I pulled into Target the other day and grabbed my purse when I started to smell a horrible stench. I quickly looked under the seats, in the back by Addison’s car snacks, but no luck. But when I went to pay, I found the stinky source – a pair of Addison poopy panties that I stuck in my purse after an accident a few days ago. Somehow they got under my wallet and skipped my mind. I was horrified for about three seconds, when got over it and realized it would be a great candidate for a “You know you’re a mom when …” column.

The past two years with Addison have pushed me out of my comfort zone – in a good way. Not just with the numerous potty training accidents, but controlling my temper, explaining why do we the things we do, and showing love, not just assuming people know.

I know that not everyone is meant to have children, and the things Addison has taught me, has to be taught to them in other ways. But it has been such a blessing to have a constant reminder of God’s grace sleeping a few rooms away.

How frustrated He must get my by accidents, and yet just helps me clean them up and forgets about them, even when they stink.

In what ways has your child helped you see God in a new light?


Only a week after Allen and I got engaged, his grandfather (my mother-in-law’s father) passed away. The funeral was especially hard as there was so much sadness for the loss, and yet excitement for our marriage.

After the funeral, Allen’s Aunt Dollie heard me refer to Mrs. Newton as “Mrs. Newton.” She quickly corrected that now was the time to start calling her “Wanda.” Mrs. Newton heard this and responded, “I have always called Mrs. Newton (Allen’s paternal grandmother), Mrs. Newton.”

It wasn’t said harshly, but the point was received. Mrs. Newton (Allen’s mother) has always been Mrs. Newton to me and remains that way still – with the occasional references to her as “Meemom” now that Addison is around.

I bring up this story because after 12 years of knowing her and six and a half years in the family, it’s one of the only mother-in-law stories I have. Lately I have heard some whopper of mother-in-law stories from my girlfriends. I offer the best advice I can for the given situation, but in the end, I just cant relate. I try not to rub it in … much.

Now I must interject that the first in-law joined the family ten years before I did. And I have heard that there was a little bit of a learning curve for Mrs. Newton as mother-in-law, but by the time I came around, my scuffles with the Newton Queen Bee have been non-existent. I know that I am blessed, so today I leave this to my mother-in-law:

Mrs. Newton –

I thank God everyday for you. For the mother you are to my husband and the Meemom you are to Addison and Wrigley. I wish you could lead a class for mother-in-laws around the Southeast, because from what I have heard, there are some out there that could use it. I’m sure us living with you can be tough, even though you assure us that is not the case, but it reminds me how lucky I am to have two amazing mothers in my life – one because she gave birth to me and one because she wants to.

Love, Stephanie

Allen's Ph.D Graduation Day

While cleaning out 1018 Loxley Drive, I found a ton of things I am proud, and also ashamed, of still having. Like my 6th grade Madison County Middle School Scholars Bowl Champion shirt and 5th grade talent show program where i did “The Urkle Dance.” (no photos of that one, sorry)

I also found my life to-do list that I made in college. While I’m shocked I thought I could finish this by 2020, I’m amazed on how many things I’ve actually completed.

#27 Adopt a dog from an animal shelter - Wrigley September 2007

#14 Look pretty at my high school reunion - July 2009

#41 Go to St. Peters - Allen and me in Rome September 2008

I’ve also accomplished #10 saw the Mona Lisa, #21 going to Montevallo to support the Purples every year (baring flu and birth of child),#30 helped my parents pay for my wedding, and #33 took a dance class. While proud of what I have done, I’m bummed that I have so many to go by my nonrealistic deadline of May 1, 2020.

Inspired by friends who recently worked on a 30 by 30 list, I’m going to use this upcoming year to knock a few more items off the list.

#12 Start a rose garden

#16 Get manicures and pedicures on a regular basis. (I’ve decided that regular is officially every six weeks.)

#22 Go to a Cubs game with Dave and Josh.

#23 Get my pictures taken by a professional photographer.

#35 Surf

Okay, these aren’t terribly hard, but I thought I would start slow and work up to the hard ones. Anyone nominating themselves to get a black eye or have me save their life?

What are somethings on your life’s to-do list?

One of Addison's first night's home

I just put Addison to bed for the last time at Loxley Dr. It was just like any other night – brushed teeth, said prayers, drank a cup of milk. But as I rocked her to sleep, I was on the verge of tears.

It was the right decision to sell. Interest rates are low, and we need to lock in to where we are going to be for the next five to ten years. But those numbers don’t make this day any easier.

Allen Celebrating his PhD with the Graduation Monkey

This wasn’t just our first home; it was our “firsts” home. It’s where we came to after our honeymoon. It’s where we hosted countless family and friends as they traveled through our beloved Nashville. It’s where we proudly displayed the graduation monkey after years of Allen’s hard PhD work. It’s where we became a party of three with Wrigley, and then, party of four with Addison.

Dad and Wrigley on the floor

This house was not just the setting for our life the past six years, it was a character in it. And every stair creak and floor scuff is the dialog of a life well lived. I will miss this part of our story, and I will miss the friends who have made our Lenox Village life so colorful.

I know I will love our new home – whenever we find it. And the time we are going to spend on Ashford Court in the interim will be a blessing, but the day is bittersweet. Throughout my life, this is the house I’ve lived in the longest and that is making this day even harder.

Goodbye my little house on Loxley Drive. May the next owner be as fortunate. Below are a few highlights from our time in Lenox Village.

Our first snow - January 2006

Finishing the Garage - 2007

Allen and his picture perfect turkey - Thanksgiving 2008

Wrigley and I working on the backyard project - April 2009

Addison and Wrigley watching the election results - November 2010

Addison at the back door - August 2011

When I started freshman year at Montevallo, I was a political science minor. After getting a C in World Geography and B in American Government my first semester, I quickly dropped it, along with my dream of being a press secretary.

Since then, I’ve become increasing disenchanted with our national government – so much so, I am nearly ignorant about much of the daily debates. But with the debt deadline quickly approaching, my efforts to stay out of the loop have been thwarted.

I don’t know how to fix the problem. Allen and I have a budget, and we stick to it. I’m a little confused on why Congress and the President – who should be some of the smartest people on the planet – cant figure out how to do the same. Don’t laugh. Yes, Congress and the President should be some of the smartest people on the planet, why would we elect them otherwise?

But I also worry that programs like “Partners in Healing” clinics and WIC nutrition programs – that have been so important to my family – could disappear. I’m concerned that while Allen and I aren’t wealthy by any means, our checks could dwindle even more due to new taxes just when we need the money most.

In the end, this debt crisis has done one thing for sure – scared me. It cant be both ways – they cant keep the federal grants that go towards Allen’s job and armor for my cousins at war, and still pay the bills. This day was bound to come sooner or later, and maybe it’s time to nip it in the bud. I’m just scared to think about what that will look like.

How has the debt crisis shaken your faith in the government?

Let’s not talk about how long it’s been.

I’ve been encouraged by my colleague Andrea to get back on the blogging horse, so here I am.

I think the saddest part of it all is, the main reason I started this blog is the one that ended it … I am really busy. But so are you, and you’re still here, so that is a very lame excuse on my part. And while I was gone, Addison has done the one thing I’ve been most afraid of – growing up really fast.

She’s had her first Christmas and birthday.

She’s eating solid food and walking, no running, away from Allen and me.

She went to her first College Night and can clearly say “purple.”

She can recognize various breeds of “dog dog”s and can very sassy-ly say “no,” which I don’t doubt she gets from me.

And yes, I’ve been the publicist for an incredibly great selling book and Allen has gotten an official job at Vanderbilt. But little else in the world matters when she runs to me with her arms in the air and gives her mom a surprisingly great hug for a 15-month-old.

I’m back. I know I don’t deserve for you to come back after how long it’s been, but I’m going to try. And as a working mom, trying is all I can promise.

Allen and I have always been forward looking. We talked about what kind of new car we wanted years before we actually got one. We considered the perfect timing for our first baby and knew that we would name our girl Addison Jean before even thinking about trying. We’d talk about retirement as if it was on the horizon, and we hadn’t even been working 10 years yet.

And then we had Addison.

Our lives used to be planned years in advance, and now we are trying to get through the day. I think in three hour increments – what can I get done before Addison needs to eat again? Is it worth getting myself to sleep when she is going to be up within the hour?

It actually has been a welcomed change. We were always thinking about the next bill to pay off or next trip to take. Having Addison has forced us to live in the moment. I look back on those times, now affectionately called B.A., and wonder what were we doing all that time.

We were napping way too much.

We were coming up with four contingency plans we would never need.

We were preparing – dreaming of the life we have now.

– Stephanie

Is there something in the future you find yourself constantly preparing for?

I have officially been exercising to get rid of my muffin top for ten days. I have already tried to quit twice due to lack of results. But after encouragement from Allen and my work people and the fact I already spent $17.95 on the book, I’m still in the game.

Right now I am working on the first round of exercises found in chapter six. They are supposed to be done while you are still in the postpartum stage (6-8 weeks after baby). However, the author suggests us late starters still do them as well. Since I am trying to be all legit about this, I am.

One of the most interesting things I have learned so far is that your belly is made up of several core muscle groups. Now that I have read about them in the book, I find myself focusing more when I am doing my exercises, which is the point, I guess.

On the diet front, okay, lets face it, there is no diet front. I still eat the brownie before bed and just got a Dr. Pepper from the vending machine, I just feel worse about it now. I guess that’s progress. 🙂

My first business trip - August 2006

There are few things on this Earth I dislike more than staying by myself overnight. It’s probably all those episodes of Law & Order: SVU that I’ve watched. I get myself so worked up, I sleep with my glasses on and the TV turned to ESPN (nothing scary ever comes on except for the latest Vandy football score).

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing more travel for work. It’s hard to be away from the family, but my stress is only multiplied by the thought of staying alone in the hotel room. One trip I had even convinced myself that my missing key was stolen by the cleaning lady who planned on coming back in the night and hurting me.

I do not want Addison to be this way. I want her to be a confident, strong individual. But as a parent, how do you teach your child to do something or be something you are clearly not?

Addison's First Day at Her New School

I’m not always going to be there. She’s going to be scared by a thunderstorm, fall and scrape her knee, and get pushed down by a bully. She’s going to have her heart broken, get a speeding ticket, and go to college.

The truth is, I’m probably not going to be around for many of those things. Hopefully she will come to me afterward for comfort and support, but she must be determined and resilient in these situations on her own. Allen and I will need to teach her that, and maybe I’ll be able to teach myself too.

What trait do you hope your children don’t carry on?

Flickr Photos