29 In Articles

Can We Play Pretend, Please?

One year ago I was traveling north with my husband and 2 children to visit my parents farm and attend my cousin’s wedding. I took the self-portrait above while swinging on the porch. Seeing as how we’re not exactly in any state to be travelling {at least for a little while} I’d like to pretend. In my game of pretend I hope to not be the only player so please play with me {even the stalkers— and you can be anonymous if you so choose so that no one will know who you are or where you live}. I’d like to pretend that I am getting ready to go on a vacation/road trip. I don’t want to pay for anything but gas… so I’m going to come to your town and stay in your house {don’t worry I won’t stay more than a couple days, I promise. And don’t worry if it is a mess… I’ll feel right at home, trust me!}. What will we do when I get there? You can plan a little or you can plan a lot. Ok people, let’s be creative!! You never know, you people may tickle my fancy so much that I really may come see you! If you live in my town or a town I previously have lived in {which I’d rather not broadcast… but some of you know} I’d still like to come stay with you too so please play along. And trust me there’s no place I don’t want to go… so please don’t think your town/home is too boring for me!
I’ll start packing now…

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  • kmich
    July 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    how about charlottesville, va? i already invited erika today when i de-stalkified myself today on her blog… why don’t you come too??

    love your blog, your cute pictures, creativity, and serving of the Lord.

    hope all is well down south!


  • duchess
    July 23, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Sounds like fun. I’m game.
    Ok – how would you like to visit Pinehurst, NC?
    It’s beautiful and quaint.
    We could play golf (I don’t play but would love to drive the cart) on the famous #2 course, then we can take the kids for ice cream and eat our cones while touring the village in a horse drawn carriage.
    Don’t forget your camera!

  • Carly
    July 23, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I love the picture of you on the swing and it’s hard to believe that those teeny feet have carried three pregnancies! John Martin and the gilrs are just precious in the new pics! Alright, Ive picked out my weekend…I’m inviting you over for the GA/Auburn game on Nov 15. Ive got the perfect smocked red and black outfits for your three cuties to wear:)

  • Anonymous
    July 23, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Darby – Please come see me! We can go lay out at the beach, go get ice cream and walk around the new Pier Park. Open invitation!!
    Love you – John Martin is precious! I can’t wait to meet him!! -Allyson

  • erika
    July 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    The private jet is waiting at your regional aiport. Mom flew in yesterday to watch the girls & boy. You've pumped your boobs, so no worries on JM, he's in good hands. Get on the plane, the pilot will give you a mimosa, an ipod (already loaded full of great music), an envelope full of cash ($5,000), and a pillow. He is taking you to pick me up at my regional airport. I've arranged childcare for my 4-leggers & husband. We are headed to Chicago! When we arrive at the aiport in Chicago, the Callard girls & Cousie greet us. We head into the city for dinner at a fabulous place where Whit has made reservations. After dinner we crash at the Callards. The next morning we hit up Sandwich Antique show. You spend $300 on a piece of antique jewelry (that you later find out was worth $3,000). We shop all day- and for some reason all the vendors are giving you (for free) whatever you are interested in. I forgot to mention we had breakfast at Harners. That night we eat at Colonial (for old time sake) and then hit up Baker's Square for dessert. We laugh a lot. Then Cousie offers to do our hair. We all get new hair-dos, manicures, pedicures, massages. That night we stay at Cousie's house and George cooks dinner and waits on us hand and foot. The next day we go clothes shopping. When we get to the clothing store they give us shopping carts and tell us we've won a contest and that we have 10 minutes to fill our cart full of whatever we want – and it's all FREE. Even YOU enjoy this kind of clothes shopping. That afternoon we head out to a tour of homes and tour of gardens. The houses are spectacular. The gardens are the types where you can dig up and take whatever you want home with you.
    THe next morning the pilot is waiting for us a the Kane Co Regional airport (bc we dont want to head back to Ohare)… he greets us with 2 mimosas. You still have $4,700 in your pocket, loads of plants, clothes, antiques, and great memories.
    That was fun!
    did you like it?

  • Karen Brookshire-Jackson
    July 23, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    My friends can assure you that I love to plan great trips! Since we live in the same town, let’s head out of town with a car full of friends to meet new friends in some of my old places. We leave early in the am (loaded with picnic baskets of china, silver, and linens as well as wonderful food and flowers) and head toward Montgomery, take the back roads to Pike Road and stop in Mt. Meigs. There we can have brunch in the Episcopal Church “tree house” or in the beautiful gardens. On to Montgomery to Sarah Howard Stone’s wonderful heirloom shop where you can see and buy the most beautiful fabrics and laces. We can have lunch at Sinclair’s next door or pizza across the street with my sweet friends from Montgomery and Lowndesboro. The Unicorn Shop and the Gilded Lily are favorite shops where you will be greeted by sweet southern girls. You might find some treasures there for your new abode! Friends from Lowndesboro have the perfect antbellum home for everyone to visit. There a sunset and a mint julep will be enjoyed before dining at Marengo Plantation. After spending a restful night, its breakfast with “Miss” Dot on her terrace full of blooming flowers and the sounds of water flowing in the fountain. If everyone likes horses, we can saddle up and ride through the pastures of Lowndes County or we can take the boat out and enjoy the Alabama River. By now we know that you are missing those babies, so we will start on our way home. Stopping for a plate of fresh vegetables at the “Piggly Wiggly” in Troy is a must!. Then it’s time a sweet tea for-the-road and we are truly homeward bound. Hope everyone had fun in the land of southern hospitality!

  • Jennisa
    July 23, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I can tell ya one thing….we wouldn’t go to Dairy Queen…. 🙂

  • Abby Maddox
    July 23, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I’m with Erika on leaving the babies with the Mom’s/MILs. Lets just say you had a huge milk surge one day (no planning ahead and pumping and saving for weeks to get a measly 2 days off) and have a freezer stocked full of premier John Martin food. Lets also say that Mary Aplin has started allowing people besides me to hold her…Lets get crazy and say she has taken on a supernatural love for Mrs. Linda. Lets also say our husbands are going to help so we REALLY won’t feel any guilt. They were there when we made those babies…right?

    I’ll drop my kids off then head over to your house. We’ll wear sun dresses and big sunglasses. I’ll start driving and you won’t even ask where because it doesn’t matter–WE’RE FREE! We’ll spend 45 minutes or so catching up and laughing about the blog world, then we’ll roll down all the windows, sing songs like “Crazy,” at the top of our lungs, and just thank God for the sunshine and the wind on our face and nobody needing a toy in the backseat.

    The car will stop at my Dad’s beach place, because what can be better than a FREE place on the beach?! Most of the day we’ll spend sipping drinks and reading books in the sand, with the water lapping at our ankles. BUT we’re sure to have a rainstorm, trapping us inside, so there’s no guilt for missing out on the beauty outside. That way, we can curl up inside with our smocking or sewing or reading or writing or HECK we may even watch the news for a little while! Our nights will be filled with fresh seafood and movies and hours upon uninterrupted hours of that restful sleep that only comes after a day spent in the sun.

    We’ll head back home a few days later and our husbands will meet us at TCBY with all the little babies in tow. Let’s just be honest, at this point, we’re missing them desperately and rejoicing in every squishy kiss and grimy handhold. Jeremiah and Justin are basically on the floor of TCBY, grovelling at our feet, because they don’t understand how it is we can do what we do every day and stay sane. We just smile at each other, look back at them and say, “I don’t know, but you better thank God above that I love it…most days :)”

  • becky
    July 23, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    well, if you came to see me, you could get away with bringing the chilluns since ours are basically the same age. the nice thing about where i live is that we have plenty to do right here, or we are just a few hours drive if you wanted to go shop at the outlets, catch a show at the opry, or go to the zoo in nashville, go stay at the choo choo and to the acquarium in chattanooga, or zip over to ATL for a game and the coke museum. (who wouldn’t want to try all those cokes at the end…) or, you can see huge rockets right here in town, ride some neato rides, see a minor league ball game, see anything at the botanical gardens depending on the season (i highly recommend coming back for a visit during galaxy of lights at christmas) stroll through colonial village (again, seriously worth a trip at christmas when they turn it into santa’s village) see a play from the broadway theater league, there is sci-quest and early works museums for the kids, go cave exploring, to to the lake, go flea market diggin’…i mean, it just goes on and on. and in the summer in my little town (the above was from huntsville proper) the lions club puts ona kiddie carnival that the kids could ride anything for .50 a ride (i think there are 8 rides total!)

    having “outed” myself to several blogs i lurk on these days…i think i will encourage anyone who may stop in my neck of the woods to come out of the shadows.

    JM is getting big already. these babies grow so fast!!

  • Beth G.
    July 23, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Well, it’s a long flight but you can come to San Francisco and stay with us! 🙂

    We can go into the city and shop, or drive 35 minutes to Napa Valley and do a little wine tasting, or drive 2 hrs. to Monterey and Carmel and visit Pebble Beach… OR drive east to Lake Tahoe! There is SO much to do… more than you can dream!

    The weather is perfect… no humidity and you will need a light jacket! But since we are about to move (down the street) our house is a mess… so imagine lots of boxes as you dream!

    I love the picture!

  • C
    July 23, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Come on over to Slidell, LA! 45 minutes from the big city of New Orleans. True, I am a blog stalker but found you through a mutual friend, J, who goes to your church. We’ll leave early in the AM and take the kiddies with us. First, we’ll go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and some of the best coffee you have ever had! Then we will stroll down to the French Quarter for some great shopping at the flea market (shaded, might I add). Next, we’ll go back to Jackson Square to tour the Cathedral and take fun pics of the kids in the garden. Then, just outside the Square, we’ll watch street performers while en route to eat lunch at Emeril’s. We are the millionth and one customers to walk in this year, so lunch is on them. After lunch, we’ll take a trolli to the IMAX theater and see a great film of the kiddies’ choosing. Then we’ll catch a ferry to the Audobon Zoo to see all the animals they have. It will have cooled down to about 70 degrees – LOL! After a few hours there, our chouffer will take us back home where our husbands will have made us dinner! Hope you enjoy your day in the big city!

  • Heather
    July 24, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Come on girl! I’m in Louisville, KY (aren’t ya’ll from the ‘Ville?). I have a tiny apartment, but a pretty comfy couch. We can go shopping and eating on Bardstown Rd. Then we’ll stop for coffee and go to see the movie “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”!

    Oooh…wait…sounds like Erika has the better offer. *sigh* Have a great faux trip.

  • alston
    July 24, 2008 at 6:40 am

    i would like to escape all the boxes and packing going on at our house, so was thinking i could hop on that jet with you and erika:)

  • megan
    July 24, 2008 at 7:16 am

    All the trips sound amazing!
    You and your family are always welcomed in Atlanta.
    For some family fun activities there is the Atlanta Zoo, Fernbank Museum, The Children’s Museum, Stone Mountain, and the Georgia Aquarium (we took my 10 month old niece in May and she loved it).
    To treat yourself, you can shop till you drop, eat whatever your heart desires, visit the art galleries and museum and then relax at a spa. And depending on what weekend you come, you can visit Scott’s Antique Market or Lakewood Antiques.
    Love the swing photo!

  • chilly
    July 24, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Being male I have a hard time dreaming up the ideal pretend way to schedule a getaway.

    This did make me think why hasn’t all this blog madness brought up the idea to have a home exchange for a weekend (or longer) vacation.

    Those that would be interested pick a weekend, hide the house keys, leave a blog note of all of your favorites of must to do/eat/see/enjoy while in town, and a bottle of wine on the counter with a note that says, “Have a fun – use anything in the house you want, call if you have any questions – Enjoy!”

    If you must take the kids…
    Crazy many of us have kids and life is just so much easier when you can have a tour guide and comfy sofa to flop while letting the ankle biters play with all the “new” toys.

    I can image my little Caroline telling the story already at the rehearsal dinner of her Auburn roommate how she once played with the bride’s toys 18 years before they roomed together.

  • chilly
    July 24, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Oh yea, don’t leave Memphis off your list.


    Of course we’ll tailor this to help satisfy all your hopes and dreams.

  • Anonymous
    July 24, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I’m so over SoFla right now (how many times am I supposed to go to the beach in one week??? Now it’s just work) so if I could do anything right now this would be it.

    I’d hop on a plane and fly straight to Houston. No ridiculous changing of planes. This would be a special flight just for people who are smart enough to be inside hiding from the heat and reading someone’s blog. I’d have planned ahead and made my flight for in the morning so I get there just in time for lunch. I’d rent a car and race over to Chuy’s on Westheimer. Oh, I’d majically have some chicks free to do this with me – you game?

    Then after we’d pigged out on Mexican we’d go to the Galleria – Tartain et Chocolate would have a ginormous sale so we’d be able to get our girls anything we wanted. Then off to the hill country. After crashing somewhere like San Marcos, it would be tubing in Canyon Lake. This involves sticking your butt in freezing cold water while it’s about 110 degrees outside. There would be someone there to drag our tubes back to the beginning so we wouldn’t have to do any work either. After that, it would be on to Greune, Texas. There’s a really cool restaurant right over the river and an old hall where there’s dancing and lots of Texas atmosphere.

    The next day, for some reason, the Marburger antique show would be going on in August instead of October so we’d go to that in Round Top. Since we’d buy so much stuff, we’d have to rent a truck to drive home but that’d be okay because then I could go to my favorite pottery place in Ocean Springs, MS called Shearwater Pottery plus eat at every Raising Canes between Lafayette and the Fla border.


  • kdurec
    July 24, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I too am from Louisville, so I don’t think that you would have a fun trip coming back here, unless you wanted to go with me to take Mrs. Martel a cherry-limeaide from Sonic. (Was that you or Erika who was on Yearbook?)

    Have fun “visiting” far more fabulous places!

  • Anonymous
    July 24, 2008 at 11:09 am

    The home exchange is cool like from that movie “Holiday.” Does that really exist???

  • Laura
    July 24, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Well, I wouldn’t suggest Southern Indiana for a wonderful getaway 🙁

    So, we’d both have to travel to one of my favorite vacation destinations…San Diego. We could hop aboard the Old Town Trolley and hit all the touristy spots….Old Town, Coronado Island and one of my favorites, the zoo. We could sit and watch the monkeys (including really cute baby monkeys). I think I could do that for hours. I didn’t think I was much of a zoo person until I went there.

    Of course some fun in the sun and food would be involved. I’d suggest Anthology downtown for dinner and great live music.

  • tara
    July 24, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Hey… it’s your long lost cousin from South Carolina. heehee- you aren’t going to believe this but i found you thru erica (also my cuz :), who i found when i was searching for galvanized planter ideas early in the summer. so i guess i am really a blog stalker and a decorating thief. i loved your blog b/c it reminded me of when my 14 and 12 year old children were babies. (i loved sewing and smocking for them) Enjoy these days b/c the teenage years will give you a run for your money!!!!

    OK– if you came to visit the small town of seneca, sc – you and the family could stay w/ us. we live in a platation house built in 1822. i promise you’ll feel at home- this place is always crazy-with action and noise….you’ll have to ignore that we only have 1 working bathroom right now. Hubby is being handyman from hell and updating the other himself. lucky for your baby boy- my son has perfected the peeing off the porch thing that boys do- he can go ahead and teach him for you.

    We can leave all the children at home, my daughter will babysit. (She won’t even text or get on my space while she’s in charge!!!!) We will do lunch at a little cafe called Circa 1930 and then check out the antique stores on Ram Cat Alley and downtown Walhalla. Then we’ll go over to my friend lisa’s(she has lived thru having 3 small children)- she’ll have margaritas waiting for us. We’ll sit on the porch and talk and laugh until our sides hurt. Then we’ll head back to my house where all the children will be smiling happily and glad to see us. supper will be made and we’ll all have dinner under the big oak trees and watch the kids and dogs run around and play. As we sit around the table with dinner being long finshed we’ll cuddle with our babies, listen to the whipperwills, and talk about how lucky we are.

    Hope you come back soon!
    Your long lost cousin :),

  • tami stanford
    July 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    D-I will pick you up. All you need is comfortable clothes, your sewing machine and a weeks worth of projects. We will drive to Silver Lake and spend the WEEK!!!
    We will wake up, take a walk, do a little sewing, sit on the dock and read, eat lunch, do a little more sewing, take a sunset cruise around the lake, eat dinner, watch a movie, while we are doing a little more sewing!! One day we will be able to do this. If not for the week, at least for the weekend!!!Love ya!Tami

  • Caroline
    July 24, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Since we just moved to Tennessee and I don’t know much about it, I would invite you to my home town, Cambridge, MD. Small place surrounded by water and lots of other lovely small towns full of charm. In the actual city of Cambridge there is a new Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. We could spend the day at the spa, it is AWESOME! There are more antique shops than I can count around… I probably have never been in any of them, but I have a feeling you might enjoy it. We could drive west and spend a day in Annapolis visiting the Naval Academy and enjoying the wonderful shopping and seafood restaurants at the docks. The Naval Academy has the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen. That is where Ike and I got married. We could spend a day in Baltimore or Washington DC. All within about 1.5 hrs from Cambridge. We could drive east to the beach in Ocean City. MD. Nothing like Seaside, but a beach is a beach, right! They have great outlet shopping and fun boardwalk with the best fries and caramel corn you have ever tasted. Back in Cambridge we would enjoy some steamed crabs and beer. (This is my first summer with out eating crabs and I am having withdrawl symptoms.) That’s pretty much what I want to do on my next visit home. Too bad crabs will be out of season by the time I make it back!
    Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  • Cousie
    July 24, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Darby, I’m soooo excited to see you and Erika once you’ve landed with your jet. George is planning what he should make for us while we’ll all be relaxing in the backyard. He’s come up with some pretty good meals. I told him banana pudding is a must. The new water park down the road would be a perfect place to kick up our heels and have a good time like we used to have back in the day. You know before husbands, jobs, and kids (4 legged and 2 legged). Those truly were the good old days! Naperville was ranked top 3 places to live in the US so we’ll find lots of fabulous things to do on our “vacation”!! I can’t wait! See you soon!
    Love, Cousie

  • Lindsey
    July 25, 2008 at 10:26 am

    these posts are so fun to read! Had to tell you what Av said this am. I think she was still thinking about when JM was in your tummy. She lifted her shirt and said “the baby is in my tummy.” Then I said “You have a baby in your tummy?” Her response- “Morgan is in my tummy.” I don’t think we quite understand this whole pregnancy thing yet 🙂

  • Laura
    July 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    wow, these are so fun I have to respond too! sorry I’m a day late! When you arrive in Austin, Texas, we will first head to Shady Grove – a cool little outdoor restaurant not too far from the airport to catch some music on the patio and sip on margaritas and nosh on chips and queso. Then off to a few museums – The Texas State History Museum is a cool one for sure. We’ll grab dinner at swanky place downtown that overlooks Town Lake (which they have renamed Lady Bird Lake last year, but I can’t conform), and watch as the famous Congress Avenue bats go out for their nightly summertime flights (millions of them – quite an experience!). We’ll head up to Round Rock afterwards to catch a minor league baseball game and a great fireworks show. The next day, will drive a few minutes south of Austin to San Marcos to have a lovely lazy day of floating the river in tubes – and we’ll get out of the river in Greune, Texas and catch a show at Texas’ oldest dance hall, Greune Hall http://www.gruenehall.com

    Wow, writing that makes me ready to have a vacation in my own town!!
    Have fun with those little ones- they are all so precious!

  • Jenny
    July 26, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Most people cringe at the sound of a 24 hour flight, but I know (as a fellow mom of three) that 24 hours alone sitting is next to heaven so PLEASE come to Singapore. I will plan amazing things in exchange for your cute touches to our apartment filled with boxes!!! What a fun idea. Very fun to read!

  • broomes
    July 30, 2008 at 7:42 am

    I love love reading yours and Abby Maddox’s blogs. They are a bright spot in my long work day. I know you don’t know me, but I stumbled on your blogs out of pure bordome one day. I would not like to be qualified as a “stalker” but as an envious reader of two eloquent writers. Anyway, I thought I would participate in the vacation game…

    If you were to vacation in my town.. I would pick you up with one of my best girlfriends and we would take you to the BEST local mexican restaurant! Here, you never leave without seeing someone you know. Then we would take you to get ice cream at the Marathon. I know this is not Coldstone or Brusters, but its the best Mayfield ice cream and they serve it in a big cup for only a dollar!
    We would then travel to my home, which I hope you are ok with chaos and construction because we just bought our first home in the counrty and much work is being done. On the way to our house from tree lined back roads with the sun just peeking through enough to cast dotted shadows on the road, you will be listening to “Wagon Wheel.” This, being a favorite summer song of ours that we can sing sooo loudly to with the sunroof down and the cool breeze that only living in the country can bring.
    We would spend the week taking walks to the Lake behind our house, picking pears, apples, plums, and blackberries for you to take home. Maybe your children like fruit?
    A peaceful visit it would be with a friends cook out on the weekend. All of our friends will come over and the guys will cook steaks and chicken on the grill and my husband will have a fire going even though its still hot outside. The girls are young, all of us newly married and would love to hear you tell us about motherhood and sewing projects.
    Thats all I’ve got!

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I happened upon Napa last week, fixated with smoke from California wildfires, hiked the Montara
    /Montera trail along the Pacific coast, and came back with a bunch of poison oak and a sinus infection. U aren’t missing a thing! Kara