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 →
I 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!
Married to: Timothy Somers
Kids: Genesis 1, Brody 10
Years in Charlotte: 1.5
Originally from: Oklahoma
Occupation: Online Director for Elevation Church
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 →
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!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
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 Underpants: The First Epic Movie
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 →
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.
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.
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!
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
Occupation: Video Producer Read More →
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.
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 →
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 →
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!
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
Planning, organization, multi-tasking and – most importantly – ability to not stress.
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 →
We are a mixed family. My husband both come from Indiana, both from Ball State (go Cards!); however, we both had different traditions growing up. My family celebrated Chanukah and my husband’s family celebrated Christmas. When we got married, we agreed to celebrate Christmas but I still like to infuse some of the traditions that I grew up with.
We are one of “those” families that puts away the Halloween décor on November 1 and out comes the holiday décor! The kids always help deck our halls, hang our stockings and hang the ornaments on the tree. My two-year-old son really likes to help Daddy with the exterior illumination (nod to Clark Griswold).
While the boys are outside, my four-year-old daughter and I will start baking up a storm. A couple of years ago I shared how we make marshmallow dreidels. It’s a great way to get my little one involved and contributing to the festivities! Beyond making our delish dreidels, we always make chocolate chip meringue cookies. These light and fluffy clouds are delectable and always a hit in the cookie exchange!
As we enjoy watching all the classic holiday movies, we like to also play dreidel. Start each person with the same number of tokens, coins, pieces of candy, etc. Each player gets to spin the dreidel and based on the Hebrew letter that is showing, they either win or lose pieces.
Shin: Player adds a piece to the pot in the middle!
Hey: The player gets half the pot!
Gimel: The player gets everything in the pot!
Nun: Nothing happens – you don’t win any pieces…but you don’t lose any either! Read More →
Married to: Dan Vaughan
Due date: November 1, 2016
Years in Charlotte: 31, minus 4 years of college in Raleigh, the 2 years I spent living in New York and 2 years I spent in Chapel Hill, NC
Originally from: Charlotte
Occupation: Project Manager
I honestly can say it has not been too bad. I had the typical nauseas feeling for about 3 months but once that subsided, I felt like a normal person again. As I am getting closer to my due date the discomfort has set in, but that is to be expected as you carry around a small bowling ball all day, every day. I have been able to work out throughout my pregnancy, still attending my powerful flow yoga classes on a regular basis. I am hopeful this will help aid in my labor process making it easier (one can hope, right!?).
How quickly your body and mind knows you are pregnant. Intuition woke me up early one Saturday morning and told me to take a test. Low and behold, it was positive and the rest is history.
I never wanted to do a gender reveal because I thought they were kind of cheesy (no offense to anyone else who does them). But there is a certain kind of cake a local baker makes that has ombre layers with salted vanilla frosting that is any pregnant girls dream. I agreed to let my mom host a gender reveal party if this cake was a part of it. We invited our closest friends and family and cut into the beautiful cake to reveal all shades of pink. I am glad I ended up doing a reveal because it turned out to be a really special moment for me and my family. Read More →