Thursday, December 17, 2015

Her last princess movie.

She never wore an Elsa dress. She never asked for her hair in braids or for a funny snowman companion. I was not aware of it at the time, but our family outing to see Disney's Frozen two years ago marked her final princess movie. Some time after those closing credits, my little girl who loved all things sparkle and shine did the unthinkable... she grew up.

While the rest of the little girls in the world were obsessing over Queen Elsa and Princess Anna and squeezing plush Olaf toys for a cozy night of magical dreams, my girl was moving on. One week ago, we peeled the Cinderella decals from her bedroom walls. We donated a few princess dolls to charity last month. My daughter, at 7 1/2 years old, is too mature for princesses. In fact, she's embarrassed to have any connection to princesses. I am not supposed to call her my princess any more.

"You can call me anything else, Mom, but not 'princess'. I'm too big for that." 

We own the Frozen DVD, but I think we watched it twice - by my request, not hers. My daughter's bedroom now shows off a funny Minion poster on the closet door and an Avengers poster on the adjacent jack-and-jill bathroom door. She laughs at the Lego Movie and she buries her nose in Harry Potter books.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pre-Christmas family fun!

Christmas season is full of activities and family outings. With the record warm weather we have been having down here, we are enjoying more outdoor time and having fun as a family.

We have been busy for a few weeks! To name a few... our preview of the amazing Six Flags Over Georgia Holiday in the Park, elementary school art show, a preschool sing-a-long, and a fun family night at the Lights of Life. Class parties up next! Christmas is coming!

Even if it is 72 degrees outside.

I'm linking up with Really, Are You Serious today for Mommy and Me Monday! Get in front of the camera and join us!

Happy holidays! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Favorite family Christmas movies

What are your favorite family traditions around the holidays? 

I love impromptu movie nights! When the weather turns cold and the skies are dark before the kids' bedtime, it's fun to gather the family with blankets, freshly-popped warm popcorn, and a great holiday movie. 

What makes a great family holiday movie? For us, it is something that can entertain the adults and the children. Some of my own favorite holiday movies (like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story) still fly over the heads of my young children. They are "boring", so I hear. 

We have found a few family favorites that make everyone happy. This can be a tall order considering the almost 6-year age gap between my two kids. 

Our favorite family Christmas movies are...

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas - the Jim Carrey live-action version from 2000. The funny costumes, bright colors, and silly faces keep our littlest entertained, while the story holds the interest of our second-grader. Adults love it too!

Home Alone  - the original from 1990, of course. My daughter loves this movie and asks to watch it several times each season. Our little guy sat still through most of it recently and he giggled at all the "bonks" and "boo-boos".

Elf - Will Ferrell, green tights on a grown man, and a ton of syrup - who needs more? This 2003 family holiday movie is my personal favorite. There is enough silliness and color to hold some attention for our toddler, and my daughter thinks it is hilarious. One of the best Christmas movies of all time! 

Arthur Christmas - this one may not be as widely beloved, but it is a family favorite in our home. Cute animation, a dork-turned-hero, and a lot of Christmas spirit make up this family Christmas movie. 

What are your family's holiday favorites?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Family fun: beating the winter blues

"For families with young children, the winter months can seem like the most punishing time of the year:  shortened days, cold temperatures, and snow days all drive kids indoors.  How do we keep our kids happy, healthy, and active when we are already struggling to do the same for ourselves?"  
-Battling Winter Blues Positive Parenting Solutions

The article mentions turning off the television, remembering routines, and encouraging enthusiasm for indoor activities. Some of our favorite indoor activities involve creative play and science.

Creative Play
  • Play-Doh and Moon Dough are worth the mess when it is too cold to play outside and the weather has everyone feeling a bit too blah. Homemade play dough is fun too!
  • Setting up a pretend store can keep kids entertained. Grab a play cash register and stock up on play money. The kids can "sell" books, snacks, toys... really anything they want to gather up into a display. 
  • Make simple stick puppets with popsicle sticks, tape, and construction paper - then let the kids give you a puppet show from behind the sofa. They can even make and distribute tickets or create advertising posters before the opening act.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday festivities at the World of Coca-Cola

Here is another Atlanta attraction with holiday fun in store for us this season! The interactive home of Coke launched its seasonal celebration earlier this month.

images courtesy of World of Coca-Cola

 “The World of Coca‑Cola is a favorite holiday destination for fans of all ages from around the world,” said General Manager of Retail and Attractions for the World of Coca‑Cola Russell Jacobs.  
“We are always planning new ways to surprise and delight our guests, and we’ve put together a list of our top ten reasons to spend the holidays with us this year.”

image courtesy of World of Coca-Cola

Guests can:
  • Mail friends personalized letters from the desk of the Coca‑Cola Polar Bear inviting them to the attraction 
  • Give a one-of-kind holiday gift that friends and family will always remember 
  • Savor the season with signature beverages like Gingerbread Coke and Mistletoe Flow 
  • Snap and share selfies with the Coca‑Cola Polar Bear and Santa Claus using #WOCCHoliday
  •  Get the star treatment with personalized VIP Guided Tours 
  • Give back with a gift from the 5by20 artisan collection, which benefits women entrepreneurs around the world 
  • Ooh and ahh over the thousands of holiday lights and larger-than-life ornaments in Pemberton Place 
  • Learn the real story behind the Santa Claus image we know and love, originally commissioned by Coca-Cola in the 1930s 
  • Share favorite holiday memories of Coca‑Cola with other fans from around the world 
  • Give the gift of happiness all year long with a World of Coca-Cola Annual Pass  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday In The Park returns to Six Flags Over Georgia! #Atlanta

Looking for a memorable experience with out-of-town relatives or some thrilling family fun with the kids? I highly recommend Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia! We attended a media/blogger preview on Friday night. We left the little guy at home with a sitter and took our big girl and her friend to Six Flags for the tree lighting, holiday festivities, and roller coasters!

photo: Six Flags Over Georgia

We twisted and twirled and squealed for several hours and enjoyed the sparkling lights. Six Flags is a blast at night and the holiday lights make it even better! Holiday In The Park is back for the second year in Atlanta, and we look forward to it becoming an annual family tradition.

photo: Six Flags Over Georgia

What will you experience if you visit Holiday In The Park at Six Flags Over Georgia this year? Well, some of your very favorite theme park rides, of course! But in addition, this Six Flags winter event is all about festive shows, dozens of Christmas trees, more than one million LED lights, and a cozy meet with Santa Claus in the Santa Claus Cabin.  You may also stroll through Peppermint Plaza, the North Pole, and snowy Main Street Christmas. Walk through a mistletoe tunnel with your sweetie or journey back in time to simpler days of Christmas past with Retro Christmas USA. The magical event is open NOW and runs through January 3rd, 2015.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Photo bomb the baby playing with your phone

Andrew enjoys making faces at himself with the phone camera. I enjoy photo bombing his fun photos by copycatting his faces.

Mommy and Me Monday is silly this week!
Linking up with Krystyn at She's on her 301st Mommy and Me Monday!

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's time for holiday revelry in #Atlanta

I spotted my first retail Christmas decoration on October 30th this year.... one day before Halloween. I get it. Christmas decorations make a lot of people want to spend money. Stores want to take that money. Therefore, stores push the holiday cheer into our collective faces as early as possible. I expect to see it on October 28th next year.

Now that Thanksgiving is almost upon us, I am cool with the holiday merriment. I still feel like it is September, but Christmas will be here before we know it. Life is just too fast sometimes!

If you are in the Atlanta area like I am, there are many activities and special events happening from now through early January. So if you are bummed by the darkness in both our weather and world events today, it is not too early for some Christmas cheer. Head out this weekend for one of these favorite family festivities:

Stone Mountain Christmas
Gorgeous lights, holiday music and shows, beloved winter characters (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble!), Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4-D, the Snow Angel's magical snowfall, and fireworks, along with all of the attractions and shopping always offered at Stone Mountain Park. Open now! Visit Stone Mountain Christmas for ticket information and hours.

Six Flags Holiday in the Park 
For the second year, Six Flags Over Georgia will be transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland! Also included: holiday shows and special activities, plus the thrills and laughs you can only get from Six Flags! Opens this weekend, November 21st! Visit Six Flags Over Georgia for more information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stereotyping... just stop it.

I look at Facebook posts and comments on news articles and I just want to yank someone through the screen and shout, "what is WRONG with you people?"

Is this what social media has done to our society? Has it made it acceptable to snarl and offend and lose every sense of normal decorum? Do the people who troll the Internet and act downright asinine have the guts to do that in real life? In front of living, breathing human beings? Maybe they do. Maybe they truly are horrible grumps who will say or do as they please without a care. Or maybe they find comfort in hiding in basic anonymity behind a computer screen and the evil just spews out uncontrollably?

When did basic societal decency get thrown in the dump because we aren't in person anymore?

The stereotypes.... oh, the stereotypes. Do you want to know a really good way to incite anger and violence among the masses? Take a very small portion of a group of people and apply that personality to "all of 'em".

When the Starbucks red cup fiasco hit social media, I saw hundreds of references to "Christians" who are angered by the solid red cup redesign. Do you know who is angered by this design? One or two or three people who call themselves Christians but who really don't live up to Christian ideals at all. Christianity does not teach us to freak out about the frivolous. It teaches us to be humble, to be peacemakers. To turn a blind eye. Yet the masses on social media are going on about "those crazy Christians" again. Address the issue how it really is - a few people who do not, under any circumstances, represent an entire religious group of people.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

We ate our way through #BeachesMoms!

If you missed my tips on having a memorable and rejuvenating girls' weekend at Beaches Resorts, click on over and read all about it. 

Some girls eat like sweet little birds and watch their calories closely, even on vacation... not me! Throughout my four-day girls' weekend adventure with a friend for #BeachesMoms 2015 at Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos, our main topics of conversation were: the color of the water, the conference activities, and food.


Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos has 20 international restaurants, all of which are included in your resort price. Beaches Turks & Caicos restaurants offer delightful cuisine ranging from family-friendly offering chicken nuggets and french fries, to pizza, to hibachi style Japanese, to high-end French cuisine. Some restaurants like the new Jerk Shack offer picnic table seating right on the sand while others have white tablecloths and candle light. There is a wide range in between to suit any desire, including a few buffets if you want to eat quickly to get back to the Beaches Pirate's Island waterpark, one of six sparkling swimming pools, or the unsurpassed beauty of the Turks and Caicos oceanfront.

Did I mention? There was a lot of talk about food.


"Let's go down to breakfast." 
"And then we can plan where to eat lunch!" 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Five "do's" for a girls' weekend at a family resort

Let's assume you are a busy mom, a multi-tasking master, fulfiller of all snack requests. Assume you need a break from it all; a chance to slow your pace and find your inner "me" again. It is not very difficult to imagine, is it? You are likely living it. The pace, the needs, the taxi service that you seem to be running. The dream of stepping away from it all, for just a moment, to catch your breath.

What you need is a girls' weekend. Or a whole week! Leave the children with your capable husband, maybe an in-law or two, and go. I was able to do this last week when I traveled, sans family, to Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos for the second annual Social Media on the Sand Conference. I arranged to bring a friend to fill in for my family - and what a fantastic time we had!

Can adult women have a luxury experience at a family resort like Beaches Resorts? Yes! Here are my five "do's" for a successful and refreshing girls' weekend at a family resort:

#1: DO find an ideal quiet spot. Silence is probably scarce at home with children. To fully recharge, spend some time in your favorite resort relaxation spot. At Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos, it was easy to turn a corner or two and find a mini oasis with shade, comfortable seating, and few other humans. I loved the serene charm of the open-air Veranda House in the Key West Village. My friend enjoyed a hidden piece of the Italian Village, tucked behind the shops, that she discovered on our second day. Even though it is a family resort, Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos offers many peaceful escapes from the beach, pool, and water park.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Want to go pro? It's not about you. #Blogging

I had the privilege of speaking at the Type A Parent Conference in Atlanta in 2015. I co-presented "Attention-Grabbing Brand Pitches", sharing my experiences and advice from over 15 years of experience as an advertising and media planning professional. The group of bloggers who sat in on the session were smart, inquisitive, and attentive.

Even better than the session? The post-session conversations. I hope my speaking partner and I were able to assist at least a few on their path towards getting noticed and respected by some of the pros on the ad side.

The biggest head-nodding moment of the session was probably when the room quieted and (I hope) contemplated this thought: "It is NOT ABOUT YOU."

Repeat after me...
It's. Not. About. Me.

Many totally get it. Others may not. Think about this...

Monday, October 12, 2015

All things Harry Potter: for #Halloween!

My book worm of a daughter is starting to get into Harry Potter. She began by watching the first movie, and now we are starting her on the brand new illustrated Harry Potter book series! The stories are incredible without illustration, but as a young yet highly advanced reader, my 7 1/2 year old really enjoys pictures to go with the story.

She is also ready to hit the neighborhood in her latest Halloween costume: Hermione Granger. With just-past-the-shoulder curly hair, she looks the part perfectly once she dons the long black Hogwarts robe and Gryffindor necktie. Just last week, my friend at posted a DIY Harry Potter magic wand tutorial... check out this magical handiwork! Here's her DIY Harry Potter wand Pinterest pin as well. 
Image: (click for full post)

So we are all set on the costume front! If you want to really make a Hogwarts-type splash for the upcoming holiday, investigate some of these amazing Harry Potter decorating and food ideas from Pinterest:
Image: Buzzfeed (click for full post)

Image: Over The Big Moon (click for full post)

Happy October! Halloween will be here soon! Trick or Treat?!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Four reasons why Disney Cruises are better for #familytravel

We went on our very first Disney Cruise the other week!

We have been cruisers in the past and we have traveled on three other major cruise lines. All cruise lines are a ton of fun and we don't have major complaints about any of them. However, you always seem to hear that Disney Cruises are the best! We thought about those proclamations throughout most  of the week because honestly, Disney Cruise Lines usually costs more than the others.

Is Disney Cruise Lines better?

In many ways, YES. In some ways, I'd say it's a tie. And in other ways, I think it depends on the ages of your children. My oldest is not into characters or princesses anymore and she didn't want to go to Kids Club on her own (note to self: travel with friends the next time). Our youngest was still too little to understand much of the excitement, but this mama really loved the optional nursery care.

So... in what ways did my family find that a Disney Cruise was better than others?

#1 - Service. We were asked about service by various managers and staff at least twice per day. They always wanted to know about our experiences and if we had any problems at all. We had no problems, but I am sure if anything had come up, it would have been addressed happily and quickly.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Football eats from my favorite home chef

My friend Karen, over at In The Kitchen with KP, is my favorite home chef! She is always creating and sharing delicious snacks, simple family-friendly dinners, and mouth-watering desserts. I am lucky enough to know Karen in real life, which means I have been a willing taste-tester a few times. Perks!

Football season is upon us, and most of my fellow college grads are cheering on their teams on Saturday afternoons. My Tennessee Vols suffered some heartbreaking endings, which meant I needed feel-good munchies to soothe my broken heart.

Check out this huge football eats roundup from In The Kitchen With KP and many fellow food bloggers and make plans for your next delicious weekend. Don't forget - Super Bowl Sunday is coming up on February 7th!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The separation anxiety continues...

Separation Anxiety...
"Anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother."

My little man, now 20 months old, is still a total mama's boy. He has a tremendous need to know where I am and what I am doing at all times. He has improved a little bit at his Monday daycare and his Tuesday/Thursday church program, but (seven weeks later) we have not eliminated those drop-off tears just yet.  

Separation anxiety is completely normal in older babies and toddlers. While separation anxiety is most common in small children between 8-15 months old, it is not considered a disorder or major problem until later, around kindergarten or first grade. I think my guy is just our snuggly sensitive one. Our daughter was born with a strong independent streak, but he would prefer to stay close to me at all times. And when he is away at daycare/school, he often repeats our names, "Mama... Dada... YaYa (sister)..." Reminding himself who we are and saying our names is his way of coping until we return.

Hopefully, as we continue to practice drop-off and pick-up three days per week, he will become more and more confident in his understanding that Mama comes back

If your child is several years older and still experiencing separation anxiety that has begun to affect regular life, this WebMD article may be helpful: Separation Anxiety Disorder. And, as always, keep your pediatrician informed of any worries. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Disney's The Jungle Book: new trailer!

Have you seen the first trailer for Disney's The Jungle Book, the all-new live-action epic? Check it out on The Jungle Book site!

From Walt Disney Studios:

"The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, who embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.  

The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. 

The exciting adventure bounds into theaters everywhere (also in 3D!) on April 15, 2016!  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some great baby/newborn advice

Now that my little active guy is a running, jumping, opinionated, finicky - but fun - toddler, my baby advice days may be over. I am personally not a fan of the newborn stages; it can be really difficult!

If you are a new mom looking for some tips or expecting a second child and wondering how he or she will change your family, I have a few useful newborn advice posts to share from my friend Meghan over at

In addition to parenting stories, product reviews, and advice, Meghan often shares really fun craft ideas and simple video tutorials. So click on over to and see what she's sharing this week!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I miss going to the bathroom alone.... #parenting

What do you miss from the time before you were a parent? 

There are several things for me.
Well, maybe a lot of things.

A few pop into my mind right away...

For one, I miss taking time to actually taste my food at a restaurant instead of constantly digging snacks and sippy cups and crayons and toys out of my bag while I scarf whatever edible concoction is placed in front of me so we can dash out the door before we hit the child meltdown zone. 

I miss waking on a weekend to see an 8 (or greater) as the first number on the clock. Even a 7 is a rare sight on the morning clock these days. It is sad when a 7:22 Saturday wake-up equates to "sleeping in". Way, waaaaaay back in the day, I remember thinking that ESPN's College Game Day program was on a bit too early on Fall football Saturdays..... it starts at noon. 

I also miss going to the bathroom all my myself. Seriously. I would like to have a couple quiet moments in the bathroom to do what I need to do without an extra body in there. These days, I have a toddler shadow who gets into absolutely everything. In the moment it takes me to try to pee, I take away the toilet brush (this week, he seems to think it is a big hairbrush), roll up at least twenty-two squares of toilet paper that he happily unrolled onto the floor, and pry little chubby hands from my bare legs.

He flushes the toilet before I am done. He plays in the trash can. He tries to climb into the tub and gets frustrated that he can't quite get a leg all the way overIf I lock him out, my bathroom tasks are serenaded by a screeching wail that could frighten an angry velociraptor. This is paired with frantic door pounding. 

It's no wonder that I generally head to the bathroom the moment I get home from dropping him at his Monday daycare or the church preschool!

Bathroom activities are not a team sport.

- - -
Linking up to Mama Kat's writer's workshop today! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

When a toddler's cough just won't go away

My little guy, now 19 months old, has been hit hard by the start-of-daycare ickies. It began with a cold and ear infection over a month ago, then developed into a persistent cough that wakes him several times per night. For a while, we were up so frequently that it felt like we had a newborn again! More than four weeks later, he is finally beginning to sleep through a night without a coughing attack.

I brought him to the doctor a few times during this month of cough, but it was never directly treated. Persistent cough is common in toddlers who have had a cold and congestion, and it can last for a few weeks. A general rule is to take them to the doctor if they have a fever or if the cough has lasted four weeks.

How do you know if a cough is "bad"? I like this handy list from

Kids Health - Coughing 
Understanding what different types of cough could mean will help you know how to take care of them and when to go to the doctor. 

Also, what kind of options does a parent have when all the cough medications are for children 4 or 6 years old and up? My friend over at Redhead Baby Mama compiled a smart list...

The Ultimate Cold and Cough Guide for Babies and Toddlers 
From honey pops to tame fiery throats to a simple vapor bath to help stuffy noses, colds and coughs don’t stand a chance! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Comforable in the 2015 Toyota Highlander

We spent Labor Day weekend 2015 on a road trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to review the Ripley's Believe it or Not brand of family attractions. Thanks to the kind people working with Toyota, we were able to travel in comfort and style using a 2015 Toyota Highlander. Here are some thoughts on the Highlander from me, a (2005) Toyota Highlander owner and traveling, chauffeuring, working mom of two.

When the shiny and clean deep burgundy Highlander arrived in my driveway, I immediately noticed the sporty shape and gorgeous lines. My Highlander is a decade old, and I love the more modern and softer (less boxy) design of the recent Highlander models.  And by the way... the official color name is Ooh La La Rouge Mica - how fun is that?!

We enjoyed a comfortable 4-hour drive from the Atlanta area to Gatlinburg, getting to know all of the fancy electronics and gadgets. The Highlander model we tested was a Limited Platinum series, so it had all of the "bells and whistles" like navigation, back-up camera, Sirius XM radio, luxurious captain's chairs in the second row, a panoramic moonroof, heated and cooled leather seats in the front and second row, dual front and rear climate control, plus a pop-up third row that was much larger than the cramped third row I have in my 2005 Highlander.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Yes, the kids need recess! #backtoschool

I remember last year when my friend over at Really, Are You Serious posted about her daughter's recess being taken away as class punishment. She was concerned and I think she had every right to be!

Krystyn wrote...

It’s spelled out on the board at school everyday. The “class” misbehaves or is too talkative and they get a letter marked off. If all of the letters are marked of, recess is taken away for the day.
Their measly 15-freaking-minute recess.  Read her post here: Don't Take Our Recess Away

I have heard mention of "no recess" an punishment from other friends again this year. Why would teachers ever think this is a good idea? Recess helps in social development, physical activity, and let's face it: it gets the wiggles out. Kids, especially young ones like mine and Krystyn's, need to burn energy throughout the day.

Hop over to Krystyn's post and weigh in! What do you think about recess? Do you think it should be taken away as punishment in some situations?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eight Gatlinburg, TN Attractions for the whole family #familytravel

2015 Toyota Highlander
Are you traveling the Southeast this fall season? Perhaps you are one of ten million visitors to wind through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year?

We spent our Labor Day weekend in the area, driving up in a super comfortable 2015 Toyota Highlander (review to come) and staying in an adorable rental cottage less than a mile from the Gatlinburg Parkway - and within a few steps to a trolley stop. Check out the Gatlinburg cottage rental here - I would recommend it!

 If you are planning a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, a stop in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg should be on your list. I grew up in East Tennessee, so these eclectic towns are very familiar to me. However, if you do not know the area, I can describe those two towns for you: busy, family-friendly, unique, and fun.

Pigeon Forge boasts several museum and interactive attractions, shows, and the Dollywood theme park in a city setting. Gatlinburg is located higher in the mountains with trees and streams, cabins and (sometimes) bears.  Gatlinburg also offers more family attractions than you can do in a couple days, so plan a lengthy stay if you want to try it all.

The Ripley's brand of entertainment venues offers not three, not four, but eight Gatlinburg attractions:
 We were not able to do the Haunted Adventure given the ages of our young children, but lots of pre-teens and teens were coming out of there in an excited, happy state, so it must be scary - and fun! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The at-home parent vs. isolation

Moms (and stay-at-home dads), what do you do when you just. cant. take. it. anymore?

After some very difficult weeks with a mucus-filled, poor-sleeping, daycare-transitioning, almost-two-year-old, I had to pose this question to my mom blogger group. I wanted to scream and run away from home, but instead I reached out (through my iPhone) to some of the most supportive mamas I know.

The responses flooded in almost immediately and it was glaringly obvious: the parenting challenge of isolation is very real and very hurtful.

Many mothers stay at home while juggling a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos which could include multiple kids, sports schedules, PTA, work, and more. We do not have frequent time away from home or kids. We do not have the luxury of "let me finish this thought" when drafting an important email and a child is tugging, crying, screaming on/at us. Let's face it, we rarely have the luxury of going to the bathroom alone. Thank goodness for what restraint we have left when the clueless question, "what do you do with yourself all day?".

Despite never being alone, the isolation is there. We are isolated from what we need as adults.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall conferences for bloggers, Sep-Nov 2015

September is here!
For me, that means finally settling into the back-to-school routine (we started August 3rd), getting a little bit more used to the start of "ones" preschool for the little guy, plus college football.

For many bloggers, fall means conference time! Here is a list of a few blogger conferences coming up in September, October, and November.


Be Blogalicious
"To grow a supportive and vibrant community of influencers that celecrates cultural diversity" 
Baltimore, MD
Learn more and register for the Be Blogalicious Conference here.

Bloggy Conference 
"Open to anyone with an interest in social media"
Sandusky, OH
Bloggy Conference website


Type A Parent Conference
This happens to be my personal favorite and I highly recommend it! Plus, it's here in Atlanta and this year, I am a presenter! I'll be sharing practical advice for pitching your blog to paid media pros... pssst, we have more budget than PR! 
Atlanta, GA
Lots of great info and events year-round on

Social Media On The Sand
This is an invitation-only conference and event at Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos, which happens to be spectacularly amazing! I am honored to be attending for the second year.
To express your interest in a possible future invite, visit Social Media on the Sand 

Moms Meet WOW Summit
Open to moms everywhere who are interested in raising healthy, happy families.
San Diego, CA 
Registration and more info here: WOW Summit 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

New partnership: Six Flags Over Georgia & Make-A-Wish Georgia

Awesome news from Six Flags Over Georgia...

On Saturday, August 22nd, over two dozen Make-A-Wish Georgia children saw their dream come true as they got a behind-the-scenes look at Six Flags Over Georgia! The children shadowed Six Flags Team Members from Maintenance, Retail, Security, Rides, the Six Flags Railroad Train Conductor, walked with the Park President and of course – got to ride some our world-class attractions together!
photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Georgia

This event was the beginning of a new partnership between Six Flags Over Georgia and Make-A-Wish Georgia. Next spring, Six Flags Over Georgia will host a roller coaster event called “Coasting For Wishes”, which will be a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. While more details are to be announced soon, people who participate in the event will take part in a 5K, 10K or a Marathon. However, instead of “running”, the fundraisers will be riding a 5K, 10K or Marathon in feet of roller coaster track on our 12 roller coasters equal to each event length (5K, 10K or Marathon).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A moment for ourselves: time to slow down

Take a moment for yourself today. Hit the pause button on life for a few ticks of the clock. Think of a word, an adjective. Think of a descriptive, calm word.

For me, that word is deep.

I only have a moment to steal for myself, so this word is a good one. 

Deep breaths in and out.

Deep thoughts.

Deep... in cool cotton sheets of my bed. That's where I want to be. 

The last few weeks have created an intense pressure inside of my brain. Rarely do I have a single  moment of peace. Days are seemingly endless chains of child care, toddler tantrums, snack prep, meal service, and mess clean-up, intermingled with fast email responses via my phone or sneaky segments of time at the computer while the little one watches "Melmo" (Elmo). Work has demands and family members have demands and my phone dings with messages all day; it's not very often than I acknowledge my own demands. Sometimes I feel deeply abused. 

Even nights are interrupted by a toddler who, in the midst of his own stressful transition to daycare, often cries out in his sleep from utter exhaustion. I am Mom, therefore I snap awake to his sounds. More often than not, he settles himself within seconds. Sometimes he needs a simple pat-on-the-back of reassurance that Mommy is still at home. The house is quickly silent again but, alas, my brain was switched on by his cry and cannot resettle. I am always deeply tired. 

I can picture myself deep in the comfort of my bed. Deep in the darkness of the night. Hopefully, deep within a colorful - yet restful - dream. Maybe one where I am deeply happy and deeply pampered. 

Work beckons and so do the kids, but I will remember this simple task. Taking a moment, even if it is simply 60 seconds, to just... stop. And breathe. And think. It can really help to surpass hurdles or break out of a rut. It can give me a little boost to keep on going. 

Sometimes life tries to run away with us. I have to get better at telling it no. 

Even if it's just for a minute.

What's your word today? 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First day of Kindergarten - in 1983 #childhood

In honor of back-to-school time, I'm reviving this past memoir. My 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.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A favorite roadtrip pit stop! Chaney's Dairy Barn #Kentucky

Just under one hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee (and not too far off the interstate) sits Chaney's Dairy Barn, a perfect example of happy farm life and delicious food. We discovered this rural gem a few years ago on our vacation to Mammoth Cave and the Dreamworks Experience at the Gaylord Opryland Resort when we desired a cold sweet treat in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We made sure to stop again a few weeks ago as we rolled down the road towards Holiday World.

Chaney's Dairy Barn - Kentucky

Chaney's big red barn is perfectly contrasted against the expansive fields of grass and corn. They serve sandwiches, salads, wraps, and burgers along with fresh, smooth, and delicious homemade ice cream. And when the kiddos finish their ice cream goodies? They can run outside to run in a field and get some giggles out on the playground which features a very unique slide and a climb-on "tractor" structure.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Separation anxiety in toddlers + tips for daycare

My little guy has been away from me for perhaps six total days in his entire 18-month life. Most of those were when he was quite young so he didn't really notice; he just needed milk and some interaction.

Now, at 18 months old, my toddler has a pretty forceful case of separation anxiety. His face crumples when I walk towards a door and he rushes to cling to my arm, leg, foot... whatever he can reach first. His round adorable face turns red and he wails as I pry him away, plant a quick kiss, and tell him I will return shortly. His separation anxiety surfaces even when he is in his own home with Daddy or grandparents. He just wants Mommy - right here, right now, ALL the time.

Day one of daycare was difficult. Day two of daycare (because it was more than one week later) was even worse. Despite having "free time" to work on all of my business and home to-dos that day, I worried and cried about my baby hanging out with near-strangers, in a strange place, without me.  It took all of my might not to pick him up five hours early! He had a difficult day with a lot of tears. He was safe and had moments of fun, but he definitely did not love it.

Numerous experts tell us how to manage separation anxiety in toddlers and how to make the transition to daycare less stressful on everyone. These are some of the most commonly-repeated tips:
  • TRUST the caregiver and interact happily and in a relaxed way, so your child can sense your comfort level and understand he is safe

Friday, July 31, 2015

King of the road in the Ford Expedition!

We just returned from a weekend road trip to southern Indiana's beloved theme park, Holiday World. It was insanely hot and rather crowded, but we were able to tackle some fast coasters and laughter-inducing rides. And thanks to Ford Southeast, we were able to travel in comfort befitting royalty via a fully loaded platinum-series Ford Expedition!

The Ford Expedition is not for wimps. This is one powerful and large vehicle! It fit child safety seats, kids, parents, and luggage with ease. Talk about a comfortable travel vehicle... we had absolutely no bumping of elbows! My husband and I even cooled our buns - with cooled seats! Given it was an extremely hot July week in the south, we were fascinated by the cooling feature (can be heated as well). Despite the Expedition's size and truck-like look/feel, the Ford Expedition has a smooth ride and it is not difficult to drive - even for me at just 5' 4" tall. Anyone who ventures out in this vehicle will feel like the king of the road. 

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