in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


i know i'm biased, but dear god he's cute.
on the drive into school today, john told me he wanted to go on an airplane to the park with the tractor and play with daddy.

we've been talking about getting on an airplane a lot, because we'll soon be visiting extended family in florida, so the plane talk is pretty standard. but what the heck was he talking about with the park?

this past weekend we went to the playground, so i asked him, "do you mean the park with the rock wall, john?"

"no, mommy," he said. "with the tractor. we go on a big airplane and a little airplane and play at the tractor park.

i couldn't sort it out in my head.

then he said, "with grandpa!"

and i realized: he was discussing the park in maryland that we visited with my dad the last time we visited him ... for memorial day. in may. of 2012. eight months ago.

i have no idea what memory is like for a 2.5 year old. but i was stunned that he recalled all of that in such vivid detail. what a complex and amazing marvel the brain is. and what an incredible insight into the brain a two year old is.


and it gets me thinking, remembering what john himself was like eight months ago. 

he's so much surer on his feet. 

he can pedal his tricycle all by himself -- even if he often chooses to ride it like a scooter instead. he's talking even more, of course. 

he's more stubborn, but more sweet. 

he's learned to manipulate a little -- telling me i'm the sweet mommy ever not just when he loves me, but when he wants something.

he's counting to 12. why 12 i don't know, but he likes to count to 12. and singing, even making up his own songs.

he's a little man, running around with a purpose and a mission, places to go and people to see.

he's a big boy, who says he is "baby john" but his name is "john charis heid," thank you very much.

he says please and thank you and covers his nose when he sneezes.

he uses the potty more than half of the time.

but you know what? he's still my little baby. i can still remember him as an infant, swaddled in my arms. i can still remember the smell of that spicy/sweet one-year-old after the bath to remove his birthday party icing from him. i remember him at every stage, even as i see the dude in that picture above and go, holy smokes how time flies.

i guess a mama's memory is a pretty interesting thing too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

lots of giraffes and a camel

ever wonder what a bunch of giraffes and a camel looks like?
according to john, something like this.
i'm thinking pop it in a frame and i could probably sell it
at some modern art gallery somewhere, no?

Monday, January 28, 2013

on family

this kid is a rock-climbing champ. and fearless.

this was one of those weekends that was so chock-full, i'm not even sure where the time went. saturday was housework a 3.5-mile-run and tasty crawfish for lunch and a trip to the park. sunday was church and painting the float and back to church for the preview of another class of dave ramsey's "financial peace university." (my husband is facilitating again, which is awesome.)

but somehow in between all of that was a lot of awesome family time. and lately we've been thinking a lot about how to maximize the time we have together, since two working parents, etc., mean we don't have just a TON of time together. but if we make the time count, that's something, right?

even if some of that time was inexplicably spent sitting in a three-by-three area in the hallway just outside the guest bathroom, playing with john's toy sushi he got from my cousin at christmas:

"sushi for mommy, sushi for daddy,
sushi for john, sushi for buddy!"
and some more of it was spent cleaning tempera paint off the tile and the easel:
i asked john what he was painting, expecting
a dinosaur or a cow or a house or something.
instead? "lots of giraffes and a camel."
i love this child.
but somehow in all of that, i really enjoyed my family. and i like to think they enjoyed me a little, too. ::grin::

Friday, January 25, 2013

whatever gets me out of bed

the purple shoes

you've heard this song and dance before, but here's the thing: i had a stark realization at the beginning of the year that if i were to get pregnant at the weight i was right then, i would top 200 lbs before i had that baby. and i realized i'm not ok with that. why does 200 lbs particularly matter so much? couldn't tell you. but it does. and it won't happen.

so i've been pretty much back on the good foot, exercise and diet wise, since early january. that's not long to speak of, i know. but i am feeling good, so i will just take it as it comes.

i'm training for a 10k -- i would like to actually RUN one, instead of run-walking and being ecstatic that i didn't die, like i was back in december.

i'm also in the gym several days a week. this makes for good exercise and a lot of good people watching.

some days (like yesterday), i'm out of bed in a flash, ready to tackle the day's workout.

some days (like today), i'm a little more ... reluctant.

and surprisingly, one of the things that helps me get moving is my purple shoes. yes, those self-same shoes that i laughed at when i first bought them on january 3. yes, those self-same shoes that i made fun of because of their "highlighter purple" color. yes, those self-same shoes about which i said, "at least if i run in the dark you'll still see me!"

why do these shoes make it easier to get going? because they're not boring. they're fun. they're outrageously silly, in my book, although apparently it's impossible to purchase white sneakers anymore so clearly society thinks they're fine. but i look forward to putting on my silly purple shoes, knowing my feet will be comfortable as i wrack up miles (or reps), and feeling one day better about this body i'm in.

so if you see me and my purple shoes go streaking by one morning on a run - don't laugh. i'm like a little kid who genuinely thinks her shoes make her faster.*

* worth noting, there is nothing fast about me. so i will take all the help i can get.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

so not a morning family

his mama's child - i used to sleep with
a mess of stuffed animals, too.
our family is not a group that will every be described as morning people. i've discussed this a little bit before, but it seems to be a recurring theme in our lives.

oh sure, when we absolutely must, we're perfectly capable of getting up and running at the crack of dawn -- or before -- to catch a plane, get to a doctor, whatever. but mornings are not typically a bright and chipper time of day for us.

my husband and i are "snoozers" -- fans of hitting the snooze button. this is an invention i sort of wish had never graced us. i'm constantly running nine minutes behind (or 18 minutes) and i am always thinking, "if you just hadn't hit snooze that one last time, you'd have been fine ..." (or "if you'd just set your alarm nine minutes earlier you'd be fine ...")

as a result, mornings are also sort of constantly rushed and frantic and "oh did i let the dog back in the house" and "hurry and get in your car seat, john, before you miss breakfast at school!"

and clearly, none of that is john's fault -- it's all on mommy and daddy.

but he fits right in in this family. when i walked into his room this morning (i had heard him playing so i knew he was awake), he threw himself back to the mattress and yelled, "i go back night night with all my animals!" just the very thought of getting out of bed was clearly abhorrent to him.

i resisted the urge to climb into his bed with him. it was tempting, and it was a near thing -- if i didn't think i'd break it, i probably would have.

instead i gently lifted him out and said, "mommy loves you baby. time to get up!"

i'd love to report that he responded in kind, but it'd be a lie. he yelled, "noooooo, i don't want to go to school!" and the morning began in earnest.


if you're following my yahoo writing, you'll be interested in my newest story, a piece on the three financial mistakes i wish i hadn't made in my 20s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a tutu on myself

i think the guitars particularly offset the
fuchsia of his tutu, don't you?
last night, my husband was taking a yoga class (go hubby - yoga is awesome!) so john and i were home on our own. we were taking it easy, watching an episode of sesame street and snuggling on the couch.

this particular episode of sesame street is entitled "dancing day." in the first bit, someone waves abby cadabby's magic wand and suddenly the whole cast of sesame street is dancing around in tutus. it's pretty entertaining, actually.

john looked at me and said, "mommy, i not have a tutu on myself!"

i grinned at his two-year-old phraseology. "you're right, baby," i said, "you don't have a tutu on yourself."

"i want a tutu on myself!" he said enthusiastically.

i wracked my mama brain. surely there was SOMETHING in the house i could jury-rig as a tutu. and then a stroke of brilliance - i, in fact, had a bright pink tutu from my mardi gras costume last year! so i dug it out (it was, remarkably, in the first place i looked) and put it on john. who proceeded to dance gleefully about the house. he did leaps, turns, and plies. he actually did a passable impression of ballet dancing - for a two year old, at least.

then he looked at me and said, "i want buddy to have a tutu."

commence further brain wracking. what could i use as a tutu for a dog? hmmm ... wait. don't i have ANOTHER tutu, from a halloween costume? sure 'nuff - and again, it was in the first place i looked.

so ... buddy got a tutu on himself, too.

just a boy and his tutu-ed dog ...
"wait, john, you're not dancing without me, are you?"
it was actually an amazingly fun evening. we danced our fool butts off. we held hands and danced, and buddy weaved his way in between us. we giggled and fell down and buddy licked us and we got up and danced some more. when daddy came home, john insisted that daddy hold hands and dance in a circle some more, so we commenced a family dance the likes of which have never been seen.

it was awesome.

i leave you with a small bit of video evidence:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

oh what a day

my favorite little tiger.
since yesterday was martin luther king jr. day, john's daycare was closed for the day. on most holidays, my husband or i seem to be off on the holidays for the daycare, but last week i saw the posting on the door that they'd be closed and remembered being caught off guard by mlk day last year, too.

so my husband and i compared our schedules and realized it would be easier for me to take a day off, so john and i got a bonus day this weekend!

and what better to do with a bonus day than spend it at the zoo?

so john and i slept in a little, then watched dumbo (twice - hey, it's his favorite movie!) and then loaded up for the zoo. i decided not to bring the stroller, since i usually just wind up pushing the stroller while carrying john, and you know what? he did great. he walked a lot of the way, ran some of the way, and yes, i carried him towards the end, but we had a fine time.

we saw tigers, monkeys, elephants (always a favorite), birds, more monkeys, bison, elk, ostrich, zebra, giraffes, kangaroos, a very sleepy spectacled bear, pelicans, bongos, deer, and i'm sure i'm forgetting something. but on the way in, john had seen the lovely red  choo choo train and he just HAD to have a ride. so we hightailed back to the front of the zoo to board the train.

(an extra little bonus - a coworker of mine's father-in-law drives the train some days, and he was working, so john knew the conductor!)

the train was amazing. it's actually kind of a dumb little ride - it just does a loop around the very outside of the zoo, so you can't even really see any animals. there's a few places where you can just make out an exhibit or two, like the playground and petting zoo, but other than that it's just a trip through the woods.

but. BUT. check out this little face: 

that was the expression on john's face the entire 20 minute ride. he kept saying, "john and mommy on a choo choo train!" or "i'm having so much fun on a choo choo train!" or "we at the zoo on the choo choo train!" or similar. he was just ecstatic. he was SO good. he sat still and looked around. he snuggled against me and held my hand. and he was just so happy. it was amazing.

and after the choo choo train, we played on the playground for a little while until it was time to head out so we could go visit daddy at his office for a few minutes.

it was an amazing day. not a two-year-old fit to be had - just laughter and fun and looking at animals and listening to music in the car. what a perfect day with my favorite little man.

and believe it or not, it got better.

as i was getting john dressed for bed after his bath, he stopped me and grabbed my hand, saying, "mommy!" i looked at him and said, "yes, baby?"

and the rest of his words came very slowly, as he was clearly trying hard to put together the right words. it was obvious he was sharing an independent thought, not just repeating something he heard. "thank you," he said carefully, "you always ... the ... sweet mommy ... ever."

and i held him tight and told him that was the sweetest thing i think anyone's ever said to me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

great taste

ready for pj and movie day!
when i was pregnant with john, i really started to think about what was playing on the radio while i was in the car. it all started one day when i was about four months pregnant, driving to work and singing along at the top of my longs to a rockin' kings of leon song when i actually heard the words i was singing. "your sex is on fire" just didn't feel like a sentiment i would want my as-yet-unborn child to be singing on the way to school.

so i switched radio stations, and in actual practice, haven't had the radio on much at all with john in the car.

but just recently, i started to think about how much he loves music. and how much i have always loved music, and how i remember listening when i was very young and just being amazed by songs on the radio. i remember bopping in my car seat to "beat it." i remember adoring the song "all she wants to do is dance." and i want john to have music - pop, rock, modern, old, whatever - as a soundtrack for his young life too.

so this week, we've been listening to the radio. we flip stations frequently - when a song i don't think we need to listen to comes on, or when commercials start - and as often as possible i let john tell me which song he wants to listen to. and in a very brief moment, he can usually pick which one he wants to listen to the whole thing.

the other day, he stopped me on a station that was playing an extremely familiar tune. he said, "stop, mommy, i like that one!" and we listened for a moment until he said, "mommy, that man is playing the guitar!"

"sure enough is, john," i replied.

a moment later. "mommy! that man is playing the drums!"

"yes he is, baby, good job," i said.

a moment more. "MOMMY! that man is playing the piano!"

at first i started to say i didn't hear the piano. but then i listened a moment more and realized that there was, in fact, piano.

what song so fascinated my little man?

"eye of the tiger." rock on, john.

then this morning, he stopped me on a different station. i quickly identified that the song playing was blur's "song 2." i've always gotten an inordinate amount of joy out of that silly song - who wouldn't love rocking out and yelling woohoo? so imagine my surprise when i heard john's next words:

"mommy! this the song where the man yells 'woohoo!'"

dang, son. you're good.

these boots were made for walkin' ...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

speak nicely: a dilemma

my skinny little monkey enjoying his
breakfast of champions.
today for breakfast, john wanted just one menu: mac and cheese and peas. cold, please, all of it. 

not one to brook for a fight, i figured - could be worse! so the skinny little fella ate his weight in mac and cheese and peas. cold.


last night as dinner was cooking, john and i were hanging out and playing on the couch. it was mostly a very pleasant experience - he was in a good mood, he wasn't tantrum-ing, things were cheerful and fun.

except for one little thing: he kept using what i can only describe as a very emphatic voice while telling me what to do. a few times i just said, "john, you need to ask nicely for things. mommy can't hear you if you don't speak nicely." 

but then he grabbed my chin and said in an angry tone, "look at me! do you understand me? DON'T. DO. THAT. you understand? you listening? NO!"

and i shrank inside to the size of a gnat, because i recognized all of those phrases. i should, because they come out of my mouth when i am reprimanding my ever-so-active and busy little man.

it broke my heart to hear his "forceful" voice parroting me. i want him to echo me saying "i love you," and "i'm so proud of you!" and "great job!" and "you're the best!" and he does, i suppose. but last night has me feeling like all he thinks he ever hears is no.

and i am torn, really. because i firmly believe that discipline is so important to his development as a human being. and in order to discipline a busy two-year-old with a mind of his own, a stern voice and attention getting phrase like "do you understand me?" are sometimes necessary.

but am i using them too much? i don't want to be that mom.

but i also don't want to be that mom who is sweetly "negotiating" with the two year old, asking him nicely not to do things for the 900th time.

so where is that middle ground? how do i firmly discipline him in the right directions, but lovingly guide him so he feels more positive than negative coming from me? 

and am i overthinking what's really just a little man playing with tones of voice and experimenting with his own authority?

probably. i do overthink sometimes.

amazing how this child is such a mirror for my own strengths, weaknesses, joys, sorrows, confidence and insecurity. simply amazing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

i'm feeling better

"i feeling better, mommy!"

last night was soooooooo much better. there might have been a tantrum or two, but nothing like there has been recently. we made dinner together, he ate his dinner at the table like a big boy, we snuggled, he asked me to sing every song i've ever written for him, and he went to bed without a fight.

this morning was a little rough - i woke him from a deep sleep, earlier than usual so i could make it to the gym, and he was none too happy. he cried some big fat tears. 

but by the time we got into the car, he told me he was feeling better, and all was well.

here's to hoping for another good night!! silly little imp ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

it's here.

i thought i was taking a video, which woud
have been much funnier than this static
butt hanging out of a suitcase.
a brief note on the pic above: john's daddy and i have still not put the suitcases away from our trip. they're emptied, just not put away. so john has taken to hiding inside of daddy's suitcase. i know, i know -- suffocation hazards, could get stuck, bad idea, etc. but DANG it's hysterical. he sits still in there (it's not zipped) for about three seconds, during which time you can't see any sign of him. then he pops out and yells, grinning, "here i am!" 

these sorts of bright cheerful moments are especially precious to me right now, because it seems we have finally hit that doldrums that is the "terrible twos." 

john's always known how to throw a decent fit - but they were infrequent, and passed quickly. these latest ones, though, are doozies. and this morning, he said something that cut me to the core, as silly as that may sound.

i had just come back from a disgusting run in the 47 degree rain. i was sweaty and yukky and laying on the floor when he flipped his lid. so i went over and sat next to him and asked him, "baby, what do you need? what's wrong?"

and he stopped screaming long enough to say: "go away, mommy. leave me alone. i don't need you."

i kept my cool and told him that those were mean words that made mama sad, and that he shouldn't talk to people like that. then i went to the other room and cried.

i know that's somewhat ridiculous. i know that, at two, he doesn't understand the impact of those words. i know that he meant, "i don't need you to do anything right now so please give me some space." i know that he will say worse to me in his lifetime.

but i'm not going to lie: it still hurt.

here's to the terrible twos. (or two-and-seven-months. but whatever.)

now go away.

Monday, January 14, 2013

road trip

john and cousin b draw dinosaurs together

i didn't really set out for it to be this way, but i appear to have taken a bit of a holiday blogging hiatus. so here we are mid-january, and i never even mentioned our christmas (awesome) or new years (festive). in a nutshell, we all got awesome presents from santa and our family, john got spoiled rotten, we celebrated new years with bestest buds from in- and out- of town.

then we worked for a week and went on a little family road trip!

i use the word little very generously.

we drove from baton rouge to visit my husband's brother and his family in north carolina. we left friday after work, leaving town around 8 pm with a little stop at arby's for some last-minute dinner:

fast-food in my pjs is my new fave, mom.
then we drove ... and drove and drove and drove. or really, to be fair, my husband drove while i alternately entertained john, slept, talked to him to keep him awake ... slept some more ... in any case, we arrived in north carolina around 9am saturday morning and started playing with cousin b right off the bat. and the two kiddos played nonstop for two straight days. there was the above art session, trips to the park, playing upstairs, playing downstairs, more than a little dancing ... a good time was had by all.

all too soon it was time to go. but the good news was, we were just jumping back in the car to head to nana's house in tennessee! we were there for nana's birthday, got to visit with a ton of extended family, played with nana's impressive collection of toys:

"then they put me BACK in my car seat ...
oh, baby, it's so nice to have someone who
really GETS me."
made a gingerbread choo choo train: 

this is MUCH harder than it looks.
kudos to daddy and nana.

and went for an awesome hike in the mountains:

and again all too soon, it was friday morning and time to head home. so we drove and drove and drove, all day friday. and john was a CHAMP. (thanks in large part to miss r who sold us her old ipad on which john watched the three toy story movies about 700 times.) we got home late and went to bed.

it's been a tough transition coming back to "normal." john's schedule is all screwy, and he's been throwing tantrums like i've never seen him throw before. (more on that tomorrow.) but last night when i asked him if he was ready to read a story before bed, we saw a glimmer of getting back to the way he usually is. he ran to his room, selected a curious george book, and settled into his chair:

big man reading
when i made it back to his room mere moments later, i said, "whatcha doing, bug?"

to which bug replied: "just reading, mommy. you can read the next story."