Friday, January 28, 2011


As I type this, I am listening to Ava and one of her little friends play. It’s pretty entertaining, listening to the conversation between two five-year old girls. I love to hear them explain things to one another. For instance, the friend asked Ava where she’s going to school next year. Ava very correctly and succinctly replied, “I don’t know yet. My Mommy and Daddy have to visit schools to find the best one, and then they both have to make the same choice.”

Just when you think they don’t listen to you.

Our playdates of late also involve Ava requesting that the other child bring her American Girl doll. Good thing everyone seems to have one (or two) to bring over. I’m not completely sure, but I think the playdates involve lots of changing the dolls’ clothes, doing their hair, etc. Girl stuff, you know. It’s all very cute and sweet.

What’s not cute and sweet, however, is the scene that went down at our house last night. I really hesitated to even tell you all about this, because it really was THAT BAD. I think it was Ava’s biggest act of defiance ever. EVER.

Background: As I have told you before, bedtime for Ava is not as smooth as I’d like for it to be. There are books, hugs, kisses, prayers, a lullaby. Then she reads on her own for maybe 30-60 minutes. At that point, she calls me back in and likes for me to lie with her for five minutes. All that was going kind of well, albeit too long, until a few weeks ago. Somehow she started wanting someone to lie with her until she fell asleep. I did it for a few nights, but then decided it was time to get tough.

(At this point, I should mention that 5 out of 7 nights, she gets up in the night, comes to my room, and wants me to come back and sleep with her. Which I do. I mean, really, when it’s 3am, I sort of lose all resolve, and a bed is a bed. I’m working on this, but first trying to fix the actual GOING to bed issues.)

Monday, during the day, I prepared her. I said I would lie down for five minutes, but no more than that. She was bummed, but okay. Of course, when bedtime rolled around, she was scared to death, freaking out, putting on an Oscar-worthy performance. I did not relent, though, and she fell asleep, and stayed in her bed all night. Yay for the tough mom!

The rest of the week had its ups and downs, but I stayed strong, and figured we were on the road to success. That is, until last night.

It all started early in the day, when I picked Ava up from school. She was grumpy all afternoon, and had a HUGE meltdown/tirade, and I really thought she was going to fall asleep in front of the TV at 5pm. Davis had not napped well, and I managed to get him down for the night at 6:15. I was just sure Ava was only moments behind him. As is inclined to happen, though, her mood lifted after dinner, and she was just having a good night, playing with Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip.

The bedtime routine went well, and she read her books for a long time. I lay with her as promised, and she seemed fine when I went out of her room. That lasted about one minute. Then she was scared. I held firm, and wouldn’t go back in. She got her books and decided to read some more. But she was kind of hysterical, so her dad and I told her it was time to say good night to us and the books.

She freaked out.

Lots of screaming. Yelling. Huge tantrum.

So, I did what any loving mother would do.

I locked her in her room.

Before you judge, keep in mind that I warned her first. I said that her door could stay open as long as she wasn’t screaming. And then I decided it would be a good lesson for her if I followed through on my threat.

Within seconds, she started screaming that she needed to use the bathroom.

Now, I am not one to question a child’s bathroom needs. But that is her time-out battle cry, and we just KNEW that she didn’t have to go. After all, she had just gone at bedtime. So, we kind of snickered at one another, knowing that’s what she ALWAYS says as a way to be released from her pink and green prison.

Next we start hearing, “I REALLY HAVE TO GO!!!!! I AM GOING TO PEE PEE ON THE FLOOR!”

(more snickering between the parents)



I figured I had two choices here. I could either go in, and show my mad self, or I could be cool as a cucumber. I went with cool. I walked back there and very calmly said, “I would imagine you need to change underwear and go wipe yourself off. Please do so and get into bed.”

And she did. In retrospect, I should have also made her clean the carpet. But I don’t really trust a 5 year old with a bottle of Spot Shot.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Queen Bees…..

I’m back from Pinehurst, feeling good and refreshed, and relaxed from a weekend away from my busy home life. Actually, I would say that if I were typing that on Sunday, when I returned home, but the reality is that today is Thursday, and normal life has caught back up with me. That’s okay, though. It’s 6:30, and I’ve already got one child in bed, with another on her way.

The weekend was great. As I said the other day, it was a church retreat, but one that was not too church-ish. I don’t know about you, but I personally am turned off by in-your-face religion of any kind, which is probably why I’m a Presbyterian. We’re kind of allowed to get away with a little bit of debaucheries.

There were 211 women on the trip, women ranging in age from 25 up to 90. I had lots of friendly acquaintances going, but no truly close friends. I told the husband before I left that I was actually feeling a little nervous about the weekend. Would I find people to hang out with? Was I packing the right clothes? Would my roommate and I get along?  Luckily, I was rooming with a girl who was pretty much in the same boat as me. We both knew lots of people there, but were not really embedded in any of the cliques. And, we also already knew each other, just not super-well. We turned out to be a great match.

But here’s the thing about women: we don’t ever really grow up. We kind of go from this…….

mean girls

to (a less rich version of) this:


Okay, so maybe we’re not all the Real Housewives. But, in large numbers, we all sort of act the same way, whether we’re 16 or 46. Cliques exist, and whether we like to admit it or not, there is a social hierarchy. The difference between adult women and teenage women, at least in my observation, is that there are just more places for adult women to fit in, and to find our own cliques. No matter how much confidence I have, I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable just walking up to a table of women that I don’t really know, and  ingratiating myself into their conversation. We don’t really ever leave the high school cafeteria, do we? I don’t think I’m insecure, but I know how we can be. In fact, the speaker at the retreat really called out Southern women. She said that we’re sugary-sweet to everyone’s faces, but we think nasty thoughts as the other woman is walking away. I hate to think it’s true, but, well, it’s true.

All that being said, I had a great weekend. I forged some new friendships, enjoyed some downtime, and maybe even grew a little spiritually.

Oh, and as far as packing the right clothes? I didn’t. Not even close. I had been told it was super-casual. My outfit for Sunday included yoga pants. Everyone else was casual, too, but more like Lilly Pulitzer casual, not C9 by Champion for Target casual. Talk about feeling self-conscious. Ugh. And, of course, it was the one time in my life that I didn’t overpack. Next time I’ll know.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Hello, friends. This will be quick. I’m sorry for the lack of blog posts here lately. I spent most of last week/weekend getting ready for a giant kids’ consignment sale. I ended up taking 115 clothing items, as well as a stroller,  high chair, exersaucer, and several other items. I think that makes us officially done having kids. :-)

I’m about to head out of town for the weekend. Going to lovely Pinehurst, NC, and staying here:

Doesn’t that look lovely? I’m going on a Women’s Retreat with my church. And before you think that it’s going to be all prayers and kum-bay-yah, please know that I was advised to bring wine. I guess it helps with the whole fellowship thing.

I’m ready for a weekend away. The husband had a crazy work week, and I had 100% of the child duties all week. My oldest child is quite distraught over my departure, but I think she’ll have fun with her daddy. However, she did ask if I could take Davis with me.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mother Nature, you’re kind of bitchy….

I love the South, in part because we have relatively mild winters. Big, bulky coats aren’t really necessary, and I can go most of the season without ever donning a single hat. This year? Not so much. The day after Christmas looked like this:


It was a nice snow. Enough to play in, not enough to impair normal life for more than a couple of days. Plus, it was Christmas, so we were already in vacation-mode, and relaxing was perfect.

Not one to want to spend money on things that never get used, I didn’t invest in any snow-gear for my kids this year. Ava had some ghetto-fabulous pink bibs that I got on clearance at Sears a couple of years ago, and despite their being slightly too short, she could still wear them. Her boots from two years ago did not fit at all. And poor Davis? He had nothing. The kid doesn’t even have a pair of jeans. Just longalls and a couple of pairs of cords.

My sweet, dear husband kindly braved the elements that morning in order to find appropriate snow wear for the kids. For Ava, he came up empty-handed, save for a (very cute) pair of rain boots. Good enough. He passed up some $100 North Face bibs for Davis (but seriously, how cute would that have been?


north face

Anyway, he did find some track pants that were mostly waterproof and they worked fine. Also got some boots at Stride Rite. So, the kids played, it was fun….blah,blah,blah. That would have been enough for me for the season.


Last week, they started forecasting 7-12 inches of snow for us for this week. I didn’t want to be unprepared again, so I went to REI, got some nice snow pants for Ava, then ordered her a coat and boots on clearance from Lands End. I even paid for expedited shipping. I NEVER do that. Ever. So what do we end up getting? A day out of school and some minor icing.

Trust me. I’m good with a mostly non-event when it comes to snow. And if it took me dropping over $100 on snow gear to keep the snow away, I’m good with that. I’m just hoping that was the last of wintry weather. I’m thinking that since we’re only about 3 weeks into actual winter, though, that won’t be the case.

So, we’ve had snowy, icy weather, but then the stores are all full of spring clothes. And I LURVE spring clothes. Especially for my kids. In fact, I can’t wait to order this from Kelly’s Kids for Ava:

A romper!! I’m totally in love with it. And really, Davis probably needs the matching shortall:

Also,  Ava needs these metallic Sun San sandals:


Seriously, how cute are those?

And for me. Have you seen the new Boden catalog? I just got it today. I’ll take one of each item, please. Thanks. This looks like it could be my go-to dress for spring.

And this Tory Burch tunic? Might be the perfect way to kick off spring shopping.


(image from Tory Burch)

Can you tell that I’m ready to get away from winter?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Clearly NOT a Designer

My brain is more aflutter than usual these days with all kids of redecorating and reorganzing projects for my house. Since it appears we have decided to stay put another year or so, I want to dive into a few projects to make the house more livable and more enjoyable.

Here’s my list of dream projects:

  • Gut and completely remodel kitchen
  • Ditto on both full baths.
  • Hardwoods in den.
  • Plantation shutters on all windows.
  • Built-in bookcases in den.
  • New furniture all around.
  • Really, if we’re dreaming, let’s just opt for a brand-new, custom-built house in a fabulous neighborhood with great public schools.

And here’s the more realistic version:

  • Re-design of den using what I already have, plus new window treatments and pillows.
  • Shelves in office/playroom (that used to be dining room)
  • Clean out all closets. Organize them all.
  • New bedding.
  • Paint Ava’s room. It’s kind of a lime green, which was cute when she was 2 1/2, but drives me crazy now. Maybe get her new bedding, too.
  • Clean out bonus room to make a nice retreat for me, including a gift wrap station, and a cozy guest suite.
  • General declutter.

The declutter will be helped by a big kids’ consignment sale in a couple of weeks. I have lots to get rid of since we’re done with babies around here.

The den project is just about complete. I got new curtains yesterday and hung them last night. It’s interesting that a few years ago (or more), a fun Friday night would have consisted of going out to bars, coming home late, and feeling bad the next day. Now, a fun Friday night involves kids in bed, a glass of wine, and me with a drill, installing a drapery rod and panels. Here’s the result:



The photo is a little dark, but they are the Simone panels from Pottery Barn. I was going to buy their hardware, too, but my goodness, it’s awfully pricey for what it is. I was able to score a rod on clearance at Target for $17, and got the hooks for about $21. Better than the $150 I would have spent on those items at PB.

Then, my parents came over today, and I enlisted the help of my mom to move some furniture around.

My den is forever a challenge to  me. First, there are vaulted ceilings. Sure, high ceilings are great, but vaulted are a totally separate challenge. If you’re not carful, your furniture can be totally dwarfed. Adding to my challenge is a spiral staircase, right in the corner of the room. You can see it in this pic:


So, my mom and I moved a secretary that wasn’t working, and replaced it with that black chest. The chest needs to be repainted, and it needs new knobs, so that’s added to the to-do list, but that’s pretty easy. I think the walls also need a bit more, so I’m working on some frame collages, but I’m not sure when that will happen.One step at a time. Here’s one other angle:


That’s my weekend. Exciting stuff, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Recap and a Resolution

Happy 2011! It’s been a while, and I can only imagine how much you’ve missed me. We just got so busy with Christmas and New Year’s, and just having a good time, and my poor little blog ended up being a little neglected.

Christmas was great. Probably the best one I’ve had since having kids. At age 5, Ava really got it. The previous years have been fun, but this one was big. The anticipation was huge. The excitement was palpable. I got into it because she was so into it. On December 23, she announced that she didn’t think she’d be able to get to sleep on Christmas Eve due to being SO excited. Sleep didn’t end up being a problem, though. (An aside: being my very anxious child, she did get nervous that she might hear the reindeer’s bells when they landed on our roof and then be scared. Seriously, if that child didn’t have something to worry about, she just wouldn’t be content).

School ended with Ava’s Christmas Chapel, where Ava got to be Mary, and she sang a little solo. In front of a full sanctuary. I was proud. Really proud. That takes nerve. And my girl was beyond nervous that morning. There were tears. And lots of anxiety. But she’s Type A enough that her desire to succeed/not disappoint was more powerful than a case of stage fright, and she really pulled it off.


Of course, I had to make several inappropriate references to being Jesus’ grandmother. Hopefully, God appreciates the sense of humor He gave me.

In the spirit of the season, I took Ava to her first full-length Nutcracker performance. She now wants to be Clara, and declares daily that she can dance on point, while standing on her toes. We got a $20 picture with Clara. Mommy is a sucker.


Note my star struck daughter.

Christmas Day was great. Davis got a train table. Morgan and I spent 3 hours putting it together and then setting up the track and surrounding city, only to have Davis knock it down in about 10 seconds. Lesson learned. Train table for 20 month old was a little premature. He did like the blocks, though, as well as his Elmo books.


That pacifier has got to go, though. It has become a habit that I am not proud to have nurtured.

Ava adores Emily, her American Girl doll. As a friend put it, though, it’s kind of like having a third child. Emily goes everywhere with us, and we often have to dress her. Ava can’t quite dress Emily on her own, so I have to do it.


Now, on to my resolution. I’m not big on “work out more” or “eat better.” I already do those things, and while I could probably stand to do better, I just don’t like that for a resolution. So my resolution is to be more patient and enjoy the moments.

I’m about to finish reading Kelly Corrigan’s book, The Middle Place. I should actually say that I am about to finish devouring the book, because I have absolutely flown through it. If you haven’t read it, it’s fantastic. It’s Kelly’s memoir of her bout with breast cancer, but she tells her story in such a wonderful way that is both funny, sad, and just so relatable.

Reading her story is a good reminder of how fleeting life is. I, like every mother, am guilty of rushing my kids, of saying “in a minute, honey,” of snapping, of being impatient. There’s always so much to do, and sometimes taking the time to absorb the little moments with my kids, my husband, my parents, my friends – it all can just fall into the minutiae. I don’t want it to. I want to enjoy my life, and all of the people who make it special. So I vow in 2011  and beyond to  be more patient, to listen more, to spend more quality time. And to savor the moments that seem mundane, but that really make life what it is.