Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Packing for Summer in Charleston

For as long as I can remember, my favorite thing about going on trips was the packing.  Sure, the sights, experiences, and uncharted territory were all well and good.  But, what 7-year-old-me really enjoyed was the packing.  

Starting at a minimum of 2 weeks in advance of departure, I would open up my suitcase(s) and start piling in the essentials for a 10-day trip to Dallas:  2 pairs of underwear, a rainbow of Duckhead shorts, my entire Multiples wardrobe, and approximately 37 Cabbage Patch Kids + their birth certificates.

Fast-forward 30+ years, and I've made surprisingly little progress in the way of packing smart and light.  Despite the HOURS of pinning packing lists and reading blog posts about how to pack for 6-months and 3 continents in a clutch purse, I still pack for the persona I imagine adopting when I get to where I'm going.  Like, of COURSE Julie-in-the-Big-Apple needs spike heels and leather pants when she travels with her 3 little kids and entire extended family. 

And Old-South-Charleston-Julie?  She'll be strolling the Battery in gingham sundresses and precious sandals, coolly dabbing at the healthy "glow" she's developed while perusing the historic sections of the city and instructing her attentive and similarly-attired children in Civil War history.

Don't get me wrong, summer packing has a lot going for it: lighter clothes take up less space, no socks or giant boots required.

However, there is a major downside of summer travel in the South: sweat.  Now, as unladylike as it may be to discuss it, the fact remains that I sweat. 
A lot.  At the first degree over 70.  

I may be unique in this condition, but I suspect otherwise.  So, for all you fashion bloggers with your "momiforms" of a cute blouse, mules, and jeans (JEANS?! in the summer?!) and those who throw shade at us moms who do our kid-wrangling clad in workout clothes, you can just can it.  
I have a few words for you: humidity, chub-rub, and chafing.

First-night fail.  
It was still 85 degrees and 10000% humidity at 9pm, and we walked several miles around the city.

Ok, let me just climb off that soap box.

Anyhoo, I really thought I did a good job packing this time. I only packed stuff I actually like and am comfortable wearing, I stuck with items that could be mixed and matched together, and I only packed 4 pairs of shoes.  

And yet, I was not prepared for the amount of sweating I would be doing. 


Apparently, after 10 years in Nashville, I’ve forgotten everything I learned about true humidity from my time in South Florida.

Honestly, I wore the same thing every day during the day: running shorts, sports bra, tank top, and Tevas.  One night I got real fancy and put on a pool coverup for dinner out.  See below.⇓

There are several morals to this story, beyond the fact that I am apparently a REALLY slow learner. 
Lesson 1: Just pack workout gear and bathing suits for summer travel in the Deep South.

Lesson 2: Lower your expectations for how cute and Instagrammable your photos will be. 
A little lower.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Currently: Me vs. Kids

Currently: June

Since I kind of leapt back into this blog-thing without looking first, I didn't have a plan past the first post. Duh. As if.  So, I thought I might get onboard with this "currently" theme to give you a snapshot of what we've been doing since school let out.  So, I thought I'd compare what I've been doing to what the kids have been doing, using the same 5 categories.  

Me first:

Nowhere yet, but we have a trip to Charleston planned soon.

Isn't he a lucky guy?

Our own city!  We went to the symphony play at Centennial Park last week.  This week, we hit up the State Capitol, Bicentennial Mall, farmers' market, Belle Meade Plantation, Shelby Bottoms Park, and the main library downtown.

The idea of a treehouse for the kids in Mike's and my dad's brains.  Really, all we need is some sort of dilapidated structure that Will and Sarah can go out and tinker on so they will 

But not out of the yard, because then littlest brother will follow and I will have to go too.

 In the pool.  Errday.

Alright, let's see what the children have been up to, shall we?  
I'm sure they've been writing poetry in Spanish and composing sonatas.


Miss FancyPants got to travel to Boston with my parents for a 10th-birthday trip.  
The Freedom Trail Pizza Tour alone was enough 
to make me seriously consider stowing away in her duffel.  
Meanwhile, the boys pretty much just get dragged to the grocery store 4 times a day.

Mom about whether she REALLY WATCHED 👀 
the super-awesome trick (in the pool, trampoline, creek, Fortnite, etc.) they just did.  

And did I film it for their imaginary YouTube channel?

Ways to fight violently with siblings without drawing blood and/or parental attention.

A time-capsule in the backyard so that "somebody can find it in, like,
 30 years and dig it up and be rich!"

Catch at the pool.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Summer.  It seems all the world is soliloquizing about "sweet summertime", 
warm weather, pool time, fireflies, and a slower pace.  

I, on the other hand, think: non-stop sweating, feeding kids all day, every day, and basically being their social coordinator. 

Meanwhile, I'm over here making a "Summer Bucket List" because I think this summer might actually kill me.  Like, I know that you can't ACTUALLY be talked to death, but my kids are all, "Challenge accepted."  

Plus, the dang sun doesn't set until the middle of the night, so my 8:30 bedtime is no more.  

Memorial Day weekend, I bought 3 HUGE bags of those zipsicles and a zoo membership, and thought, "Summer is handled."  

My kids apparently feel otherwise.

There's definitely a period of adjustment for me to shift from Working Mom Mode to SAHM mode every summer.  So, I have to get my head on straight, and embrace these 8ish weeks of being home with my kids as a fleeting gift. But I need an outlet and a goal for my efforts.

And so, I return to the family blog after a three-year hiatus, super-rusty. 
Since the kids are bigger (and literate) this time around, they will even be able to contribute! Sarah's running point on book recommendations, Will is going to do some design work, and Teddy is working on snack reviews, kid-dinners, and the best places to get wet and/or muddy. 

So, cheers to the summer!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

11 Months: The Countdown is On!

Yes, I realize that I just gave a Teddy update last week.  Sure, I could've combined the two into one post.
But, c'mon, folks: I'm just not that organized or on the ball.

Anyway, Teddy is thisclose to being a big-time one-year-old.  Like I said in the 10 month recap, he's already copping a huge toddler attitude, so this month he's been busy perfecting his technique.
One, going on 21.
I don't like to brag, but I think this nugget is rather precocious.  I mean, Will was at LEAST 13 months old before he launched a reconstituted meat product at me.  But little brother has a mean fast ball (fast nugget?) and a wicked smile to go with it.
Go ahead.  It's okay to feel jealous.

Another toddler behavior that has really come online recently: the Spaghetti Noodle.

I know you know what I'm talking about.  Maybe you call it something different, or you haven't given it a name that can appear in print, but you know the move.

Here's a scenario: It's a beautiful day at the park.  Sweet toddler is gurgling and scampering, birds are chirping, and you're planning to write a book about your awesome parenting practices because you've got this mom/dad thing down cold and your kid is awesome, and you have no idea who these heathen "threenagers" are because your child is the picture of health and happiness and it is so easy!  After awhile, it's time to go home.  A two minute warning is given (and ignored).  You tell your child, "Time to go home!" and your angel says, "NO!" in some way, shape, or form.  He continues to ignore you and the situation escalates to a chase.  Once you catch up, you try to pick Angel up, but he goes limp and slithers out of your arms.

Sound familiar?

Yep.  Teddy's working on that move these days, but his I-don't-wanna-leave-and-you-can't-make-me scenario is in the bathtub.  So, there's the super-fun element of danger added to the whole kit and caboodle.
Teddy has not only become more of a rascal this month, but he's also done some big things of the perambulatory variety, namely standing all by himself.  He's walking with assistance and trying to carry stuff while he crawls, so it's only a matter of time, I think.

Unless... he's like Will and discovers that maintaining a lower center of gravity makes you less of a target for your older sibling to stiff-arm you.

All of this means that Sarah and Will feel that little bro makes for the best kind of marionette ever.

Dance, monkey, dance.
28 inches long
19 lbs.

He appears to be getting fatter and his pajamas are harder to zip without pinching a roll, but he's slipped down in the percentiles.

Unrolling all of the toilet paper from the roll; pants-wrestling (again, I have no idea what this is about); shoe-removal; The Wheels on the Bus; magnets; eating paper; throwing all of the food off his tray; idolizing his older siblings; dancing; Cheez-its; bananas; salad; spaghetti; rolling a ball; and guitars.

Getting out of the bath; being in his car seat; people messing with his ears; shoes, hats, clothing in general; bachelorette parties (more on that after Valentine's day); his Sully stuffed animal; hammers in general, Will's Thor hammer in particular.
Most people I know seem to love the tiny baby stage the best (particularly newborns), but this is just not the case for me.  Knowing that Teddy will most likely be our last baby, I've tried to embrace this season and focus on all of the good stuff.  But, to me, toddlerhood and beyond is where things really start to get interesting.  I mean, the kid can actually DO stuff!  Plus, personalities really start to show.

So, as much as I might tease and kvetch about toddlers, THIS is the part I'm looking forward to.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's a Good Thing He's Cute


This Bear turned 10 months on January 3rd, and decided to celebrate by copping a toddler attitude.
Yep. Though, technically, I guess toddlers are supposed to be walking in order to be deemed as such, I think the 'tude has a lot more to do with it than gross motor milestones.
Now, littlest man has always had strong opinions (I have NO idea where he gets that ;) but these days he wields his cuteness as a weapon.  Like the time I told him repeatedly to stop trying to knock a picture off the wall: he just looked at me with those big blue eyes, flashed a lopsided grin, reached a fat hand out, and pulled the picture.  Like any good disciplinarian, I cooed, "No, Teddy," and that booger shook his head at me.  This went on awhile until I held his hand and pulled it away from the picture.  When I let it go, he shook his head and grabbed my hand, doing the same thing to me that I had done to him.

And then I laughed.  

Which is why my children are heathens.
I remember that I once compared dressing 2-year-old Will for church
to trying to put a bobcat into a potato sack.  
That's what it's like trying to get Tedder into anything besides the bathtub.
Future nudist, this one.

One thing I'm looking forward to in the toddler stage: toddler dancing.  There's nothing like a little guy shakin' his diaper-clad groove thang.  

So, what went on in month 10?  
Nothing much, besides his first Christmas and first New Year.
After a disastrous attempt to let T enjoy the soulful stylings of our church's various choirs and handbell teams(?), he yukked it up in the nursery for the remainder of Christmas Eve service.

Favorite Christmas gift: the salad spinner (fun for the whole family!)
Highlights: Teddy touched the Elves, and nobody cried on Santa's lap! (So disappointing).
Everybody hated the overnight French toast casserole I made for Christmas morning. (Shocker).
Only Teddy broke an ornament, but all three kids attempted to knock down the tree.
I still can't, for the life of me, get an entire meal ready to eat all at once.

Few things rattle a third child.  I mean, c'mon, they get passed off to anyone with a pulse, there's no such thing as "babyproofing", and nobody bats an eyelash when big brother gives him a busted lip.  Nonetheless,  the Teddy Bear is decidedly spooked by sneezes, beards, and sparklers.  In that order.
Month 10 also showed growth in Teddy's, uh, growth.  My nugget made it into the 8th percentile for weight, the 40th percentile for height, and the 50th percentile in head circumference.
So, our son is, in essence, shaped like a Q-tip.  

One thing I'm wrestling with is the hair cut.  Homeslice is rocking the sheepdog bangs/mullet combo a la Norman Reedus, but every time I get the scissors out to give him a trim, I find some reason why I can't do it. Even though the tiny baby stage isn't necessarily my favorite, haircuts are a rite of passage signalling the end of something fleeting.  Owing to precious baby ringlets on both Sarah and Will, I got to postpone their first haircuts until well into the second year.  This current little sheepdog has nary a kink to break up his stick-straight locks, so mama's gonna have to put on her big-girl pants pretty soon or risk having Teddy mistaken for a girl.

Which could happen, since he wears big sister's clothes sometimes. #thirdchildproblems

Teddy said his first word this month.  In his own deadpan way, it is completely fitting.  Wanna know what it is?  "Uh-oh!"  (Insert surprise pregnancy joke here.)  He also says, "Da-da" on occasion, and, one time, ONE TIME, he said, "Ma-ma."  Not surprisingly, he babbles all the time and knows EXACTLY what we're saying to him and about him.

Turn-ons: breaking stuff; breaking Sarah and Will's stuff; taking all of the clothes out of drawers and laundry baskets; removing every item from every cabinet within reach; wrestling pants (I don't know); pulling up on stuff; taking baths till he's pruney; tearing up toilet paper; and eating 3 times as much as his siblings.

Turn-offs: being told "No"; getting out of the bath; shoes; clothes; diaper cream; donuts (we're running a DNA test about this one); yogurt; and hats.

We finally, FINALLY have a child who truly eats what we're eating.  The best part? He LOVES bbq.  I KNEW all those pulled pork sandwiches I craved when I was pregnant would pay off!

Health-wise, Teddy has reached the 4-ear-infection threshold, so we are going to the ENT and demanding tubes.  Well, not demanding.  But making a good case for them and being really politely persistent.  

He's a sweetheart now, but I can already tell we're in for it later.  
The way he just sits back and watches big sis and bro... 
I just know he's analyzing their attacks and probing us for weaknesses.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Nine Months

Where did the time go?

How did this guy turn 9 (cough, almost 10, cough) months old?

Teddy's no longer a docile little nugget, trapped in whatever position I place him.
Nope.  He's all over the place.

What with sprouting 5 new teeth, pulling up to standing, and begging for food, our Mr. T has had a lot on his plate lately.  
Abandoning purees completely, he eats anything that we eat, a feat that no other child in our household has ever accomplished. In fact, I feel so guilty not sharing certain off-limits foods with him (like shellfish, honey, etc.) that I have to sneak around to eat any granola bars or shrimp.

And he'll tell you what he wants. 
When I picked my little bear up from school one day, his teacher told me, "I hope you don't mind, but I gave Teddy some of my pizza today." Of course I didn't mind, he'd been eating pizza with us for the last 2 months.  But why?
"Well, he scooted right over to me, sat up and started clapping and cooing and growling at me.  I just couldn't say no!"
 It turns out, his teacher had Jet's pizza that day, and our little Bear is nothing if not a pizza connoisseur.

Favorite Foods: pizza, mashed potatoes, green beans, ravioli, chicken, hamburger, apples, cantaloupe, avocado, carrots.  You name it, he eats it.   If he weren't burning so many calories getting into EVERYTHING, I might be worried about him becoming as wide as he is tall.
As I mentioned before, he's quite the communicator. 
Clapping is his preferred way of telling us he wants something, but he also finds grunting, growling, and yelling quite effective.

Or, if he's within striking distance of an object he wants, he'll just steal it.
Though he continues to battle teeth and ear discomfort, T's a pretty happy guy.
He flirts with anything in a skirt and is working on blowing kisses.
Hair-pulling is still a signature move, but he's added eye-gouging and kicking to his repertoire.
And it's really no wonder: every time I turn around, he's being tackled or wrestled by a territorial older sibling protecting turf or toy. 
This guy is gonna be tough.
But the sibs had better watch out: Big T is pulling up on ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING.  Drawers, legs, the dishwasher, Sarah and Will, the man wants to stand, and he is relentless.

Not only does he want to stand, Teddy is starting to cruise.  He'll go from leg to table, drawer to outstretched hand, often with a tumble along the way.  Like I said, he's tough, so he doesn't usually cry, he just looks surprised and then gets back into the fray.
Now that he's more consistently crawling on all-fours or cruising,
 I call him my Bulldog, since he's got the build and the mentality of one.
 So, what makes this guy tick?

Turn-ons: taking off his socks; no-handed pant-removal; swinging at the park; power naps; eating books; drinking out of a real cup.
Turn-offs: naps; sippy cups; wearing hats, shoes, or socks; solitary confinement (the exersaucer, high-chair, or crib).

So, here's to a new year and the countdown to the big 0-1!
No more Christmas music for a year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

He's Happy...

...and he knows it.

Except for this month.  October was pretty crummy for Teddy.  I'm actually writing this two months late because of just how rough it was on all of us.  Sleep was lost, never to be recovered.  Various ailments visited in sundry forms, all of which resulted in turning my laid-back, up-for-anything baby into a total fussbudget. 
 Now, fussbudget by Teddy's standards is still pretty easy. 
 But, c'mon - we've got 3 of these boogers now.
 So, with all of the drama and unexplained night-waking, there must be some new teeth, right?

 Nonetheless, homeslice loves him some table food.  He's totally over purees, grabbing at anything we eat.


Pizza, bread, celery, apples, and crackers.  And leaves.  I'm not gonna lie, this man has had some roughage, because, hey, he's #3 and sometimes he's plopped in a pile of leaves while I'm trying to break up a fight or help somebody ride without training wheels.  For some reason, he loves a water bottle and will snatch it right out of his unsuspecting victim's mouth.

He's quite opinionated and enthusiastic all around, in fact.  He claps when he hears his jam ("If You're Happy and You Know It") of course, but also when he sees his favorite peeps or a toy he wants.

Young Teddy has also mastered the stair down to the den and aspires to climb to greater heights as we've caught him eyeing the steps to the second floor. 

There are no cute pictures of our little Harold and the Purple Crayon on Halloween, because, well, our Harold was not up to taking any moonlit strolls.

Or trick-or-treating. 

Turns out, basing your family costume around an infant is a pretty dicey business. 

Teddy and the family had a blast in St. Louis, and we had fun celebrating Mike's birthday!

Arch-car simulator.  We didn't drag the little one up to the top of the Arch.
Down by the Arch
Best zoo ever.
Eight months are in the bag, and we can't imagine life without our littlest!
We are really looking forward to the excitement of the holidays as a family of FIVE.