Friday, March 30, 2012

Five on Friday: Better Mom Edition

Summer 2009

I haven't seen the girls since Saturday - can you believe it? I am missing them like crazy, but oddly enough I am so thrilled that they were able to spend a week making memories with Bina & PawPaw that I didn't want to be selfish about how much I missed them. I am so thankful that the girls have close relationships with their Grandparents, it is probably close to the top of the list of things I am thankful for these days, growing up I was always so jealous of the kids who used to talk about having sleepovers at their Grandparents houses.  (while we were going around the circle in Gym Class, which oh, btw was at our Town Hall because our Elementary School didn't have a gym)

While the girls were away I got a break from the fussing and the nagging, which was nice, but it also gave me a chance to sit back and reflect on why I fuss and nag so much, and the conclusion is that we get each other at our worsts, I am exhausted from a full day in the office, they are tired and cranky in the evenings too, and we don't get to enjoy each other as much as we should.  Well folks, I am here to say, I want that to change. I know it won't be a light switch change, I know it won't be easy, but after a week away from my beauties I am hell-bent on being a better Momma to them.  I want to be a fun Mom, but a fun Mom who teaches them manners without nagging or fussing at them.  A fun Mom who shows them kindness so they want to be kind to others, a fun Mom who doesn't communicate in a raised voice unless danger is insight.  I yell far too often and I hate it. I don't want to be a yeller. So today I thought I would share the Five Things I want to work on when it comes to being a better Momma to our girls.

Summer 2009

1) Listen when they are talking - stop multi-tasking, give them my undivided attention, ignore the iPhone, ignore the TV, or rather, put the iPhone down, shut the TV off, put down the People Magazine (but don't worry, I will still be reading it)down and give those beauties the attention they deserve. They want to tell me about their day, and I really do want to hear about it, I just need to show them how much I want to hear about it. 
Summer 2009

2) Play More - get on the floor and play with them when they are playing and I am watching TV, shut the boob tube off and get on the floor and play with the girls.  Get messy with them. Run around and play tag with them in the yard, don't just sit in the lawn chair and watch (while I do love to sit in the lawn chair and watch, the junk in my trunk needs me to get up and get moving).  Brad told me that he played with them outside last night at his Parents house, just ran around like crazy and had a blast, we need more moments like that, less fussing, more playing.

March 2009

3) Stop Wishing Time Away - it is no secret that bedtime has been a battle at our house for quite some time, Avery wanting me to lay with her, Olivia fussing because she wants one more kiss (or one more drink of water, or needs to go to the bathroom one more time) and I often times find myself wishing the night away, wishing they would just leave me alone and go to sleep because I need my free time, but I need to balance getting them to self soothe and go to sleep on their own with grasping every single minute I have with them.  I don't want to wish the time away just because the time isn't easy, I want to savor the moments I have with the girls, even if it means dealing with more fussing, I shouldn't tell them to be quiet and go to sleep like a heartless son of a gun, I should give them another kiss, tell them I love them and remind them that I can't wait to see them in the mornings but that sleep is very important for their bodies to grow big and strong.  Why don't I think like a 4 year old, why can't I communicate to them in ways that make sense to them and help me stop fussing at them and use gentle caring words.

4) Let my Hair Down - be silly, run through sprinklers more, dance with the girls, turn off the TV, turn on the music, participate in puppet shows, use crazy voices and just hoop it up with my beauties. While maintaining a certain degree of manners, let them be silly at the dinner table and be silly with them.  Sometimes I am wild and crazy (relatively speaking) and other times I am an uptight (not to be confused with an uptown) girl, I need to strike a balance so that I am a good role model, but also help them not take themselves too seriously. I love that I can laugh at myself, and actually find it to be one of my better qualities, I have no problem admitting that I did something silly (even stupid) and often like to tell stories that remind others just how silly I am.

5) Let Them Be Little - they are three and four years old, for the Love of Pete, I need to remind myself of that far more often than I do today.  They don't get it, when I ask them why they wrote on their expensive dresser with a pencil they really don't know why they did it, or if they do, they can't communicate their motives to me, and no matter how much I harp on it, I am likely not going to get the answer, they are kids, they do things that don't make sense. For crying out loud, I know a ton of adults that make decisions that I can't explain.  I want them to know that being four means playing games and getting dirty, it doesn't mean preparing for the Kindergarten test every time you get a free moment. It doesn't mean that when your sister takes your toy away, and you slug her, that you are going to be a horrible person, you are just a kid who is annoyed that your sister took your toy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012







Those are the words that come to mind when I think about the cold blooded murder of Melissa Jenkins, a school teacher from Vermont who was adored by many, her biggest fan was likely her two year old son, Ty, who, btw witnessed her beating and explained to the police what happened to her.  Ty was left alone in Melissa's car for several hours before an ex-boyfriend found him and reported Melissa missing.

And all of this was at the hands of a 30 year old couple who used to plow her driveway...they just wanted to "get a girl"...isn't that what everyone sits around thinking on a Sunday Afternoon? Insanity. I can't even begin to explain what those crazy people were thinking and the fact that they are not charged with First Degree Murder makes my blood boil - second degree murder...that is OSCAR MAYER...BOLOGNA...that is what second degree murder is.  You go out looking for a girl, you have a plan...sounds premeditated to me.

That little boy...oh it just breaks my heart into a million pieces to think about what that little man witnessed.  And his Mommy is gone.  He needed her, he still needs her, probably more now than he ever did and those two wack-jobs took her from her.  I would love to slap that lady, who btw, likely witnessed her husband rape Melissa during the beating. People scare me. And while I generally believe that things happen for a reason...

Molly and I were at the BP Gas Station a few miles from our house, and lets just say it isn't in the nicest of areas...we commented about someone busting a cap in our youknowwhat...because it is a bit ghetto, but for crying out loud, Vermont...really? Give me a break!!!

So now that I am done ranting about this, if you could...take a moment and send your prayers up for that little boy and those that loved Melissa.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Compression Stockings...WOOF.

I have been in a blogging funk.  It has taken a lot of energy to come up with Blogging Topics and let me tell you, I am well aware of how boring the posts have been lately, I should apologize, but frankly I just can't explain where the funk is coming from, so I am not in a position to apologize just yet, I do however hope to bust out of this funk rather quickly but today my funk is extra funky, due in large part to the fact that I had two teeny tiny spider veins injected today and these compression stockings I am wearing are ruining my day and they are likely going to ruin the rest of my week since I have to wear them for 5 days.  They are just awful. I was stuck with about 30 needles today and I would rather have 300 needles stuck into my legs, than wear compression stockings for a week. I have been dreading this procedure, and the needles have NOTHING to do with it, I was dreading the stockings. Woof.

I had Sclerotherapy (SKLER-o-ther-a-pee) done this morning.  It is the most common treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins. Dr. G used a needle to inject liquid chemicals into the veins. The chemical causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. This stops the flow of blood, and the vein turns into scar tissue.

I am hoping that the nice weather brings more home project motivation out in me, because I have been feeling less than crafty over the last few months.  I haven't enjoyed photographing the girls, I can't recall the last meal I prepared with a new recipe, I am just in a funk, and I loathe being in a funk. I have been on Pinterest once in the last few months - and that is JUST not like me. I love me some Pinterest, I generally love looking for motivation. I have been far more tired than normal and actually have a physical scheduled for Thursday, so I am wondering if some levels are off, like my Iron or Thyroid that are causing the exhaustion, or if I am just simply running myself ragged and need to slow my life down, I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is the later, but hopeful that it is also something that can be treated with meds or a simple dose of Iron, because that seems easier than saying no.

The girls are at Brad's Parents house for most of the week and I have a to-do list that requires multiple sheets of a legal pad to work through, I am hoping I will feel less overwhelmed and more energized if I can cross a few things off that list, get the house ready for spring and clean out some clutter, because between these stockings compressing my legs, I am feeling physically compressed with the clutter and crazy life we are living. I am guessing other Mom's have moments like this, when life is just compressing you, if anyone has any advice about how they slowed down please feel free to share.  I got this forward from a friend this morning and it hit home, perfect timing.

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in
a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front
of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty
mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full..
The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the
entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between
the sand.
The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children,
your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house
and your car..
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room
for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never
have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer
The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.


95 Years & Sigma Chi & Zac Brown

Missing a Few, but this is a good sampling of GG Ora's Great Grandchildren

We had a very busy weekend.  We celebrated Brad's Grandma's 95th Birthday with a Family Lunch at Bassett Country Club.

GG Ora and 4 of her 6 children, she was married at 13 years old - impressive isn't it?

GG Ora is a very special lady and we are so thankful that we were able to gather to celebrate her 95th year of life, we are already looking forward to the 96th celebration.

Avery & Heath competed for PawPaws attention all afternoon

The girls LOVE seeing their cousins and we hate that they don't see them more often. I lost track of the times I caught Olivia and Ellie hugging, it was adorable.

Horrible lighting - but Brad, GG Ora and Shannon

Saturday afternoon Brad and I headed North to Roanoke to join his Fraternity in their 20th Anniversary Celebration - it consisted of a lot of boys, some grown men, some college kids with far too much bling in their ears, and oddly enough college girls with far too little clothing on. If Olivia or Avery attempt to wear anything like what I saw there, I just might consider locking them in their bedrooms - those dresses - yikes, they were short and the girls left nothing to the imagination. Of course Brad and his friends were entertained, and don't get me wrong, people watching was pure comedy. I wish I would have snapped more shots of some of the outfits, but hopefully this one gives you an idea of what I was dealing with...

Olivia & Ellie
It was great to catch up with some of his friends, and while I wish more wives had made the trip, it was nice to spend a night away with Brad and I know he had a blast with all his buddies, some of which he probably hasn't seen since college.

When we walked in, I asked a few of Brad's friends where we should sit, one said "How about at the table you sponsored?" I thought he was being a smartie pants, but turns out we did sponsor a table and yes, we did sit there.

They have lost four brothers over the last few years, so that was a bit sobering. Two of the widows were there to honor their husbands memory, it was very touching. Robin (Mike's Wife) was there and Mike's Sisters were there as well, it was great to see Robin, but also a reminder that Mike should have been there celebrating with everyone else. Today marks the 3 year Anniversary of his death (I hate using the word Anniversary to describe something so sad and tragic)

Brad and I were both feeling a little old on Sunday morning and didn't end up leaving the hotel until close to 12 noon and after a quick nap once we crawled into our bed at home I quickly got dressed and met up with some of my gal pals for dinner at Croaker's Spot (soul food at its finest) and then the Zac Brown Band concert.  I had a great time with the ladies, but holy smokes I was tired.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five on Friday: Favorite Breakfast Foods

Breakfast happens to be my favorite meal, actually that might be a small fabrication of the truth, Brunch really is my all time favorite, but Breakfast is up there, I love going out for breakfast, but it rarely happens, it NEVER happens during the week and rarely do we venture out for breakfast on the weekends either, so its usually left for weekends we are traveling or something like that.

Brad and I will be having Brunch with a bunch of his Fraternity Brothers (and lord willing their wives) this weekend and it got me thinking about all the foods I love to eat in the morning. This list is going to be a mixture of what I would order if I was dining out and what I normally eat for breakfast since the dining out thing is so infrequent.

1) Eggs Benedict - I can't get enough. I absolutely loved Eggs Jefferson too, which is a slightly modified version of Eggs Benedict that is served on a biscuit instead of an English Muffin. I love all varieties of Eggs Benedict too - I love it with Ham, Canadian Bacon, Crab Cakes, Spinach & Bacon, I just love it. I think I could probably dip just about anything into Hollandaise Sauce!

2) Baked French Toast Casserole - I have made this several times and love to alter the recipe a bit. I include far more brown sugar than I should and also use brown sugar Karo syrup instead of just the normal Karo syrup you can procure at your local Piggly Wiggly (kidding, I have never shopped at one, just love to say it).  I also end up riping the bread into cubes instead of just laying it down in the baking dish as slices.  Ends up looking like bread pudding this way - love it.

3) Fresh Berries & Yogurt Parfait - I love just plain vanilla yogurt with some granola, and don't forget to throw in some fresh berries. I could eat it all day and night, it is light, but tasty. In fact I often bring it to work for breakfast, I pack the yogurt in a container, mix in the fruit and then bring the granola in a separate baggie or container so that it doesn't get soggy, soggy granola is WOOF.

4) Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel Sandwich - I love bagel sandwiches, both for breakfast and for lunch, but I am very particular about my breakfast sandwiches - I must have the eggs scrambled and the bacon (no sausage) must be super duper crispy or I get grossed out, stringy - non-crisp bacon is also WOOF. This photo is actually from McDonald's, and judge all you want, their BEC Bagel is delish. 

5) Fiber One or Special K Fruit Crisp Bar - this one is boring, I know, not sexy at all, but its reality for me most mornings, between the Fiber One Bar or the Special K Fruit Crisp bar my tummy is granted some nourishment for the day and my metabolism is off to the races, too bad these days its competing in the snail races, but at least its moving.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Can't leave ya hangin'

I know you have all been checking in every hour on the hour to see which movies I was fortunate to draft.  It was an interesting experience to say the least, you had people (read: nerds) with statistical models, spreadsheets galore, gals with post it notes, handwritten in pencil notes on lined college ruled paper, you had people with iPads and Laptops real time checking websites for trailers and reviews and then you had me...the girl who spent all of 10 minutes yesterday morning researching the Wide Releases for Q2 (there were only about 30) and my second data variable was male actor...and that set my strategy for the draft.

I walked away with:

1) Think Like a Man - I love me a black comedy - and I could watch Tyler Perry movies until the cows came home - and a double bonus is that Turtle from Entourage is in this one as well. Halla-lu-ya (said just like Madea)

2) Magic Mike - I scored this puppy for $2MM - unheard of for a Wide Release - most people are paying $2M for movies like Whore's Glory, wait, you haven't heard of Whore's Glory...yeah, exactly my point.

3) Battleship - eat your heart out Lyla Garrity, Tim Riggins is all mine

4) Safe

5) GI Joe: Retaliation - The Rock & Channing Tatum - yes please!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fantasy Movie League

Tonight marks the Q2 draft of our Fantasy Movie League - started by a group of super smart movie fanatics that I work with (read: statistical nerds).  There are a lot of rules that I won't bore you with, but the gist is, you get $250MM dollars to draft 5 movies, the top 4 movies count and the scores combine critics ratings, domestic box office totals, and audience opinions.

I am fairly certain I am going to suck at it, being that I rarely enjoy movies that win awards. I have a moral obligation to only draft movies I would actually want to see.  I am thinking about going with a drafting theme around the leading men in the movies, that I might just bid on movies that Channing Tatum is in, he has a few coming out, I happen to think he is a hunk and hope that strategy doesn't lead me astray.

I am a sucker for Romantic Comedies and Dramas and often times they show up poorly in the theaters, so I might have to stretch a bit into the Action genre to have a respectable showing.  So far this is my short list:

1) American Reunion - American Pie Reunion - Releases 4/6

2) The Five Year Engagement - Release 4/27 - I can't seem to find anything about this movie, so not sure how it will show up, but I just love the title.

3) Safe - this is an action one, but Jason Statham stars, and he is a hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin-love.

4) Battleship - another action one, but Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) stars and he makes me all hot and bothered.

5) What to Expect When You're Expecting - looks adorable - but not sure I would actually see this in the theater unless I was planning a girls night out, so that tells me it might not be the "breaking records" type of movie I will need to bring home the title.

6) Men In Black III - Will Smith is still jiggy...and being that this has the 3-D option attached to it, means it will probably do well - Beauty and The Beast re-release was a huge hit, and I am betting Titanic will also do well, but I just can't watch that boat sink again, it was depressing the 3 times I saw it in 1998.

7) Rock of Ages - Tom Cruise, I am still on the fence about letting him back into the circle of sane, but I really liked Knight & Day, so I am leaning more towards he is on his way back, but Rock of Ages just feels risky to me, not in the Risky Business sense, but just a little less safe of a role. Good cast though, so hopefully it does well.

8) G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Channing Tatum - need I say more. Oh wait, yes, I do, The Rock...I would love to smell what he is cooking. Dwayne Johnson is a fox!

9) Magic Mike - Channing Tatum stars as a male stripper - hello- Academy Awards of Hotness, add in Matthew McConaughey and you have a double threat of hotness.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perfect Party Day

What a perfect day to celebrate Sweet Lily's 3rd Birthday at a beautiful park in Hillsborough, NC, just a bit South of Durham. Jeni always puts together such great parties for her precious little girl.  Last year the girls loved the Museum and this year the park didn't disappoint. In fact, about 30 minutes into the party Olivia came up to me and said "I am having so much fun". I don't know about you, but hearing something so positive come out of my child's mouth just warms my heart.

Olivia had a little green on, to avoid being pinched of course

Avery & Olivia had a blast, they ran from the swings to the slides, to the bubbles to the chalk, Jeni did a wonderful job providing a wide range of activities for the kids and she also reminded us to bring something for the kiddos to push or ride on, and Olivia got some quality bike riding time in, Avery passed and her bike was propped on the Highlander for the entire party.

This park had a dog park, and I happen to be a huge fan of Great Dane's so when this handsome pup appeared I just had to make my way over to the dog park area and introduce myself to Arlo, I wanted to take him home with me. 

Brad & I both enjoyed one of these delectable nuggets of chocolate, caramel and snickers goodness

Avery and I went on a Bear Hunt...she loves that song, so sometimes we act it out and it gives us both a chance to act like sillies.

Monkey & Lambie couldn't miss a party...or a Bear Hunt

I had some trouble with the lighting under the shelter-thingy and didn't get a good shot of the Birthday Girl, but take my word for it, she was adorable and very color coordinated, Jeni did a great job with everything, down to matching Lily's invite design to her leggings. HA!.

This girl is growing up, can you believe in July she will be 5 Years Old?

Spring Photos 2012

The week of the girls school photos was a bit of a blur, it was almost my birthday week and Brad traveled most of the week, so I didn't sit down to give much thought to their outfits, and Olivia ended up spending the night at my Mom's the night before, so that required me to just bring a dress to school for her, and I didn't get any input from her, so my fingers were crossed that it would go over okay. 

I did however get to chat with Avery....a few times.....about which dress she wanted to wear.  I had 5 options, I ranked ordered them and started out by giving her the choice between Dress 1 and Dress 2...lets just say she wore Dress 614, and the negotiation process was painful for all involved. It could have been worse!!!

Huge bonus - both girls held the bunnies, the bunnies didn't poop on them, and they didn't freak out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five on Friday: Spring Things

I love Spring, I love that its the change from dark to light in both weather and clothing.  I am going to knock out my 5 favorite things about Spring and would love for you guys to join in the Five on Friday fun and blog about your Favorite Spring Things.

1) Peep Toes are back in the rotation...I love peep toe heels. I think they are the perfect mix of professional and fun, and they just make my feet happy.  I have a great pair of black peep toe heels that are just the right height and I can't seem to find a pair of closed toe black heels, so I love breaking out the black peep toes when the weather starts to warm up.

2) Purse colors open up - and fun colors are acceptable and almost necessary.

3) We can play outside after work - which means a lot more time to socialize with my neighbors who I miss dearly when the weather is cold and its dark outside.

4) Open Windows - I love opening the windows, it doesn't happen here for very long, because it seems as though the second you open the windows because its warm enough too, it hits 85 and you now need to close them and turn on the AC.

5) Beer - I rarely drink beer in the winter, but during the Spring and Summer I love a good beer outside with friends, whether it be at a bar (back in the day when we went to bars) or in the road in our neighborhood, or even on a friends back deck, I love a beer in the Spring time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am in Chicago for a few days for work - I haven't been away from the girls since June when I traveled to the Dallas Area for a few days for work and then attended a family wedding in Park City, Utah and I have to say, I was beyond excited to get a break. I am not ashamed to admit that I needed a break and very badly wanted to get away, even if that meant a work trip.  I wanted a night in a hotel by myself, I wanted to sleep in a bed alone, the night before I left I had a rather large dog, a 47lb four year old and a 36lb 3 year old in my bed (Brad was traveling), and lets just say, it wasn't a very restful night of sleep for this girl. I have some friends that lose sleep over the thought of being away from their children for a few hours, and probably think I am insane for wanting a break, but it is who I am, I don't know what it tells you about me, or what people infer from it, but for me, I need the time to recharge my batteries, it makes me a better Mom and I very badly want to be a great Mom.

We flew into O'Hare last night - drove about 25 miles North of the city and we are staying at a Holiday Inn Express.  It is gorgeous here, it is going to be 78 degrees here today and that will break records here in Chicago, March is usually very cold. We ran out for dinner tonight to my favorite Chicago Pizza place, Giordano's is yummy, cheesy and good!

I traded emails with Brad this morning and it sounds like Avery had a rough night. She ended up sleeping with Brad and probably only got 4 hours of sleep, I hate that for him, but I also hate it for her, the poor child needs her sleep and I can't for the life of me figure out what is preventing her from resting her pretty little head on the pillow and closing her eyes. Fingers crossed that she sleeps better tonight!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Love = Pink Whale

I am beyond thrilled - I saw this at Stony Point today when I was picking up some Chiptole for lunch and I did a little dance, I can't wait to browse the racks in person, catalog shopping is glorious, but I can imagine looking at the clothing in person is going to be 10 times better!! I can't wait.

Ladies Layne

Back of my SUV this morning

I have been cleaning out closets and rummaging through the "under bed storage" and I am thrilled to announce that 220+ items are no longer taking up valuable storage space, there are 220+ articles of clothing & accessories just waiting to be dropped off at the Ladies Layne Sale today. 

I have been gathering these items for several months now and most are a result of losing some pounds,  but there are also a ton that are just casualties of my body changing shape. I have a few pairs of brand new ($89 price tag is still attached) size 10 pants from Ann Taylor that really should fit perfectly, but they are the style that require you to wear them up around your TaTa's, and that look is NOT flattering, in fact it is downright attrocious.

I had 2 jam packed racks plus about 10 coats that didn't fit on the racks.

Please wish me luck, my hope is that 50% of these items are NOT packed back into my car on Sunday morning when the sale is over.  This is the first Ladies Layne sale, but its being put on by the same lovely ladies that run the Kids Layne business, which never disappoints. At the last Kids Layne sale I sold 42% of my items, so I am hoping Ladies Layne does just as well. I spent countless hours (actually I should have counted, but I worry that if I did, I would realize that I spent 25+ hours tagging and hanging all these items) preparing, so please, please, please wish me luck. A good portion will be donated if they don't sell, but I have a ton of nice suits that I plan to consign at a local shop if this doesn't work out.