Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter 2013

Just a quick post to say Happy Easter! sweet friends and family. 

We've done a few Easter crafts this week to get in Easter mode (several cute ideas adopted from Total Tippins Takeover), and the word on the street is the Easter bunny is stocked, prepped, and ready to hide eggs and fill baskets.

Oh, and what Easter would be complete without a trip to see the Easter bunny? 

My poor, traumatized little toddler. She was just not a fan, as you can see in the photo below. Meanwhile, although a little hesitant at first, my big guy agreed to sit next to the big ol' rabbit while keeping a safe distance between them: 

Sorry for the blurry photo. I was reprimanded by the staff for taking this quick shot. 

After being traumatized by the bunny, it took a few minutes for my little Raleigh to recover:

Snuggles from Momma start to make things better...

Hugs from big brother Banks also help, although high alert for the Bunny continues...

Maybe he's not so bad after all. At least from a distance...

Warming up to the idea...

Oh, alright. I'll give him a wave...

Okay, okay. A smile, too! You're not so bad, Easter Bunny!

Meanwhile, Banks couldn't have been happier to have posed with the bunny and received a super cool chick mask. 

Anywho, we look forward to spending our first Easter Sunday in Fort Mill with good friends at our new church and then soaking up time with just our little family of four while remaining present and mindful of what the day means to us. Oh, and spoiler alert: No, I am not making the ham nor sides we will be gobbling up for our Easter feast. HoneyBaked Ham will be doing that honor. Hey-I'm still recovering from making our Christmas meal. Have I mentioned before that cooking is not my forte (Side note: Totally had to google how to spell /for-tay/)??

Oh well! I wish you and yours the happiest of Easters. See you in April!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

European Virgin

Although I have lived in 2 countries, 3 states, 7 cities, and close to 20 residences over my 32 years of life, I have never traveled to Europe. 

Well. That's about to change. In less than two short weeks. 

My hub works very, very hard, working past midnight most weeknights after the kids and I go to bed and traveling overnight, several nights, almost every single week. However. I know that many, many husbands work really, really hard. And many, many husbands travel. And many, many husbands put in long hours (and working mommas, too, for that matter!). We are just very lucky that my hub happens to work for a company who has a nice reward program for all that hard work. 


We are about to (very, very luckily!) be able to reap the benefits of his hard work, as he was recently rewarded with an all-expenses paid, week-long trip to Portugal. We even managed to book our flights so that we'll have a 24-hour layover in Paris. 


Can someone please pinch me? Because I'm still in a state of disbelief. Seriously. Can.Not.Believe.It. 

I hope this post doesn't come off as braggadocious or annoying. I really don't mean it to be.    Honestly! I just need a little assistance. 

You see, I am writing to, first and foremast, ask for any advice, tips, or tricks for European travel. And don't worry. I have already (very recently) been informed that, no, Spanish is not spoken in Portugal. Portuguese is spoken in Portugal (See what I mean?? Seriously. I need any tips, advice, or help you can send my way). I am clueless.

Also, while I will take the week of our trip off from blogging, I will forewarn any one out there who reads this little ol' blog that I will likely do a post, or two, on the adventures my hub and I encounter on our trip. Feel free to skip over those posts as you see fit. Or not. But I can pretty much promise it'll be a vacay picture overload (Who me? Take pictures? Never.).

Oh, and did I mention this is a no kids allowed trip? It is. Thanks to several awesome family members (shout out to you, Uncle Dame and Aunt Jamie, and Nana and Pop), my hub and I will be able to take a full-seven days of soaking in time as just the two of us, with maybe just a teensy, tinsy, little, itty, bitty bit of anxiety about being away from my babes for a whole week. Out of the country. But hopefully, European food and wine will help alleviate some of that worry. :) 

Anywho. Now welcoming all tips. All advice. All help. 

And also, again, please know that I realize how very, very, very lucky we are to be able to take this trip. I feel very, very, very thankful and, again, hope me even sharing that we're taking this trip isn't off-putting to anyone. Honestly! 

For now, adios (No wait. That's Spanish. How do you say good-bye in Portuguese?? Looks like I have some studying to do before my trip...).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spreading the Love

I have always loved to read. 

I remember, very clearly, being SO exited every time I got my latest edition of a Boxcar Children (early on in childhood) and (later on in childhood) Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley High, and Fear Street book as a child/teenager. And let's not even begin to talk about when I got the scholastic book order forms in elementary school. Eeeeeeek!!!

I still love to read. Love it. No, seriously. Love it.

My latest, greatest hard copy obsessions include Enemies of the Heart (as previously blogged about. Stop what you're doing. Read it.), Proof of Heaven (a book I recently read to help cope with the loss of my beautiful friend. Again, highly recommend. I have found such comfort in my grieving from reading this book), and Bloom (by the author of my very favorite blog). Currently, I am now re-reading The Last Lecture (such a beautiful, poignant, get-your-priorities-in-order-people read) and am already planning to read Carry On, Warrior (by the author of my other very favorite blog) and Brain On Fire (because I am, after all, still a neuropsychologist) next. 

That being said, I think that reading blogs is the latest and greatest reading trend that is overtaking reading magazines. At least for me. I love (good) blogs. Now, in my world, no reading material is greater than a good book. But lately? A good blog is a very close second. 

Okay. So. With that being said, are you ready for some shameless, non-self-promotion? 

If not, shut down your browser and back away. 

If we go!!

I love blogs. Did I say that already? Well, I'll say it again. I do. I love blogs. Just check out my side bar ( ---------> ) and you'll see some of my faves. 

But here's what's great. A few of my favorite blogs are some of my favorite business women as well. For example...

My (co-, right Whit?) best friend for eva and eva and eva, who just so happens to be my sister, is the author of the awesome blog Cupcakes & Running Shoes (because she loves to run. And she loves to eat. Especially cupcakes. And P.S.? She is the kick *ss momma of my beautiful, fun-loving, bff-to-my-Raleigh, niece. Seriously. She is a freakin' rockstar momma. And my co-BFF. Lucky me!). Anywho. She just recently became a consultant for Rodan + Fields, who has developed a new skincare line for US (as in, US the mommas, or the 30+ years ladies, out there, who ALL struggle with skin discoloration or wrinkles or adult acne or anti-aging issues. No really. We ALL do.). Now. I don't usually support this kind of stuff. But I am a new customer. And now? A full-on supporter!! Because y'all? It works. No, really. It works!! So help a momma out. Check out the link. Check out the stuff. Because y'all? It's your FACE. I mean, seriously. It's your FACE. Don't you want to take care of it? And feel your most beautiful? And age gracefully? Please check it out. You won't regret it. Trust me. I wouldn't lie to you.

And also? One of my very, very favorite new friends in the Mill also happens to be a very, very talented photographer. Seriously. So, so talented. She also happens to be the momma of two precious little boys who are new best buddies to my kiddos, which is so fun! So. If you live in Charlotte, or Fort Mill, or nearby, and are looking for an extremely talented photographer who just so happens to be one of the sweetest, kindest ladies you'll be lucky enough to meet, then do it. Book her: Volree Wade Photography.

I would also be remiss not to mention one of my sweet college girlfriends who is also a talented photographer in the area, who may or may not have taken the 1-year-old photos of my sweet baby girl and who also shot my entire immediate family (and there are a LOT of us) last summer. She takes gorgeous photos. In fact, she recently shot my stepbrother and his fiance's engagement photos, and the results were stunning. So. Another highly recommended photog in the Charlotte/Lake Wylie area: Lindsay Thalinger Photography. Between Volree and Lindsay, your family in photos is in good hands!!

As if that wasn't enough, my sister-in-law, author of the blog Goat & Lulu, is highly skilled with a sewing machine. Really! She will make you want to take sewing lessons so you can start making your children's own adorable, personalized clothing, to wear every day of the week. No time for that? No problem. Check out her etsy shop. Need something specific? Let her know what you'd like and she'll make it happen. Personalized, customized, one-of-a-kind clothing for your child. Seriously. Check it out. You won't be sorry. And you're welcome. :) 

Okay. I think that's enough of shameless non-self promotion for now. Check them out. Pretty please. You won't be sorry!

For now? I'm off to go back to reading my latest book...and favorite blogs... 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Breaking News: Parenting is Hard

We mommas, we have ALL been there. 

We have all been the momma with the crying child in Target (True story: I nursed an infant Banks in the bathroom of Target when he wouldn't stop screaming with every ounce of strength he had). 

We have all been the momma with the tantrumming child in the middle of a playdate (Fact: I do not hesitate to put Banks in timeout when he throws a fit in the middle of a playdate, no matter where we are, no matter how many people are around. Consistency, right?).

We have all been the momma who has snapped too quickly when her child just.won't.listen. (Raising my hand, right here, right now). 

We have all been the momma who has used bribes (read: lollipops, cookies, Skittles, M&M's) to get through a trip to the grocery store without a major meltdown (Ummm...every time). 

We have all been the momma who has belted out children's songs during car trips in attempts to make her child, please-for-the-love-of-all-things-good-in-the-world, stop sobbing (offering every snack imaginable is also a feasible alternative). 

Yes, we have ALL been there. 

I think parenting is made harder when other parents act like parenting isn't hard. It IS hard. That's part of the reason I think it's so rewarding. Because, while there are many, many easy, beautiful moments, the hard ones are when we are able attempt to shine as mommas.

I have many, many un-shiny moments. 

Maintaining my patience is an often daily battle for me, especially when little 3-year-old ears just don't seem to be functioning properly and little 1-year-old bodies are being thrown on the floor in a fit when things don't go the way she'd like. 

Keeping my cool can be a lofty goal when 3-year-old whining resonates between the walls of my home like a skipping cd, and 1-year-old bodies fight nose- and ear-cleaning like a cat thrown in a warm bath.


I cannot choose how my child will choose to act. I can choose how I react to those actions and do my best to always model appropriate behavior (as originally and beautifully stated by Amy of Total Tippins Takeover. Seriously. Such a brilliant remark.). 

And each day, I will choose to try and react more cooly, more calmly, more collectively. Some Many days, I will fail. But I will get up and warrior on. Try to grow. Try to change. But. Also recognize that 3-year-olds are going to tantrum sometimes. And 1-year-olds are going to throw fits. 

And to you, momma in Target with the screaming baby, momma at the playdate with the fit-throwing pre-schooler, I will give you a knowing glance that holds the promise that I've been there before. As have all the other mommas. I'll be there again. As will all the other mommas. 


Just so you know, all you mommas out there, I'm with you. I feel your pain on the tough days. I cry with you on the especially frustrating days. I experience the guilt of coulda-shoulda-woulda post-patience-losing days. I get it. I've been there. 

We have ALL been there. And will continue to be there. Just know you're not alone. And neither am I.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Take A Knee

I have few vivid memories of my Dad, but some of those I do have are of him being my big brother's coach when we were growing up-I remember sitting on the sidelines of basketball games and cheering as my Dad coached his "bud" and teammates. I remember playing at Seven Oaks Park each weekend while my Dad lead my brother and his teammates to victory on the baseball field. Such sweet memories.

And now? Fast forward 25-ish years and my own hub is creating those memories for our little boy and little girl.

Because over the weekend, my hub became the head coach of our son's first teeball team. 

Of course, I was so, so proud of my little buddy, all decked out in his baseball gear and "so excited" for teeball, as he told us over and over on Saturday before the afternoon practice/game time. He was absolutely precious, and I definitely teared up when getting him dressed, for the first time ever, in his "Express" (i.e., his first teeball team's name) t-shirt, X-small baseball pants, Adidas cleats, and royal blue baseball socks and hat. And let's not even begin to discuss what I was feeling when he took the field and when it was his turn to bat, for his first official time, as a teeballer. Dream.Come.True. for this momma.

But honestly? The day was made just as, if not more, special seeing my hub as the head coach. My little buddy was so very proud that his daddy was the coach. And I was so proud of my hub.

The email came a couple of months ago, asking if any of the parents whose children were registered for teeball were interested in coaching. The gleam in my hub's eye said it all. Without thought or hesitation, he volunteered. It was a dream realized for both of us. He would be coaching his son's first teeball team. I would be watching my hub coach our son's first teeball team. Pure excitement, joy, love, enthusiasm, and gratitude for this man  immediately followed. 

As we arrived to the field on a warm Saturday afternoon, ready for the first practice/game, my hub quickly launched into coach mode, shaking the hands of all the parents before kneeling down, greeting, and high-fiving all of the adorable 3-year-old boys who were meeting their coach for the first time. 

After uniforms, socks, and hats were distributed, my hub asked his players to "take a knee" and subsequently demonstrated what this meant to the confused 3-year-old athletes. After each player was introduced to his fellow teammates and a quick pep talk was completed, the official practice/game began. The focus of practice that day? Positions and base-running. To see a group of excited 3-year-olds proudly running the bases? Well, you can only imagine how many hearts were overwhelmed by the cuteness that day. And to see my hub leading the pack? Almost more than this heart could handle. Simply adorable.

At the end of the practice, after juice boxes and snacks were distributed to the many outstretched, dirt-ridden, little boy hands (another dream realized as I came prepared to be the "snack mom" for the day), my little boy proudly walked up to his daddy and, completely unprompted, looked up into his eyes and said, "I love you, Dad." 

I'd say it was a pretty solid coaching debut. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

By the Numbers

Some of the numbers in our life right now (as inspired by a post my sister, of Cupcakes & Running Shoes, wrote sometime last year):

3 --> Gallons of milk that are consumed in my household each week (the overwhelming majority by the littlest member of the family)

8 --> Hours it took four grown men to assemble our new swing set 

95th --> Percentile, which is where both of my kiddos fall on their respective growth charts for height

20 --> Days until my hub and I leave for a (free!) getaway to Portugal, with a 24-hour layover in Paris. But who's counting...

48 --> Hours we spent in Asheville last week, with one of my very best friends and her two sweet boys. Loved every hour and every minute

3 --> Number of books I've read over the last month or so...have definitely re-established my love of reading. Currently re-reading another much loved book and already know which two I'm reading next

4 --> Bridesmaid dresses I tried on the other day for my baby sister's wedding. They were all beautiful. She has great taste! Come on, October!

1 --> Day it's been since my little buddy's first teeball practice (and his daddy's head coaching debut!). One of the awesome-est days of my life

6 --> Visible teeth in my little lady's mouth at the ripe ol' age of 14 months, although I have a feeling more are making their way down

2 --> Average number of days I am able to carve out time to run each week. Hoping to increase this to 3 to 4 soon...

9 --> Years of marriage I'll be celebrating with my hub in June. Say wha? 

90 --> Average minutes my little lady sleeps during her one nap each day

1 --> Average number of naps my little buddy takes each week

5 --> Hours it takes to clean my house, top to bottom, every two weeks. I am thinking of asking for a maid for a cleaning or two for Mother's Day...

77 --> High temperature over the weekend. Come on, Spring!

3 --> Typical number of nights my hub is out of town each week. Minimum: one (very rare). Maximum: six (also, luckily, rare). Whew!

2 --> Times my little buddy has been able to enjoy the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in as many years, the most recent of which was with his Bammy and Digby

1 --> Piece or two? The decision I am currently trying to make about what type of swimsuit is "appropriate" for a momma of two. Thoughts??

365 --> Days I feel blessed, thankful, appreciative, grateful, lucky-beyond-words to be a stay-at-home momma. There are trying, challenging, patience-stealing, too-quick-to-anger days, without a doubt, but I truly, truly love this "job."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Remember Not to Forget

If I have learned anything from having a second baby, it's that time moves faster with each passing day. I honest-to-goodness could absolutely SWEAR I was just sitting in a hospital bed in Atlanta, large and in charge, being induced and preparing to meet my first baby, my son. 

And yet. Here we are, 3.5 years later, and time is speeding up with each minute that goes by.

That being said, today, at this moment in time, I want to remember not to forget:

  • The way my dainty little lady smiles with all her might when she first sees her Momma walk into her room each morning
  • The way that my buddy doesn't pause for breath when telling a joke-just getting straight to the punchline
  • The way my girl tucks her little hands under her belly and snuggles her head against my shoulder as soon as I pick her up
  • The fact that my sweet boy loves practicing spelling and addition while waiting in the carpool line to be dropped off at school
  • The fact that my little girl knows no gender boundaries when playing, like when she pushes a sleeve of golf balls around in her stroller or zooms a race car with one hand while holding a tea cup in the other
  • The way that my little guy will smile slyly and look at me out of the corner of his eye when trying to be sneaky
  • The way my little lady sucks in her cheeks, making a fish face, when she's concentrating.
  • The fact that my boy loves monster trucks and sword fighting more than any other activity in the world
  • The way that my little girl will, after noticing the baby gate has been left open at the bottom of the stairs, only climb about three steps and then pause and wait patiently for her daddy or me to notice before she takes off up the rest of them with lightening speed
    • The fact that my buddy loves teaching his sister new words each day, even when they include words like "hiney"
    • The way that my little girl will throw down whatever she is holding and hightail it outta there when she is trying to get somewhere she is not supposed to be and realizes she has been spotted doing so by one of her parents
    • The way that my little athlete will hit a golf ball clear across the backyard and then look at me proudly and day, "Did you see that, Momma?!?"
    • The fact that my girl can occupy herself for a lengthy period of time by just walking in and out of the threshold of the door leading outside
    • The way my sweet boy absolutely loves telling made-up stories with his Momma--I start a new story, always with "Once upon a time," and then we take turns making up parts of the story, creating new stories each time. It's amazing to see those wheels turning as he comes up with the next creative part of our tale...

    Yes, time passes too quickly these days. But. I'll do my best to remember not to forget such sweet moments and look forward to the ever-changing moments to come.

    P.S. We are off to Asheville in the morning to visit one of my very best friends (Hi Jules!) for a few days; so, there'll be a mini blog break in this little ol' space of mine while I soak in some good girl time and my kiddos soak in a 48-hour, double-playdate. :) See you soon!

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Friday Family Fill-In: Momma Dates

    I can feel it.

    When I haven't gotten enough one-on-one time with one (or both) of my kiddos, I can feel it.

    I crave it.

    So. I do something about it.

    I needed it this week, with each of them, individually. So. I made it happen. With each of them. Individually. And I call these individual get-togethers Momma Dates.

    In the past, these Momma Dates have included a movie matinee, outside enjoyment of a frozen treat at the local ice cream parlor, trolley rides to look at holiday lights, an afternoon at the small town cupcakery, etc.

    I love these Momma Dates. I get to completely, 100% focus on my sweet little one, without sibling distraction or hub distraction or household distraction or rest-of-the-world distraction. And I truly savor the moments.

    This week, I took Banks out for dinner. But. Not just any dinner. A dessert dinner. Because sometimes, the biggest, fattest, chocolate-iest piece of cake trumps a non-processed, organic meal. Okay...always. That is always true. So. Earlier this week, I made it happen for my little buddy. And enjoyed every second of conversation, every smile that crossed his precious face, every bite of "dinner," and every hug, kiss, and hand-holding moment I was lucky enough to receive.

    This week, I also took Raleigh to her first Kindermusik class. The music. The instruments. The socialization with non-preschoolers. The smiles. The hugs. The singing. The dancing. The marching. The rocking. She loved it. I loved it. So, so special.

    I love these moments. I crave these moments. I savor these moments. 

    And I already can't wait 'til next time.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    From a Different Perspective

    A few not-so-ordinary views from my ordinary days:

    • Bottoms up. Fresh veggie/fruit juice is where it's at first thing in the morning. And I promise. It tastes better than it looks. Sometimes. Gulp.

    • My days typically start and end racing these monster trucks, which my son loves lining up. Over and over. And this is only about one-third of them. Sheesh.

    • She's a climber, this one. If you should happen to leave the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs even the smidgiest smidge open, she will know. Even if she is on the opposite side of the house. She always knows. And she is fast. 

    • Please, Lord, let us have sunshine and warm temps so we can get our energy out outside. No? More snow? Alrighty then. 

    • This would be large cup of coffee, Numero Dos, for the day. One in the morning. One in the afternoon. I am thankful for caffeine. 

    • If I had a nickel for every time I said, "Banks, sit on your hiney (hiny? Seriously. How do you spell that?) with your feet under the table." Well. I'd have enough nickels to create a suit of armor for him to adorn so that his little legs would be too heavy to swing out from under the table. But alas. No nickels. No armor. 

    • Watching them play is my most favorite thing. Ever. I love it. And if that means hiding out in a nearby tent to enhance my observation, then so be it.

    • This is what happens when you have a hub who travels. Who travels a lot. And you want to take a daily shower without getting up any earlier than you already do (oh, 5:45 am. I loathe you.) and without staying up any later than you already do (sometimes, like last night, 9:00 pm. Party animal, right here, folks.). You shower and let your kids play in the bathroom while doing so. This is my view at least three nights a week. 

    • Ah-Ah. That's the name she gave her beloved, little pink monkey, as in, "Ah-Ah," the sound a monkey makes. She sleeps with him every night. Actually? On top of him. 

    Some days are different. Some days are the same. I wouldn't trade any of them. 

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    Help A Momma Out

    Yes, I know. I know. 

    I keep posting about this. I am probably being annoying about it and maybe pushing the idea too much. 


    I'm (still!) really excited about it. And I (still!) need YOUR help to get this done. 

    Last year, I wrote about my Idea and what that entailed

    Well, I recently got a (completely unsurprising) rejection letter that has just fueled me and my idea even more. More specifically, a letter from a publishing company saying that they get over 20,000 submissions a year, publish about 20 of those submissions, and that mine was not one of those 20. Ouch. But. Completely, totally expected.


    If you have a phone that is capable of taking photos and an Instagram account and a couple minutes and a willingness to help a Momma out, please continue reading. 

    If not, deuces [ <--- that, my friends, was the sad attempt of a 30-something-year-old momma to be cool. Failed miserably.]). Seriously, though, feel free to check back in in a day or two for a new, totally different, non-help-requesting post if you don't feel like helping. 

    Anywho, here's yet another a quick reminder of how to help this Momma out.

    Take any (or all!!!) of the photos listed below with your handy dandy smart phone. Use (or don't) an awesome filter on Instagram to pretty it up and make it look all artsy fartsy. Post said photo on Instagram while tagging me in it (@lindsayluton) AND using the hashtag #morethanphoto.

    Done. That's it! Easy peasy. 

    Alright, here's the list again of what I'm looking for. There should be some great photo opps in the upcoming months as the weather warms, and we are all able to enjoy some sunshine and the great outdoors. So, please, take your phone wherever you go (as if you don't do that already), and snap, snap, snap away. Please. Pretty please. Pretty, pretty, pretty please. 

    • Sun surrounded by clouds
    • Pitcher of sweet tea with lemons
    • Bumbleebee
    • Butterfly (preferably 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

    Seriously, I would really appreciate YOUR help. One way or another, my goal has always been to have this project completed by the end of the summer (or sooner, if I am able to get all the photos before then). Won't you please help a Momma out? A very, very appreciative Momma?

    Feel free to share this, pass it along to friends and family, post to your blog, post on Facebook, post on Pinterest, post on Twitter, etc., to help a Momma out. Or not. But hopefully so. :) 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you again.