Monday, February 28, 2011


Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Sometimes life buzzes a little too quickly around us,  causing our "to-do lists" to take over our office, car, house, bathroom, life.  Ever had a few of those weeks yourself?  Breathe.  Prioritize.  Get Things Done.  

So after a little break from all things computer related, I feel so much better.  

  I have investigated my finances, and tracking spending has helped me have a true understanding of what money we really have coming in and where it is really going.  Using this calendar, and budget worksheet to capture my thoughts on paper has given me a system moving forward.

I have become very inspired by bloggers that encourage simple living.  If I really had to be honest, I find it difficult to live simply.  I love a new pair of shoes, the latest handbag, and going out for a really nice meal.  I am beginning to see the financial results of not budgeting or planning for these kind of purchases, though, and it is making me question what I will spend my money on.

Mr. Cheeks and I had some fun dates during the week.  He has such a darling little personality and gets so excited about such seemingly little things.  I even had a chance to find some discipline tactics that work for him, and learned to choose my battles.  I think that everything was becoming a big deal to me, but after being around him for much longer periods of time, I realized that some things are small potatoes, while others are a perfect chance to teach a lesson.

I feel much calmer about my role as a mom and with that freedom in my head has come the energy and motivation to get other aspects of my life back in order.

This morning, work is staring me right in the face. The challenge?  Embrace. It.  I have enjoyed being a stay at home mom and have just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to projects and organization.  I guess the solution there is to implement the same organization at work slowly and be mindful of the balance between my different roles.

It is nice to have a sense of calm and feel like things are in order.

Have you ever taken a break from technology to reacquaint yourself with your "real life"? 

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Age Gap

I could never have imagined marrying someone seven years older than me.  I mean, do the math - when he got his drivers license I was 9.  While he was drinking a beer at an Alabama football game, I was 11.  

The dating world welcomed me, but tossed me around like a ship lost at sea.  From musicians to teachers, I always though I had found "the one", but remained the bridesmaid.  

Tired of losing myself in relationship after relationship, I took a summer and went to upstate New York to study music.  Freedom, lakes, and cold weather in July wiped my slate clean and helped me remember how I liked my eggs.  

Welcomed back to the Peach State and all of the "Hi Y'alls" that I missed, I wasn't even thinking about dating.  I was independent now and didn't need a boyfriend.  

Then, among magnolias, beer tents, and funnel cake I met my husband.  Enjoying the jam bands that Atlanta summer festivals are known for, we found ourselves yelling over the melody longing to get to know each other.  Catching a glimpse and accidentally locking eyes, we both felt something.

Pages of the calendar flew by, and I found myself spending a day on the local lake basking in the sun once again.  A special dinner was promised that evening and anticipation filled the air.  

Those same magnolias set the stage for a bottle of champagne, but still no promise for the future.  Dinner was in a hotel high above the bustling streets of Atlanta complete with silver platters and a wait staff that made me feel like a Princess.  

Laughter, drinks, and amazing food bled into dessert.  My plate arrived and the next thing I knew, he was on his knee.  

Then, the whole world shifted.  

This post was written for The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood challenge. The post must begin with "I could never have imagined" and end with "Then the whole world shifted". It must be no more than 600 words. I welcome constructive criticism from anyone who kindly takes the time to read my work. 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

You Know You're a Rookie Mom When....

The garage door lowers to the ground and we enter the house after an eventful day.  Greeted by our faithful mutt, Mr. Cheeks and I begin the evening routine.  A half-eaten dinner and strewn toys adorn our first floor.  Ignoring the mess, we head upstairs for the bedtime rituals.  I'd already decided against a bath tonight - not sure if that makes me a negligent mommy, but I just didn't have the energy to say "boat" five hundred times this evening.  

And it begins.  The silly game of "you can't get me to that changing table - I'm the gingerbread man".  Luckily, our lovely home doesn't include a very large nursery and Mr. Cheeks is dead in the water within seconds.  However, he ends up on the changing table MAD.  Not really sure why - I guess because his ninja-esque moves failed him.  Regardless, the retaliation comes in the form of yanking on my dainty gold earing with all his might.  Ouch.  After releasing his Doberman-like grip, he goes for my hair, and I was frankly in disbelief.  No, not the first agressive behavior (hoping it pays off in a football scholarship), but it still suprises me. 

This is where you think to yourself, why don't you come with an instruction manual?  Now What?  I'm mad, you're mad, you hurt me, and something must be done.  I'll spare you the details, but it ended up with him crying himself to sleep.  

I just hate that after being away from the little guy all day during work, I have to use my precious few hours teaching him a lesson and hearing his wails echo through our walls.  Alone.  Hubby is at some Hampton Inn, where I'm sure they know him and his Hilton Honors Card by name.  I jump in a hot shower, hoping to wash the guilt away and telling myself I am doing the right thing.  Turning off the water, reaching for the towel, there are still tears being shed that I know I can't go in and wipe away.

I find the strength to see it through.  The house is quiet now, and Mr. Cheeks has found sleep.  My only comfort is that I know I did the right thing.  Even if the timing is unfortunate for me, discipline needs to happen.  No, it's not easy, but did anyone ever tell you it would be?  They may have handed you a pretty blanket or a slew of adorable Carter's outfits.  I don't ever remember anyone looking at me and saying, "Piece of Cake.  You got this.".  

Tomorrow, we will open the blinds before 7 am as we always do, and practice saying, "Hello World!"  We may even say hello to the trees, the cars, the lights - anything that catches that toddler eye.  We'll have a clean slate, and maybe even be closer to learning to have "gentle hands."  

As a new mom, has discipline been one of your biggest struggles?

Mama's Losin' It

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Project Life Tuesday: January In Review

It is hard to believe that January has come and gone.  
Snowstorms, toddler tantrums, monkey bread, baseboard cleaning, and lots of smiles graced Addington last month.  I kept up with the quick journaling and photography that make up Project Life and found it to be a great way to end the day.  Putting a tiny thought on paper usually brought a smile to my face or made me stop and think about what made this day unique.  

Some quotable journaling entries from January:
"Tonight Mr. Cheeks found such joy in a bowl of fruit."
"Watch out Martha Stewart."
"The snow lingers on the roof of our swing set."
"Ummm...a power struggle."
"Having a toddler at home is sometimes...SILLY."
"Meal battle 2011 complete."
"My students challenge me each day to find new and innovative ways to reach them and teach them."


Weekend Reflection

BHG Roasted Cherry Tomato Pizza Poppers from our Superbowl Party
Since the holidays have passed, our weekends have once again become family time, and I just love it!  After the busy week is over, we have found time to watch movies, hike outside, and rest.  Just to have a choice about what we do and not have the whole weekend scheduled is AMAZING.

On Saturday, Hubby continued his tradition of being in charge of haircuts for Mr. Cheeks.  I have never taken him (I tried a DIY job - fail.).  I think it's so cool that they have a little bonding time.  Hubby thinks it's a little less cool.  I can't understand why 20 minutes of trying to distract a toddler who loves hates loves hates wearing a black cape and having someone in his face with scissors isn't fun.  Regardless, the end result was pretty cute:

I thought I'd include a recipe from the Superbowl cuisine at our house that was a real hit!  Hubby and I scanned through some magazines and had fun making this dip together (don't you just love DIPS??):
Southern Living Sausage Bean and Spinach Dip

So Monday morning is upon us all again, and I'm hoping for a great week.  As I get ready for another work week (and praying that at least one child will remember what I taught them last week), I will carry with me this smile as a reminder of what is important in life:

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Scrapbooking: "My Little Monkey"

This Sunday we enjoyed the most wonderful family day that we've had in a long time.  After going to church in the morning, all three of us took the most peaceful nap.  {Ahhh.}  Recharged, we headed to a nearby park for some fresh air.  The weather was (temporarily) warm and sunny.  

I had such a great time watching Hubby and Mr. Cheeks play on the playground.  Even our dog took a turn going down the slide - who could resist?  I've been so inspired by Project Life and other blogs to create layouts of the fun everyday moments.  Here is what I created tonight:

Materials Used: Patterned Papper: Jumpin' Monkey, Monkey Face, Palm Tree Paradise (; The Paper Company Basic Cardstock: Kraft; Brazzill Basics Cardstock: "Classic Yellow Green" "Chocolate Brown"; Tag, Monkey, Bracket, and Text cut from Silhouette SD.

Wordless Wednesday - A Kid At Heart