62 In Life

Furry Lips & Other Spring Break Highlights


Thanks for all your lovely feedback on Katie’s shop, I can assure you it’s even better in person. I’ll be back with my second local tour soon… but first, we’ve been away for a few days and I better catch up on that because we made some fantastic memories. I actually managed to pull off posting the last post in my absence without a hitch… and 4 days away from all technology was so refreshing.

So we ran away with Justin’s family to Callaway Gardens for a few days and what a treat it was. The kids were decent in the car, especially little Rover, who severely suffers from car-seat-itis.



Some days I wish I had a bigger car, in all honesty, I actually wish I had the biggest car ever made for mankind, which I certainly don’t “need” but I dream of all the junk I could haul in it with my little rovers. But then I’m reminded, my little rovers would all be spread out and there’s something so fun to me about turning around {3,419 times} and seeing them all lined up… and confined, I think that’s lovely too.

When we first arrived we made a beeline to the butterflies, it felt like it was 128 degrees in their “greenhouse” but regardless, they were beautiful and worth the steam, sweat, and humidity.


And Paige was terrified of them. One came within a few inches of her face and I could hear her blood curdling screams from across the building. She walked up and I asked, “did one come near you?” when I already knew the answer.


We got settled in our cabin that night and Justin’s parents afforded us the opportunity to sneak away for a fabulous, romantic, kid-free, delicious sunset dinner at The Gardens Restaurant.

We came back to the cabin and Paige had declared the nightstand her “desk” and proceeded to {accidentally} call 911 as we shared dinner details with his parents and sister. Thankfully the 911 operator called back before sending out the rescue squad to save us.


The next morning we headed out early to a local “wild animal safari”, now I know nothing about this place other than what I saw and what I saw was fairly entertaining and I can’t imagine what their liability insurance plan costs but basically it’s a GIANT glorified petting zoo {with wild animals} that you drive through. Some folks are even brave enough to try it in their personal vehicles. The really wild ones {Tigers, Lions, and Ligers– yes, Napoleon fans, they have a Liger} were not within petting range but the “grazers” were free-range. We rented a 15 passenger zebra-painted van, loaded up on tasty animal morsels and headed out on a 3 mile trek around the 500 acre wild animal safari. They did warn that the zebras and ostriches were the most frisky and to be careful with them.


Looking back it looks insane to see giant animals in the van with us and while it was happening it was quite surreal… and you can only imagine how entertained the kids {and adults} were.

I’ve pretty much been a lifetime fan of any furry lipped creature {except Justin and if he starts to grow hair on his face I scream “needles” and act a little dramatic}. But, my goodness, this is the closest I’ve ever been to many LARGE furry lipped, long-tongued creatures.




I couldn’t believe I didn’t have my floss handy for this one. Most of them had the most atrocious breath I’ve ever smelled, I imagine years of animal treat plaque doesn’t help.

Some unidentifiable creatures looked like the cross between a Scottie dog and a cow. {This is a 1,000 pound Chevas with horns— and only 2 people will think that’s funny, maybe 3, at the most 4.}


For the most part they were all very kind but a little hog-dog’ish.



The giraffe got a little sassy with my father-in-law.



But found it’s manners when the children presented little giraffe treats.


The little man had a wonderful time and every time I’d ask, “What does a lion say?” he’d answer with the most frightful ROARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR you’ve ever heard!


After the safari we went back to Callaway and toured the gardens.


And then made our way to our favorite exhibit at the park… the Birds of Prey! I now interrupt this post to tell you that if I hadn’t married Justin and had three children, I’d like to use my marketing degree to be bird trainer or raptor rehabilitator. I love birds, a lot. I always have. As a child, the top drawer of my dresser was always filled with bird’s nests. When we first got married our AOL instant message name was “Birdnerds”… so, take me serious when I say, I really love birds. And of all the birds, my FAVORITE is the Barred Owl.



So you can imagine my excitement when this lovely little Barred Owl graced us with it’s presence at the Birds of Prey exhibit. The whole show is fantastic and the only complaint I have is that it doesn’t last nearly long enough!!

Morgan and Paige enjoyed spending time with their cousin, Ava and all the children did so well.




We missed our 4 other cousins and are thinking of making them sign a contract that they too will join us next spring break!!


My hunky husband got us home safe. Can you read his lips? Something like, Darby, for the love, would you please put that damn camera down.

We enjoyed what remained of our weekend at a beautiful wedding and I loved meeting some of y’all this weekend and others over the past couple weeks. In fact, you Auburn girls have made me dig deep in the archives of my brain to think about my time on campus… and one day soon I’m going to come back {with Justin} to reminisce about our early days… although I fear I won’t be able to find what I’m looking for… so much has changed!! Justin and I both are so shocked by not only how fast time flies but how quickly we forget… somebody pass the Centrum Silver.

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  • jenn
    March 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    LOVE Justin’s “comment.” I’m still laughing. Perhaps a little too familiar?!

  • andi
    March 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Love the pictures of the animals!!!! Great pictures from Bellamia! Katie is pretty amazing!
    I loved getting to hang out tonight! I am getting little bitty sprouts in my eggshells. 🙂
    Hope Rover has carrot free day tomorrow. 🙂

  • Amber E
    March 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I check your blog probably a zillion (not really, that would be stalkerish……right?!?) times a day! I just love it to pieces (so southern, I know). Your posts just make me smile and remind myself to take in the little things in life. That’s really all that matters after all 🙂

  • Hillary @ The Other Mama
    March 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    2 things:
    1- We saw some butterflies this weekend and O-man (4) told his little brother (2) that they would bite him.
    Nice. And brotherly, doncha think?
    B- We have been to one of those animal parks before and they are hysterical- breathe alone is worth the experience.
    Glad y’all had great weather!

  • Wendy
    March 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

    The comment about the Chevas looking like a cross between a Scottie dog/cow is hysterical because it is so true!! The sad thing is it does look like one of my dogs who is a papi-poo (Papillon/Poodle mix). As I always say affectionately about him….”He has a face only a mother could love!”

  • Brittaney
    March 23, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Don’t you just love Callaway Gardens? We only live about 20 miles away so we love to pick up and go for the day! You should definately visit during Christmas when they have all of the light up- it’s so beautiful! Love the picture of the giraffe sticking his tongue out! I’m sure your little rovers loved the trip!

  • Cate O'Malley
    March 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

    So much fun! We have a place semi-nearby like this that I have yet to take my two-year-old to. Methinks once the weather rights itself, it’s the perfect spot to head too. Love the giraffe pics!

  • Molly
    March 23, 2010 at 7:34 am

    hi! what kind of car do you have? we are expecting our third and have a tiny sedan and need to upgrade. thought our only options were minivan or giant SUV, but if you can fit three across, maybe we can too:)? love your blog! thanks!

  • mommasissy
    March 23, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Awwww Chevas. I love it and I love you. Can I please go on your next animal safari, birds of prey vacay? I love you!!!

  • Yevette
    March 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I thought your car looked like a Suburban, no? Beautiful pictures!

  • Shannon
    March 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Great pictures! However, the owl picture, I think I may have screamed. They totally freak me out!

  • Tiffany Hill
    March 23, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I am always happy when you write posts about your “hunky” husband. I’ve been married for going on six years now and I still get butterflies when he walks into the room. And he still gets me giddy at times! Nice to know there are others that still feel like teenagers! And I have three sons, 4&1/2, 3, and 6 months and They ride in the backseat all in a row like that too,(except the baby is still rear-facing) But I can’t wait for the day I get to put him in his very own convertible carseat next to his big bros! Fun times!

  • Kaela
    March 23, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I’m curious about the car, too! It would melt my heart to have them all lined up in one seat! A sweet lady I work with told me about Calloway Gardens. Do they still have a circus or something about trapeze lessons?

  • Lisa @ lists in my pocket
    March 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Gorgeous pictures! You are really talented with the camera. Looks like you guys had a great time, I can only imagine all the squealing 🙂

  • Lindsey
    March 23, 2010 at 8:07 am

    War Eagle! I am semi new to your blog and I also attended Auburn. I love it and miss it so very much! My sister in-law is there now and I try to visit at least once a year but so different from the late 90’s. Glad you all had fun at Callaway Gardens, it’s such an awesome palce for kids to play! Glad you all had a great time!!

  • hannah
    March 23, 2010 at 8:09 am

    i feel the same way about the Plains… it has changed sooooo dramatically. yet so cool to see the direction the planners are taking it. here’s to spring break vacations! i always wish they could last longer….

  • Katie
    March 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Hey Darby! If you do make it back to the loveliest village on the plains it is surreal how much has changed! My little brother is there and I was asking questions about Foy Student Union. He was like, “you know that is no longer the student union.” Ugh! War Eagle!

  • Sara
    March 23, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Great pictures, as always! I can’t believe how close the animals got to the vehicle! I bet your kiddos loved it. 🙂

  • Cath
    March 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Ah yes, your husbands face says it so well. Amazing how we wives know baby babble, toddler talk, teen drama and yes even husband look!

  • Becky
    March 23, 2010 at 8:48 am

    TOTALLY grossed out by the long purple tongue on that ox/cow looking thing! ICK!

    We have two cars that accomodate our family of six – a Honda Pilot and a big ugly Dodge Ram conversion van. The Pilot is much newer and nicer, but we prefer the big ugly van because the kids are farther away from us so it’s a LOT less noisy! We get in the Pilot with all of them and it seems soooooo loud, like they’re sitting on our shoulders!

    Glad you had a nice vacation!

  • Julie
    March 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Hi Darby,

    What a fun adventure with the kids! Your pictures are fantastic. You will look back on blogging and your pictures and really cherish documenting all of this. Like you said, it can be hard to remember just a few years later!


  • Anne
    March 23, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I LOVE the picture of Morgan, Paige and Ava by the water. I know it was a great trip.

  • Bailey@peppermintbliss
    March 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

    What a fun, wholesome, ADVENTUROUS, family vacay! I especially love the pictures of the little girls by the pond. How sweet is Ava holding Paige’s hand? Those sweet girls are going to be life long friends, my two best friends are cousins and the three of us grew up together and now they are my bridesmaids! Very special bond there that I feel super blessed to have, you have a lot of fun times to look forward to with this crew!

  • Cat Moore
    March 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Looks like so much fun! Hearing you talk about alabama and Auburn hits close to home for me. We lived in Birmingham for 6 years and have many friends there. We miss it a lot. Maybe one day we’ll get to move back. 🙂 Great pics. Oh, and I just posted a recipe that I think you and your fam will LOVE…if you haven’t had it already. ~cat moore

  • Lauren
    March 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

    we spotted a barred owl at the birmingham zoo this weekend and it wasn’t part of the exhibit! he was just hanging out in a tree as we rode along in the train. it was probably the coolest thing we saw that day because it was so unexpected! also, the “needles” and dramatic reaction to any type of facial hair is my reaction as well. if only my husband cared what i thought!

  • Amanda
    March 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

    It looks like you had a great time! I live in Auburn now (graduated from AU, moved away for only two years, and just had to be back in God’s Country), and all your pictures make me want to take a day trip to Callaway! 🙂

  • Katie
    March 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

    How fun! We spent a summer week at Callaway about 20 years ago! It’s gorgeous and so family oriented! Love all the pictures of the animals…especially the giraffe!


  • the tiny twig
    March 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

    we just did something so similar last week! crazy, isn’t it?!


  • Tara
    March 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Cute lion…my daughter started making a growling sound when she was about 9 months old. I taught her to respond the question “What does an Auburn Tiger say?” by growling…it’s still a big hit. I’m not with you on the love of birds…I would not only have ducked to get out if this hovering nightmare’s way, I would have been flat on the floor or screaming in terror like Paige’s response to a butterfly!

  • Joette
    March 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    The Scottie dog/cow mix…hilarious!

  • Chrissy
    March 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

    So great to see pics of Callaway Gardens! We went every summer when I was a little kid. I returned with my parents and kids a few summers ago … this time just for a few days … and it was just as magical as it was when I was a little kid. I hope to get back there again sometime soon … I love their “beach” area. The circus was so different in my memories. I remember thinking those acrobats were AMAZING! (Even if they were from Florida State!) :o)

  • Caroline
    March 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    This looks like such a fun trip. I love all the close up pics of the animals faces. And your last comment about the centrum silver really made me laugh. My friends and I were having an online facebook discussion about vacuum cleaners the other day and realized how old we had all gotten. haha It happens so fast and we don’t even see it coming!!!

  • Brook
    March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    The Wild Animal Safari is a family favorite! As far as Auburn goes, I work on campus, and I don’t even recognize the parts of it I don’t see everyday. Things change so quickly around here!

  • Karen
    March 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I love it when your posts make me laugh out loud. I have to say that I have a picture of my daughter at the exact moment a butterfly landed on her hand (in an exhibit much like this one). The look is pure terror – and out came a scream, which then brought a mini reprimand from the butterfly exhibit lady. The picture makes us howl everytime we see it. And believe me with my lack of camera skills it is amazing we have it at all. P.S. count us among the Napolean fans…

  • Samma
    March 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I read this post then spotted a HUGE coffee table-ish book entitled “Birds of Prey” while perusing TJMAxx on my lunch break- clearance for $10. I almost bought it for you, then realized I don’t have your address, and an enormous and rather beat up Birds of Prey book might be rather frightening. Anyway, shoot me an e-mail if you’d like a happy prize to come your way- looked very picture heavy so your kiddos might enjoy it, too.

  • Rhonda
    March 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    It looks like a really fun trip!! But it does look like someone needs to gently remind the giraffe that she needs a wax job! 😉

    Our botantical gardens has a butterfly house, and you can get nectar which (supposedly) if you are very, very still and very, very patient the butterflies will come and “drink” off of your arm/hand etc. While I am sure that would terrify Raiger, my kids always try (for about 2 nanoseconds) to get that to happen..

    Glad yall had a wonderful spring break!!

  • Melise
    March 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Oh I adore Callaway! Fun Fun trip! Oh you should do a post on Auburn, I’d love that. You should let some of us AU (AKA Centrum Silver sufferers) submit photos of the ‘old’ AU….back the way it used to be! It has changed right!?

  • Karen
    March 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I feel I must clarify my prior comment, lest I seem heartless… my daughter ALSO thinks the picture is hilarious. There. I feel better.

  • suzanne
    March 23, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Some may not find this so cute, but since you like owls so much, you may want to check out this livestream. It’s a livestream of an owl box, a mamma owl is waiting on her chicks to hatch — I think a couple have hatched already:


  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe
    March 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Oh my gosh that giraffe is hilarious!

  • Chris, the Blog Butler
    March 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Wow great pictures of the owls! Good job!

  • Melanie Gore
    March 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I use to live about 20 minutes from Callaway. We always loved the butterflies.

    Really cute pictures of the cousins at the water.

  • Tara
    March 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Darby…I loved this post…believe me when I say…my hubs says the SAME thing to me about all the picture taking!

    Okay…so, you went to Auburn….would you happen to know Amy and Coleman Hufham??? They are dear friends of ours…from Montgomery…and they went to Auburn! The world is small so I thought I’d ask!

  • Sarah @ Picture Window
    March 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Sounds like such a fun trip! The giraffe photos are too funny.

  • alison g. (brazil)
    March 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    What an amazing trip for the kiddos! We went to a similar park near Dallas when I was little, and an ostrich practically pecked out window out – I still remember my Dad saying, “Headline: Texan pecked to death by rogue ostrich!” Looks like ya’ll had a beautiful weather, too!

    How fun to hear also of your love of birds – one of the coolest things about being here at my parents’ are the resident barred owls – they’re almost as fun for me as the tiny, ground owls we have all around in Brazil. Hoot Hoot!

  • LeAnn
    March 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    thanks for sharing your trip with us! i love calloway gardens! we had to stomach bug for spring break… so, glad to live vicariously through your sweet family trip!

  • Annie Bananie
    March 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    You are definitely right…it does resemble a giant Jay dog! She sure was a sweetie. Remember the days when Connie wasn’t so fond of dogs? There was a tornado warning and for some reason my parents were gone. I was spooked and called your house. Ed drove over (in NED) and picked me, Heather and Chevas up and brought us back to your house on Fieldcrest. I thought Connie was going to lose it when I showed up with the the dog in my arms. Lucky for Connie we had to stay in basement because of the weather. Boy has she changed! Sounds like you guys had a great time. Loved the pictures and your adorable little ones!

  • Wendy
    March 24, 2010 at 7:47 am

    So, I now feel dumb. I thought “Chevas” was an exotic name for that cow/dog creature (an obviously I didn’t look it up). But I think it was the name of a dog your friend had? Anyway, maybe Chevas and my dog, Kennedy, are long lost relatives because my dog does look like that cow or whatever it is!! =)

  • the domestic fringe
    March 24, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I love your photos! Callaway Gardens is beautiful. We went there once when visiting my aunt…so fun. We also did the wild safari thing. I want to do that again with my kids, because they were babies last time we went.

    Glad you had a nice trip.


  • Jennifer
    March 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    {except Justin and if he starts to grow hair on his face I scream “needles” and act a little dramatic} … me too, girl, me too!
    Love the pictures; what a wonderful family trip! So glad you had fun!

  • Dianne
    March 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    What a fun vaca! The kids looked like they loved it. Don’t you love family get togethers away? My family always did that at the beach. Memories for a lifetime.

  • Sara Jane
    March 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Furry lips are my favorite!! Calloway Gardens is so much fun! We spent many a happy summer there as kids. 🙂

  • julia
    March 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I remember going to Calloway Gardens when I was little…so strange that it’s still there and isn’t just some dim 70’s memory.

    I have a picture of my three in the backseat just like yours..the baby between the two older ones…it’s one of my favorite pics.

  • Lila Ferraro
    March 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    That looks so fun. I took my daughter to the zoo and she was tired half of the time, scared the other half, and confused for all. Oh well. Thanks for your camera info. I’m in the market!
    Lila Ferraro
    Queen Bedroom Sets

  • megan
    March 24, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Your blog is adorable and so encouraging! I also went to Auburn…warrr eagle! Now living in Columbus, GA and married to a (NOO!) Bama fan. I am a sinful woman. 🙂 Glad you guys had a good trip to Calloway. I want to know how you make that camera work! I got the Rebel Ti1 and can’t figure out anything past auto. You’ve got major talent, lady! Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie
    March 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    stop it – i ALWAYS make the exact same insurance comment about that crazy wild animal safari. it’s like a twisted, appalacian david lynch movie, or something. i know people love it, but all that inbreeding going on there just ain’t right. zebra horses? deer goats? weird, man.

  • meghan simmons
    March 24, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    OMG, that is that animals tongue?! I thought it was part of the car, LOL. Best of luck with your wisdom teeth, I think you deserve a nice break of champagne and chocolate, that cures everything 🙂

  • Jennifer
    March 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I was so excited to see this post because we were just talking about going to the wild animal park! We live in a suburb south of Atlanta and are waiting for our 11 month old to get a little bit older before venturing out to meet the giraffes 🙂

  • Sarah
    March 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    What a fantastic park. all of your pictures of the animals were funny. loved the giraffe.
    The owl pictures were amazing too. You have mad skills with your camera. 😉
    I hope to take our kiddos soon to a fun place like this.

  • Emily L.
    March 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    That looks like so much fun! We have something like that hear in San Diego that i’d love to visit one day.

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