Thursday, February 28, 2013

7 Months

Bowen :: Seven Months Old

Weight: No official weigh in this month, but I think he's right around 19 lbs. He's definitely getting longer too - his footie pajamas are getting too small! He wore 3-6 through this month and I packed them up at the end of the month, moving on to the 6-9 months (or 6-12, or 9 month sleepers, depending on the brand.) He is one solid kid.

Eats: He still drinks 4 bottles a day - 3 are 7 oz and the last one is 5 oz. He eats 2 meals a day of oatmeal, one fruit and one veggie. He's a big fan of mealtime.

Sleeps: He's in a pretty good routine of 7:00pm-7:00am and 3 naps a day. Most of the naps are in the crib, although he'll get a snooze in if we're driving somewhere late afternoon. Just like his mama - can't resist a good car nap. He still wakes up at the 25-30 min mark each nap, and will babble to himself for awhile in the crib before falling back asleep.

Hair: Blonde! Fuzzy! I loves it. Now that he's spending more of his playtime sitting up, his hair in the back is starting to grow in too!

Eyes: Baby blues. Love them.

Nicknames: Bo, Bowie, Biscuit, Biskie, The Biskers, Biskers Whiskers, Fussy Bussy

Milestones: In addition to "da da da" he has added "ma ma ma." Sadly, I usually hear that when he's sad or hungry, and the "da da da" when he's happy and excited. Rude! He's mastered seating and plays upright most of the time now. He's still not rolling over - but I can't say I'm complaining bout that. It's nice to put him down and know he'll stay put. He had his first airplane ride this month (4 of them, in fact) and I can't say he was particularly impressed. He was, however, very delighted with his first swim in a pool! 

Likes: Pretty much all food, but especially oatmeal, pears, bananas and mangoes. Rocking out in his exersaucer, grabbing the Spuds' ear, shrieking, bath time tsunami, pulling my hair, banging on his high chair tray, holding his own spoon, swimming pools, toys that crinkle.

Dislikes: Not being able to put the iPhone in his mouth, trying to nap on a plane, the end of a bottle, being overtired, getting the sun in his eyes on a run. 

7 months! When I say I have a 7 month old baby, it officially feels like I no longer have a "new baby." I mean, I know he was no longer a newborn as of about 4 months ago, but just being on the other side of the half-year makes me feel like he's SO OLD. Bo, this month you have become busy busy. You are so interested in your surroundings and love to smile and giggle when someone approaches you. You are a delight and it just keeps getting better and better! Happy 7 months, Biscuit! 

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Bo has become so aware of Buddy. When he's in his exersaucer, he shrieks with delight when Buddy goes by wiggles and stomps and does just about anything he can to get his attention. If he passes close enough, Bo will reach out and grab his ear, fur splayed through his squishy little fingers. Buddy, bless his old man heart, could care less. There's a lot about that dog that causes me grief, but when he sits there patiently waiting for the baby to let go of him, I grab his little snout and give him one of the most earnest "good dogs" he's earned in all his life.

Bo has a new smile! I loved his old smile, but this one is pure joy. Before he'd smile a big open mouth grin, but now he scrunches his nose back and opens his mouth so big, you can see his gums up top. He is so generous with his smiles - even throughout our tenuous airport adventures, he'd smile the second someone looked into his face and cooed a bit. I'm pretty sure he knows he's cute.

At his 6 month check up, I mentioned to the pediatrician he wasn't babbling yet. I wasn't super concerned about it, because he's incredibly vocal… just no actual babbling yet. Literally the next day, he started saying "da da da da da" and it's been nonstop. Just in case I was feeling left out, he'll switch to "maaaa maaaa maaaa" when he's sad or whiny.

I wonder how much of his personality I'll look back on and realize was already present at this age. It's hard to know what's really his personality and what's just a baby being a baby. He already knows how to be coy - when a new person approaches and he's in my arms, he'll smile, dart his head away and then whip it back around to see their reaction. Then he'll giggle and do it again. He gets frustrated easily - today, I watched him reach reach reach for my water bottle on the floor. His fingers could touch it but it was too big for him to grab and not close enough for him to pull it towards him. I angled the top towards him - so he could wrap his fingers around it and pull it towards him - and watched as he tried again. He kept trying, but with each attempt he became more and more vocal. He finally got it (success!), pulled it towards his mouth and immediately started chewing on it. Then he looked up at me, as if to say "see what I did there, mama?"

Sometimes when he's sitting in my lap playing, I just stare down at the patterns of hair on his perfect little head and wonder how it's possible to love such a little tiny person so much.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Hard Ones {Musings from the Life Coach Part of my Brain}

I have a soft spot for hard people. 

It's inevitable. The same story every time. I don't know why they end up coming to coaching in the first place - they signed up for the research study but didn't really want to change. They called in for free coaching offered by their health insurance, but didn't really want to change. They pay me, week after week, for my coaching services...but don't really want to change. 

I don't know how I end up with them, but they end up getting in my head and heart and I have to figure out how to crack them. They're the pistachio shell that won't open - but I'm relentless. They should just quit. They should quit because they don't really want to change, but for some reason after they talk to me two or three times they don't quit. I think they know I want to figure out what makes them tick. And I think they sort of want to know too, so they stick around long enough because they want to see if I'll figure out the puzzle. The puzzle they haven't been able to figure out themselves.

When I think back on my coaching history, my most memorable clients all fall into two camps. There are the eager ones, the open minded ones, the ones who embrace being coached with their arms spread wide open. These are the ones who get it, who make me want to shout YESSS!!! in the middle of our calls and the ones who make big, glorious, life altering changes. I love coaching them. 

Then there are the hard ones. They don't quit, but they fight change every step of the way. I don't fight with them though. I refuse to fight them. I stand next to them and try to see what it is they're throwing punches at. Once they realize I'm next to them, they let me try to help. Oh, I love coaching them. 

Today, I found out one of my former coaching clients died. She actually died last year but I just learned about it today. She was a hard one - maybe one of the hardest I've ever had. She came in swinging punches, and I had to duck a time or two before she'd let me near. But I love coaching her. It always pained me that I never felt like we figured out her puzzle. I worked with her for more than a year before she moved on, and she kicked and screamed the whole time. She didn't quit coaching. But she didn't change. I learned today that she died of pretty major health complications. I can't go into details, obviously, because of confidentiality. But they were the same health issues we had sat and talked about five years ago. The very same ones. Five years ago, we talked about changing and she decided not to. And she's not here today because of that decision. 

I read the email with the news of her passing - a long three paragraphs describing her final months. I guess she was as difficult a client for death as she was for health. I read the email, I closed my computer and I sobbed. 

I can still picture her perfect, precise handwriting on her food logs. She looked like she used a ruler to write the lines when she's write portions of 1/4 or 1/2. I asked her one day - she did. She was perfect and precise in her measurements. She was perfect and precise in her logging. She'd show me this, as if it was evidence of the commitment she was making.

I'll never understand why some people decide not to change. I wrote that sentence because it sounded right, but even as I did, I knew it was not the truth. I've coached too many people to pretend that I don't understand why people change. I understand stagnancy and hesitation almost better than I understand momentum and stamina. 

I've been privileged enough to be let in on so many people's lives. It's staggering when I stop to think about the number of people who I have coached or talked to or collaborated with. There are so many amazing stories of change, of the "lightbulb moment." I've born witness countless times to that moment when someone's voice cracks and all that can come forward are tears, and then understanding, and then hope, and then freedom. I love that moment. It's why I do what I do. It's what anyone who goes into a helping profession hopes to do - help. 

You have to know, going into this kind of work, that you can't help everyone. You can't help everyone, and you certainly can't save anyone. It's never been listed in my job description that I could. But there's always the eternal hope for me, that when one of the tough ones moves on from my life, that at the very least we planted a seed. That maybe our conversations have armed them with the tools and in the right moment, the right environment, the right second of their life... they'll be able to figure out the pieces of their puzzle. They'll be able to save themselves.

I always hold that hope. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Flying with a Baby, Part 2

So many people asked us how the return flight went or said they were sending us good juju for it, that I thought I'd follow up with a second (oh so exciting!) post about flying with a baby.

The return flight home went PERFECT. Flawless! He slept the whole time.

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Ha. Psyche. It was actually pretty much exactly the same as the flights there BUT I felt like this time we were more prepared for the meltdowns and sort of figured out how to deal with them. I guess we're just seasoned veterans at the ol' traveling with an infant thing by now, is what I'm saying. (Please note, that's written in my sarcasm font.)

I had gotten really, really helpful advice from lots of friends who had done this before and read just about every "flying with a baby" blog I could find. They were super helpful with logistics and helping me plan ahead, but there's just no telling how any baby will react in new situations!

These are a few things that helped us out on round 2, to deal with the meltdowns and make our journey relatively less painful than the first go-round:

- We didn't pre-board. Getting on first is a nice bonus when you're fighting people for overhead space, but we realized the benefits of being able to freely roam the terminal until the last minute trumped that. (If you're traveling with a spouse and do need to put something overhead, send one person on normal boarding and the other wait.) We literally boarded as the very last people - I spent as much time as I could in both airports (we had a layover) walking up and down the terminal with Bo in my Bjorn. The motion kept the fussing at bay, and sometimes even helped him fall asleep.

(Bonus! When I got home that night, I had 9,327 steps on pedometer. That's the equivalent of about 4.5 miles of walking. With a 19 lb weight. Extra cardio for the win! And I totally canceled that out by stealing all of Matt's fries at dinner! Oh well!)

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- Standing in the back of the plane with the baby bjorn: Matt and I took turns doing this. At the back of the plane, the white noise would either a) conk him out and we'd creep back to our seats, carefully sit down and not move for the 25ish minutes he'd sleep or b) drown him out. I didn't feel quite as bad about him crying since I knew the other passengers couldn't really hear him. (That sounds terrible - obviously I felt bad he was crying, but I knew WHY he was crying and that he was just sad because he was tired and we were making the best of the situation and oh blah blah blah, why am I justifying this, you're all my friends and no one is going to judge me.)

I actually had a flight attendant when there was quite a bit of turbulence say to me, "I just have to tell you that the seatbelt sign is on… I'm not telling you what to do, it's just my duty to tell you that it's on. I know why you are back here and I appreciate it." In general, the FA's were super nice as were the people at TSA. We didn't have any problems with taking stuff (bottles, formula, food) through security and the TSA people were always super careful and courteous when handling his food/milk. (I just felt I needed to give a little TSA shout out since they usually get such a bad rep.)

- I didn't give him a bottle on take off and landing. Everyone told me to do this to account for the pressure changes, but with the flight schedule we were on I would have been giving him four bottles within a six hour period. That's more than he usually has in one day! And giving him a "small bottle" doesn't work - he just chugs it and screams for more. I just stuck to his normal eating schedule - every 4 hours - and it worked fine. He never seemed bothered by the take off or landings.

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All in all, we survived, we learned a few things along the way, and earned ourselves yet another new parenting badge. (Thank you, Kathryn for the actual badge!) And most importantly, we gained a whole new appreciate for the beauty of road trips.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arizona Snapshots

A few more photos from Arizona I wanted to archive, these coming from my phone.

First day: Running with Sister

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Playing in the pool with Dad

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My day out - Massage, mani and a coffee in the sunshine

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"Pool, mama?" (His concern! I love his furrowed brow.)

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His new smile: scrunched nose, gummy mouth.

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Brother and Bo

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How Do You Roll? Sushi - as seen on Shark Tank. (We watched that episode the same day we left and decided we had to try it. It was good!)

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Someone is having a sad. (But I am enjoying a rare snuggle.)

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Arizona Vacation

I didn't want to share my actual vacation post with my Negative Nelly post about flying with him. Once we made it here in one piece, we've had a lovely vacation.

Going on vacation with family means having lots of extra hands on deck. I was spoiled rotten by an entire week of sleeping in early while my mom and Bo had a bottle and coffee date (Bo, Mom, respectively). I maybe changed 3 diapers all week. Occasionally I had to steal my baby back to get some snuggles of my own!

My parents watched Bo while Matt and I had a day to explore Phoenix including a trip to a sushi restaurant we had seen on Shark Tank and a happy hour at Mellow Mushroom. We also had a night out to ourselves after all our siblings left, and checked out a restaurant in Scottsdale recommended by a friend. I took full advantage of the team of babysitters present and had a massage, a mani and a pedicure though out the week.

Needless to say, I'm feeling more like a human being than I have in about 6 months. Sleep, pamerping, date nights… if your'e going to bring a baby on vacation, it is also highly recommended to bring his grandparents!

We also had a great time hanging out with family at the house. Bo had his first (second, third and fourth) experience in a swimming pool and loved it. I have a feeling he is going to be one of those kids in the pool who has blue lips and pruned fingers before he'll consent to getting out. We had a lot of family dinners, a very vicious and competitive game of "Name that Tune" and spent a lot of time soaking up the sun outside - taking walks or runs, or maxing out time on the golf course (boys). Despite the painful journey to get here, it was a relaxing and restorative week away.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Flying with A Baby

For as long as I can remember, my family has escaped the snow belt of upstate New York in mid-February for a thaw out trip to somewhere warm. In our grown up years, us kids have had a new appreciation for the opportunity to tag along on - even if we are escaping from a place where a "cold rain" can qualify for a snow day. So when my parents planned their February trip to Arizona last year - back when Bo was still little chicken nugget in my tummy - we enthusiastically agreed to come. Warm weather, a pool, plenty of golf… what's not to be excited about?

As the trip grew closer, the reality of traveling with a baby began to sink in and thoughts of a lovely relaxing vacation became replaced with hyperventilating panic attacks about flying with a baby. I think I hit up everyone I knew who had every traveled with a baby to ask for tips and then crossed my fingers, packed enough stuff for 3 babies in my carry-on and said a little prayer.

I wish I could conclude this story with "it went so much better than I expected!" As I write this, on our second to last day of vacation, I am already dreading our return. Matt and I have just been telling ourselves: "it is going to suck. It is going to suck for a few hours and then it will be over and in the end, we will be glad we did this."

This is approximately the same mantra I tell myself during long half marathon runs. However, during those I am at least using listening to Rhianna instead of a screaming baby.

Let's just say my child doesn't like to sleep anywhere besides his crib and he doesn't give in to utter exhaustion without a fight. A loud fight. A back-arching, face-scrunching, tiny feet kicking the air, loud fight.

If I had any advice to offer people flying with a baby, it would be to go when they are approximately 8 weeks old and will sleep anywhere or go when they are 18 years old and will sleep anywhere.

In all seriousness despite my griping, I'm glad we did it. Matt and I have always said we wanted to make traveling a priority in our family. We waited quite awhile to have a baby, and we packed those 5 years with so many awesome trips and memories. Once we decided to have a baby, we swore to each other that even though it was never going to be as easy breezy as the days of the two of us stuffing all our things into 2 carry-on's and jetting away for a weekend, we were going to make it happen.

Yes, I'm am totally emotionally scarred about our first two flights and shaking with trepidation with thoughts of our next two flights… but isn't that just part of parenting? Finding the delicate balance between doing awesome things as a family even if they might suck a little bit on a personal level? Pretty sure that's what we signed up for. So, if you're reading this on Saturday, just go ahead and say a little prayer for us that we make it home in one piece.

And ask us in a month or two where we are going next. And how many mini bottles we'll be buying this go-round.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Funny Valentine

I was under the impression that I had already given my heart away.

But it seems to have grown just big enough to be shared by two. Happy Valentine's Day to the sweetest little boy I know, and his generous and kind Daddy.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013


Last weekend my friend Heather came to visit me. We've been friends for almost six years, when she was my bright-eyed and helpful intern at Wake. We've forged a bestie-ship ever since and have driven back and forth across many miles for visits and catch up sessions. Recently, she moved to Nashville from Connecticut putting her back in road trip distance. She came over to meet the kiddo and we had a fun weekend of catching up on each other's lives, creating secret Pinterest boards, eating Camino pastries and turning our teeth purple with a few bottles of wine.

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On Monday, I met my friend Megan - who I originally met over Twitter and who is from my husband's hometown - at Mellow Mushroom for lunch. She was in town to do some shopping and we had a chance to catch up and let our little boys get to know each other. Bo was quite taken with Henry, but I'm not sure the admiration was mutual.

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On Thursday, I went and got my hairs did. If I somehow find myself in a situation with an excessive amount of discretionary income, I will go get my hair done on a near-weekly basis. (At least just shampoo and blow-dried.) It is probably one of my favorite experiences in life. Over the last year, I have been going darker and darker and have now officially crossed over into the world of brunettes.

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My experience at the hair salon included a brush with fame. While she was putting color on my hair, my stylist happened to mention that a regular client of hers who is a NASCAR driver, was going to be coming in with a film crew to be taped having his hair cut as part of a "Day in the Life" documentary.

Well then.

(I honestly didn't know who this guy was except that he had happened to be on Duck Dynansty this morning. So there's that.)

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I kept getting nervous he'd talk to me and I'd be that awkward person who said something really stupid on camera but luckily, the only time he talked to me the film crew had stepped away. I was still that totally awkward person who said something really stupid though.

This week, the kiddo has not been in a great mood. I'm wondering if there are pearly whites waiting to bust through his little gums. I guess that would make me rather pissy too. It's tough to see him in a bad mood, because he's usually such a pleasant little guy. This picture pains me - the little furrowed brow! Woe is me!

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Being a baby seems like it's really hard sometimes.

On Friday, we had friends over for dinner. Matt made baby back ribs and I made Barefoot Contessa cosmopolitans. And some other food stuff, but the cosmos were really my pride and joy.

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Yesterday, I went to Teri's house to trade life skills. I helped her organize her email inboxes and come up with some systems to manage incoming mail and she taught me how to blow-dry my hair holding a round brush. Pretty sure we both left each other's company feeling ready to take on the world anew. Clean inboxes and a good blow out are some pretty huge life skills.

Also, her dog usually shuns me because I almost always my own dog or tiny baby in tow. This time, we were best buds. Although this picture indicates otherwise.

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Last night, we had dinner with my sister-in-law, her boyfriend and his kids at East Coast Wings. It occurred to me since Bo is sitting up on his own on the floor, that he could now up in a high chair. I plopped him in one and immediately felt tears come to my eyes to see how grown up he looked.

The same thing happened today when I realized he could hold his bottle on his own. I am pretty sure this is how people end up with a half a dozen kids when you mourn every stage of babyhood passing.

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And the next thing I know, it's Sunday night again! These weeks really do go by so fast, and having our month carved out into every other week on/off work schedules makes the month fly by. I'm sure the ER work schedule would drive some people crazy - and granted, it's not the greatest at the holidays - but I really love our non-traditional schedule. It's so great to have him home on random weekdays and we try to make the most of his time off from work.

Friday, February 8, 2013

3 Month and 4 Month Schedule

Recently, I was cleaning out the notes section on my phone - which I use as a to do list, journal, grocery list, meal planning and brainstorm section - and came across notes where I had written out Bo's schedule at 3 and 4 months.

Just the idea of it makes me giggle a little now. Hindsight is, of course, 20/20 and I'm sure in another 6 months, I'll be giggling at things I wrote about today.

In those notes, I can see how badly I wanted life to be predictable again. Someone had told me to accept that first 12 weeks would be chaos, and I did. I accepted it and went along for the ride. However, when I hit the 12 week mark, I thought life would magically get more organized, predictable and consistent. I even wrote a blog post about it here. 

Of course, life did not get more predictable and somehow over the course of the last two months, I've been able to let go of the overwhelming need to know what each day will hold. I won't ever know. I can't ever know. I can guess - our daily routine is definitely shaking out more into a schedule than before. But, I have finally come to accept this stunningly simple and amazing fact: babies are unpredictable.

Shocking, right? Totally.

In the midst of my "must. plan. life" phase, I constantly googled to see what other people's babies schedules were like to see if Bo was "normal." It turns out there were about eleventy million variations of normal schedules for a 3-4 month old.

Shocking, right?

But, it was still helpful to me - usually in the middle of the night - to come across a life that sounded like mine. So I'm posting mine here, in case someone else reads it in the middle of the night, and takes some some relief in seeing their life mirrored in it. Also, since this is all the baby book my little bugger is going to get, here you go, kid. A snapshot of your life, recorded for posterity.

Oh, and since we're here, I'll throw in a photo dump for good measure. A few pictures from a walk on a chilly day - I think it's probably a good thing Bo is a southern boy. He doesn't seem to be thrilled with being bundled up.


Bo's 3 Month Schedule
3:30 - eat
4:00-6:45 - sleep
7:00 - eat
7:15-8:00 Activity mat / tummy time
8:00 - 9:00 nap #1
9:00-10:00 play downstairs 
10:00 - eat
10:30 - 1:00 nap #2
1:00 - eat
2:00 - 4:00 errands / car seat nap #3
4:00 - eat
5:00-6:00 catnap #4
6:00-7:00 walk
7:00 - eat
7:30 - bath, books, prayers
8:00 - lights out! 
Bo's 4 Month Schedule
5:30 am - wake, 6 oz
Sleeps 6:00-7:30
7:30 am - 4 oz + 1/2 Tbsp cereal 
Wiggle time/tummy time
Naps crib 8:30-9:30
10:30 - 6 oz
Naps swing 11:00-1:00/1:30
1:30 - 6 oz + 1/2 Tbsp cereal 
{Run errands - car seat naps}
4:30 - 6 oz
Attempt swing nap 5:00-6:00
6:00ish - walk, bath, fussyface
6:30-7:00ish - 4 oz 
7:00 - bed 

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dining in the Dash: Mary's Gourmet Dinner

This post is so severely overdue there are fines on it. I can't remember when exactly when ate here but it was before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! That was a long time ago.

We met Anne and Locke here for brunch on a Sunday. I'm not sure why we came here on a Sunday considering this is their busiest day of the week and both of our husbands are off for 7 days in a row and we could have come aaaaany other day, but here we were on a Sunday, waiting in line for brunch.

That was probably my first tip off that this was going to be a good meal. Waiting in line for brunch is the norm of course… IF that is, you live in New York, Chicago, LA, San Fran, DC or any other city with public transportation and people who don't regularly go to church on Sunday. Waiting for brunch in Winston, sure. Waiting in a LINE twenty people deep? Doesn't happen here.

Fortunately, it was worth the wait. Totally, totally worth it.

There were so many things on the menu I wanted to try that I can't believe we haven't been back eighty times since then. (Matt, we need to go back to Mary's.)

Anne and I both couldn't decide between a savory or a sweet breakfast, so we split the difference. She ordered the French toast special with lemon curd and I ordered the Apple Butter, Baby. Apple Butter, Baby: scrambled eggs, smoked sausage and homemade apple butter on wheat toast.

If you don't have a friend who's willing to go half-sweet, half-savory on brunch with you then I would recommend interviewing everyone in line to find one. Best idea ever.

Our food was great, our service was excellent (responsive without being overbearing), the prices were decent and most important of all to us these days, it was very baby friendly. The husbands both had various omelets and were equally as happy. We have had so many friends recommend this place to us and I completely understand why now. It is a favorite among Winston-Salem residents and we can be counted among them now.

In fact, we liked it so much we went back just two weeks later. This time, on a Wednesday.

A review of our “Dining in the Dash” Project