy Blume!

So I emailed one of my writing heroes. I told her how much I enjoyed her new book and explained that my childhood years would have been missing something if she hadn't written about Ramona, Beezus, Margaret, and Superfudge.

Guess what? She wrote me back!

Dear Julie,

Thanks so much for your warm note. I'm touched by your feelings about Summer Sisters and how well you remember my other books. Wish there were time for a longer, more thoughtful response, but I'm overwhelmed right now and trying (desperately!) to find the quiet time necessary to write. Hope you understand. Readers like you have made my career and I can never thank you enough.

Come back and visit my website again. Hope to get some new info up soon.


I've saved this email ever since. This was before Twitter, before social media, before most blogs. Actually interacting with a famous author was a very special treat for me.
I wonder what parts of Amelia's childhood will stick with her? She is already a bookworm, I wonder what books will forever remain a piece of her childhood? Which characters will she identify with?
I'd like to keep my girl little forever, but watching her grow up will be mesmerizing.

I wonder who she will be?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Verse x3

April is almost upon us. A month where spring arrives in full bloom, golfers gather for the Masters, and my baby girl turns another year older. April is also national poetry month! In honor of the occasion (and frankly, because I am short on blogging time this week), I crafted short poems in three different styles.

Can you guess the type of poem for each?
(Answers below!)

Ants scurry to build their homes,
Bees flutter from flower to flower,
Caterpillars crawl up the bark of a tree,
Day lilies begin to peek from the earth.
In the warmth of spring, hope drives life.

Memories and hope,
Where we turn when times are rough,
To mend our pained hearts.

If I had one wish for you,
It would be for you to be,
Happy and healthy and wise,
But still little girl to me.

What were those? In case you were wondering...

(1) ABC - A poem that has five lines that create a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses while the first word of each line is in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and begins with any letter.

(2) Haiku - A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five (syllables).

(3) Quatrain - A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables. 

Mama’s Losin’ It 
Prompt #2: April is national poetry month...Write a poem about hope.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Quack

Sunday afternoon. Took a walk with our (self-dressed) little girl. Brought some bread along to feed the neighborhood ducks and one greedy goose.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So afraid

Sometimes I feel paralyzed with fear. With every tantrum, every expression of anger, every meltdown I see from my child, I worry. I worry that she is not normal. That she is somehow more angry than other 3-year olds in this world. I am terrified that I am not raising her right. That I am going to create a little monster who ends up to be a teenage terror.

I am afraid of her tantrums. Timeout is a punishment for me as much as it is for her - my heart races, my stress level goes through the roof. I cannot stand forcing her into her room, then running to close the gate before she prys herself free. The sound of her screaming and calling "mommy! mooooommy!" really hurts.

More than anything in this world, I want a well-adjusted, happy child. I know she will act up at times. I know she's in a stage where the world completely revolves around her wishes. But I can't stop the fear. Is she worse than other kids her age? Am I doing something totally wrong? My mommy confidence is in tatters.

I try to find that fine line between respecting her wishes and standing my ground as THE MOM. I know I need to be more consistent with her punishments. I have to change myself before I can help her leap the hurdle of this age. That's what Nanny 911 is all about, right? She never changes the kids - she changes the parenting.

We conquered the terrible twos a few months ago. It sounds like threes are going to be just as challenging.

Wish us luck (and thanks for sticking through this rambling post).

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We walk, hand-in-hand, into the store.

Amelia, sniffing the air: "Mmm, it smells good in here!"

Me, smiling: "Well, that is the smell of new, clean shoes. This is a shoe store."

Amelia sniffs again: "I like this store. It smells good."

Me: "I'm glad, sweetie. Let's find you some flip-flops"

A few minutes later...
Amelia: "Mommy? I have a question. Will my feet smell better if I buy shoes here?"

The sense of smell is most closely connected to memory. The scent of fresh pine may bring you immediately to a pre-Christmas memory on the tree lot. Your grandmother's perfume can remind you of a time when you were enveloped in her hugs. And perhaps years from now, the smell of a shoe store will make my daughter think of a day she enjoyed a weekday morning shopping trip. A time when she still held my hand.

Her endearing commentary got me thinking. What sensory experiences remind me of childhood?

The scent of fabric softener. Open the linen closet in my childhood home, and you smell it. Clean, freshly-scented sheets and towels give me a sense of calm, a sense of comfort at home. A first night in newly-laundered sheets? To me, it's divine.

The strong odor of chlorine. We had a swimming pool for most of my childhood. My sister and I spent hours on end in the water each summer. For many years, we used those round white chlorine tablets in the filter system. I don't see those around much anymore, but I can distinctly remember that smell. If you handed me one today, I would be transported to our pool in Tennessee, my sister and I running around the circular edge to make a whirlpool. Swimming at night. Spreading the solar cover across the water, anxiously awaiting tomorrow's dip.

 And what about other senses? My husband sighs whenever he hears the distinct sound of an aluminum bat on a baseball. That ding (donk?) brings him back to Little League.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Announcement! And some thoughts.

I have tried really hard not to be that mom on Facebook. I post about Amelia most of the time, but I think I've done a pretty good job leaving out some of the details that others may just not want to know. Not all my friends are parents, and who wants to read about poop over breakfast, anyway? 

But, I am one proud and excited mommy tonight, and I have to share somewhere. Thank goodness I have a blog! 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I declare Amelia

We've had several days now with no accidents! She has even tackled her... fear?... embarassment?...plain old obstinance?... regarding the dreaded "number two". Finally, no more hiding behind the curtains!

Moms, there are many issues that cause debate among us. Some bring the claws out more than others. But potty training? Is at a whole other level. Not a lot of outward debate... more like quiet smugness. I don't know how many times I let sly sugar-coated comments (bragging) discourage me. As parents, we're expected to be proud of our kids. Finally realizing your kid is potty trained? That's a big one. But what we all need to keep in mind: every single child is different. Your methods may have performed magic on your 19-month old, but that doesn't mean they will work for your nephew. Or for your neighbor's kid. Or for the strong-willed child halfway to her fourth birthday. 

Potty training can be frustrating, and it can take a long time. Moms, try not to fall into that trap of comparing your child to others. Try not to get discouraged when you're cleaning up the sixth accident in seven hours (yes, easier said than done). Listen to the hordes of unsolicited advice you will get, but do what works for you and toss out the rest. 

And if you get tired of feeling left behind? Then come up with some sassy responses to the braggarts out there. Watch sassy mom's face as you tell her you have a clinical obsession with diapers and can't bear to see them go. Or that the latest research shows the brilliant children aren't trained until a much older age.

You kid will figure it out, so why not laugh a little bit?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fiction Friday: Laughing Stars

It has been an emotional week. A dear mom friend of mine has been strugging with a serious heart condition and a difficult pregnancy. On Monday morning, she learned that her unborn son (30 weeks) no longer had a heartbeat. They expected to meet him soon, likely inducing labor as soon as she reached 34 weeks. Instead, her little angel was delivered last night. Today, they are grieving and planning a funeral.

For today's Fiction Friday, I am turning to a book that is dear to my heart. I've read it both in the English language and in French during my school years. It is a sweet and thoughtful little story, and this excerpt makes me think of my friend. She will ache because she can't hold him in her arms, but she will see him in the stars.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A love story

He wasn't what you would call handsome. His head was too big, a bit too round. His ears were large. He had an odd fashion sense, always seen sporting red and blue overalls (minus the straps) straight from a country farm. And he was perpetually dirty.

I was just a little kid from Tennessee. I did not care about his clothes. I overlooked his bulky head and his desperate need for a bubble bath.

I loved him.

I loved him because he was the strong silent type. Always ready to listen and never one to talk back. If I needed a hug, he was there. If I wanted to play pretend, he was there. He was an ever-present friend in my childhood years.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nine years ago...

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us. I have never celebrated in Savannah, Chicago, or any other city with green rivers and green beer. I barely even remember to wear green.

But one March 17th, many years ago, is one I will never forget... and it has absolutely nothing to do with St. Patty's day.

Nine years ago, I said yes. On March 17th, 2002, I became a fiancee. Steve surprised me with a creative and thoughtful proposal, asking me to become his wife.

We spent two days at Disney World in Orlando. The first evening we were on our own, enjoying the sights and watching the Epcot night show. The following day, Steve's family met us at The Magic Kingdom for another magical day. I was hoping for a proposal, but the time came to leave and I was still without a ring. So I let the wish pass... again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fit for a princess

Amelia turns three in a few short weeks. Three years old! That is hard to believe. But, I have plenty of time to brood and sulk in future posts. This one is super exciting for me. I finally get to reveal Amelia's big girl bedroom!

Here are our "before" shots: This is Amelia waking up on the last morning of her baby room.



The theme was frogs, and her walls are a light sage green and white. Daddy put up the chair rail and painted everything, including the adorable custom cattails to match her bedding.

I was on a mission to find bedding that would increase the girly factor but still allow us to keep the wall colors and Daddy's special cattails. Do you know how difficult it is to find girly bedding with frogs?!?

Can't we all just get along?

The Take The Pledge Campaign

I am joining scores of mom bloggers around the country who are taking The Mom Pledge. If you are a mom, you've undoubtedly had contact with a mom-bully. The kind of mom who thinks only her way is right. The kind who argues and chastises other moms who do things differently.

Epidural? Didn't breastfeed? Didn't participate in babywearing? Vaccinate? Don't vaccinate? Have your child front-facing or extending rear-facing? Television or no television? No matter what your methods, I respect that you make the best possible decisions for your own unique family. I did things my way, and I will let you do the same, respectfully.

Here's the pledge:

The Mom Pledge
  • I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example. 
  • I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, "right" way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family. 
  • I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind. 
  • I stand up against online bullying. My blog is my space. I will not tolerate comments that are rude, condescending or disrespectful. 
  • I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks from my blog with no mention or response. I can take control. 
  • I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior. 
  • I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference.

 Do you want to take The Mom Pledge? Visit to learn more!

BWS tips button

Friday, March 11, 2011

Introducing Fiction Friday

Today, I'm excited - and nervous - to share a piece of my own original fiction.


As the sun rises slowly above the horizon, she stirs. The sounds of the outside world drift to her ears. She hears the drone of car engines, the sounds of squeaking brakes, the wind blowing through a nearby patch of trees. She hears the world going by without her.

She sits up, brushes off her grimy blankets. She is not cold this morning, happy that spring is on the way. As she tries to run her fingers through her matted hair, she reflects on her day ahead. How slowly will the hours pass? Will the kindness of a stranger allow her to quiet her hungry stomach?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Revisiting my happy list

If you just can't get enough of yours truly, click on over to Typical Suburban Family and check out my guest post!

I wrote my happy list at the start of last summer. I've made a few tweaks, but for the most part these things still make me smile. A happy list never expires!

What are your favorite things to brighten your day?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


She sits in the corner, all alone.
Nothing to do, no one to call her own.
All she can do is sit and stare,
Huddled in her world of bleak despair.
The world is dark, the rain pours down,
Sadness fills the air.
For when she needs someone the most,
You are never there.

I wrote this poem when I was 11 years old. I was a sensitive child, to say the least. Often struggling with feelings of loneliness and and a major lack of self-worth. I had (and still have) a supportive, loving family. My parents were (and still are) attentive and caring. But something in my pre-teen heart just felt sad.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moving on?

What would it take for us to pack up and move?

Well, a better housing market for one. I would rather sell our home than give it away.

We would also need a very large truck and some hulky men to haul our furniture to the new location. After eight years, we have settled into our first house quite nicely - which means we have a ton of stuff. (Remember the college days, when eveyrthing you owned fit into your car?)

But more importantly, it would take a pretty solid guarantee of improvement. It would take a job that can utilize my husband's mega brains and talent as well as keep him happy and available for his family.

No one tells you in college that work... well... sucks. No matter how much you love what you do, it becomes just work after a while. It eventually gets old. When children become the #1 priority in your life, work is just another pull away. Just another thing nibbling at your time (and sanity).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Attention, please

I'm guest posting over at Single Mom On A Budget today, talking about giving your child some quality *you* time.  So first, click on over HERE to read and leave your comments. Then go play with your kid(s) if they're home.

Single Mom On a Budget is also on TWITTER and FACEBOOK

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I can't see her anymore.

I stand there, staring. Peering deeply into the mirror.

But I can't find her.

I see the same brown eyes, but my vision drifts to the crinkles around them.

I see the dimples, but only when I force a smile.

I see thick brown hair, but again my vision drifts. It drifts to the crazy gray ones sticking here and there.

I step back. I scan the whole image.

But she's still missing.

I see a mom. Amelia's mom.

I see a provider of snacks and hugs.

I see a person who spends entirely too much time and energy thinking, worrying about toilet habits.

There? Is a woman who can pack a lunch, a suitcase, or a toy bag in 3 minutes flat.

This reflection? Shows an organized, efficient, dependable person.

Someone who will never let you down.

Someone whose heart may break, but only silently. Never burdening the outside world.

I search the image in the bathroom mirror. I gaze into the hallway mirror. And the car mirror.

The person I see is a good one. A good mom, a loyal wife. A hardworking, respectable employee.

But I miss her.

I try, oh how I try... but I can't find her.

I can't find me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Recap

Hi friends!

Thanks for coming by today! Did you miss something this week?

Check these out:
Also, if you missed our day at the zoo last month, you can revisit our adventure via today's feature on Toddle Toots! I'm honored to be there. Thanks, Mama Toots!

Friday, March 4, 2011

F2F Friday: Mommy Talk Show

 Welcome to another Friends to Follow Friday!

Today I'm happy to spread the word about Mommy Talk Show. A new and unique blog, created by a former TV news anchor and a fellow Georgia mommy.

Blog name? Mommy Talk Show

When was your blog born - and why? 
I started posting in December 2010. So it's a very new blog. Mommy Talk Show was born out of my need to feel useful professionally. I'm a former TV news anchor so I'm used to going out and meeting new people everyday. Staying at home with my son along with being a newlywed in a new city made me feel very isolated and lonely, so I created something to combine my professional skills (TV news) and my passion (Motherhood).

The show features Atlanta moms who own their own businesses as guests. We tape the show family-friendly locations. Thanks to the video content on my blog if I ever return to my TV career I'll have plenty of material to show a potential employer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring is in the air...

Our forsythia bushes are popping out their yellow buds. The cherry trees are splendidly pink. Even my daffodils are beginning to bloom.

Spring is on its way! I am ready to welcome it with open arms. Spring brings me a new outlook and refreshes my spirit. Colors begin to appear overnight; our browns and grays are transformed into fresh greens, yellows, pinks, and whites. The sun burns the clouds away so we may enjoy the wide bright blue skies.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happiness is...

... a brand new blue balloon

I am lucky

I am lucky.

I am lucky to have in-laws that I truly love. They accepted me into their family from the very beginning and they are always there for a kind word and lots of laughs.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. In addition to wishing her a exceptionally happy day, I want to share with my readers what an amazing person she is.
  • My mother-in-law raised three children mostly on her own
  • My mother-in-law survived some rocky times in her past
  • My mother-in-law is strong in her faith
  • My mother-in-law has a generous heart
  • My mother-in-law stood by her late husband's side as he suffered and eventually passed away from cancer
  • My mother-in-law never left my sister-in-law alone as she navigated through the darkest and most difficult time in her life.
  • My mother-in-law stepped up to the plate and became a caregiver for her eldest daughter when others chose to let her down.
  • My mother-in-law is an awesome grandma.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...