Sand is So Last Year

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, mainly because my blog is going through a branding upgrade thanks to a fabulous friend of mine! Once that is in place, I will be back to my regular posting and updates. HOWEVER, it has been gorgeous out and since everyone is working on their backyards, I wanted to share Mike’s Rock Box.

I found this idea when I suggested getting Mike a sandbox. S. couldn’t stand the thought of sand EVERYWHERE and it didn’t take much convincing for me to agree. I cruised alternatives and Mike’s Rock Box was born! A few people asked how I made it and guys? It’s stupid simple.

Here’s what you need:

  • A hard plastic pool
  • pea gravel (I used 2 bags)
  • A drill
  • Toys

Use the drill to pop a few small holes in the bottom so when it rain, it will drain and not give you a pool with rocks (though that might be fun too). Toss the rocks in the pool with a few toys and let your little construction worker at it!

rock box

Mollie Claire Turns 2!

Mols –

I can’t even believe you are turning 2. I remember writing you your 1st birthday letter and here I am reflecting on yet another year with you my sweet niece. Honestly, not much has changed. You are still just as beautiful, sweet and mischievous as you were LAST year. Perhaps this year you just have more hair.

I have so many favorite memories of you from this year I can’t pick just one. Most of them involve your milestones and how you interact with Mike. You are so kind with him and we can tell he is watching you to see how things are done.

One time you had me giggling was at your Daddy’s birthday you took your plate into the kitchen in hopes of a piece of cake only to come back into the room VERY upset your request was denied. A kid after my own heart!

I love you Mols, have a happy happy second birthday.


Well Hello Fresh!

I’ve seen so much hype around subscription boxes lately, I even tried RocksBox a few months ago and loved getting mail. So when my Momma and Sister-in-Law started raving about HelloFresh, I was cautiously interested. Here’s how it works:

Each week I log into my account and chose 3 meals out of the 5 they are offering. All the ingredients are surprisingly fresh as the name would lead you to believe. To be honest, the meals are not what I would normally pick if I was looking through a cookbook, but that’s half the fun. Did you know I like Tilapia? Me neither!  It also guarantees that my family is eating 3 healthy meals a week – which as a family with working parents is a huge win.

On Friday, when I chose my meals to be delivered, I come home to a well packed box with 3 bags. Each bag contains the measured ingredients  for each meal and a recipe card with pictures and detailed instructions. When I am ready to make a meal, I just pull out the recipe and bag and get started!

Each dish can be prepared in about 30 minutes and is more than enough for 2 people, and you can upgrade to 4 people if your family is bigger or you are having guests. Meat-free house? No biggie! They have veggie boxes too. The food is also kid friendly and Mikey is at the perfect age to instill a love of vegetables.

PicMonkey Collage

It’s really nice to know that I have everything I need to make a meal. While I do my best meal planning and shopping, it was inevitable that I would go to make chicken for dinner and be out of chicken. Everything I need is right there from HelloFresh (but stock up on butter, oil and oddball utensils like a garlic press and zester). Here’s some of the meals we’ve had:

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Tangy Balsamic Potato Salad
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Mustard-Butter Bean Salad
Roasted Pork Chops with Onion Gravy & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Did I mention that each week is $69 and you are not locked in? Each week I am able to see what the menu is either opt in or opt out. I love not committing based on our tastes, schedule and budget.

The only downside is you still actually have to make the meal. But if you HAVE to make dinner (and Child Protective Services likes to know kids are eating), HelloFresh is the easiest and healthiest option. Want to try HelloFresh? Use this link to get $40 off your first box. I bet you couldn’t buy ingredients for 3 fresh, healthy meals for $29.

I signed up and after my first week, I told HelloFresh I was going to do a review, so they gave me a free week to try. They can’t afford to pay me for a good review, so I gave them an honest one.

Mike: February 2015

My Mike-a-roni:

As I am typing this my head is singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman from your current obsession, Frozen. You randomly said to Daddy a few weeks ago ‘let it go’ (or so it seemed) so I started playing the song from Frozen. Apparently you have seen the movie before and now it is all you want to do. You call it ‘Go’. It’s pretty cute, but has caused some meltdowns. I am sure in March I will be so sick of the songs I will want to scream, but for now I love how your face lights up and you gasp when the movie comes on. It’s worth it kid.


It’s been a pretty quiet month, we’ve just focused on getting settled in Maryland and the weather was no so pleasant. We are eagerly awaiting spring for when we can venture outside and check out the playgrounds.

You’ve been quite the happy helper these days! You love your ‘boom’ (broom) and walk around with it sweeping invisible (or not so invisible) dirt. You help us throw away trash, empty the dishwasher and the dryer. I love seeing you follow directions! I know it won’t last, but for now, we are using it to our advantage.

You’ve taken a liking the Buddha. I happened to have a few small statues from my trips to China because Grandpa likes the Laughing Buddha and you point and say ‘boo-doe’. You even take the big one and rub his belly! It’s so cute to see you walking around carrying your Boo-Doe statues.

You are becoming such a little boy my love. Daddy and I are so enjoying seeing things through your eyes. Everyday is literally like Christmas morning – what excitement will happen?

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo


Is Forever Enough?

I was thinking this morning that February may be the shortest month, but this year it is DRAGGING. I blame it insane weather, today it’s the temperature – without the windchill it’s 3 degrees. 3 degrees. That might be normal for say, Fargo, but this is Maryland. Finding motivation to do anything more than what I have to do is hard.

I did unpack my CDs the other day, being a teenager in the 90s means I had a pretty extensive collection from bluegrass to broadway to hymns to mall punk. I didn’t keep them all, but they have followed me around. This morning I popped in Take the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks and was pleasantly surprised that the whole album still holds up today. Then I heard Lullabye and the lump in my throat came up. I had forgotten this song, which was beautiful in 2006 when I first heard it, is even more touching since I am a mom. I must have played it 47 times.

They didn’t have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you’re asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do
So tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

As you wander through this troubled world
In search of all things beautiful
You can close your eyes when you’re miles away
And hear my voice like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up
Is forever enough?
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

how long

Run Run Run

I’ve spent a bit of time wondering if I should mention my new ‘thing’ because I feel like I have always started a new ‘thing’, gave it 110%, then forgotten about it a month later. Sewing reusable gift bags, Jazzercise class and tap dancing come to mind. As Awolnation say, ‘blame it on my ADD baby.’ But there are tidbits I want to share with you all, so I will share my current ‘thing’ – Couch to 5K training.

Last week I woke up and, literally twice, the first thing I thought about running. If you know me in real life, you know how I am not the running type. Or the fast moving type. Or the sweaty type. When someone would mention running I would respond by saying there is nowhere I need to be that quickly. But last week – something shifted. And it wasn’t in an ‘I need to lose weight’, or ‘I want to BE a runner’. It was just a ‘go run’.

I did some research and downloaded the Get Running app and on Thursday did my first ‘run’. It was hard. Real hard. Out of the 8 run sessions, I did 6. Saturday I had some fancy running clothes on and magically did all 8 sessions. It wasn’t fast and certainly wasn’t pretty. I had a repeat last night with the same results. It was still hard, but I didn’t talk myself out of doing it or try shortcuts. I just … did it.

I am not saying much about it on social media because I don’t necessarily need to motivating comments. Which sounds horrible. I do need them, I want them, but I don’t want to make this a big deal or be held accountable.

I don’t know if I am going to do the whole program, or even run a 5K. All I know is tomorrow morning I am going to get up and do the next session. Then we will see about the following session. It’s cool to see what a big scary goal can be reduced to when it is made into a one day at a time goal. It makes it so much less scary. I haven’t been very good at that in the past.

One of the most fun parts of my half hour sessions is my playlist. Music is such a part of my everyday life, so having a solid playlist is critical to running. Here’s what I am listening to right now – it’s equal parts upbeat AND promoting girl power.  What’s on your workout playlist? 


Mike: January 2015

My sweet, sweet Mike-a-roni –

I can’t believe it is already February! January was a whirlwind of packing, moving, adjusting and unpacking. You – my sweet boy – were SUCH a trooper. Your Daddy and I still marvel at how you only had a few moments when you had some frustration the past month. You would quickly hit us then go in for a hug. It was a crazy month.


{Moving} You had a rough night before our official moving day so you got to snuggle in bed with Momma. Then the next morning you hung out with Grandma, Miss Joyce, Aunt Ray Ray and Mollie while the movers did their thing. You even went to Chick-Fil-A! You had a grand time running around in the basement before all the furniture came in.

{Food} I keep joking that we need to start socking money away for groceries so we can afford to feed you in high school. If it isn’t nailed down, you are eating it. This includes french fries, chicken tenders, apple slices, applesauce (in the pouch, which you daintily hold in the corners), Mickey Mouse cheese snacks, Annie’s fruit snacks, crackers (ga-gas) and pasta. So much pasta.

{Daycare} You started your French Immersion daycare mid-month and it was harder for Momma and Daddy than for you. You did cry, but Miss Rachel said you stopped pretty quickly. Now that you are a few weeks in you attempt to jump out of your carseat, ring the doorbell and wave ‘au revoir’ to me. Miss Rachel was very impressed with how quickly you adapted and how much you eat (see above).

{TV} It’s not my proudest moment, but you’ve watched a lot of TV while everyone is packing and unpacking. You are obsessed with Chuggington (“Choo Choo”), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Curious George (“Jew”). You enthusiastically ‘sing’ along when you know the right words. Or the wrong words. Whatever – you are my child.

{This and That}

You are best friends with the ceiling fans (“Fay”), you point them out, get very upset when they are not on and wave bye bye to them when we leave the room.

You have discovered wheels. You have a bunch of Matchbox cars and you love zooming them around over Mount Momma or Daddy. Everything is ‘Tuck’. And oddly enough, they all say ‘choo-choo’. Perhaps we will work on the difference between a truck and a train. One thing at a time though.

Well sweet pea, the theme of February will be fun, unpacking and finding our groove. It will certainly not be a problem for you Mr. Go With the Flow.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo


A Lesson in Moving

Hi! Remember me? We finally moved after weeks of living among the boxes. Well, we are still living among the boxes, but at least we are breaking them down and not building them. We are still a bit in moving limbo with address changes and all the hoopla that comes from crossing state lines (even if the states are touching).

If I had one piece of advice to any parent moving with a toddler is to stop trying to be a perfect parent. Everything I read kept saying to ease the transition keep things as much the same as possible. Folks? That’s exhausting.

Mike has watched pretty much the whole season of Chuggington. Twice. He’s eaten french fries or pizza at almost every meal. And yes. That includes breakfast. His Wubba is permanently stuck in his mouth. The night before the move he ended up sleeping in our bed. He’s even – gasp – been rocked back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.

And that is ok ay. We are in survival mode for the next few weeks while we unearth our pots and pans and figure out our groove. Here’s some pictures from our move.

Two Marines Moving is an amazing moving company in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area. We have used them twice and highly recommend them.






My Perfect Celebrity Playgroup

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with pop culture. Us Weekly, Celebitchy and yes, even TMZ, give me my fix. More recently I have loved watching pregnant and parent celebrities. It makes me feel like, yes, celebs – they are just like us!

With that in mind, I have put together my favorite celebrity moms and dads for my playgroup.

Melissa McCarthy

“It plagues me. I feel intensely guilty for working,” says McCarthy. “You have to be able to provide for your kids. But I feel like it’s a weird modern phenomenon that you always feel guilty for it.” – Parade Magazine

I love that Melissa is a working mom who has a lot of money and resource, yet still feels the mom guilt we all feel from time to time. She also tells the funniest damn stories about her girls, so I know she would keep us laughing. Oh, and we could totally share clothes.

She is now BFFs with Sandra Bullock and her son, so I might consider letting them join us every so often.


Jennifer Garner

“There’s an internal battle. I need to work, I need to work, I need to work, and I need to be home with my kids and the kids win. It’s about getting the kids up and fed, getting one to school, getting the other down for a nap, going to the grocery store, picking one up from school, getting the other one down for another nap, cooking dinner . . . I live my life at these two extremes. I’m either a full-time stay-at-home mom or a full-time actress.” – Huffington Post

No, I am not including her so I can get closer to Ben.  She is so often pap’ed, yet she never looks like she is prepared for it. She has on sneakers and hardly any makeup and the kiddos look like they dressed themselves. If I know Mike is going to be in pictures, I make sure his shoes match. Not Jen, nope. And I LOVE that. I think she would add some realness to our group and be a good ‘taker carer’ to all of us parents.


Neil Patrick Harris

“The older they get, the more I love being a dad. Now that they’re talking, I’m really loving the camp counselor end of parenting,” he says. “I’m all about reasoning. If they fall and are okay but crying, David [Burtka, his partner] will be the hugger, and I’ll be the ‘Show me where it hurts; let’s talk about it’ one. I come from a family of lawyers, so explanation is crucial.” – People Magazine

Another funny guy! I bet he would riff with Melissa really well on the playground. I am drawn to how he describes what kind of father he is and how he has evolved over the last three years. He has really been honest in the media and seeing him go from an unsure, backseat dad to a very involved dad has been nice. I think he would be known for giving us facts about kids and parenting styles.

Have you seen his twins? Those kids are too adorable for words.

Savannah Guthrie

“My 3am wakeup call sounds a lot different now,” Guthrie added. “Sweeter…” – Twitter

I love, love, love Savannah. As the newest Mom she can use a lot of support. When she said Vail is wearing mittens because she is too scared to cut her nails the internet exploded. Gimme a damn break, every parent has been there. I think she could benefit from my group – especially from Jen – for parenting advice and getting over the first time celebrity mom hurdles.


Jimmy Fallon

“I just want to hang out with my daughter,” he said. And he does a great job, according to his wife: “He is the fun, goofy, make-her-giggle kind of dad.” That’s something Jimmy is very proud of. “I make my daughter laugh every day,” he said triumphantly. – People Magazine

The excitement Jimmy has for being a Dad warms my heart. ure, he would be a fun addition to our group, but he would also be the one the kids flock to for high fives and tickles. I also like how open he was about their infertility issues. I wasn’t going to include his wife in the group until I saw this quote from her:

“Men don’t get left with babies ever, so they’re told the message is, You can’t really do this,” says Nancy. “Everyone plays that game. And that’s some BS. Walk away and let him handle it.”

Get it girl. You are welcome on my playground any time.


Joel Madden

“I mean, we’re not the first people to have babies so you’re going to be alright no matter what,” he explains. You have to have your own experience and learn as you go. Kids are very resilient and you just have to take it a day at a time.” – People Magazine

Oh Joel, how I loved you during my late 90s mall punk phase. We are from the same state so I feel like we would be instant friends on that fact alone. I like how he lets his wife shine and is protective of his kids. They have both spoken out about how they are doing things different than their parents did and that is admirable. I bet he would share some tips on that front.

Who would be in your celebrity playgroup?

Mike: December 2014

To my little monster Mike,

I can’t believe last year we were waiting not so patiently for you to crawl. We would put you in front of the tree and you could balance on your belly while fussing. You were frustrated. We were frustrated. But not long after the holidays you figured it out. Flash forward to THIS year and we couldn’t get you to sit still! It’s funny what changes in a year.

{Holidays} Oh what fun it was during the holidays! You are a lucky kid who gets to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. You got some awesome gifts and though you were still confused on what was going on, you figured out that you got to keep what you opened. Honestly, if we got you one thing you would have been thrilled.

We also went to the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a tradition for Daddy and I, and the whole time you ate Goldfish and said ‘ohhhhh’.

You were fascinated with the tree, and even said ‘Tee’. We decorated with the nonbreakable ornaments on the bottom, so you loved taking them off and trying to put them back on (which was really stuffing them in the tree).

You were not too keen on Santa Claus. We went to see him at our community center and you were okay running up to give him a high five, but that was about it. Maybe next year. Or maybe not.


{Operation Relocation} You probably don’t realize it yet, but we signed a new lease in December! So mid-January we are moving from our apartment in Fairfax County Virginia to a townhouse in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. We are very very excited and very nervous for this transition. The good news is we will be so much closer to our family! I hope you see this as a new adventure. It’s the cutest little townhouse at the end of a street near parks and a school. I could immediately see you riding your trike down the street.

{Daycare} You also met your new daycare provider, Miss Rachel. You took to her and her daughter’s really quickly and even played with some of their toys. We are nervous about this transition as well, but know you are in good hands. Plus, you will be learning French! Wee-wee!

{TV} Your favorite shows right now include Doc McStuffins (you say Doc when you see her on books or toys), Curious George (or Jew as you call him), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and lately your REAL favorite has been Chuggington. When it comes up on Netflix, you point and say ‘choo-choo’ and even dance to the theme song. It’s not a bad cartoon, and significantly less creepy than Thomas the Tank Engine.

{Words} Your vocabulary is growing so quickly! Sometimes you say something clear as day and Dad and I just look at each other in surprise and pride. You’ve been saying:

  • Ba-bub (Bubbles for a bath)
  • Ah-poo (apple, which is usually any fruit)
  • Buh-bye (this is the funniest. You say it so clearly as you are walking away waving. Sometimes sarcastically).
  • Up (both for up and down)

{Snuggles} You are still such a sweet snuggler. You love pulling the blankets over us on the couch, or walking up to Daddy who sits on the floor and plant yourself in his lap. You are giving hugs and kisses on your terms and that makes them 10 times as sweet. I know the time will come when you won’t want to snuggle as much, but I hope we have awhile longer.

{Food} Your love of food comes and goes. Right now you will eat anything smothered in tomato sauce. Also french fries, sliced apples or pickles.

{Helping} You are becoming quite the helper! You are great with directions, like when we ask you to put your shoes in the basket, and cleaning up. The other day you knocked over Charlie’s water dish and then we handed you a towel and you ‘wiped’ the floor. Granted it was the kitchen floor and not the dining room, but once we redirected you, you figured it out. You also love opening the microwave. The minute it beeps you run over the open it. I hope asking for help keeping the house in order is always this easy!


January is going to be a big adventure for you sweet boy. One of many many exciting adventures you will have in your lifetime.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma, xoxo