Lori V.

Aug 302014

If you remember these were my goals I wrote about earlier this month, things like finding a church, taking the kids to the beach, etc….  Yeah…about those.  Totally FAILED on all counts.   It seems like August just got away from us.  The kids came home from “camp grandma” around August 4th.  Then it was time for meet the teacher, shop for school supplies, trips to their dads, and boom – school started.  Wait, what?   

So I have some done planning for our family photos. If planning constitutes looking at pinterest for outfit and posing ideas.  We will have to plan for a Sunday afternoon when Allison is free to take the photos, and when we (of course) don’t have baseball.  Yes,it is time for that again – but we did have most of August off from that.  Even better is that our games today aren’t until 1 & 3ish.  I get to sleep in (should my body’s internal alarm clock allow me to!).  

Patrick and I were supposed to take our anniversary trip last weekend, but we postponed it until after Labor Day. Cheaper hotels that way.  He has let me do some planning for this trip, and mainly I have used pinterest again.  I found a list of “100 free things to do in Charleston” once, and its all things we had planned to do anyway.  For example – the battery, waterfront and the market.  All things I LOVE and he does too.  We had also talked about going to the Firefly Distillery and Charleston Tea Plantation, which are both actually free.  Firefly has a tasting available, and of course stuff for sale.  Same with the tea plantation.  I am excited about seeing both, since they are more “adult’ things and something we wouldn’t necessarily do with the kids with us. 

I do have some exciting things coming up on the blog, reviews from Mabel’s Labels, One Direction Makeup and Harvest Snaps.  I am going to try to get back into a posting routine now that I have a good long lunch break everyday, and Patrick gave me the laptop back!  

Goodbye for now!



Aug 112014

I always try to get photos of the kids on their first day of school – and this year (a week from today) will be no exception!   This year I want to try the “trend” of having them hold a sign that says “first day of ___ grade” (2nd for J, 8th for K, and kindergarten for N).  I searched and searched pinterest for printables that I could use for each kid, but could not find a thing I liked!

So…what do you do when you can’t find something that works for you?   You make it yourself!  So, once I was done creating, I thought I’d share them all with you!





Just click on the “Back to School Printables” graphic above to take you to the Google Drive download site!  Enjoy and feel free to pass them along! 




Aug 052014

I’m ready for a slow down…..

all the weekends of baseball, eating concession stand food, and sitting in the freezing cold & blazing hot came down to last weekend, when Brayden’s team went to the USSSA World Series in Spartanburg.  I am incredibly blessed that I got to be a part of this with him.  The moms were amazing, and included me in everything – which is huge to me.  I am a little sad that it is over, but I’m ready to have a few weekends back to ourselves, get back into going to church and trying to squeeze in a few beach days down at Folly with Patrick and a our kids.  And of course, Jonathan and Brayden will both start fall ball in a few weeks, so this baseball mama will be back at it soon!

The kids have been at “Camp Grandma” for the last 2 weeks, so I don’t have many new photos of them.  We will remedy that in the coming weeks!


Recent favorites…

shrimp & grits from Ford’s Oyster House

my grey yoga sweatshirt Patrick bought me at Target

the song “Dirt” from Florida-Georgia Line

August goals…

find a church that we can ALL enjoy

get the kids to Folly at least once for the day

work out a reasonable budget & stick to it!

not cry on Natalee’s first day of kindergarten

plan our family photo session!

Recent pics…

PicMonkey Collage

Left:  Coach Patrick…
Top Right:  Hank’s Mamas, Bottom Right:  Brayden squaring off to bunt.

PicMonkey Collage2

Jonathan, Kyler & Natalee….cousins & best friends!

Jul 242014

My kids are gone for the next 2 weeks to “Camp Grandma” (aka:  mom needs a sanity break).   The love it, they go to the pool, the beach and other random fun places like the fort and the CG station.   They play with all mine & my brothers old toys, and happily this year will get to play with their cousin Kyler who now lives just down the road. 

Meanwhile, my life since they left is boring.  Monday night, I went to bed at 7:45pm, and laid there reading for 2 hours.  I was bored out of my skull.  No dinner to make, no laundry to catch up on, no kids, no boyfriend.  Seriously….I am so used to chaos and “busy” that I tend to feel lost when I have “nothing to do.”  The no boyfriend thing is especially frustrating for me, since the last two months or so I felt like the only time we spend together is on weekends at the ball field.  I’m trying VERY hard to be supportive of all his big projects at work that are keeping him from date nights & nights on the couch watching TV, but its damn hard!   I want a date, where we pick a place to eat and we go, and we talk, and no one is checking their email every 5 minutes, or having to rush home to have a skype meeting with someone overseas.  Yes, I’m being whiny, I’ll admit it – BUT….sorry I’m not sorry.


Tuesday morning I made coffee at home, which I don’t normally do.  I was absentmindedly putting sugar in awhile singing along to the radio, then I took a sip of it and nearly choked.  Clearly, I put like 1 cup of sugar in it.  It was gross and turned me off coffee for the rest of the morning.   At least it was sugar and not salt.   And the fact that I am reliving this moment is keeping me from wanting to drink the coffee I just made myself…ewww!

Tuesday evening – friends came over for hot dogs & to go to the pool.  Aka:  if we can swim in your pool, we will feed you – which I am totally cool with.  Free food, friends to laugh with – I’m all for it!  It was a nice middle of the week giggle fest with 2 fabulous ladies, their boys and Patrick.  Tuesday evening, I also vacuumed a lot after they left. I vacuum when I get frustrated or feel like things are out of control (keep in mind, there is a difference between the chaos I thrive on, and feeling out of control).  Something about vacuum lines making me feel like I have control over something, and I will repeat over and over the same spots for an hour.   I just had a lot on my mind.  Do you have any weird habits when you get frustrated?  

Wednesday – sort of a silly day at work, we all ended up leaving at 4:30 to go to Cantina 76 for 2 for 1 margaritas.  We split some apps and talked and talked.  It was good, and I enjoyed it.  I love Cantina’s tacos too…Peruvian shrimp with sweet slaw is delicious!   

What’s your week looked like?


Jul 182014

In walking around campus today, I see all sorts of little baby Gamecocks (ie: incoming freshman) everywhere.  Let me first say, you are adorable; you are eager and excited to be here on campus.   I am excited for you, and I welcome you to campus with open arms.   Here, there really are #NoLimits to what you can do as a #Gamecock.   

I do want to give you some tips for your upcoming weeks here on campus, and for those who are coming to campus for orientation, things to keep in mind.  These are based on things I’ve seen or head when walking around campus.

1 – be kind!   This means be nice to everyone, as you never know when you may need their help again.  Hold the doors for people, smile and be NICE!  Especially janitorial & food service workers.  No, they are not beneath you just because they scrub the toilets or cook your food.  They are also the people who find all those things you lost in the classroom, like your cell phone or your favorite monogrammed water bottle.  Say please and thank you, yes madam/sir & no madam/sir.   Kindness goes a LONG way!   This is especially true when you tell the admin assistant of the history department she can’t possibly be right about where Room 248 is, when she is standing IN FRONT OF IT!

2 – Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT come to orientation dressed in head to toe UNC gear (or any other college gear).  First let me say “what the hell were you thinking?”.  Is this some sort of protest against the higher education direction your parents are pointing you in?  I’m sorry sugar, suck it up buttercup.   Earlier this week, there was an incoming freshman (denoted by his nametag), wearing a Carolina powder blue shirt that said “UNC for Life”,  Carolina basketball shorts and even boat shoes with little UNC logos on them.   I wanted to take a photo, but I figured public shaming was nothing compared to the stares he was getting from his tour group, plus I didn’t want to come off as a bully.  And for the love of all things southern, do NOT show up here wearing anything with Clemson on it..or orange, or tiger paws.  Just don’t.

3 – every African-American male with dreads does not play for the Gamecocks football team, and no you did not just see Jadeveon Clowney in the Russell House.  In fact, I can only think of 5 or 6 on the football team who have dreads, and one is a tall white guy from Florida.   Also, learn who the head coaches name is, or for the hell of it, just learn the initials HBC (for those that don’t know, that’s Head Ball Coach).  

4 – Have fun…take it all in…enjoy every second of the next 4-5 years.  Take every chance you are given, and run with it.  Make friends, go to sporting events – even the ones you think you wouldn’t really enjoy.   Eat at every local place you can imagine.   Love deeply, laugh often and live fully.

Jul 092014

Patrick loves to “get” me with surprises.  Its not uncommon for him to say “lets go to town” and if I say “where are we going” – he’ll respond with “Its a surprise”.   I love surprises, and I also have no patience..all at the same time.  I want to know, but I don’t know if that makes sense.

So last week he started saying he had a surprise for me.  No hints were given at all.  He would say things like “well a few things have to come together before I know for sure”.  The minute he said that, I thought “nothing is going to happen” and I tried to go back to normal.   Then on Tuesday, he talked to Katie – and she got very giggly and kept saying “I know and you don’t” (sassy mouth teenager!).  Then on Wednesday afternoon, she told me that now the kids nanny was “in on it” and “i have a few things to do to prepare for the surprise”.  Thursday I knew something was up when she was voluntarily cleaning and had her brother & sister clean their rooms.  



Friday morning (July 4th) , I got up early and was sitting downstairs reading when I got the following text from Patrick.  

This sort of text conversation is not unusual for us, especially on weekends when we do not have baseball.   Meeting at iHop versus fast food was different, but still didn’t think much about it.

When we walked into iHop, I told the hostess we had 5 in our party.  I stepped away, and he stepped back to the hostess station and said ‘no its 7″.  I began to get suspicious.  Surely he didn’t have his mom down for a visit, that wouldn’t be something he’d surprise me with.  I know its not my mom & dad, because they are in the midst of dealing with Hurricane Arthur on the NC coast where they live.  It certainly isn’t my brother & his wife, as they are in Florida visiting her family.  What in the heck is going on?   I kept giving him strange looks, as he was obsessively checking his phone.  We are seated pretty quickly, with the 2 extra chairs.

We sit for probably 15 minutes, and I am progressively getting more and more nervous, as he won’t say anything still and just keeps checking his phone.  Even the waitress is wondering what’s going on and who is coming.   All of a sudden I feel someone sit down next to me, and its my best friend Angela.  I haven’t seen her in almost 2 years.  Circumstances and money just kept us from visiting.  I started laughing as I hugged her and kept saying “how?” and looking from Patrick to her and to her husband.  I think the laughing kept me from crying.  

Enjoy this little collage she made of us.  In 98 we were seniors in high school, in 2012 we were dancing at her wedding, and in 2014 – she was sitting in an iHop in my town.  Best July 4th ever!    


Jul 032014


So this edition of “Baseball Mama’s Must Have’s” is all about “What to Bring”.   Now, every mom is different, simply because her family is different.  For me, what I have to bring depends on whether I have 3 kids with me, or its just me.  Same with other moms…are you packing for a few or just you?

Thanks to the following moms for helping me get this list complete (moms from the Hanks are in blue!!)   , Julie, Amy Lynn, Sonia, Jen, Ellen, Christin, Janna,…

Let’s start with the basics…..



Bag – because you need a place to corral everything small.   I have a Metro-Retro bag from Thirty One Gifts and its HUGE.  This weekend, I had my 8×10 planner, 7 pens,  4 bottles of water, 2 bags of sunflower seeds, camera, cell phone, battery charger, sunglasses case and some other small randomness.  Note:  some families have a wagon they load everything in and pull it in.  This is great when (in Christina’s words):  ”the parking lot is 5 miles from the actual field”.

Sunglasses – bonus if they match the team colors.  

Sunscreen – for me, I prefer the spray kind.  It works great and quickly, and no one has to spend 10 minutes rubbing it all in.  Its also great for spraying on Patrick’s head (he keeps his hair super short), when he wants to wear a visor.  The sport kind is also great for when you sweat a lot (because like I’ve said before, its usually HOT when we are playing ball!)

Cooler – we have a large rolling cooler, and a smaller soft sided cooler we use.  The soft sided one is great because it fits in the wagon that Patrick has.  The only downside to this is that it doesn’t hold as much.   And inside the cooler moms have suggested:
          Water, Gatorade/PowerAde, Frozen Grapes (doubles as ice!), Wipes, Snacks, Ice Packs

Frogg Togg – for those super hot days, its good to have several of these!   When wet, you can just put them around your neck for them to cool you down.  When it dries, just rewet it and go again.  We keep it in the cooler too…get it extra cold!

First Aid Kit – I have a small one in the car, but need to restock it!   I found several great kits on Amazon.com as well!   In addition to the first aid kit, moms suggested:
         tylenol or ibuprofen, allergy pills, baby wipes, paper towels & clorox wipes

Umbrella or Pop-Up Canopy – the team that we are a part of has several families with pop-up canopies.  We line them up down one fence and spread out underneath.   A couple of the ballparks we play at are undergoing renovations and have no bleachers currently, so they come in handy along with chairs!

Chair - good if it folds up into a carry bag, and best if it has a mesh back (you get less hot this way!)

And of course, don’t forget:  sunflower seeds, gum, suckers (we like the sour apple blow-pops!)….


We will have to do another post on other “Mom Must Have’s” – but hope you enjoyed this one!



Jun 302014

Its a Monday.  That’s what Patrick always says when its a Monday (or Tuesday, Wed, Thurs..).  I need a weekend, to make up for the weekend.  I am so incredibly tired!   Most of it was spent, just like most weekends of our life – at the ballfield.  We had a great time, the boys did great and came in 2nd place!   


Ballpark selfies are the best.   She is totally rocking her little brothers little league team hat, which happens to have Bray’s baseball # on the back too.  I thought about finding her a shirt that says “I don’t have a life, my bubs plays baseball”.  She would rock it – especially if it had sparkles!

This was taken midway through the 2nd game on Sunday.  First game Sunday was at 9am, 2nd game was at 1pm.  It was hot ya’ll – and humid.  Notice the ponytail – on both of us!  I am sure I was sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat.  Although, we southern girls don’t sweat we glisten.  

Saturday was also hot, and thank goodness for the awesome baseball moms on our teams who happily share a tent/canopy with me.   The heat really does take a toll on your body, even if you think you are getting enough water, you probably aren’t.   Just keep chugging.  

Other than baseball and a team pool party for Bray’s birthday, we did not do a lot this weekend.   Yesterday after ball was over, I came home and napped while the kids watched Netflix.  We did laundry, ate pizza for dinner and I watched a couple of episodes of Rizzoli & Isles while I folded clothes.   

Today will probably be another day like yesterday, except its work instead of baseball.  But home to finish laundry.  It is a short week, so that is something to look forward to!

Happy Monday Ya’ll!