Monday, August 24, 2009


Last weekend we ventured downtown to watch the Dragon Boat Races. Honestly, simply being a spectator and not knowing anyone actually racing, proved to be a little boring. But Kyle and I imagine that getting a team together and doing this next year would be a blast. Anyone interested?

Nonetheless, we took the opportunity to walk around the city and explore a little more of our backyard. Enjoy the pics!
This is our newest downtown addition- The Pinnacle Building. Isn't she pretty?

It's like his hand is permanently glued to this spot.

I love my little man!

I've always been so fascinated by these creatures. Found this one perched atop a lamp post on the Pedestrian Bridge watching the Dragon Boat festivities.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


It's almost here. It's like I can smell it or even taste it in the air. Football. 3 weeks. Football. 21 days. Football. It's becoming difficult to contain myself.

I wanted to let everyone know that the fam and I (along with several friends) will be loading up to head to The SC for the Clemson/Middle Tennessee State University game on September 5. You may know that Kyle graduated from MTSU and is utterly devoted to his Alma mater's growing football program and thinks they really have a chance. Isn't that so cute? I would like to go ahead and tell my husband that I'm sorry they lost and sure... it was pretty close.

It looks like we will have quite the crowd for this game! My BFF Heather and her husband, Jason, Kyle's BFF Gary and his friend Mikey. I am also bringing my friend Brittany. I am almost more excited for her to experience this than myself! She's going to absolutely fall in love! I am thrilled that my friends Steph and Emily will be making the game as well! Thanks to Steph, we will be sitting pretty behind the Esso, among that gorgeous jade green palmetto grass and those towering Carolina maples. I could name a hundred different things that I love about Stephanie Young, NOT including her picturesque tailgating oasis. But that certainly gives me an excuse to make it a hundred and one!

This picture was from the Clemson/Boston College game in 07. It goes into my memory bank as being pretty close to a perfect day! And that's not a label I use lightly. The game ended up being quite the heart breaker but I had the best time with these two amazing women! I think... no, I know that if these two girls and I lived closer together... we just might be inseparable!

I wish that I could find the right words to describe my personal adoration of Clemson football- for the school in general. It started at an early age, passed down graciously and feverishly from my father. My dad was devoted like no other. I vividly remember in the early 90's when he worked for Pepsi and his route included the Clemson campus. Every week he was able to interact with several of the guys on the football team. And he was like a kid at Christmas. I would listen to him talk about kidding around with Chester McGlockton, who went to the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1st round of the NFL draft in 92. My dad was so proud to say that, even if for a short while, Chester was his buddy. To this day, when I think of my Father, I think of him loud, laughing and wearing something orange.
Unlike many of my friends, I did not actually attend Clemson. I think at one point I told people this was because they didn't have a softball team and I really wanted to try and play ball somewhere. Truth was, I didn't have the money or grades to get in. But that's ok...everything works out how it should. I did, however, attend Clemson for other reasons. Reasons that mostly center around boys and beer. If that was a class, I would have been the star pupil.

My memories of my days at Clemson are some of the most cherished ones I own. I made wonderful friends, engaged in all kinds of debauchery, and learned about myself in the process. It was the most fun-loving and care-free time in my life and I am looking forward to re-visiting at least some of that on September 5. Good times will be had!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Am Asking For Your Help

Dearest Friends and Family...

Most of you are aware that I have the pleasure of working for what I consider to be one of the best companies in the world. Founded in 1986, Bright Horizons Family Solutions is the world's leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education, and work/life solutions. Conducting business in the United States, Europe, and Canada, this amazing company has created employer-sponsored child care and early education programs for more than 700 clients, including more than 90 of the Fortune 500.

I am fortunate enough to work, more specifically, for the non-profit sector, The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. Our mission is to make a difference in the lives of children and families who are in distress. We are committed to improving the quality of life for at-risk children in the communities where Bright Horizons Family Solutions employees live and work. One of the ways we do this is through our signature program, Bright Spaces.

Imagine if you can, a place that is unfamiliar, scary, and filled with strangers. Your Mom tells you that this is where you will be staying for a while. You're not sure why, but you can tell she doesn't want to be there either. You've left your home suddenly, with just a small bag of clothes, and you're not sure if you're ever going back. You wonder about your toys and realize you may never see them again either.

Sadly, this is the reality for too many little ones and their families. Currently, there are over 1.3 million homeless children in the United States alone. 1.3 million! Many shack up with family members, others may call a car their home. For most, they will enter into the world of shelter living. Most shelters exist to do just that-give shelter. And while many agencies receive government grants to fund programs within the shelters, most of that goes towards continuing education or job training for the adults. While living in the shelter, these children usually have no where to escape the stress that hovers over them constantly. They have no where to go and read a book, play a game or build with blocks. They have no place to go and just be a kid and they are losing valuable time.

Many studies have shown that children who are exposed to early education, books, music, and developmentally appropriate toys and games, are far more likely to succeed in life than those who do not have access to educational opportunities.

The reality for the millions of children experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, or other trauma is that there are fewer opportunities for them to develop the social, cognitive, language, and gross motor skills that are important for academic success.This has serious and long-lasting developmental outcomes, which often contribute to a cycle of instability that is difficult to break.
Bright Spaces, the signature program of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, creates warm, enriching playrooms in community agencies that give children and families in crisis a special place to learn and have fun. Through innovative partnerships with Bright Horizons clients, local shelters, and community organizations, we build stimulating spaces equipped with overflowing bookshelves, games, toys, art supplies, computers, and more for children of all ages. With cozy nooks and comfortable furniture, Bright Spaces are designed to be engaging, comfortable places for children and families to play - a place to experience the joy of simply being a child or parent. I am proud to say that we now have opened over 200 Bright Spaces serving more than 7,000 homeless children every month.
On September 26, I will be participating in a "Walk-On" to help raise money for The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. Would you consider making a donation for this event? I understand that times are tough right now. I know that many will be able to contribute and others will not. Even something as simple as five dollars will make a difference. You may donate one of two ways. You can visit our Walk On page at
Or I can take your donations directly. Please make checks out to The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. Your contribution will go towards various Bright Space projects serving children in all areas of the country.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about something that is very dear to my heart! Please feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have any questions!

Love to all!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Tysonisms"- Because 4 year olds are really effing funny!

Yesterday Tyson and I were in the car when the subject of his Birthday came up.

"Tyson," I said. "Your birthday is next month. You're going to be a big boy; you'll be five years old!"

He smiled a little, "Does that mean I'm going to be old enough?" he asked.

"Old enough to do what, honey?"

He looked at me as if I had just asked the most ridiculous question.

"Old enough to do the things that you have to be old enough to do"...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweet Dreams, Little Man

Bedtime with Tyson has always been a pretty pleasant experience. Sometime around four months of age, Kyle and I really began to focus on creating a routine and a set schedule for him. A large part of that focus was on bedtime or more specifically, getting him to the point where he could soothe himself to sleep. It wasn't always easy. Not going to your child after he has cried for nearly an hour was harder than pregnancy, labor and delivery put together! But, alas, we were successful and to this day and for this reason (although not the only one, I can assure you), bedtime is a welcomed event.

But the fact that it has always been blissfully easy doesn't mean that it isn't often, um... timely. I try not to complain about this part simply because I have learned that the longer something takes when it comes to my children, the better (except, of course, for things like illness, surgery, graduation, or jail). Because time is all we have, and in the grand scheme of things, sadly, we do not have a lot of it.

Over the last couple of years, schedule has quietly taken a backseat to routine and now our little OCD angel has a few requirements before he commits to slumber. It is quite a tedious process. It's a ritual of this and a certain way of that. I am probably to blame for most if it but I get it. I get the need to have things in a particular order. It's comfortable and he is his mother's child.

So tonight, as I finally closed the door to our little man's room, I had a fleeting moment of "Geez, I'm glad that's over." Then this realization pummeled me- like a swift little kick in the heart. And then my moment turned into "I'm really going to miss this one day." Consequently, a huge lump begins to form in my throat- very similar to what's happening to me right now- and I knew that I must write this down. Gratefully, I ackowledge that have been blessed with alot of wonderful attributes but a reliable memory is not one of them. For when the day comes that I no longer have a child to tuck in... (lump getting bigger....), I need to have something to help me remember.

After his mandatory "5 more minutes of play", we begin the process of picking out his bedtime stories. It used to be "story", but somewhere along the way, one more was added as standard protocol and I'm still not sure how he managed that one. I choose to remain involved in this process so that I can enforce my self-imposed rule of 3 vetos. For example- I rule out anything that is Christmasy because reading a Christmas story in any other month besides December kind of freaks me out and is just totally unnatural. Once a decision has been made, we make our way into my bedroom where I take an additional 15 minutes to fold the permanent pile of clothes on our bed. Wait, no. I've probably only done that once. Most of the time I just throw them in the closet. But I digress... We crawl into bed where Tyson has to decide what book he wants to hear first. The bigger one usually wins out and off we go. The second book is typically smaller and shorter in text. For this book, he prefers for me to "do silly"- which is code for substituting the original words for crazy, sometimes questionable, less appropriate words. For this book, I have found it increasingly difficult to stay creative and I'm losing my audience! His tolerance for silly has doubled and now "penis breath" or "boogernoodle" just doesn't turn the giggle box over anymore. As a result, the second book takes about as long as the first which completly nullifies the "one long story, one short one" rule I implemented sometime ago. This has lead me to believe that my son is officially smarter than me and he knows it.
From here, he asks to play a game he refers to as "the game where we talk about what we love about", which is us taking turns saying what we love most about the other. I tell him that I love when he is a sweet boy and doesn't fuss. Or I love when he helps take care of his sister. He responds with things like, "I love it when you take me fun places..." or "I love it when you make good snacks for me to eat..." 99% of the time, I have to stop him mid-sentence because I think my heart will just explode.

Once he has had his fill of this, we head to the bathroom. Here I tell him he must pee and he does so by very carefully unrolling his pajama pants and underwear down to his ankles and sitting on the toilet like a girl. This baffles me and goes against everything that is beneficial about having a penis in the bathroom. So even peeing takes forever! Then we wash his hands and brush his teeth. Then he has to have a drink of water- then one more, oh and then "just one more, mommy...", he says. "I've never been this thirsty in my whole big life".

Next, he has to go give his Daddy "one more hug"- so all the way downstairs he goes. He slowly maneuvers each step as if it's the first time he's ever set foot on a staircase. He hugs his daddy and eventually finds his way back up the stairs at a speed that can only be explained as sloth-like. If I allow myself to watch this, I feel impatience boiling up from deep dark places. So I choose to take this moment to knock out a few of my own bedtime rituals. Once I hear him fumbling around in his room again, I head back to find that undoubtedly he has built something that he is insanely proud of and must not only explain, but also show me how it works. Of course, this explanation is on the fly so the amount of "um's" sandwiched in between every other word is nothing short of mind blowing. Knowing that these are the moments that can render future issues if not handled with proper attention, I smile politely and listen as if he were explaining the cure for cancer. Who knows, maybe one day he'll do just that...

Eventually, I am forced to cut in and restart the bedtime engine. Now I turn out the light, always being sure that the fan remains on, and his next move is to "kiss Lightening". For this, he climbs on top of his table and kisses a framed picture of Lightening McQueen from Cars. Now he must show me how far he can jump. He prepares me for what he calls "the best jump ever" and sails through the air like the little monkey he is. I clap, give him a high five and say appeasingly, "that WAS the best one ever"... The pride is almost pouring from his ears. Next he must plug in his Thomas humidifier/nightlight and he reminds me every night that this is something I am not allowed to do.

Now we are at the point where his skin begins to actually touch linen and what a glorious moment it is. If I have not already put socks on him, he will remind me to do this here. Now I am searching for socks because they are never where they should be. Once socks are located and placed on his sweet little feet, I tuck him in. We turn on his music (this is from the mobile that used to hang over his crib) and find his baby. This baby (a stuffed lamb) has also been with him from infancy and is still totally irreplaceable. Many times, the damn thing is lost in the madness that is his room and I have to go on a baby hunt. Once the search and rescue is over, he proceeds to ask for a lullaby. This is a new one he has added only recently. But I oblige and sing a short little ditty. With this, he appears somewhat satisfied and I can now begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then he says "Mommy, we're gonna have a great day tomorrow!" He gives me a thumbs up and the cuteness is utterly blinding. "We ARE going to have a great day tomorrow!" I assure him. Then lots of kisses, lots of "good nights" and "I love you's". I begin to walk towards the door. He sits up and I take my usual place under the frame.

"Yes, Tyson."
"What is it sweetie"
"Tyson, what do you need, it's late"
"One more hug and kiss"

He smiles brightly and holds his arms wide open. Admittedly, I am a little frustrated but how can I not give in? I walk over and squeeze him tight, all the while reminding myself that all too soon there will come a time where I will be the one begging for one more... So I squeeze him tighter.

I head back to the door.

"I love you buddy. Sweet dreams", I say.
"You have sweet dreams too, Mommy", he whispers back.

He pulls the covers closer and rolls over to his right side. Victory! I close the door, listen for a few more seconds to be sure that he will not call me again before I make it downstairs. I hear nothing but that sweet, soothing, familiar music that I have heard for almost five years now. Then, silence. My little warrior has given in and all is right with the world.
Life is funny. Sometimes it's the complete opposite. This is my best attempt at trying to capture it all...