Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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February 19, 2018

Smarty Tips: How to Stay Sane ahead of Work Travel

I love traveling and seeing new places which fortunate for me, I get to do through my job. The flip side, in all honesty, is that it stresses me out, too. I recently took my longest work trip from my family, for a total of 12 days out of the country. Routine is key for our family so with me gone, I wanted to help prepare things ahead of time as best I could to keep routines going and to help my husband as best I could from afar.

Here are some things that I did ahead of time to prepare:

Calendar is king! I used my son’s preschool calendar to add key activities to in order to remind my husband of what needs to be done on what days, including when recycling was, swim class, special kindergarten events, birthday parties, and more.


Notifying key people. I let the preschool teachers and director, kindergarten teacher and after school care teachers and director know I was going to be gone for two weeks. I did this for two reasons – so they know to reach out to my husband should something come up and also should my kiddos be a little “off” it may be because their routine is altered with mommy being gone and a little TLC may be needed.

Take a little PTO. For my last day in the office ahead of traveling, I took the afternoon off so I could not only get all the laundry done before I left, but also so I could go to my daughter’s elementary school and have lunch with her. Bonus points, it was her birthday and Daddy could join, too. I could see how special that was for her. I also took the day off after my return, too – so I could have lunch with her again and just let her know how happy I am to spend time with her. Read More →

December 16, 2017

Smarty Mom: Teena Ray

I am absolutely thrilled to feature a fellow colleague of mine. I’ve known this Smarty Mom since I started working at a local ad agency, almost 13 years ago! I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know her better, and her amazing family, over the past few years. Teena is such a role model of mine as a working mom. Seeing how she rolls with it all is admirable to say the least. Watching Teena go through one of the scariest times of her life with her daughter being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes was heart wrenching but seeing how her family continues to thrive is awe inspiring. Let’s get to know Teena!20150808_1422091001

Smarty Mom: Teena Ray

Name: Teena Ray
Married to: Marty Ray
Children: Lauren and Mitchell – 17 years old
Occupation: Corporate Services Director -Wray Ward

First things first, please tell us about you and your hubby! How did you meet? How is he THE one?

Marty and I met when we were in elementary school but started dating, (going together) when we were 13. We were in 8th grade. He says he fell in love with me the minute he saw me walk into class Mrs. Anderson’s class, 7th grade. He can remember what I was wearing, very tight jeans and a purple and white striped shirt, with my hair pulled up on one side. (It was the 80’s) It however took longer for me. We became best friends, and still are today. I finally agreed to go out with him in 8th grade and here we are, will be married 25 years in July.

Tell us about the moment you found out you were having twins!

I found out I was having twins when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I knew something was up because at 8 weeks, I could not button any of my pants, and I was a size 2 then. When we had the sonogram, I could not see the screen, but I could see Marty’s eyes, and they were big as plates. We were terrified and very excited. Read More →

September 25, 2017

Little Otter Safety Days helps students stay safe around the water


Even as we enter the new school year, kids still want to spend their spare time enjoying the water. Muggy mornings lead to mid-ninety-degree afternoons, and the main question on my kids’ lips as soon as they have a free moment, “Can we go to the pool?” Our crew can be found every weekend at the pool staying cool from the heat. My husband and I were joking recently about how the pool experience has changed for us. Pre-kids we would lounge at the pool for hours, read a good book or smutty magazine and not worry about a single thing. Post-kids we are on full alert – no more reading or lounging. We are like hawks and on what we call, “do-not-drown mode.” Over the past couple years our stress levels at the pool have reduced a whole lot, much in part to the swim lessons the kids take weekly at The Little Otter Swim School.

My daughter started swim lessons when she was two-years-old and my son started at around six months with The Little Otter. More than learning the skills of how to swim, the teachers do an amazing job of stressing the importance of safety around the water. They teach critical lessons about what to do if you fall into the water. For example, so many kids panic when they fall in the water and forget that there is a wall right behind them. The Little Otter teaches the kids how to turn, grab the wall and pull yourself out. Turn and grab is such a simple, yet important, lesson to learn. Read More →

July 15, 2017

Smarty Mom: Rebekah Somers

Rebekah SomersI am thrilled to introduce Rebekah Somers. I had the opportunity to meet her and her lovely family through a small group from our church. She is by far one of the most compassionate and thoughtful women I’ve had the chance to know. She is a hard-working Smarty Mom who has a pure gratitude for time spent with her family. Let’s get to know Rebekah!

Smarty Mom: Rebekah Somers

Married to: Timothy Somers
Kids: Genesis 1, Brody 10
Years in Charlotte: 1.5
Originally from: Oklahoma
Occupation: Online Director for Elevation Church

What are some of the challenges and benefits of having two boys a few years apart?

Challenges: not making my older son, Brody, feel like my love for him is less just because it is less affectionate. Having Genesis (1-year-old), obviously I kiss his chubby cheeks and snuggle with him like crazy, which can come across to Brody like I love him less. (Brody doesn’t like me to tackle him with kisses anymore). Read More →

June 6, 2017

Summer blockbusters

Beat the heat this summer by checking out some of this year’s much anticipated kid-friendly movies! Here is a rundown of this summer’s hottest family movies! Thanks to IMDB for the rundown of upcoming flicks – be sure to check them out for movie info, trivia and so much more!

diaryofwimpykidDiary of a Wimpy Kid
Rated PG
Release date: May 19

A Heffley family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention.

captain underpantsCaptain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Rated PG
Release date: June 2

Every time my daughter watches this trailer, she is belly laughing! We can’t wait to check this one out! Two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants. Read More →

May 20, 2017

Smarty Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

My five-year-old daughter and I had the opportunity to check out the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie this past weekend. This modern version of National Lampoons Vacation was a hoot to watch! The family road trip full of hijinks was played by Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott which took me back to my Clueless and That Thing You Do days! The kids in the movie, played by Charlie Wright (big bro), Jason Drucker (middle bro) and Dylan Walters (baby bro) did a great job.Diary of a wimpy kid

The mom wanted to the perfect summer road trip with her family which meant no electronic devices. This proved to be difficult for the two older kids and even the dad, who snuck away for work calls. Greg Heffley (middle brother) had ulterior motives to sneak away with his brother to a video gaming convention to capture a video with a gaming star to redeem his online presence, as it was recently ruined with a viral video featuring a diaper.

The family’s journey took them to many adventures including dumpy hotels, town fairs and ended at their Meemaw’s 90th birthday party. In the end the family had the time of their life and really enjoyed connecting with each other while being unplugged.

My daughter had a hard time with some of the car chase scenes but other than that thought it was funny and is now asking for a baby pig (you’ll see why)! The movie is rated PG is in theaters now.

May 6, 2017

Smarty Mom: Devon Newton

Devon Newton

I’m thrilled to introduce you to one of the funniest, cool and collected ladies I have the privilege working with. She is detail oriented, super buttoned up and knows how to keep a project moving, all while keeping it light and fun! This Smarty Mom is expecting her first baby in ten short weeks. Let’s get to know her more!

Smarties, let’s get cozy with Devon Newton!

Devon’s Smarty Mom Stats:

Name: Devon Newton
Married to: Sean
Kids: Baby boy due July 15th
Years in Charlotte: I was born and raised in Charlotte, left for a while for college in Charleston, SC, moved to Los Angeles, then came back. So, all in, about 27 years
Hood: Ballantyne
Occupation: Video Producer Read More →

February 27, 2017

I officially have a kindergartener!

I recognize this feeling. It’s a pit in my stomach, my throat tightens up and my eyes well up with tears. I first had this feeling about halfway through my first maternity leave. It’s that moment when you realize the clock is ticking until you return to work and your little one is in the care someone else other than you. It was rough and tough, but I eased my way back into it and rocked it (if I do say so myself). My daughter thrived at daycare and I got back into the swing at work.

My second maternity leave went smoother. I still shed tears going back to work and leaving my sweet baby boy, but I knew better what to expect this time. starstudent

But now it’s back. The clock is ticking again as I realized that enrollment is open for CMS. My first baby, my sweet girl is in her last year of preschool and she will be heading off to kindergarten this fall. I am proud of her – she’s more than ready. Me on the other hand…am not.

As I completed the enrollment forms, I can barely see through the tears in my eyes. As she talks with excitement about having her own desk, I smile and nod while I secretly feel a sinking in my belly. Read More →

January 30, 2017

Smarty Review of CleanKidz

We’ve all been there. “Mom, I don’t feel good…” and then it happens, they get sick…in the car seat. I don’t know about you, but each and every time my kids have gotten sick, it’s been in the car seat. The one place that has the most nooks and crannies to hold the beloved lunch from an hour before. I despise car seats when it comes to uninstalling, disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, reinstalling. It is the worst.

Recently, I learned about CleanKidz. A local company that cleans car seats, along with other kids’ gear like strollers, pack-n-plays, high chairs, etc. I recently used them to clean an infant carrier and base and the results were amazing. My infant carrier was in the attic for more than one year. It was covered in dust and even had a mold spot. I thought about gifting it to a friend and asked if they would be able to give it the deep cleaning needed to revive it. Deep cleaning is an understatement. The carrier came back as good as new! Additionally, the staff notified me of a recall on the carrier and informed me about the expiration date (yes, car seats have expiration dates!) I was amazed with not only the final product, but the extra information and service that came with my appointment.

I had the opportunity to meet Lee Phillips, owner of CleanKidz, to get a behind-the-scenes tour of their facility and learn more about what they have to offer. Read More →

January 7, 2017

Smarty Mom: Vivian Mize

I’m excited to introduce Smarty Mom Vivian Mize. I am fortunate to work with this creative-minded mama every day. Not only does she have an amazing creative vision for marketing communications, she is a stellar mom. She is one of the most candid, funny and thoughtful people I know. Let’s get to know Vivian!


Smarty Mom: Vivian Mize

Name: Vivian Mize
Married to: William Mize
Kids: Whitson (Whit) 16, Josephine (Josie) 14, Harley 4 (a.k.a. little ball of energy)
Years in Charlotte: 1+
Originally from: moved here from Atlanta
Occupation: Creative marketing/design

You are one of those working mamas that always seems to have it together. What’s your secret?

Planning, organization, multi-tasking and – most importantly – ability to not stress.

What advice do you have for a soon-to-be-mom or new mom about returning back to work?

Don’t sweat it. You will be sad, very sad, but your baby will be okay and so will you. I have always known that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom (it would drive me crazy and I love my job) so I came to peace with it rather quickly knowing that I was doing the best I could for my family. I knew my child was cared for properly because I planned it well in advance. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Being a parent is NOT about being a slave to your children; you need to take care of yourself just as much as your kids so if that means going back to work because you love what you do or because it keeps you sane, then great. Read More →

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