Check Your Bloggy "Reading Level"

Here's some bloggy fun! Maybe it's my Liberal Arts degree that has me interested and partially because it's fun. Here's my Blog Reading Level:

blog readability test

Click the link and follow through to check your own. Isn't it fun! What's your level?

"One Day At the Beach, Is Worth A Month in Town"

From Summer Days
"Why, one day in the country,
Is worth a month in town...days drone elsewhere."
Christina Rossetti 1830-1894

Honestly, it's the truth! Ya'll know I gave it a Carolina twist. Yet the truth remains all these years later.


Summer Fun the Twin Games

It's wild and crazy and it's our life. The boys come up with these things. They l.o.v.e the boxes at Sam's Club. That is the empty boxes at Sam's. Okay you might say, good, cheap fun. True. However, the great fun escalates to a level that is hardly human - thus the Tigers. The picture icons have been added as a privacy issue. So don't let a cheeseburger distract you from the cuteness of the boys. ;)

I love it!

It days like this when people just look at us that I know that nothing else matters. So I spend a lot of my days thoroughly amazed, and amused to say the least. And of course, like most moms, I spend time focusing on the delicate balance of letting the children run amuck and tightening the reins too tightly. Anyone else in touch with this emotion?!

As a full-time Mama, I will admit it's pretty 'full-time' to keep it all in check. I am sure this is something we all work towards today. Parenting so that they experience reckless abandon in a safe and playful environment and then having the necessary boundaries. Knowing when enough really is enough. Growing.

Oh, the game continued. Once in the car, they decided that the boxes were their new carseats! And they strapped in (the real car seats) and rode home that way.... Whatever works! And this was all during the 99 degree heat - therein lies the culprit possibly.

When I was a child, we spent hours outdoors climbing our tree house, swinging in the tire swing and playing in our life size DollHouse. Lots of outdoor time - God made me and prepared me for this BoyMama life (even though I'm glamor girl all the way. ya'll know pink is the color of life). I want our boys to experience this delight, sheer fun and exploration. So when I see this look on their faces just by playing with empty boxes, it fills my heart! The Cherubs!

***How do you draw that fine line between reckless abandon and towing the line? I'd love to chat about this because I surely do not like 're-doing' any of my parenting. And let me tell, you we've done that a time of ten. ;)

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival - $130 Value Designer Plumbing Outlet Good Stuff

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Edited: Join ANOTHER Giveaway here and enter the fun! It's another Good Giveaway open until Wednesday! Info at the link.

Now you can start your renovation or upgrade your lavatory. We are all fancying up our blogs - how about fancying up your guest bathroom, bathroom or powderroom?! Here's one of my favorite sources of designer plumbing - Designer Plumbing Outlet offers a Danze Sheridan D302255-RB Oil Rub Bronze Centerset Lavatory Faucet Giveaway for the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival.

It's awesome! It's beautiful. And valued at $130. It's traditional and elegant all in one. The Danze Sheridan is a great addition to any bathroom. Upgrade more with Designer Plumbing Outlet products on sale now.

Designer plumbing at outlet prices Designer Plumbing Outlet and ShopDPO. A hearty "Thank You" to Designer Plumbing Outlet for participating in the Bloggy Carnival Giveaway!

To enter: Visit Designer Plumbing Outlet and comment letting me know what product you must have? And tell me where you would put the Danze Sheridan should you win! Good luck!


Sunday Scripture - Have a Blessed Day!

Here's a favorite:

John 14:1-4

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.



The Spill Inventory

It seems lately that I spill at least "one good one" each day. So you know, I figure I am not busy enough with a family to care for so I usually spill something almost daily. So yesterday when I spilled the container of fresh coffee, I look at the floor full of the little grounds and I thought Blog This!

So here you have it - Today's Spill: loose, fresh coffee grounds.

Do you have daily spills? :) Spills that you don't mind admitting to and want to share. Come on and share - it will be fun.


Oh, Baby! One Mother's Journey - Part II

Greetings and Welcome to Oh Baby! Part II. Thank Ya'll! Really how special and supportive and loving you all have been on this story. You know it's hard and I'm working it out as I write and yet you care, pray and encourage. God Bless You each one!

Suffice it to say, we were walking on clouds, again. It felt right. Let me backtrack a little and say that when we discovered we were having Twins, our first pregnancy - the Tigers, it was a total surprise and miracle of God. That story will be told in its entirety another day. It is quite a story. Though we were totally surprised, I never have taken it for granted.

So the Summer of 2005, we cherished the treasure of yet another pregnancy. I felt great. Things were clicking along. We had shared with our boys about our expectancy simply because we had no reason not to share. We were beginning to share the good news. The boys were naming their sisters. And in the spirit of our boys and our life as we were expecting, the child(ren) became known as "Mabel and LuLu" because these were the names the boys seemed to pick.

Then out of the blue, life turned on a dime. As quickly as our Fairy Tale II unfolded, it faded. As I think back, I recall going through the motions of wanting to 'do' whatever I could do to "save the babies" knowing full well He is the giver of life. And so as that time in our lives became frozen in time so did the names the boys chose. So we talk about meeting Mabel and LuLu in heaven some day.

On a lighter note, can I just interject that had twin girls arrived, I/we had other names in mind. Like the ones we had chosen for the boys (because yes we did wait to discover the sex of our twins until the morning of their birth - what joy and complete surprise). It was a momentS we'll never forget.

At any rate, those were some long and dark days. There was uncertainty as our doctors thought we'd make it and then there was the reality that we would not.

I do not want to talk so much about the physical aspects as I do the emotional side of our experience. And the spiritual side of this journey. Honestly, I know that's what God had in mind working on our hearts through this. If you have been there, you'll understand.

Grounded in my life-long faith, in my heart I knew "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." Yet, in my Mommy-mind I seemed to get caught up in what I wanted. What our vision was for our family. Yes, the numbers. God had other plans.

It was the strangest and most conflicted feeling to be living life to the hilt with our twin four-year-olds as a stay-at-home mom and yet feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually the loss of life. We cried, talked and prayed a lot The boys had question after question. And again, the last thing I wanted to do was explain God's sovergnity on a pre-school level while I was struggling to understand it myself. We persevered.

Then I went through the Mommyguilt. What had I eaten? Had a decaf milk latte caused the loss? Had my jog/walk the morning prior caused the whole thing. Consistently the Lord made known that nothing I did or did not do could cause life.
Just like rain, sunshine or a rainbow, He is consistent and faithful to make Himself known. Each day I began to trust His plan as it unfolded.

We stayed at the Cross. It's all we could do or knew to do. Who am I to question? Who am I to have a 'better' plan? Who am I to fixate on a number? Who am I to not accept his perfect plan? "I Know My Redeemer Lives" is the song that this Mommy clung to and I still hear it today and His faithfulness is revealed. Please enjoy the reality of this song:

Nicole C. Mullen \ Redeemer

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning
Who told the ocean you an only come this far?
Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God that spins things in orbit
He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives

To take away my shame
And He lives forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive
And there's an empty grave.

And I know my Redeemer, He lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives, I spoke with Him this morning....

And then a life-altering thing happened...the little questions that were being asked doubly, lead to a road that took two little four and a half year old boys back to that same Cross where they asked Jesus their questions and gave their hearts to Him and accepted the Salvation He offered. Personally made it their own. That's our story. If you'd like to make it yours go here. Feel free to email me with questions here.

Does God stun us! Suddenly we get the sometimes rare glance at the tapestry as He was weaves it. We did. Grace abounded.

Yes, three years later it's still a painful time. And yet, more so, it is such an exciting time. So true to the story of Christ we celeberate life loss and life gained. Each year we 'get to' live it and walk it at least once a year as we celebrate life and the Spiritual birthday of our sons!

"Blessed be the name of the Lord, He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."


Bloggy Giveaway Carnival Begins July 28th - Stay Tuned

All I am saying, is that this week's giveaway will be in the "Bloggy Giveaway Carnival" begins on July 28th so stay tuned and join us for a very special Giveaway for this Bloggy Giveaway! It's a good thing. See ya soon.

Giveaway "Win It Wednesday" Winner Is...

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-07-23 16:30:37 UTC

Greta @ I Love Mr. Pibb is the recipent of our Mabel's Labels "Back To School" Combo package of wonderful labels. Enjoy Greta!

Thank you again to Mabel's Labels for the Giveaway fun!


A Day In The Life...

Since it is easier to blog about pictures right now than this. {I'll finish that story.]

For now, here's a day in the life - Twins, My Tigers having fun! Life does go on.

One thing, we surely do not lack for imagination around here. This reminds me of Stevie Wonder singing "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." Well, how apropos, enjoy "The Sunshine(s) of my life!"


Oh Baby! One Mother's Journey

Three years ago, we were expecting our third child. According to the Tigers, we were expecting our third and fourth children. You see, with Twin families, you start to think in twos. We were delighted. Okay, we were over the moon with happiness. We were all so ready. What harmony! God's plan, our plan and hopes were one and the same. God had answered our prayers. God is good.

My Starbucks Barista had just called my "Decaf Skinny Hazelnut Latte" when my cell phone rang. It was my OB/GYN's nurse calling to calling to confirm our expectancy ;) and say my numbers looked great. All was well. I revelled in that moment. There I was in the huge atrium of Tysons Corner II sipping a latte when I just found out our family had just grown - my world had just changed. I sauntered right into "Mimi Maternity" and purchased this "Got Baby" tee!

The Twins were busy naming their 'sisters.' And Mountain Man and I were gleefully visualizing our growing family and wondering, in fact, if it would be spontaneous Twins again.

Elated, I love when life is heading my way again - in this case, a growing family, and in reality it was - for a time.   Looking back after three years, I know that yes, God is good even if our plans are different from His.   I'm reminded, God is good, even if I do not "get my way or my plans."  And He loves and adores me, my family through every step.  Breath.

***I think need to take a break right here. It's still not easy and I'm not exactly sure why it is so difficult to press 'publish' and yet I have a story to tell. Bare with me as I slowly walk back a few years.

Even three years later, it's tough to continue. Maybe I want to just keep this moment in my mind frozen forever. Or it's possibilities. However, my girlfriend and I were talking about Do Hard Things. Well, this is a hard thing to write about still. So that is precisely where I need to be writing about it. We will continue - thanks for your patience.


Sunday Scripture - Have a Blessed Day!

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

More scripture online and resources @ BibleGateway.


Blog Hop '08 Party & Enter "Win It Wednesday"

Hi! Welcome to Carolina Mama! I'm a mommy blogger who began blogging in the Summer '06 for a specific event and time in my life/the life of my family.

As a former Columnist, Blogging was so unique on many fronts. It was different. I jumped onboard kicking and screaming. Now, I'm hopelessly hooked. After writing all my life, quiet literally, and on into a writing degree in college, I can say what I need to say here. And hear what others have to say.

You'll likely see the Tigers, hear about All Things Carolina, or my "Win It Wednesday" Giveaways. Enter now: here.

Blogging reminds me of my TriDelta days of Sorority sisterhood. Good stuff. I like to play along so you wlll see me in things like Blog Hop '08 Party @ Pensieve.

Going on right now: Feel free to copy the White Ribbon photo below for Nancy Cooper. And Celebrate the Life of a wonderful Mom taken sooner than anyone expected.

My faith and family matter most to me and I love that comraderie we can share through our blogging journeys together. Join us and share the ride. Please let me know in comments if you're in on the Blog Hop Party. See ya'll soon.


My Post of the Week

In an effort to return to the regularly scheduled Mommy Blogger writings going on, we're back to Carolina Mama. And I have joined in on "Post of the Week" fun. Since we have had this other news recently, I wanted to give focus back to Mabel's Labels Giveaway through my "Win It Wednesday."

It's a favorite because the products are favorites. The Tigers love all their different Mabel's Labels options. And remember to order the family label, too. Those are so handy.

Ya'll know here in the South, Potluck is our friend. So Mabel's Label has been to more potluck dinners - I've included her right on my dish. And you know what, I have not had one item not make it home. I'm just saying.

Have a great day. And you can register to win by using the picture link at the top of the side bar.

Memorial Service, White Ribbons For Nancy Cooper

At the request of Nancy Cooper's family, we're all displaying White Ribbons in her memory. In town here that means your mail box, tree in the yard or on your front door.

If you are wanting to participate through the internet, please grab the picture by saving to your computer and feel free to post it on your own weblogs to help celebrate her life.

WRAL local news is covering a press conference by her husband's attorney. Here's what we can do now: "The family also announced a public memorial service for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park. They will also hold a small private vigil Friday evening for family, close friends of Cooper's and invited guests." More information from the local news.

Thanks for joining us in this journey even from our little 'close enough' prospective. Enjoy your family and children to the very best today.

We're taking a little family swim time now, so see ya'll later.


Remembering Nancy Cooper

There was a Mommy murdered in our town. Nancy Cooper. She left two adorable young girls behind. Ages 2 and 4. Nancy was a twin. She was a runner. "Took very naturally to motherhood" (her father said) You see where I am going. Though our town is small enough, Nancy and I didn't know each other. However, what similarities. Twins. Mommy. Runner. South. "Took very naturally to motherhood." This loss hits close to home on many fronts.

Allegedly she disappeared while jogging on Saturday morning, we initially were concerned about safety. Soon after she was found. Murdered. There are hardly words. The D.A. in our Cary searches for evidence to convict a 'killer.' As a mommy, I am drawn to her story. Her children. Our similarities. There's a great write-up on Nancy Cooper here. And I posted the picture above because I think that is how Nancy would likely want to be remembered. Loving her children. I know I would want to be remembered for - loving well. Living and Loving well. Of course, this could go into a whole other post but this is not about me.

Ya'll, I'm sad.

She, like us, was a part of the 'Mommy Club.' And I'll bet you that if Nancy Cooper and I had taken a run around one of the lakes or on one of the trails, we would have had a million things to talk about together. We would have laughed no doubt, at the difference in raising my boys and her girls.

In fact, Nancy Cooper could have told me a lot about same-sex twins. That's valuable information ya know. I could have told her about my new friends in Canada at Mabel's Labels. All the funny mom stuff.

We won't get that.

A lot of us in the community are feeling that today, we won't get that. More than that her sweet little girls won't get that. Like all moms want for their children, may they be loved and cared for by their family and friends that remain.

What do you most want to be rememered by your family and friends? Join us in praying for this family.


Mabel's Labels Win It Wednesday Back to School Combo Giveaway

Mable's Labels is offering up the "The Ultimate Back to School Combo" package of their gloriously fuctional Labels.

It's Wednesday and it's "Win It Wednesday" Giveaway Day. Look, how exciting is this. I have attached a shot of the combo in the Juicy Citrus colors and a product shot with a backpack showing all the different uses of Mabel's Labels.

Personally, I love these. They are just awesome and last for.ever. The Tigers think they're cute and I think they stick (really well.) Enjoy all the different choices and characters as you personalize your child's belongings.

Enter now: Go to Mabel's Labels website, chose an icon and favorite label for your child's belongings and (tell me if you resisted purchasing ;) come back and comment here. Good Luck and Enjoy!


Sugar Plum "Win It Wednesday" Winner

Congratulations to this week's "Win It Wednesday" Giveaway Magnolias Marriage and Manhattan! won the awesome

Sugar Plum Invitations - are a real treat! Consider ordering yours for any occasion.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-07-16 04:12:34 UTC

It was totally coincidential, this week's winner is MMM! And last week's winner was MJM. What a pattern we are showing. Any initials registering for next's week's giveaway! ;)

Register for this week's awesome giveaway! Enjoy!

Shutterfly Giveaway - New Member Free Prints

Join today and receive free print. Click the box to the right in my side bar. Or click the box below if you are a member.

Shutterfly makes it easy to receive free products, discounts, etc.

We've been fans for a long time. I remember that first Christmas when I ordered their cards online and they arrived in such a reasonable time. And they looked terrific. I have a couple of "projects" at Shutterfly right now. This offer is for any new Shutterfly member so take advantage of it. And if you are already a fan. They often offer good things. Free shipping. Extra prints on the house. It's a great online photo resource. You can photo share with your family and friends

They are no nonsense, their customer service is available and ready to meet your needs. And free photo what more do you need! Or click the icon below for another great offer on your vacation photos, etc. - 100x100 static

Which programs do you use? Have you tried Shutterfly? And do you plan to take advantage of this great offer?


Summertime Lego Camp At Home ;)

Anyone else having "Lego Summer Camp" at home! I know there are major lego camps and competition and all that jazz. Here at Carolina Mama, we've got our very own Lego Camp going on. Every day is different, every day is creative, and the creations are something I would have never imagined in my childhood mind as I played in my custom made, two-story Doll House in the Easy Bake Oven with my three sisters. I'm OK with that. Don't feel deprived. And just for good measure, our older brother had his literal Pig Pen where he raised pigs for Future Farmers of America just at the end of our land by the Creek. It was storybook I tell you. The hours we spent outdoors.

This morning I was a little bit amazed at one of the Moms arenas in which I write, the talk was about "are you kid sick?" Seriously meaning sick of the children being around. Yikes. We all have our moments but really. That is one thing this blog is not about "mommy whinning!" I want to be real and anyone who knows me, knows that I am as authentic as it gets. However, my version of transparent or authentic is not whining about the life God has blessed me with and that includes my children.

Do we have challenges? Yes. Do we have our moments? Yes. Do we have to stay creative? Yes. And the list goes on, in a nutshell, we're human. However, I choose to see my children as the little blessings that they are.

Do I sound unrealistic? Too Pollyanna? What are you doing with your children this Summer for your day-to-day? We love the lazy days of Summertime. And I welcome your conversation on this. I think good conversation leads to solutions to say 'whinny' days , or challenging times. So let's talk.


Sunday Scripture - Have a Blessed Day!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- Philippians 2:9-11

Find more scriptures @ BibleGateway.


Tigers Monkeying Around

Really, I didn't intend for this to be a "Wordless Saturday." However, there isn't anything else to say (other than 'train 'em early')except you see why I also call them "my Cherubs."

I'm A Winner - The Siesta Fiesta Giveaway Winner

Thank you! I'm a winner! I just received the cutest gifts from my first ever giveaway win at The Siesta Fiesta. Since I host Win It Wednesday Giveaways here, it is fun to be on the receiving end of the Giveaway.

Kim thanks for the goodies pictured above. I am a fan of the "God Is In The Small Stuff" books. And Target is like the "Mamas Sorority!" right! We all love it! Thanks girls and ya'll have a blast in San Antonio.

You can be a winner too ;) Just sign up for the Sugar Plum Stationery Win It Wednesday Giveaway this week. ("Merci" top of the side bar. Good Luck!)


A Durham Bulls Night

It was a fun night with family friends. And the Durham Bulls. we just will not talk about the game. It was less than stellar. Just shows what a good time you can have when you are in good company. It was a perfect night. A nice Southern breeze.

We had pizza at The Mellow Mushroom, one of our new favorite places. The Mellow Mushroom.

It is funny the difference between boys and girls. Tiger B was having a frustrating time with his sweet friend K who screams just like girls do. He was amazed. I laughed. His friend, K, reminded me of me when I was about 7 years old. Meanwhile, the moms were chatting it up. It was like being at the coffee shop together the children were so entertained. The dads seemed to chat as much as we did. It's a good thing, since the game was nothing to watch.

Swimming, Apple and iPhone 3G

You see we're real creative here in the Carolinas. Swim, swim and then swim. It is summer ya know. So it's all good. We made it through the two weeks of swim lessons. More than make it through - the Tigers did really well. And I remembered why we signed up for more to begin with this summer.

We have had perfect 'excuses' to hang out at the pool for the better part of the morning until something more pressing appeared on the schedule - lunch and a trip to the Apple Store.

Yesterday, I was in the Apple Store and the Apple Guru, a young whipper snapper, smiled and looked at me saying, "You got the red case, the Monkey case" referring to my Red Monkey iTouch case.

Though I was very pleased and proud of my purchase which considered the Cherubs, not my love of pink and daisys. I was happy to admit my love of my little Red Monkey Incase for my iTouch. I detected a jaded salesperson Apple Guru poking fun.

So I simply said, "yes, my little monkeys at home love it."

To which Apple Guru says, "Did you see that segment about the people raising monkeys at home."

(you see where I'm going here... any mama sees where I'm going here.)

So I jovially say, "We raise monkeys at home. In fact, we breed them!" As the young guru laughs, I say "In twos!"

'Tis true!

Speaking of, just so ya know, tomorrow is THE DAY that Apple releases the very lovely iPhone 3G "Twice as fast, half the price." Wonder what the Monkeys will of think it! Go check it out here. iPhone3G.

Sugar Plum Invitations "Win It Wednesday" Giveaway

Every writers dream! Great stationery! Sugar Plum Invitations is simply elegant and classic all in one. The French girl in me loves this "Merci" Thank You note. And pink is a bonus to me. (of course, you may prefer your own favorite color.) These are literally hot off of the press. It's beauty at your fingertips. Find something to suit any of your stationery needs at Sugar Plum.

Enter to win by posting a comment here after going to Sugar Plum Invitations to discover your favorite stationery. Open to bloggers and valid email addresses who enter via commenting below. Good Luck!

And The Winner Is... MJM

And the winner is MJM of Just Another Day. Congratulations! Enjoy this awesome product from Carolina Cottage @

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-07-09 23:55:56 UTC

See at this week's current "Win It Wednesday!" ;) Best of Luck!