The Albemarle People

29 Jul

According to an old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I never grasped the depth of this phrase until I had my own children. Before becoming a mom, I thought I could do it all on my own, especially with my husband and mom nearby, just in case I needed anything. As time went on, however, I quickly realized that not only did I need help in the everyday operations of motherhood, but also that I would not be the only person influencing my children’s character and personality development.

My husband has a big family, and they all live near one another in Albemarle, NC.  If you have never been, this town boasts some of the most beautiful farm country in all the land. The fields are speckled with white cotton,  tall corn, and sprouting soybeans.  Old farmhouses, wheat silos, and crimson barns stand strong on the rolling hill, and remnants of textile mills remind passersby of the industry that sustained the once-bustling town.  Albemarle is truly a piece of North Carolina’s history.

Though I’m terrible with recalling directions, I have a knack for remembering names (most of the time), so I wasn’t too overwhelmed when I met my husband’s family for the first time, but when we had our oldest son, I wondered how long it would take him to remember the faces and names of his family “down East”.  We hung all of their pictures on a cork board in his room, and we would point to each family member and say their names so that each time we visited, he would know them.

Our boy did a pretty good job remembering their names, but before he even turned 3, he coined his own term for this side of our family. One day, out of the blue, he said, “When are we going to see the Albemarle people?” I chuckled a little to myself at his phrase, “the Albemarle people”, but somehow it stuck, and he still uses it to this day. Frankly, it is easier than rattling off ten or more names.

This past week, we went to the beach with the Albemarle people, and both of my boys had an absolute ball. I didn’t even really see our five-year old the entire week because he would rather hang our with our super cute nieces and nephew and their boyfriends/girlfriend. If he wasn’t with one of them, he was in MeMe’s lap or playing corn hole with Uncle Dean or otherwise playing with someone. Our two-year old is still a little attached to Mommy and Daddy, but it was clear he enjoyed his time because he would say things like, “Where is everybody?” or “I don’t want my nap-nap. I want to swim with everybody.”

As I watched both boys play and have fun all week, the African proverb kept running through my mind. It truly does take a village to develop a solid, well-rounded, grounded person. Though we Americans don’t technically live in villages any longer, the concept still remains. Not only will the Albemarle people influence my children, but so will my family, our friends, teachers, coaches, and church members. It feels good knowing that our boys have so many individuals surrounding them with love and that if they ever need anything, they will have no shortage of people to whom they can turn. As a  mom, that makes me very, very happy.

Who’s in your child’s village?

The Albemarle People

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage

"It takes village to raise a child." -African Proverb #ittakesavillage



Stream of Consciousness Sunday #SOCSunday

27 Jul

I’m back for the weekly SOC link-up with Jaime at Love, Jaime. Each Saturday or Sunday, folks can link-up and free write for 5-7 minutes, so here goes.

I am having blogging withdrawal. I now understand why for thousands of years, individuals have turned to diaries and journals to write their thoughts and express their emotions. Frankly, it just feels good to sit down and write.

With us being on a big family vacation this past week, I haven’t blogged since last Wednesday, and I’m starting to feel it. This blog has become like a friend or a family member. I’m not one to always divulge my darkest fears or rattle on about every mistake I’ve ever made (who wants to hear about that anyway), but I certainly use this space to get out frustrations or write about the ups and downs of parenthood and life, in general.

I’ve always had journals and diaries. I was one of those young girls who locked mine with a little silver key and hid them between my mattress and box spring because I guess I didn’t want my parents or my sister finding out the name of my latest crush or why they’d made me angry.

A little over two years ago, I sat at Barnes & Noble drinking a mocha and developed a sketch of what would eventually become the homepage of my blog. After that, I muddled my way through WordPress demos and instructions until I finally created a blog.

My blog has certainly evolved since that time two years ago, but it’s not quite where I want it. Nevertheless, it is serving its most vital purpose. It allows me to write my thoughts and feelings which for me, can sometimes be easier than expressing them verbally. Blogging has become a sort of therapy, and for that, I will forever be grateful.


Wordless Wednesday: Beach Scenes

23 Jul

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Scenes #wordlesswednesday #beachphotography

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Scenes #wordlesswednesday #beachphotography

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Scenes #wordlesswednesday #beachphotography

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Scenes #wordlesswednesday #beachphotography

The Seashore

21 Jul

The Seashore #beach #seashore #travel

We haven’t even been at the beach 48 hours, and I already feel more at ease. The sounds of the waves combined with the breezy, salty air is like a magical elixir for relaxation. We’re lucky that the weather isn’t supposed to break 90 this week. It’s the perfect temperature for running on the beach in the morning and hanging out on the beach all day.

When my grandparents were young, they called the beach “the seashore”. I like that phrase. It sounds more poetic than “the beach”. When I think of going to the seashore, I think of women in striped 1940s swimsuits and men with James Dean smiles and hair styled with Pomade. I think of shag dancing and Otis Redding. I think of Ferris wheels on piers where passengers feel as though they’ll wheel right into the ocean below. I think of classic Chevys or Mustang convertibles cruising down Ocean Blvd.

The Seashore #beach #seashore #travel

I’ve decided, though, that no matter the generation, the beach is a magical place to be. Those of us from the Carolinas have a special fondness toward the seashore. It’s part of our heritage and history. Most of us Carolinians grew up either going to the North Carolina or South Carolina shore. I have hundreds, maybe thousands, of my own beach memories. I could write a novel chronicling the many summers, spring breaks, and weekends spent at the beach with family and friends.

The Seashore #beach #seashore #travel

Now as I watch my boys make their own beach memories, it makes me smile. I know when they grow up, they’ll look back on these very moments. They may even come to love the beach as a place of refuge, of wonder, like my husband and I do.  The seashore is a special place that, for me, holds a large piece of my life and my heart. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it so unique. I don’t’ know if it’s the vastness of the ocean, the sounds of the seagulls, or the healing nature of the sea air, but whatever it is, I always leave feeling refreshed and inspired.

“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SOCSaturday

19 Jul

I’m back for the weekly SOC Saturday link-up with Jaime at Love, Jaime. Each Saturday (or Sunday), folks can link-up and free write for 5-7 minutes, so here goes.

We leave for the beach today, in one hour and 33 minutes to be exact. Both of my boys have been trying to wake up since before 6:00 am (right now it’s 6:27). They are so excited; they can’t even sleep. Daddy and I, on the other hand, would love a little extra rest, but we parents know how that goes. I decided just to get up and blog until the time comes when one of the boys won’t go back to sleep.

We’re leaving for a seven-day trip to North Myrtle Beach with a huge group of family members. We’ve been packing for three days straight. There’s just something about anticipating a beach trip that’s so exhilarating. We pulled out all of our cots and sand toys and different types of sunscreen. I bought everyone a new bathing suit just for fun. The boys have a new movie to watch in the car, and I have two new books waiting for me. We even watched home videos of last year’s beach trip.

I’m ready for a week of fun and relaxation. I’ve been longing for some time to run on the beach, walk on the beach, read on the beach, play on the beach, sleep on the beach, take pictures on the beach. Well, I think you get the point. I’m ready for some beach time.

I know that when the trip is over, I’ll be ready to get home and settle back into our regular routine and catch the boys up on their rest.

But for now, we are beach-bound and couldn’t be more ecstatic.

The toddler is currently chanting, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” from his room, so I think it’s time we just all get up and hit the road. Sun and fun, here we come!





XShot: Making group selfies a reality #giveaway

18 Jul

XShot: Making group selfies a reality! #giveaway #photography

In our world of selfie photographs, this product is seriously cool. How do you currently take a group selfie? Is that called a groupie? Have smartphones made the word groupie a homonym? Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia would be so disappointed in us. Or maybe not. This product would have certainly enabled some awesome concert shots. Anyway, if we’re going to take these type of photographs, we can at least include everyone in the group, right? The XShot allows us to do just that.

I learned about this product recently at a blogging conference and was totally captivated. What a great tool, and it’s so easy to use! Why didn’t I think to invent it? When compacted, it can fit in  your purse or backpack. Then when you’re ready to use it, you just pull it out and snap on your camera or phone. Not only does it work for any type of group photo, but it’s also great for outdoor shots when you’re trying to capture a scenic background or when you are taking a city shot and want part of the city in the background.

Awesome photo from XShot's Instagram feed.

Source: XShot’s Instagram Feed

Because many folks these days take all of their photographs with their phones, XShot created a phone holder that screws right on to the XShot extender. My husband has a Samsung phone, and I have an iPhone. Both easily fit into the phone holder. It’s seriously even simpler than I can explain. To take a photo on your phone, download the Timer Cam App. It’s free and allows you to set a timer so the group can get settled for the photograph.

XShot: Making group selfies a reality! #giveaway #photography

Zealous Mom has partnered with XShot to host this giveaway. One winner will win both the XShot extender as well as a phone holder. The giveaway will run for one week. The winner’s name will be announced on the blog and Zealous Mom’s social media channels. The lucky guy or gal will also receive an email so they can be expecting their XShot products in the mail. Good luck! This product is truly awesome.

XShot: Making groupie selfies a reality! #photography #familyfun

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers

16 Jul

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers #wordlesswednesday #parenting



Wordless Wednesday: Brothers #wordlesswednesday #parenting


Wordless Wednesday: Brothers #wordlesswednesday #parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers #wordlesswednesday #parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers #wordlesswednesday #parenting


I Missed Him So: Mommy & Me, 10th ed.

14 Jul

I Missed Him So: Mommy & Me, 10th ed. Fun weekly link-up to share those special moments between moms and their kiddos. #mommyandme #parenting #motherhood

Maybe I was a bit melodramatic last week about leaving my toddler to make a trip to DC with my five-year old and my mom so that we could spend time with my sister’s family and take care of my niece for a week while her parents worked. I don’t know what caused me to be so sad about leaving my two-year old, but the mom guilt over it was real, and I’m so happy to now be home with him showering him with affection.

My littlest boy had a wonderful time at home with Daddy and my mother-in-law. They took excellent care of him and kept him in his regular routine. I recorded a storybook for him which he played all week while I was gone (so cute), and we Face Timed every night, so we kept in contact. As much contact as one can with a toddler.

We had an amazing time in DC, and my two-year old seriously could not have handled all of the activity. I am also sure I was annoying everyone by talking about how much I missed him. They responded with, “It’s only four days” and “It’s good for him to have a little change of pace” and “Brooks deserves some alone time with you” and “He’s having more fun at home in his own environment.” Even though these comments didn’t ameliorate my melancholy feelings entirely, they did help a little

After reflecting upon it, I’ve decided two things made it extra hard this time to leave town.

1). My toddler was separated from his brother. Even though they argue as siblings do, they love each other and the little one looks up to the big one in a fierce way. Last year I went to a blogging conference for four days and though I missed my family at home, I didn’t feel guilty whatsoever about leaving.  I felt calm that they were all together and that I was the only one gone. I didn’t feel like I was leaving one of them and doing something special with the other. During last week’s trip to DC, not only did my little one have to wonder where I had gone, but he also had to wonder where his brother had gone. He’s old enough to feel jealousy because at home, he doesn’t want his brother to sit in my lap or get any type of attention that he is not getting. I worried that he was experiencing jealousy last week which we adults know is a horrible emotion.

2). My toddler is at that age where he’s too young to understand exactly where I’ve gone and what I’m doing, but he’s old enough to know that I’ve left and to wonder where I went. Does that sentence even make sense? Anyway, he’s at that phase where he’s very attached to me, and quite frankly, I’m very attached to him. In contrast, my five-year old understands where I go when I leave and though he may miss me, he enjoys whatever it is he’s doing in my absence.

It truly seems like being a mom is an emotional roller coaster. That’s okay, though, because when things have meaning, life is so much more fulfilling. My husband and my older child drove my mother-in-law back  home this past weekend, so I had some alone time with the toddler. It was very much-needed and so fun. Now our family of four is finally back in one house, and I couldn’t be happier about it.



Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Week 2 #SOCSaturday

12 Jul

Do you remember journal writing in middle or high school? When your teacher said, “Okay, I’m going to give you ten minutes, now just write.” Or maybe you unknowingly did this type of writing in your adolescent diary. No matter the reason, I haven’t written like this in quite some time but remember finding it freeing for the mind.

My friend, Jaime, who blogs at Love, Jaime has started a weekly link-up called ‘Stream of Consciousness Saturday (or Sunday)’ where folks can write about whatever is on their minds for 5-7 minutes. So here goes…

Yesterday, I had an issue with the server on my computer, then five minutes later my social media icons were not showing up on my blog. I tried everything to fix it. Then I found out that it was only happening when I was using Firefox as my browser. When using Explorer, the icons were showing up. I updated the plugin, deactivated other plugins that have caused  issues in the past, downloaded the latest versions of Firefox and Java, updated my computer, restarted my computer, etc. I spent a good hour trying to fix it. And what I noticed most was the mood it put me in. I started snapping at everyone in my family and delaying getting ready to go out. I just wanted to find a solution! I became an evil barracuda on a war path to fixing this problem.

When I finally just had to leave it alone and get ready to go out, I felt so much better. My mother-in-law is in town, so we all got dressed and headed to Asheville to dine outside, watch some street performers, and eat ice cream. I never fixed it. It’s still not showing the icons in Firefox, but once I got out of the house and started focusing on the real world instead of my computer, all was well.

This small experience brought out an ugly side to my personality. I know it’s there, but I don’t like when it comes out. I get really frustrated when I can’t find a solution to something or when something is not working correctly and I can find no reason whatsoever as to the cause of the problem.

It also reminded me that nothing can replace experiences in the real world with people I love. Next time I start to get bent out of shape about something that’s totally out of my area of expertise, I am going to stop worrying about it, shut down my computer and step into the real world, the one with kid laughter, birds singing, and people talking. It may not solve my problem but it sure puts things into perspective.


Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

9 Jul


Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting

take me out to ballgame 9

Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting


Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting


Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Out to the Ballgame #wordlesswednesday #parenting

%d bloggers like this: