Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I wanted to wish y'all the very happiest of Halloweens.

Truly, one of the cutest sights to me is a child in costume. I mean. Seriously. Adorable.

Because I know my days of "helping" my little guy choose his costume are limited (i.e., I'm pretty sure next year he'll insist on being an athlete or ninja or super hero of some sort), I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to "help" him select his attire for this year.

And then? Hey! Why not do a family costume this year?! I actually still can't believe my hub went for it. But I'm glad he did.

So, HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the Wizard of Oz crew: 

Featuring Momma as the Tin Man, Daddy as the Scarecrow, Raleigh as Dorothy, Banks as the Cowardly Lion, and Cooper as Toto

Ready for Trick or Treating...Wicked Witch legs and all! 

Happy Trick-or-Treating to all!


Monday, October 29, 2012

What I'm Lovin' Now

Right now, I'm lovin'

  • The fact that cooler temps have arrived. Have I mentioned before that I love Fall? Maybe just once or twice? Well, right now, I am sitting next to my hub, snuggled up on the couch, with a fire burning in the fireplace while both of our sweet babies sleep. Ahhh....
  • The fact that my hub has no overnight travel trips this week--the first time this has happened in several months. One thing I have learned so far in my stint as a stay-at-home momma is that this job is definitely more physically demanding than my former job. I attribute this to having a little boy who is just that--ALL boy. He is happiest when he is in motion, particularly when he is playing sports, which is fun, fun, fun but also tiring, tiring, tiring. Couple that with the fact that my little lady is thisclose to walking, and can crawl at a rapid fire pace, and you get one tired, physically worn down momma, especially when going at it alone for 48 hours + most weeks. 
  • The fact that my little girl, my sweet, almost 10-month-old baby girl, said her first word today. Which I just so happened to capture on camera: "Bubble." Just hearing her precious little voice made me smile with every inch of my mind, body, and soul. And I will not admit to exactly how many times I have watched the video. Lets just say it is well over 20...
  • The fact that, after being wait-listed for pretty much all of my preschools of choice in Fort Mill for my little buddy, I finally got the phone call that there was an opening for him at one of my favorite programs (despite the fact that he was 7th on the wait list). Although this means he will be switching schools for the second time in less than two months, I think this program will be better for him in the long-run. 
  • The fact that I FINALLY get to meet my new nephew next week. It has been killing me not to get to snuggle the newest little Luton since his birth last month. I was lucky enough to meet, and snuggle, both of his sisters the days they were born, so it has been really tough not getting to meet the new little guy. Just one week to go!
  • The fact that Instagram photos are slowly starting to roll in for my idea. Hip, hip, hooray! Please, please, please, keep 'em coming! See something eye-catching? Pull over. Snap a photo. Instagram it. Become a published photographer. Done.
  • The fact that my Facebook feed is about to be bombarded with pictures of kids in costumes. I mean, really, is there anything cuter? I think not.
  • The fact that some of my close friends have become first-time mommas over the last couple of months. There is just nothing in the entire world like being a momma. Nothing. And I am so, so happy that some of the women I love most are beginning the parenting adventure. Now, they get it. :)
  • The fact that my postpartum hair loss seems to be finally coming to an end. The result? A thin, stringy, newly cow-licked, poor excuse for a head of hair. Oh. And gotta love those spiky hairs that now adorn pretty much every inch of my scalp, that no amount of hairspray, clips, or headbands will contain. Lovely.
  • The fact that my beautiful baby sister is marrying the man of her dreams next Fall. The dress has been purchased (breathtaking). The venue (almost) selected. And the fun has begun.
  • The fact that my hub and I are planning a very special family trip for 2013. One for the books. One I simply cannot wait to happen!
  • The fact that the election is almost here. And almost over. Soon, no more political ads or debates or Facebook arguments or people (everyone) thinking their candidate is the only respectable choice. I know who is getting my vote. I feel confident in my choice. Now, we wait to see who pulls out the "W." 
  • The fact that I have something special up my sleeve for my kiddos for next month. Actually, we started this evening. I am proud of what this will entail and proud to be exposing my children to it. More details coming in future posts. Obnoxious, I know. 
  • The fact that YOU are reading my blog. Seriously. I LOVE to write-I always, always have-and this is such a wonderful, creative outlet for me. So, thank you for reading and letting me share a little piece of my life with you.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Family Fill-In: Halloween Happiness

We interrupt the idea blog takeover (Read it! Get involved! Start posting to Instagram!) to present this week's Friday Family Fill-In.

Y'all? Fall has arrived. Ahhhhhh. 

I love this time of year. I was telling my hub just yesterday that I have never noticed the leave changes being so beautiful, and then I realized it's because, until a month and a half ago, we were living the metropolitan life. Now we are suburban. Which means a slower pace, a quieter life, and yes, more trees to watch transform into beautiful autumn hues. Lovin' it.

But I digress.

Given the arrival of Fall, we have been in full-on Halloween mode here in the Mill. This has translated into lots of Halloween fun for my kiddos and me lately.


Halloween-themed snacks (thank you, Pinterest): 

 A modification on the ever-popular Pinterest "candy corn" fruit cup pin: Bananas topped with melon topped with whipped cream. Delish.

 Pudding and cookie crumb monster parfait

Spider web sprinkled sugar cookies

 This year, we have gone hayride crazy! Including a hayride at our local Fall festival

 My sweet babes, pre-hayride

Hayride at the oh-so-fun Hall Family Farm during our weekly playdate

Again, pre-hayride for our new tradition: Neighborhood hayride to view all the very festive Halloween decor. Loving Raleigh's "blue steel" look as she awaits our ride.

Speaking of the neighborhood, we've been having a lot of fun around these parts. For example, I created a "Halloween Hunt" for Banks, which was an absolute blast for my competitive little guy (i.e., a scavenger hunt for various Halloween decor around the neighborhood).

We also got "Booed" and had to "Boo" back two different homes. Banks helped deliver the secret baskets o' treats to two of our unsuspecting neighbors.

Finally, the kiddos and I have been having lots of fun around the house, too, such as:

 Making cotton ball ghosts
 Making paper scrap candy corn

 Launching paper "spiders" onto our tape spider web

And making handprint spiders

With Halloween still six days away, you can be sure we'll be basking in the jack-o-lantern glow of a few more Halloween activities, including our neighborhood's huge Halloween party tomorrow, complete with a costume parade and chili competition, as well as this month's "Kids in the Kitchen" event, mini candy apple-making. Fun! And of course, we'll cap things off next Wednesday, starting with a Halloweenie party (hosted by our neighbors) and a fun-filled night of trick-treating. Whew!

Finally, here's a sneak peek of the ol' Halloween costumes for this year...

Happy Friday. Happy Weekend. Happy Halloween. 

Oh, and Happy Instagramming. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Details

I was so, so happy to get such supportive feedback about my idea via Facebook, texts, Instagram, and email. Thank YOU for wanting to know more about this. For wanting to be IN. 

Please, please, pretty please, share this idea, this blog, this post, with your friends, your family, your co-workers, your students, your acquaintances. The more, the merrier. 

Okay. So now for the details.

While I will not release the actual text of the manuscript until the book is published (there needs to be some element of surprise while also protecting the content, right?), I WILL tell you the exact images that are needed.

I know that many of those who are interested in participating in this idea are Mommas (rock on, Mommas--chest bump to all of you): Mommas of beautiful, beautiful babies. Babies whose pictures I truly, truly LOVE seeing on Facebook and Instagram. Really. I do!


I think what will really make this book sell is if the photos are not identifiable children. In fact, with the exception of the first and last pages of the book, the text of the book is not actually about children at all but instead is about describing love using Southern imagery. 


While your children are amazingly beautiful and incredible little beings, the images for this book need to be more anonymous. As my hub put it, when you stage a house for selling, you remove identifiable photos and images to give the home a more universal feeling. The same goes for this book. If we want a universal audience to read it, they need to be able to identify with the content and with the images, envisioning their own childlren throughout the story. Thus, the images I am requesting are focused more on non-human content. 


Well, let me just lay it out there. Here are the specific photos that are needed for the book:

  • Sun surrounded by clouds
  • Pitcher of sweet tea with lemons
  • Bumbleebee
  • Butterfly (preferable on a flower)
  • Grass with dew or mist
  • Bullfrog in a puddle (yes, I know this is a tough one)
  • Lightening flash at night
  • Peach pie
  • Full moon
  • Front porch with a porch swing
  • Hummingbird on a flower (yep, another toughie)  
  • Shade from an oak tree
  • Rocking chair
  • Storm clouds
  • Autumn leaves in the trees/on ground
  • Fish in a stream (maybe the toughest of them all)
  • Stars and moon
  • Some type of berry field (strawberry?)
  • Ocean waves on the sand 
  • Quilt 
  • Embers and/or fire in a fireplace

So, no, the images won't be of your children. But. They will still be YOUR images, ones that YOU will get credit for in the published book. 

And also, please know that it is not only Mommas who I am hoping will submit photos. I would love nothing more than to have submissions from men and woman of all ages and stages of life. So. Submit away! 

One of the reasons I love Instagram is because you can take an ordinary picture and spruce it up using any of the filters offered. So, please, feel free to use any filter you think will make the photo look more vibrant/picturesque/beautiful. YOU are the illustrator. YOU have creative license to do with the photo as you please.

Remember to use hashtag morethanphoto (i.e., #morethanphoto) and tag me @lindsayluton when submitting a photo for consideration.

One more thing. I know when I post a photo to Instagram, it (usually) saves a copy in my photo bank on my phone. Make sure you do not delete these on your own phone. If your photo is selected, I may need you to email it to me for uploading, formatting, etc. (I haven't yet figured out how to do this with photos I haven't posted to Instagram myself. If you know, let me know. Please.). Make sense?

Okay. That's all for now. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Are you still in? 'Cause I am. More than ever. 

Off we go!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Idea

So, I have this idea. 

One that I think is pretty innovative. One that I've never seen done before. One that will require YOUR help.

I'm just gonna get right to the point.

Over the last 8 months, I've been working on a manuscript for a children's book, one that is meant to be a picture book (i.e., similar to what you would see in a board book, for all you momma readers out there). In other words, it uses simple, child friendly language. What sets this story apart from other children's literature I've seen is the utilization of Southern imagery and themes, which is used to showcase a momma's love for her child.

On Monday, I mailed my manuscript, biographical information, and cover letter to a large publishing company in Atlanta. Now, I will tell you, I absolutely LOVE the manuscript and it is very special to me. Now, I will also tell you, I am absolutely, 100% expecting a rejection letter once they review it in 6 to 9 months. The children's publishing field is extremely competitive.

But I really love the story. And I believe in it. And I want to see it get published. 


I am already planning to go the self-publishing route. But what I am lacking, where I need YOUR help, is with the illustration--and not of the drawing kind. Now, bear with me. Here's where things get NEW, FRESH, and INNOVATIVE.

My idea is to have you, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my readers, submit your INSTAGRAM photos, which I will then turn around and use as the illustrations for the book.

Are you with me so far? 

What I am thinking is that I will fill you in on the specific images I am looking for (e.g., autumn leaves; lightening flash; peach pie). I will then ask YOU to submit photos through Instagram, using the hashtag morethanphoto (i.e., #morethanphoto) and also tagging me @lindsayluton each time you want to submit a photo. I will then choose from all those submitted which photos will be used in the ACTUAL, PUBLISHED BOOK. 

So, what does this mean for you? I mean, why in the world should you care? Why should you take the time to do this? 

Well, anyone who's photo(s) is selected will be credited under the photo in the ACTUAL, PUBLISHED BOOK. So, you will be a published illustrator! You will also become a part of something new, something that I could see taking the publishing world by storm. I mean, this is a brand new concept, one that taps into everything that is hot right now, namely social media and Instragram; so, this could be BIG, right? I mean, really, really BIG? 

A girl can dream...and do everything in her power to make that dream a reality. 

So, are YOU in? Do YOU want to be a part of this NEW, INNOVATIVE, and FRESH concept? Do YOU want to be a part of something, from the very beginning, that could take the literature world by storm?

Please give me feedback. Let me know what you think. Seriously.

I'm in. 

Are you?

Disclaimer: While all contributing parties will be credited for their work, no monetary compensation will be provided to said parties.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Confession Time

Okay y'all. I just have to know. 

Am I the only one who:

  • Has recorded myself singing using my iPhone to hear what I actually sound like (My opinion: Worse than Mariah but better than Rebecca Black (of the "It's Friday" claim to fame)?
  • Enjoys wrapping gifts (almost) as much as I like giving them?
  • Pictures myself looking way cooler when I run than I actually do (Picture this: Legs pushing back and out to the side with each stride. Picture this: Dorky.)?
  • Envisions myself walking down a runaway anytime I am traipsing down a long hallway (Head Up. Shoulders back. Annnd....Go.)?
  • Will chew the same piece of gum for an entire day (Time for a meal? No problem. Just store the chewed gum on the side of the plate and then pop it back in after the last bite. Mmmm...scrumptious. And cost efficient.)?
  • Has a constant, evolving escape route planned any time I go for a run (You know. In case a dog should suddenly leap over a fence and come barging towards me. No problem. I'll just scale that parked truck and use it to propel myself onto the roof of that house. Problem solved.)?
  • Cannot stand the taste of any condiment on any meal (Hamburger? Plain with a dash of nuthin'. Hot dog? Only the bun, please. French fries? No ketchup is the best ketchup.)?
  • Never feels 100% pulled together (Cute outfit? Check--But oh wait! I forgot my earrings, or to paint my toenails, or to put on lipstick, etc.)?
  • Is extra careful when using objects with retractable cords (I blame my sister for this one after she got a large welt on her face when attempting to put away her iron with a, you guessed it, retractable cord.)?
  • Still forgets whether or not I have already shampooed my hair (even after posting about this on Facebook and attempting to be more cognizant when taking a shower)?
  • Has to draw an imaginary compass in the air and say to myself, "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" (i.e., North, East, South, West) when trying to remember which direction is which (Yes, I am directionally challenged)?

 Surely I'm not the only one. Right?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Family Fill-In: A Day in the Life (in Photos)

Obviously, every day is different. For all of us. But for today's Friday Family Fill-In, I thought I'd present one of the new more typical days for me now that I am a stay-at-home momma. 

So sit back. Relax. And enjoy this absolutely over the top picture overload as I present a day in the life of Doc Momma...and family...

6:00 am. My alarm goes off. I get up, get myself dressed and make-up upped before enjoying my breakfast in peace while the coffee brews. The house is quiet. This is the very little me time I get each day. 

Except for today. Because this little lady decided to wake up a little earlier than usual:

 Meet Raleigh. The morning-est person I know. Seriously. You can hear her smile when you walk in the room.

At 6:45 am every day, this happens: 

 Thank you, Good Nite Light, for ensuring Banks stays in his room until 6:45 each morning.

 Rise and Shine.

Morning snuggles, followed immediately by getting all people 3 and under dressed...

 And teeth brushed.

Said parties are then permitted to watch cartoons while Momma prepares breakfast and has a few sips of coffee

 Today, Banks elects to enjoy a little light magazine reading, in the hopes of expanding his Christmas wish list

 Sibling Breakfast. By this point, Daddy has started his work day, and we will not see him again until dinner time. On this particular day, he was traveling and out the door while the little ones were still in bed.

 Meanwhile, while breakfast is being eaten, Momma runs around like a mad woman, preparing lunches and packing bags for the day's activities
There's still time before we need to leave for the day's scheduled playdate, which means free time in the playroom.

Before we depart, diaper change. This is how they ALL look these days. I am typically sweaty and worn out after wrestling this baby during each and every diaper change.

Before we leave, we let Coop out on the back porch (his new second home), and we finally get out the door...

15 minutes later than I wanted us to leave :/

Side note: We have an awesome playdate group here that we've joined, with mommas and kiddos from the Charlotte/Fort Mill general areas. Our good friend, Sarah, who I've known since college, invited us to join and has introduced us to so many wonderful new friends. We typically make one of the two weekly events. Today's event was a crafting/playground playdate in Matthews, North Carolina.

We pull up to the playground, just in time for Raleigh's second nursing session of the day, which is done in the car. Meanwhile, Banks has joined his friends to start the playdate...

Which, today, consists of a little Halloween crafting before hitting the playground.

This little lady is ready to join the fun.

Kid crafts are over. Time to hit the playground!


And more fun! 

This little girl just watches the older kids in awe. After lots of play time and a picnic lunch, it's time to head home for  nap.

My son's snuggle object of choice? One of his many, many footballs.

(Second) Side note: Almost everyday, Raleigh's second nap of the day coincides with (part of) Banks' nap, during which time I tend to bury myself in housework. Not today. She slept on the way home from the playdate and awoke just as we pulled in the driveway, when it was time for Banks to nap. Although this cut into my day's "to do" list, I didn't mind a bit. Because Raleigh and I spent 2.5 solid hours, alone, relishing in some amazing Momma-daughter time.

 After our afternoon nursing session (during which I watched as the beautiful trees in the lot next door were demolished as construction began on our sweet new neighbors' home), we spent lots of time...

Tickling (and laughing)...

Reading (and laughing)...

And practicing walking (and laughing). After tackling a little laundry, singing some songs, and doing lots more laughing, big brother finally woke up...

And it was quickly decided the rest of the afternoon would be spent on the golf course.

 Banks practiced his putting...

While Raleigh sat on the green, enthralled by the fallen leaves

Following some driveway tennis practice with Momma...

 It was time for dinner. On the menu for this one? Cut up green beans and pureed squash.

For the rest of us? A rare treat. No home cookin' from Momma tonight. Take out Mexican. Delish.

 Our evenings are probably my favorite part of the day. Our whole, little family plays together in the playroom before bath time (which is now much easier, bathing two kids, in the same tub, at once).

 A few last snuggles, and one more nursing session, before it's time for our girly to hit the hay, around 8:00 pm.

 The moon has now come out in Banks' room, which lets him know bedtime is near. He gets 30 extra minutes of snuggles, playtime, and/or cartoons with Momma and Daddy before his bedtime routine begins.

And finally, at 8:30 pm, both of my babies are in bed. I hang out with my hub as long as I can keep my eyes open, and after a quick shower, promptly fall asleep, generally as soon as my head hits the pillow.

So, although every day is different, each day spent with my little ones is so special to me, and I will continue to do my very, very best to ensure we are having as much fun together as we possibly can.