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Jam Packed

Hello Blog Stalkers.

Hope this finds you well and refreshed from your weekend. We are still recovering from what I would call a delightfully full weekend! It was comprised of good stuff and good people.
I’ll start with the ‘good stuff’. We did some crafting, swimming, sunning, and sweating on Saturday. I’ve spent many summers in the Alabama heat but for some reason it still surprises me. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love to walk out of a cold air conditioned building and feel the humidity hit me in face like a warm, wet towel, but the fact that it can actually be this stifiling surprises me. I honestly think I could bake a cake in the front seat of my car.

Sunday brought the ‘good people’. After church on Sunday we loaded up and headed to the beach to meet up with Erika {& Chance} and a very good friend that I’ve never met. What? Yes. It’s true. Another “internet friend”. One that I knew if I didn’t get down to see it would potentially be a while before we could visit again. Meet Erin.


She’s just as genuine, wonderful and friendly as she looks! Y’all aren’t going to believe me, but, this is the only picture I have of her and didn’t get a single picture of us together. My logic is that I must now start planning a trip to Rome so that we can get a picture together.

We’ve sent many emails back and forth across the pond; discussing faith, kids, and chickens. In case you’re wondering, she’s not Italian but married an Italian… and I have not a single picture of him. But don’t fret, I took enough of the kids to compensate for my lack of pictures Pietro & Erin.

We started at the pool.


And then made our way to dinner.


John Martin wanted nothing to do with his stroller so he was free range during dinner.


Stella’s mom didn’t warn her that this “thing” attached to my face is permanent.


It didn’t take her long to warm up. Erin told me she was like a “diesel engine”, it just took her a little while to get going and then once she did she was good to go! She was absolutely right. I wish you could hear her sweet voice with a precious Italian accent.


Stella and Morgan are kindred spirits. Once they finished their meal they were ready to play.

Paige, on the other hand, made her way to her Uncle Chance. Who had a tray full of {what appear to be} chili cheese fries.



Honestly, as I watched her scarf them down, all I could do was pray she didn’t get “dia-wee-ah”on the way home.

John Martin only tried to escape a few times. Thank goodness he had that very large frog on his bottom… he was usually easy to spot.


And always came back.


I think I forgot to mention that Stella has a brother, Diego.


He’s equally as charming as his big sister and doesn’t like rocks in his Crocs. 🙂


We finally made our way to the outdoor coliseum, where the Romans took on the Americans in a good ‘ole fashioned race.


It was a draw every time.


And out of all the races… Paige never ran.


Not once. She’s apparently not up for competition.

But she did run to her daddy as fast as she could and accidently poke him in the eye.


The kids went right back to their food when the race was over.


And at half-past dark we headed back to Alabama with exhausted kids and delightful memories. We talked about what a pleasure it was to spend time with our friends from across the globe.

In our small group tonight we sang a song that comes from Psalm 100:4 and discussed things we were thankful for. I enjoyed sharing this story with them and how I treasure relationships not only with old friends but also with new.

Erin & Pietro, it was truly a pleasure and I’m already looking forward to our next visit!

Now, at 11:45 pm I must return to the kitchen to tend to a giant mess caused by this:





We’ve canned 24 jars of peach jam… and have only worked half way through the box of beautiful, juicy, and sweet Chilton County peaches.

I hope to be back soon!

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  • Jennifer
    June 29, 2009 at 10:23 pm


    I am a blog stalker living in Lexington KY with a family beach home in Watercolor! I have gathered from your pictures that is where your sisters lives (or in the surrounding area). I am in WC and will be down for another week at least, I wish I would have seen you out and about. You would have met a random blog friend for sure, because Im crazy enough to walk right up and introduce myself 🙂 Thanks for sharing your life with us! I love reading your blog!

  • Jennifer
    June 29, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    oh, and I forgot to add one other thing…i have also gathered that you are friends from Marla from "Marla & Shane"…Shane took my family beach pictures last summer right before the 4th…small world!

  • Andrea
    June 30, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Another blog stalker here from Dayton, OH! I'm once again jealous that you made it back to the beach! We LOVE the SOWAL area and even got married on the beach down there almost 4 years ago. We are skipping vacation this year with the new baby, so I'm going to have to live my vacation through your pictures and posts! And those peaches look SOOO good! I need to hit up the farmers market to get some of those good southern peaches. Thanks for sharing about your weekend!

  • Felicia
    June 30, 2009 at 5:04 am

    I am such a blog stalker. In fact on my page your blog along with others is under the title of "blogs I stalk." I love to read about your life, I love more that it is seasoned with your faith. Thank you for sharing your life in the South with us. I am from Pontotoc, MS between Ole Miss and the birth place of The KING, and I too love the heat.

  • duchess
    June 30, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Peach jam sounds delish.
    Glad y'all had a good time w/. friends.

  • Cstargel
    June 30, 2009 at 5:12 am

    I love your blog so much!!! I've never posted a comment and when I saw Blog Stalkers at the top, I figured you had found me out!!!! Your family is precious and your pictures are great! Love all the remodeling and I love your sister's blog too! Can't wait to hear of her new arrival!

  • Amber B.
    June 30, 2009 at 5:34 am

    I recognize Seaside–I love it!!! Sounds like a fun weekend. I'm in Birmingham, and it's stifling here, too. But I wouldn't be anywhere else!!

  • Tara and Felix
    June 30, 2009 at 5:35 am

    We left 30-A on Saturday! Wish we could have stayed one day later! BTW..I love some chilton County peaches! That's just minutes from Childersburg!

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    June 30, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Good morning! How much fun to meet a blog friend. 🙂 It looks like you all had a blast!

  • emilia morgan
    June 30, 2009 at 6:01 am

    mmm, peach preserves on warm homemade biscuits….drool

  • Erin
    June 30, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Looks like a wonderful time! Can't wait to see you all!!

  • Andrea
    June 30, 2009 at 6:24 am

    I just love canning things. Do you have a go-to resource for recipes? Having perfected my apple butter, this may be the summer I attempt jam…

  • Abby Warren
    June 30, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Are you going to do a post on "How To Make Peach Jam"???

  • Diane
    June 30, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I comment sometimes, so that makes me a part-time stalker, right? Okay then. Looks like everyone had a fabulous weekend. Your kids are so cute. If you're ever going to be passing through Louisville, Kentucky, let me know and we'll hook up!

  • Kellie
    June 30, 2009 at 6:54 am

    What fun!!!! Was it cool this morning in Dothan??? – it was downright heavenly here in T-town!!! I know it won't last long, but it sure was nice!!! Looks like ya'll are living the summer up too – keep sharing – your photography skills are awesome!!!!

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    June 30, 2009 at 7:10 am

    I adore Erin's blog, one of my favorites. I'm so excited that you got to meet her and her family. It looked like you had a lovely time.

    Peach jam, mmmmm.

  • Brandy
    June 30, 2009 at 7:20 am

    thats really funny that you said the heat and humidity suorises you. we live in south GA and it does me too. i don't know why but for some reason i always forget how how and awful it actually gets! maybe it's God's grace to keep me here in this town i love and hate!

  • The Harris Family
    June 30, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Those pics are wonderful! Honestly, I know you've done posts before on how you do that but I'd love to know sometime how you took that shot of Paige running with her face not blurry! All mine end up blurry!

  • travelingmama
    June 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

    What a fun way to spend the day! I have a long list of blog friends I am dying to meet up with…most would happily fly to Morocco, but it is kind of far!
    Thanks for the lovely inspiration!

  • The Howe Family
    June 30, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Well I never heard someone say they love the hot humidity! Maybe I'll love it someday too!??!

    My mom had us for dinner the other night and made those chicken + squash + zucchini foil wrapped thingees. They were great! First time in a while I ate those veggies without gaging. 🙂

  • Gail
    June 30, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Darby, You have a way, my dear, of doing such fun stuff and keeping order while doing so! It's a joy to read about "normal" people in todays world! It makes me smile seeing and read your blog site. I love to share it with others, too. Thanks for the good laughs, dreams, joy and the feeling of peace your blogs bring each day. God Bless each of you.

  • Alison
    June 30, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Ok, I am a blog stalker too! I am from northeast TN, its hot and humid here too:) Your blog has quickly become my favorite! You are so inspiring, Darby! You make me so excited for the next phase of my life, a family. You are such a creative, loving mother and I hope to be a smidge like you one day!

  • jade
    June 30, 2009 at 9:00 am

    fine, fine, fine… fessing up to being a blog stalker. 🙂 i had a question for you. i really want to learn how to can things, like your jam. i noticed you have it in a big pot like thing. is there a book you would suggest and where can i get the supplies??? baby steps.

    i blog at chikaustin and also run craft hope. check out craft hope (www.crafthope.com), i think it would be right up your alley. cheers!

  • Kyle Lynn
    June 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Yes another blog stocker from Cincinnati, Ohio. Darby can you post a link to Erin's blog? it sounds interesting. Glad you had a great weekend.

  • Shireen
    June 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

    This is hilarious reading all the comments from blog stalkers, girl! Ha! Especially in light of our conversation just yesterday about so many of my girlfriends keeping up with you annonymously! 🙂

    Well, thank you for taking my call today…i just left that info on the kitchen counter when I got to the post office! 🙂

    I think it's AWESOME that you and Erin met! So, why was she in FL in the first place? Family vacation? Is she from there? So neat that you and Justin recognized the benefitSSSSS in going to meet. Darby, I'm telling you…I prayed after reading this blog post for both you and all of your readers b/c it is such opportunity to share about God, and you do. Good girl.

    Okay, off to clean up lunch and bathe the little man.

    P.S. Russell surprised me with his post on the breakfast I made him, and I'd do it AGAIN & AGAIN if you'd come and let me treat you/yall! 😉

  • Laura
    June 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I know you have several lens for your camera. Which one are you finding you use most often? I need help and have the canon too with just the 18-55 lens.

  • Megan Shirley
    June 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Oh how I wish I could make jam. Is it odd that I am jealous that you know how to can? I would love to open the door to my pantry (which does not exist but sounds much better than "small cabinet crammed full of fruit snack and granola bars") and pick one of dozens of neatly stacked jars with cute labels of blackberry, raspberry or peach preserves to spread on breakfast or give to a friend. Sigh. All I can manage to do is make poptarts some mornings. I don't know how I'd squeeze in making preserves.

  • Meredith
    June 30, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I LOVE Chilton County peaches. We live in NC now, but I grew up in Mobile. We were at Gulf Shores last week visiting family and I think I ate a whole basket of peaches by myself! I sure wish I knew how to make jam…that sounds great! Love your blog, Meredith

  • Abby Maddox
    June 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Love the picture of Rome vs USA on the way to Justin! You are so…willing to go the extra mile, and it does me good to see that it is worth it 🙂

  • Anonymous
    June 30, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Darby Doll,
    Love love love this post! Especially the Peachy Sweet Ending! Please post your recipe for Peach Jam, I'm dying to make it!

    Thanks for letting us in on your life and your fun weekends!

    Blessings from a devoted blog stalker,

    Jessi B from Tallahassee:)

  • susanv
    June 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Caught! I have lots of blog stalkers myself who never leave comments. I'm going to have to come up with a way to get them to comment!

    I live in Middle TN but grew up in AL. I actually lived in Auburn 1 year while my hubby was in grad school (1999-200) but we are Bama fans tried and true. I hope we can still be internet friends!

    Anyway, I love reading about you and your sweet family and glean lots of inspiration from your blog. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Kathy
    June 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Since I do comment occasionally, I don't want to be considered a stalker! My family and I are from Champaign, IL. We vacation yearly in Seaside and love our time there. We are Christian and I truly appreciate your expressions of faith. My boys are older now, but I still love my domestic life and all that it entails to keep this ship running. It is wonderful and a little crazy. Oh, I found Jane's today at the grocery store! I will be ready for your next recipe idea. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Maegan
    June 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Alright, Darbs… you see, we're best friends now, and although you didn't know that we were best friends I have also given you a new term of endearment, which would be from this point on, Darbs. My other blog stalking friends from here in Charleston and Summerville and I talk about you all the time, and wonder why you can't move here? Charleston and Summerville are fabulous… minus the gnats and mosquitos…. although I recently heard a trick that I've yet to try about using TEA TREE OIL, diluting it, and spraying it on yourself… supposed to work on all kinds of critters, even red bugs! And personally, I think it smells good….However, back to the original reason for commenting, I want your book. Whoever gave you the book on being a good person/ parent/ and all around (from blogging world anyhow) fabulous person… I want it. I'm always thinking of things to do, and then get stuck- my lil one is almost 14 months which is really when it all gets crazy I think…… but you continue to impress us here…. and just wanted to let you know that if you're having a bad day, your house is a huge mess, or the kids are beating each other to pulps and pulling yours and their hair out, there are people here talking about you wishing you were around here- because we think you would be a great addition to our families' festivities!

  • Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality
    June 30, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I recognize Seaside! And yum, Chilton County peaches are the best. We're lucky to be close by.

  • kristy
    June 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    darby, your peaches look yummy. we are actually grilling some tonight for the first time and will be serving them with some vanilla ice cream!

    thanks for sharing your weekend with all of us. i so enjoy reading your blog!

  • misc.alaina
    June 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Sounds like you had a great weekend! I am very jealous of your beautiful peaches. I grew up with wonderful South Carolina and Georgia peaches, but they just don't grow them here in Virginia like they do further south.

  • Sara in Tally
    June 30, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Hello. I'm Sara. I'm a blog stalker. But only to remind myself daily of my inadequacies. You sew! You can! You cook! You bake! I stalk 🙂

    Sara from Tallahassee

  • Maryanne
    June 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Okay, you caught me…I admit, I'm an occasional stalker from Atlanta. I love reading about your family's adventures, your renovations, crafts, recipes and the photography is always amazing. I have a 17 month old son and can especially relate to the funny stories you tell about your son. 🙂

  • annek
    June 30, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I wish I had a warm biscuit and some of that peach(?or some kind of fresh fruit ) jam! It looks wonderful! I think it has been especially hot there and here (and many places) because lsat week halfway around the block I just felt like I was dying…and thought geez I know it's always hot…but it is really HOT!
    Enjoyed all the photos as usual.

  • Momofgirls
    June 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    stalker here from California! I have made your yummy apple butter already this summer and now I have peaches on my mind….

    thanks for giving us good stuff to "stalk"!

    what a fun wife, sister and Mommy you are!

  • Bill, Misty, Will, and Laura Ann
    July 1, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Not sure if I'm considered a blog stalker or not… I really can't remember if you and I met before we moved. It was a pregnant blur at that time! I enjoy your blog and know that we would have been friends if I were still in the land of peanuts. You seem to be friends with a lot of my friends there. You are blessed with a WONDERFUL church family. We are getting settled here. Have a great day!

  • Beks
    July 6, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Me too, Me too! I have enjoyed reading your blog, I am always inspired when I read your blog, such a real life full of Christian love and blessings! Keep up the good works you are doing!!! Bless you and your adorable family!