Best Family Friendly Hotel- The Omni Homestead!

While we were camping in Virginia my Mom had the brilliant idea to break up the week by heading to the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. It did not disappoint!

I had been to the Homestead years earlier and remembered the gorgeous grounds and southern charm.

They have a spa that looked to DIE FOR!!!!!

But since I was with the kids we had more of a family experience. There are waterslides, a lazy river, a kids club, a kids camp, mini golf etc!!!!

They even had a duck race while we were there! So cute!!!!

There are so many things to do here. Golf, shooting, fly fishing, horseback riding and horse and carriage rides!

The restaurants there are top notch as well. We had a fabulous birthday dinner for my mom in the grand ballroom complete with dancing to the band. It was heaven.

The service in the hotel was impeccable and the kids had a ball! The perfect family friendly hotel! Did I mention the brand new arcade and bowling!!!!???

Meet The Teacher - Teacher Gifts!

As school starts again I have mixed emotions of not wanting the Summer to end but also wanting these kids OUT OF MY HOUSE. HA!!!!!

Might as well start the year off RIGHT with a MEET THE TEACHER GIFT.

I have a bunch I found that are just too cute. Which one should I do!?

1) Thank You Planter-

How cute is this from My Happy Place?
Chalk paint, a plant and a ribbon DONE!

2) Crayon Name Picture!

This is too cute but more advanced for sure from Melissas Bargains.

3) This Survival Kit is adorable.

Clean and Sensible has it as a Valentines Day gift but I think it's great for a meet your teacher gift too. 

4) Pencil Bouquet= AKA sheer brilliance from Less Cake More Frosting!

What do you think? Which one should I do? You should see what my bestie did! How great is this??? It's a door hanger!

Can you sit? In the pit?

Seems like the older I get the more hard times people are facing. I mean really hard times. It's easy to be with someone when things are fabulous....

But can you sit......

In the PIT?

The pit of despair? Divorce? Cancer? Infertility? Aging parents? Sick kids? Alcoholism? Drug abuse? Can you sit with someone while they go through this? Can you sit with yourself while you go through this?

It's tough.

When I was in the PIT. People came to sit with me. Not everyone could do it. One time my PIT was 52 days in the NICU with Landon. People visiting had to endure seeing one pound babies going into constant cardiac arrest. There were tears. There were hands held. There were a thousand prayers said.

Another PIT was at Childrens Hospital for three weeks with Coco. Mystery illness with no end in site. People came. They sat in the pit. They talked me off the ledge. They brought me lunch. They brought me dinner. They cried with me.

The pit is scary because we're sometimes not sure of it's the bottom or we have to GO DEEPER.  Going deeper than we're used to is frightening but enlightening. This is when we REALLY FIND OUT WHO WE ARE.  It's intense. For us and our friends. That's why not everyone can do it.

Please I beg you. If you have a friend who is in the PIT. Go sit with them. Even being there, bearing witness, means everything. Show them they are NOT ALONE.

The PIT may even be grabbing a drink with a friend even though you're tired. Or showing up with a meal. Or meeting for coffee. PITS can be mental and physical after all. 

AND if you're in the PIT you will make it out. There will be light coming in. Just wait for it.


I'm going to visit a friend in the PIT Tuesday while she has her second round of chemo. I'm scared. For her, for me, not knowing what to say or do....but I'm going. I have to. Because anyone who's been in the PIT knows. YOU HAVE TO GO. 


Because you are someone's lifeline today.

Say No To Playdates? My response to Dad In Charge

There is a movement, small as it may be, to ban playdates. A stay at home Dad and Blogger Dad In Charge, wrote all about it. You can read it HERE.

He makes the argument that he was growing up there were no scheduled playdates. He thinks things are getting too elaborate, too planned, too over scheduled.

I do agree that kids need spontaneity and to be BORED sometimes so they can create and be self sufficient BUT, so no to play dates? NO WAY.

Playdates are not just for the kids, THEY'RE FOR THE MOTHERS. There has been many a playdate, where I or a Mom have divulged our deepest, darkest, secret fears of parenting, relationships, our parents, our nannys, our husbands and kids. We get support, advice, guidance, love and LAUGHS from these playdates. We socialize our kids, help them work things out, build relationships and grow. Mom's need to rid themselves of the feeling of total isolation and the guilt of parenting. They need to feel heard and accepted. That's what playdates are for.

No, you don't have to put out a cheese plate (although guess what I DO!), but being a gracious host also shows your kids something ALL kids are lacking now. MANNERS. To treat someone else graciously in your home. They learn that they can't have it their way all the time, their "guest" gets to choose too. They negotiate and build friendships.

So before we start throwing the playdates out the window, let's consider the other side. What do you think? Are playdates a waste of time? Ruining our kids? Or are they your lifeline? Your key to your kids social development? Weigh in!

Going Gluten Free- For Weight Loss

I had to do something. I am not committed to exercise except my one cardio tennis class a week with my favorite girls. And I am not going to stop what's an over 40 gal supposed to do?

Cut to my friend Shanna telling me she had lost 17 pounds after going gluten free. HUH??

I quizzed her. Can I eat cheese? Check. Can I drink wine? Check. Can I eat Chocolate? Check check.

I was IN!

It's been 2 1/2 weeks and I have lost 7 pounds. I am telling you the scale had NOT BEEN MOVING DOWN in a long while so I am pleased as punch. And you know what? My pants fit better. And you know what else? I feel better.

I am Gluten Free!

I'm making this Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna tonight!

See all the cheese? Yeah me too! YUM!

Have you tried going Gluten Free? I'm telling you even the gluten free pizzas and pastas are great!

Here's a list of some gluten free foods:

Graduating from preschool- just a minor panic attack!

Sorry I have been out of touch friends!

Truth is I took on two major commitments. President of Landon's school's PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) and Communications Director for the Junior League! Both of these things, combined with end of the year craziness have kept me really busy.

Coco graduated from preschool last week. This was such a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, she's ready, and cannot wait to go to Kindergarten. She's prepared.

But then I realized that this was my BABY. My baby girl I hoped and prayed for. She's growing up. I watched her graduation with pride and dread. I feel her independent spirit growing.

I love who she's becoming. She's the most fun to be around. 

But....this is the end of an era. I have been at this precious preschool for 7 years. From Mommy and Me all the way up to leaving for kindergarten. With two kids. We have made wonderful friends, our kids have made wonderful friends, and they have gotten the best education. Even at this young age they have been nurtured and loved by their amazing teachers and have learned so much!

I woke up in a panic the night after her graduation. It's over!

I calmed down. It's just the beginning.

No one tells you that this parenting thing is the highest highs, lowest lows and heart pangs that feel like a panic attack. I'm feeling the feelings, I'm looking to the future...and I'm taking all the pictures and videos I can!

RIP Maya Angelou- Still I Rise

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The Best Graduation Gifts- I love the sentimental ones!!


This year Landon will be graduating 1st grade and Coco will be graduating Pre K and going to Kindergarten in the fall. While I am not ready for big graduation gifts, I am starting to think of the sentimental things I can do NOW that will have a big pay off when they graduate high school!

One of the things you can start ANY TIME at ANY AGE is:

1) Oh The Places You'll Go- By Dr. Seuss:

Have your childs teacher sign this book every year and then give it to them at graduation. Coco and Landon's books started in Pre K so they will be FULL! This is an inexpensive and oh so meaningful gift! One of my favorites and I try to tell everyone about it!

2) I have also seen: The Letters:

Write a letter to your child each year at the same time (you can even add a little money each time) and then when they turn 18 they have a great graduation gift!

3) Story People Print:

My Mom had given me some of these, but now there are even better more sentimental art pieces you can buy from story people. I like the prints best. This one is amazing.

Love this one too:

3. Memory Books-

I am the queen of the snapfish photo book and now that I am adding quotes like this I am the tear jerking queen!

I love doing a book of photos and story so they can see their whole year and how much they've grown.

I also love giving this book:

4) Just Who Will You Be- By Maria Shriver

For a comprehensive list of amazing graduation gifts I loved... Look at what  'How Does She?" Posted. Click here.

What's your favorite graduation gift?

Throw Back Thursday- My First Mothers Day!

My first Mother's Day.

After doing in vitro and struggling with Landon's birth this was a true celebration!

Stay tuned for my Mothers Day give away!

"When The Bough Breaks"- Post Partum Depression Awareness- help get this film made!

This is such an important issue I wanted to share. This is my friend Tanya's story.

“When The Bough Breaks” Tanya Newbould’s Story


When a woman has a child, she is expected to love, cherish, and have joy around that baby.  What a blessing, life is good, right?  What if that’s not the case?  What happens when a woman of a child bearing age has a baby, and doesn’t connect with it?  Or perhaps, wants to harm it, or herself, and has such a depression, and feels so alone, that she feels no one could possibly understand?  Post Partum Depression affects one in seven woman worldwide.  It is devastating to the mom, the family, and it some Post Partum Psychosis cases, to the child.  “When The Bough Breaks”is a documentary that explores all aspects of PPD, and the severities.  This documentary is being created to take an in depth look at the medical, emotional,  and physiological aspects of PPD. 

Tanya Newbould is an actress who suffered PPD after the birth of her daughter.  It was a shock to her as she wanted a child desperately, and was very excited about having a baby.  She had a healthy pregnancy, and child birth.  Within one week, everything shifted, and she began to experience severe depression,  and a disconnect from her child.  She couldn’t leave the house and take the baby for a stroll.  It was too overwhelming.  She felt scared, abandoned, and alone.  Her marriage began to crumble and she sought help.  There was no label placed upon it, only anti-depressants offered by both her OB/GYN, and a Psychologist.  Tanya the read Brooke Shield’s book “Down Came The Rain”, and immediately connected with Brooke’s PPD.  She overcame PPD, but it took five and half months.

Tanya then met Jamielyn Lippman, a film director who was shooting a documentary about actors, and both being mom’s, began to share their experiences.  Jamielyn had not suffered PPD, but both felt it is such a compelling subject that needs to be brought to light.  Jamielyn posted in a few mommy blogs, and the received hundreds of emails from women that were either suffering, or had suffered from PPD.  They began working together, gathering information, and filming these amazing women and their stories.

Today they are a team of three women including Lindsay Gerszt who also had suffered PPD, and is in the footage we shot, and their goal is to raise money to complete this very important project, and by doing so, helping women around the world to realize they are not alone, and there is help.

Please take the time to click the link below, and support “When The Bough Breaks”, so that it can be completed, and help change the lives of the women who suffer from PPD.  We need and appreciate your help.  The more money we raise, the better documentary we make, the more people we can help.