61 In Life

Weekend, Life, Travels and more…

Well my goodness, I was so confident that summer would bring with it lazy days, schedule-free weeks, and library time! Oh how led myself astray! My posts have been rather scarce lately which doesn’t mean life has slowed down… but been rather full. Justin and I met up with friends Friday night after a crazy week for a fun and casual dinner. We laughed really hard, listened to good music, and enjoyed being out of the house {or I did at least}. Our sitter {thanks, Sydney!!}  snapped a picture of us before we left and I think it perfectly captures our life right now…


I look exhausted, Morgan is wearing my shirt as a dress and making a grossed out face or something, John Martin is not clothed, Raiger is missing {looks like maybe she’s moving the blinds}, and Justin thankfully is oblivious to it all!!

Over dinner I suggested a game for our friends, I will say I was met with some reluctance but they all came through and played along! Erika actually shared this one with me because she and Chance played it a few weeks ago at a dinner party. I took 7 post-it notes {one for each person excluding myself}, wrote a phrase on the back, and stuck one under each dinner plate. Each person would have to work their phrase into our dinner conversation with out getting called out on it.  The best part was that I didn’t know who had which saying and I loved listening to each person try to manipulate the conversation to work their phrase in. A few of our phrases: “I love kittens so much I think we’re going to buy one!” “Do y’all want to go to a club after dinner?”  “We’re thinking about getting a horse!” Obviously you have to write them to target your audience; none of our friends are likely to suggest we go clubbing after dinner, buy a horse, or love kittens. I love that a guy got the “I love kittens” one. Anyway we laughed pretty hard and I was probably the most entertained… it’s a game you should store away in your brain for a dinner party because there were certainly lots of laughs!


So many of y’all asked about the lake. It’s located outside of Marianna, FL. It is a private lake called Silver Lake but maps show it as “Seventeen-Mile Pond”. Justin’s parents built a house there in 1980 when he was just a toddler,  he has spent many summers and long weekends there throughout his entire life. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the picture for about the last 10 years and am pretty sure I’ve spent every Memorial Day there for all 10 of them!


In other news, sister and I have a big birthday coming up next weekend. The picture above was taken on our 1st, this one will be our 30th! For a while now we’ve had plans to spend it together with close friends at the beach, which will hopefully still be oil-free by the weekend. Well, about 4 weeks ago she called and told me to check my email. When I did, attached to her email was a fancy little birthday invitation… to a celebration in Italy. I nearly fell out of the chair. Then tried to get a passport! Which I did, thanks to Facebook, Natalie, and the Department of State’s expedited services! I think I was speechless for several days. She is the best sister anyone could ever ask for; hilarious, dynamic and so very KIND to me! So we are fairly close to embarking on our first European vacation together to visit our friend Erin in Rome. I’ll be sure to take several thousand pictures so you can feel like you’re along for the ride! 🙂

And… last but certainly not least, I would love for y’all to pray for my friend Lindsey. Her 11 month-old baby was accidentally burned last Thursday and tomorrow morning they return to the burn clinic for more evaluation to determine whether or not he will need skin graphs. They are praying that the burns will fully heal, with minimal scarring, and that they can avoid graphs! Thank you in advance for your prayers for their entire family!

Good night, folks! I’ll be back soon with this month’s sponsor post!

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  • Abby
    June 6, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Happy early birthday! Italy is FABULOUS. I have one word for you: EAT. I had the best food of my LIFE in that country.

    PS. I’m kind of a lurker – swear I’m not weird – but my sister’s sister-in-law had a baby this week and named her Darby Kathryn! Thought you’d like that. I always get excited when I see wee babies named Abby. 🙂 Many prayers to your friend, too.

  • Stephanie
    June 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    oh darby… i am a lurker who loves you. your post was a bright spot in my evening. god bless.

  • Lauren
    June 6, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Wow what a fabulous birthday~a trip to Italy! That will be so much fun! Yes, please share lots of pictures when you return! Love the old picture of you and your sister…too cute!

  • Linda
    June 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Another lurker here—-have a fantastic time in Italy!! My favorite place 🙂 in all the world~ can’t wait to see your photos and hear all about the trip!

  • Sara
    June 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I swear, ya’ll are just the cutest! Your posts always put a smile on my face. 🙂 What a wonderful celebration you all will have in Italy, so jealous! Here’s to an incredible 30th birthday!

  • pam
    June 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    darby, how exciting! italy… one place i definitely want to see. have a wonderful wonderful time! happy early birthday. pam

  • Rachel Ridd
    June 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    My husband and I were just in Rome a week ago!! Eat tons and tons of gelato for me 🙂

  • Kelley
    June 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    ITALY!!!! Oh my stars!!!!! I am so jealous, but so excited for y’all! Can’t wait to see pics and read stories…we full expect updates while you’re there. 🙂 Tell Ericka hey for me!

  • Lucy
    June 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    wow!!!! What a fabulous birthday present! Happy Birthday to both of you!!!!

  • Julie
    June 7, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Happy Birthday (early) to you both. I currently live in Europe ~ you’ll LOVE Rome. Don’t miss Florence no matter what it takes to get there. Make reservations (call ahead) for the museums ~ lines are a nightmare this time of year. The design, art, and architecture ideas you will glean will inspire you! Overwhelmingly beautiful. And for anyone who has an eye for art ~ you’ll never see the world the same again. 🙂

  • Cat Moore
    June 7, 2010 at 5:32 am

    HAPPY 30th! I too will be celebrating my 30th in March. Had no idea we were the same age! I LOVE that Justin AND your dad are both wearing izod t-shirts in the pictures. Great things never go out of sytle. 🙂 You and sis are absolutel dolls and I love your exact matching outfits. Ummmm, in case you didn’t notice, you ARE identical…..have to be….in my opinion anyway. 🙂 have fun on your trip! SO much better than beach.

  • edie
    June 7, 2010 at 5:32 am

    OHMYGOSH! I’m so excited for you Darby. You are gonna have so much fun—and I can’t wait to see the pics. That sis of yours is pretty amazing. And I’m loving the pic of your parents. Just so— 1981!
    You guys look so cute on your night out. And if it’s any consolation, my children always look like little orphan Annie’s.
    I’m so sorry to hear about the baby and I’ll be praying
    love you dear,

  • mary katharine
    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 am

    First, you do NOT look exhausted, and second, you are NOT going to Italy:)! Oh my!! Y’all are going to have so much fun … how exciting!! I think if I try really hard I can remember my 30th birthday. I had a 6 year old, an almost 2 year old, a 6 week old and my husband was deployed. Yeah, you’re going to have a way better birthday than I did. :):):)
    Excited for ya and can’t wait for the photos and commentary!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

  • Bethany
    June 7, 2010 at 6:57 am

    love the pic of you and hubby. 🙂

  • Whitney
    June 7, 2010 at 7:05 am

    You are so precious. I live in SC and went to Santa Rosa beach last weekend; I saw the produce stand where yall went for Memorial Day near Dothan, I think. I was so excited when I spotted it! I told my husband that Darby goes there!! I like to act like I know you. I absolutely love the game you played at your dinner party. I laughed out loud!

  • ashley
    June 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

    That would be the best email to read- a trip to Italy! Have a blast and please share awesome places, my husband and I are looking to travel there next year.

  • Lauren Ahier
    June 7, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Darby – what a great sister you have! I can’t wait for pictures.
    I’ll have to try out your dinner game next time we get together with friends.

  • Katie
    June 7, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I can’t wait to use that dinner party game! I just turned 30 two days ago…whoa!! I definitely had a *wild* celebration….only the *wild* part was that we took two babies to a good restaurant for dinner, and they were WILD…haha! 😉 I am saying a prayer for your friend’s baby right now…and we’ll keep praying for them.

  • Courtney at Scattering Lupines
    June 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Oh, I love a game that doesn’t require lots of PIECES that are bound to be lost or eaten!

    Thanks for the idea!

  • Laura
    June 7, 2010 at 8:18 am

    ITALY! So excited for you & your sis! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time sharing fun, food & a million laughs!

  • Annie
    June 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

    You are going to love Italy! What a fabulous birthday celebration! Florence is a must-see, and, depending on how long you have, explore some of the smaller towns (like Assisi); they are absolutely gorgeous!

  • debra
    June 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Darby…congrats on the trip to Italy, a real love of mine! I traveled with my best friend for my 30th birthday ten years ago and still look back on the trip with huge memories and a deep desire to return. I hope you fall in love with it too. It is so great that you have a friend living there to give you the ‘home’ tour. I love the Spanish Steps and having nutella for breakfast! 🙂 Something I still do now on occasion. I can’t wait to see your pictures.

  • Melissa Richie
    June 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Wow! What a great birthday present. I hope you two love Italy and enjoy spending time together.

    Pre date pictures are always hilarious. I always think they’re a good idea, because, hey, we’re dressed up anyway. Then they always turn out semi-awkward or just plain bad. Yours is great, though!

    Love the dinner party game! Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Melissa Richie
    June 7, 2010 at 9:02 am

    could i have said “always” a little bit more in that last post? geez.

  • Brittaney
    June 7, 2010 at 9:07 am

    My birthday is coming up as well (June 13th), but I won’t be lucky enough to spend it in Italy! Instead I’ll be joining my husband for his class reunion. Talk about two things to guarantee you’re getting older in the same weekend!
    Anyway, happy birthday to you and your sister and have a wonderful time in Italy!

  • elizabeth
    June 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Italy!!??! Are you freakin’ kidding me? What a way to ring in the 30’s! That is a lifetime trip. Y’all are going to have such a good time. Happy Early Birthday!!!!

  • Melissa
    June 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

    What a fabulous birthday present! Have a safe trip and a wonderful time! Can’t wait to read all about it.

    Haven’t commented lately b/c of too much family stuff going on. We lost two relatives (same side of the family) in less than a week, so two weekends in a row have been busy with funerals, houseguests, etc. Hoping things are going to get back to normal now and we can enjoy the summer–if it ever gets here! I’m still at school until June 14. 🙁 Tired!

  • Jennifer
    June 7, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Jaw is dropped! Italy!!! What a gift! I turned 30 a few months ago; time sure does fly, doesn’t it?
    Praying for Lindsey’s family and that sweet baby!

  • Emily Loewen
    June 7, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I love the picture of your 1st birthday! Your mom looks adorable in the green skirt. Love it! I hope my sister will be inspired by your blog when it comes time to celebrate my birthday…

  • erika (mommasissy)
    June 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

    i LOVE you sister!!
    love the picture of you and JJ and M and JM.
    praying for Lindsey’s precious son!!
    CANNOT wait to see you later this week!!

  • Amy
    June 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Oh wow, so much to comment on here.
    What a fabulous birthday present…wish i was turning 30 again! : )
    Love that picture of you and your sister and what a cool place to spend Memorial Day weekend, looks awesome.
    So glad I came across your blog, off to check out more!

  • Dianne
    June 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Have a wonderful trip! You certainly should. I have been to Italy and it is sooo beautiful. Is this a no kids, no husbands trip?…Sometimes the best kind. 😉

  • Deanna
    June 7, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Aw, I love that dinner-party game! I’ve played that one before, and it’s always fun to see how people fit their phrase in. I love your lake pictures, too. My husband and I are dreaming about buying one on a lake about an hour from our house in Upstate NY. Safe travels, as well. Can’t wait to see your pictures. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Rome twice. Really beautiful, but found there was a lot of trash/litter around the Colosseum area. I think it’s also illegal to buy knock-off designer items, so be careful!

  • Amber
    June 7, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I can’t wait to see ITALY pictures. I am so thrilled for you!

  • Kristen {a little ditty}
    June 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    oh. my. gosh. You are going to ITALY for your birthday!! I am so jealous! My favorite place in the world! That is so awesome. Both times that I have gone I have been with my best travel buddy, my sister 🙂 You two are going to have so much fun!! Can’t wait to see the pictures and hear all about it. And make sure you treat yourself to gelato AT LEAST once a day!

  • Sarah
    June 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    What a nice sister you have! I am also turning the big 3-0 this year, and am going to suggest to my 3 sisters that they surprise me with a trip to Italy! Although, since I will be 38 weeks preggers, I’m not sure that will happen! 🙂 I am happy for you and your sister though as sister time is the BEST! I can’t wait to see your pictures!

  • andi
    June 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I am laughing about my story starter….I see you didn’t add it to your list of repeatables!!!! Kittens…I just start laughing again. I am so speechless about a trip to Italy. All I can say is whitewater rafting and AU in the fall. ;)))

  • chi anne
    June 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    i think you are just fabulous!!
    happy birthday- all 10,950 days in the life of being 30
    can’t wait to read about italy-
    ps i love the rear view snake picture

  • Jennifer
    June 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I know the memories you’ll make will be amazing…what a fabulous way to start your 30s!! It makes me feel a bit teary (in a good way, of course!)just thinking about two sisters sharing a birthday in Italy – enjoy every second!!!

    Oh, and I love the pre-going out shot. My husband and I have quite a few of those, and they always crack us up. There’s something hysterical about everything else that’s going on as you try to leave for the evening.

    One more thing – I have more clothes for JM if you’re interested. Let me know!

  • Alice
    June 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Happy Early Birthday! I am also an identical twin and our 30th birthday is in 2 weeks! While it was supposed to be a surpise, our husbands are taking us on an all inclusive vacation together! Yay! I am so excited to get away but more excited to spend it with my best friend (she lives in Louisiana and I live in Arizona, both origianlly from Alabama!) I am sure you are so excited to get to be together(I am beeming from ear to ear just thinking about my sister and how much fun we are going to have). Enjoy!

  • Amanda
    June 7, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    And here I thought my 30th birthday trip to Disney World was exciting a couple months ago, but it’s definitely no Italy. Sounds like a blast…have fun!

  • Kelly@TearingUpHouses
    June 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Italy sounds fabulous! I’m sure the pictures will be BEAUTIFUL.


  • Melanie Gore
    June 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    My mil and her family are from that area. My husbands cousin lives in Grand Ridge. I wondered where you live because I grew up in Florida and I knew it must be the gulf coast. Italy sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to see all the pictures.

  • Kerri
    June 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    that’s awesome that you & your twin sister will get to have such a special, memorable vacation together in ITALY!!! i also have a twin sister and we will celebrate our 28th birthday together next weekend as well, on june 12th. aren’t twin sisters the best!?! when is your birthday? i enjoy your blog so much, specifically your home renovations, photography, and christian inspiration!!!

  • shannon
    June 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    i just love this blog.
    and little updates on your life.

  • Lisa @ lists in my pocket
    June 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m so excited for you guys! Cannot wait to see pics of you two in ROME! Happy 30th 🙂

  • Trina
    June 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    You do not look exhuasted! I looked at the picture first before reading and thought, “how does she always look so good?!”
    That sounds like a great dinner game–and I can’t wait to read about your trip to Italy!

  • alissa@33shadesofgreen
    June 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Oh Darby – You are going to love, love, love Italy. My sister & I have traveled there toge her twice and it is a magical place. I can not wait to see your pictures – they will tide me over until our next trip. Happy 30th birthday!

    Thinking of your friend and her little girl. . .

  • Lindsey
    June 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Hey D -love the pic, so real life! Thank you so much for mentioning my little man on here and thank you to all of you who are praying for him. We got a hopeful report at the doctor today.

    Wish we could have been there with all of you for the dinner party game and for the cookout tonight! Love and miss you dearly!!

    Can’t wait to hear about Italy.
    Love you,

  • Amy
    June 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Darby,
    It is so very nice to meet you. Lovely blog here…I too have two little girls with a baby boy. LOVE. IT.

  • Anne
    June 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I have never been to Italy…but I agree with those who say go to Florence…my sister had incredible pictures from her trip…Megan loved it too. It looks beautiful. ENJOY!
    The game sounds like fun…(usually I am the one suggesting the games and having people agree reluctantly…but it doesn’t stop me. haha)

  • Jessica
    June 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, you ladies are going to have so much fun celebrating your 30th in Italy! I’ve never heard of that game but am anxious to try it out… I’ll post on my blog when it happens. Oh and PS you don’t look tired in that picture, you look great!

  • Grace
    June 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Happy Birthday! You and your sista are too cute! Makes me wish I had a twin or even a sister. I am blessed with two of the best sister-in-laws I could ask for though! Have a great trip to the beach and Italy! Wow!

  • Susan
    June 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Happy Birthday, Darby and Erika! Thank God for wonderful sisters (and brothers). Hope you have a fabulous time and look forward to the details and pics!

  • Alli
    June 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    great sponsors as always!
    lots of prayers for the Leonard family!
    I have to girls (not twins but 16mos apart) i love that you and your sister are so close I hope my girls will always have a great relationship like that! .. but i’m thinking I need a little “rover” in my mix :]

  • Leigh
    June 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I love your dinner party game idea! Can’t wait to try it! Have a great time in Italy–sounds fabulous! What a thoughtful, wonderful surprise!

  • Bon
    June 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

    30 huh? You’re 15 days older than me, and I am sitting here and observing you and the details you share regarding your life, and thinking My oh My… Darby has accomplished so much in her life already. I admire Darby, she’s a wise one and she inspires me. It’s amazing that we share the same age, but I haven’t reached your level, your superiority yet. Not even close. Darby, good on you!

  • Bon
    June 10, 2010 at 7:37 am

    p.s. I’m including Lindsey’s sweet pea in my prayers. I had a friend who was burned on 75% of his body and am aware of the strength it takes to heal.

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    May 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for mention of Silver lake! We have a place there. It’s one if last pure lakes. Almost all others like Wakula Springs ruined by fertilizers, clearing the shoreline of filtering plants Like the rarest john’s wort on this lake. And hydrilks spread by motorboats. Let me know if your in laws want more info or if they have suggestions for keeping this very rare lake healthy!septic tanks can be tested by getting some free tablets from Garrett realty at entrance.

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