Wednesday, August 31, 2011

iPhone Photo Phun: Airplane

Linking up with @BelleBeanDog for some iPhone Photo Phun!

My all-time favorite iPhone photo? This one. Taken a few days ago. My child was being hilarious, so I grabbed my iPhone and clicked. I wish it hadn't come out so blurry, but I'm thrilled to have captured such a perfect moment.

Completely unaided, my 3-year-old daughter packed her little blue tote bag, put on her favorite princess heels, set up her pink princess chair by the wall, sat down, and crossed her legs. 

Then she exclaimed to me, "Mommy! I am playing stuck at the airport waiting for a plane."

She sighed, and huffed, and puffed.

"Why is my plane not coming?"

"I'm going to be late!"

I think she nailed it. Don't you?

- - - -
Link up your phun phone photos here!

WW: Can't wait to see this again

This summer has been HOT.
Anxiously awaiting fall colors (and temperatures!).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dark or light? A 3-year old discovers skin color

Like all three-year-olds, my daughter is a knowledge sponge. So much of the world around her is brand new and wonderful.

Much of our time together is spent talking. We discuss her various observations of the world and chat about her numerous 'likes' and her few 'dislikes'. Often, I find myself explaining new words and answering the never-ending rounds of "what's that?" and "why?".

Recently, Amelia began talking about how people look different from each other. Some have brown hair, some have red hair, some have blue eyes (just like hers, she will always say), and some have brown eyes. And last week, she explained to me (in her most serious preschool voice) that everyone has different color skin too. Some skin is dark, some skin is light. 

"Brandon is brown."

"Elizabeth is light."

"I am light."

"Mommy? Why are kids all different colors?"

To which I answer (in my best Mommy voice), "because God made us all special. Everyone is different, and that makes our world prettier."

Amelia (once again with her serious face) pondered this for a moment. She tapped her little finger against her chin in a classic thinking pose.

"Yes," she finally answered.
We have different colors in my class, and my class is beautiful."

Well said, my dear.
Well said.

Friday, August 26, 2011

She makes me laugh: Friday funnies

I do not have a ton of experience around children. I'm learning day by day as I play the Mommy role to my sweetie Amelia. It is a difficult job... but also hilarious.

"Can I get you some lipstick, Mommy? You don't look very pretty."

"Mommy, let's play Easter hunt. Because it's almost Christmas."
(She said this in... August.)

 "Mommy! I don't have nervous anymore!" (Day #3 of swimming lessons)

"Mommy, we have had too many really fun days. No more fun tomorrow, okay?"

Amelia made this clown puppet at school. I asked his name...
"This is Granddad when he was a clown!"
(Apparently, my father was once a clown.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

They never say "I can't"

An ant never believes that it is too little.

An ant never says “that’s too big”.

When an ant has a massive task ahead, he marches forward. He relies on friends, family, and neighbors. He is not afraid to seek their help. And together, this army of ants becomes powerful. They build higher and higher and higher, until the anthill rises far above their little heads.

Whenever we are in times of need, with tasks ahead that seem too big to bear, we should be more like ants. Not afraid to reach out to others; not embarrassed to ask for help. Despite life’s letdowns and looming obstacles, we can band together with loved ones and march forward.

We are about five hundred times larger than ants… just imagine what we can do.

- - -
We could all use this lesson now and then. But today, I post in honor of a close loved one who is facing what feels like an impassible hurdle. She is not too small, nor is she ever alone. Together, we will lift her up - and over. XOXOXO

Sunday, August 21, 2011

StinkyKids - new adventure book & giveaway

In this family, books are as beloved as toys. As an infant, Amelia cooed and giggled as she flipped page after page of colorful, cute, touch-worthy books. As she got older, she loved nothing more than to cuddle in Daddy's lap as he read magical or funny stories from her bookshelf. Now, she likes to flip through books on her own. She likes to invent unique and creative stories from the pictures. But once in a while, she turns those bright blue eyes to us and asks, "will you read this one to me?".

The latest book to join our growing collection?
StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors

Right away, Amelia approved of the title. She grinned and laughed. She pointed at the inside cover, which portrays all of the StinkyKids charatcers, and wanted to learn each of their names.

StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors tells the story of a little stinker (hence, the name StinkyKids) who has an issue with bubblegum. Her friends, also little stinkers, jump right in to help. In their own special way.

I really love the illustrations in this book. Each little stinker has his/her own style and personality. They are quite adorable. It is an enjoyable story and a great new book. You can buy a copy (and pre-order the next adventure, StinkyKids See a Full Moon) today at

Does Amelia like her new book?

What do you think?

  • Love those cute StinkyKids? The dolls are available for purchase at
  • Great news! StinkyKids just won a 2011 Mom's Choice Award for StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors
  • Another great idea: StinkyKids donates a percentage of its profits to Books, Bears, Bonnets, Inc., a charity founded in honor of Britt’s aunt who died from uterine cancer.
Visit the StinkyKids website for more information about the book, precious plush dolls, an e-mail newsletter, and more!

- - - -
Giveaway is now closed.
Congrats to Lori!
( selected comment #3)

- - -
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for the purposes of this review.
Opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From heartbreak to hope

We had to leave immediately.

The invisible hand of regret had a grip on my gut. Squeezing. Choking. Working its way up to my throat where a lump had already formed as I fought back tears.

Then, a gentle hand on my knee. A finger, underneath my chin, lifting my face towards the sun once again.

"Let's just look at it."

I inhaled slowly, deeply. Then a sigh escaped my lips. "But, I'm just going to be heartbroken again."

His hand moved swiftly to grip my own. A slight tug.

"Only one look."

I shook off his fingers that were intertwined with mine. I turned and reached for the handle. And, sighed, once again. "Fine. Only for a second."

We walked, side by side, up the concrete drive. I did not want to do this again.

The opening of the door freed the distinct smells from inside. Paint. Lumber. Brand new carpet. With just one step inside, all my tension dissipated. Light streamed through the newly-installed windows. Every sound echoed through the emptiness.

"I love it. But... remember last time?"

I felt a touch on my back. "Don't worry about that now. Do you want it?"

Tears finally escaped my eyes. "Of course I do. But we felt that way last time. We were sent away."

"But, look!" he exclaimed, shoving a flyer in my hand. I saw the numbers emblazoned across the top.

I could not believe my eyes. "But... the price!"

He flashed me a toothy grin. "Yeah. So, do you want it?"

And that's when we realized. We were already home.

- - -
The Red Dress Club has become Write on Edge!
Check out the fantastic new website.

"This week, we gave you the beginning and the end of the story – sometimes the very places we get stuck – and asked you only to come up with the middle. You were to start your piece with We had to leave immediately and end it with And then we realized we were already home."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WW: Around & Around

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”
- William D. Tammeus

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another year, another open doorway

Preschool open house chokes me up a little bit every year. Despite being with the same school since Amelia was three months old, despite being a total preschool pro, there is always at least one little thing that hurts just a bit.

We entered a familiar school building last night, but we passed all the familiar rooms. We waved hello at the familiar teachers, but kept on walking. This time, we turned a corner. We turned a corner away from the toddler room, away from the two-year-old rooms, and stepped instead towards the new three-year-old classroom. A classroom in which we learned about new things ahead: cooking lessons, show-and-tell, and even an introduction to Spanish language.

The smart mom in me is proud to have such a fantastic school and unique curriculum for my child.

The sensitive mom in me wants to know where my baby went.

Soon, Amelia will be helping me in the kitchen. Soon, Amelia will be teaching me basic words in a language I do not know. Soon, she will be grasping my hand as we hunt around the house for a show-and-tell item that begins with the letter of the week.

She only knows three kids in her class this time around. I hope she also brings home many stories of their adventures and laughter together as friends. Soon.

Change is difficult.

Even when we know it is for the best.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just the way you are

I first participated in AllThingsFadra's Stream of Consciousness Sunday a few months ago upon the death of my 99-year-old grandmother. The post was titled This is not goodbye... and it did my heart some good.

This week, I'm joining in once again. Here are the "rules":
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only. 
  • Do not edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw. 
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere.
  • Link up to #SOCSunday on All Things Fadra.
- - -

To my sweet princess,

I cannot believe how beautiful you are. We spend a lot of time together, and I take every opportunity I can to just look at you. I take in your sea blue eyes, your long full eyelashes, your button nose, and that sweet pink mouth. I observe your light curls, your sassy three-year-old fashion sense, and your painted little toenails. You take my breath away. I am so lucky you are mine.

But if I can ingrain one thing in your mind, my dear, it is this: beauty will never be the most important thing. Sure I sometimes feel my heart skip a beat when you look at me with that gorgeous face... but I am even more proud when you show me the talents of your brain. You are independent, creative, and such a quick learner. Daddy and I both marvel at the things you remember. Sometimes you describe scenes that took place when you were still in diapers. Often we teach you a word once, just to hear you use it proficiently the very next day.

I know you like princesses... and you will always be our princess. Not just because of your beauty, but for so very much more. For your beauty, your kindness, your humor, your grace, your creativity, and your brains.

I am thankful for you every day.

You will go far in this life.

If you stay just the way you are.


- - -


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Watch out - Mama on wheels!

When I accepted a part in the Heelys campaign via Business2Blogger, I envisioned a video-rich, highly entertaining post to chronicle my adventures on wheels...

As it turns out, this mama is not so good on wheels. I look neither graceful nor adventurous. Funny is a much more accurate description. I squeal, wobble, and grasp for anything to keep my butt from bruising.

But you know what? It's still fun! And I am determined to improve my "skillz".

What are Heelys, you ask?
If in-line skates were the next-generation roller skates, then Heelys are futuristic in-line skates. Sneakers with attitude - and a wheel in the heel. I selected these sassy gray & pink Heelys:

I was giddy upon my Heely's arrival. I was pleasantly surprised by the weight of the shoes. They are extremely well-constructed with thick rubber soles. Thanks to the little tool they provide in the box, it takes mere seconds to pop off the heel plates and install the wheels. I could barely wait to lace them up - I was going to roll all over the place!

Heeling is actually considered a sport. It requires practice and a certain level of skill to master. Clearly, I am not the sporting type (it once took me 90 minutes to ski down a slope... once). Despite not being able to heel just yet, I am enjoying my funky new shoes. I am determined to keep practicing. Eventually, I will be the rolling mama I imagined. Can't you see me alongside my daughter and her hot pink tricycle, both of us rolling our way to the pool? Oh yeah. I'm gonna be cool like that.

The next time I see my 15-year old niece? I want to see her try these. I have a feeling she will show me up big time. She is already taller than I am. She will be heeling a lot better than me too.

Do you have a kid or teen in your family who would love a cool pair of Heely's? Between Sept 2-Sept 5, you can buy one pair of Heelys and get the second pair for only $30! Perfect for two-kid households. Or, grab that second pair for yourself! We always tell our kids to try new things, right? Go for it, Mama!

(Heelys are sassy and comfortable. If all else fails, you can pop the heel plate back in and enjoy a nice, relaxing... stroll.)

- - -

For more information on Heelys, visit their website.
For tips & tricks on how to skate, they provide some great Heeling tutorials.

Concerned about safety?
Heelys has that covered too. Check out the Heelys Safety Playbook.

- - -
Disclosure: I received my pair of Heelys at no charge for the purposes of this review.
All opinions stated in this review are 100% mine.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just another Southern night

Lightnin’ bugs and root beer floats,

    Rockin’ chairs and music notes.

Friends and neighbors chatting bright,

    Just another southern night.

Eyelids heavy, mama’s hand in mine,

    It is time for bed, and that’s just fine.

For nothing else could feel so right,

    Just another southern night.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I laughed, I cried, two thumbs up!

A couple weeks ago, I received free tickets to a Thursday night screening of the new movie, The Help. I had read the book, and was looking forward to the movie. Free tickets? Sure! On a Thursday night, which meant it would have to be a girls' night? Heck, yeah!

I took my neighbor and friend along for the screening. I figured we'd be a good pair to give opinions:

-She is 9 months pregnant and full of baby-growing hormones.
-I am not pregnant, and generally not emotional.
-She had never read the book.
-I read the book only a few months ago and loved it.

We are both mamas to a preschooler, and happily (wheeee!) ventured into the city for a child-free evening.

The verdict? I can barely express how much we both loved this film. We laughed out loud, we blinked back a few tears, we clapped at the end. Having read the book, I was not sure what to expect. The movie jumps right into the meat of the story, and one storyline was changed (if you've read the book, you'll notice this change towards the end). Neither of these changes affected my enjoyment of the movie. I was quite surprised by how funny it was. And at the same time, how heart-wrenching.

The Help sends you flying through a roller coaster of emotions.

When it was over, I wanted more. I cannot wait to see it again. I will make my husband watch it. I will tell my family and friends to go see it.

Three-word review? IT WAS PHENOMENAL.

My MVA (most valuable actress) award? Goes to Octavia Spencer, who plays Minnie Jackson. I don't think anyone else could have made Minnie more real - or more hilarious.

Mommies, you know you need a night out. Call up some friends, get a sitter (or hand the kiddos to the husband), and buy your tickets for The Help. It is worth well more than the $9 ticket.

Credit: The Help Official Movie Site, DreamWorks Pictures

Credit: The Help Official Movie Site, DreamWorks Pictures

Credit: The Help Official Movie Site, DreamWorks Pictures

Disclosure: I received two tickets to an Atlanta screening of The Help via a connection within my Georgia Social Media Moms group. All opinions are 100% mine. (They didn't even require a review... but I had to share the word!)

Great movie. Really!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Classical Cradle (with a #giveaway!)

A couple years have passed since my baby was a... baby. She has blossomed into a fiercely independent and fantastically creative little girl.

Bedtime used to consist of rocking in the cozy chair, listening to soft music, and patting her little bottom. Now, it is a 30-minute event. Playtime, books, funny giggling games, prayers, and back rubs.

When I received the Classical Cradle CD, I was excited to test it out. Amelia's cute little pink and white flower CD player is broken, so I hauled the ancient big black "boombox" into her room. She laughed at me and my contraption (circa 1990). But when the simple soothing piano melodies began to play, she was enthralled. In fact, she did not want to go to sleep - she wanted to wait and listen to every single song!

Classical Cradle is really a lovely bedtime album, featuring some well-known classical medleys via acoustic piano. Unlike some other children's classical albums I own, all of the songs on Classical Cradle have a calm feel and even tempo. It is a fantastic lullaby selection. Even though bedtime means a bit of play these days, we have been turning on the music every night. The entire family enjoys it.

I may want one for the office too! I certainly need some stress relief now and then.
Just as long as I don't fall asleep at my desk...

- - - -
I want you to experience this lovely lullaby album too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What comes after potty training...

Before I was Mommy, life was simple. I worked on weekdays and relaxed on weekends. Travel involved packing only for myself. I could grab a few things at the grocery store without having to use the giant, nearly-impossible-to-steer green plastic rocket ship cart.

I could make it in and out of a store without a tour of the bathroom facilities.

Potty training was not easy. I started "training" her when I thought it was a good time. She wasn't ready. I obsessed about the minutes since her last accident. I nagged her incessantly, "Don't you want to go pee-pee? I think you should tinkle now. It's been 13 minutes since you pee-peed in your pants... go try again for Mommy..." I nearly drove myself crazy. If she had known how to unlock the doors at the time, I have no doubt my small child would have tried to run away from home. Not a happy fun time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Splish splash, break my heart

When will a mother smile and shake her head when her little girl begs to go home?

When will a mother let a stranger dunk her small child underwater?

When will a mother simply look away as her baby sputters and splatters in the pool?

Swimming lessons.

Amelia's very first swimming lessons. Painful for mama and scary for her. Not a whole lot of fun to be had this time around.

But she's learning. And I know she'll be safer around the water.

It's all about the big picture, right?


(Mama's note: I wrote this post after day #2 of lessons. I am happy to report that lesson days #3 and #4 have shown a lot of improvement! My heart is healing a little.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What she did for me

When I was a little girl, she was a teenager. When I was Cookie Monster for Halloween, she was a gorgeous princess in a blue and silver gown. When she went to the prom, she let me walk next door to peek at her grown-up and fabulous look. She was a babysitter, but also willing to be a friend.

Later, when my mind was guiding me to a possible career in advertising, I learned that she had already pursued - and grasped - that dream. Once again, she allowed me to look up to her and opened her calendar to schedule time for a tour.

I visited the big-city advertising agency on a Friday. I navigated the parking deck and strolled past a spraying fountain to enter the shiny building. In the elevator, I smoothed my skirt and picked at my hair. When I heard five dings, it was time to step out into the agency. The colorful lobby greeted me with cheer. I affixed my best grown-up look on my face and approached the desk. "Director of First Impressions," said the little placard. This place? Was even too cool to say "receptionist". I had stars in my eyes.

Soon, I was trailing behind my mentor as she pointed out various parts of the agency. She introduced me to agency friends. I should have seized the opportunity to ask questions, but I was mute with nerves. At one point, I noticed a little brown dog. A living, breating, fluffy animal. Sleeping under someone's desk. That is when I learned about Dog Friday. At this office, employees could actually bring their dogs to work! The working world was going to be so cool. I could not wait to venture out of Tennessee and into this big city to start my own fabulous life.

She has no idea what her guidance meant to me back then. We have both moved through varying careers. She left the ad agency world for good, I left once and came back. Not all agencies are funky and fun... in fact, some mimic the worst of sweatshops. But I still believe I made the correct choice for a career. I enjoy it and I am good at it.

I have her to thank for guiding me there.

Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!
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