Happy Saturday! This week’s Smarty Mom is Lizzy Ervin. Married to husband Jamie for 7 years and mom to 2 boys – Preston (5) and Zachary (1), Lizzy is a mom that just takes everything in stride. She has such a fresh, fun perspective on parenting and makes me belly laugh with all her hilarious stories about her family’s antics. I hope you enjoy getting to know Lizzy!
Your son Preston has always been a free spirit. I’ve seen him do a lot of crazy things that have made my heart stop! As a mom of a fearless son, how do you keep your sanity, yet still let your son be who he is?
The three words that Preston says that terrify me the most are “Mom watch this!” – I hold my breath and hope an ER visit is not going to follow whatever it is he’s about to do. I honestly struggle with this on a daily basis and think there is a fine line between acting as a parent keeping your child safe and letting him be who he is. From such an early age he would jump, flip, dive or climb on or off almost anything. I hate to say you get used to it and start to relax, but you start to establish a comfort level of what you are used to seeing your child do on a daily basis. Now I can typically tell by the look in his eyes what he is considering.
In our backyard we have a swing that is tied to a limb pretty high up and I remember about a year ago we were playing outside and I had to go in to get something. As I am heading back outside and look out the window I see that he has climbed up one side of the rope and is almost to the branch. My initial reaction was to run out there and start screaming at him but then I thought that would be a bad idea (not the running but the screaming) because I might scare him and he would let go. I calmly talk him down the rope and THEN started screaming, asking him what he thought he was doing and he was going to get hurt , blah ,blah and he just looks at me and says “Mom- I was just trying to get to the branch” – Like what, was I stupid?? Why else would he climb up! Anyway- soon after that I started taking him rock climbing at the Whitewater Center which he loves and put him in a gymnastics class which he also loves. I have just tried to find ways to let him get that kind of energy out. We have also played soccer, swim lessons, golf and right now he is playing tee ball.
With all of your family out of town, you travel a lot with your two kids (one being a baby) and often by yourself. What are some good travel tips you’ve picked up along the way?
I actually just got back from taking Preston and Zach to Florida by myself to see my parents. I was a little anxious about it since I really hate to fly and the typical things I do to calm myself I had to refrain from since I was alone with my 2 kids! Preston was a big help getting through security and helping me out with Zach. I made sure to find the family restrooms prior to boarding the plane. Learned the hard way on another flight! We flew JetBlue and it is the way to go- they have the TV screens on each seat so Preston was entertained the entire time and Zach ate and drank his way through it. By the looks of him –you would think he eats his way through every day! I brought some of my own snacks but JetBlue serves you drinks and snacks and doesn’t charge for the first checked bag. Also – if you are travelling with a lap child and the flight isn’t full, airlines will typically let you bring your car seat on the plane. That is something you can check on when you get to the airport.
Everyone is feeling the crunch of this tough economy … what are some of the Smarty ways you’ve found to help save money?
My friend Carrie and I just had a grocery competition this month and it was really eye opening. I would challenge more people to do the same because it made a big difference and it was fun. I would search on line at the different grocery stores and see where the best deals were on the items I buy the most. I shopped all over the place. Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Trader Joes, Target and Super Wal-Mart. It definitely made you think about what you were buying and how much things cost. I can’t tell you how many nights we just run up to Harris Teeter and buy something last minute to fix for dinner without giving much thought to the price. Super Wal-Mart was least expensive almost every time. Trader Joes is great for your meats, fruits and veggies and of course the 2 buck chuck. I don’t know who won yet, but the losers have to babysit one night while the winners go out and celebrate- hopefully using a buy one get one free dinner from the Citipass book to save some more money.
How do you find the right balance between taking care of 2 kids, all the household activities and working a full time job?
Honestly, most days I don’t! Just a couple weeks ago I went to the Bojangles drive through, paid and drove off without my food!! Once I realized what I had done, I got out of my car – which is now about 15 feet in front of the drive through window and walked back to the window. Yes- there was already another car there and he had to put his car in reverse so I could get my food. I think everyone got a kick out of that including myself. Every day is a challenge and after I had Zachary I just had to learn not sweat the small stuff. I always have 3 or 4 laundry baskets full of clean and folded laundry that never seem to get put up, dishes in the sink, and a lot of days when Jamie gets home he will ask what we are having for dinner and I have no idea! I think humor gets us through most days and Jamie is such a help I couldn’t do it without him. From dishes, laundry, cooking, bathing the kids – he does it all.
What is the one thing that keeps you grounded amidst the daily craziness?
White Wine, Laughter, Good Friends, Exercise and My husband
Do you ever hide in the bathroom just to enjoy the peace and quiet?
Not the bathroom – typically it is the closet or the front porch .
What is the funniest thing Preston or Zach have ever said to you or ever done?
One night we were all eating dinner outside and Jamie and I came inside to start cleaning up. Preston had to finish his chicken nuggets in order to get a Popsicle so he was still out at the table. Jamie and I came back out and asked him if he had finished all his dinner. He said yes. Jamie then asked him if he was sure he had eaten the nuggets and not thrown them in the yard (which you could see by the way). Preston looked at Jamie and said “Why, is my nose getting longer?”
What is your favorite family activity?
I would say hanging out in the back or front yard, grilling out and playing. 9 times out of 10 another neighbor will be out and join you. We have some really fun and smarty neighbors! It makes the couple of hours before bedtime much more enjoyable and not so stressful.
Favorite “mommy time” activity?
One of my favorites is playing golf in the evenings with a couple of girlfriends. It really is more of a social couple of hours – most of the time we don’t even keep score! Another one is just sitting on my front porch with a glass of wine and a good gossip magazine.
Favorite place to eat dinner out?
I really don’t like to eat out much with my kids because I don’t find it very enjoyable and it can be expensive. Preston typically won’t sit still very long and Zach is just throwing everything on the floor and wants me to pick it up 100 times. If we do go out as a family I like to go to Providence Sundries because my son loves to play the video games and it is loud enough in there that you can’t hear Zach screaming if I don’t pick up the toy for the 101st time. My new favorite night out with friends or my husband is the Epicenter for dinner and a movie!
Favorite weekend escape?
I love going down to my parents house in Florida with or without kids but it is definitely more relaxing without. In the summer, I love going to the mountains.
Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
I am always online searching for a good deal but I have to say you can’t beat the prices at Old Navy. I love mini boden and they have good sales at the end of each season.
Best birthday you’ve attended?
I would have to say Preston’s 5th Birthday was one of my favorites. It was a Star Wars themed party at our house. I put my husband in charge and although I regretted that decision several times leading up to it – he did a great job. There were only 4 boys and Jamie had gone out and bought Star Wars Costumes for the kids to wear. I think all the kids really got into it and it was a lot of fun and not so overwhelming. Everyone got to take their costumes home and the next day Preston told me it was the best day of his life. I don’t think you can ask for more than that!
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
I don’t know if it is a secret but I love the Whitewater Center and look forward to spending more time there now that the weather is warming up.
I could not live without my… sense of humor. If that goes- I go.
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