Tuesday, April 28, 2009


By no means am I a child development expert. In fact, I only know what I have read from a stack of baby books, and we are past whatever information I garnered from them.

Something that I love to see Little Bird do is take a sign or a word and expand it's meaning to fit a broader communication need. His sign for "more" has morphed into "I want," and that has led to us being able to add the "please" sign to his vocabulary in just a couple of days.

Yesterday, he had his 15 month check up where we ended up waiting quite awhile to see our doctor. Bird was as patient as a toddler can be, and when he had finally had quite enough waiting, he went over to the door and started waving "Bye bye." He turned around and said, "Buh bye," and I knew that he wanted to leave.

It fascinates me to watch him put concepts together and figure out how to communicate. He doesn't really have many words right now, but he tells me a whole lot. It seems to me that the communication is more important than counting the number of words. Any child development people care to weigh in? I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What I can tell you

I can't tell you a thing about last night, because I'm a member of the BlogHer ad network. Even though they only send me about $20 every six months, I still like being a part. It's not about the money, it's about belonging to the most amazing group of women bloggers online. They do have their rules though, and one of them is that I'm not supposed to blog about anything that I receive in which the value is over $40.

So I can't talk about last night, but I can talk about today after 11:00 AM, because we totally paid for that ourselves.

We are at the new Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC. Their amazing marketing team blitzed the Triangle region a couple of months ago, and I was hooked. Granted, I am a marketing person's wet dream (remember the Cindy Crawford skincare? Totally bought it and love it), but just in general, their marketing is great.

It's so good, that before I had been here or knew I was coming, I recommended it to a friend. She checked out the website and brought her family. Boom. Marketing circle complete.

I tried to book us a trip for when Lovely was tracked out, but Kevin's work . . . blah blah blah. He hasn't had a moment to take off before April 23, so we were stuck at home for track out, but here we are now.

Really though, it's not like me to want to go to the theme park and "join in." I'm a lapsed rock star, remember? I'm not really a "mommy" in so many words, and I'm far too cool to follow the masses to a waterpark.

Insert large amounts of laughter here.

I'm totally buying the whole kit and kaboodle. Why? Because my kids are having a blast. While my husband and I sit up on our dueling laptops, our kids are Passed Out Cold. Lovely and her daddy rode water slides all afternoon while Little Bird and I hung out in the wave pool and kiddie splash area. We would meet up, smile a lot, and get back to business. If Little Bird watched the giant bucket fill up with water and tump over on people once? He watched it a million times. Loved it.

Yeah, it's a little cliche. Yeah, it's a little cheesy. But only if you are too cool for your own good.

Past the cheese and cliche is a really nice place to bring your family. I mean super incredibly nice. Like worth every penny nice. I know this because of the people I met and the attention to detail they have shown. But getting into that part won't happen here; it will happen at Triangle Mamas after I'm home and have a moment to do them justice.

This trip though, this little weekend getaway, has proven once again that I am Mama first. Bring on the family entertainment. I love nothing more than to watch my kids have a great time. There will be time for trips to Sonoma and Napa after they are grown.

Except that typing that last sentence just broke a tiny corner of my heart. . .

Commence the commenting about balance please. Meanwhile, I'll be stopping at Ikea on the way back to Raleigh. And truly, like I Twittered earlier, "Wish you were here."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small things and smaller me

Yesterday, I was doing some cleaning upstairs after Little Bird's nap. Usually when we work upstairs after a nap, he just plays or runs up and down the hallway, but yesterday, he was watching me. I was unpacking some shelves for pictures, and placing the wrapping on the floor for the trash. Just to see, I asked him if he could throw the trash away. He smiled, picked up the trash and started looking around. I pointed to the trash bag hanging on the door of the closet, and he walked over and proudly put the trash in the bag. Then he came back for more.

It's a small thing, I know. But every time there is two way communication between us, I get so excited. I love that he answers "yes" or "no" questions now, and I love that he can follow simple instructions. I love watching him learn and grow. It's amazing to me.


In other news, I've jumped on the bandwagon. Today was the first day of my 30 Day Shred. The shredheads have been inspirational, and I'm ready to say goodbye to the last 10 pounds of baby weight. Which I plan on putting back on soon, but there are swimsuits to wear between now and then.

I'll be blogging my shred, but not here. Until we have "after" pictures to go with my "now" pictures, I'm not sharing with the general population, so it's password protected. But if I know you, or you can tell me who you are, and you would like to follow along with my shredding, just shoot me an email, and I'll send you the password.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In which I refrain from hijacking Abby's comments

Last week, Little Bird and I had a wonderful morning at Marbles in downtown Raleigh. We spent most of our time chasing our toddlers through the area that used to be Playspace with a fire engine, a store, train tables, and all sorts of things for pretend play. Before heading our separate ways, we popped over to Roly Poly and grabbed some lunch with the boys.

What do bloggers talk about at lunch? Why, blogging, of course. Abby asked me if I thought quality or quantity was more important on a blog. She has already written about this, and the comments that the post received prompted me to want to weigh in a little further because I read them and just slapped my forehead and said, "Well, duh."

My plain and simple answer was "quantity." This answer, given while feeding a child with no bib and an overdue need for a nap a peanut butter and jelly wrap, obviously needed a little more explanation.

In context, I was telling Abby that I felt quantity was important. When Abby writes a grocery list, it is good writing, so there is a level of quality that is already assumed. There are so many different styles of bloggers out there, and I thought we were mainly talking about blogs with a certain level of quality already there and not craptacular ones written in the voice of a two year old or holding a giveaway every other day.

In that context, when I think of quality, I think of those posts that stand out on Chicken and Cheese or Motherhood Uncensored that come along and take my breath away. While those writers find the time to post something almost every weekday, some days it is a short post with a picture and a punchline. Or some days it is one paragraph with a recent observation. While I'm not saying the shorter posts aren't quality, I was considering them not to be something that was left in draft for days while the author crafted sentence structure and carefully chose just the right words to insure that their thoughts would leave a lasting impression on their readers.

A subtle difference between craft and creation.

I guess I considered it a given that Abby and I would both be reading blogs with general subject/verb agreement, correct spelling, and posts that frequently envoke a deep thought or a deep feeling. I think we were, but I'm not sure when the question "quality or quantity" is asked to a general population of bloggers that the same thing is assumed.

I know there are bloggers out there who hate the term "mommyblogger." It's just a label though, and you can't control what other people call you. What I think they hate more than the word is the association with such a vast diversity of bloggers. There are mommybloggers who are fantastic writers, and write about life, not just motherhood. There are mommybloggers who blog mainly for family and friends, and it really doesn't matter how thought provoking they are as long as there are plenty of pictures of little LuLu in her Easter dress. There are mommybloggers who blog through their photography or their crafting. There are mommybloggers who don't know who they are and seem to change to fit the current trend every few months. There are mommybloggers who just want a free bottle of shampoo and something to give away to their "readers," who are really just people stopping by to win something.

There is also the problem of quality being subjective. I know good writing, and honestly, that's not always what I'm looking for in a blog. Most of the time, I'm looking for a connection too. Are you a blogger who has a homonym problem? Fine. I can overlook that because something else has made me interested in you and your family. Do you occasionly use your space to pimp out a product? Alright then. Because I already read you and care about your life, I don't mind the diversion.

That being said, I don't read terrible writing or dishonest writing. I don't read blogs whose authors aren't genuine or who have proven to be frighteningly crazy. Political conspriacy posts popping up in a normally well written blog? Might just be enough to convince me to remove that blog from my reader. Giveaways or sponsored posts making up the majority of your content? I'm likely to not stay interested.

But for me, blogging is about connections. And like the friend who always waits for you to call them, some bloggers just don't post enough for me to feel like I'm still invested in their lives. If their blog is the only connection I have with them (no emails, no Twitter, no Facebook), then surely it's understandable that I won't stay invested if they only post once or twice a month. I think Abby's first commenter, who also happens to be her very smart husband, put it in better terms when he suggested that quantity didn't have to refer to the frequency, but rather that regularity in which posting occurs. I can agree with that.

Obviously, this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately and not just over lunch with a friend. I've been thinking about it because using my blog to talk about what Little Bird and I did yesterday? Not why I started it. See, I wasn't even married when I started this blog. I wasn't a mommy. I wasn't a mommyblogger. This has always been a space to talk about my feelings and my life, and now? It's a mommyblog. I haven't been sure what to do about that.

I think I know now though. I keep writing. I keep writing as me, and because the people that read my words have connections with me? Then yes. I should write about what Little Bird and I did yesterday if I want to. Even if it was just snuggle and play. Because there is a base level of quality to my writing simply because I have a good English background and was never without a book in front of my face for the first 18 years of my life. However, I like incomplete sentences and I don't worry too much about ending a sentence with a preposition. But that's not the point. I'm not trying to win any writing awards here. I'm not trying to get a book deal.

I'm sharing and working things out in my words. And sharing requires some amount of "quantity." It's part of a working relationship, and part of my view of blogging.

What about you?

Friday, April 17, 2009


The other day, a plumber stopped by the house to give us a quote for moving our gas line. After he was done looking around, he started to ask me a couple of questions about the logistics of the project. Before he could finish one of them though, he stopped and said,

"I'm sorry, should I be asking the couple that lives here these things?"

He thought I was the nanny.

Heather agreed with me that it's because I'm hawt, although I won't leave the door shut on the possibility that it was because I look stupid young with my hair cut like it is and running around in rock'n'roll themed t-shirts. Whatever.

That is how I feel when we are out and about some days. Like the nanny. I definitely feel like I'm the woman who knows the least about being a mom.

At the playground today, a new mom (new to the playground, not new with a newborn) joined me in the sandbox. Her little girl was a month older than Little Bird, and her son was three I think. Her children were lovely, and she was very pleasant. All that to make sure that what I'm about to say doesn't reflect on her at all. It was totally me.

I was so nervous talking to her because I felt like at any moment she would come to the conclusion that I didn't have a clue about what I was doing. You know, as a mom.

The thing is, I do have a clue. I actually have a lot of confidence that what I'm doing for Bird is good and right. I see him flourishing - signing, talking, problem solving, dancing, singing, figuring out how things work - and I am so proud.

I guess what it boils down to is that I don't feel like I know how to be "a mom," but I'm pretty certain I've got being "Bird's mama" down pat. I can be comfortable knowing that is where my expertise begins and ends. With my Little Bird.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not permitted

We have permits now for the work about to be done on our house. It took two trips to the office; one to get the paperwork and another to return it. The first trip that Little Bird and I took to the office took a long time because the permits lady was being incredibly helpful. And I don't say that sarcastically. She really was helpful.

The whole time she was meticulously gathering every scrap of paperwork I needed to obtain a permit from the city to even pee in my own yard, I was chasing Bird around the empty waiting room. He was intently interested in the goldfish and the telephone. He refused to be held, and I didn't have the stroller. He also enjoyed the water bottle they had on the floor by the front window - I guess to water their plants.

I kept retrieving him and trying to give him something else to be interested in, but he just kept going back to that damn phone. After every apology I issued to the lady helping me, she would say, "That's alright. He's not hurting anything." Still, I kept him under a tight thumb, because it was a place of business.

Today, I returned with moola and all the paperwork filled in. I also had my Babyhawk in tow. Before we went in the office, I strapped Bird onto my back and handed him his most favorite toy as of Sunday, the wand for the bubbles. He was so much easier to contain while strapped onto my back in his baby straightjacket.

It took forever because of the new lady at the office and because they stop to do whatever else in the middle of what they were already doing. Which is inefficient and annoying. It bugs me when I'm standing right there and yet three phone calls that came in after me get their attention away from what they were doing for me. That's what the hold button is for, people.

After everything was finally completed and we were about to leave, the woman who helped us on the first visit begins to tell me how much cuter my child was today. I honestly thought maybe his hair was brushed or she liked his shirt better or something. I wasn't sure, but then she said,

"Yes Sir, you are much cuter today than you were when you were tearing up my waiting room. I'm glad I don't have to spend all that time cleaning up after you today."

Um, WHAT? Did you seriously just say that to me and my baby? First of all, he didn't tear anything up in the waiting room. I wouldn't allow that. Second of all, I moved the telephone and the water bottle so that he couldn't reach them anymore, and I put them back just like I found them before we left. I even took a once around the room before leaving to make sure that everything was in it's place.

I replied to her, "I'm sure that I put everything back before we left, but I'm sorry that he bothered you."

Then she just said how much cuter he was again.

I guess I really am too sensitive, but she pissed me off. He's a baby for crying out loud. Babies get into things. He's curious and loves to explore. He was just being a baby. And I was just being a mama - balancing letting him be a baby with making sure that we were respectful to their workplace.

There is only one thing I know for sure, and it is that THAT woman? Doesn't have children. And I just deleted the nasty reason why I could have written. I'll keep that to myself.

Have you heard?

Did you know I have become crafty since giving birth? Did you know that I started blogging about it? Did you know that you can pop over and laugh with me through my attempts at sewing?

I have, and you can.

Today you can see some cutie pie t-shirts I whipped up for Little Bird. Come on over!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reaching In

I don't know how to explain it, this grief that has permeated every thought this week. It's not like I knew her. We are fellow bloggers in the SVMoms group. Twitter friends. Internet acquaintances.

But the grief is real for her and her husband and everyone who did know Maddie. Everyone whose life she touched, and that includes mine.

The thing is, it didn't matter how well we knew her, how long we knew her, or if we knew her in real life or not. Maddie's eyes, her smile, warmed our hearts even as they brightened our screen. Her passing is beyond tragic.

There begins the cycle. I mourn for Maddie, and then I think about the unimaginable pain her parents feel, and I mourn for them. I know that I wouldn't be able to handle it.

Then this morning, the first email I read is one with the news that Shana lost her baby boy, Thalon yesterday. I'm so tempted to close down my computer and not come back for a week because I just can't bear the sadness. My stomach feels like a bowling ball has taken up residence, and my head hurts from holding back the tears.

But I won't shut down. Because whatever I feel, is only a tiny tiny fraction of the agony that Heather and Shana must feel right now and forever more. Being here, leaving comments, donating, praying, and supporting however I can is what I have to offer these two families whose pain is felt across the world by people who have never even met them.

This community - we feel what we feel deeply. We, if I may boldly say, shoulder some of the pain when another of us hurts. Every time I have lost a pregnancy, an unborn baby, the community has come together and woven a blanket of support to warm me. We helped carry Susan through a horrific battle with cancer. We do these things for each other as fellow mothers, writers, Twitters, bloggers, and friends.

So when Heather or Shana need a break from holding up the weight of their grief, I hope they know that there are thousands of hands, reaching in to hold it up for them for as long as they need us to.

Triangle area March for Maddie

Donate to Shana's family

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Madeline Alice Spohr

Love and support is needed. Donations can be made to the March of Dimes via the button on Heather's page.

Be sure to stop by Maddie's page and learn more about the little girl who will be so missed.

Edited to add: Their blog is down right now, but you can donate in Maddie's memory directly by this link.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Home team

I have never cheered for a team where I went to school. College, that is. There wasn't a big competitive sports scene at the woman's college where I spent the first part of my higher education, and the second part - well - I was into my own scene, let's just say.

My family are die hard bleeding maroon Mississippi State fans, myself included. Great greats and grands, my father, uncle, brother, everyone - except moi - went up north to Starkpatch to get their higher education. There is even a dorm which bares my maiden name.

Momma and Daddy always had season tickets to the basketball games, and when my dad couldn't go, my mom would often give me the chance to ride up with her and see the game. Or see who I could see, was usually my agenda.

One trip up was a race against the clock to get me back in time for the SubDeb Formal. I think I got home with about 15 minutes to get ready. The pictures show it too. The Bulldogs were playing LSU, and my mom said it was going to be worth the drive to see the game. Not because it was going to be a good game, but because a little dude named Shaquille O'Neal was playing for LSU. Momma said that we shouldn't miss seeing him playing college ball. She was right.

Anyway, my NCAA bracket this year had my Bulldogs going up against the Tarheels for the Championship game. I tend to make my bracket out by who I like best. It usually doesn't go well, for I never ever advance any team from Florida and I definitely never advance UCLA no matter how good they are supposed to be.

Of course the Dawgs were knocked right out in the first round. We knew they would be, but I had to root for them anyway. They were my home team.


I sit here tonight, rooting for the Tarheels and feeling at home doing so. It's not my alma mater. It's not Kevin's either, but they do ever so graciously employ him. More and more Carolina blue has been making its way into our home. A sweatshirt here, a t-shirt there. We are becoming a Tarheel family through and through.

And it feels good. It feels good to be able to let go a little bit more of the things that keep me from being completely rooted here in North Carolina.

It feels good to be home.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

On Notice

Little Bird grows faster than I can type apparently. He turned 14 months old last week, and I've barely had a moment to write about him.

During the day, we are too busy. I have a moment here and there to check in on Facebook and my moms' board, but to sit down and write an entire blog post? Get out of town. It ain't happening.

At night, I'm exhausted. Too tired to craft sentences that might possibly be artistic or meaningful. Some nights, that second glass of wine after the baby has gone to bed just wipes me out for any thought process. Plus, we recently got cable. I haven't had cable in years. Years, I tell you. It's amazing. Within the first few days, I already found myself ordering some skin care crap because Cindy Crawford told me to. I am too freaking gullible to have cable.

Anyway, Bird has been up to some tricks lately. It's amazing really. Everyday, he will do something new that shows me how much he is learning. They are little things to record, but such big things to a mama.

If he sees a set of keys, he picks them up and goes to the front door to try and "unlock" it.

He sits with a book in his lap, turns the pages, and "reads" out loud.

On his Music Together CD's, there are rhythm and tonal call and response exercises. He now "responds" to them, even if it isn't on pitch or rhythm yet.

He gives fishface kisses all day long.

When I get out the blender and start making a smoothie, he comes running and grabs hold of my legs in a big bear hug. Then, when I actually turn the blender on, he lets go of me and starts doing this little dance around the kitchen until I give him his straw cup full of fruity goodness.

If I forget to put the latch back on the cabinet doors? He tries to do it for me.

He is figuring out so many things all the time now. It is amazing.

Yesterday at our music class, a new session was starting. As we went around the room and introduced ourselves, I got to say that it was his year anniversary at Music Together. Watching him in that class now just blows me away. He knows the scarves and sticks and instruments. He knows when it's time to dance, and he knows when it's time for the quiet song. Little things, but big things for my Little Bird.

I notice these things. I guess because I'm his mama. I noticed when a couple of months ago, he lifted his arm to help me put it in his sleeve. I notice.

I hope that I never get too busy to notice, and so this space sits idle sometimes for days longer than I would like. But I can't help it. My little boy is growing up and I have so much to notice.