Sunday, May 6, 2018

Life Lately

There are moments in life that just catch me by surprise and take my breath away. It's weird. I was looking on Amazon Prime tonight for some of my favorite shows when I was little to share them with the boys and I saw The Backyardigans. There was a time when we were obsessed with The Backyardigans. And Go, Diego, Go! And Little Bear. But those days are gone and when I realized it tonight it made me supremely sad. Could I get them to watch those shows? Sure. I could turn it on and they'd be sucked in for a bit. But I can't go back to those sweet little moments. James is stuck somewhere between little boy and grown up boy and Will is following right behind. I have been terrible about updating the blog so I thought it was high time to give you a glimpse into what life is like these days.

Mostly, it is this...

We are all baseball all the time right now. Typically, we are at the baseball fields Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights but we also get together with our baseball buddies on the occasional Saturday. We have one more week of regular games and then the next week starts a tournament. I really, truly do love it but it's exhausting because it's at the busiest time of the whole year. I need a summer baseball league.

Also, we got this new family member...

Her name is Sassy and she is about five months old...ish. We found her on March 19th when Eddie and Hank went for a walk and she followed them home. We were CERTAIN she belonged to someone, but apparently that was just us. She is VERY sweet. She's not a huge snuggler, but she completely tolerates the boys and their antics and doesn't mind small doses of Hank (although he pretty much terrorizes her now). She's a sweet girl and sticks close to the house. It's time for her to get spayed so that will be happening in the next week or two. No kittens for us, please!!!

I had Lasik surgery back in March and I can SEE! I'll write a whole post on it if I get time. It's had its pros and cons, but overall I've been pretty pleased!

We've also been busy with just the regular rigamarole of life! We've had an action-packed spring. We finished up 13 months of annual passes to Disney World in February and thought we'd be DONE going for a while, but that is never the case with us. We saw the Lion King in Jacksonville with some friends back in February and it was amazing again. The boys loved it! Mom and I went to St. Simons for the Tour of Homes and saw some gorgeous houses. I LOVED one in particular. Gotta figure out how to buy a 7 bedroom home on Sea Island....For Eddie's birthday we celebrated with a day trip to Athens for a UGA baseball game and had a great time! We headed up to Perry a few weekends later to see Junie B. Jones the Musical at Perry High School and saw some friends.

James' Cub Scout Blue and Gold Ceremony was a few weekends ago. He didn't participate in the Pinewood Derby this year (TOO MUCH GOING ON!), but he did get to cross over from Wolf to Bear. We're not sure whether we'll do it next year, but he's completed this year!

Will is wrapping up a great Kindergarten year. It has been awesome and it has been hard. He's just not a school boy and is ready for it to be OVER. He is surprising himself by reading. He's still all boy but very much my homebody and snuggle buddy. He LOVES watching movies and is especially in love with 80s and 90s movies that I find that I watched as a kid which thrills me to no end. He is a chick in our church's children's musical tonight and is just MORTIFIED that he has to wear a clip-in feather on top of his head. He is NOT destined for the theater like his brother. 

James is almost finished with 2nd grade. He has had an okay year, but not his best year. He's been a busy little bee outside of school, though. He has played tennis, done gymnastics, baseball, and tennis again this year. He hasn't met a sport he doesn't like!

One of the most exciting things that has happened this year happened the day before Easter! We have a new baby cousin!!!! Shepherd joined the family on March 31st bright and early in the morning. The boys love him and his big sis is crazy about him. So far, he seems to be extremely laid back which is a fantastic thing around our crew.

We are gearing up for just an AMAZING summer. I have 8 more days of school and the boys have 9 more days of school. We are hitting the ground running with trips all over the U.S. and even an international trip this summer. We are pumped! Can't wait to share more!

Hope all of my blogland friends are doing well!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Summer Goals!

About this time every year, we make a list of summer goals! Sometimes we knock out a LOT of them, sometimes not so many. Last year we were pretty low on meeting our goals because #workingmom. This summer is going to be EPIC, though. We have planned to pack a LOT into a little time. Our June is pretty much COMPLETELY full already. And not full like you are miserable, but full of things that are going to be SO. MUCH. FUN. There are 18 days between me and the end of my first year as the director of our preschool. I think I've aged 10 years this year. I need some time OFF and I'm taking it. I'm sharing here so that you can make some epic goals for your family, too! 

If you're interested, you can see our previous years by clicking on the links below!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

St. Patrick's Day

Popping in here quickly to share our FAVORITE St. Patrick's Day traditions. This started at least three years ago, but maybe more. Now the boys look forward to it. If I make Shepherd's Pie during the year, they want to know where the Grasshopper Pie is. SO...onto our favorite recipes!

We ALWAYS have Shepherd's Pie, Cabbage and Sausage, and Grasshopper Pie for supper on St. Patrick's Day. This year had to make March 18th work because I was on St. Simons for the day yesterday. I'm sharing here so that they're cataloged for next year! My cabbage varies from year to year. The Shepherd's Pie and Grasshopper Pie are always the same.

Shepherd's Pie
** Note: Dixie Delights' original recipe calls for homemade mashed potatoes and I DO make those sometimes. BUT...I also sometimes use instant because they mix in with the meat and don't have to be  very best anyway... **

Instant mashed potatoes + butter, milk, and water needed to make them.
16 oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots (I just do the microwave kind!)
Diced onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 packet brown gravy
1 cup water
Shredded cheddar

1. Cook onion until clear. Add beef and cook until browned. Drain and return to pan. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and worcestershire sauce and cook 1 minute. Add water and gravy packet, boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Following instructions on vegetables, cook in microwave.
3. Following instructions on potatoes, cook. (Or cook homemade mashed potatoes!)
4. Spray a casserole dish with Pam. Layer meat in the bottom of the pan, then veggies, and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle cheddar on top.
5. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes.

Cabbage and Sausage

3 tbsp. butter
1 cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onions
Smoked sausage (the recipe calls for Conecuh, which is our favorite, too!)
(The recipe calls for diced tomatoes, but I left those out. I'm trying it next time, though!)
Garlic salt
Seasoned salt

1. Slice sausage and cook on med-high for 3 minutes to render the fat. Remove to a plate.
2. Melt the butter.
3. Add cabbage and onions and stir. Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.
5. Uncover and check for tenderness. Continuing cooking until cabbage has reached desired tenderness.

Grasshopper Pie

1/2 gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream (we used Mint Moose Tracks and it was GOOD)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 container of Cool-Whip
2 Oreo pie crusts

1. Put Cool-Whip and ice cream in refrigerator to soften. Also soften cream cheese on counter.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together Cool-Whip and cream cheese.
3. Stir in ice cream.
4. Pour ice cream mixture into pie crusts.
5. Freeze for 2 hours+.

As you can see, our St. Patrick's Day isn't healthy, but it is delicious! So yummy!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Our Year at Disney!

If you follow along on our Instagram account or you know us in real life, you've probably noticed that we've spent an awful lot of time at Disney World this year. A LOT. After Christmas last year, we took some money that we'd been saving and purchased four annual passes for our family to try it for a year. A lot of thought went into this decision for us. First, we I knew that we wanted to go back to WDW in 2017. We also knew that, for us, it was only a 4 hour drive to Orlando. It's also just 2 hours from where we stay at the beach and we wanted to try day-tripping it from there. I had the opportunity to go on a girls' trip this year in addition to our family trip. And my kiddos are the PERFECT ages for it. SO. Just before New Year's Eve last year, I hopped online and purchased our passes. I'm going to share a series of posts with you about our trips AND what we learned while Disney-ing for a full year. Our passes were 13 months so we walked into the park on January 14, 2017 and they expire on February 14, 2018. We went into it thinking we'd take several trips down, but wound up going WAY more than we planned. Are we renewing? No. I'll tell you why in a later post. Did we have the best time? For the most part, yes! Was it magical? Some of it! I can't wait to share everything!

SO...first things first. Do you have QUESTIONS for me? About Disney? About trip planning? About annual passes? I would love to answer your specific questions! Tell me what you want to know!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


We added a new family member last week and the boys are just over the moon about him! We'd like you to meet Hank, our new baby boy!

The boys have begged and begged and begged for a dog all year long. In fact, James asked Santa for one last year (about 3 days before Christmas - and that was the first time ever!). Santa told James that a dog was a BIG responsibility and he needed to be sure he was ready for that commitment. He never told him no, but it was such a sweet conversation and I'll be forever thankful that he had that conversation with him.

So the boys asked about a puppy all year long. Our yard isn't fenced in and we've intended to fence it since we moved in, but other things have taken priority over that and we've just not had it done. But this summer, Scout (my 11 year old lab who lives at Grandmama's house - because they have a fenced in yard {and a playmate that she won't leave!}) got hurt and wound up having to have about 10 stitches and a drain. She couldn't go outside (except to potty) for two weeks so she came to our house and lived in the dining room in her crate. The boys LOVED. IT. They were so helpful. I literally didn't lift a finger. If she needed to go out, they walked her. They helped feed and water her. They followed her around and wiped up the floor where the drain dripped. They played with her and loved on her. We were so very surprised!  So when they continued to ask for a puppy (even more after Scout went back to Grandmama's), we began listening.

Every Christmas list James and Will have made this year had DOG at the top. James' list has pretty much been - 1. Dog, 2. XBOX One. Will's has pretty much been - 1. Dog, 2. Dirt bike. (#nothappening) Eddie and I went to Columbus a few weeks ago for his office Christmas party and on the way I brought up possibly giving them a puppy for Christmas or at least telling them that we would begin looking for one. He agreed and the search began. We started by looking in shelters, but puppies are HARD to find in a shelter. I think they get snatched up quickly OR you have to go through a foster home and they're just hard to track down (in my experience). We were completely open to adopting a puppy, but we had a hard time finding anything. 

We've always had pound puppies or dogs that friends had who were mixes. However, one of my teachers at school texted me one day that they had beagles and had one left from their most recent litter. Beagles? What??? No, we are a lab family. That's pretty much all we've ever had. And we're a black lab family at that. HA! A beagle wasn't even on our radar! I immediately texted another friend who had a beagle when we were very young and just asked if they'd had more and what their experience with them was. She responded very quickly that they've had SEVERAL beagles and that they LOVE them. She said her mom has always described them as a nose with four legs because they are hounds, but that they are very sweet and loyal and the perfect size for kids.

The Wednesday after that weekend we went to see this beagle baby and he was PRECIOUS. I honestly didn't expect to like him as much as I did. We played with him for a few minutes, asked some questions, and then went home to think about it. I let her know the next day that we did want him, but that we couldn't pick him up until December 17th, which was 10 more days. We wanted to give him to the boys the week they were out for Christmas so that he could get used to his new home while we were there instead of having to leave him from the beginning in a crate all day long. We also had our first round of Christmas this weekend, so we wanted to wait until after that so that we could enjoy those festivities without being distracted.

So the Sunday after school got out was the day! I distracted the boys while Eddie went and picked him up. We let the boys open a gift that had a stuffed animal beagle and a book about beagles in it. We told them that since we hadn't been able to fence in our yard yet, we would let them practice with the stuffed animal. Will immediately said, "I'm taking him outside to potty!" So out the front door they went to "potty" their "puppies" while the real puppy watched on from the porch, unbeknownst to them. It only took Will a few seconds to notice him and they FREAKED OUT. And so began our newest chapter with a sweet little love named Hank.

So far, so good on the puppy chore front. We've pretty much had someone that is willing to feed, water, and walk him from the first moment he arrived. Sometimes they are too helpful. I'm sure that will wane, but hopefully they'll always take good care of him. The only problem we've had so far is that he has been using the boys as a chew toy. He likes to gnaw and gnaw and gnaw and they don't understand that he's playing and that he's teething. They have also been a little nervous about picking him up. I think it will all work itself out, but I've been reminding them that HE is not to be the master over them. (Hank means boss of the home, or something similar, so I'm hoping that it isn't a prediction of things to come! As bossy as my children are, they don't need a dog telling them what to do!)

As for Hank (whose full, registered name is still being debated but may be Hank Elvis or Prince Hank Earl of Lakewood - because he must have an E middle name like the rest of us), he is doing pretty good so far! He has lots of energy until he doesn't and then he completely passes out. He's the best napper I've ever seen. The potty thing hasn't exactly been worked out yet, but we're hoping he catches on soon. Please. His crate is too big and we know that's an issue so tonight we got a smaller crate for him. He has also been spending a little time in our outdoor pen (it's like a 12x12 fenced in area in our backyard so he's able to move a little more AND we aren't constantly wiping up tee-tee {GLORY!}) when it's been warm(ish) outside. We are also looking into the wireless fence/collar systems that would allow him to be all over our yard but not in the street. OR a fenced in yard. Let me know if you have some pros/cons we haven't thought of.

He weighed 9 pounds, 6 ounces at his first vet checkup. Overall, he seems to be a happy, healthy boy! He is mostly black with brown on his nose and legs and white on his chest and paws. He doesn't have the typical "saddle" look that a lot of beagles have, nor does he have a white tip on his tail. The breeder we got him from likes the darker back so that's what they try to achieve. The top of his head and his ears are black and his ears have brown borders around the edges. His head looks to be changing from black to brown, which is sort of fun. (From top to bottom of this post is chronological order so you can tell how much lighter his head has gotten over the past week.) He may look completely different as an adult!

I'm doing a lot of reading up on how to train beagle babies. I want him to be friendly, but also polite. There's not much worse than a dog with bad manners! HA! James said earlier that he isn't a good listener and I told him that Hank fits right in with the other boys in our house.

James, Will, and Hank. Buddies for life!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Eddie, Lauren, James, and Will

Monday, November 27, 2017

Picture Perfect!

I do this to myself every year. Every single year I wait until the last possible minute to take pictures of the boys for Christmas cards, then I get frustrated with them when they won't cooperate. I fret and I fuss over which picture to use. I tell myself every year that next year I'll get a photographer to take them for us. And yet, here we are...

I LOVE to get a Christmas card in the mail, though, and so I go through the rigamarole each year so that I can send mine out to my friends and family. But if you could only see behind the scenes...

Minted makes choosing a Christmas card SO darn easy. I love to use their filters in order to fine-tune my search. I do a little clicking to choose how many photos I want on the front, the size of the card, the sentiment, and even the saying and voila! Narrowed-down choices.

Two years ago I chose one of their postcard designs, and I have to say - SO EASY. I'm leaning toward doing those again this year. No envelopes to stuff, you just address, stamp, and send! And they'll even address them for you!

Minted has a GORGEOUS selection of Christmas cards this year! And TODAY ONLY - use the code CM2017 for a special Cyber Monday price. I hope you find some that you love! And if you do - send one to me!!!

I received a coupon code in exchange for a post. All opinions are my own!