Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost in Durham

by Abby

See this park.


Looking at this map, you'd never guess that this park is cloaked in an invisibility shield. You'd never know this because you would probably make all the right (or left) turns and end up zipping down the slide or flying in the swings in under five minutes.

I, on the other hand, fell victim to the park's invisibility shield for a full hour as I looped around and around just catching glimpses of what I knew must be the space in which the park was contained while never actually finding the entrance.

Sadly, I can't even use the excuse of it being in an unfamiliar neighborhood. This park is seriously right behind
Local Yogurt and with as much time as I spend there, I should know my way around.

Instead, I will blame the trees which provided superior camouflage; the technology that was bombarding me (You try melding written directions from a friend with Google maps on your iPhone all while your GPS is screaming at you to "Turn around when possible."); the missing street sign on the corner; and what is obviously a secret government experiment in land disappearances.

Abby is constantly lost both on the actual road and on the road of life. But she does usually persevere and eventually finds her way. You can read about all her journeys at
My Sweet Babboo or follow her ramblings on Twitter.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Unpaid Endorsement of My Holiday Haunts

by Ilina

With the holidays creeping upon us and beckoning us to the big box retailers, there are more than a few ideas brewing my
head to keep it local this year. I'm making my list and checking it twice. Who am I kidding? I'm
not checking it at all. It's all I can do to write the list down on a
scrap of torn envelope from my daily ration of junk mail. There are
some places I will hit this holiday season for sure. Keep in mind this
is not host of paid endorsements; these are independently owned
business that I happen love. I would love to know some of your faves, especially since mine are clearly Raleigh-centric! Here are a few of my favorite Triangle things.

Tookies Toys: Independently owned toy store in Cameron Village that carries an awesome selection of Playmobil
and other European brands. The wall of games is great, and the beefed
up science section leaves my six year old drooling. The best part is no
crazy testosterone laden shoot 'em up flaming, bursting, wheeling toys
that some "experts" think boys must play with. And hands down the best
looking wrapped gifts to boot! Did I mention free gift wrapping?

The Lollipop Shop: Did someone mention candy? This is a newcomer to North Hills that carries a mouthwatering buffet, I mean array, of old school candy and new fangled
treats. My sons love the wind up toys and teddy bear accessories. Deal
recently chose a fire chief hat for his little sidekick "Beary." Bird indulged in colorful rock candy and German-made gummi bears. The rainbow of M & Ms and wall of Jelly Bellys make me feel like, well, a kid in a candy store!

Marbles Kids Museum and Museum of Life + Science:
Wonderful places to wile away the hours, rain or shine. A museum
membership makes a dandy holiday gift (and a fantastic present to a kid
who's going to be a big brother or sister!). There are times we go to
Marbles twice in a week just because the boys want to embrace their
inner Scurvy Dog and Black Beard on the pirate ship or bang the drums
in "Brazil." The Life + Science Museum never disappoints. The bears are
always a kick, and the remote control sailboat racing makes us all
captain for a day.

Moxie Kids:
This is where the cool kids shop. Or in our case, this is where the
cool kids' grandfather shops. If you happen to see my sons looking
particularly snazzy, it's because they're sporting some Tea Collection
or Charlie Rockets garb from Moxie Kids. The store is chic and cute without being pretentious. The girls clothes are simply
breathtaking. It's almost worth having a baby girl just to shop there.

Cameron Village Library: Forget Cheers, this
is the place where everybody knows our names. When Bird turned one we
donated copies of his favorite books to the library to commemorate his
birthday. If you, like me, see the magic of books, donating to your
local library is a fine fine gift. Talk about the perfect gift for the
person who has everything and the gift that keeps on giving all wrapped
up in one handsome cliche package! Look for The Cat in the Hat at Cameron
Village Library with Bird's nameplate pasted in the cover.

One last thing...

Over the holidays and randomly throughout the year, we take a batch of cupcakes or brownies to the fine fire fighters at Station 6. They've come not once, but twice to save my little Deal (once when he was choking and a second time when he did this).
They literally saved my son's life. Twice. A few doses of sugar fail
miserably as a thank you, but think about it, nothing is grand enough
to show our gratitude for the best gift we have ever gotten.

Ilina blogs about her musings and sons' escapades at Dirt & Noise and supports local businesses in her off time. If you want to follow her non sequitors, follow her on Twitter @ilinap. She also somehow manages to run iFactor, her own marketing consulting business, and cooks home cooked meals every night. Almost.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Didn't you know they sell magic at Target?

SnowglobeIt was one of those my baby is so cranky we will both explode if we stay inside kind of days. My son, Oscar has been waking up early from his afternoon naps which results in an earlier bedtime. This of course means we all get up at the crack of dawn and the cycle repeats. So, I thought we would go for a nice long stroll at North Hills. We started at Chick-Fil-A, because 1) Ahem, we live in North Carolina, and 2)They were doing a food drive for free sandwiches

I'll trade my cans of Tuna for a chicken sandwich ALL DAY LONG. 

And can I stop right there and talk about how I LOVE that little fake grassy area outside at North Hills? I never understood why they didn't just put real grass there. I mean I guess it is easier to maintain. But it always seemed odd to me that there was astro-turf outside. However, now that I am the mom of a very curious crawler, I thank the Lord for synthetic nature! I can let him crawl and roll around to his heart's content. And crawl he did! It was a beautiful day. 

We walked around the plaza for a bit and headed back down to our parking spot, conveniently located next to Target. OK fine, you're twisting my arm, I'll go inside the store! I grabbed a couple super cheap items for myself off the clearance rack (because nothing in my current wardrobe cost more than $3.74) and headed for the Cheerios. At this point Oscar was starting to get cranky and I realized we were almost an hour past nap time. He had been really good and my plan was working, so we walked toward the checkout. 

Just then, in the home section I heard the loveliest music-box rendition of Jingle Bells and I had to find it. Lo and Behold there was a snow globe with a reindeer inside and the music was playing. I shook it and thought, I bet Oscar would think this is neat. I leaned down and wound it up and shook the globe and there he sat, absolutely entranced. His eyes lit up and he was tracing each little snow flake with his fingers. We looked at a few more, each with their own Christmas Carol and it occurred to me that even though I have known this is his first Christmas, I hadn't really considered what it would be like for HIM. He is the perfect age to really have fun with it and for the first time, I understood why parents get so into the holidays. It's not about the latest greatest toy. It's about the magic! Watching his eyes get wide and excited was just about the best thing in the world. I can't wait to create that magic for him as the holidays draw near. That day, I found magic at Target. And yes, this December Oscar will be unwrapping his very own snow globe.

An original Triangle Mamas post. When Andrea is not getting all mushy in the home goods aisle, she can be found blogging at Lil-Kid-Things or gabbing away on Twitter

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

How I Ended Up Here in the Triangle

Being a mom is so full of emotions. But is there such a thing as mommy logic? Because that�s how I landed here in the Triangle.

I grew up in the South. First, Tennessee then South Carolina (where I went to high school and college). And then, my hubby and I made a mad, illogical dash 1,975 miles away to Phoenix, Arizona. He had just finished grad school and almost moved to Arizona years earlier for undergrad (luckily he didn�t because we never would have met). I always had an obsession with the Grand Canyon, even though the closest I had been was, well, Alabama.

It didn�t seem logical to most people we knew. We didn�t know anyone there (except a distant second cousin of my husband�s who he�d met as a kid), we had no jobs to move for, and, well, it was all the way across the flippin� country! 

But with no house to sell, no dogs or kids to consider and a heavy dose of adventure pumping through our veins, it made sense to us.

Five years, one dog, one baby and ten trips to the Grand Canyon later, a little dose of mommy logic started settling in. We ADORED our quaint home in southern Scottsdale, the insanely good restaurants, the beautiful places to hike and our newest friends. But at what sacrifice? Our little one saw his grandparents once or twice a year. I once went THREE years without seeing one of my sisters. Plane trips would only get pricier as the little one got older. 

And the list went on.

The thought of moving back to the South hung in the back of my mind for months and months. Every milestone the kiddo hit kicked it up a notch. And then, fate struck.

I had been working at a job I loved but was looking for something a little less chaotic. One day at a marketing society event I sat next to a lady who started playing 20 questions with me. Next thing I know she tells me there�s a job I�d be PERFECT for and - get this - they are relocating to the South (Raleigh to be exact) in six months and paying for relocation. Did I really just hear that right?

And that�s when that mommy logic hit me full force. I was emotionally attached to Arizona but it just didn�t make sense anymore. And here, before me, was an opportunity to have a company PAY me to move closer to family, closer to family birthday parties, closer to the little one actually knowing his cousins instead of seeing them once a year. 


It wasn�t because I knew all the great things about Raleigh (I really didn�t other than research). Not because of the weather. Not because the Triangle is a technology mecca. It was because it made sense as a mama who wanted the best for her family. And maybe that�s part emotion too but at the time, it was pure facts, pure logic. Moving back to this side of the country meant we could have X, Y and Z. Living out west meant we could not.

And so we did it. We packed up and moved. From the place our son was born... to the place he�ll grow up.

It�s been over a year now and, despite some struggles, we�re officially settled in. In fact, we�re so settled we thought we�d grow the family a bit so my second boy is due next March. We�ve built a new group of friends, discovered fun places to hike and enjoyed some great Triangle restaurants. The types of things that emotionally attached us to Arizona. But now, I�ve got something bigger than I ever had while living nearly 2,000 miles away. I have a certain comfort knowing that this is the right place for us. 

Six years ago it wasn�t. Today it is. And that makes perfect sense.

Emotion led us away from the South and mommy logic moved us back. Glad to be here.

Original post by Melissa, who loves Sephora every bit as much as REI. When she�s not contemplating what having two boys will do to her life expectancy, she can be found blogging about kids and the outdoors at

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bliss in the Bull City

by Kelly

Unlike most people that I know in the Triangle, I can say that I spent most of my life growing up here, in Chapel Hill to be exact.  It�s often hard to believe that it was 23 years ago that my family picked up all it�s �Yankee� roots & headed down here from Connecticut.  So, you can imagine how surprised I was when I met my now husband & found out that not only was he a Durham, NC native, but his parents were as well � a rare find in this area.

Needless to say, I was a footloose & fancy free teenager finishing her first year of college at East Carolina University when I met my husband.  We were both eighteen, but he was just graduating high school.  It was during the summer of 1996 that we dated & both had what we thought would be a �summer fling,� if you will.  I�ll admit, my friends were a bit skeptical upon meeting Seth � growing up in NC he was a bit of a clean cut, country boy, and not the typical guy I might have dated.   I was very much a �wild child,� with an unusual sense of fashion, a love of jam band music & a fondness for grungy boys.  But, something about this guy was different & 13 years & one child later I couldn�t be happier.  We often refer to ourselves as �Dharma & Greg� � the years have changed us a bit, but my husband it still the picture of maturity & responsibility, while I am still very much a dreamer & a kid at heart.

He is the reason that we now live in Durham, and that I have such a love & appreciation for NC.  A common thread between us is a love of the great outdoors � camping, hiking, backpacking, boating, cycling � we have experienced the best that NC has to offer. While we have not gone camping yet with our 2 � year old son Wyatt, we talk about it often & wonder which favorite spot in NC we will revisit with him in tow.  Living in the Triangle allows you to get to the Smoky Mountains or the Crystal Coast with the ease of a 3-4 hour trip.  Couple with that the fact that our closest friends, my sister, brother, parents & in-laws all live within 15 minutes of us, and we rarely complain about not getting a night to ourselves.

When Kelly is not reminiscing about her college days, she can usually be found chasing after her toddler son Wyatt, and blogging about it at Monkey Man, if she hasn't run out of steam at the end of the day.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009, Triangle Mamas Style

In no particular order, here are some of the adorable children of the Triangle Mamas.

This is Abigail in her mama's German dirndl from when she was two.  NIkki says, "I like to think of this as her dramatic reenactment of Gretl's 'So Long, Farewell' exit in The Sound of Music."


Here are Juni and Pip, Cyndi's little ones. Buzz Lightyear here even had "Andy" written on the bottom of his shoe. Very authentic.


What might have been a dragon on the hanger became a dinosaur on Linus. Abby's little man was rawry scary.


From our newest Triangle Mama, Kelly, whose inaugural post will be live Wednesday, we have Mr. Wyatt.

Wyatt Halloween

Little Bird was a Little Bear for the day. Marty and her sewing machine pulled off a handmade Halloween again this year, but only with a couple of hours to spare.


Cindy's little dino was so excited, she had the costume on in Target the day they were picking it out.


Ilina had a handmade Halloween too. Here is Super Deal and Ninja Bird in all their glory.


Welcome to fall, y'all. Bring on the turkeys and the trees!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Book Jackets

Marty_fair This year at the North Carolina State Fair, I wanted to do more than just eat. Which is unusual. I wanted to win something for Little Bird. Knowing full well that we would be paying about 1000% mark up on any stuffed animal we would win for him, I decided on shooting for what I felt like was a sure thing.

We would have a carnie guess Kevin's age.

I thought this was a sure fire way to win something for Bird for only $3. Here we were, a seemingly young couple with a young toddler and a baby on the way. There was no way anyone would guess Kevin was over 40.

Confidant in my husband's stunning good looks and our youthful aura, we stepped up and gave the carnie our $3. He offered to guess my due date, but I wanted to boost my husband's ego with the sure fire guess of 37 or 38 years old. Age guessing it was.

It only took a few seconds for the carnie to scribble down a number on his Post-It pad and after some meaningless banter with the people ignoring him as they passed by, he asked how old Kevin was.I smiled smugly and eyed a little stuffed dog that Bird would love.

The carnie had hit it dead on.

Poor Kevin's ego was bruised instead of stroked. I felt terrible about it, but found it hilarious all at the same time. I started teasing about what else that carnie could have told us like what kind of little sports car Kevin drives or that I stay at home with the kids. I joked that the carnie probably knew it was a second marriage and would probably be able to guess a few things about our ex's as well.

It was funny in a self deprecating kind of way; our favorite kind of way.

On the ride home, we chatted a little bit more seriously though about what people don't know about us. About the misconceptions and assumptions. No one would look at me and guess that I used to play in rock bands. They wouldn't assume that Kevin is a guitar collector, and amazing jazz guitarist, and is building most of our recording gear himself. Someone even told me recently that we looked like the kind of couple who would just want an OB and an epidural rather than an intervention free birth at the Birth Center

It's so cliche, judging a book by it's cover. I just hadn't looked at my own cover lately I guess. Who knew that I look like the suburban housewife waiting for medication and possibly a mid labor latte? Who knew that Kevin actually might look his age? Who knew that our covers, while giving some hints about us, would be so far off the mark?

Aside from being amusing, it makes me grateful too, for the people who have opened the book and taken the time to get to know us past the jacket.

To read a few more chapters about Marty, you can check out her personal blog, Don't Take the Repeats. To stick with the liner notes, follow her on Twitter.

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