Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weather or Not...

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The weather over Thanksgiving break wasn't all that great. It was a little cloudy and chilly the whole time. It was still pretty though and lots of fun. We had a bonfire to warm our bones. Maybe we'll get some sun soon. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Never Let Ella Borrow Your Camera....

In the event one of my children asks to take a picture, feel free to say no. Otherwise, you'll wind up with 50 just like this....

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Yep, you can see Ella and Layton's reflections in the washer. Ha! I actually had 50 of these on my memory card. For reals. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Is the CSA Truck...

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Word to yo motha. This is where I've been getting my greens and squash lately. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Was Amazing?...This...

So I teased that something was the start of amazing yesterday. Want to know what it was? I'll tell you what was amazing. Ella decided to make Boeuf Bourguignon. Not just any Boeuf Bourguinon. Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.

I took her to the grocery store, and she helped me read all the ingredients and put them in the buggy. She even chided me for trying to buy a cheaper cut of meat than Julia recommended. Ha! We ran into my precious friend Taylor at Publix, and Ella couldn't resist telling her what we were shopping for. It was 18 points of adorable.

So, she started cooking...

She was literally smiling almost the whole time. It was quite the sight.

She had to have help with a few steps. Such as the wine. I opened the wine for her before she measured it and poured it in.

She really amazed me with just how comfortable she is in a kitchen. Ella is only 8, but seems so much older than that much of the time. She is an old soul for sure.

The Bay Leaf is one of the last steps before the rocking dutch oven goes in the oven. I had to help with putting it in and taking it out. Mine is cast iron and a little heavy for her to lift after it's full. :)

The beef and first set of vegetables has to stay in the oven for two and half to three hours, so she went and took a bath and got dressed during that time and then started on the mushrooms and whatnot for after it comes out of the oven. Layton couldn't resist getting in on a little of the action. :)

Let me just tell you. This stuff smelled so ridiculously good while it was cooking. We're talking "slap your mother" good. We're talking "holy cow, my kitchen has never smelled so delicious" good.

And was ready....

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There are no words for least none that seem adequate. It was so wonderfully flavored. It was so rich. It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. No joke. We all moaned as we ate. Out loud.

This meal was unbelievable, and my eight year old daughter prepared it almost entirely by herself. Eight years old!...and she took on Mastering the Art of French Cooking. To be honest I was so proud, and at the same time I was humbled by Ella's ambition and success. Ella admires Julia Child and Paula Deen. She is captivated by their recipes and loves watching them cook. I think Julia and Paula would both be proud of what Ella accomplished in the kitchen last week.

And last but not least...

She said, "Bon Appetit" when she served it to us at the table. :)

This Is the Start of Something Amazing....

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Something Borrowed...

Yes, I am completely obsessed with my camera. I love to take pictures of my sweet little children. I am well aware of the fact that I am not a gifted photographer, but I also know that with the right tools some of my photographs have turned out remarkably well.

The right tools can be expensive though. A wide angled lens is something that I have been wanting for a long, long time. I just don't want to drop over a thousand dollars on a lens if it's not the best one for me. I wanted to test drive the lens so to speak. I googled a few sites advertising lens rental. That's when I found It is the perfect fit for me. I can try out the $2,500.00 lens of my dreams for a few days or weeks and then send it back. I can try out all the lenses that have been on my "possibly" list for my next camera tool purchase before I decide which one to  buy.

I recently borrowed a wide angle lens and a fisheye lens. Here are a couple of pictures with my borrowed lenses.

Fisheye Layton...

The farm in wide angle...

You can rent your dream lens here. Believe me, it's fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble Gobble...

Happy Thanksgiving!! Eat some turkey. Watch some TV. Take a nap. Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A couple of years ago I didn't bother doing a post about the things I'm thankful for. Instead I did a post about things I am not thankful for. It was meant to be humorous, but in hindsight I realize I came across as a total scrooge.

Well, I am feeling particularly thankful this year, and I have a hankering to tell you what I'm thankful for.

1. My family. Jay, Hadley, Ella, and Layton are just about the most adorable group on the planet. There is nothing better than getting a big hug from one of my babies or having Jay snuggle me when I'm cold.  I love my family.

2. My job. I am so lucky to have a great job that allows me to work part time and have a support network of other professionals who understand the needs of my family. I cannot tell you what a stress reliever it is to work for a company that honestly puts family first and will work with me on my schedule to make sure that I can put my family first.

3. My friends. I literally have the best friends a gal could ask for. Being able to spend time with other young women who understand what I feel like and who support me no matter what is a joy that I am thrilled to have in my life. If I am having a bad day, I have a plethora of women I can call and talk it out with. If I need a girls night out, all I have to do is send one text to start rallying the troops.

4. Health. I am so glad that my family is healthy. I know Layton has some issues, but thanks to medical science, he has a wonderful life and will thrive. It is such a blessing to be healthy. I know of so many families who are not blessed with health. I cannot imagine the horror of having a gravely ill child, and I know just how incredibly fortunate we are.

5. Technology. Believe it or not technology has afforded me the opportunity to make wonderful friends on Twitter and through Blogs. There are moments when I wish I didn't have a cell phone that makes me accessible 24 hours a day, but for the most part I am thrilled that I can talk or text or tweet whenever I want. How lucky is that?!?!!

6. Tivo. I love being able to record shows and watch them later. Jay and I were joking about how wonderful DVRs have made life the other day. He can remember being out to eat with his grandparents who just had to leave, so they could make it home before Dallas came on. We go to the beach for a week and come home to all our favorite shows hanging out on Tivo waiting on us.

This list barely scrapes the surface of the things I am grateful for. The list goes on and on and on. I have been blessed more than I deserve. I haven't done anything in my life that makes me deserving of the good fortune in my life, yet here I sit with more than to be grateful for than can possibly be counted.

Happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful today because this day wasn't promised.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Few Miscellaneous Pix from My Starkville Vacation...

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Closer to Kick Off...

This was a familiar site to see. I was a feature twirler for the Maroon Band. Ahhh, memories. :)

The Alabama truck was really neat. The hood ornament was an elephant.

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The MSU  v. Alabama game is always an interesting one for me. I try to cheer some for State, but I also cheer for Alabama. My mom is from Tuscaloosa, so practically all of my family is there. My blood is crimson whether I want it to be or not, but I went to State. I'm a little Maroon and a little Crimson.
I think some of the folks around us in the stadium noticed that I was cheering for both teams. Jay sure did! HAHAHA!

Good Ole Rice...

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This is Rice Hall. I live here my freshman year of college. It hasn't changed a bit! Ha!

Hail Dear Old State...

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For the first time in more than a decade, I went to Starkville for a visit and for a football game. It was surreal. More to follow...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do You Ever....

Do you ever want to look at someone and say "get that thing out of my face?"
I think Lacey would have said that to me one day.

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How adorable is she though??!?!?!?!? Some day I will look back at this picture and think....How lucky am I? I got to spend a ton of time with my niece. I saw the smiles and even the drop-dead looks. What an amazing gift that is!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

When You're a Super Hero...

Being a super hero is tough work. There's the whole hassle of having to conceal your true identity. Then, there's having to sneak off and save fair maidens from certain doom.

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And of course, you have to deal with the paparazzi your mother constantly photographing your every move.

Yes, being a super hero is a lot of work. 

Friday, November 18, 2011


Our favorite deli is staying open!!!!! Yay!!! We love Wildwood!!

Honest, I Didn't Smack Him...

The night before our Christmas card picture session a wicked wail came from Ella's bedroom. As I investigated the gosh awful wail, I discovered Layton curled up crying and holding his eye. There were two versions as to what happened. Ella claimed that Layton fell off her bed. Layton claimed that Ella helped him fall off the bed. The only thing I can tell you for certain is that he had one heck of a goose egg above his eye. Karma. I had mentioned the impending photo shoot.

I curled up on the sofa with little man and an ice pack. We sat on the sofa so long that he fell asleep with the ice pack resting on his face. I was sort of desperate to get the swelling down before the pictures. Vanity, I know.

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The next day the goose egg was gone, but he had a lovely purple eye. It was almost the same shade of purple that I use as eye shadow. I don't think it will show in the pictures, and even if it does, Carla will photoshop it right out. That's just the way life goes with small children. The day before pictures someone will bust their head or rip their dress.


Just in case you were wondering

Yes, that is a scar above his eye. He actually did fall out of bed once when he was smaller. He hit himself just so on the night stand and busted his head wide open. It happened in the middle of the night. He didn't cry or come get us. He went right back to bed. When we went to wake him up the next day, he was bloodied and bruised something fierce. I felt awful about it. Mother of the year award...right here. Ha!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Cracks Me Up...

This picture is hysterical to me. Kiddo looks shell shocked after a day with my crew. Layton is staring off in the distance. Ella seems to have a Napoleon complex. And Nephew?

He is ever so slightly spying out from around the corner. Ha! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Because This Is What You Do....

Why else would someone have put this chain here? Duh. It's obviously for hanging on. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just How Long of a Drive Is It?...

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This is probably violating someone's privacy, but I have to ask. How freaking long does it take to drive from Alaska to Alabama??? Seriously. I saw this plate in town the other day, and I had to sneak a picture. I've been on a road trip to Mexico, and that was one heck of a haul. Alaska? Yeah, I'd probably never get brave enough to make that drive! HAHAHAHA!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Totes Adorable...

I love the fact that Nephew Nathan can make a chair out of anything. :)

Ahhhh. Boys are so much fun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh My Ella...She Is So Happy....

Ella is my middle child. I was a middle child. I know what it's like to be squished in the middle of everything. The oldest child gets to do everything first. In my case and in Ella's case, the older sibling is four years older, so it always seems like your big brother/sister gets to do all kinds of great things. For example, Hadley has gotten to go on some amazing overnight field trips. After Hadley's trip to Dolphin Island, Ella wanted to know why she couldn't go to Dolphin Island too. I told her that her trip would be in four years. How well do you think that went over? Yeah, about like a ton of bricks.  "Four years!!!! Why do I have to wait four whole years?" You get the idea.
When you're stuck in the middle, older sibling seems to grown up and fancy. Baby sibling seems so special, and without fail everyone makes over the littlest of the brood. Oh yes, Layton definitely tends to get some special treatment especially since he has certain health issues. He gets away with behaving badly sometimes because he's little and honestly doesn't know that he's acting inappropriately. He gets help cleaning up his room and has a special section of food. The baby is just that. The baby.

Ella is somewhere squished in the middle.

In spite of that....

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She is so happy. The grins and giggles and hugs never stop. She smiles for the camera and nearly had a  giggling fit when she got a pair of Ugg boots. She has been begging for some for three years, but I just couldn't justify spending money on actual Ugg boots for someone who will grow out of them in 2.5 seconds flat. She didn't want off brand. She just had to have the word Ugg on the back of the boot. Not too long ago Mama Kaye ordered a pair for Ella. Mama Kaye is a middle child too, so she understands the feeling of not being the oldest and not being the baby. :)  We middle kids have to stick together and stick up for one another. Occasionally, we have to break down and buy expensive boots too. Keep on grinning Middle Friends....

You Know You're Jealous...

This is one side of the downtown in my hometown. Yes, one side. There are four. We call it the square, and it is wonderful. You know you wish your downtown was as happening as this one. :)

On this side alone there are two restaurants, a bookstore that also serves lunch, two gift shops, a drugstore, an artist's studio and quite possibly one of the neatest dry goods store around.

During the Storytelling Festival, there was no need to leave downtown. The streets were partially blocked, so we could walk freely. We ate in downtown at our favorite deli, shopped for books, and enjoyed the courthouse lawn.

If you're ever close to Athens, you simply must spend an afternoon in downtown. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just Whack One and Go...

I'm not entirely sure, but have I referenced the infamous trip to the Christmas tree farm when I was in high school? It was particularly cold, and my mother still contests the details of that day. Our family walked all over 90 bazillion acres of land looking at trees. I finally had it. The day ended with me saying to my father, "Just whack one and let's go." It sort of became my catch phrase after all the flack I took for my lack of Christmas spirit. Anyhow.....when Layton was playing with Halloween decorations, I couldn't help but think....

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...Just whack one and let's go...