Happy 5th Birthday, Alice!


Dear Alice,

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for!  You’re FIVE YEARS OLD!  I can hardly believe it.  This morning as soon as you woke up you said, “I’m FIVE?!”  And I said, “Yes!”  And then you said, “And next time I’ll be SIX!”  You are always thinking ahead to the next big thing.  You are always so ready to be older.  But I love, love, LOVE little you.  I will love, love, LOVE bigger you, too.

You are a happy, joyful, brave, strong, and awesome little girl.  Your best friends are your cousins and brother. You love to make crafts, so much so that I had to make a rule that we can’t do crafts until after we’ve eaten breakfast, or else you would craft, craft, craft and forget to eat.  You LOVE to be outside playing.  Yesterday you used all of my kitchen bowls and spoons to make mud pies, before baking them in your cardboard box oven.  You are incredibly creative.  Your favorite place to go is the library.  You love to play games, but what you really love is to WIN.

You are great at soccer.  You’ve been asking me every week since November when the pool is going to open.  You wanted a slumber party with your cousins for your birthday this year, but when it was time to sleep in your sleeping bag, you said, “Well, I really just want to sleep in my bed with my mom.”  So we did.

You have great fashion sense, often putting together cute outfits I would never think of.  You love to help me cook and fold clothes.  You love to give Huck treats, and when people ask you how many brothers you have, you always say, “Two. One is a boy and one is a dog.”

You love to climb.  If I look away for a moment and lose sight of you, I need only to look up to find you, because you are surely up on something.  You love your dolls and babies.  African-American baby dolls are your favorites, because you love their hair best.

You get excited to visit the doctor and dentist, I think because you love to prove how brave you are on these visits.  (And you are.)  You love going to school, and your school friends, and you always have so much to tell me when I pick you up.

You are competitive.  If I tell you I love you, you immediately say, “I love you!  The most!” And if I disagree and tell you I actually love you the most (which I do!) you always, always, always say, “No. I love you the most.  AND I SAID IT FIRST!”

Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, and if that happens, you always go into Tom’s room to sleep with him.  At least two nights a week, I find you in bed with him.  I don’t know if you know this, but he actually sets aside a pillow and blanket for you near him, in case you come.  He loves you so much, and you are the best little sister.

Daddy can always count on you to go with him on any errand he has to run.  You are always happy to go along with him, mainly because you know he will buy you gum on those trips. And if I ever hear huge belly laughs from you, it’s almost always because your Daddy is cracking you up. You are really generous, and if I ask you to go through your toys or books and set aside the ones you don’t want anymore, you are always happy to do it to give to someone else who might need it.

You are an explorer, an adventurer, and you love to play.  When you were born, you were a complete joy right from the very beginning, and that has remained true.  I am so lucky to be your Mama, and you inspire me in ways you can’t even imagine.  I love you.  The most.  And I promise, I said it first.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Great Birthday at Great Wolf.


I’m behind on my weekly postings!  But my excuse is this: Tom got sick the day before we were heading out of town.  Then we went out of town later in the week. Then I got his sickness.  And y’all, I’m still not completely well!  What in the world?  Apparently it now takes me about a month to get over the common cold.  #old

But where we went was oh-so-fun!  I asked Tom if he wanted a “friends” party for his birthday this year, or if he wanted to go on an adventure, and he chose adventure!  So a couple weeks after he turned 7 — and then a couple of days after we were originally supposed to go — we headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, NC.

This place was awesome.  It’s a lodge-themed resort hotel with a water park inside of it.  We absolutely had the best time.

We stayed in a room where the kids had their own separate tent-themed sleeping area, which they loved!  Our room had a little porch that led out to the grass, which was awesome for them.  They love, love, LOVED the water park!  They were able to do a couple of slides all by themselves, and we all totally loved the family water slide that we could all go on together.  And the resort had some sort of magic wand game that my kids were nuts about.  We bought our kids their wands, and then we bought a game book for Tom so he could complete all the tasks and earn points.  With Alice, we just bought her the wand, but no book, so she could just use hers to make things magically move. Alice LOVED her wand.  Any spare time she had, she wanted to go around the hotel and try to get things to move, light up, open, or talk.  It was so neat, and Alice could not get enough.

We also went bowling, went to the arcade, saw their nightly lobby show, and met a couple of their characters.  I think in the two days we were there, we went to the water park 5 different times.  We LOVED it.

I loved how much the kids loved this place.  As soon as we left, the kids kept talking about the next time we go.  (They want their cousins to join us next time, which I agree would be perfect!)

Basically, we had a blast!  I’m so happy Tom chose this adventure for his birthday, I think he was super pleased with himself, and I know he had the most amazing time.

Happy Birthday adventure, Tom!

The way to our kids’ hearts is bunk beds.

In cool Kate news, I accidentally wore my “Mama Bear” shirt to meet a bear.  Also, Alice is the cutest, and Tom doesn’t care AT ALL about meeting characters.

Water park fun!

Bowling and sorcery!

Now I’m going to do my best to keep up with my weekly goal!  More posts soon. LOVE!



Posted in Alice, Family, Motherhood, Tom, Travel, Weekly 2017 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life Lately.

Life lately has been crazy hectic and beautiful, and I’m going to show you the beautiful parts!

(The hectic parts are not very picturesque.  Unless you like pictures of me typing articles on my computer, or of me organizing a school Read-a-Thon, which is mainly me typing on my computer.)

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:

I’ve continued to try to be more present on Alice and I’s Fridays together.  I’ve mentioned before that I felt like I had started using Fridays to run errands and stuff, and that wasn’t really why I didn’t want Alice in school on Fridays.  So I’ve tried to do more things with her that give us more quality time.  Last Friday I took her back to High Shoals Falls in Dallas, Ga. and we had the. best. time!  We explored, we laughed, she collected “treasures” like wrappers, and old cans, and she gave me a heart attack a couple dozen times because she’s so fearless.  It was a truly great day.

We took them to the zoo on Saturday!  This was extra special because Kevin went too, and usually it’s just me taking them on school breaks.  They were thrilled to show Daddy everything, and we had the best weather and a great time. And we go to see the new baby panda twins!!  Alice and I loved them, and Kevin and Tom were like…”Yep. Those are baby pandas. We’ll meet you outside.” Whatever, boys! #lame

The good news: I tried cooking three different new meals this week!  The bad news: They were not hits with the kids.  Ugh.  Hey, Kevin liked them! Ha!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Our LOVE day looked like this: cute, silly kids; a robot valentine box made out of recyclables; and heart-shaped brownies for my loves.

Tom got this letter from his secret admirer on Valentine’s Day. “You are the best at looking ham sum” is really my favorite thing ever!!  Oh my gosh, I just died when I saw this!  So awesome.

My sweet friend, Sabrina, drew this picture of Tom and Alice for me!!  Isn’t this the most special surprise?!  Y’all, I actually cried when she gave it to me, like a big ole blubber fool.  I couldn’t help it!  So amazingly special.

And one day after school this week, we went on a hike with my friend, her mom, and her daughter.  My friend’s mom told a couple stories about skunks, and oh my goodness, Tom belly laughed the whole time!  It was the best thing!  If you wanna hear Tom belly laugh, just tell him a good “a skunk once sprayed me in the face” story! Obviously.

And that’s life lately!  Tom’s currently fighting a fever, and I really hope he gets well soon because we’ve got winter break plans this week!  Woo-hoo!  Hope y’all have a great weekend! LOVE.





Posted in Alice, Family, Friends, Georgia Outdoors, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Weekly 2017 | Leave a comment

Tom’s Transformers-Themed 7th Birthday Party!


This year I gave Tom a choice — he could either have a big friends-invited party, or he could have a family party and an adventure.  He chose the latter!  (Yay!!)

The adventure he chose is a visit to Great Wolf Lodge over his winter break.  We can’t wait!

And we had the family party last weekend, and we really had the best time!

And gone are the days of me working hard on a theme for Tom’s parties, and going all out with crafts and foods.  Here are the days of asking the birthday boy what he really wants to see at his party — and he said, “Transformers cups and plates and a Transformers balloon.”  Such sweet and simple requests!  I actually think he’s rebelling against cute themed parties.  I mean, he wants the themed cups and plates I’ve avoided all along!  Ha!  But I was happy to oblige.  I wanted him to feel like this party was all *him* — and I think we accomplished that.  I LOVED this party.  Truly loved it.  It was all about Tom, and it was just a fun, good time.

One of the others things Tom requested early on was a cake that he could decorate with his Transformer toys.  He had a whole plan for it, and described it to me in great detail. So I baked and iced a cake for him.  Once Matilda, Gus, and Hazel arrived, I got out some sprinkles and candles, Tom got some of his toys, and I let the 5 of them decorate it however they wanted.  And y’all?  They did the best job!  It was the cutest, most hilarious thing, and I really can’t see myself decorating a cake myself ever again.


The decor was pretty simple — and my favorite was this 7 we cut out from a cardboard box.  Tom told me which pictures he wanted printed, and then he glued them on there and colored in the blank spots.  Y’all, this boy hates crafts, but he LOVED this!  He was so, so proud of it.  It was perfect!


Plates and cups as requested!


He also did get a Transformer balloon. (Not seen here!)  It was one of those huge, gliding balloons.  He loved it…at first.  And then it popped a little and caused tears.  Then it popped even more and caused even more tears.  I think the balloon ended up being some type of torture!  By the end of the day, it was so deflated he asked me to “hide it away so he wouldn’t have to look at it because it made him so sad.”  Umm….great gift!

Best Buddies.

Alice’s pose cracks me up!

Party cousins!

It was a super great time, and I’m so happy with all of Tom’s ideas — that boy knows how to throw a great party!

Happy Birthday Party, Tom!

Posted in Family, Motherhood, Parties, Tom, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy 7th Birthday, Tom!


Dear Thomas,

You are a dream come true.  You honestly are.  You are a dream I never even dared to dream out loud, because it just seemed too big.  I still look at you sometimes in complete amazement.  I could never have imagined how awesome being your mom would be.

You are someone who is just…kind.  So, so, so kind. If someone is ever mean to you or someone else, your first response is total confusion.  You cannot even imagine why someone would ever be not nice.  You are the epitome of kindness, and it is inspiring to witness.

You are the most wonderful son, always telling me that I’m “the best mom ever!” even though I’m definitely not.  You are the most amazing big brother.  You will even play DOLLS with Alice on special occasions. I mean, that’s true love.

You love to help your dad put together Lego creations, and you’ve recently started helping him build model airplanes.  Your dad loves sharing these things with you, and I’m so happy you love it too.

You are a great cousin, always willing to share your toys. Giving away toys to Gus is your new favorite thing.  I think you just love making him happy.

You wake up at 6 a.m. on the dot every morning, and on weekends you stomp on your floor to make sure I know you’re awake.

You’ve told me you’re done with dinosaur toys for now, but you still always check out dinosaur books from the library.  When I read your favorite dinosaur books to your classmates on Friday, you stood beside me and added extra dinosaur facts to every page, much to your classmates admiration.

You won a science award last week for your class, and I think you kinda loved the attention, but you still couldn’t wait to give me your certificate to take home so you wouldn’t have to keep it with you.

You like to watch a channel on YouTube that makes you laugh out loud.  You still have the best belly laugh in the world, and that’s pretty much the only reason I let you watch YouTube.  Hearing that laugh makes me laugh.  So. Great.

You love Transformers toys right now.  You told me you wanted a Transformers party for your family party and I asked you what you especially wanted.  You wanted “Transformer cups and plates and a Transformer balloon.”  How sweet are you?!  Such easy requests. Done and done.

You are a smiling, happy, joy of a boy who is the definition of goodness.  I still cannot believe that you are our boy.  And that you are SEVEN!  Thank you for making these past 7 years the best of our lives.  We LOVELOVELOVE you, and we cannot wait to see what you accomplish next.

LOVE you,


Posted in Tom, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Tom’s Best 6-Year-Old Quotes!


It’s that time of year again — the time when my oldest child becomes OLDER!

Every year I think, “Oh, I’ve just loved this age so much!  I’m gonna miss it.”

And every year, I love the new year even more!

I have loved 6-year-old Tom so, so, so very much.

And I have loved the words that came out of 6-year-old Tom so, so, so very much.

Without further ado, here were my favorites from this year of Tom…

1. Feb. 12, 2016
Me (about Jurassic World): “Is Blue still alive?!”
Tom: “Well…no. The dinosaurs in this movie are just animatronics.”

2. Feb. 27, 2016
Me: “We need to clean this living room up before Joseph gets here.”
Tom: “Yeah, so then me and Joseph can mess it up.”

3. Feb. 28, 2016
Me: “You OK?”
Tom: “Yeah, I was just in the backyard looking at all the animals back there and it was beautiful.”

4. March 20, 2016
Kevin: “I like pretty much all kinds of documentaries.”
Tom: “What about poop documentaries?”

5. March 28, 2016
Tom: “Can I have popcorn for snack? With carrot casserole for my side item?”

6. March 30, 2016
Tom: “Mom, this is part of your birthday present! It’s a fake butterfly, but it’s sort of broken.”

7. April 28, 2016
Tom (just waking up this morning, in a sleepy haze): “I like…corn. And corn snakes.”

8. June 19, 2016
Me: “Did you make a new friend at camp?”
Tom: “Yes!”
Me: “Great! What’s his name?”
Tom: “Something weird. Like Lucifer or something.”

9. June 22, 2016
Tom: “Mom! It’s the mayonnaise song!!”

10. June 26, 2016
“You know what, Mom? Every day that I’m a kid and a teenager, I’m going to draw dinosaur pictures. That is my life!” –Tom

11. July 2, 2016
Tom: “I’ve changed my mind. When I grow up I don’t want to be a scientist, I want to be a CRAB CAPTAIN!”

12. July 2, 2016
Tom: “I wish dinosaurs had clothes on.”

13. July 18, 2016
“That popcorn sauce made my hands slippery.” –Tom

14. August 1, 2016
Tom: “I like Emily. She’s my girlfriend.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Does she know that?”
Tom: “No.”

15. Sept. 1, 2016
“I like to watch Battle Bots because I like to watch something EXTREME in the morning.” –Tom

16. Sept. 9, 2016
“When I grow up, if I have 2 boys, I’m gonna name them “John” and “Todd” okay?” –Tom

17. Oct.7, 2016
Tom: “Mom, you’re gonna think this is M-O-G!” *runs like a lunatic*

18. Dec. 29, 2016
“Bigfoots really inspire me because they live in the woods. People think they’re mean, but they just love nature! What’s wrong with that?!” -Tom

19. Jan. 6, 2017
“Oh my gosh, did you know people kill deer?! The cutest creatures in the world!” –Tom

20. Jan. 17, 2017
(Tom hands me a note w/ “Fi” written on it.)
Me: “What’s this?”
Tom:  “The word “‘Fi.'”
Me: “What’s fi?”
Tom: “Did you forget about the Fi bone in your leg?” #thigh

21. Jan. 21, 2017
“I’m just gonna go outside and dance for a little bit.” -Tom

22. Feb. 3, 2017
“For being the best mom in the whole wide world, I’m gonna give you my last chocolate coin! Also because I don’t like them that much.” –Tom

To see all my quotes from my crazy kids, here’s my Twitter.

To see Tom’s past quote posts, here they are: 2015 (4yo) / 2016 (5yo)

Posted in Motherhood, Tom | Leave a comment

The Love of Ice Cream.

When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday with my mom’s great, big family.

It was a great way to grow up. My mom is one of 11 children, so there was always someone to play with, and there was a feeling of belonging that I just cannot imagine being equaled otherwise.  I was really loved.  And there was proof of that love all the time, but those Sundays really helped shape me, and my pride for family.

Part of the Sunday tradition — besides having the “dinner” for lunch around a great big table with the biggest lazy susan you’d ever seen, and always golf on the TV in the background — was ice cream with my PawPaw.

My PawPaw loved ice cream.  He was “in charge” of the ice cream.  I always felt like my Grandma ran the workings of the household, but when it came to ice cream I always knew that my PawPaw was the provider.

We would go into the kitchen, and we’d go to the big freezer with the huge tub of ice cream and then he’d ask, “Bowl or cone?”  He had cones stashed in a tall cabinet, but I almost always went for bowl.  Because if you got bowl — small, and cream-colored little bowls, with little black specks that reminded me of vanilla ice cream — he would put the freezing chocolate on top.  And when I was introduced to freezing chocolate syrup, I couldn’t imagine a better invention.  I really remember my Grandma first telling me about the “new freezing syrup.”  Isn’t it funny what you remember?

Ice cream with my PawPaw.  Every Sunday after dinner.  In a great big house, with a lot of people, and a million things and conversations going on — I always got that special time of picking out, and eating the ice cream with him.  Eating the ice cream with him was when we talked, and I loved that just as much as frozen syrup.

The thing that reminded me of this is — my Thomas is the same.  Every night after dinner, my oldest requests vanilla ice cream.

It’s pretty much the only sweet he eats, and it’s really one of his favorite things in the world.

So I scoop up his vanilla ice cream, into those same small, cream-colored bowls with the specks, and give Tom his favorite treat while being reminded that his love of ice cream comes from a very loving man.

And that the simple act of sharing ice cream, can create a lifetime of memories.

And I’m so thankful I have them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment