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Chatterbox- July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28th, 2014

When quiet kids talk we tend to look up and listen to their few but poignant words. We praise them for speaking up. But what about our little chatterboxes? The ones who talk incessantly?

I have one of those. My daughter prattles on from the moment she gets out of bed until she talks herself to sleep at night. She tells us stories she makes up in her head. She recites her favorite movies. She retells books she loves. If you have ever met me in person, you understand this is an inherited trait. My mother listens to her, shakes her head and laughs.

c's elsa pic


Sometimes I tune out the noise. I don’t realize how incredibly articulate she is. She is smart, no doubt. I worry we’re going to forget the funny things she says as a 3 1/2 year-old. I’m writing some here.  Here are some things she has said recently:

“I want to go to Chinas someday. Can we go to Chinas? Is it far away? Do we have to get on an airplane?”

“Mama, do I have preckles? I want preckles on my face. I have moles.” 

“When I get married to Sam I’m going to have a ring and he is going to look so handsome and I’m going to wear a pink dress.” 

“When I’m five I’ll be big enough to have bubblegum, right Mama?”

“When I’m the flower girl I’m going to be so beautiful in my dress and throw flowers down the aisle.” 

“Oh look. I’ve been impaled.” (That’s a line from “Frozen” for all you non-parents out there.)

“Mama, Tiki said poopy butt. We don’t say poopy butt. I said, ‘Tiki! That is not a nice word! That is a potty word!’” (Tiki is one of her imaginary friends.)

“I’m gonna find a little frog and kiss it and he will turn into a prince and I will marry that little froggy!” 

(Upon inspecting my broken foot with purple bruises. She points at one bruise.) “Mama, I don’t want a purple dot on my foot. I couldn’t do dance with a purple dot!” 

“That was not an accident! You did it on purfose!” 

(After seeing a man jogging with no shirt on.) “He is running naked!” (I explained boys and men can go without shirts.) “That is so silly! Psh! Boys!”



How I Broke My Foot- July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21st, 2014

foot breaking pic

It was warm when we got to the pool Friday. The sun was shining on the faces of my smiling, sunscreened babes. All the stuff we have to carry suddenly felt light when we walked through the gates. I saw it! They finished construction on the swim-up bar in the center of our neighborhood pool! Finally! I couldn’t wait to wade up there for a cocktail. Some other moms waved at me, drinks in hand while their kids splashed happily nearby. They had extra lifeguards patrolling both the shallow and deep ends since alcohol was now on the pool menu. Pool management had instituted the new “Baby Cabana” complete with certified babysitters in a shaded nursery by the pool for my baby. I knew I had stepped into the paradise I’d always dreamed of.

I was sipping. My 3-year-old was splashing. My baby was napping in the cabana. It was perfect. That’s when it happened.

I saw the fin first. It was bobbing and sliding between children on rafts. I thought it was another toy. It got closer before swirling at my feet as I sat perched on the underwater bar stool. I looked at one of the other moms, “Wait! Is the pool now saltwater?” She confirmed that it was. I saw another one, and one more by the deep end. “They let sharks in the pool?!” The bartender/lifeguard said, “What?! Those are only for swim team practices. You know, to make the kids swim faster. They aren’t supposed to be out!”

The whistle blew. “SHARKS!” I heard screaming. There was splashing. Kids and moms were scrambling as they desperately tried to escape the water. Cocktails flew as mothers grabbed tots. I saw a shark pop a child’s inflatable arm swimmy things. I looked for my daughter in desperation. I saw her flailing and crying just feet from me. That’s when one shark burst through the water gnashing its jaws. It’s teeth were just inches from my first born’s precious face. My motherly instinct kicked in, I grabbed the shark by its fin and jerked it backwards into the water. I scooped her up and jumped out of the pool.

What happened next, happened so fast it felt like a dream. As I comforted my little girl poolside, I saw another shark swirling. I knew from watching “Shark Week” that spinning behavior meant the shark was about to attack. It was right next to the Baby Cabana. I saw my son snoozing in the shaded cradles provided for the babies. I knew it was going to leap out of the water.

Still clutching my daughter I jumped. I scooped up my baby with my other arm and grabbed a pool float to block the beast’s mighty jaws. The toy exploded. My children cried. The shark fell back in the pool. It swirled again. I knew what that meant.

It exploded out of the water with even more force heading right for me and my precious little ones. The mother instinct went to a whole new level. It was a Molly Weasley-style protective reflex. I screamed, “NOT MY BABIES YOU BITCH!” I jumped and did a roundhouse kick through the air, smashing the side of the shark and knocking it back in the water. The impact of my fierce kick snapped the bone in my foot. I held my children tight as the shark swam away in defeat. We cried and kissed each other, grateful to be alive. The other mothers and children cheered my bravery.

broken foot

Okay, so not a bit of that is true, but it’s way better than the real story. I had to come up with something better than what really happened.

I was loading the car Friday morning to go work out. I missed the last step and my foot twisted just the right way, breaking my fifth metatarsal. Yes, I was wearing tennis shoes. I’m now  in a boot. I have leftover prescription Ibuprofen from the hospital after labor and delivery. I take that and ice it. I’ll see the orthopedic doctor later this week.

I’ve never broken a bone before. I always imagined a better story than what really happened, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. “I broke my foot in a pool side bar brawl while protecting my children from a shark attack. If you think my foot is bad, you should see the shark!”

Disclaimer: Our pool is not saltwater, has no swim up bar and no Baby Cabana. A girl can dream. The sharks are a rumor. 


8 Months- July 14, 2014

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Henry 8 months

Dear Henry,

Son, at 8-months-old you are keeping us on our toes. There’s no better way to say it. You crawl fast. You pull up on everything you’re not supposed to. You try to grab anything you can get your hands on and put it in your mouth. Henry, you are busy. You don’t stop until you fall asleep.

Here are some shots I captured of you in action (and inaction) from 7 to 8 months. Also, I’m really late with the letter this month. See, you’ve kept us busy.

Henry 7 to 8 mos.

You cannot stay clean while eating. It is all at once time consuming, adorable and hilarious. You like all the baby food we’ve given you. We’ll try some finger foods soon. I’m sure Ginger will love cleaning up that mess.

Speaking of Ginger, she is your girl! You giggle at her wagging tail, try to grab her nose and pull yourself up while clutching her fur. We stop you, even though Ginger doesn’t seem to mind. A boy and his dog, it’s a beautiful thing.

photo 2 (22)

You have four teeth and two more trying to break through. You’re our little bunny toothed boy with your big grins.

We worry about your sleeping. You don’t wake up in the night, but you cry and wail at least twice. I get up and feed you at least twice in the night as we continue to figure out what’s going on with you. We are researching baby night terrors and will likely speak to the pediatrician about this. You often end up in bed with Daddy and me. Being held seems to comfort you.

As your “stork bite” birthmark fades from the back of your neck and you are but a step away from taking your first steps, I get a little sad that your baby months are flying by so quickly. I also get frustrated sometimes when my sleep is disturbed or when I’m exhausted from keeping up with you. But, then you remind me of your nickname.

We call you “Shucks.” You look at me like, “Aw shucks, Mama!” Henry, when I see your face like that it makes every moment of exhaustion worth it.

photo 1 (21)

I love you, my sweet, sweet boy.




#StopSummerHunger with Firewurst 04-10-14

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Firewurst collage

I love hot dogs, especially in the summer. I didn’t know until Firewurst informed me,  July is National Hot Dog Month. Of course it is! It’s the month each year that Joey Chestnut becomes an American hero by eating as many hot dogs as I’d like to eat. (But, not by dipping them in water. Gross.) Firewurst does hot dogs better. They have flame-grilled sausages, burgers and dogs.

I was excited when they asked me to help promote their celebration of National Hot Dog Month with their goal of “10,000 for 10,000” Summer Hunger Campaign to benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. In July Firewurst has the goal of serving 10,000 hot dogs and donating $10,000 of its proceeds to support the nonprofit’s Stop Summer Hunger Campaign. As a mama, it makes my heart hurt to think about kids who don’t have enough to eat in the summer when they’re out of school. I wanted to help. Some awesome local bloggers joined me for some delicious dogs last night. Thanks to Erin, Jen, SarahTheresa and their lovely families for joining us.

We came in and owner Chas Morgenstern greeted us with a smile and told us the story of his business. I love to support family-owned businesses that are successful and growing. They have three locations in the Raleigh area and in my opinion, are a quick service restaurant that is getting it right. They use really good, fresh ingredients and Certified Angus Beef. They have classic favorites along with some delicious and innovative new recipes. Oh, and kids eat free on Wednesdays! I hear your midweek applause, fellow parents who don’t feel like cooking.

photo 4 (6) The Firewurst, their signature sandwich. My favorite!

Don’t like hot dogs? Vegetarian? Don’t sweat it. They offer burgers and have vegetarian options. I’m not a vegetarian, but ya’ll, the Bombay Veggie Sandwich was amazing! Sausage fan? Get the Currywurst! They make all their sauces and side in-house. My husband’s favorite was the wasabi cucumber slaw. Sweet potato fries, anyone? There is not much over $7.00 on the menu, but tastes like it costs more. Seriously. They move fast when you have kids and get them fed. It’s a great place.

photo 2 (20)

Please help them get to their goal of selling 10K hot dogs in July. They will donate $10,000 to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They are a quality non-profit organization. I have worked with them before. Let me know if you stop by this summer! Tweet a pic using hastag #stopsummerhunger Happy National Hot Dog Month!

Disclaimer: Firewurst offered me and my family a meal, but my opinions are totally free and totally honest. We have eaten at Firewurst previously, as well. 



To My Neighbor Lighting Fireworks After July 4th

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

fireworks 2 edited

To my neighbor lighting fireworks after July 4th:

Hello fellow American! I hope you had a happy Independence Day. Are you feeling rested after all your revelry this weekend? I’m not. Thanks for asking. I imagine you enjoyed sleeping in Saturday and Sunday mornings. Don’t mistake this letter for my jealousy, I want you to get the rest you need. You may need it.

First, let me say I appreciate your enthusiasm for our freedom, truly. I would never infringe on your right to blow off your own hand. I love the USA and our love for explosives. Explosives on the 4th. You see, I love a good fireworks show on the 4th of July. A quick history lesson for you, that is the day that we as a nation collectively decided we would use pyrotechnics to commemorate our founding fathers’ declaring our independence.

I understand I have young children and my celebrating has to go on early in the day. We’re part of the decorate-your-tricycle-eat-half-a-hot dog-get-home-before-naps crowd. Fireworks are out for us, but I did brace myself and my little family for some unwelcome booms on the holiday. The local community fireworks display caused a few tears Friday night, but we explained “It’s just for tonight on the 4th, sweetie!” My three-year-old understood and fell asleep after the show ended around 9:30pm. That’s the great thing about professional shows, they give us the oohs and ahhs we all need and it’s over with.

You can imagine my discontent when I heard your cracks and booms on the night of the 5th around 11:00pm. We were upstairs consoling our little one who had her hands over her ears laying in the bed, confused as to why you would frighten her with such noises in our peaceful bit of suburbia when the holiday was over.

I myself was trying to figure out what would compel you to put on your own little show a night later. Unlike our fellow Americans in western states, we don’t typically have to worry about dry weather and we’ve had lots of rain. Both professional fireworks displays in our city went on as planned under clear July 4th night skies. Praise Lady Liberty! So, the weather couldn’t have been the reason you were a day late.

Oh! I know, maybe you’re a dollar short!? Did you get your firecrackers half-priced on the 5th at the tent out in front of the grocery store? Good thinking! Between my child’s sobs I was trying to figure out if I was hearing a Roman Candle, a bottle rocket or a Flying Chinese Finger Severer. I’m sure those black cat-purple-airbomb-sparkler-whateverthehells at  60% off put on a great show for your drunk-ass friends at 1:00 am. Oh, and by 1:00am, it was July 6th. The 6th! So, it was the day after the day after Independence Day. It was over, you chump, OVER!

So, I’m sure you’re thinking, “What are you going to do about it? You’re a lame stay-at-home mommy blogger.” Yes, neighbor. I have my lame moments. I own one or more tankinis and have the theme songs to Disney Junior shows memorized. But, know this, if I ever figure out who you are, my revenge will come when you least expect it. It will come in a few years with a knock at your door bright and early one Saturday morning. My kids will wake you up to sell you something you don’t need as a fundraiser for their swim team or whatever. We will ring your bell first and loudest. I will stop you on the sidewalk on Halloween and get you to take a picture of my family. I’ll pretend to be unhappy with the outcome of the photo and have you take more of us in different poses, taking up your time and being insufferable. I’ll ask you to carry coolers at the neighborhood block party, be unhappy with their location and ask you to move them again. I will do it smiling and nice. You won’t know that it’s my revenge for your explosives. It will all be subtle and spread out over time.

Yeah, all this sounds terrible, and it is. But, I make no apology because I will remember the faces of my startled babies and my whining dog on that hot night in July. I’ll do it for all Americans who understand that fireworks on the 4th are sacred.


Your Neighbor

P.S. Your friends don’t want to see your stupid fireworks on New Year’s Eve. It’s cold. They want to go back inside. Take a hint.