Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Big 4-0

No, not me, silly. These two!:
June 22, 1974 - Wedding day for John and Roxanne
The most amazing, selfless, remarkable, wise and loving parents a girl and her brother could have. And now they are celebrating 40 years of marriage together, setting the bar on what love looks like through thick and thin, in times of awesomeness and near despair and with the many ebbs and flows that come on the journey.

When asked the about their secret to making it to this milestone anniversary, they shared:

I honestly am not sure if there is really  "secret sauce" when it comes to a happy, successful marriage and will never claim to be experts, but a short list of characteristics that may make a marriage likely to last could include:   

 1. Agree on common values-- about child raising, finances for example
 2.  Respect-  demonstrate this by making big decisions together
 3. Honesty-  don't' deceive or withhold important information
 4. Communicate--- often; and listen (seek to understand, especially to understand intent)
 5. Be human-- admit when you have made a mistake and apologize, sooner rather than later
 6. Be realistic-- there is no such thing as a perfect marriage
 7. Promote the importance of family to your offspring and come together often

And you know what? They live this. 

It's all coming together now, their awesomeness, their love, their fearless in navigating as something as wonderful and challenging as marriage.

May we all find this kind of love and friendship for 40 years and more.

Congrats Mom and Dad - this is truly something to celebrate and be proud of! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday Momfessions: June 25 Week

This post is dedicated to The Second Child...and those of you lowering the bar with number two:

With the second child:
1. The curling iron (not recently used) becomes fair game to function as a toy. Same goes for Daddy's belt. Nail polish bottles. Trash cans. Gold clubs. Etc. After all, it can result in actually getting your teeth brushed and a comb through your hair without someone requiring a bandaid.

2. Clothes no longer remotely match and are really only acceptable if they can double as pajamas. Mama ain't got time for anything other than that.

3. Criteria for calling the pediatrician's office look more like "bone sticking out" or "may require stitches" vs. the first sniffle or cough. Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl are also closer friends than they used to be.

4. Activities such as swim lessons or tee ball suddenly don't start until the age 5. Meanwhile, incriminating evidence shows your first starting at six months.

5. Speaking of pictures - when are you gonna get some frames that include the new fourth member?

6. Of course you can eat that Veggie Straw off the floor, share toast with your friend, lick the playground equipment and touch the public stall door.

7. The thought of "well, that's really different than the first one" occur daily, even though you know it shouldn't. It just sneaks in there.

8. Missing a school event doesn't automatically earn you a scarlett letter and you become more comfortable with: "I mean, he won't really remember anything before 5, right?"

9. Bologna and one of brother's french fry with a side of a strawberry totally count as dinner.

10. If a nearby stranger in a salon seems gut trustworthy, go ahead and hand them the second while you finish up that shoulder massage.

What doesn't change with the second: the undeniable, all-consuming, unconditional love for this remarkable child.

Love you bunches sweet boy and hope you feel the same...even when I tell you later in life you ate off the floor. Love - Mom

Workin' on Commission

"I don't know - how do we motivate him but still hold up to expectations we have on him contributing to the family and caring for the home?" I asked, slightly in wonder as I considered my gifts to the home have been severely lacking since bringing two little boys home.

Recently, Big L had come to us requesting a Nerf gun, and this time, instead of caving on a Target run, we decided it was time to implement a plan. We dug back into our archives of Dave Ramsey days and landed on:

Commission based pay.

Yep - that's right. These two parents who let their children draw on the walls are getting' real.

After input from a few friends and a quick dive into Pinterest, we threw out three mason jars and marked them Save, Spend and Give. Each week, Big L has the option of completing his chores or not and whatever level he desires. From there, we as his supervisors (ha), determine how well he did, considering if he completed them daily and the quality of work. From there, he has the chance to earn up to five dollars a week. His current chores include: make his bed, feed the pets, pick up all toys, put clothes in hamper, clear the table and put shoes on rug. There are other expectations of him, but these we chose because they are the most consistent in the workflow of our home (hello - how many times do you run about the house in the a.m. cursing for those shoes?!). To chart, we landed on this:

A simple, customized printout we can slap on his closet door weekly and he can proudly mark with Crayola.

Each week he's required to put some in each jar of Save, Spend or Give. As you can imagine, the spend one tends to fill up a bit faster than the others. So far he's motivated by this, is having fun and feels proud of how he's giving back to his family and plays a part in it all.

Here's hoping it sticks -and that we can keep up with the commission!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On the List

With the official start of summer coming up this week (though we've been operating on summer time for well over a month), our family sat down to get serious about our need to slow down and really enjoy the longer days together at home and beyond. Here's what we came up with:

Well, Lawson, Daddy and I did. We're pretty sure as long as milk, food and stair climbing are involved, Liam is in...

I can't wait to see how far we get and sneak in some sleeping in (ha!), deck lounging, reading and ice cream eating in between. I'd also like to steal my hubby away a night or two for camping out at Park Place, catching a flick or just having adult conversation patio side at a new restaurant.

What's on your list?

Over the Moon for Moon and Lola

"Oh-me-gggaahhh!" I squealed, sounding remarkably like the four and five year old girls I encounter at preschool drop off. "It's a CUSTOM.JEWELRY.MONOGRAM.STORE!"

Practically dragging my friend J by the arm who was suckered into what could turn into an all out gush fest over the goods, we parted with the other two and my plotting, planning and "awwww"ing began. I mean, with the ability to monogram just about any piece of jewelry in the place, where was a girl to start?!

In our few minutes in Moon and Lola in Charleston, we'd been greeted and doted on by darling southern girls willing to cope with my spastic excitement, purchase paralysis and need for visualization. For nearly an hour after I had selected a simple gold bangle that required customized charms, we played, laying item after item in the smooth velvet tray, slipping it on and off our wrists while glancing in the mirror. And though I desired every set of monogrammed studs, rings, bar jewels with my boys' birthdays, etc. to come home with me, I landed on the following:

The yellow gold cuff bracelet with collate charms in "L," and "M", a Dalton charm in "L, a clear acrylic charm with a gold silhouette of a little boy and a medium acrylic C to top it off.


Durable, custom and fabulous, I wear the thing practically daily, housing the first initials of all the great men in my life. You know, in case I ever forget...

A girl could go bananas here. So do it! Get on and treat yourself. I hope you'll find yourself as over the moon for them as I do.

Happy monogramming!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Out on the Deck

With the sun sinking behind the rooftops a bit later these days, the mister and I frequently find ourselves out back, one pair of feet kicked up on the table top while the other curls on the love seat. Between us, a dim light flickers, a set of hanging ones twinkling in the background and the breeze finding just the right path under the pergola to keep us comfortable. Shades of pink and purple dot the horizon between the setting sun and our neighbors well kept flower beds, and the only sound heard is the whisper of a wind chime, the lick of wind and once in awhile, family chatter from open windows. Even without a libation in hand (though that generally makes it extra spectacular), it's the perfect retreat at home.

Last year it didn't so much look like this, but rather the remains of some boards discolored and misaligned, nothing to offer shade or perch a set of ankles on and a direct view to any neighbors house. Loads of work later (we're talking taking weeks off work, calling in back up and many, many trips to Home Depot), the husband has it looking like somewhat of a haven:

Furniture and accessories from Target

Table is the handiwork of Mike Choate
Many hours of research, buckets of paint products, sanding until fingers were worn, repair and building of walls and stairs, wiring and more, it became closer to the vision we could afford and enjoy, and I'm so thankful each day my husband made it a priority for the family over the many house projects in our annual file. I'm also very appreciative of my father in law for his handiwork and time!

Though it's not perfect, it's pretty darn near so to host a first birthday party, find retreat on a Friday night, to sit alone with thoughts or host happy hour with dear friends.

So, we'll see you out on the deck? You bring the smile. We'll have the rest. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dressed for Summer

As a woman of substance (I'd like to think in more ways than one!), dressing for summer can be tricky, substituting casual dresses for those darling lace shorts  you'd like to wear, focusing on accessories because they always fit and altering your nail polish to focus on your fingertips vs. your behind in a swimsuit. Thank goodness fashion offers something for everyone these days! Here's some finds for those that may have a bit more junk in the trunk (ok and hips) like mwah:
GAP's boyfriend short: soft and not to stretchy for those "powerful" thighs and
just the right length to hide any jiggles you're trying to stow away

A cute fedora: if your head is on the larger side, try grabbing the men's version
at H&M for $10 and replacing the ribbon with something girly

Body glide: perfect for those parts that don't hold up in the heat well

Maxi dress: flawy and full of good coverage - and comfy!

Great nail color: draw attention to those fingertips with these inexpensive and fun colors
found at Target (color shown is Mint Apple)

Tees: throw this cotton goodness on from Nordstrom (Caslon brand), mix up the colors
and throw on a long necklace and you're set for summer fun

More shorts: Old Navy's 5" short - lots of room in the hips and thighs if you have a bit of goodness
to show in that top layer of your legs

Flops: Rainbow flips with flare - comfy and neutral - a good match for all

So whether you're a size 4 or 14, get out there, get comfy, enjoy summer...and dress appropriately.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014


"Mama - do you want to take this with you so you'll think of me?" he asks curiously, a small Pokeman token tucked in his palm.

"Absolutely buddy. But you know you're always with me and I'm thinking about you every moment, right?" I say, taking advantage of a quiet moment to complete our ritual of drawing a heart on the top of his hand with a Sharpie.

"Yeah - I know Mama. And it's all going to be fine."

Four girls who don't see each other nearly enough leave today from different states to meet in Edisto Island, a small getaway we've been plotting and dreaming of for many months. The thought of acquiring more than five hours of consecutive sleep, soaking in what I hear is called vitamin D and long conversations around girly things I've not pondered for months seems incredibly appealing. And though it's never easy to leave the ones you love the most behind, the physical and soulful healing of a mom is incredibly important. Among the sandy dunes, the peaceful lapping of the bay and in the calm of a sunset, I hope to reconnect with pieces of myself I started to think were forever forgotten. And to do it with some of my dearest friends? What a gift.

So until then, dear friends, have a wonderful week. And take care of my boys, will ya? And let that older one know he's there with me at the beachside...