Monday, March 10, 2014

Mini Vacay.

"Let's go to the beach," he said.

You don't have to beg these girls.

We played on the beach.

I read my book.

Ryan napped.

The girls enjoyed swinging in the hammock.

We dared each other to stick our feet in the water.  Ryan would not do it.  I could barely get my big toe in.  Big squealed as she tried to put her whole foot in the water.   Bug did it like a champ.  She said, "It's not even that bad."  For the record, it was that bad.  It was like Titanic cold.

We had Ruddy Duck for dinner (best jambalaya you've ever tasted and their Caribbean slaw is to die for).  First beach dinner of the season.  The fish tacos were just as I remembered.  Fabulous.  I didn't expect any less.

My morning coffee was amazing.  Coffee at the beach is always so good.

Lunch was big.  Lunch was greasy.  Lunch was super yum.

Loading the truck up to come home was no fun.  We all wanted to stay.  We realized we could stay at the beach forever and we would be fine.  Because the beach... it makes everything better.

We are already planning what we want to do on our next trip down.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jeans that are too small.

Bug is still our little fashionista.

She definitely knows what she wants to wear.

Since I can remember, she has picked out her own clothes to wear everyday.

For a LONG time she would NOT wear jeans.  Only leggings, dresses, foot holes (tights) and skirts.

I finally got her into a pair of jeans.  They were super skinny jeans that I told her were just jean leggings.

She will NOT wear flare or bootcut jeans.

She demands super skinnies or no jeans at all.

She has anxiety attacks if I pull something out for her to wear that she is not into.

It is so bad that I am putting my size 6/7 child, in size 5 skinny jeans because that is all she will wear.

The girl knows what she wants.

Who can fight with that?

Just wait until she starts reading Vogue.

Dear Lord, help us.

When they get older, they can spell.

Second grade.

Big is in second grade!

When did that happen?  Where did that precious 2 year old that started this blog go?

Big is a character.  She still marches to the beat of her own drum.

Everyday I find myself fighting with her like she is my sister or friend.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am the parent.

She is a child that says what is on her mind which makes for interesting conversations.

And look out!  7 & 8 year olds have drama.  Like drama with a capital D.

"She said this, she said that".  "She said she wasn't going to be my friend anymore if I didn't play with her on the playground".  "She finished her test before me so that is why I didn't answer the last question.  I just HAD to turn my paper in because she did."  Oh, the second grade drama.

They push your buttons like never before.  They are testing their boundaries.  They say things like "shit" just to see your reaction.  When you explain  (or scream and yell and lose your cool completely) that it is not an appropriate word to say, you hear them a few days later spelling it.  Spelling it.

Yes, my dear friends, they can spell at this age.  I mean, they can spell like us.  Not just basic sight words.   Girlfriend can pretty much spell whatever she wants.  Your days of spelling out a conversation to your spouse or friend are O-V-E-R.

When this all happens, you learn to communicate in other ways.  You start a conversation, add a few code head nods to cover up words.  Add a few eye blinks to cover up words.  Add a few hand movements to help the other person understand what you are saying.

You pretty much turn into a talking mime.

Head nod. Two winks. Head nob. Clap hands.  Did you get all of that?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Voice

As I typed in my login information (thank goodness Blogger and Google are linked together), I realized a lot of things have changed since I last blogged.

I am still a mom.  I am still a wife.  I am still a writer despite my blogging hiatus.

I guess it has been difficult for me to write posts because I feel like I have a new voice.  Ugh!  That sounds so cliche.

But, it is true. My girls are growing (at a rapid pace) and I am not the mom of toddlers anymore.My girls are still learning and doing crazy things.  It just feels different.

Part of me is nervous to begin writing again, only because I don't want to be a disappointment.  I feel like my readers expect one thing and I don't feel like I can meet those expectations.

I am not a mom that is struggling with toddlers.  Now, I am a mom struggling with a 5 & 8 year old.

So, set your expectations aside, here we go.  You are in for the crazy, wild adventures of Big & Bug as they grow and challenge me everyday.

As a mom (no matter what age your children are), it is a minute by minute battle to keep your sanity.  I write this blog only to remind myself in 15 years, that it was a battle at ages 5 & 7 too.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Caroline Monthly Letter: Month 80

Today you are 80 months old.

You have had a busy month.

You have landed your cartwheel a few times.  This is a huge accomplishment for you.  You have worked so hard on that cartwheel.  You are getting so great at it.  You are proud but more importantly, I am proud of you.

You are amazing, kid.

You never give up and that is pretty awesome.

Aunt Lucille passed away March 10, 2013.

Your little heart was broken.

I explained to you that God just give us Earth bodies.  They grow old and they die.  But the best is yet to come.  After our Earth bodies die, we get our Heaven body.  We get to be God's angels and that is a very happy time.

We talked a lot about you taking part in the visitation and funeral.  I let you decide if you wanted to go.  Of course you did.  I would not dare deny you that.

I think this month you have matured a little bit more.

I introduced you to "Blackbird" by the Beatles.

We rocked out to it today while you did your homework, as a matter of fact.

I am sure you will know every word in the next few days.

Have I ever mentioned your ability to remember song lyrics?

I feel like you get it from me.  I am pretty awesome at remembering lyrics too.

You have been checking out informative books from the library lately.

You love learning new information and sharing it with all of us.

A few weeks ago, you got a book on the water cycle.

You explained it all to us.  You also taught us that a cloud is water vapor and dust particles.  When they stick together, they form clouds.

You are smart, kid.  Sometimes you are too smart.

You truly thirst for knowledge.  You want to know answers and not the BS answers that most parents can get by with.  You want the REAL answer.  How do babies come out?  You want the real answer.  What are clouds?  You want the real answer.  How old would your great, great, great grandfather be?  You want the real answer.

You LOVE Judy Moody and The Not Bummer Summer.

You have been watching it on Netflix over and over again.

Judy gets a mood ring in the movie and you have wanted a mood ring ever since.

You got one the other day and to date, it is the best thing thing anyone has ever bought for you.

It has only turned dark blue and green.  You say you can't wait for it to turn orange.  That means you are crabby.  Ha!

You at constantly looking at it and examining it closely for any color change.

You think it is great and we love that you love it so much.

Today you are 80 months old.

These past 80 months have been an adventure.  You have taken us on an amazing adventure that we wouldn't trade for anything in this world.  I can't see where else you take us!

I love you!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend update.

After the nasty Heman-woman-haters virus and the death of a family member, we were ready for a relaxing weekend.

Friday night I went to an event with my mom.  It was fun to get dressed up, eat yummy food and drink a few glasses of wine.  I was also able to see a dear friend and that is always fun!

This photo is verification that I am an actual person.  I know that you rarely see me in photographs.  This is mainly because I hate pictures of myself.  This photo is also verification that I can't hold my shoulders back to save my life, my fingernails need painting, and I need to shave my head and just start all over again.

Saturday morning we headed to Hampstead, NC for the day.  Ryan's mom went with us.  We went down to eat breakfast with the Easter Bunny.  It was a fundraiser for my niece's school.  Cool fundraiser, huh?  I thought it was a great idea!

It just so happened that when we got there, the Easter Bunny had a flower in her hair.  Therefore, we actually ate pancakes with the Easter Bunny's sister.

The girls actually took there picture with the Easter Bunny's sister without shedding one tear.  They are growing up, people.  Can you believe it?

They had games, face painting and awesome crafts outside.  We went out and soon the Easter Bunny's sister followed.

Of course the girls stared at the Bunny playing a game.  Suddenly Caroline noticed something.

She noticed that the Bunny was in fact an imposture.  She did a small gasp and quickly turned around to inform us that she saw inside the Bunny's head when the Bunny bent down.

"I saw it!  I saw the hair!  It looked like Mrs. Arthur!"  (Mrs. Arthur is her teacher.)

I don't think she ever announced that the Bunny was a fake loud enough for anyone else to hear.  She totally ruined it for Emma though.  Emma would have never noticed the detached portion of the head on the costume.  She didn't seem to mind that the Bunny was a fake though.

After the Easter Bunny fiasco 2013, we went to visit my SIL's house and sat on the beach for a little while.

The girls and I have definitely been longing for salt air in our hair.  I could have stayed out there all day.  The breeze was really cool though and the girls decided to get in the water a little.  Their dresses got a little wet so we left soon after because they were freezing.

Saturday ended with 800 hush puppies, a half pound of spicy shrimp and a glass of wine (with ice).

Later in the evening, I met this creature...


They didn't even kill him.

He is just roaming around the shop were the boys are always working.

I dreamed of spiders crawling in my ears Saturday night.

Ugh!  I still get the chills looking at that thing.

I created a poster that I need to print and send with Ryan to hang up over there.

Our great weekend ended with Preschool Sunday.  Emma sang at the church where she goes to preschool.  She is awesome and we were all so proud of her.  We had a great lunch and a relaxing rest of the day.

We are already looking forward to this weekend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013



I was plagued with the Heman-woman-haters virus for a full 12 hours Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.


It was bad.

We are all MUCH better.

We have our appetite back.

Sheets are washed.

House is Lysoled.

I may have even Lysoled the girls a few times.  Just their clothes.  Don't judge.  This virus is TERRIBLE.

Here are a few randoms for you:

- I am trying to catch up on monthly letters for my girls.  I write little bits at the time so that I can publish them on their "month birthday".  I obviously didn't write them for February.  *Insert eye roll*  Just when I tell myself I am going to get something done... I don't do it.

- I am reading a few things right now to accomplish my 28 books that I want to read this year.

- I am currently addicted to Prison Break.  So is my husband.  We watch episode after episode.  We accomplish NOTHING with our lives these days.  It is kind of sad.

- I got a new camera.  I have taken some pictures to play around.  I LOVE it!

- Caroline has a gymnastics recital coming up soon.  She is super excited about it.

- Emma has a dance recital coming up soon.  She doesn't talk about it much.  I am trying not to make a big deal out of it and freak her out.  So, when all else fails... just ignore it altogether.

- Zoey Pearl (our dog) turned two this week.  She is still am 80 pound puppy that thinks she weighs 10 pounds.  She is still a lover of ducks and chewing EVERYTHING.

- It is midnight and I must go to bed.  Until tomorrow...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spotlight: Weeping Willow Boutique (AND A GIVEAWAY TOO!)

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”

—Sophia Loren

Everyone is abuzz that our small town is finally getting a boutique.  Can you believe it?  A real life, super-chic boutique.  Living in a small town with a population around 21,000, this is pretty much our first clothing boutique. Excited does not even begin to describe how we are feeling.

In a quiet, quaint area of town nestled between the local framing shop and a lunch eatery is home to the new Weeping Willow Boutique.  Laura Blake and Cathy Goodman decided to open a lifestyle boutique together as a mother/daughter team.  Their mission is "to help women affordably achieve their dream closet with clothes they adore."  Count me in!  Who likes affordable?  Who wants to achieve their dream closet?  Who adores clothes?  Laura and her mom are super sweet and are excited about helping "customers find stylish pieces to add to their wardrobe."  They are committed to providing superb customer service so be ready for a fabulous shopping experience at their boutique.

Weeping Willow Boutique is a family business "dedicated to the details of making your shopping experience pleasurable and relaxing."  We are counting down the days until their doors open on March 16th.  It will be stocked with super cute dresses, tops, jeans, etc.  They will carry lines like DL1961, Ego Girl, Lilla P., Escapada, and Karlie.  The boutique will also carry a local line of adorable dog bow ties, Dapper Ducky.

Weeping Willow Boutique is located at 212 North Heritage Street in Kinston, NC.  It will be open Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

Please mark MARCH 16th on your calendars.  Stop by Weeping Willow and say hello.  Maybe even go home with a dress or two or three or four.  You deserve it!  If you don't want to buy anything for yourselves, my birthday is March 26th and I will be more than happy to take anything you purchase.  I am normally a size small, sometimes medium.  No worries if you don't live close by, Laura and Cathy will be doing Facebook sales!  So, you can shop at the fabulous store with us too!  Aren't you stoked?

In celebration of Weeping Willow's grand opening, they are giving away a fabulous Monogrammed Beach Hat.  You can choose between a white or natural beach hat and you have a choice of monogram.  The lucky winner will be picked Friday, March 15th!!

It is super easy to enter...

1.  Go to Weeping Willow Boutique's Facebook page and like it.

2.  Go to this link and fill out the entry form.

3.  Share the giveaway with all of your friends!!

4.  Feel free to tell Laura that I sent you ;-)

Good luck!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Decima Lucille Anderson

Today a beloved woman passed away.

A woman born on April 12, 1916... the same month and year the light switch was invented.

She has pretty much seen it all.

She was the toughest, most courageous, strong-willed woman I have ever known.

Hans Christian Andersen once wrote that "a human life is a story told by God."

God told an amazing story with this woman's life.

We are sad.  We are really sad.  We want her here with us but I find myself thinking about how full her life was.  She saw things, experienced things, and lived 96 wonderful years.  For that, I can only celebrate.

Not many of us will live to be 96.  We can only hope to stay on this Earth for that long.

It is hard explaining death to a 4 and 6 year old.  It is hard for grown-ups to wrap their minds around the concept of death.  How do you explain it to children?  Today, we have talked about our memories instead of trying to explain.  Memories will be with us forever.  Caroline and Emma will always remember feeding her fish.  They will always remember the pieces of candy she would give them.  They will always remember her kind, loving spirit.  They will always remember.

I will always remember her hands.

That sounds weird but her hands were amazing to me.

I remember sitting quietly in her house one afternoon.  I am sure Caroline was rummaging through something and Emma was probably on my lap.  We would talk and we would sit in silence.  It was never weird or awkward.  During one of those silent times, I remember looking down at her hands.

There was a blanket laying neatly on her legs keeping her small frame warm, hands gently folded on her lap, ring slightly turned in resting between her fingers, painted nails slightly chipped on the corners.

I remember staring at those hands.  I remember thinking her veins and wrinkles were like a road map to life.

To me I felt like those hands probably held answers to questions I have about life.  Honestly, those hands probably held answers to what most of us wonder about life.

Hands that sewed millions of stitches.

Hands that made hundreds of banana puddings and cakes.

Hands that killed snakes that fell out of her chimney.

Hands that loved the warmth and comfort of a dog.

Hands that helped birth babies and change many diapers.

Those hands were love, patience, trust... and almost always painted.

Her fingers were so slender that her rings would always turn all the way around.  She never seemed to notice.

I noticed.

I noticed a lot about her hands.  They were beautiful.  I hope that my hands will one day be a road map.

I will always be in awe of what her hands have seen and done in her 96 years of life.


That was her first name.

Decima is Latin for the 10th.

How ironic that the 10th would be the day that she was reunited with all of her loved ones in Heaven.

Lucille is the name everyone knows her by.

Lucille means light.

She will forever be a light in my life.  I will do my best to keep her light alive in my girls too.

We will miss her a lot but like I told Caroline and Emma, she is an angel now and that is so awesome.  I just hope God kept her beautiful hands the same when she got to Heaven.  Oh, and I am pretty sure her nails are painted in Heaven too.


"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."   Matthew 5:4

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Garlic, honey, cinnamon, vinegar...

OMG it has been a month since I blogged.

Where has time gone?

I knew I hadn't blogged in a while but OVER A MONTH?


Well, you haven't missed much.

We were all sick with fever/colds/heman woman haters funk.

Mine lasted much longer and turned into a sinus infection that I thought was going to be the death of me.

I mean, at one point, I reached an all time low.

I was in such pain that I was eating straight minced garlic.  Did you know that garlic is an antiseptic and antibiotic, because of its high sulfur content?  You are welcome.  There are a million home remedies using garlic.

I drank honey, cinnamon, lemon mixtures.

I took shots of vinegar and liquor.

I was dying and I was going down with a little buzz AND smelling like garlic, cinnamon, vinegar and whiskey.

So, I finally broke down and went to the doctor.

After being on antibiotics for a few days, my torso started itching terribly.

No rash.

Just itch.  Constant terrible itch.

I was dying again.


I am finally over it all though.

We were all good until yesterday when Emma all of a sudden decided she would blow chunks everywhere.

After vomiting for 7 straight hours, totaling 8 vomit episodes... I thought we were on the mend.  UNTIL she decided to vomit one more time after drinking too much Gatorade.


Fingers crossed she is really on the mend now.

I got a phone call this morning that Caroline was throwing up.  She spent the night with Ryan's parents.  She threw up twice and now she is napping.

Ryan has terrible body aches.  He hasn't gotten out of the bed.

My house smells like Lysol and Clorox.

I am next and I am scared out of my mind.

I have already been taking vitamin C, drinking honey/cinnamon mixtures.  Bless.  Maybe I should go ahead and take a shot of whiskey so when this virus takes me down, I do down with a buzz.

Keep me in your prayers.

PS- if you know any great home remedies to boost your immune system, please share!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fashion with Bug

So, Emma was gifted a super cute matching raincoat and umbrella set.
What can I say?  My aunt, Lesley, knows my girls all too well.
She told the girls to stop by her house because they each had a "surprise".
Emma got the cute raincoat and umbrella.
Caroline got an awesome layered peace sign necklace from American Eagle.
They were both super excited.
Caroline did not take her necklace off.  She slept in it.  Safe, I know.
Lucky for Emma, it rained the day after she got her raincoat.
She put it to good use.
Umbrella: Target
Shirt: Old Navy

The next day was sunny though.
Do you think that stopped Bug from wearing her raincoat again?
I don't think so.
She HAD to wear it.

Dress: Old Navy
Leggings: Old Navy

Big thank you to Keith, Lesley, Carey and Mary George for the gifts.  The girls LOVE them!!  You all are the best!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Those moments in life where you want to say a REALLY ugly word. This is one.

"PAY ATTENTION!" I mouthed to Caroline at tennis lessons the other night.

She had done so well.

"Wow!  Caroline is really doing great," one mom commented.

"Caroline is really good," another mom said.

Oh, stop it.

She is good.  She likes those one man sports that she only has herself to worry about.

She likes tennis therefore she is pretty good at it.

After such a great lesson, I was confused as to why she wasn't paying attention during the last part of class.

"PAY ATTENTION!  GET THE BALL!" I said a little louder this time.

As soon as it was time for ball pick up, Caroline ran to me with panic on her face.

"Caroline, go pick up the balls with everyone else."

"But MOM!"  She had a chunk of hair in her hand that was caked in gum.

Damn.  This is one of those moments in life where I wanted to say a REALLY ugly word.  Like really ugly.

What am I supposed to do?

I thought for a moment.

I did what any awesome mother would do... I tucked the gum wad/hair wad behind her ear, patted her on the butt and said, "Go back out there.  We will deal with it later."


"Caroline, I don't have time to deal with it right now.  I have had enough today.  I am over it.  I will deal with it when I get home."

She pushed on the gum to stick it to the back of her ear and ran out on the court to pick up balls.

We came home.

We tried ice.  It didn't work.

I was over it.  "Whatever, I am just going to cut it out."


"Well Caroline, I don't know what else to do."

We went to the bathroom.  I took pictures to document this event.

First gum wad... check.

How did the gum get in her hair you ask?

She says it just fell out of her mouth and landed in her hair.


What is even better is the fact that I didn't even know she had gum in her mouth.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ice, ice baby

Ice is always so pretty to photograph.

The sun came out just a bit this afternoon and I ran outside to get a few pictures.

Ice + sun= so much fun

I love this picture.

I was playing with the sun when I was taking this shot so I wasn't even paying too much attention to the tree.

I love the one little leaf in the middle hanging on for dear life.

My pillows ice over and the girls thought that was so cool.

Now, ice... please go away.  We don't like you.

Emma Monthly Letter: 52 Months

...Just laying around at Target...

1584 days.

52 months.

In your 52nd month of life, you decided your hair was finally long.

You bounced down the hall with your hand behind your back.

"Look, Daddy.  I can touch my hair now.  It is so long."

Your Daddy flashed you a quick smile and told you it was beautiful.

"Like a princess," you sang.

Yep, just like a princess, Bug.

You've had a little extra pep in your step due to the fact that your hair is finally long.

Maybe a little too much pep.

You are a clumsy child.  If someone is going to get hurt, it is going to be you.

If someone is going to wake up with a bruise on their head and not know what happened, it is you.  (That happened this morning.)

This morning the deck was iced over.  You and Big thought it was cool and ran to get your boots.

You had on Bella Ella (your horse night gown), snow boots and a coat.

Nothing on your legs.

Before I could say anything you were out the door.

Seconds after you ran out, I heard a THUD and there you were.  Laid out on the sheet of ice on the deck.

You came back in, cried for a moment and moved on.

You have always been strong.  Always been a fighter.  The sweet, sensitize child that carries her own.  The protector, giver, caretaker.

But you've always been clumsy.

Clumsy Bug with long hair now.

Love always,


PS- This is your first picture you drew of our family.  You also added a flower and a butterfly.  The butterfly even has a little dotted line trail behind it.  Precious.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Caroline: 78 Month Letter

Dear Caroline,

2371 days.

You have been on this Earth for 2371 days.  Don't worry.  I used a calendar calculator to figure that out.  I didn't count each day.

It has been a trying month for you.  After Christmas break, much to your dismay, you returned to school.

First grade.  Man, it is a tough one.  You were slammed with a penguin research project (damn you, core curriculum) and you made your first C on a test.  You showed it to your Dad first.  Actually, I think he just got your test papers out of your folder first.

He talked to you about it.  Why did you not answer these two questions?  Why did you not follow directions and write the equation?  What in the world?  You did this as an addition problem when really it was a subtraction problem!

You teared up.  Your little heart was broken.  You walked in my room as I was working on the computer.  In those short 20 or so steps you took to get to me, you had already thought up excuses for every single problem you got wrong.

I wrote down those answers but they were wrong so I erased them.  You can't see where I erased them because the teacher gave me a really good eraser.

I didn't hear her say to write the equation!  She hasn't told us all week to write the equation!  How was I supposed to know?

I added those number because I read that question wrong.

You had messed up.  You messed up and you were trying to make things right.

In your little first grade brain, you were trying to make it better.

We have moved on and you know that you can do better.  Lesson learned.  Take your time, kid. Slow down.  You don't have to be the first to finish on everything that you do.

As for your penguin project, you are doing the research at school.  You were asked to build a penguin at home and bring it in.  You got a royal penguin.

Do you know who much I love penguins?  Oh, I love them.  Because of my love for them, I think you find them extra cool too.

Most kids will bring toilet paper roll penguins, styrofoam penguins, paper penguins.  Not you, my go-big-or-go-home child.

You will show up Friday morning with this....

Drawn by Grandmom.

Cut out by Poppy.

Painted by Caroline & Mommy.  (We have to finish painting the eye and add his head feathers.  REAL feathers, I might add, per your request.)

Go big or go home.

Paper just would not do in your eyes.


It had to be made of wood.

You, my sweet child, will always keep us on our toes.

On the bright side, you will always keep us young.

(I am going to be an optimist in this situation.)

Love always,

PS- You shucked your first oyster during your 78th month of life.  Pretty cool, I think.