Monday, February 28, 2011


"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything is different."  --Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes author)

As a child, there are few things more important than playtime and snacks. Little ones look upon the world with innocent eyes. Mommies, daddies, and grandparents are infallible protectors.

Today, I am a grown-up suffering from a major reality check. More and more mommy friends are seeking counseling and anti-depressants. I have friends battling cancer and heart disease. People I love are stuck in abusive relationships. Death has even come too soon for a few.

Is this what you call a mid-life crisis?

I feel extremely blessed that my family is healthy and happy. We have our own stresses and disappointments, but we are doing just fine. My wish for my precious daughter is that she may hold onto her youthful innocence for as long as possible. I don't want her to know pain or heartache or loneliness. I don't want her to lose part of her heart to worry for her friends. My wish for Amelia is happiness. We will focus on each day at a time, and hopefully turn every moment into a good memory.

For my friends and loved ones... you know who you are. Stay strong and make memories of your own. Smiles are a potent cure for just about everything.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Solar energy

The sun is here again today! We're lounging outdoors on a day with highs in the mid-70s. An ocassional breeze blows, stirring our hair and lightly nipping our flip-flop clad feet. Our newly painted hot pink toenails glisten in the sun. Birds are enjoying the seed from the feeder and chirp contentedly to each other. Neighbors walk by with their dogs and strollers, always with a smile and a wave.

This is my kind of weekend.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Potty Training: Part 3

Want more? You can also find me here today:


Potty Training: Part 3

I know, I know, I've been talking about potty training for many months. I obviously do not have a "trained in 3 days!" type of kid. She is just too darn smart. She can outwit me! (And maybe I was a little too quick to give up the first couple times? Nah.... it's because she's brilliant.)

This time? We are closer than ever! We have been talking about dry pants and grown-up kids who do not tinkle or poo-poo in their pants. We told Mickey Mouse at Disney World that Amelia tinkled in the potty the night before. I have even shown her my own dry undies a couple times a day.

Sunday night, during their bedtime routine, Amelia began asking Daddy many questions. "Does Mommy tinkle in her pants? Does Daddy tinkle in his pants? Does Cinderella wear big girl undies?" Clearly, she was processing this idea again.

On Monday morning, we had playtime with neighborhood friends. Amelia listened and watched as her friend announced her need to potty and went into the bathroom. She asked me later, "Mommy? Does Grace have big girl undies?" I answered yes, and asked Amelia if she would like to change into a dry Pull-Up or her Minnie Mouse undies. She chose Minnie Mouse.

The afternoon was not perfect. She had two accidents. The last time we tried big girl pants, I left a pile of clean ones within her reach. She simply went in and changed clothes six times in three hours. So this time, the clean clothes were out of reach and she had to suck up her pride and ask me for help. We played silly games like making the wet panties talk. Minnie Mouse said, "Oh no! I don't like being wet! Please don't pee on me again!" Amelia identifies so much with characters, and this seemed to resonate well with her.

Tuesday was a big day. With our limited success Monday night, I made a declaration: NO MORE PULL-UPS. I waffled back and forth on this a couple times, and decided to be consistent this time. My prior indecision probably made this process longer than it needed to be. We had a little ceremony to put the extra Pull-Ups in the closet and the following day, Amelia was at school in her big girl pants.

It felt like an eternity waiting for 4:00 to arrive. I was anxious all day, desperate to hear how she did. I was astonished when I saw her in the afternoon playroom - she had on the same pants I dressed her in several hours prior! She had NO accidents, so big girl undies are here to stay!
I've been thinking and stressing and planning my potty training tactics for many months, and I've come up with some key "rules". Do you have other thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know!

Rule #1) All kids are different. You will experience jealousy and disappointment when comparing to others. All mommies do it, but try not to compare. Know that your kid will get it in his/her own time.

Rule #2) Wait for cues from your child. Let your child show interest. Talk about the potty and "big kid pants". Jump on your chance once he/she begins to ask questions and show desire.

Rule #3) It is okay to try early. Your child shows interest at 20 months of age? Give it a try! Be willing to stick around the house for a few days and accept that you will be cleaning the floor several times. If after those first few days it seems wrong and is just not clicking, then give it up and try again later. I know a few children who have trained very young and in a matter of days. A strong-willed child (like mine) may be easier to train early, before they develop a hard-as-nails demeanor and unwavering opinions.

Rule #4) Free and clear may take a while. Accidents will happen. Convincing our child to go to the potty in the midst of a fun activity will be difficult. Kids hate to stop playing for something as boring as pee. Poo-poo? Still a challenge we need to work on here. But even with the occasionally wet and/or stinky pants, it is really not any more work than Pull-Ups were. And the need is much less frequent.

Rule #5) When it's time, consistency is key. Once you are 100% certain your child is able to go potty and read the body's cues, let him/her choose a day to begin the big kid undies. Once he/she chooses, do not look back. Even with accidents, the child will probably get tired of being wet and changing clothes. Don't be afraid of school days - pack lots of dry pants and ask the teachers to work with your child. I switched Amelia from/to Pull-Ups too many times. As soon as I tightened my grip on consistency, it was (mostly) smooth sailing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

F2F Friday: Monkey Bunns

Featuring another crafty mommy friend with a knack for creativity!

Are you a cloth diaper mama? Have you tried cloth pads? Love hand-knit adorable baby and children's items?

Check out Monkey Bunns.

Ashley, describe your store/products:
I make cloth diapers (pocket diapers, newborn fitteds coming soon, and hand knit diaper covers), mama cloth (nursing pads, postpartum/overnight pads, and regular mama cloth), baby and children items (especially fun hand knit items). I don't have a lot of overhead being a WAHM so I'm able to keep my items at a low price. I also know the frustration of things falling apart on the first wash so I make sure everything is well made and most items (very few exceptions) are washed up for you before I ship them. I do a lot of custom orders and love to make fun gifts and sets.

One of your favorite products?
I like and use all of my products. I have to say my two current favorites are my newborn fitted diapers that I've been testing on my newborn who was born this January and my postpartum mama cloth. I plan to introduce the newborn fitted diapers shortly. The newborn fitted diapers fit similar to Kissaluvs 0 but are a little slimmer in the crotch so they don't come down so far on tiny legs. The postpartum/overnight pads are long enough that they contain everything. They also have two layers of microfiber so they're plenty absorbent to last even on the heavy nights.

How did you get started with your home business?
I started using cloth diapers to save money and to do less laundry. My first son was blowing out of all disposables at least five times per day and I was doing his laundry 2-3 times per day. When we switched to cloth diapers I started doing his laundry 1-2 times per week and his diapers every three days to once a week. After trying several of the "big brand" cloth diapers I figured out what I liked and didn't like about each. None of them gave me warm fuzzies so I decided to start making my own. I searched for quality materials and a pattern that I was able to use and develop for the best possible fit. My son developed a weird urine condition after a while though and I decided to learn to knit so that I could make wool diaper covers. I now make baby clothes, sweaters, etc along with diaper covers (longies, shorties, soakers, and skirties).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lesson Learned

I’m an expressive person. Some may say dramatic. I find it very difficult not to wear my heart on my sleeve – or to keep my mouth shut, for that matter. In the early teen years? This was not an admirable trait.

Imagine… a middle school in a small northeast Tennessee city, circa 1991. I was an emotional, sensitive 13-year old. One of my friends was acting distant and a bit cold towards me.

Did I suck up my feelings and ask my friend what was going on? Of course not! I did what most 13-year-old girls would do. I wrote a note about her.

I write a note to one of my sweetest friends. I write something like this:

“What is wrong with Maura these days? She isn’t talking to me, and I’m soooo annoyed. She’s acting like a snob – just like Bess!” (Bess would the #1 snobby girl in school).

What a silly, silly girl I was. I thought that wonderfully juicy note would stay quietly secure in my friend’s bookbag. Nope, she showed it to Maura! Who, in turn, marched immediately over to Bess and handed it over.

In my middle school, good students could be chosen to do a semester working in the office or library instead of taking gym class. I was working in the office at this time. So later that day, I was finishing up my organizing project in the main office when eight girls burst through the doors to question me about the note. This was quite a brazen gang of girls willing accost me a mere eight feet from the principal’s office… but that time, the vice-principal stepped out and sent them away. I was shaken, but refused to tattle and let the incident slide.

The girls, plus a few extra, found me again later at the end of the school day. The surrounded me at my locker and began to tell me what they thought about my note. How dare I insult Bess… who did I think I was?

For a rare moment, I had no words. Had no idea what to say. And this time, a hero stepped in. A popular football player, at the locker only two down from mine, told those girls where to go. He stood up for me! He told them to leave me alone. And they did… the incident blew over and my face escaped a beating.

Later that night, I told my mom (some of) the story. And she gave me a critical piece of advice. Something I still use today, especially in these days of over-sharing on social media.

My mom looked at me and said,

“Julie, you need to remember this. Never write down anything that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the newspaper. Don’t trust things to stay hidden. If you wouldn’t want it broadcast to the world, do not write it down.”

Lesson learned. I have even passed this advice to my teenage niece. I know all too well how a loose mouth can lead to trouble.

Thanks, Mom.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And because my mom was right.)

Photo credit:  © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sugar high

One of my favorite vacation splurges? Dessert!
I like to eat it and keep photos to remember! Mmmmm.

Iberostar resort in Jamaica

Gelato in Nice, France (as seen on Samantha Brown!)

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas

Boma restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Monday, February 21, 2011


Our second full day in the magical land of Walt Disney began on a Disney bus ride to Animal Kingdom.

We arrived minutes before opening and were greeted by Minnie and Mickey Mouse, dressed in their safari best with their faithful pal, Pluto. I love this about the Disney parks – they don’t just open the gates with a grunt and a wave. They make opening a storybook adventure from the very start.

At the Magic Kingdom, families with small children head directly to the Flying Dumbo ride. At Animal Kingdom, you speed-walk to the safari ride. Amelia, animal lover that she is, really enjoyed this ride. She giggled as the jeep/bus bounced and bumped over the “African” terrain. She pointed and grinned as we passed various animals. Hippos, crocs, rhinos, giraffes, and a lion… oh my! And her favorite (since visiting the Atlanta zoo a couple weeks ago), a silverback gorilla.

Despite Disney’s clever “Nahtazu” slogan (not-a-zoo… get it?), I found myself saying “this reminds me of the zoo” several times. With a child Amelia’s age, however, this is not a bad thing. She loved the safari ride, the animal-viewing pathways through trees and rocks, and the giant “aquarium” with blue, yellow, and silver fish of all shapes & sizes.

We met a few bigger-than-life animals as well. We were introduced to Terk, King Louie, and Baloo (a.k.a. “big purple bear”, per Amelia). We high-fived and hugged Pluto and Goofy. And in the Camp Minnie Mickey area, we mingled with chipmunks, bunnies, Daisy and Donald Duck, and more.

Amelia was a trooper while waiting for Mommy & Daddy to ride the fast choo-choo ride: Expedition Everest. Now THAT was worth a ticket to Animal Kingdom! It’s quite the coaster. Here’s a hint if you don’t like long lines: SINGLE RIDER! Steve and I both walked onto the ride in mere minutes. And the park developers cleverly created a courtyard space for non-riders to watch and hear the squeals of delight from the plummet down the mountain.

Animal Kingdom is a great park to visit on a second day at Disney. Because honestly, there is much less to do there. This allows for a shorter day without feeling like you’re missing half the park. For us, a shorter day was crucial after 11 hours at Magic Kingdom the day and evening prior.

We ended our Animal Kingdom visit with the Lion King show. Parade floats plus animatronic characters plus wild costumes plus acrobatic talents make for a very entertaining experience.

And the highlight? My very own Amelia was pulled into the show! I was a bundle of nerves wondering if my not-yet-three-year-old mama’s girl would freak out away from me, but she enjoyed the moment. She pranced around the stage with her shaker and I’m sure, melted the hearts of many a spectator.

I always knew she was a STAR!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I dedicate this award to...

... my sassy and smart little girl. Without whom my life would be really calm, restful, and predictable. I would have nothing at all to write about!

MamaToots, a fellow blogger and mastermind behind ToddleToots included me in this award today. I am honored, and I graciously accept the badge. If you haven't visited Toddle Toots yet, be sure to check it out. The blog is truly adorable - and unique too! It's a very interactive blog where readers submit their own funny and cute "toots" from their kids. "Kids say the darndest things", right? Well, when yours surprise you or make you break into a fit of giggles, send it in to MamaToots! She'll share it and make others laugh along with you.

There are some rules that go along with this award:

1. You have to Thank the person who awarded you and link them back in your post.
Thank you, MamaToots from ToddleToots!

2. Tell everyone 7 random facts about yourself.

(1-3) I am a Nook reader, an iPhone user, and a family vacation junkie.

(4-5) I could eat pasta every day and must exert extreme willpower not to visit our entirely too-convenient Dunkin Donuts daily. 

(6) Back in the day, I saw Spaceballs and The Princess Bride at least 9 times each.

(7) These days, I can't even count how many times I've seen A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story 3.

3. Pass the award on to 10 new bloggers.

4. Contact each blogger and let them know you’ve passed the award on to them, and let the “giver” know you accept the award.

Here are some blogs I have saved in my favorites. These always bring a smile or a thoughtful pause to my day:

Parenting By Dummies

Tough Cookie Mommy

Amber Page Writes

A Belle, a Bean, & a Chicago Dog

Adventures In Extreme Parenthood

Adventures of a Wee Mason Man

Better In Bulk

My Crazy Busy Life

Letters 4 Lucas

Mommy of a Monster... and Twins!

Thanks again!

(I swear the Animal Kingdom day 2 of our vacation is coming soon... it's been a hectic weekend! Bear with me one more day.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hakuna Matata

(Missed day 1 of our sunny Florida vacation? Check it out HERE.)

Hakuna Matata means “no worries”. Pre-vacation, I had my share of worries. Trying to decide what to pack, how to pack it, how to organize for the most optimal all-day Disney experience. Worrying about crowds. lines, and whether or not Amelia could handle the marathon adventure.

I worry too much.

Post vacation? No question, it was a definite success. My preparations paid off with only a minor glitch. I managed to forget ibuprofen in my park survival bag and (naturally) ended up with a mega headache. Thankfully, Disney gift shops sell (ridiculously expensive) Advil to keep me moving. All was well.

Morning in the Magic Kingdom: We arrived via boat from our resort, a mere few minutes before the gates opened.


Amelia was a bundle of excitement.


To the castle! To the castle! It is hard not to get caught up in the emotion of the crowd. Everyone is happy with excited energy. For a moment, we all turned into children again.

If you have small children at Disney World, it’s a good idea to head directly to the Flying Dumbo ride.

Sometime next year, they will be opening a brand new Fantasyland with TWO flying Dumbos! Not a bad idea, since this line gets long very quickly.

While Amelia waited with Daddy for her first ride of the day, I spotted a celebrity and decided to make his acquaintance.

Amelia saw her share of Disney stars as well. Tigger & Pooh, Buzz Lightyear, and even Mickey & Minnie Mouse!

It was a very long day of rides, shows, and characters. And throughout it all (as long as we kept her full of snacks), Amelia remained happy, wide-eyed and amazed – even a little silly at times.

We ended our magical Magic Kingdom day with the electrical light parade (which, by the way, is totally worth waiting for – beautiful!) and a fireworks treat from our boat back to the resort.

Amelia crashed almost instantly upon settling in her big girl hotel bed. I hope she had joyful dreams of her experience. Disney is an expensive place. But to us? Totally worth it. The non-stop sparkle in her eyes and never-ending grin on her face were nothing short of priceless.

Stay tuned… day 2 at Animal Kingdom coming up!

The next generation

I have a very special friend in my life. A friend who knows me as well as family. A friend I met in preschool. Our mothers tell us that we pranced out of our church preschool that first week, hand-in-hand, and announced our friendship. We were going to be "best friends forever!".

Thirty years later, we're still friends. Our friendship survived despite living in different states since the 4th grade. We even lived happily together in Atlanta for about a year after college. We have been bridesmaids in each other's weddings and sent baby gifts to each other's first-born children.

The first day of our sunny Florida vacation was spent with my dear friend, her husband, and her sweet 1-year old daughter. We met for lunch, visited the beach, and watched our girls play together.

It was such a surreal feeling to see our little girls play together. Amelia is about the age Christine and I were when we first met. To think that the next generation is already here... amazing. And to see them playing together? So incredible.

These girls have distance between them from the start, but I would love to see them develop a friendship. Hopefully, a friendship that can effortlessly span a lifetime.

Friday, February 18, 2011

F2F Friday: Liddy B & Me

When I got the letter that I'd be living with the RA my first year of college, I was bummed. Who wants the rules-enforcer a few feet away during that first college year?

But ya know what? It turned out wonderfully. Cheryl was a blast to live with and continues to be a good friend. She also has more artistic talent than anyone I've ever known! Move over, Martha Stewart! Cheryl is HOT.

Cheryl also has a daughter only 2 months younger than mine. And our other two roommates from that year? Also have kids the SAME age! We are all experiencing this roller coaster called Mommyhood together. Pretty cool.

I am thrilled that Cheryl was willing to be featured this week. Check out her precious little girl and her inspiring projects on 
Liddy B. and Me

Blog Name?
Started out as just Liddy B. back when the blog was just a way to share pictures of the new baby with relatives. It has morphed into a mix of family life and things I am making or doing for or with my family, and some things I am just making or doing or thinking about, so I now title it "Liddy B. and Me"

When was your blog born and why?
My sister suggested it as a way to show off my baby (the first and still only grandchild on both sides of our family) to relative who couldn't see her frequently. I have really enjoyed having a reason to write and share ideas, that it is now equally about her and about me (hence the adjusted title).

List 5 adjectives that describe you.
Over committed (my own fault!)
Sleep deprived
Patient (I deal with high school students at work and a toddler and husband at home!)

Your blog features some fabulous artistic creations. Describe one of your favorite projects.
I LOVE the whole process of planning my daughter's birthday party because it uses so many of my talents. I get to brainstorm about it in the winter months when everything puts me in a bad mood (slightly seasonally affected!). It is a great excuse to make stuff. I don't force myself to have creative "me time" and am often too task oriented, so things that "need" to get done get my attention, leaving my artistic interests in the dust. BUT if I am making things for someone else, especially if it is something that we "need", and even better if it is something that saves us money (thrifty, remember?) then I allow myself all the time to create that I need.

We did an Alice in Wonderland themed "Tea for 2" birthday party last summer and I made a lot of the decorations, the food, and even found time to sculpt a ceramic tea pot and two tea cups. I got to shop thrift stores for decorative items (hats, teacups, etc.). I was in HEAVEN! I have now begun planning a "Lydia is turning 3 under the sea" party for next summer. I have the basic ideas (octopuses, goldfish crackers, mermaids... note NOT the Little Mermaid!) and can't wait to get started making stuff!

If you had 2 hours of pure "me" time, what would you do?
Whatever craft project is my newest obsession/ whatever is at the top of my creative to-do list (probably while running a load of laundry... Ugh!) This weekend, that includes making beauty pageant outfits for my husband to wear in our church's drag queen fundraiser (yes, you heard that right!) I need to get better about doing things for me. What mom doesn't? But I really LOVE making things for all the crazy events my family is involved in. I enjoy both the process of making the items and the memories of the crazy events. (Just search my blog for our Halloween costumes, birthday parties, witches brew parties, renovations, re-decorations, etc., etc., etc.,)

Some photos from Liddy B. and Me... really, you must check this one out! Liddy is going to have the coolest room and the most fabulous birthday parties for her entire childhood! Lucky girl. partner:

Popular Posts