Archives for June 2014

Teagan’s need for speed

So one of my babies had to end up with the need for speed gene. Between my dad’s lifelong obsession with motorcycles and Phil’s, one of the pumpkins had to want to pin a throttle. It’s Teagan, for sure. Here she is a few weeks ago on Father’s Day with “Uncle Aaron” (my cousin), owner of Maverick’s Cycle House. Now don’t fret. She didn’t go over 5 miles an hour, but she wanted to. I’m sure Aaron and Dana’s neighbors could hear her screeching, “FASTER, FAAAASTER!”

While watching this front yard fun (& holding the fish eye lens like Gollum guarding his “precious,”) I was putting together a list of her possible future adrenaline-pumping hobbies: cliff jumping, drag racing, flying fighter jets…ah!

Meet (part of) my amazing family.


Never a dull moment with Aaron!


This is how we roll.


Note the look of satisfaction on her face. “I don’t need help.”


Hudson Tommy, never to be left out! Let’s see what July 4th brings!



Father’s Day and a Fisheye lens

What to do on Father’s Day? How about an impromptu visit to the city (“THE” city = NYC) + a borrowed fish eye lens (thanks Kathy and Justin!) + uber messy ice cream and a family BBQ? Yes!

So I’ve been itching to get my mits on a fish eye lens, and thanks to some friends, borrowed one. What ensued? Lots and lots (and lots) of photos. Hudson had a full wardrobe change after this outing. Enjoy the progression of sticky sprinkes, filth and fun!

We saw the Freedom Tower, which is quite awesome:

Freedom Tower

We watched boats, helicopters, planes, people, dogs, and you name it zoom, walk, run, sail or fly by.

Father's Day-3

Then we got ice cream. Chocolate with sprinkles.

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“You talkin’ to me?!”

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And things got messy, toddler style.

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Teagan never likes my suggestions to lick all sides equally. See? ^ ^^ Has NOT mastered the art of ice cream eating in the summer yet. In time, young one. In time.

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Gwen’s approach is that of speed. That ice cream never had a chance.

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Sccccoooowwwwl. He wasn’t mad or anything here. He had ice cream in his eyelashes. Not kidding.

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Ah, those eyes! STILL not mastering the even licking pattern I suggested needed to beat the heat. Fine then. Carry on.

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Ah, yes. About 50 baby wipes went into cleaning this dude.

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Hi, Mom! I just ate all of my ice cream in warp speed, and now I’m taking your shake! Good thing anyway, because you’re off dairy, and had three sips! GASP! I’m helping you, see?

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Pretty sure he’s having an out of body experience here.

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All cleaned up, and FIRED up on chocolate.

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See that blurry toddler hand grabbing for the giant balloon? Yes, I’m balancing all 30 lbs of sugar-charged Hudson on my hip and still taking photos.

Hope everyone had a Happy Father’s Day! BBQ pics and Teagan’s new favorite toy (a quad – sigh) to come!



I’m part of the Mommy Blogger Collective. Each month we’re given a one word prompt to riff with. This month’s prompt is *shine.*

Gwenyth, my monkey, came into this world nearly 6 years ago. She has reminded me every day since last Wednesday that she wants a “purple” birthday party, because (this week), it’s her favorite color.

girl with flowers

I’m not sure what I expected from motherhood. Before I had Gwen, the last time I had changed a diaper was 1984 acting as a 3 year old fumbling “helper,” wrangling one on my sister. Gwen was born at 7:22 am. That night, after visitors were in and out, and a thousand pictures of my tiny baby with taken, the nurse assigned to me insisted that I “get some sleep” after my 19 hour drug free labor (!). She promised my bundle of joy would come back to me “in a few hours” to eat. NOT a few hours later…1.5 hours later…I can vividly re-play the creak of the hospital room door, the tiny squeak of the baby-cart and the hideous (don’t roll your eyes and lie, it is awful) shrill of an infant cry, MY infant, as she was pushed into my room by an apologetic nurse who let me know that she and her team “couldn’t console” this little baby like they could the others. Oh, holy crap. This was the soundtrack to insomnia, I was sure. I don’t know what I expected out of my first night as a mother, but I think I (foolishly) expected sleep. (Don’t all laugh at once.) I held Gwen on my chest, pet her tiny back, and she fell asleep in an instant. So it began, and so it went. She slept there all night long, only waking up to eat, for the first 8 weeks of her life, and it’s time gone by that I cherish.

About 3.5 years later, when she first began preschool, Gwen had an inconsolable crying fit (notice a theme?) over an art project. Her teacher couldn’t figure out what set her off. That night when I tucked Gwen in, I asked her why she was so sad, so upset by the project: dip hand in paint, stamp hand down, teacher makes sheep ears, tail, etc. Each sheep was white, identical. My 3 year old explained in a serious way I’ll never forget: “I don’t want to be a white sheep. I want to be pink or red.” My lesson as a mother? My kid, though a bit more difficult, knows who she wants to be. She digs her heels in and can pitch fit when someone tries to define her. Yes. I’m thankful.

Zoom to the present. Tonight I’m editing Gwen’s graduation photos. She’s my free-spirited millennial hippy, who makes fairy rings out of flowers alongside elaborate architectural structures out of found objects. She’s far more interesting than me already.

Jumps when it’s not time? You bet. Talks when it’s not her turn? Guarantee it. Marches to the beat of her own drum? Absolutely. She made the drum. Cried the loudest and longest in the nursery? Yep. Won’t be one of the white sheep hanging on the wall? No way, no how. I wouldn’t change a thing. My little girl shines.


“Shine” is the June writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Christina of Mouse in Your House. A few words from Christina — At Mouse In Your House, I’m bringing you stories about being a working mom, quirky family lifestyle trends, frugal living, DIY ideas and the talented people who make life something amazing. I hate getting bored and occasionally use Mouse In Your House to ask people very personal questions that I would, otherwise, never get away with. My goal is to find chicks and gents doing something cool and inspiring, which could lead to a feature about a family who took the year off to travel the world one day and the next day’s post could be all about how to dress a stylish toddler. To qualify for a feature, I need only go, holy moly that is frigging awesome….and you may even get a long set of questions for our next Q&A. That’s the way I roll. And P.S. I LOVE budgeting and it has taken over our lives in the past. We recently graduated from living in a 400 square-foot apartment to a 1,400 square foot house in my beloved small town of Knoxville, Tennessee. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

Tea Tea’s chocolate party in the park

She asked for chocolate. She asked for her preschool friends. Our blue eyed girl turned 4, and we celebrated Teagan’s “chocolate in the park” (yes, her idea) themed party under sunny skies.

I wanted to incorporate everything Tea asked for, and do it low-key. I’m not low key. I want to be. I also have an awful habit of underestimating the amount time needed to complete just about every task. The man can tell you that I estimate everything to take about “ten minutes.” This is why the night before Teagan’s party, I was roaming around Michael’s (the craft store) at 8:45 pm as employee announced they’d be closing in 15 minutes, feverishly looking for the perfect ribbon to use for 40 bagged lunches that I hadn’t made at that point. (Insert insane laughter.)

Found. Done. Cake walk. Fast forward to 12 am, when the hole puncher (used to create the holes to tie said ribbon, of course) inexplicably breaks into 4 pieces (whaaa?) and smashes on the kitchen island in some slow, dramatic sequence. Low point. The man took a break from his battle in Clash of Clans and fixed it. Thank you 1,000 times, because the scissor holes I punched in two  bags to try and compensate was just not looking good. 1 am. Bagged lunches for the kiddos complete with at “T” for Teagan. Check, check, and check.

I have never seen a kid not like a Nutella sandwich, so the lunches went over big. Score again.

Picnic theme party lunch

Picnic theme party lunch

Picnic style party lunch

Picnic party

Cousin Maverick!

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Taylor and mom, Heather

Picnic Party

Tea’s  sweet cousin Frankie and her mom, Aunt Lynda of Lyn’s Cookies!

One of my good friends/mom of Teagan’s friend looked around and the set up, looked at me and said:”You didn’t make all of this.” She’s totally right. She knows me well! I know I’ve said it before. It’s  magnificent to have family members who are caterers. I’m smiling as I type this. It’s beyond wonderful. Any locals already know about The Little Food Cafe in Pompton Plains, but Dana is in full effect there and an aaaamazing party planner. She hooked Teagan up with these (of course chocolate) zebra cupcakes:

Zebra and polka dot cupcakes

Zebra cupcakes? You bet. Why? For the past year, Teagan has religiously sported her “Oma dress” (from her Oma), which is a zebra-print tutu dress, nick-named “the uniform.” Of course the day of her party, she refused to wear zebra print but opted for horizontal stripes, since they’re “kinda like zebra stripes, see?” Fair enough. I was just happy she didn’t insist on wearing pajamas, a tutu and rain boots, one of her favorite and signature looks.

animal print

Aunt Dana and Aunt Colleen went with cheeta print for the day! Jersey girls think alike.

The party parting gift for the kiddos, these super-fun cookies, were made by another fabulously talented family member, Lynda of Lyn’s Cookies! These were gone faster than I could hand them out:

Zebra print cookie

Happy Birthday, Teagan, my beautiful little poet! Next up: Gwen’s 6th birthday in July. Let the planning begin! (“Low key” of course.)

blonde girl with necklace

blonde girl with necklace

blonde girl with necklace