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152 In Life

Not Giving Up!

Hello my long lost friends, I’ve been held captive by life & thankfully all is well!

JM is officially a big rover… and now that he’s 4 I hope to not see faces like this anymore!


It has been far too long since I’ve been here. I don’t think its even possible to bring the blog up to speed, but I’ll do my best! Those who have checked in, thank you for doing so! Life is good. Life is busy. And as many of you know… life goes by way too fast. I don’t want my children to look back on their childhood and picture me behind a computer. I think I’ve told y’all that we haven’t had cable television here at the beach for over a year, but we’ve also not had a phone line or high speed internet. Which has certainly helped cut back on my computer time drastically, which I feel certain is for the better. If you’d like to cut back on your computer time, just turn off your internet! 🙂 We use our cell phones as “hot spots” to access the internet and while it’s convenient, it’s not that practical for everyday use. Especially if you run a web-based business and write a blog. Our cell phone internet is SLOW, like slower than dial up… uploading pictures takes FOREVER! It’ll make you either want to not open your computer or throw it out the window. I’ve dropped in the public library from time to time to do some high speed surfing and it’s lightening fast… I’ve almost forgotten what a fast connection is like!

I’m here to report the kids are BIG. They are such precious blessings to us, each with their own spunky personality. They keep us on our toes, asking good questions and making us laugh all the time. It has truly been a treat to step away from the computer and be able to invest that time with them. They enjoyed their schools here at the beach, made knew friends and learned so much! Just as school was out for the summer we did VBS at the brown house {not literally} and we did VBS here at the beach. I taught the upcoming Kindergarteners here at the beach and have a renewed appreciation for school teachers & VBS teachers! Whew! There were 21 4 & 5-year-olds in my group and they about did me in. I came home everyday, made lunch and crawled in bed as soon as JM was down for his nap. It was a good & it was hard!

We are still living at the beach and love being here, it is the beach after all! Like I’ve said before, I’d be amiss if I didn’t admit that it’s complicated. We have a home, friends, family, a church, and I have a business 3 & 1/2 hours from us and we are trying to juggle both while maintaining sanity and stability for our kids {& ourselves}. We travel back the brown house about once a month and it still feels like “home” to us, even though we are just visitors breezing in and breezing out. If we knew the duration of our stay here on the coast the obvious decision would be to relocate here while the job is here, but Justin was hired almost two years ago for a 3-month duration… and those 3 months are looking more like 3 years everyday. This “unknown time frame” is not the fault of anyone, just the nature of a massive oil spill and its ripple effects that last for years.

Before sitting down to write this post I went to grab my camera bag {with camera, hard drive, & cords} and quickly realized I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m sure hoping it’s at the brown house! So for today it will be all phone pictures {that unfortunately look a little grainy}! In a nutshell we’ve been: celebrating birthdays, riding bikes, fishing, hosting friends, hitting the pool, hitting the trail, playing softball, seeing family, sneaking in boat & island time, traveling to see friends & family, and doing our best to soak up sweet summertime before it’s over!

All of these are from Instagram {darby613 if you’re so inclined to follow along there}. If you put your mouse on the pictures below a little caption will pop up, officially called a “mouse over”. Thank you Auburn University’s Marketing on the Internet course that I took in 2001. Hugh Guffey would be proud, maybe.



Really neat tracing pads from the sweet girls at Trio Design Studio… a long overdue THANK YOU! We love them! They have provided hours and hours of entertainment for the children!


















If you didn’t know, my twin sister is a total rockstar! She’s been super busy these last few months and all her hard work on the Coastal Living Ultimate Beach house has paid off! It’s open through October in Rosemary Beach, FL and it’s simply amazing. She is so incredibly talented and the house shows that. So very proud of her! This picture was taken the night of the opening party and we all had a wonderful time!!




That kind of brings me up to speed on family life! I will try not to be such a stranger and as soon as I get my paws on my camera bag and hard drive I’ll fill you in some more! And I’ve got a couple recipes to share as well!

My dear friend Lindsey is holding down the fort back at Honey Bee Tees and keeps me in line as best she can. Thank you for your continued support of Honey Bee Tees despite my major lack of blog activity. The good news {for you} is that we have oodles and oodles of inventory {including super cute dresses, new designs & new colors} and it’s time to move some out and make way for fall. So here’s a little something that I think will help! Code: SUMMER30 at checkout to save 30% through Saturday {7/14/12} at midnight!

{ps- word went out on Facebook about the sale first, be sure to follow us there to be in the loop!}

I truly hope to not be such a stranger!

68 In Life

Scenes from the Weekend

One year ago today we moved into our rental house here on the bay. I thought the kids and I would stay the summer, return to the brown house in the fall and Justin would join us either at the start of school or shortly thereafter. Well, here I am one year later, still wondering exactly when it is that we will return home. I woke up this morning thankful to still see this sight!


I would be amiss not to admit that we miss our friends dearly and I do miss my brown house. Thankfully we get to visit about once a month, cramming about 28 days worth of things that need to be done in 48 very short hours. But one day we will return and I’ll probably miss the beach, funny how that happens.

I gave myself a pep talk last Thursday to get out my “real” camera and shoot some pictures. I will share those below… but my list today is long so my words will be few today. Also, Sister and I are road-tripping it up big time tomorrow. Our husbands will have the kids and we will sneak away for a few days, back to Louisville, KY, where we spent the majority of our childhood. We hope to have an absolute blast visiting old friends, romping through our old stomping grounds, going to the wedding of a dear friend… and hopefully many little stops along the way! Erika will be driving and I’ll be riding shotgun. I’m an excellent driver but she should be medicated to ride shotgun and thinks anyone who’s driving the car can’t see the car in front of them, the road beside them, the car behind them, the cars slowing down 1 mile ahead {you know the type? are you the type?}. So I’m sure the trip will be much more enjoyable with her behind the wheel.  I look forward to reporting back next week on our little getaway!

Here’s what we’ve been up to …

One day JM colored vertical whiskers on his face and came to show me with great pride.


The coloring starts early, I think this was around 6:30.


Number 19 {we have about 482 of these around our house}.


Breakfast with sleepyheads and Cetaphil {?}.



While they ate their breakfast I packed their lunches, sometimes we wear our sunglasses in the kitchen when the sun is coming up… it’s a good problem to have!


School Easter parties were a big hit and this the golden egg I thought I hid up high in a good spot, someone found it in about .5 seconds.


Rover always sits quietly in the corner at the girls’ class parties, not disrupting.


Thankfully Paige’s sweet teacher knows about little siblings who wish they were in kindergarten and lets them in on all the action.



2 beautiful Easter prizes JM made in preschool.


Over the weekend at the brown house the girls and I dyed eggs while Rover napped.







We had colorful eggs Easter morning for breakfast, and also tore into Easter “sand pails”!




Justin’s parents had us for Easter lunch after church. The cousins always have a blast together.




We had a wonderful weekend celebrating a risen Savior!! Then it was time for the dreaded task of packing up, cleaning out, and loading up… all while trying to make it back to the beach at a decent hour {which we still haven’t mastered yet!}.

Upon on return, we are always so thankful to be welcomed by our “second” home and we try to slide back into life here! Our “traveling” softball team is in full swing and my heart melts when I see these little girls in their full-blown uniforms. We’ve only ever played tee ball and for that we received a shirt as our “uniform”. To our surprise Morgan got the whole shebang… visor, jersey, pants, & socks. The girls look so put together out there on the field! We had an 8-1 victory Monday night… the perfect way to start the season. I’ll have to remind myself of that tonight when I have to travel for our 6:45 game and we probably won’t be home until well after bedtime!





Ok, time to run… here’s one more!


44 In Life

I Could Be a Professional Spring Breaker

Before spring break came for our children, it came for many others who have invaded our little town and my grocery check-out lane at Publix, but that’s ok, really. Anyway, since the majority of the people in town were on spring break I pretended for at least two weeks that I, too, was on spring break, music turned up and windows rolled down. I was simply conditioning for my turn. Thankfully my conditioning didn’t include seven cases of Keystone Light like the college guys in line in front of me at the checkout who said,  “You know this won’t even last us a day!” {If I could add an emoticon of a guy puking I would put it in right here but I don’t think such thing exists.} And finally our spring break came, and just like that it’s over! Yesterday my three precious companions resumed pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade.

I recognize that I have been allowing myself to get so far behind on posting that even siting down to write a post in attempt to catch up seems to be a monumental task. But I’ve come to conquer tonight. Last time I was here I told you that Justin’s family was coming for the weekend to celebrate his mom’s birthday… well, sadly she came down with a nasty virus, and she & Justin’s dad didn’t even make it to the weekend in her honor. The rest of us enjoyed the weekend but missed them greatly! In a nutshell, we stayed in a sweet condo on the beach.  The cousins had so much fun swimming & playing together. We went to an art festival {where Morgan won a ribbon for  a piece the school submitted!}. We shopped, we ate, and we enjoyed all being together! Oh, and of course, we laughed a lot and I only took a few pictures with my phone…




The following week I got my braces off! Hip, hip, hooray! It was my second round of braces {this set was bottom only} and will undoubtedly be my last. When they were yanking the brackets off I thought they were going to accidentally pull out a tooth. Looks kinda scary doesn’t it?


We’ve also been on the road a lot, back and forth between the brown house and the beach. I ride shotgun and try to keep peace in the backseat, but even great attempts at doing so seem to fail sometimes. Speaking of failing, Paige failed a vision screening at school and the scary words they sent home on her report would have made you think her eyes were in serious need of attention. Thankfully our good friend, who the kids call “Dr. Joe”, is a pediatric ophthalmologist and worked us in on a Monday to see if the Raiger had any issues with her vision. She was very brave and did exceptionally well and walked out with a clean bill of vision health & a handful of stickers!




She unfortunately was under the weather the week following and got lots of TLC, like lunch in bed and popsicles at 2 am!


Everything tends to run together when you don’t keep up, but one week Justin was away in New Orleans for work and I did my best to let him know I was holding down the fort ok and that we made it to softball practices. JM is a total clown and I fear for his future teachers. We’re thankful for a few more years before big boy school and we hope to have him a little more refined by then.


We’ve also had many laughs over JM and all his newfangled Nascar gear. A kind reader from Nascar headquarters graciously sent JM a box of official Nascar gear. One night I took him to the softball fields in this… {sporting what he calls his “race car man” face}. You can’t tell from the picture but even the sunglasses are Richard Petty! There’s no doubt he thought he was the coolest kid at the park.


We’ve had a few rainy days here and there…


But when it’s not raining we are outside…


I still have to pinch myself when I walk outside…


The first weekend of spring break our friends, Krista & Michael came over from Fairhope for an impromptu slumber party. We spent the day on the water and found enough food in the pantry for dinner. Krista and I scavenged clothing for her three children from my children’s drawers and we stayed up until the weeeee hours waiting for our husbands to arrive safely home from sea. Justin and Michael took the boat to a bluegrass festival, left at sunset and arrived home around 1:30 am where we were holding vigil for their safe return {I joke, kinda}. If it hadn’t been for Ricky Scaggs I don’t think they would have made the journey from Orange Beach to Dauphin Island by boat, which is a far shorter distance by sea than by land, but it still took them over 2 hours each way, and Mobile Bay was fairly unkind to them that night. They came home looking a little forlorn and shocked that we were still awake. We were thankful they were home safe, and equally thankful that we weren’t with them being tossed about in the pitch dark. Instead, we were snug in the bed {with a confused baby girl sporting JM’s pirate jammies} catching up on life.  After a very late night, we offered them a small loveseat and some coffee on the porch Sunday morning. They’re about the kindest people you’ll ever meet… but next time Michael may turn down the bluegrass festival by boat invitation!



The days following I loaded up the kids {with one minor detour to the brown house} and headed over to my sister’s spend a few days with my parents who were down visiting from Illinois. Justin has been very busy with work so we escaped without him with hopes that quiet evenings at the house would afford him a little extra time to catch up on work…  but we sure missed him! We got to spend lots of time with sweet Sloaney B while Sister was away on business. We hit the ice cold pool {I swear kids have completely different thermostats than adults… cold water never, ever seems to bother them}, spent a day by the bay, dined at the Airstreams in Seaside, played on the green in Seaside, celebrated Mom’s birthday, loved on our greatly missed pup who’s in the loving care of my parents while we are renting our house, and spent lots and lots of time outside! The weather was glorious!







The kids and I journeyed home and made it just in time to meet our dear friends for dinner who came to visit for a few days!  Dr. Joe {who gave Paige a clear bill of vision health}, his wife, Susie, and their three kids were also on spring break and we were thrilled to have them here with us for a few days. We did a lot of this…




d s

We laughed a lot and caught up on lost hang time over the last year. We almost made a trip to the Florabama but much to my dismay {I jest} we didn’t make it! Maybe next time!

The last weekend of spring break was spent as a family enjoying our “back yard”!




And before I go…


Monday’s field trip was a success. But can I tell you that our very kind principle drove our bus and when I boarded I asked him if the air worked better near the front of the bus. He laughed a little and kinda looked at me like I was crazy. It was like a sauna and I really wondered where the best seat was. He asked me if I was joking and explained I could turn on the air by putting the window down. 🙂 Y’all, school buses don’t have air conditioning… still. It’s 2012 and I figured they did by now. I rode a bus to school from kindergarten to 5th grade and for some reason I figured that was decades ago and by now they’d have air. They don’t. And it was hot. But it was fun and I was so thankful to get to spend time with Morgan and all the other little first graders!

Ok, now I’m going to challenge myself to pick up my real camera and see if I can get back into the groove of taking pictures with something other than my cell phone!