Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Enjoying the Holidays (and not rushing through them)!

As the children get older, work gets more demanding, and my extended family moves further away the demands of the holiday season can get overwhelming at times.

This year I'm trying my hardest to just enjoy the time that I have with my family.

A stolen few moments at the local park with the boys...

Time with my parents (even if we bore my dad to sleep)...

And play dates with neighbors that my boys adore...

I'm not stressing about giving 20 holiday presents to my co-workers, but I am sending a hand written personalized card to them. I'm not going to spending 2 days in the kitchen baking holiday goodies, but I'm going to enjoy the 2 hours I got to spend with the kids on Sunday morning baking one batch of cookies. The kids aren't going to have fifteen presents each under the tree this year, but we've picked out five presents that they will LOVE!

We're still going to find time to do some of our family traditions like having a nice Christmas Eve dinner at the house, going ice skating, and driving around at night through downtown looking at the Christmas lights. I know that these moments that we spend together are going to be the memories that the kids have as they grow up.

(And, to be honest, Santa is bringing Owen a Nintendo 3DS, and he's getting an iPod from his grandparents, so it's okay that there a fewer presents under the tree.)

Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is it really December already?

The fall season has flown by and I'm amazed that December is already here. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My family came over to eat and it was delicious.
The boys are doing great and the new job is busy and a challenge, but it's great.
And now, a few of my recent favorite pictures...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Job Well Done

One of my unfaltering principles that I try to live by is to do the best job possible and you will be rewarded. One of the reasons I was so discouraged when we moved to LA after college is that I felt like you were more likely to succeed in the television industry because of the people that you knew, and not the value of the job you were performing. Does this make sense?

In my professional life I have tried to do the best possible job and have been fortunate to be promoted and given additional responsibilities.

Today, I was promoted to a new position. I'm very excited about my new role. I'll be taking on a bigger leadership role. I'll have more direct reports. And also, for the first time I will have additional managers reporting in to me.

My new role will be a challenge, but I'm very excited about this next chapter in my professional career.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Fun

Fall is my favorite time of year.

Here are a few of my favorite memories from the last few weeks.

Owen playing at the Fall Festival in Centre, AL where his grandparents now live.

We installed the sink in our new half bath that we are adding. (So close to be finished.)

After months of talking about it we finally bought a family pass to the zoo. I love the flamingos!

Fun times at the local corn maze.

We're happy! and life is good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm In Love...

with Ellis' Halloween Costume. (I'm working on a homemade Chicken outfit! It's almost finished in this picture.)

with homemade Halloween crafts! (I made a wreath for the front door.)

with weekend sleepovers!

with Ellis putting himself down for a nap without anyone knowning!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Decision to Stay

For the last six weeks or so I have been seriously considering a job offer in Columbus, Ohio. After many sleepless night, numerous conversations, and multiple changes of opinion, two days ago I officially declined the job offer.

It’s been a very stressful time for my family and I. The weeks have been filled with ups and downs and unexpected turns and details that are probably only of interest to a person directly affected by them (i.e. me).

The “decision to stay”, as we’re referring to it around here, has been a big deal for our family. This is the first major decision we’ve had to make as a “family”. When we decided to move to LA after college it was just Ed and I. We weren’t even married. We both made the decision for selfish reasons. The decision to leave LA and move to Atlanta was made more as a couple. We had this suspicious feeling that we could either have “LA” or “us” and I’m happy with our decision.

We when moved to Atlanta we moved here because there weren’t any other options. My parents were here and offered us a bed in the basement. I quickly found a job and within a year and a half of moving to Georgia we were married, expecting our first child, and I was beginning to find my career. We never intended on staying in this city for long, but somehow, after nine years it feels like home.

I thought that since my sister had left and my parents weren’t as local it would be an easy decision to leave. But once we really started weighing the pros and cons of the situation we realized it’s not that easy to just walk away from the life that we’ve built here.

I’m not certain what will happen with my job - and I’m okay with that. I know that for now, and for the immediate future, Atlanta is my home.

And these boys are my life…

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Choices and Decisions

Life has been a little bit hectic for me the last couple of weeks.

Actually, life has been a little hectic for my family the last couple of weeks.

The start of 2nd grade for Owen is not going as well as we had expected. He went from being an A/B student last year to one that gets deficiency notices this year. It's frustrating to know what we should not be making a big deal about and what we should actually be concerned about. I've been very happy with Owen's progress in school up until this year and now I'm very annoyed. What has happened since 1st grade ended and 2nd grade started? He seems like the same child to me but academically it's like he's two different kids.

I've got a conference with his teacher tomorrow morning but I'm not too confident that I'll get the answers I'm looking for.

And now to completely change subjects, Ed and I are dealing with some big "family" decisions on the horizon. It's so hard to know what's the best thing for your family. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed just making a decision that only effects me, but when I think about making a decision that could affect my entire family it gets much more confusing. The "gray" area seems to multiple when I think that any decision I make could literally impact the remainder of the boys' life. When I start to think about the impact of my decisions on my extended family I almost feel paralyzed.

Sometimes I wish I could look into a crystal ball and know that the choices I am making are the right ones - not only for me but also for my family.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Day

Some of my favorite movies of all time are Empire Records, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. All of these movies take place over the course of one day when the main character’s lives are forever changed by the events that take place.

I know it might sound a little silly to say that someone’s life can change in just one day, but it can, and my story is a perfect example.

It all started the beginning of my Junior year of high school. I had a boyfriend that I wasn’t really that fond of but that my parents seemed to tolerate. I had gotten myself into some trouble earlier in the summer but my parents trusted the new boyfriend and would let me go out with him. While it was nice that I could get out of the house it was obvious to me that something was missing and it was time for us to break up.

Earlier in the summer I had driven from Tampa, Florida down to Ft. Myers, Florida with my friend Gretchen so that she could finally met a guy she had been talking to online. I’m not sure what we told our parents but off we went, Gretchen and I, on a two hour car drive south to meet a complete stranger. While in Ft. Meyers I met an older boy named Jay. He was the typically bad boy and I was quite smitten.

Over the course of the summer Jay and I shared a few phone calls and lots of letters. (Yes letters, before the use of email was widespread.)

Labor Day weekend of my Junior year I had decided that I was done with my current boyfriend and a trip to Ft. Myers to see Jay was just the thing that I needed. I’m sure I told my parents I would be at Gretchen’s for the weekend and she told her parents the same. We had it all worked out.

Friday afternoon once school got out I chickened out and decided that driving to Ft. Myers for the weekend wasn’t a smart choice to make. To this day I can’t decide why I changed my mind, but I’m happy that I did.

So it was Friday night and I was free! I didn’t know what I would do to keep busy but the first thing that popped into my head was to see what Ed was up to.

Ed was my boyfriend Shawn’s best friend. We had French together and I had been talking to him for the last two weeks about how I wanted to break up with Shawn. I’ll admit it, I was a wimp and didn’t want to be the bad guy. Ed knew all about my plans to go see Jay for the weekend so I felt safe calling him. He invited me to his house and we hung out. I asked him not to tell Shawn (his best friend and my boyfriend) that I was in town.

[Let me just pause for a moment and comment on how manipulative teenage girls can be. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back...]

Over the course of the evening my interactions with Ed went from casual to something else. We played Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo and it was obvious that he let me win a few games. We met up with Gretchen and Ed’s buddy John. We went to pick up Gretchen’s paycheck from Sweet Tomatoes.  I sat shotgun as Ed drove us around town. He even let me steer the car as he drove!

While hanging out at Sweet Tomatoes I began to realize that something was happening. It was strange, but Ed was waiting for me to get out of the car and he was standing just a little too close to me.

After Sweet Tomatoes’ we decided that a late night movie would be great. So Gretchen and I, Ed and John all went to see The Crow: City of Angels.  I made sure that Ed and I were sitting beside each other. Once the movie started I kept point at the screen and talking to Ed. Eventually he got the hint and he grabbed my hand. We spent the rest of the movie sitting side my side just holding hands. At some point I must have placed my head on his shoulder and drifted off to sleep. The next thing I remember is Gretchen waking me up and telling me the movie is over.

After the movie we went back to Gretchen’s house with the boys and turned on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I think I quickly fell asleep and only remember Gretchen waking me up and saying that the boys had to go home.

I walked Ed out to his car and gave him a long hug. He kissed me quickly on the cheek and whispered, “Let’s just take it slow. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

I remember going to my friend Lindsey’s house the next day and telling her that I thought I could be in love! I know it sounds strange but even in the very beginning I knew that there was something different about this one.

The rest of the weekend was a little bit of a blur. I went home and called Shawn and told him I didn’t think it was working out between the two of us. When Ed called I told him that I had broken up with Shawn and he said he needed to talk to Shawn before anything else took place between us. Ed asked Shawn if he could ask me out, Shawn gave us his blessing and the rest is history!

The Monday of Labor Day weekend we had our first date. He picked me up from my house. I got past the “If you want to go out on a date with a guy we must have met the guy before you go out” rule because Ed had been over to the house to swim a few over the course of the summer. (He was my boyfriends best friend, remember?)

After Ed picked me up we went to the book store. We grabbed a few books that we wanted to “look” at and then sat down in the floor. We had our first kiss amongst the fiction section of Barnes and Nobles. After the book store we went to a movie. We saw “House Arrest” but I don’t remember much about the movie.

After that first date it all happened very easy. We were happy, giddy, and very much in lust!

That first weekend was fifteen years ago! Today we celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary! I love him so much!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some Days Are Meant to be Lazy

We started out the day with such grand plans. We'd been planning on cleaning up the attic for some time and today seems as good of a day as any. After an easy breakfast of homemade monkey bread and oranges we pulled down all of the toys from the attic and set them in the kitchen so that we could go through them to decide what we wanted to keep and what we could possibly donate.

The kids were super excited about seeing all of the "new" toys.

I'm saving this picture for when he's a teenager!

We had very good intentions of cleaning and sorting but the boys were having such a good time playing we just let them be. I spent some time in the kitchen making some yummy vegetable soup. And the kids just played.

Ellis is obsessed with painted toe nails, so I got out the polish and touched up his toes.

And then he fell asleep on the couch while the polish was drying!

Owen stayed in his PJs all day! Sometimes you just need a day that's carefree - even if you're a kid!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life Right Now

It's been very busy around our house lately. Here are a few of the things we've got going on...

- Owen is now in his third week of 2nd grade. He's got 14 kids in his class and LOVES his new teacher. We feel very blessed that he enjoys school and seems to excel.

Owen on the first day of school. No, he doesn't have to wear a uniform but this is the outfit he picked out.

- After months of training Ellis has finally gotten a handle on using the potty. We aren't 100% of the way there but we've made a lot of progress in the last week.

- Both of the boys have become obsessed with Katy Perry. They love running around the living room dancing like crazy. Look at cute little Ellis swinging his hips!

- Last weekend we managed to get the baseboards installed in kitchen. We're slowly making progress on all of the different projects around the house. We also managed to get the trim along the bottom of the dishwasher installed, the trim around the closet in our bedroom installed, and the door to the new bathroom hung. We've got a few more rounds of drywall mud to put up and sand down before we can paint and install the floors in the new bath, but once we get the drywall complete the project should finish up quickly. (Famous last words, right?)

Life is good.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Silent Tree

We had every intention of having a very lazy and low key Saturday. We had debated taking the boys to the pool but neither of them were really excited about that idea and I wasn’t jumping at the thought of spending the day in the heat.

We had talked about going shopping for a new living room rug, which we really need, but our hearts weren’t in it.

I was close to finishing my latest book and Ed was excited that the English Premier League Soccer was playing their first game of the season. The boys were actually playing nicely together in their room, which is sort of rare these days so we just decided to take it easy.

About 10:45AM I decided to run get a quick pedicure while Ed finished the soccer game.

When I got home an hour later no one was in the house. This was strange. I quickly checked the bedrooms but still, no one. My next thought is that everyone must be outside so I walked onto the back deck to this view…

I know it’s a little hard to understand the picture, so let me explain. We had a very large tree fall in our back yard last night. The odd thing is that no one heard a thing. I would have thought that such a large tree falling would have made some loud noise, but we didn’t hear a thing.

The tree hit the corner of the back of the kids fort. The fort had a swing hanging off the back of it. The swing was mounted to a 4 x 4 board. The board was cut in half by the force of the tree falling. I’m fortunate that the house wasn’t hit and that no one was hurt.

After examining the tree I’m still not sure why it fell. It did have some damage from some carpenter ants, but at the base of the tree where it broke to fall over it looked healthy.

Now we have the fun task of trying to get the yard cleared up. We were able to get most of the small branches with leaves off with the help of a hatchet and a small hand saw. A neighbor brought over a gas powered chain saw but we can’t seem to get it to work. Another neighbor let us borrow an electric chain saw so Ed has managed to get the top of the tree cut up. Now we’ve just need to come up with a game plan for the rest of the tree.

I’m thinking we’ll try to rent a chain saw from a hard ware store. Only tomorrow will tell.

I’m still pretty amazed that such a large object could fall in the back yard and we didn’t even notice. Nature is very strange at times.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is Summer Really Almost Over?

Here in the south the school year seems to start way too early. Owen heads back to school on August 8th. He's only got 2 weeks left before he starts 2nd grade. Where has the summer gone?

We spent the 4th of July holiday visiting our dear friends Uncle Mike and Aunt Michelle Brady in Columbus, Ohio. There aren't many people in the world that I love completely but these two are definitely on the list.

The boys LOVED playing Rock Band.

Owen had a great time at the 4th of July carnival.

Once we got back into town it was time to say farewell to my sister Penny, who left the country to teach in South America for two years. We hosted a going away party for her at our house and we had a great time. She is definitely already missed.

Me (on the left) and my dear Sister.

The rest of July has been filled with pool time, play dates, and me working way too much. I'm looking forward to having a little more routine in our daily life and the hope of cooler weather. Happy Summer!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer is Here

I know it's been awhile since my last update and I'm sorry. I've got no other excuse then to blame it on summer. This summer our family schedule is completely gone. The boys are up past their bed time and sleeping late in the mornings. Our family routine has completely gone out the window. Part of me is annoyed by this lack of structure but part of me knows that the kids need to experience some freedom during this season.

Ed and the boys are spending their days at the pool. We're eating lots of watermelon and other yummy summer produce. We're also working on a few small projects around the house.

 Owen is starting to act much older than the 7 year old that he is, & he's starting to dress the part also.

The boys have so much fun playing together at the park.

And the boys are super excited about their new bunk beds.

We're doing well and enjoying the lazy summer. Owen spent two weeks in June at a day camp specializing in Chinese language and culture. He loved it. We don't have him signed up for anymore camps but hope to keep him busy with a trip to Columbus, Ohio and lots of time at the lake with his grandparents. Happy Summer Everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


The transition from the school year to summer has been a little hard on my little boy Ellis. Up until 2 weeks ago his days were pretty easy hanging out with Dad at home and taking a good 2 hour nap. Now with his brother home from school and the summer beginning Ellis' nap and daily routine are both gone.

The boys are spending most mornings at the pool, swimming for a few hours and then coming home famished and warn out.

It's been an okay transition but Ellis is exhausted. They took a break from the pool today but by 7PM he had reached his limit. After a quick shower we put on his PJs and then cleaned up his scraped knee. He was not happy about me cleaning up his boo-boo and he started crying. He cried and whined and cried for a good while which is very unusual for him. I decided that he just needed to go to sleep but couldn't get him to calm down.

I managed to get him to calm down by promising to lie down with him. I never lay down with him or let him sleep with me so he was pretty happy. We laid down together and I started rubbing his back. After about 5 minutes his eyes suddenly closed, his breathing changed and I knew he was fast asleep. The stress of an over tired 3 year old melted away when I realized he had fallen asleep so easily next to me.

It's moments like these that I want to remember for ever. These simple moments make the pain and stress of motherhood (and parenthood) more than worth it. It's the little, simple, unexpected joys that remind me that being a mom is the best thing that has happened to me in my short life!

My precious little boy

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Will you allow me to brag a moment?

My oldest son Owen just finished first grade. First grade was definitely a bit of a transition for both Owen and my husband and I. Kindergarten was very easy, but first grade was hard work. We had spelling words and math tests and science projects. It took a little while for our family to adjust to the transition.
Last week we got to finally celebrate all of our hard work at the end of the year awards ceremony.

Walking the Red Carpet 

Owen received many awards including Excellence in Chinese, a Media Production Participation Award, an Excellence in Art Award, a Perfect Attendance Award, Most Improved in Language Arts, Most Improved in Math, and A-B Honor Roll. I was a little surprised by the Math award but after talking to his teacher we found out that he scored a 98% on his final test of the year! He's been excellent in Math all year but since his final test score was so good he had the highest percentage increase for all of the 1st grade students. He excels in math and his test score just proved that he really loves the subject.

As a mother, I'm most proud of his "Most Improved in Language Arts" award. It took Owen a little while to understand that he had to work at something to become good at it. His last report card of the year arrived in yesterday's mail and for the first time all year he got all A's. I don't so much care about the straight A's but it is really nice to see that all of his hard work really paid off. By the end of the year it finally seemed like everything school wise was really clicking with him. He was coming home with great scores on his reading and spelling tests and starting to enjoy the challenge.

I hope that he continues to enjoy the challenge of academia. I wish only the best for this little boy!

I owe so much of his success to his teacher this past year. She has been a true blessing to our family and I am thankful every day that we were able to go on this school year journey together.

Owen and his teacher Ms. Hickey

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Has it really been 7 years already?

My oldest son Owen turned 7 this past weekend.

Where has the time gone?

I remember the day he was born - 7 weeks early. I remember the first year being more fearful than enjoyable, but I'm assuming these feelings are semi-common amongst young new parents. I always loved watching him sleep.

He's about 4 months old in his picture.

I was scared to death. It's amazing how one day can change your life so completely.

It's been so amazing watching him grow up over the years.

2 years old

4 Year Old

6 Years Old

I'm trying to adopt a "Less is More" philosophy in life, so for a birthday celebration we invited his cousin and two of his friends for a game of Frisbee Golf. I was a little scattered getting everything together and out the door so I failed to bring my camera on our outing.

After 8 holes of golf the boys were hot and tired and ready to head back home. Once we got back to the house Ed set up a slip and slide in the back yard.

My parents bought him his first Nerf Gun which he adores!

We ended up having a great evening with wonderful family and some amazing friends.

I am thankful everyday that I get to be his mom. I love watching him grow up and turn into this amazing person. Life is good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 2 Busiest Weeks of My Year

The last two weeks of May are always the busiest of the year for me. In two weeks I get to celebrate the birth of four amazing people in my life.

May 16th marks the birth of my one and only niece Kayleigh. She turned 11 yesterday. I can remember when she was born while I was still in college. She's an amazing young lady and the closest thing I'll ever have to a daughter. My mom has some really cute pictures of Kayleigh on her blog.

Today, May 17th, we get to celebrate my husband's birthday. I did the math today and this is the 14th birthday of his that we have spent together. It's amazing how time seems to be flying by these day.

One of my favorite birthdays that I spent with Ed was when he turned 23. It was the year after college and we were living in L.A. We were broke and in love and spent the evening celebrating with his mom and sister. We went to dinner at a restaurant on the beach in Malibu. While we were eating a young couple got engaged at the table next to us. The guy got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. They celebrated with champagne and everyone in the restaurant cheered. I remember looking at the newly engaged couple and thinking, "I want that." Ten months later we were living in Atlanta and engaged and we got married six months after that. When I think about it now the time between that birthday in LA and our wedding seem so far apart, but really a lot changed in those short sixteen months.

Five short days after my husbands birthday my oldest son Owen celebrates his birthday.

Five days after Owen's birthday we celebrate my youngest son Ellis' birthday!

I'll be very busy the next several days celebrating all of these wonderful birthdays!