Our Smarty Mom this week is a crazy wild story of 6 degrees of separation from anyone in your life at any given time. I met Katie Coleman five years ago when I moved into my neighborhood. I knew I’d love her as soon as I saw the Gator flag flying high during football season. So I made a point to meet her as soon as I could. Katie is five years younger than I am so I didn’t even think to ask about who she knew at our fine university. However Katie was drilling me with a small smirk on her face over our first lunch. Well low and behold, I had sort of met Katie since I hung out with her big brother a ton in our college glory days. The last time I saw her, I was at her Orlando, Florida house 15 years ago and she was just a baby in high school! And now we’re bestie neighbors:-)
Katie is super mom to two adorable little boys, Thomas (4) and James (2 1/2) and married to the best orthodontist in town, Dr. Grant Coleman. When Katie is not cheering for the Gators (I swear her entire family bleeds orange and blue:-), she is sewing her little heart out. Peep these P-R-E-C-I-O-U-S hand-stitched, custom appliqued Gator tees that she made for all of her children, nieces and nephews! Now, that is true talent and I’ve told Katie over and over again that she should sell these gems in every SEC and ACC college flavor!
OK, Smarties, let’s get to know Katie…
As a home-monogramming queen, tell us your favorite spots to score the best monogrammable items?
Surprisingly, some of the best shirts for monogramming are some of the least expensive. Wal-Mart has the Geranimals line for girls and boys T-shirts that is great quality and very inexpensive (around $3). Target sometimes has a sale isle where I have found some great plain T-shirts and sweatshirts for around $4-$10. Land’s End also has nice quality t-shirts. Basically, the thicker the shirt the better it is. Anything too thin will be eaten up by my sewing machine!
What is your favorite family time activity?
I love family dinners at home. We are all sitting down together, the kids are generally well behaved and we get to just talk to each other. Now if only I could get James to eat his broccoli.
Favorite mommy-time activity?
Aaaahhh…the list is endless…coffee out with girlfriends after preschool drop off, shopping and being able to go into a dressing room without having one of my children crawl under the wall into someone else’s room, going to women’s bible study at our church…
Best book you’ve read lately?
Ok, so I am not a “Twi-hard” or whatever you call a completely obsessed Twilight fan, but I did read the entire series in about 10 days. I was so surprised I actually liked them. I have never stayed up until 2 am reading anything!
What is your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
We love Brixx (or as my 4-year-old calls it, “Brick Stack”). We are also a big fan of Moe’s at Sharon Corners (on Tuesday) where kids eat free. They also have a clown to paint faces and make balloon swords!
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
I literally wish I could just record my kids all day, because they say the funniest things right now. It is hard to narrow down, but the conversation that sticks out is one with my 4-year-old riding in the car.
Me: What buddy?
Thomas: I wasn’t talking to you.
Me: Oh, what were you doing?
Thomas: I was just testing my voice to make sure it was still working.
Best place to score kids clothes and shoes?
The best place I have gotten my boys clothes is from my neighbors (thanks Kristen, Jen P. and Meredith!). Seriously, about 75% of the boys clothes are hand-me-downs from them. When I am buying, I go to the usual places, Target, Gymboree and when I splurge, Janie and Jack.
Best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
My boys love the birthday parties at My Gym and anywhere that has a bounce house (and so do I because they come home exhausted!). One of the most creative parties my son attended was for a 4-year-old boy. It was a race car theme. Along with several other race car games and activities, the kids helped make and decorate their own “race car” out of a banker’s box. Then they held it around their waist and ran fast like a race car. The host had drawn a race track on their driveway with chalk and had some older kids on hand to help with “pit stops” and refueling. The kids had a ball racing each other with their new cars. They got to bring the cars home where the fun continued! I never would have guessed that something so simple would be such a hit!
Favorite date-night spot?
My husband and I have become regulars at the Cajun Yard Dog at the Arboretum. It is small and casual and very yummy! I resisted it for a while because I heard Cajun and thought spicy, but the food isn’t spicy unless you want it to be.
Favorite weekend escape?
Not sure what you mean here. Escape? 🙂 To me “escape” means without kids, which doesn’t happen very often. One escape we got about a year ago was to Reynolds Plantation in GA. It was heavenly! Drinks served poolside, spa, dinner by the lake …need I say more??
Favorite GNO activity/spot?
Anything as long a wine is involved! Anywhere we can get together, share the highs and lows of life, marriage and kids and laugh a lot!
Favorite girly lunch spot?
I am also becoming a regular at Brooklyn Pizza Parlor with a girlfriend of mine. It is not usually crowded, great for kids, and the Nona’s Pizza is amazing. Jamie, tomorrow 11:30? 🙂
Now that the economy is on the upswing, I’m in the market for a new Smarty sled. Back to the debate: minivan or SUV & why? Favorite feature of your car?
There is no debate on this one. Minivan hands down! I love my “swagger wagon”!! I do have to admit that I resisted it for a long time but as my second child was approaching I knew it was in my future. I swallowed my pride and bit the bullet. The family friendly features and space just cannot be beat by any SUV! My favorite feature is the automatic doors. Like I said, it does involve some amount of pride swallowing, but I am a mom of 2 kids, there is no hiding it!!
Favorite CSP article to date?
I am a big fan of all the practical articles – teacher gifts, how much to pay a babysitter, and things like that. I also love the funny stories about being a mom like Owen and Walker adjusting to life out of the crib! Too funny!
What are your favorite websites and phone apps?
On my yahoo homepage I have links to CSP (of course!), three friends’ blogs, eBay, People.com, Weather.com and Facebook.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
There are so many things. First I love that we have some family in town. One of my brothers lives here with his family and my parents are here part-time. There are such great family friendly neighborhoods and plenty of activities for kids. Being a Florida native, I also love that Charlotte has seasons. Aside from the few months in the summer where it is scorching hot, I love the weather!
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Since I love decorating and doing “stuff” to our house I have come to find out about Frank at Eastway Paint. He is a paint/color genius and can help with any painting job you may have. He has helped me pick out almost all the paint colors in my house. Just bring in a swatch of fabric, pillow sham or magazine clipping and he will hook you up!
I could not live without my…
Of course there is the obvious: Jesus, family, friends. After that I would have to say (no judging!) my Blackberry, a cup of coffee in the morning, mindless TV (The Bachelorette/Bachelor, Office, Modern Family), Curious George, comfy jeans.
Thanks, Katie! If you have a Smarty Mom or Smarty Dad, please email us – we’d love to hear from you!