Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Journey with Cholestasis of Pregnancy

*I promised I would update you all on baby B's birth and how it all came about but while I was trying to figure out how to get it all out of my head and into writing, I realized I couldn't share that story without sharing this one first. It is the basis of why he came early and I couldn't just leave that out. Plus, its something that I know people are curious about. Its rare but it can have potentially devastating effects and I feel like its important for others to hear about. 

When I hit about 30 weeks in my pregnancy, I started to itch. Having had a PUPPP rash for the last 3 pregnancies, I was used to my belly itching uncontrollably, but this was a totally different beast. It started as a mild itch that really only affected me at night. It was like a weird tickly sensation all over my body. The odd thing about this itch is that it never showed any signs on my skin. No rash, no redness, no hives of any kind and it was all encompassing. Every part of my body itched. At first, I figured it was dry skin and slathered myself with a thick lotion every night before I went to bed with hopes it would help. When it didn't, I tried benedryl. When that didn't help, I mostly just whined to Michael who I'm fairly sure thought I was just losing my mind.

At 34 weeks when nothing else was helping and my family got tired of scratching the various parts of me I couldn't reach (you try scratching your feet when you can't even reach them to put shoes on!), I finally sent an email to my midwife telling her what was going on and asking if there was anything she could recommend to make the insanity stop. Within an hour, one of the nurses called me back and started asking questions.

Was it worse at night? Was it on my palms and soles of my feet? Was I jaundiced at all? 

I answered all her crazy sounding questions and then she explained her reasoning. There was something called Cholestasis of Pregnancy that met most of my symptoms and it could be really bad for the baby. The only thing was, I had no gallbladder so she didn't think that could be it. She suggested a warm oatmeal bath and more lotion. 

I hung up and consulted Dr. Google about the Cholestasis and she was right, it met all of my symptoms to a T. Right down to the depression and exhaustion I had been struggling with but attributed elsewhere. The scary part was when it started getting into how it was harmless to the mother outside the insane itch but had a high instance of still birth if the pregnancy continued too long. Basically, because of the pregnancy hormone changes, my liver was leaking bile acid into my blood stream. It just made me itchy but it could slowly poison my unborn son. 

About the time I started to get really worried, the nurse called me back. She said that she had consulted with the OB in the office and it turned out she was wrong, the gallbladder being gone had no bearing on the possibility of Cholestasis. She made and appointment with me to meet with them in the office on Monday because it was almost closing time but told me if I was too worried to wait to go to the labor and delivery triage and have them test me. 

After I got off the phone with her, I went to see Michael at work and tell him what they had said. I tried to gently explain the risks but all he heard was that B might die. He was rightly as freaked out as I was and we decided to go on into the L&D triage to get checked out.

Once we got there, they hooked me up to the monitors and ordered blood work for a liver function test to check my liver enzymes and a test to check my bile acid levels. The nurses didn't have much knowledge to share with me on the Cholestasis thing. In fact, they had never heard of it and had to look up what it was to even really know why I was so worried about it. 

After about an hour, my midwife came in and told me that the liver test came back normal but it would take probably a week to get the bile acid tests back to confirm the Cholestasis. She went ahead and prescribed the meds for Cholestasis and told me to go home and try to rest. She also told me she wanted to start me on twice weekly monitoring and biophysical profiles until we got the results. I was already seeing a perinatologist and she said she would call them first thing Monday and get us scheduled with them too. We were so glad that they were being proactive and treating this like it was as serious as we knew by now it could be. 

Long story short, it took about 10 (long, tense) days to get the bile acid results in and they were only slightly elevated but still not normal. The perinatologist made the executive decision that because of the symptoms and the fact the meds were helping the itch a little, to go ahead and schedule the induction to be moved up to 37 weeks instead of 39 to reduce the possibility of still birth. It was a relief but still nerve wracking because having a baby that early can come with its own set of challenges.

They continued monitoring me closely for the rest of my pregnancy which I'll admit became a little bit of a chore. Going back and forth to both the perinatologist and midwife's office twice a week was stressful but I knew it was for the best and I held my breath every time they fired up the ultrasound machine hoping to see that little heart beating away first thing. Every appointment, he seemed to be dealing with it well. He had one episode of high heart rate and a couple episodes of weird decels but nothing the doctors were overly alarmed about. Until I hit 36 weeks and change.

I noticed over the weekend that he seemed to have slowed down in his movements. He was still in there and still wiggling but no where near what he had been doing. I drank extra water and told myself he was just running out of room. We were almost there. 

On Tuesday (36 weeks and 4 days), I went in to the perinatologist for my BPP and they asked all the normal questions about his movements and how I was faring. I told them about the decreased movement and the tech took it more seriously than I expected which immediately set me on edge even though I had already seen his heartbeat. She went on with the BPP and told me my water was borderline low and she could tell he wasn't as wiggly during the ultrasound as he usually was. Then she left to get the Doctor. 

I sent Michael a text message really quick and he asked what that meant and I told him I had no clue but she seemed worried. After a few minutes, the Doctor came in and we went over everything the tech had said and what I told her. He checked my fluid levels again and just kind of watched him for a few minutes. That is when he said, "We are gonna need to go ahead and move up your induction. To today.".

Tuesday, September 15, 2015



This morning when I went to wake you up, you were already awake and after I sang happy birthday to you , you gave me the biggest grin and said "I'm eight now". You are so excited to grow up and be a big kid. I want to stall time and let you be a little boy for just a little bit longer. Mostly only for selfish reasons though. You have always had an old soul in a kid body. I just want you to stay that little snuggly mama's boy forever. Maybe you'll just be a big mama's boy instead? You do still love to snuggle.

You are growing to be such a little man lately. You are more confident than ever and more assertive with people who would otherwise take advantage of your sweet personality. Its been good for my heart to see you thriving socially and making new friends all the time. You've always been so much more shy than your little brother but you are coming out of your shell more and more, showing off your fun, caring side to more people.

Second grade is treating you well so far. You are enjoying the little bits of extra freedom your personality grants you especially. You are the kid that teachers trust to run errands for them. Even last year you were the kid that your teacher trusted to take other kids places like the nurse or office to check out. You are trustworthy and its good that your teachers are seeing it. Academically, you are thriving too. Math is not your thing but you make it happen. You get it honest kid, sorry.

Baseball is still your thing. You have grown a lot on the field in the last year too. Its crazy how much skill and determination you show on the field. You want to be the best and want to learn. Your coaches have all said how impressed with your drive and how well you take direction. Its shows in your playing too. You are quite the slugger and have settled into the pitcher/ second base rotation with more experienced kids and are showing them a thing or two. To say I'm proud is and understatement. Of course all that baseball and your second favorite pastime, swimming, means you are built like a rock. Tall and slim but literally all muscle.

Of course you also welcomed your little brother Bae with an open heart this year too. I knew you would. You've always had this ease about you when it comes to babies. They always just adore you and he is no exception. You get a little rough with him some times without meaning too but as he gets bigger, I'm sure he will make an excellent wrestling buddy just like Kai. You were so excited to see him for the first time. I will never forget the way your face lit up when you walked into the hospital room and saw him laying there on the bed with me. It was like excitement and a sense of peace all rolled into one. It was as healing to you as it was Michael and me. Like a puzzle piece just clicked int place in your heart.

I am so proud of you D. You are strong in ways beyond your years, you are kind to every one you meet, and you are so very smart. I can't wait to see what the next few years bring you. They will be a period of immense growth, and while I don't think I am ready for it, I know you will handle it with the same grace you handle everything else with. I will always be right here behind you, in awe, if you need me my love.

Love always,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monster 6.0

My Sweet Monster,

Today you turn six. Six hurts my heart more than five did or some reason. You are just so excited about it though and its infectious. You have been giving us the countdown for weeks on how many days until your birthday and I have been impressed at how well you have kept track. Then you woke up this morning all excited because its finally here! You opened most of your presents yesterday and you loved the toys you got but your face when you opened the Skylanders game is one I won't soon forget. Pure joy! You get to do show and tell at kindergarten all week for your birthday week and I can already tell you are going to run out of days before you run out of things you want to take.

This past year seems like such a blur. You have grown physically by leaps and bounds. Getting taller and stronger by the day it seems. You have officially outgrown your big brother in the weight department and are getting close to doing the same in the height department as well. I still hold to my stance that you will eventually outgrow us all. You will be a big, strong boy when you grow up, just like you are now.

You've grown in the sports department too. I used to say you were going to be my math-lete instead of my athlete because of your clumsy but you've actually (finally) started getting more control over your own feet. You played t-ball again last fall and spring but you still hated it so we skipped it this fall. You will like coach pitched ball so much better, I am sure of it. For now though, you have been excelling at swimming. We started you in swim classes early this summer and you've taken to it extremely well! You keep moving up levels and out swimming kids much bigger than you. Michael thinks you might be a swim team kid if you put your mind to it and I agree. You are strong and fearless and love a good competition.

You still have that huge personality too. The kind that draws people to you like a carnival ride they weren't sure they wanted to ride but convinced them to anyway. You love to entertain and love to play but mostly you love to talk. Also, be in charge. We're working on that last one but sometimes its impressive how good you are at it. Even with much bigger children. They all listen to you and do their part. Maybe you'll be a politician.

You got a new baby brother this year too and you have absolutely been over the moon. Your little brother, even at a few weeks old, just adores you. He will be fussy and wiggly but when placed in your arms, or you start to talk to him, he gets still and pays attention to you. Even when nothing else works. ITs really pretty amazing to watch. I'm glad for you. You were so excited about im. Especially after Gage, you needed a take home baby as much as any of us. If anyone asks, you always tell them you have 3 brothers and it makes my heart leap every time because you remember. You loved and you love and I love you.

Baby, I'm so proud of you. I love your crazy. I love your heart and incredible mind. You are an amazing little mama's boy and I am excited to see just how far your drive and personality takes you. It will be far.

I love you my monster,

Friday, September 11, 2015

One Month Old

My little man is a month old today. Let me just tell you, it is insane how fast it has gone. Of course, he is just an amazing baby so that has made everything very easy. He sleeps like a rock, nurses like a champ, and is growing like a weed. As of today, he is up 2.4lbs and 3.5 inches! We spend most of our time just snuggling or running after the big boys. It won't be long before he is running with them.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

He's Here!

And he's absolutely perfect. Baby B came on August 12th, 2015 at 4:14pm. He was by far my smallest baby at 6lbs 12oz and 18 inches long but considering he was technically a preemie, he was still a good size! He was born pink and screaming blue murder with Apgar scores of 9 and 10, which was a blessed relief.

He came home with us a few days after he was born and we are all absolutely smitten with the little guy. I will share more about his birth and the situation surrounding his early arrival soon but for now, here is some baby squish cuteness to hold you over.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Update on Baby #4

Its been awhile, I know. Life has that way of getting busy and getting in the way of the things we do for ourselves, doesn't it? I know its a poor excuse but sometimes, you just can't find the words to explain.

Anyway, last you heard, I announced we are expecting another son this Fall. September 3rd is his actual due date but he will be arriving earlier than that (more on that later). I am still nervously excited about adding to our family again. This pregnancy has been easier in some ways and harder in
a lot of others than the previous 3. Baby B has been easier on his mama hormonally in a lot of ways than the other boys were in that I am not spontaneously bursting into tears every time a sappy commercial comes on and I'm not trying to chew every one elses head off the rest of the time. I'd say the people that love me are quite happy about that.

The weather has also mostly cooperated this year. Knock on wood. We have had our share of nasty hotness but nothing that has really been do or die. Of course it is really just now time for the heat to start ramping up to that point so I hope I didn't jinx myself. I guess I tend to blame the fact that this is my 3rd September baby too. Maybe I am just jaded to the constant sweating and hiding indoors part of it all. We tend to spend a lot of time in the water too though. We have season passes to the local water park and frequent the local rec pool to stay cool.

In a lot of ways this pregnancy has also been my hardest too. Physically, I am more exhausted this go around. You can blame me being older or him being the 4th or whatever you like, I blame not ever sleeping. For serious, I never sleep. I have given up on the laying in the bed making myself miserable by tossing and turning, opting instead to use those overnight hours to catch up on TV or laundry. The worst part is getting lonely overnight. Michael works most nights, so I do spend as much time talking with him over the phone as I can but he stays pretty busy.

28 Weeks
Besides the not sleeping, I have had more "issues" this go around too. It started with a kidney infection early this year, which has now turned into kidney stones. My placenta is lying quite low too. Not quite enough for them to officially classify it as previa yet but they are watching it closely an I am praying it moves up and up.

The exciting part is the measurements though. Baby B has measured big since the very first appointment. He was one week big at 8 weeks and then 2 weeks big at 20 weeks and then 3 weeks big by 28 weeks (See picture). Then, last week when my midwife measured my uterus, it was a whopping 38 weeks and I was only 31. So, 7 weeks ahead. Not cool dude. They went ahead and scheduled an in-depth ultrasound at my next appointment to check the fluid and his size again and all that. The thing is, ultrasound measurements can be off by so much, so I'm not really sure what to expect. Will he be big? Probably. Will he be normal sized and my belly is just extra big because there was only 9 months between him and his brother? Possibly. The not knowing is the worst.

Emotionally, this pregnancy has been difficult as well. For both me and Michael. After losing Gage so suddenly and so dramatically after a perfect pregnancy, its so hard to connect this time. Even though I feel him tumbling around in there and we see him on the ultrasound doing normal baby type things, there is this void. A horrible disconnect. Like its not real. Doing things to get ready for him has been hard. I get panicky every once in awhile at all we have to do before his arrival, especially considering his size and the possibility he could come even earlier than expected, but we just can't.

I can't go through the clothes we bought for Gage and not think of the baby that never got to wear them but replacing every thing we have isn't exactly cost effective either. I can't set up a space for him without wondering if its all in vain. Seeing other blushing, excited pregnant women is like torture. I want to scream at them that sometimes it doesn't matter which brand diapers you pick. Sometimes the unfathomable happens anyway. Of course, being big in the belly department, I get constant questions and congrats from people. I try to take it with grace and style. I try to humor their questions and comments. Thing is, I can't tell people I'm excited to be expecting again when I'm terrified. So often I end up bawling in the car or bathrooms at peoples comments but I can't exactly be mad at them, can I?

The boys are excited though. Well, K is. D is much more cautious this time. I don't know if its because he is feeding off our emotions or if he remembers too well. He mostly just rubs my belly and says he hopes he gets to hold him this time. K is much more involved. I think he is just now really old enough to really grasp the fact there is a baby in there. He enjoys talking to him and playing poke back with him through my skin. He tells him he loves him and tells people all about how hes gonna have a baby brother this time if he doesn't die. All about the brutal honesty, that one.

Really, all we can do is hope and pray for our littlest man. I have to believe that everything is going to work out this time or I'll go insane. We have been working with the midwives and perinatologist to create a plan for his birth and are trying to get as many stop gaps in place to prevent the events of last time from happening again. In case you missed the story, his birth was fast and furious. He didn't get the fluid squeezed from his lungs resulting in pulmonary hypertension. Because of that, they didn't get him the antibiotics for group b like they were supposed to and it took him. Quickly.

This time, I will be induced, probably around 39 weeks, so that we can have more control. We can work on slowing down his trip out and get the antibiotics out of the way before anything is started. It means I will have that classic, heavily monitored, laying on in the bed birth that so many women go to so many lengths to avoid, but I am more than okay with that. At this point, I'd even consider a c section if I knew it meant I'd get to bring him home safely. All I want is a son for Michael to hold and a brother for my boys. Priorities.

Thats the long story of it right now. If you were looking for the condensed version, you are probably disappointed. Sorry. Now you know more than you probably wanted to. Its cathartic to get it all out there though and I know there are so many people who won't ask.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alive! Expo 2015 (With Promo Code!)

*I am being provided passes to attend this years Expo and a portion of my ticket sales inexchange for this announcement. All opinions are my own. 

Alive! Expo is back at the Georgia World Congress Center and is poised to be the best one yet! Alive! Expo is a one weekend, two day event that is packed with interactive demos, live health lectures from industry leaders, workshops, and kids activities that the whole family can enjoy! 

Each year thousands of consumers attend Alive! Expo events to learn how to integrate health and wellness into environmentally responsible, green living and to create a positive impact on the world as a whole. Attendees get a chance to experience all the newest and best natural, organic, green and eco products for your home and their entire family, even the pets! 

The Low Down:
Drawing over 200 national and local companies representing many industries including: Natural & Organic Foods; Natural & Organic Personal Care/Natural Beauty; Vitamins & Supplements; Alternative & Herbal Medicines; Natural & Eco Pet Products; Green Home & Eco Household Products; Eco Fashion & Accessories; Books/Videos; Sportswear; Health/Fitness/Gyms and Yoga/Pilates Studios; Natural Spa Products & Services; Recycled Products & Environmentally Friendly Products; Hybrid & Electric Cars; and much, much more!

When & Where:
May 2 & 3, 2015
Saturday: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am - 6:00pm

Georgia World Congress Center
Hall C4
Corner of Northside Drive & Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd.
235 Northside Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30313

Ticket Info:
General admission for Saturday or Sunday is $10.00. General Admission ticket includes admission to the Expo Show floor, Exhibiting Companies, Educational Lectures from Industry Experts plus Demonstrations.

VIP admission for either Saturday or Sunday is $35.00 and includes admission to the Expo Show floor, Exhibiting Companies, Educational Lectures from Industry Experts, Demonstrations PLUS a VIP Gift Bag filled with full size natural & organic products from companies present and not present at the Alive! Expo — VIP Gift Bag valued at $100+.

Children 12 and under — FREE general admission
Military with a Valid ID — FREE general admission

My Favorite Part:
Being able to check out so many of the eco friendly companies and products in one place is huge for me! I love being able to talk to the reps and find out more about their philosophies and business practices as well as the products. Plus, proceeds from Alive! Expo benefit various local non-profits in Atlanta, GA including Project Green.

As a reader of RMM, you are lucky enough to be able to take advantage of a special discount offer! Use promo code: render to get $5 off your admission price! Thats half off a general admission ticket! You can purchase tickets HERE!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Our Adventure at the Georgia Renaissance Festival

*I was provided passes to visit and review the Georgia Renaissance Festival but all opinions are my own. Photo credit goes to Ga RenFest.

This past weekend we took a little trip down to Fairburn, Georgia to attend opening weekend of the Georgia Renaissance Festival! Of course we had not seen the sun in a little over a week, so it was a little soggy but it was business as usual around the festival

The first show we decided to check out was the Hypnotist show on the Half Wit Harbor stage. The certified hypnotherapist, stage hypnotist, and comedian, Rick Stratton has been traveling the United States for 15 years making people laugh while performing his comedy hypnosis show and this show was no exception! It was a little slow for the kids but was a lot of fun for all the adults in the audience. After that we were entertained by the infamous Ded Bob, The Washing Well Wenches, and of course the highlight of the day, the Jousting Tournament!

After that we wandered around checking out all of the artists booths and oogling the beautiful jewelry, glass blowing, leather crafting, and so much more. There is a little something for everyone in the artist market including the kids! The boys had a blast trying out all the soft, foam swords and I loved looking through the names at the Ancestors Family Name Histories booth.

There are also a lot of kid friendly activities for the kids to enjoy. Be sure to bring some extra cash for all the games and rides they have available. They all cost between $2 and $5 apiece. There is also a playground that is free in the King's Highland area for the kids to blow off a little steam between shows.

The part I was most looking forward to though was the food! Oh, the food! Michael enjoyed one of the legendary turkey legs and I had one of the sausage and pepperoni meat pies I remembered from the last time I went. You can get all kinds of foods "on a stick" also which makes exploring and eating at the same time a little easier. Then you can wash it down with a soda or beer! There are a couple of sit down type places to eat too but I've always found them to be too crowded.

If you are looking for something to do as a family this weekend (or any weekend between now and June 7th), you need to check out the Georgia Renaissance Festival. You can save a little money by purchasing a ticket combo pack online or at the gate and if you are a student, check out the student days activities for a little extra enrichment! Of course you can always buy your tickets at the gate the day of the festival too!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A New Addition

Yes, its official! We are expecting a new addition! We are excited but terrified after everything that happened with Gage but can't wait to meet our little "rainbow baby"! We meet with the high risk doctor soon to come up a labor game plan. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blue Man Group Takes Over the Fox Theater

*I was provided two tickets to opening night in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

Last night D and I headed down to the Fox Theater to check out opening night of the Blue Man Group! I had seen them once before and I just knew that D was going to absolutely love it. They did not disappoint! He was laughing so hard that the people around us started laughing at him laughing at the show. It was that infectious cackle that you only hear when someone is truly enjoying something.

The Low Down:

Its a show that is difficult to describe to someone that has never had the pleasure of seeing it live. Its part rock show, part sitcom, part dance party and never fails to have everyone in the audience moving in their seat and shaking their "sit-biscuit". The show is officially 3 and up but D is 7 and I would say he is probably the perfect age for his first Blue Man Group show. The show runs 90 minutes and there is no intermission. Of course its more than enjoyable for "kids" of all ages and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to let loose and have some fun!

When & Where:
Blue Man Group is in Atlanta April 7th - April 12th at the fabulous Fox Theater. Show times are generally 7:30pm but be sure to check the schedule and find the time and date that works best for you!

My Favorite Part:
Its hard to pick just one part that sticks out. I guess I would say the parts where they pull an audience member onstage for a little good hearted fun is pretty high up there though. The crowd favorite always seems to be the crazy dance party at the end. The whole show ramps up and gets you in gear to have some fun and rock out!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Our Scaly Slimy Spectacular Sleepover at Zoo Atlanta

Last weekend we had the chance to sleep at the Zoo! We went to check out the newest and the biggest exhibit in Zoo Atlanta’s history: Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience.

We had a blast checking out the zoo after hours and getting a guided tour of both the old and new reptile exhibits. A lot of the animals are still in transition to their new homes so this way we got to see them all! We got to do a meet ad greet with an alligator and a snake and even got to use night vision goggles to check out the Red Panda sleeping in her nest! After our tour and a quick snack, we spent the night sleepover style and got up to explore the zoo the next morning.

The Low Down:

  • Built to replace the old World of Reptiles exhibit, the Scaly Slimy Spectacular invites you to explore Earth’s magnificent natural wonders with an introduction to the creatures and ecosystems that make our planet’s wild places irreplaceable.
  • The $18-million complex is the result of 18 months of construction. The old World of Reptiles building is the oldest building on Zoo grounds still used for public exhibits. Construction on the World of Reptiles began in 1964, and the venue opened to the public in 1967.
  • The project is approximately 14,000 square feet in size. Featuring The aquatic animal habitats channel some 60,000 gallons of water and around 9,700 square feet of custom-designed rockwork. It will be home to more than 70 species!
When & Where:
  • Zoo Atlanta hours vary by season and day. The best way to get up to date information is by clicking through to their website. The Scaly Slimy Spectacular opens to the public in April 2015 and will be open the same hours as the rest of the zoo.
  • Zoo Atlanta is located at 800 Cherokee Avenue, S.E. Atlanta, GA 30315 and is easily accessible off I20 in the Grant Park area.
  • Admission is available in advance online or at the gate: 
  • Adult (ages 12+) - $22.99
    Child (ages 3-11) - $17.99
    Child ages two & Under - FREE
  • There are varying discounts available including military, senior, and student but my favorite is the City Pass letting you choose to visit as many Atlanta attractions as your heart desires all at a great discount!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Famous Footwear Opens Two New Atlanta Locations!

*I was provided a gift card to facilitate my review of the new Kennesaw location. All opinions are, as always, my own. 

If you are a parent, you know how quickly kids go through shoes. It seems like we are constantly buying the boys new sneakers for school and with warmer weather coming at us full speed its time to start stocking up on summer sandals! Right now, I am gearing up for summer. The boys are pretty much set for summer this year but that doesn't mean Mama doesn't have to look her best too! 

The good news is that Famous Footwear has two new stores in the Atlanta area, Kennesaw and Alpharetta, marking its 13th and 14th locations in the Atlanta market, meaning we now have more options, closer to home. Famous Footwear has a huge selection of shoes for Men, Women and Kids of all ages and has become my go to for stylish, reasonably priced shoes for our whole family.

I stopped in yesterday and browsed all the new spring styles. So much cute stuff to choose from! I finally settled on these for a casual, everyday option and I am so excited to show them off.

(Don't mind my giant man feet)

The Low Down:

The Kennesaw location:
  • Opened on March 18 and will host eight Free Shoe Saturdays beginning March 28
  • Located in Town Center at Cobb Mall at 400 Ernest Barrett Pkwy. (Its downstairs in the Sears wing.)
  • Celebrating grand opening event on March 28 from noon to 5 p.m. with drawings every hour and an appearance from popular local radio station, WWPW-FM, 96.1, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Invites customers to come back weekly for Free Shoe Saturdays, every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. until May 16

The Alpharetta location:
  • Will open April 8 and will host eight Free Shoe Saturdays beginning April 18
  • Located in North Point Mall at 1000 North Point Circle
  • Celebrating grand opening event on April 18 from noon to 5 p.m. with drawings every hour and appearance from popular local radio station, WSB-FM 98.5, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Invites customers to come back weekly for Free Shoe Saturdays, every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. until June 6 

My Favorite Part:

Both locations will host Free Shoe Saturdays for eight weeks. Meaning you have a shot at winning a free pair of shoes every hour, all day long!

  • If you haven't joined the Famous Footwear Rewards program, you are seriously missing out. Its totally free to join and you earn $5 in rewards for every $100 you spend. Plus, exclusive discounts and free shipping if they don't have your size in store. Spend $200 and get upgraded to Gold Rewards for even better deals!
  • Until April 5th, you can print out (or get the online code for) an extra 15% off coupon HERE. Perfect for us late minute Easter shoppers!
What are you waiting for? Get started in store or online at www.Famous.com!

LEGO Star Wars Episode 1 Comes to LEGOLand Discovery Center!

*I recieved complimentary passes to check out this new exhibit from LEGOLand Discover Center but all opinions are, as always, my own.*
Its no secret that my boys love LEGO. Any chance they get they dig into them and their creativity astounds me. They even like playing the LEGO video games. Stands to reason then that LEGOLand Discovery Center here in Atlanta is one of their places to visit. If we ask where they want to go on any given weekend, they generally always say there or the pool. Simple pleasures.

Of course something else they are crazy about is all things Star Wars. So, of course when we heard that LDC has a new Star Wars Episode 1 MiniLand display, they were crazy excited to check it out. This weekend we took a trip down to Lenox and did just that. 

The display was made up of three very detailed scenes like only LEGO can achieve. There was an interactive part of each display and we went from one to the other for a good long while before we moved on to the next area. The level of detail was just crazy cool!

Now for the details!

The Low Down:

Allow at least 2 - 3 hours for your visit, although you are welcome to stay as long as you like. The last admission to the attraction is 2 hours before closing. Last entrance to the admissions is 5 p.m. Sunday-Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets start at $15/ each and are available on the website or at the front gate.


LEGOLand Discovery Center is open:
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

May the force be with you!

Monday, March 30, 2015

S.T.E.A.M. education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Camps In Atlanta!

Its the time of year where parents are in a rush to figure out what they are going to with their school aged children over the summer. At least you should be if you aren't! They fill up fast! 

Two camps coming to the Atlanta area this year are ROBOTS-4-U and Dynamic Art & Design.

Campers will have a BLAST, while learning and playing in a dynamic environment. Learning about Robotics and Science, in an independent and exciting way! (Visit www.ROBOTS-4-U.com and www.dynamic-art-design.com to see dates and locations for these day camps.)

The Low Down :

- Robot / Science / Engineering / Day Camp / Challenges

- Camps for Girls and Boys - Aged 7 to 14

- Robot Camps and Dynamic Art Camps offered during June, July and August

- Hands on Learning, Self-Paced. Beginners to Expert!

-Register early as camps do fill up quickly!


- 1 week (5 days) long

- Days: Monday to Friday Times: 9:00-11:30a.m. and 12:30-3:00 p.m.

My Favorite Part:

- CAMPERS RATIO: 1 Instructor to 16 participants. (Thats crazy low!)

- Each Camper Individually uses a ROBOTICS or DYNAMIC ART Kit. (Robot kits do not go home with campers but are available for purchase!)

Friday, March 27, 2015

One Year: Gage Jason

My baby bear,

Every year I write a letter to my older boys on their birthday, telling them about the things that happened in their year and how much I love them and am proud of them. I guess this letter will be the only one for you and you're not even here. You'll never reat this. How could I not though? You're my son and I love you.

I only held you once while you lived. I held you close and I whispered to you. I told you I loved you and you were gonna be okay. You stopped squeaking and struggling like you were listening intently to what I said. I told you Mama and Daddy would be right there no matter what you needed. I kissed you square on the nose like I have all my boys and breathed in your smell. You smelled like heaven. It was so hard to let you go with the nurses but I thought they'd take care of you. I thought they'd make you better. I didn't know the next time I'd hold you close you'd have stopped breathing or I'd never have let you go.

I'm always thinking of you. What would you be like? Would you be a fireball like your daddy? Would you be quiet like me? What would you be doing? Saying? Would you still look like your Daddy?

Your big brothers talk about you a lot too. K is the matter of fact kid. He tells everyone he had a baby that died. He asks the pointed questions about what happened and why. He wants to know the facts about hospitals and funerals.

D is more soft. He wants to know what happens in Heaven. He wants to know why he didn't get to hold you and kiss you too. Hr wanted you so bad baby. He wants to know we'll get to keep "the next baby". It breaks my heart. I'll never forget him asking if Jesus took your car seat with him when he took you to Heaven.

D occasionally asks to go talk to your Jesus. There is a statue of Jesus standing a few feet from your new place. He asks it questions and asks him to take care of you. Not exactly prayer, he does that too, but more a physical representation of an idea I guess. Like some how he associates that statue with you more than your grave.

I do the best I can to explain everything as they ask. Sometimes its an easy answer. Sometimes I have to hold back the tears. For the most part the understand. Its a lesso. No kid should ever have to learn. They were so excited to meet you. So excited to hold you and teach you how to be a rambunctious little boy like them. The maturity and grace they have shown in the last year is astounding to me. They are amazing little men and I know you would have been too. We are lucky to have them.

I visit you every chance I get at your new place. It was once a week for about 8 months and then it got too cold. I got too busy. It made me sad but I still go see you often. Its peaceful to just sit and listen to the wind in the trees. Watch for the deer that wander through to eat the grass and flowers left by others missing their loved one. Its where I go when I need to center.

It's hard for your Daddy too. He doesn't wear his heart on the outside as much but he loved you and he needed you. He's been my rock. The last year has shown me what an amazing man he is. Even when his heart was shattered, he loved me and your brothers with his whole self.

Its been a long year for all of us but I won't say its been an all bad one either. Your brothers are growing up big and strong. Your Daddy and I were engaged and will be married soon. We had some fun vacations and experiences. They were just missing someone.

I miss you baby. I wish things were so different. I know they aren't and never will be the same. I know you are better off than us. I know you loved us and I'm pretty sure you knew we love you. Its hard though. I wouldn't say its gotten easier but its more like its gotten easier to hide. People don't ask how we are and we don't offer. I still cry a lot and I will never understand but then I am thankful to have known you. To be able to carry you in my heart.

I love you baby. Mama always will. Happy Birthday and Angel Day all in one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Georgia Renaissance Festival Returns for its 30th Year!

If you have been in the state of Georgia for long, you've heard of the Georgia Renaissance Festival (RenFest). If you're smart, you've been! I have always loved attending RenFest but I'll admit to not having been since D was little. Which, of course, means this live theater lover is looking forward to joining them for their 30th anniversary this season more than ever!

The Low Down:
Every weekend and Memorial Day, April 18 thru June 7, 2015 The 30th Annual Georgia Renaissance Festival is a family-friendly event, and a different kind of theme park. Inside this 32-acre recreation of a 16th Century English Village you'll find hundreds of costumed characters, the Queen and her Court, endless circus-style entertainment on 10 stages, shopping in over 130 artisan shoppes, food fit for Royalty, games and rides for kids of all ages, and the spectacular Jousting Knights on horseback. Patrons are invited to wear costumes and join in the fun too.
Every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and Memorial Day, April 18 thru June 7, 2015. The fair is open from 10:30am until 6:00. Rain or Shine!

My Favorite Part:
The jousting is a don't miss but the food is really where its at for me! Come hungry and bring a fat wallet.

Get $4 off Adult and $3 off Child (6-12) tickets by using promo code "castle" when purchasing discount tickets on the secure website at www.garenfest.com. Tickets good any day of the 2015 Season (Weekends and Memorial Day Apr 18-June 7). Online discount only. Not good with any other offers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS (Enter to Win!)

Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ® brings the unbelievable to Children Of All Ages in an all-new show − Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS the 144th edition of the Greatest Show On Earth . Coming to Atlanta's Philips Arena February 11th- 16th and Arena at Gwinnett Center February 19th -March 1st, experience unimaginable family fun, as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious: a Unicorn, a Pegasus and a Woolly Mammoth! Join us for an unforgettable family night of legendary proportions!

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey shows are always a highlight of our winters here in Atlanta! Best the dreary February weather when Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson partners with Paulo, the Legend Seeker, on his quest to discover real, living legends from around the world and presents Paulo’s fantastic discoveries to circus fans everywhere! Along the way, families will experience what it’s like to be part of 
a legendary performance that brings amazing performers together with the most wondrous of creatures. In a circus celebration beyond imagination, Paulo soon makes us all realize that there is only one true place where legends live — at The Greatest Show On Earth!

This year's show is sure to be the delight of children of all sizes and ages! Which of your family members is most excited about the circus? Use the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win 4 tickets to the show at Philips Arena on February 11th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just looking for a great discount? Use code GASSOUTH to get 20% off your ticket price when purchasing your tickets at either Ticketmaster.com or GwinnettCenter.com!

Heart-pounding power. Show-stopping beauty. Mind-bending strength. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS, will astound you, surprise you and exceed all of your expectations!


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