Saturday, September 29, 2012


Mags description of this picture:

"Papa's the tall one with a crazy hat. Tuck's the one with just 
legs and a head. I'm the one with all my body parts."

It's on it's way to you, Papa! 
Perhaps you could draw a midsection on Tuck when you receive it?

Friday, September 28, 2012


Me: "Alright, is everybody settled in their seats? Let me get out the snacks. Here's your keys. Where's the sun tan lotion? (digs through bag) There it is. Spray you...and you....and Dadddy. Great. Are we ready for some baseball or what?"

Mags: "Mama, when does Kyle 'Awwington' come out?"

Me: "Sorry Mags, this is BASEBALL...not FOOTBALL. Kyle Arrington (Mags' favorite player from the New England Patriots) isn't here.

Mags: "Are you kidding me? I thought we were watching football."

Me to Chris: "This isn't going to end well."

Want to see how this played out? 

Click on the picture below to view one of my
 favorite posts in flip book form. 

 And thanks to Britely, this book is a finalist in their 
weekly $1000 contest. Feel free to click, like, share, 
comment, and/or retweet. The more the merrier! 

Thanks so much! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I caught a picture and need to caption it for a project I'm working on. So, I turn to you, my creative caption creating readers. You guys always come up with the funniest ones. And as usual, if yours is chosen, you could have your name in this font! It is called Karaoke and is Mags' personal favorite on the Flaming Text site.

Font credit:
Let me give you a little background to work with first (you're welcome): 

Mags is going to be a Flower Girl in her awesome godmother's wedding next weekend. She might burst from the excitement of it all. Yesterday we got her dress in the mail, made by Chris' talented aunt. We put it on and just as I was snapping a few pictures to show his aunt it fit, she blew this bubble.

Please enter your caption or thoughts from Mags' head in 
the comments below. You can enter as many times as you want. 

Monday, September 24, 2012


Me: "Okay. We're here. Unstrap yourself."
Mags: "Mama, please pause the CD so I can finish hearing this song when I get out of school."

I did pause the music. I promise I did. But then you know what happens?  You get back in the car, by yourself, and it's a race to fit everything into the three precious hours they are in preschool. So when the music cued back up when I started the car, I just naturally joined in and sang along. It took me until I pulled into the parking space at the grocery store to realize that I was bee-bopping along to the Imagination myself. Of course, then I hummed the catchy tune throughout the grocery store making up my own lyrics. 

Checked-out and unpacked, I hightailed it over to the pharmacy, dry cleaners, bank, and a quick stop for gas....all the while singing along with the Movers' Rock-O-Matic CD (and the correct lyrics). Then my time was up. Next stop...pick up Mags.

We bounded out of preschool happy to see one another. Strapped in and ready to go, I turned on the car.  Music please, Maestro! And we were off. Everything was peachy until...she noticed. 

Mags: "HEY! You've been listening to the CD! I asked you to wait for me!"
Me: "What? I did not."
Mags: "Yes you did, Mama! It was on the sunshine song  when I got out and now it's on 'Wittle Wed Wagon'."
Me: "I'm sorry, Mags. The CD must have started up again when I got in the car. I'll turn it back. No biggie."
Mags: "It's okay if you listen, Mama. I know you miss me when I'm in school."

And truer words had never been spoken. I miss my munchkins while they're at school. So, if  I'm humming a song that reminds me of them, then that's okay. Because it keeps them close...and time is fleeting. 

Never mind I was sooooooo busted!


You can sing along to the Imagination Movers, too! 
These four, talented, blue-suited guys are giving away 
a Rock-O-Matic DVD/CD to help kick off their Fall Tour. 
You can check out their schedule on the Imagination Movers Website
Simply enter below for a chance to win...and rock out. 

The deadline to enter is September 27th at midnight. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Mags: "I love carvin' punkins. Except the part when we pull out the insides. That makes me wanna puke."

We love to carve pumpkins in this house. Correction. Chris and the kids love to carve pumpkins. I enjoy taking pictures of them doing this yearly ritual. The goofy laughter, smearing of pumpkin guts on faces and planning of jack-o-lantern designs are always something we look forward to each and every year with our little ghouls.  

As I was looking for one particular picture last know, the one you've seen a THOUSAND times but can't remember what Facebook album you put it in. No? Just me?...Okay, then. Moving on. 

Anyways. As I was searching, I bumped into an old album of pumpkin carving from 2008. HOLY CUTENESS, BATMAN. I got sidetracked, downloaded the album and made a Brite flip book out of it. 

So, here it is, in all it's glory. 'A Toddler's Guide to Pumpkin Carving'. Enjoy! (I am still on the hunt for that other picture, by the way.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Mags: "Look at these tap shoes, Mama. They have a toe tapper and a back toe tapper."
Me: "Pretty cool. I think that one's called a HEEL tapper in the back."
Mags: "Nope. Sorry, Mama. You weren't in there. It's a back toe tapper."

Mags has begun to take ballet, jazz and tap. She was especially excited to put on her tap shoes the SECOND we bought them and "tappa, tappa, tappa" all over the place. Having danced most of my young life, I know that invigorating feeling of getting your new ballet and tap shoes for the year, a fresh leotard, and your cute little bag to put it all in. Something like this: 

So, when we arrived at the studio, Mags was in full ballerina mode. The leotard was bedazzled, her waist was tutued (I made that word up) and her shoes were ready to go. I walked into a small waiting room where the "dance moms" all sat waiting patiently. I thought for sure I'd be able to watch her through a glass window in the door or something, but nope. The studio doors were solid and the teacher shuts them so the galloping group of four-year-old girls won't get distracted. 

There went that plan. What was I going to do for 45 minutes? Let's see. I could have written a story, a post, or answered emails. Those were all doable from my phone. As I hemmed and hawed over my choices, I realized it was nice to just sit there. To allow myself to sit there...and not do anything. 

So, there I sat and before I knew it the doors flew open and like doves being released from a cage, six little four-year-old ballerinas came flying out yelling,


I raced to put them on Mags' wiggling feet and get her back into the studio to her teacher. The door was open while the other girls bounded back in and stomped their way across the shiny floor to hear the noise those magical tappers made. I grabbed my phone and turned on the camera. I wanted to try to catch a picture of her in class while the doors were still open. I looked around and caught Mags' eye. She caught mine and then this is the picture I took of her in class.

Perfect! That' my girl.
So tonight, I'm following in Mags' footsteps foot stomps. I'm taking an adult ballet class for the first time in almost twenty years. Here's hoping that whole "coordination" thing kicks back in. I've seemed to have lost it along the way and trip over air...frequently. But I'm looking forward to it.

Plus, I got a new pair of ballet shoes, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Me: "Tuck! What are you doing?"

Tuck: "Some-fin naughty."

Have you had a similar conversation in your house? 
I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Me: "Guys! One more time. PLEASE.PUT.THE.LEGOS.IN.THE.BIN!"
Tuck: "I know someone who needs to go for a run."

The following is based a true story. Names were not put in the book and would not have been changed if they were. :)

This book was created at the site called Britely. Have you heard of them? No? Well, let me tell you a little bit about them:

"Britely makes it easy to share those ideas in a fun new visual format called a brite. Brites are short, digital books filled with beautiful pictures that you can read in under 30 seconds. Britely is free to use."

Not only are they easy to use and fun to make, they are a great way to visually spruce up your blog. But guess what? You don't have to be a blogger to make one! ANYBODY can. You can share a lesson plan, show off your recent trip to Paris, display the different cakes you've designed,  create a photo story of your pumpkin patch visit, or use them in a classroom to bring out your student's creativity! There are so many ways to use this site. 

The sign-up is quick, free and easy. The site itself guides you through making the book step-by-step. The options available are appealing and not overwhelming. So what are you waiting for? Create your Brite today!

(Then PLEASE share the link with me so I can see it.)

Friday, September 14, 2012


I found this prompt through a blogger, Erin Margolin. She lead me to Jana's Thinking Place where I found this thoughtful writing exercise. I have done one of these before, where I just 'brain drain' and I liked it a lot. So, I thought I would give this one a try, too.
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spell checking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Use the (optional) prompt 'I AM_______'

I am Mel, Melissa, Mama, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend.

I am a seeker of quiet. 

I am hard on myself.

I am fierce in protecting those I adore.

I am learning.

I am re-defining who I am for myself.

I am creating goals and expectations. 

I am trying to figure out what my purpose is in this world.

I am taking a risk in my writing. 

I am one who needs a kick in the butt every once in a while.

I am someone who wants to give back. 

I am a runner who doesn't look at her mile times anymore. 

I am a mom who thinks the purple jelly stain on her shirt adds "a little something".

I am bursting with pride at the site of my kid's little and big milestones.

I am a wife to a husband that can make me laugh so hard I have tears streaming down my face. 

I am in love. 

I am out of time.

Whew! That was hard. Who are you? :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Tuck: "You guys are mistaken."

Close to five years ago, Chris and I put up a picture in Tuck's room on the side of his bookcase. It was an ultrasound that was taken of Mags when I was 30 weeks pregnant. We thought it would help a newly two-year-old Tuck to be able to actually "see" his baby sister that was causing my belly to mimic the shape of a basketball.

It has hung there for the past five years, becoming part of a collage of pictures of both the kids at different ages and stages. It's really the centerpiece of it all and what the collage has grown around (literally). 

Then, tonight at the dinner table, we found out something about that precious little picture...the one that started it all. Tuck told us what he really thought of it. Below is the conversation that will be burned into my memory until the day I die. 

Tuck: "Today at school Joey brought in a picture of a crocodile."
Chris: "That's great. Was it big like Tic Toc Crock in the Peter Pan Movie?"
Tuck: "Yeah. It was huge. I told Joey that I would bring in the picture of the jungle I have to show him where a crocodile lives."
Chris and I (in unison): "What picture of a jungle?"
Tuck: "Let me go get it in my room and I'll show you." (from his room) "I need help getting the picture off of here! Can someone help me, please?"
Chris: (off to save the day)
Tuck: (seconds later behind me) "See, Mama? This one!"
Chris: "Yeah, Mama. Take a look at the picture of the JUNGLE Tuck asked me to get."
Me: (staring confused) "No, Buddy, this is Mags as a baby in my belly."
Tuck: "No way, Mama. This is a jungle. See the trees? The cloud? The boulder? The land? SEE?"


Chris: "Okay. But look here." (curling up in fetal position on the floor and holding the picture next to him) "See her head is here like mine, her arm is like this (demonstrating position), her belly and her leg. See?"

Tuck: (looking back and forth between the picture and Chris for a few moments) "Nope. Don't see it. All I see is a jungle. Can I bring it to school to show Joey tomorrow?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I was a teacher of ten-year-old children. My most challenging group of students to date. Rough around the edges and didn't give you an inch kind of kids. Every day was a test of wills. I didn't know if I would make it through the year. And then...that morning...everything changed. 

I dropped my students to the gym teacher, took a deep breath and headed to get some copies made. Adjectives and long division were on the agenda. The day was just beginning. Cutting through the library, I caught a glimpse of the TV. I saw a plane hit a building.

 "What movie is this?" I thought. 

The librarian screamed and my legs locked in place. This was not a movie. 

I stood. I stared. I read the text scrolling along the bottom of the screen. I prayed.

The intercom came to life with an urgent voice. 

"All students and teachers please report to your classrooms."

Before I knew it, I was at the gymnasium door. The students were confused and full of questions. We walked out to our "portable".  My classroom phone was ringing and I was instructed not to say anything to the kids. They didn't want them to worry or panic. Keep things calm, I was told. Keep things normal. 

I went with my gut. We pushed all the chairs and desks to the edges of the room and sat on the floor. We made a large circle, all 24 of us. We sat together in harmony. No fighting, no talking back, no flying chairs. The first moment of tranquility in our little room that school year. 

I called out a noun and they took turns describing it with an adjective. We wrote the words on a large piece of paper in the middle of our circle, which was quickly diminishing in size as students were being picked up early by their parents. They each hugged me before they left. They could sense something and needed to be assured it was all okay. By 11:30AM all but three students in my class had been dismissed. 

The following days were hard. We had to rebuild. Start over. But one thing was for sure. We all came together as one that day, in my classroom and beyond.

If you have not seen this book, it was written by a first grade class 
from Missouri and published by Scholastic after 9/11.  
I read it each year to my classroom and now 
Chris and I read it to our own children. 

The world through a child's eyes is a beautiful place.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Mags: "Mama, do you see this Halloween decoration? It freaks me out. A LOT. Let's just put this one away forever, okay?"
Me: "Sure thing, baby girl."

Mags isn't scared of much. Especially with all the spooky decorations coming out this time of year, she can separate reality from make-believe pretty well. She's aware the grotesque, tortured looking mask is just a costume. So, when she shows a fear of something; we sit up, take notice, and find ourselves saying, 

"Oh, right. She's still only 4." 

Tuck fears quite a few things. He is more cautious and we often find Mags talking him off the ledge when he doesn't want to go downstairs by himself or walk down the hall because it is too dark. These are natural seven-year-old fears. However, Mags walks right over, takes his hand and leads them both into the abyss. I see it as a mixture of a little bit brave, a lot of  love and a smidgeon of wanting to show him up. Together they can conquer that basement. And Chris and I melt when these situations occur and they find strength in each other.

But each independently have their own strategies in dealing with their fears. Tuck talks himself down, tries to find the good things that are going to come out of it, or turns and runs to one of us. He is not a 'bungee jumping off a bridge' kind of kid (that was for you, Guapo). 

That's okay. Neither was or am I. We can commiserate while Mags and Daddy walk through the very scary, dimly lit, haunted house with a chainsaw wielding madman running through it.  No thanks. Tuck and I will be out here splitting a chocolate milkshake.

Mags, however, deals very differently. She acts like the scary situation or thing doesn't bother her very much at first. If it really does, though, one of two things will happen. 

1. She will tell us straight out that she is petrified.

2. She will turn the situation around so that it makes it less scary to her. 

An example you ask? Sure. Let me just find one.
 Here we go:

This skeleton has been 'Mags-ified'...and is much less threatening. 
Silly diaper-wearing skeleton. That baby food just goes right through him. 

Do you have any good Autumn or Halloween jokes you want to share? 
Put them in the comments below!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Mags: "Mama, Apple Jacks is the best food I've ever had in my whole life."
Me: "That's just the sugar talking, Honey." 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Now Showing: 'If You Take a Mags to the Movies'

Mags: "Mama, will you tell me a story about what I used to do when I was a baby?"
Me: "Hmmm...where do I begin? So many good stories. So little time."

Chris will often say to me that this blog serves as his memory. It's hard to remember everything about your kids...especially when you are going 100 miles per hour on two hours sleep. I've really enjoyed writing out our stories that are inspired by this crazy adventure called parenting. 

There are so many creative and techie ways to express yourself and get your story out there to others. As I've explored blogging, I've been introduced to many new resources. One of these being the site, Britely. It's a fun way to create a digital flipbook to share with everyone. The site is easy to use and leads you along step-by-step. 

I discovered two things during the making of this:

1.I take A LOT of pictures of our kids...which came in very handy.

2. Two heads are much better than one. Thanks to Michele for all the tips and patience she gave...along with a fantastic template to guide me through. 

So, without further ado, I give you 'If You Take a Mags to the Movies' in digital flipbook form. Simply click the image below. 

I am currently one of five finalists in their weekly $1000.00 giveaway! Please feel free to share it, like it, or comment on it over on the Britely site. The more the merrier! Thank you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Mags: "Ma-ma. Ma-ma. Yook. Doggy. Out dere."

I swear I JUST took this picture of her little dimpled knuckles and her wrist that looked like there was a rubber band wrapped around it too tightly.
It seems I've blinked, 
even though I was warned so many times not to do it.


This past week I guest hosted on my friend Lance's weekly link-up called 100 Word Song. I was excited to be at the helm. Through him, I also found another thoughtful link-up called 100 Words by Velvet Verbosity. Her word this week was "flew". I felt that my entry for Lance (about a man pondering whether to stay or go) also fit into Velvet Verbosity's link-up. In other words, I'm multitasking.


He sat on his couch with the remote in his hand flipping aimlessly through the channels. The motion of the buttons under his fingertips were sensed, but his thoughts were seized by her. Why was his adoration mistaken for deception? Perhaps he should just be what she expected. Her forceful reaction to push him away caused a stubborn counter-action to pull her closer. He knew he had to rebuild her rickety, disregarded structure. And in order to do that, he’d have to strategically place reinforcements to keep her from collapsing entirely. And in the end, she just might feel good.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Tuck: "Mama. Remember my sucky?" 
Me: "I remember them well."
Tuck: *long sigh* "I miss my sucky sometimes."
Me: "That was 4 years ago we got rid of your suckies, buddy."
Tuck: "Yeah, but it still feels like yesterday."

*Suckies=Pacifiers (That's what Tuck named it when he was little.)

The conversation above broke my heart and made me have to stifle a hearty laugh all at the same time. We lived for our "suckies" in this house. We had 10 or more spread throughout the house at all times. If one was missing, no worries, we'd find it later and just use a back up. Unless, of course, it was one of their FAVORITE suckies. Then the Coast Guard, National Guard, and dogs would be called in to search the house high and low. 

When both kids had suckies, things got complicated. They were sharing and switching on me left and right. We'd put Tuck to bed with an orange sucky and go in to find him with a pink floral sucky in the morning. Fights would break out over who had whose sucky. I couldn't keep up. They were in my purse, my pockets, and every corner of the diaper bag (usually covered in Gerber teething cookie dust). They were running my life. The mood of the house began to depend on them more and more. 

That's when Chris and I called a time-out and we had the dreaded discussion about...dun dun dun...getting rid of the suckies. Honestly, I can only justify cleaning off a sucky by sticking it my mouth from the dirty restaurant floor so many times. I should have the immune system of a vulture by now.

Plus, the dentist had made a comment about seeing some impacts on Tuck's bite. It wasn't irreversible...yet. But the suckies had to go. Mags was still young and wasn't so attached. Tuck, on the other hand, was going to be a challenge. Chris and I made a plan to eradicate all suckies from our life.

In our prayers each night with the kids, we included the "babies without mommies and daddies". This was our out. We told Tuck those "babies" did not have suckies. Being a sweet, tender-hearted boy, he agreed to pack up all the suckies he had and send them to the "babies". 

We collected them all up and stuck them in an envelope. The next day, we went to the post office and sent them off to the "babies"...which really was to my dear, life-long friend, Krista. She, in turn, mailed Tuck a thank you card, stickers and a pair of his favorite type of lovey socks from the "babies". 

Overall, our plan was successful, but to be honest, the transition was brutal. The afternoon nap after we mailed them was agonizing. Tuck pleaded and cried so hard for a good 20 minutes for his sucky. 

"I didn't mean it, Mama! Go get my suckies back from 'dose' babies! Please, Mama, please!"

It was all I could do not to gather up my two toddlers and pry my way into the mailbox at the post office to retrieve the envelope of suckies. But Mags. Mags was another story. 

She was as quiet as a mouse. Not a peep. No muss, no fuss from that girl. I was so proud. But she was younger and not as attached to her sucky as Tuck. Or, so I thought. When I walked in to check on her after I finally settled her brother down, I saw that she obviously had a stash of emergency suckies somewhere in the crevices of her crib. Well played, Baby Mags, well played.

 Perhaps her brother should have taken notes.

Did your child have an attachment to a pacifier? 
If so, what was your plan of attack to rid your house of it? 
Please share with me in the comments below.