Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Worst Book I Have Ever Read

Let me start out by saying I will read any book handed to me. I love all kinds of book genres...except horror/thriller. I read before bed and have learned sleep is very important so I cannot read anything scary before bedtime!! Lesson learned the hard way.

For the past eleven years I have been in the same book club. I love these girls and have read some great books that I would have never chosen. (I totally judge a book by its cover.) We have also picked some big stinkers too, but we always have a good laugh over a bad book pick. The selector always has some fantastic excuse on why they picked the book and it always is someone else's fault. This is why I love this bunch of girls. No feelings are hurt when someone dislikes a book.

Recently I have started a second book club with some close friends and neighbors. There are times I feel like I am cheating on my old book club by starting a new one, but I read so much that I can have room in my life for both. New book club has only met twice and we have read two books. The first was Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah which was a great book about friendship. I am not saying that this was a great book because it was MY book choice, but it was simply a great read.

Our second book is The Chateau by C.D. Swanson. This book is by far the worst book I have ever read. I should have clued in when the book was not even offered at the library. I had to throw away $7.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon. After reading all of the rave 5 star reviews on Amazon (over 30 of them) I was excited about reading this book. I quickly discovered I had been duped. The first paragraph switches from first person to third person back to first person narrative. Confusing. I had to put the book down after about 10 pages. It is not like me to not finish a book. So I trudged on. Finally I vocalized my opinion to Tod and started reading passages from the book to him. We both got a good laugh out of the grammatical errors and misspellings.

After finishing the worst book I have ever read I decided to go on Amazon to write a book review which I have never done before. I gave a 1 star review on this book and I wasn't nasty or insulting. I just gave the facts. The book was poorly written. My review was never published on Amazon. I was sent an email saying that my review was denied by the author. Yep, denied by the author. Now I know why there are all 5 star reviews. I have been duped!!

We will meet in January to discuss this book. I am anxious to find out how the other book clubbers felt about this book.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brady!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Brady!! I cannot believe he is already six years old. I am just so amazed at how much he has grown this year. It has been a big year for Brady with starting Kindergarten, or "big boy school" as he calls it.

Brady is always full of crazy surprises. He is the only kid I know that can tell you the entire process of making steel or take you step by step on a journey through a recycling center. His love of trucks, machines, and piles of dirt proves that he is "all boy"....but he is gives out the "I love you's" so freely that makes me melt every time I hear it. I love you, Brady! Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Goal Reached

Tomorrow I will privately celebrate my 6 month anniversary of running every day. I cannot believe that I have lasted 6 months!!

About a year ago I started running to lose weight. I just figured that it was the easiest and fastest way to exercise. (Since I despise exercising.) Then it became a chore. Then I just stopped running all together. Just wasn't into it.

After reading the article in the New York Times about a group of people that run each and every day (rain or shine) I had to do some reevaluating. Tod and I decided to challenge ourselves to run every day. I have to admit I started out with a goal to run every day for one week. That's it. One week. Then I kept pushing the goal further and further into the future. I changed it to one month, then two months, then three...you get the picture. Well I have finally reached my 6 month goal.

Since I am confessing to my hatred of exercising....I shall confess more.

I started running to lose weight and get in shape. Seems like a good weight loss plan to me. However, I was very disappointed that the pounds didn't just fly off my body. Then someone said to me that they were surprised that I was running at all. They told that I didn't seem athletic enough to be a runner. That I didn't have the right "body type" to run. Well that just fueled my fire. I dropped the desire to run for weight loss. I was running to prove this person wrong. Ha! In your face!

Well, that only lasted about a week. I wanted my runs to be a positive experience. I want to run every day to prove to myself that it can be done. I want to run for my husband so he is proud of me. I want to run for my kids and set a good and healthy example. I want to run for my friends so we can share our experiences. And, most importantly, I want to run for those who can't.

A friend recommended the book Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong to me. I am totally in love with this book and want everyone to read it. She is such an inspiration. She inspires me to inspire others. While reading this book I realized that I use my runs as my "me" time. I use it to work out my problems, schedule my day, or just dream about what I want to do with my life.

I don't' know what my next goal will be. I do know I will keep running for positive reasons. And I will continue to run every day (rain or shine).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

This picture just about sums up my Jacob's personality. AND I cannot believe he is already nine years old. Nine! Where has the time gone?

Lately I have had my fair share of eye rolling, and "Geesh, Mom!" 's from Jacob. He has such a strong sense of self and is so independent. I am having trouble letting him be...him. I do believe that I am subconsciously preventing him from growing up. I'm not ready to have such a big kid!!

Friday night we had six of his friends over for a sleep-over. They had a great time, but I did hear Jacob say a couple of times, "I wish my mom would just let us do what we want!" Well, I did have to stop them from doing flips off of the bed and flinging glow sticks at our new TV. Yes, I know.....I'm such a drag! I have to admit I did have my feelings hurt...just a little.

The next day I took Jacob on a lunch date. We went to McDonald's (his choice). He ordered a happy meal and got my drink for me. After he picked out the perfect table for us we settled down and ate our meals. What surprised me most about lunch was that Jacob actually talked to me. He hasn't wanted to really talk to me in such a long time. We talked about school, his friends, what we want to do next summer, Christmas, the beach, and GIRLS! Yep, he actually talked to his mama about girls. I was glowing.

Happy Birthday, Jacob! You brighten every day and make me so proud to be your Mom!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Yesterday evening we played baseball in our front yard - Jacob was batting, Tod pitching, I played outfield, and Brady drew the chalk lines on the street.

We had 3 baseballs and one tennis ball. Tod would pitch the 3 baseballs first then the tennis ball. Jacob could really launch the tennis ball! One baseball was eaten by our bushes and never found. Another went down the sewer drain. As the ball count dwindled so did Jacob's attention.

At one point Jacob said, "Hey Dad! Look at this!"
Tod - "There are no cartwheels in baseball!!!"
Jacob - "What about handstands?"
Tod - "I give up..."

As official outfielder I thought cartwheels and handstands would really liven up the baseball game!!

We are now in a rain delay....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Run Update

As most of you know I have set a goal for myself to run everyday. All I have to do is run one mile minimum each day. Most days I run about 2 miles with a couple of longer runs and maybe a one mile run each week. Last Thursday was my 4 month anniverary. I ran 3 miles on Thursday, 2 miles on Friday, and 2 miles on Sautrday.

Well, on Saturday afternoon I very clumsily and carlessly broke my pinky toe. Not totally sure if I broke it, but it is black and blue and sure feels like it. Sunday morning I very carefully strapped on my shoes and went for the most painful run ever. It took me 16 minutes to run one mile. Once I got home I crept into the bathroom and cried for a couple of minutes while trying to get my shoes off then sucked it up and carried on with my day. Today I waited until around lunchtime to take my daily run. I have to admit it hurts worse today. It was a slow, painful and tear-filled run today.

I have been struggling with my daily run goal. Do I stop and heal? Do I continue? Do I have to start all over? Frustrated.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tales of a Bus Rider

My kids are bus riders. It took me a long time to give in to Jacob's constant request to ride the bus. I drove him to and from school when he was in Kindergarten and half way through 1st grade. Then he finally put his foot down and I allowed him to ride the bus home from school. I still couldn't give up that morning drive.

When second grade came around Jacob told me that he really wanted to ride the bus to school. He didn't want to be a car rider anymore. This meant that he had to wake up 30 minutes earlier! This meant that I had to wake up 30 minutes earlier!!! Not sure if I was ready for this.

I have to admit having a bus rider has made my life so much easier. Not to mention the money we are saving on gas!!

Once Brady started Kindergarten a few weeks ago I had a big decision to make. Do I rev up the minivan and join the carpool line once again, or do I allow Brady to do something I would never let Jacob do....ride the bus. The first three days of school I drove both boys to school and let them ride the bus home. Brady's favorite part of his day was the bus ride. Go figure.

I have received criticism from one person saying, "I can't believe you allow your 5 year old to ride the bus! He must be terrified!" (this person obviously doesn't know Brady!) I have also received some wise words, "Riding the bus is part of growing up. Part of going to school. Part of teaching your kids to be independent."

Miss Saundra, the bus driver, has become a very important person to our family. It is so obvious that she loves her job and truly cares about all of the kids on her bus. She is so kind, caring, and extremely strict! As I put both of my boys on the bus each morning I am confident that she will get them there safely and return them to me each afternoon. We are lucky to have her!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Few Things I Saw Today...

Every once in a while I will have a day where just strange things come into my line of vision. Here are a few things that made me scratch my head today.

* There was a "lady" sitting outside Big Lots (need I go on...) hooked up to an oxygen tank and smoking a cigar. Yes, a cigar. I was a little wary to enter the store in case a small explosion blocked my emergency exit to safety.

* While driving back from Big Lots I saw a car full of elderly women in a bright green Cadillac. All of the ladies had on those gigantic black sunglasses that little old ladies wear. If that wasn't odd enough... they were listening to Eminem's Lose Yourself very loudly.

* After pulling into the driveway and walking the 30 feet to the front door I saw a small black snake, a lizard without a tail, a HUGE orb spider, my neighbors cat, and six baby frogs.

I am hoping that the rest of my day will be normal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Day!!!

I cannot believe that it is already the first day of school!!

Jacob was super excited to start 3rd grade. He was nervous because none of his buddies were in his class, but he clicked with a new kid in his class. I have to hand it to him.....he is always drawn to the "new kid". His favorite part of the day was they got an extended recess.

I have been so worried about Brady starting Kindergarten. He is my baby. We all struggled through preschool and I have constantly worried about him. We walked him into school yesterday and it was so obvious he was completely overwhelmed. Yesterday was such a long day for me. Waiting to see how he did. When the school bus stopped.........Brady had a little smile on his face that told Tod and I that he had the best day ever! Whew!

We are all ready for a great year!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letter to a Friend

Dear Tracy,

Thank you for being my friend. The funny thing about our friendship is that we are so different. We do not share the same beliefs religiously, politically, or even parentally. We come from such different backgrounds. Your roots are in the upper Midwest and mine are in the deep south. You are always of the "my cup runneth over" mindset and my cup is half full (and yes, half empty at times). You don't gossip and, well, I tend to "pass on" the unimportant chit chat of the day. You are a working Mom and I stay at home.

Tracy, thank you for being the person that you are. You never judge me when I go off on my tangents. You always come up with solid solutions to my crazy problems. I want to see the world with your compassion. I love that you pray each night with your family. I love that you are a believer in all things that are good. I love that you strive to be the best mom, wife, and friend. I am learning from you every day.

My wish is for every person to have a Tracy. You are a breath of fresh air, a secret keeper, a truth seeker, and my very best friend.

I love you and hope that I can be half the friend that you are.

Your forever friend,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


About six weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about a growing trend in streaking. No, not the "running naked through campus" streaking, but a goal oriented type of streaking. This group was from the United States Running Streak Association ( www.runeveryday.com ) and their goal is very basic.... run every day. Yep that is it. Run every day.

It does sound pretty simple. Running is very simple. All you need is a good pair of shoes. Well, I decided to take this on as a personal challenge. Yep..I'm running every day. I used to run about 3 days a week for about 2.5 - 3 miles. The USRSA requires you to run at least one mile each day. About every 3 days I only run one mile, but most other days I run 2-2.5 miles.

I started running on May 23, 2011. I have a couple of routes in my neighborhood that I take. I've gone to the Y to run on rainy days. I even ran every day on vacation. I ran when I didn't feel like running. I ran through a terrible hangover. I ran in 95 degree heat. I ran and ran and ran.

Today marked my 1st goal of running every day for an entire month. Today I woke up with a double ear infection, a sinus infection, a respiratory infection, and an incredible headache. Today I had to run. I had to meet my goal. I woke up at 615am and slowly put on my running gear. I carefully stepped outside with the sun coming up and barely made it to the end of the driveway with my head spinning and throbbing. I had to pace back and forth for a few minutes to muster up the strength to run one mile. I kept telling myself, "Once this is over you will feel so much better! Once this is over you will feel so much better!" Once it was over I felt like I was going to die. I crawled up the steps then laid myself out on the living room floor. I stayed very still. Tod came in and nudged me to see if I was still alive. Barely. But....I did it. I ran every day for an entire month. It may not seem like much, but for a non-runner like myself this is quite an accomplishment.

Ask me what I will be doing tomorrow at 615am. Running.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hooray! Hooray!

I remember my Mom reading the Berenstain Bears books to me as a little girl. My absolute favorite book has always been The Bears' Vacation by Jan and Stan Berenstain. It is a story about the Bear family going on their summer vacation and Papa Bear is showing Small Bear how to stay safe while on their trip. Whenever my family took a trip as we pulled out of the driveway someone from the front seat always quoted the very first lines of the book...

Hooray! Hooray!

We are on our way!

Our summer vacation

starts today!

I know this may seem like a silly memory, but it has always created that excitement of a family vacation. It always felt like we were starting off on the right foot. Usually my sister and I would roll our eyes as Mom and Dad would quote the book, but deep down we were reciting it ourselves.

Well, I am totally outing myself here...

After we had kids....I now quote The Bears' Vacation book as we pull out of the driveway. And yes, there are three sets of eyes rolling! It doesn't bother me at all. I know that the spirit of a fun family vacation is in front of us. I know that we may have a long car ride, but that is all part of the adventure.

We are headed to my parents tonight in North Carolina to cut off some of the travel time tomorrow. Then on Friday we head to the Bluegrass State!!

We will have a big O'Donnell Family wedding on Saturday and lots of family fun the rest of the week.

The boys and I will then fly to Louisiana to see my Grandmother. She is 90 years old and cannot wait for us to get there. I am sure I will gain 10 pounds in crawfish while there! Yum!

I almost cannot contain my excitement that we are starting off our summer with two fun family vacations. I might as well start now.....

Hooray! Hooray!

We are on our way!

Our Summer vacation

starts today!!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two Weekends A World Apart

The past two weekends I have been out of town with both sides of my family. The first weekend we went to the Smokey Mountains with Tod's family. All of the O'Donnell's in one cabin is always an adventure worth telling. The second weekend my Mom, sister and I spent in New York City. This is our 2nd annual trip to NYC and such a wonderful experience.

The first weekend was spent in a gorgeous cabin overlooking the Great Smokey Mountains. Twenty-five O'Donnells (including 3 friends) spent an obnoxiously fun weekend all in one cabin! Yep..all of us together. We had plenty of room and it truly didn't ever seem crowded. (well, except at meal time!!) The first day we went down into Gatlinburg, TN and walked the strip. All we bought was some saltwater taffy for the boys. We watched a fisherman catch several fish in the creek, saw lots of baby ducks, drank frozen daiquiri's while waiting for the rain to stop, played mini-golf, and rode go-karts. Loads of fun.

The next day was all about hiking. We hiked to the top of Laurel Falls. This is the only time I had may camera on me. Here are the boys at the start of the hike.

Posing for me.

A great reward...playing in the waterfall!

My second weekend was a girls trip to New York City. We started doing a "girls" trip last year and I hope this continues because we have so much fun together.

The first night we went to the New York City Ballet. Yes, I have been cultured! My sister-in-law, Jane's sister-in-law's sister (it's complicated..I know!) is a principal dancer in the NYC Ballet and we were able to see one of her performances. To be honest I wasn't looking forward to the ballet, but looking forward to some time with Jane and my family. We had a very quick bite to eat then off to Lincoln Center. I was so wrong about ballets. It was so modern and amazing. It was funny and sexy. It was such an incredible experience.

After the ballet Jane got us backstage to see Maria and congratulate her on such an amazing performance. She was beautifully strong, quirky, and graceful. I was in awe of her sculptured body and muscular legs. After watching her effortless performance I was surprised to see her sweaty, out of breath, and still strikingly beautiful. Being a ballerina is not all tutus and tiaras. It is very hard work! Afterwords we headed to Rosa's for freshly made guacamole, salsa, and a pitcher of sangria. Yum!

The next day it rained and rained and rained so we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A special exhibit of Alexander McQueen gowns was on display. We had to wait in line for an hour to see these dresses. It was such an avant garde experience. I'm more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, but somewhere inside I still appreciate someone who can create such strange beauty.

That evening we had reservations at the River Cafe. Here's my sister Ellen and I in front of the restaurant.

The River Cafe is a fancy schmancy restaurant in Brooklyn under the bridge. We were able to watch the sun go down over the city. Priceless.

My sister and my Mom.

Our dinner lasted about 3 hours. We all sat with a view of the city. The view changed constantly as the sun went down and the lights came on over the city.

Our last day in NYC we mastered the Subway system and headed to Battery Park then on to Ellis Island. This was something Mom really wanted us to see. Our trip over was beautiful. Here is a view of the city behind us as we head to the Statue of Liberty.

I took so many pictures of the Statue of Liberty. She was breathtaking.

Ellen and I on Miss Liberty.

Ellis Island was an interesting experience. I only have one branch of my family tree that immigrated during that time. The other branches were already here...came over prior to the American Revolution. I learned that my great-great-grandmother and her family came through Ellis Island. We learned about the conditions these immigrants left in their home countries and about their hopes and dreams that were awaiting them in America. My great-great-grandmother traveled with a dozen silver spoons sewn into the hem of her dress. She wore that dress for weeks. Her treasure was safe. Her spoons made it to America and my Grandmother and Mother still have these spoons.

On our way back we stumbled on the Public Library of New York. If our library looked like this, I would be there every day!

The beautiful lion that is proudly protecting the books in the library.

The past two weekends have been so much fun. I have enjoyed the obnoxious fun of the mountains and the elegant fun of the city. I loved watching the people and the ever changing scenery both places offered. I am so blessed to have this family and love them dearly.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Baby, A Princess, And A Wedding

Growing up I always heard how I NEVER slept as a baby. My Mom and Grandmother reminded me of this when both of my boys were born. I know they secretly giggled behind my back knowing paybacks were being carried out.

My Mom would also tell me (jokingly) that she was probably the only American watching Princess Anne get married because she was up with me. On November 14, 1973, I was six weeks old, and at 4am my Mom was up with me watching a very rare royal wedding - live. Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, a commoner, and the two of us sat in our living room in Albany, Georgia watching.

Today another royal wedding took place. I don't have a baby to sit with me and watch. My boys (husband included) could care less about weddings, royals, or ceremony. I wasn't sure if I was even going to watch myself. Then, late last night I decided to DVR the wedding. After getting Jacob off to school I sat and watched. I watched with amazement. The amount of people lining the streets. The hats. Oh, the hats. The ever so beautiful Prince Harry. (He's my favorite!) I was totally sucked in to this modern day fairy tale wedding.

I was so glad I recorded this event. Eventhough I didn't watch it "live" I feel like I was still part of something. I don't remember the wedding of Princess Anne, but I know my Mom will always remember her tired self watching. I think that is why I felt like I needed to watch. It isn't the fascination of becoming a royal or a princess. It is knowing that my Mom's sacrifice of sleep allowed her to be part of a royal wedding. I just wanted to be part of this one too.

Monday, April 25, 2011


This is by far my most favorite picture of the boys. It speaks volumes on their personalities.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Soldiers Smile

Today we flew home from our Spring Break trip to Florida. We had a wonderful time basking in the sun and visiting with the O'Donnells. We were sad to leave but ready to go home.

On our flight from Tampa to Charlotte Tod sat next to a soldier. Jacob didn't notice him sit down until mid flight when Tod pointed him out. The soldier was sleeping. Jacob decided to draw him a picture. It only took about 5 minutes for him to draw a little picture. He drew a soldier standing in a field of flowers and trees and he drew mountains in the background. The soldier was still sleeping so we waited. After we landed and the aisles filled up I asked Jacob if he wanted to give him the picture he drew. He shook his head and said that he wanted me to do it.

I handed the soldier the little picture and said, "My son drew you a picture." The very stoic solider had the most beautiful smile and said to Jacob, "Thank you, Buddy! It's beautiful!" He looked at the picture for a few seconds then tucked it neatly in his chest pocket.

Jacob was so proud that he took the picture with him. This is a moment that I will never forget.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Florida Bound

I still love Spring Break! Just the thoughts of spring break bring back such fun memories. Tomorrow we will head to Florida!!! Tod's parents are waiting for us to invade their beautiful Florida home! We are looking forward to no alarm clocks, no work, no school, and lots of fun!! Ahhh....Spring Break!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can I Have A Do Over?

I knew today was going to be a long day. Heck, It's been a long week! Whenever we have these 100% chance of rain days I start off a little gloomy. I think someone needs to check in on my at least every hour to make sure I keep my head out of the oven! We get that little taste of spring then **SLAP** it's winter again. (sigh) This morning I almost forgot to pack Jacob's lunch, didn't have any clean socks, dropped Brady's backpack in a puddle while running into the school in a downpour, and spent 2.5 hours at the dentist. I would like a do over. I had to have a cavity filled this morning. My appointment was at 930am. This is only my 3rd cavity so I'm still a little squeemish when it comes to the giant silver needle-gun-thingy that is supposed to deaden your mouth. After they "shot" me I waited for about 5 minutes for them to start drilling. As soon as the drill hit my tooth pain shot through my mouth. The dentist was completely suprised. She jumped with me and apologized over and over again. They loaded me up with another shot of novocaine...waited....drilled...OUCH! They gave me 10 shots of novocaine. Ten! I could still feel them drilling. It REALLY HURT!! My eyes were tearing up because it was so painful. They put a temporary filling in and I go back in a couple of weeks for round 2 of the tourturous drilling. They told me that some people just do not react to novocaine. Great. Why can't I win the lottery instead being in that minute percentage of people who are immune to novocaine?? It is 345 and I just ate lunch. My face...yep..my entire face has been numb for over 4 hours. I feel like I was punched in the face. I think I would have rather been!
So, I'm calling for a do over. Not that I want to replay my day. I'm just ready for tomorrow to begin. I think I will sit, read, then go buy a Powerball ticket!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Computer Help

On Sunday our computer was acting up. We have two different log on profiles with Windows - one for Tod and I and another for Jacob and Brady. Well we couldn't log on to our profile. It kept saying 'log on failed'. We were able to get into the boys profile and google this problem. I printed out the steps to take and started to clear up our computer issues. An hour later.... I haven't gotten any further on my quest to log on to my profile. I packed up my computer and headed to Best Buy to have Geek Squad help me out. Once I explained to them what was happening they knew exactly what to do. It took about 20 minutes for them to work their magic and clean up my computer. After typing in my password the technician turned the computer toward himself and his Geek Co-worker. I could tell they were trying not to laugh. I said, "What?" The Geek said, "This is the funniest screen saver I've ever seen!" Here's my screen saver... I started laughing too. I wouldn't let them make a copy of the picture. Just couldn't do that to Tod. I do giggle every time I've turned on my computer though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lunch With Friends

Well, I know you all have been on pins and needles awaiting the results of my MOMS Club lunch! I went! AND had a wonderful time!

I had forgotten how fantastic these women are. Everything just clicked and we all totally enjoyed each others company. We ate, talked, and laughed for over an hour. It was just a perfect lunch.

My dearest friend Tracy who joined the work force a couple of years ago even worked from home today so she could join us for lunch. Here is a picture of our smiling faces!!

The bully mom was there and we did a great job ignoring each other without awkardness. I have to admit that I was nervous about seeing her for the first time in two years and almost didn't go. I gave myself a pep talk and put on my big girl pants and had a great time. So happy.

Friday, March 18, 2011


On Wednesday Brady had his first of four cavities filled. Yep, four cavities. Just when you think you are doing pretty good...you get a little slap in the face. I had been teaching Brady about brushing is own teeth and totally failed. Now after he brushes...I go back and brush again. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to have a back up!

This dentist office has a separate play room for kids. Brady didn't mind the long wait. He was able to create a Lego garbage factory. He's very proud!

They asked me if I wanted Brady to have "laughing gas". Sure! Why not! They explained to him all about the little "nose" that he would have to wear and asked him if he wanted to smell cotton candy or bubble gum. Cotton candy won! Here he is waiting for his dose of cotton candy.

All he could say was, "Mmmm...smells so good!" And kept honking the nose saying, "Hey I'm a clown!"

He was so dopey. He had this constant smile under the laughing gas nose!

As you can tell he was quite relaxed during the filling. Crossed legs...love it.

When it was over they put this little tube of cotton in his mouth so he didn't bite his cheek. It looks like he is having a cigarette!

Brady was a champ through the filling process. He loved that they were using "mighty machines" to work on a hole in his tooth. This kid loves any kind of machine! Now we just have to go back three more times...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


After the panic set in from quitting my job to be a stay at home Mom, a neighbor introduced me to our local MOMS Club. I instantly fell in love with this group of women. They are fun, funny, and we were all in the same boat. This club showed me this unknown subculture of free things to do for stay at home Moms between 9am-5pm. Amazing!

One thing I loved about this group was each child was in a playgroup with kids their own age. Jacob's playgroup only had four kids in it. After the kids went to Kindergarten the other 3 moms moved away so we disbanded.

Brady's playgroup was completely different. It was HUGE. There were about 13 kids in it. Whenever we got together it was chaos...in a good way. We met each week at someones house and once a month at the park. I so loved this group. After one marathon playdate at my house I found Brady's sheets in his closet and chalk hand prints up the stairwell. You know the kids had a good time!

Well, now that Brady is in preschool I dropped out of MOMS Club. I felt like he didn't need it anymore. I didn't realize that I still needed it! I miss them so much.

I rarely see them. Occasionally I will bump into them at Target or the grocery store. I keep up with them through their blogs and on facebook, but it is just not the same. I miss the weekly playgroups and watching the kids play and chatting with my friends. I truly miss it.

Here is my delimma.

About two years ago both of my boys were bullied. Bullied at one of these treasured playgroups. I confronted the mother of the two boys that were harassing my boys. She said that she thought the whole thing was "kind of funny!" I was shocked that this person (who I thought was a very good friend) thought that it was "funny" that her kids were kicking, hitting, and slamming doors on my kids. Funny? I know that my kids do things that I wish that they wouldn't, but I try and make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable and we leave. Simple as that. On this occasion this mother didn't remove her kids and they kept bulling mine....so WE had to leave. As she rewarded her boys with a Chick-fil-a lunch, mine went home with bruises and tears.

Kids forgive and forget so quickly. I tried. I truly tried. I told myself that this shouldn't ruin a friendship. After a couple of months I realized that the other person didn't feel the same way. The friendship was over. She even told me to "F#@* off at a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. All I could say was, "Really? Here? At Chuck E. Cheese?" I've never been told to F#@* off before. This was totally new territory for me. How do you react to something like that?

Fast forward to today. I was so excited to see a message in my facebook inbox about a get together for all of the Moms in our playgroup! All of the kids are in preschool so it will be just us Moms! They are planning on meeting for lunch and I was literally jumping for joy!! My giddiness faded...quickly. The bully Mom RSVP'd that she will be attending. I almost cried. What do I do? Do I go and ignore her? Do I not go and avoid her evilness? Is it time for me to put on my big girl pants and go? My greatest fear is that she will cause a scene. The last thing I want to do is to be in a restaurant in front of all of the Moms that I adore and have her embarrass me....again. (sigh)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Level of Happiness

I was listening to the radio the other day and a happiness "expert" was talking about when people are the happiest in their lives. Well, first thing I thought was, "This is going to be interesting!"

"Happiness has many different levels throughout our life," the expert said. Yep. Agreed. I totally understand that being a child with no cares or worries would be off-the-charts happy. When you are first in love...again at the peak of happiness. I almost turned off the radio at this point. Seems like I understand this one. Then he said, "Parents of preschoolers are the least happy of all as a couple." What? Really? Well, that's me! That's us! I turned up the volume.

At first I had my defenses up. I'm happy. Who does this guy think he is? Humpf.

He continued, "Parents of preschoolers are at the lowest point of happiness as a couple because this is the time a child's life is the happiest. Parents are trying to provide this utopia for their kids. Sheltering them from the truths of the big bad world. Parents feel the pressure and strain of raising a child to be ready for school, ready to socialize, and prepare them for life after childhood."

Well, this kind of makes sense. When I got home Tod and I actually talked about what I heard on the radio. And we both agreed that some of what he said was true, but some was not the case in our family. We feel like the frustration of raising children (i.e. potty training, sleeping issues, sharing, table manners) makes our happiness level very low, however the strength in the love that we feel for our children overshadows this unhappiness.

I cannot imagine my life without these two boys. Now that would be a life of unhappiness!

Friday, March 4, 2011


This morning Brady and I headed to Elementary school. It was his turn to register for Kindergarten. Kindergarten!?!?!?!? I am in total disbelief. AND not ready for him to be big enough to be a Kindergartner!

We were equipped with his birth certificate, proof of residency, proof of immunizations, and our check for the $25.00 registration fee. (It was only $12.00 to register Jacob...) After filling out several forms a very friendly Kindergarten teacher escorted Brady to the library to ask him some very important questions. You know, ABC's, counting and where his nose is...important stuff!

I waited in the school lobby watching all of the other parents and their shy/eager five year olds. You could tell the first timers from the ones who have been through this before. I sat on a bench and chatted with a very nice woman next to me. Her son was also in the "interrogation" room. As we talked we realized that both of our older kids were in the same class. It was so nice to talk to some one who is going through the exact same thing as me. Her son came out smiling and they went on their merry way.

About five minutes later Brady appeared. The teacher went over all of Brady's answers. He was able to identify all of his letters except the lowercase "g". He knew his numbers and was able to skip and hop. He knew all of his body parts except chest. Guess we missed that one! He was glad it was all over. So was I. I had forgotten how involved the registration process is.

On the way home I was a little sad to think that my baby is going to Kindergarten. I didn't think I would be this emotional about it. We stepped in the door and Brady said, "Can you play with me for a little while?" Yes! I have to jump on ever opportunity to play, hug, kiss, or just stare at him for a little longer BEFORE he officially turns into a Kindergartner.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My First Travel Job

It seems like ages ago that I sat down in a cubicle and strapped on the headset and started my day with a friendly, "Thank you for Calling American Express. How may I help you?" I have always worked in the travel industry and I loved it.

I did realize that I wasn't cut out to book leisure travel. I worried about everyone on their personal vacations. I just wanted them to have a wonderful experience. Once, while working for Nouveau Travel in Lexington, KY, I booked a couple on a 14 day trip to Dublin, London, Zurich, and Rome. They only wanted to stay in one place for about 3-4 nights. It was my first International trip. Once the planning and preparations were complete all they had to do was board the plane.

The day they arrived in London I got a call. "My luggage is lost!!" Oh no! Of course this is not my fault and there is truly nothing I can do about it being so far away. BUT I tried. I contacted the airline and arranged for their luggage to be sent to their hotel as soon as it arrives. The traveler was content. The next day when I arrived to work there was a voicemail for me. "We still haven't' received our luggage! YOU have to get it to us ASAP!" Oh no! Well, I spent the entire two weeks of their European vacation tracking down their luggage. And the luggage was one step behind them the entire two weeks.

I was fed all kinds of excuses why their luggage wasn't arriving on time from each airline and unfortunately I had to relay this information back to the client. Each call was a screamer.

The day after they returned from their trip they stormed into the travel office. They yelled at me until they were horse. Being sensitive I almost burst into tears right there on the sales floor. Luckily my boss was a very strong independent woman who took charge of the situation. She told them that this is an issue with the airline and not with the person who booked their travel. They were not satisfied. They handed us a bill. Yep, a bill for all of the clothes that they purchased while on vacation. A bill for two thousand dollars worth of clothing. I don't think I could wear two thousand dollars worth of clothes in two weeks!! My manager told me not to worry about it and threw away the bill right in front of the client and told them that they can no longer do business with us.

Nothing ever came of that clothing bill. Thankfully! But this taught me a valuable lesson in being a customer. I also realized that I was not meant to be a leisure travel agent! My skin just isn't tough enough!

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Big Day

Today is a big day for Brady! His preschool class is going to Kindergarten today!! He is so excited and said to me this morning that he is now a big kid going to Kindergarten.

His class will ride a school bus from their school to the elementary school this morning and become part of a Kindergarten class. They will have circle time, recess and even lunch with them. I'm not sure if Brady realizes that this is just for one day.

It has been a struggle this year to get Brady to go to school each day. He gets frustrated so easily and gives up. I feel like we are finally making progress with him and he is truly "getting" it. He has been so much fun to watch lately. He gets so proud of himself with each little accomplishment and beams for the rest of the day!

This morning has been so much fun getting him ready for school. I cannot wait to pick him up to find out how much fun Kindergarten is!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Randomness on Friday

Thought today's blog post would be my random thoughts/actions/deeds on an early Friday morning.

*I had to take Jacob to school this morning because it was his turn (well, my turn really) to bring in the Friday Special Snack. Big deal for a second grader! He was loaded down with snacks and Capri Suns! I realized that I needed to get gas on the way home, and I am still in my pajamas! It was cold last night so I had on my flannel plaid PJ's. I was quite a sight at the pump.

*Speaking of the pump! Geesh! Next time I get gas I'm going to have to take out a loan!

*Brady loves to play in his sandbox. Loves it. Well, you can't have a sandbox inside..so...we have a bean box! I filled a rubbermaid container with beans and he plays in it constantly. A couple of days ago a little bean sprouted up from my ficus tree! Brady planted on of the beans! I've left it there to see if we get more beans!

*I've been thinking about going back to work full time. I have two leads and am really nervous about taking the next step. It has been so important for me to be home with the boys. Brady is going to be in Kindergarten in the Fall so I feel like now is a good time to go back to work. I just have so many unknowns. I don't want to put the boys in camps all summer. I may just have to wait until August and see what happens then.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Tod and I are strong believers that you NEVER make big decisions/plans in February!! These are very important words to live by. If we did make big decisions this month I'm sure we would be living on a tropical island somewhere selling trinkets to tourists. We are not winter/cold weather people. We made a pact that we have to wait until March 1st then reevaluate our situation and usually our big plans/decisions are thrown out the window.

This February we have been busy planning. Planning TRIPS!! And, yes, these are big plans we are making in February!

We have finalized trips to Florida, Hilton Head, New York City, another trip to Florida, and planning more trips to Myrtle Beach, Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls, and Kentucky. Yep...we are breaking all of our rules! And we may need to change our February rule.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Go West!

Tod came home from work one day last November and told me that he was going to have to spend two weeks in Seattle for work in January. At first I thought, "That is so cool! Seattle! Wow!" Then I thought, "Two weeks???!!!" He was going to come home on the weekend for the boys. We talked about it for a few days and realized with the time change that just wouldn't be practical. We got online and found a cheap ticket for me to come over the weekend. Our Super Sitters (my folks) took the boys home with them for the weekend.

It was a long 6 hour flight out to Seattle, but the views out my window were beautiful. It looks like snow, but it is a total cloud cover over Washington State.

We toured around Seattle on Friday afternoon. Had a wonderful Sushi dinner and planned our weekend. One thing about Tod and I...we are great travelers. We are always up for an adventure and never afraid to just get in the car and GO. We haven't been able to do this in quite a while. (The boys are not big on riding in the car!)

Our first adventure was up to Vancouver. Tod had never been to Canada. We woke up around 4am and headed north. The sun came up as we crossed over the boarder. A very friendly Canadian Boarder Agent checked our passports and gave us a friendly Welcome to Canada smile. We were in! Miles quickly turned into kilometers and we could never figure out how much gasoline was... dumb Americans!

Vancouver was breathtakingly beautiful!

This is the view from the Olympic Village. Just an amazing city.

We spent the morning in Canada and headed south back into Washington. At the US boarder...it was a little different getting back into the country. It took about 90 minutes. Once we reached the Boarder Patrol Agent we both felt a little nervous. She was very polite, but she meant business. She asked very good questions and I'm sure she didn't see folks from South Carolina come through that boarder every day. Here is a picture of the boarder. Lots of quotes about brotherhood and friendship between the countries on the monument. It didn't feel friendly, but I did feel safe!

That afternoon we went to Snoqualmie Falls about an hour west of Seattle. You could feel the mist from the falls across the street! I love waterfalls. Love them! This one was raging, loud, and incredibly beautiful.

Once back in Seattle, Tod took me to see his office where he has been working. This is the view from his window. He said sometimes he gets caught sitting and staring at this incredible view.

Watching the sunset over the Sound.

The next day we headed south! Oregon here we come!

The first thing we noticed about Oregon was it's beautiful trees. If you have ever seen Twilight...these are the trees you see in the movie!

I've always heard that the Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Well they were right!

At every turn the scenery was ever changing and surprisingly rugged.

A chilly Tod.

You can tell it is a little windy. All of the trees grew in the direction of the wind.

More of these beautifully mossy trees.

This was such an amazing trip.