Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Coming Soon!

If you've been around long enough you know that each year I get really, REALLY excited about Halloween. It's just one of my favorite times of the year! It's such a fun holiday without all of the pressure and expectation of Christmas. (That's not really fair. I love Christmas for its real meaning. And I loved commercial Christmas as a kid. It's just a lot of PRESSURE as an adult and then we lose the real meaning.) But Halloween can just be FUN. James' birthday is on the 20th and mine is on the 30th so it's just a fun month for us. We love fall in our house!

For the past few years I've written daily posts with ideas for Halloween. Our favorite things, things we're doing, recipes, etc. I'm going to attempt it again this year! We don't have a trip to Disney World (so sad!!!) right in the middle of the month this year, so MAYBE I can make it? Maybe I can go all 31 days?

Please know that I know that Halloween is not for everyone. And I know that some of you are rolling your eyes about going all out for a holiday. It is just for fun! And it's just something that we like to do around here and that I like to make special for my kiddos. If you're interested in seeing my boys in their costumes, seeing what fun fall recipes I try, and what books and movies are our favorites this year, then stay tuned! I cannot wait to share all that we're doing! See you on Saturday!

Sunday, August 28, 2016


It is a lazy {not really...} Sunday afternoon and I have not blogged regularly in MONTHS, but I thought I'd pop in with a little update on things we've been up to since August began.

I have worked and worked and worked this month. I only have a part-time job, but my responsibilities changed a little bit at work this year and August has been crazy. Thankfully, once I get my work done this coming week for September, I will be pretty much caught up and able to get things done at my house again!

James started out the month with a new accessory! He can't remember to wear them all of the time, but they are also not very strong. I figure if he doesn't feel like he needs them yet, he'll be fine with or without them. If he could just remember: on your face or in your case. I think I've said that 1.3 million times this month. This is THE style for glasses right now. His are black on the front, red on the back. And they are NINJA TURTLES brand. He is really super cool and hip. (I may not be for saying that, though.) He wasn't really a fan of the black/red combo at first, but a pre-teen friend has the same exact ones (except Nike instead of Ninja Turtles) and James became fine with it. Also, check out those teeth below. We're up to four lost teeth now!

First grade is also apparently the year that we are not only interested in girls, but we have GIRLFRIENDS. And he talks about it. Or, he giggles uncontrollably about it. But woe be unto you if YOU bring it up. Don't EVEN ask about his girlfriend(s).

Pre-K is NOT the year that Will is interested in girls, by the way. He still only likes girls if they are related to him.

August in Pre-K is THE month for birthday parties as well. Will has spent most of his four years either being hauled to birthday parties for James' friends OR being left at home with Eddie because he isn't invited to a party. Well, this year seems to be the year of the party. Will has had THREE birthday parties to attend in August. And he is all about staying until they are over. Yesterday, Eddie took him to one and they stayed from 10AM until almost 2PM because he was having such a blast! {Meanwhile, James was BORED at home. He's not used to being the only child.}

James started Cub Scouts last Monday night. He. is. so. pumped. Poppy was an Eagle Scout and I think that's why he's so excited. Eddie, however, is not so excited. He was not a fan of Cub Scouts at James' age. Hopefully they will really enjoy this time together. Will and I are having our own special time together on Monday nights. Last Monday, I walked and he rode his bike. James has never really been interested in bike riding and hasn't learned to ride without training wheels yet. (I know...terrible parents. He doesn't even care.) Will, however, is all about the wheels. Skates, bikes, etc. He wants to ride it. He told me on our walk that he's working hard so that he can learn to ride without training wheels before James. Lol!

We are also in full-on T-Ball mode. The boys are on the same time this fall (praise!) because we are playing Will up. One practice/game a day? YES. 

We've spent two August weekends at the lake. We didn't go anywhere AT ALL this summer as a family so we are making up for lost time. The first weekend we went just the four of us. Last weekend, Grandmama and Granddaddy joined us. Lake weekends are full of NOTHING but it is NICE.

Football started on Friday night so that's where you'll find at least three out of four members of our family when there's a home game. (I did go on Friday! I usually make it to one game a season. HA!)

Jamberry and Keep Collective both have new catalogs out so that's keeping me busy (thankfully! I love those "jobs!")

This picture made all of us laugh. James + Will = Eddie. Or James = Eddie and Will = Kelly. They were at my favorite place on Earth in this photo. 

Mississippi Roast was a HIT at our house recently. (It is all over Pinterest.) WHERE has Kerrygold butter been all of my life?! WHO has been hiding that from me? OMG.

This Looney Tune had to go with me to the dermatologist the other day {feeling like I LIVE there recently} and he was SO well behaved {because he slept for the first 30 minutes!} that I rewarded him with an Icee at Target. I told him the cherry was the safest bet. He chose some watermelon flavor and hated it. Bet he gets cherry next time! He rode all over Target in the cart like this. Hallelujah! It was a wonderful afternoon!

That's a good portion of our catching up! Hopefully it won't be months before I'm back in this space!

Monday, August 15, 2016


My tiniest little baby boo started his last year of preschool today. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around him being in PRE-K. He has grown so much over the past few months. He still has some growing and maturing to do before he can go off to kindergarten, but I think he'll be ready! 

He got up this morning and begrudgingly put on a polo and seersucker shorts. I promised him he could wear "PE clothes" tomorrow if he'd just wear what I asked today. Thankfully, that convinced him to get ready. After combing down that unruly hair, we were ready for a few pictures.

This year is the first year that MY first day of school has also been HIS first day of school. I've never worked on Mondays before! We got to school super early for a few pictures and a practice run of walking up to his room. Then I stayed in my room and Daddy walked him in. Eddie said he went right in without any tears. The only tears of the day came when I came to pick him up instead of GRANDMAMA. The horror.

We both had a good first day! The babies weren't too terribly whiny (I have SEVEN this year) and Will managed to behave even though he and his bestie are together again this year. Hurricanes! That's what they are.

Will seems to be especially happy that there seems to be no discipline plan in place. He's used to getting stamps (3) for good behavior, but they don't do that in Pre-K. Hopefully that won't deter him from trying hard to control himself.

The only thing he's peeved about is that there are no field trips this week. Pre-K is THE year for field trips and he's ready to go!

We can't wait to see how much he grows and changes this year!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The First Day of First Grade...

Sadly, summer drew to a close yesterday as we laid out our clothes and went to bed before 8pm. Today was the first day of school! James started 1st grade and he was so excited! He told me this morning he was nervous and I said, "Well, guess what?! So is EVERYONE ELSE in the whole school! Even your teacher!" And he perked right up and got happy!

This year versus last year! Look how much taller he is!!!!

After dropping him off, Will and I came home for our 2nd annual Woohoo Boohoo Brunch! We had 7 mamas in attendance this year - Amy, MaraDare, Annie, Bessy, Tiffany, Jeanine, and myself - and had a great time. It's a fun morning to help pass the time!

James had a GREAT day at school today. He said everything about it was his favorite thing! He had music today (he LOVES his music teacher), they played on the THIRD GRADE playground, they did kindergarten math, and on and on. He was happy when I picked him up. He has a few buddies from last year in his class - his best friend JM and another friend Ayden are his favorites. Ayden's daddy is our high school's basketball coach and I think James thinks that is SO cool. Overall, he had an awesome day and I am SO relieved. He has begged to go back to kindergarten all summer long. He starts his gifted class on Thursday and will go for 50 minutes 5 days a week, so THAT will be a huge change this year. Last year he just went a few times in the spring.

If you don't follow along on Instagram, you won't know that James fell last week at a pool and his goggles cut his eye. He wound up with three stitches and a little shiner. It looks SO much better than it did (I'll probably share the other photos here just for our memory books). Today was the day to have his stitches removed! I made an appointment with our pediatrician neighbor so as soon as school was out, James, Eddie, and I headed to his office.  He was really, really generous and cancelled our appointment and just took them out as a favor to us. (There is a joke about Eddie taking one of our children to the doctor's office and refusing Motrin because he didn't want to be charged $100 for a teaspoon of medicine. He has laughed at Eddie about that so he told us today he wouldn't charge us for suture removal, but the Motrin would be extra! {Motrin, Tylenol, popsicles, and Gatorade are free at the peds office. If they weren't, we'd be broke.}) Ten minutes later, Dr. Mark had all three stitches out and James got scissors and tweezers as a souvenir! Nothing like taking sharp objects home from the pediatrician's office. HAHAHAHA! #jobsecurity James has been SO nervous about having them removed and said he just wanted to keep them in. I tried and tried to reassure him that it would be NOTHING like putting them in, but this was one of those times where he just had to find out for himself. I think he was pleasantly surprised. One was simple to get out, the other two were a little harder. He's got a HUGE scar, but we feel certain it will fade a ton in the coming weeks. I told James we'd put some Mederma on it and he told me he wanted to keep it!

We are praying for a GREAT year for James. He is going to do great things!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

8 Years Later...

8 years ago these two folks got married. They were young. Wrinkle free. A lot little lighter. Had a little more gray-free hair. It is crazy that it's been 8 years for us. It seems so much longer, but it seems like yesterday.

In 8 years we have lived in three houses (five if you count the two places we landed for a few weeks in transition). We've had two children. We've had five job titles between us. We've cried a little and laughed a lot. We've been on countless road trips and put miles and miles on our tires burning up roads for short little adventures. We've had a fun time.

People talk a lot about how much WORK marriage is. I'll admit that there have been short moments in our marriage that have taken more work than others, but overall it just seems really easy to me. (Parenting is a WHOLE different ballgame. THAT is work.) We just really get each other. We rarely ever fight and when we do we're so surprised about it that we fix it fairly quickly and easily. We just work really well together. (My family is rolling their eyes and saying it's only because Eddie puts up with my bossiness and does what I tell him to.)

The neat thing about our anniversary is that for the past 13 years, I can tell you where we were on July 19th on a LOT of the years. It's been a pretty big day for us a number of times. Thirteen years ago in 2003 we were both at a wedding. He asked me to go with him and I turned him down and went with one of my best friends. He's never let me forget it. Eddie's granddaddy died on July 19, 2005. We married in 2008. In 2009 I was big pregnant with James. In the three years that followed I was either pregnant with or nursing a baby so we didn't get far. In 2013 we went to the beach by ourselves for our first adults-only trip since Will had been born. In 2014 we started looking for houses and found our current house that day. It was the third one we looked at and I didn't want to look at anymore. Last year we celebrated at the lake.

This year is a little different. It's the middle of the week. Our kids are home with us. We had greasy (not great) Mexican food for supper. I'm wearing a t-shirt, flip-flops, and my hair's in a ponytail. But it's still good. Even on the boring days.

For our 8th anniversary, we're giving ourselves a new patio. Our current patio is 10x12 and is just not enough room to do anything so we're upgrading to something like 30x14. A little more room to spread out. We're pretty pumped about our gift and ready to see the end result. Eddie had to move a tree and dig up a few things to start it all off. Thankfully, our irrigation people finished moving sprinklers today because THAT has been an exciting almost-two-week process. It is a MESS in our backyard. Next up is to pressure wash the existing patio and then pour more square footage. We're hoping all will be ready for football season. Eddie has visions of watching games sitting outside.

Our little life isn't the most glamorous or exciting, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Happy 8 years to the man who is the perfect match for me!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Books So Far This Year!

I just clicked on my "Books" tab at the top of the page and I haven't updated it since JANUARY!? WHAT? So this is what I've read January, February, March, April, May, and June 2016. Sadly, it isn't much. The busier and older the boys get (and the fewer naps they take), the less I find to read.

Winter Street by Elin Hildenbrand
This was a good book for my Christmas break this year! Set in New England around Christmas time, it's about a family that slowly begins to sort of unravel. It isn't a sad book, but several things happen that would be sad at Christmas. I thought it was a good read and I have borrowed the follow-up to it, but I haven't read it yet. I'd heard a lot about Elin Hildenbrand's books and while it wasn't my favorite book I'd EVER read (something about the point of view drove me crazy), I would read more of hers!

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
Ohhhhhh myyyyyy wordddddd. I wound up liking this one (it was a book club pick), but it took me a sweet forever to finish because I thought it was so slow. The book is set before and during the Civil War. Caroline is the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the south and when her mother dies she's sent to the north to live with family there. She returns a young woman and her ideas have grown along with her. In the north, they thought the idea of slaving-owning was ludicrous and she begins to formulate her own ideas about it. I think it's the first book in a trilogy, but I won't read the rest of them. I DID enjoy it by the end of the book, but not enough to read more. Several in my book club LOVED it so if historical fiction is your thing, you'll probably like it, too.

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker
Another ohhhhhhh myyyyyyyy worddddddd. This one was terrible. And I don't think anyone COULD like it, although Amazon reviewers seem to. This one was about a real serial killer in the New York area that has never been caught. It follows the stories of each of the girls that have been murdered before they went missing. I thought this book could've been SO good (I love a good crime show on TV), but it was poorly done. It was flat out boring and hard to read. There were SO many girls and some of the names were very similar. I had a VERY hard time following the story as the author bounced all around. I did finish it, but I had to FORCE myself to and it took forever. I do not recommend it at ALL.

Dogwood Blues by Brenda Sutton Rose
This was such a great book! And a welcome book club pick after those two above! Brenda is a local author and we even invited her to our book club meeting about the book! I thoroughly enjoyed it (not everyone did, but I did!). Dogwood, Georgia is a small town full of eccentric characters. When people move into town that are outsiders, things get a little shaky. It reads a little like a Mary Kay Andrews book, but isn't quite as light. If you enjoy Southern lit, you'll enjoy this one. She's writing a follow-up and I can't wait to see where she takes the characters, particularly Nell. She could be Weezer's (from Steel Magnolias) long-lost cousin. Ohhh, I loved to hate her.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2015 by Bob Sehlinger
This one got thrown on the pile when we visited Disney World last fall, but I didn't finish it until recently. I HIGHLY recommend these books if you're planning a trip to "The World," but be sure to get the most updated version - this one is already out-of-date. LOTS of things have already changed! It has a HUGE amount of information about WDW, though, and it is for SURE a must-have if you're planning to go soon.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon one. First, I LOVED this story. I thought, at first, that it was far-fetched (it is), but it completely works. Claire, a British World War II nurse, is traveling in Scotland with her husband after the war and she comes upon some stones (like a small version of Stone Henge). She returns without her husband, hears a buzzing noise, and when she places her hand on one of the stones she is transported through time to the 18th century. It is such a unique story! I have LOVED it. However. The show is on Starz and I have enjoyed the show even more. The characters are perfect and I can HEAR it and SEE it. The dialogue in the book is written in a Scottish accent and at first I found it difficult to get through. I did move faster toward the end, but it is so much easier for me to hear it rather than read it. That said, Eddie prefers to "hear" it with subtitles. Ha! I do have the second in the series

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
I loved this one as well! This was another book club pick! Alice, who has just recently turned 50, is a brilliant cognitive professor at Harvard. When she starts having little memory hiccups she visits her doctor, hoping for answers. Diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's, her life is turned upside down. This was such an interesting perspective on this disease. It was beautifully written but terrifying to read. I enjoyed it a lot and didn't feel raw like I normally do from a novel that hits so close to home. It was sad, but it wasn't depressing. I will say that once you read the book you will start feeling like every memory slip is a warning sign. It has been a few weeks since I've read it and I'm still thinking about it!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
The boys and I wrapped this one up in June. Y'all know how I feel about HP. This was Will's first time through the book (and James' second) (and my twenty-second) and he enjoyed it. We read the illustrated version. It is GORGEOUS. We've already pre-ordered the second one. They are keepsakes, for sure!

Clearly, not a LOT of reading this year, but definitely some quality books! I have (as always) several started for July, but nothing wrapped up yet. Hopefully I will have a pile finished by the end of this month!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Florida Caverns!

Summer is HALF OVER. James goes back to school on August 2nd, I have teacher meetings starting on August 3rd, and mine and Will's school starts back on August 15th. Mercy. Although, after Will's temper tantrums this morning I might be ready to send at least ONE of my kids back to school.

Two Monday mornings ago we headed out bright and early on an adventure to Florida! Our church has several day trips planned each summer and we REALLY enjoy going on them. Because our Bible School theme this year was Cave Quest, one of our trips was to Mariana, Florida, to Florida Caverns State Park! We'd never been before so we jumped on the opportunity. We even convinced Eddie to take the day off and join us! Yippee!

We went straight to the Visitors' Center when we arrived at the park. Our fearless leader secured us a tour time and we had a picnic lunch while we waited. This is probably a set-up like other state parks, but I will mention it anyway. Tickets for the cavern tours were handed out first come, first served. They take a maximum of 25 people per trip and WE were told you couldn't reserve them in advance. There was a blurb on their website that said that groups of 25 COULD reserve them in advance, but they weren't all that friendly to us and wouldn't let us do that. Anyway, we left early enough to get down there with plenty of time left in the day. The thing is, you could arrive at 11:30 AM and find that the only tickets available are on the 4 PM tour. You just don't know. We lucked up (and had a time difference working for us! we arrived and had gone back an hour and didn't realize it!) and secured a tour at 10:45 and one at 11:30.

The caves were AMAZING. I've been in caves before, but obviously every place is going to be a little different. I did, unfortunately, have a mild panic attack while we were down there. You go down a set of stairs and into the caves and they shut the door behind you. I think that is the only reason I got worked up - the closed door. Our guide didn't tell us that their are exits all along the way. That might have helped. I was nauseated and had a hard time breathing the whole time.

The whole tour is 45 minutes long. They DO turn the lights off at one point (our guide only flipped them off and back on but the other group's guide turned them off for a few minutes) so be prepared for that.

Overall, it was a really, really neat experience that the boys liked a lot. There's more to do than just the caverns at the park, but we only did that and then left. Because we had such a large group (there were 35 of us!) we had a little waiting for the other group to do their tour so it was early afternoon and we were three hours from home.

We loaded up our crew and headed to Tallahassee after we finished so that Eddie and I could return the TV I got for Mother's Day (a smart TV for the kitchen so I can Netflix and cook). It worked for a few weeks and then conked out. Just so you know, even if your TV breaks, Best Buy will only give you store credit for it. While we were in Tallahassee, we stopped for a snack at Chick-fil-A and we enjoyed all of the garnet and gold. :) Eddie also insisted that we drive past the stadium that is undergoing what appeared to be a MAJOR renovation! 

Fun fact about us: We're a house divided, but not really. My very first college game experiences were at Florida State. We went to several games at FSU when I was young (and we have a hilarious story about an inebriated person trying to climb in my mama's van after a game...Mom didn't think it was hilarious at the time). Eddie was a BIG Florida State fan during the Bobby Bowden years and still claims FSU as "his" team.  I pulled him over to Georgia during my years there, but he still has an FSU tag on his truck. So we're a house-divided...sort of. Thank GOODNESS he isn't a Florida fan. I'm not sure I would've dated him. Lol!

Our trip to Florida State Caverns was a fun one! It's worth the trip if you happen to be nearby!