Simon turns 5

On November 3rd Simon turned 5 years old. We celebrated with cupcakes in his preschool class and a dinner of pizza and salad, as per his request. But this past Saturday we had a Ninjago themed birthday party at a local martial arts establishment.

We invited all his friends and had a wonderful time. The kids played games with the instructors, learned proper kicking and punching technique and even got to kick a few board in half. Simon was the star of the party and even got to cut his cake with a real ninja sword. We had such a great time celebrating Simon.

The martial arts place offered all of the party attendants 2 free months of classes (no obligations to sign up). So we hope to head back and take a few classes as the boys all seemed very interested in the activities.

Thor: Ragnarok – Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok opened in theaters on November 3rd and it was a much anticipated movie for Joe and I.

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive the deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

Joe’s thoughts
The first thing I read about Thor:Ragnarok was this tweet comparing it to the side of a cool dude’s van, and from that moment I was awash with anticipation. I can now confirm that the sweet-ass van guy’s initial impression was 100% accurate.

On top of being full of the sort of intergalactic ass-kicking that belongs on an epic heavy metal album cover, Thor:Ragnarok was also surprisingly hilarious. Instead of taking an overly serious approach, the film deals with the downfall of Thor and the destruction of the world with levity and frivolity. This approach makes an overtly fantastical story both accessible and believable, when it would otherwise be campy and cheesy.

The reemergence of the Hulk was something I’ve been looking forward to for years, and it was worth the wait. Watching the Hulk’s interactions with the other characters was very relatable for parents of small children.

Thor:Ragnarok is easily the best Thor-Hulk team-up movie, beating out the 1988 Bill Bixby classic The Incredible Hulk Returns by a large margin. It is also the best Thor movie, and it is definitely in the running for the best Marvel movie.

The direction by Taika Waititi was spot-on, and the casting was great. Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Idris Elba were especially fun to watch, and there were a ton of unexpected cameos. Immense attention was paid to tiny details and references that nerds like me will be pouring over for months.
All in all, Thor: Ragnarok was extraordinarily fun movie.

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.


Starting Construction

It’s been a little over 2 months since we signed our contract to build our new home. It feels like we were waiting forever for them to start building but we had to wait our turn. We just so happened to sign our contract right after 7 other families signed. So the process took a bit longer because the builder starts 2 new homes a week so even though all the permits were approved we had to wait our turn. The position of our house on the lot has changed to give us a flatter and longer driveway. This also gives us a slightly better backyard, although the house is further back than we initially thought. It’s all OK, we are excited that construction has started. They set all the plumbing on Wednesday. Seeing as we only live 2 miles from the new home we frequently drive by to watch the progress of ours and our neighbors houses. It looks as though they will pour the foundation on Monday, everything is staked and ready. We have an Internet Tool Kit that allows us to login to our account to check on the status and updates on the building of our home. They have proposed schedule of when milestones are supposed to be completed. They projected completion of the foundation is 11/17.

It’s funny how tiny the house looks in comparison to the vast expanse around us. I’m excited to see it come together over the next few months.

Raising Outgoing Children

I was secretly hoping no one would be at the park this afternoon. But the boys are thrilled there are other kids here. I sit far away but still within view of where the boys are playing. I don’t want to hover or nag them while they playing. Abel is at home napping while Joe works so I only have the older 3. They are all old enough to play on their own. I overhear the boys striking up a conversation with some of the other parents. But I’m not going to intervene, everyone seems fine and happy. I realize for the first time in 10 years of parenting that I don’t really care what others think of me but I do care how I make other people feel. And as a mother that same sentiment is extended with my children. I care how my children make other people feel. My boys are very social and are pretty good at making others feel awkward. It kind of drives me nuts and it’s one of the reasons I nag them to be less intrusive in public. But really they aren’t being intrusive, just inquisitive and friendly. All of my helicopter parenting is striving to make sure other adults aren’t uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I’m sort of crushing my own kids. I’m not taking into account how I’m making them feel. I so often see my kids as an extension of me, instead of the individual unique people they actually are. Now, I’m not going to let my kids be little brats but it’s OK if they strike up awkward conversations with people or say ridiculous stuff. If they are kind and caring I’m proud of my kids.

Body Confidence #MonistatCure

As you get older your body changes. If you’re a woman that’s carried a child you’ve probably noticed that you can never quite get back your pre-pregnancy body. I’m not just talking about weight and dress size, but hormones. Something magical happens with the female body during pregnancy. Hormones kick in and the body grows and changes in new, amazing way. But after all of the changes that are essential for a pregnancy your body feels and acts differently after pregnancy.

Personally, I’ve noticed that my hair and skin have changed since having kids. I find it more difficult to lose weight in certain areas of my body. I also noticed changes in my lady parts. With the fluctuation of hormones and all of the physical changes it can be hard to feel comfortable in your own body, much less sexy. It’s been 3 years since my last baby and I’m just now starting to regain confidence in my body. Confidence comes by being knowledgeable and experienced. After major changes happen in your body it’s totally normal to feel less confident. It takes time to get re-acquainted with your body. Now that I’m older I am less concerned about what others think of me but my body is also less reliable. It’s important for me to be prepared for sudden changes in my body so I keep Monistat products on-hand.


Did you know that Monistat relieves symptoms four times faster and works on more strains of yeast than the leading prescription? Because of this it’s less likely to develop a drug resistance. Monistat is the #1 doctor recommended OTC brand with a long-term record of success — it has been in use for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections for over 40 years.

Our bodies go through a lot of changes so we should all learn to be familiar with our bodies. The better we know ourselves and our intimate areas, the easier it is to recognize when something is not right, like a yeast infection, and correct it .


**It is important to remember to always read and keep the cartons for complete warnings and dosing information on MONISTAT® products and to use as directed.

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This post has been sponsored by MONISTAT®. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Thoughts on Year-Round School

We are in the midst of our first track-out on the year-round school calendar. After every 9 weeks of school the boys get 3 weeks off for track-out. This is our first year not only sending our kids to public school but also adhering to a year-round calendar. And I have to say that I really love this schedule, once I got past the typical mindset of 3 month long summer breaks which is how I grew up.

We have completed 2 weeks of track-out with this next week being our final. What makes this time so great is that while Jude and Noah are out of school Simon is still on a traditional calendar so he goes to preschool every day from 9-1. With Simon in school during the mornings I’m able to take Jude, Noah and Abel out on little outings around town. That one child difference make things a little bit easier. Then because Joe works from home I’m able to take the big boys out for afternoon adventures while Abel naps.

So far we’ve visited several parks, met up with friends, visited our favorite museums, gone bowling, and even took a short trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It’s been such a great break. I’m glad we have one more week off but I’m also glad the boys go back to school next week.

Photo Oct 12, 5 38 52 PM

Jude read the first 2 Harry Potter Books over break. Photo Oct 12, 3 26 16 PM

We went bowling and Noah scored almost 100 on our first game. Photo Oct 12, 12 04 21 PM

Of course we had to get some Halloween Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Photo Oct 12, 11 29 48 AM

One of our favorite places, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science     Photo Oct 07, 11 34 15 AM

While the big boys were off selling popcorn for Cub Scouts, Abel and I visited the fire station. Photo Oct 07, 1 31 13 PM

We even got to see Santa Photo Oct 09, 4 06 46 PM

Jude built and epic castle at Marbles Kids Museum

Photo Oct 02, 11 02 17 AM Photo Oct 02, 11 12 19 AM

We checked out the Ninja Warrior park in Apex Photo Oct 03, 10 06 32 AM

The carousel at Pullen Park is only $1 and was on the top of our to-do list. Photo Oct 03, 6 45 30 PM

Knightdale Community Day Photo Oct 04, 6 47 01 PM Getting ready to Trick-or-Treat at Great Wolf Lodge

Book Review: Max and Bird

max and bird

My boys love Ed Vere’s book Max the Brave so when we had the opportunity to review his newest book Max and Bird it was a not brainer.

Max and Bird is the story of an unlikely friendship between Max, a cat and Bird, a bird. When Max meets Bird, Max thinks he’d like to be friends with Bird. He would also like to chase Bird and maybe eat him as a tasty snack. But that’s not what friendship is all about . . . Is it?

We really love the simple and expressive illustrations throughout this playful story. It’s a quick and easy read for adults and kids alike. Yet, the simplicity of the storytelling doesn’t hinder the wonderful story about friendship.


About Ed Vere
Ed Vere is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Max the Brave, which was also named one of the Sunday Times‘s 100 Modern Children’s Classics. His book ‘Mr Big‘ was chosen by Book Trust as the official Booktime book for 2009 and was distributed to 750,000 British schoolchildren, making it the largest single print run of a picture book, Vere was also the World Book Day illustrator for 2009. He lives in London.

ed evere Buy: Max and Bird is available online and at your local book store.
Price: $17.99

I received the featured products complementary to review for this post. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the company.

10 years

A few weeks ago Joe and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We took a long weekend trip to the mountains of North Carolina, just outside of Asheville. It was such a welcomed get-away. We’d been so busy with life that I think if we hadn’t gotten away we may have completely overlooked our anniversary.

We rented a small cabin on VRBO that was about a 20 minute drive outside of Asheville. It was a great location because it forced us to slow down and really enjoy the time away and each other. I’m a planner and I love having plans when we go somewhere but other than a few ideas of things we wanted to see/do we had no real plans and it was so nice. Our cabin didn’t have cell reception so we were off grid in a manner of speaking, we did have wifi.

We toured Biltmore, we toured a local brewery, we ate A LOT, we hiked and we just relaxed. It was a perfect weekend way to reconnect and recharge.

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