63 In Life

What we’ve been up to…

I wish I could come to you with an overwhelming sense of excitement for all that we’ve been up to… there is no denying it has been wonderful in every way, but my heart is heavy because this morning we lost our precious family dog of 13 years, Chasey, a beautiful and sweet golden retriever. She has been the faithful greeter of all our guests and as sweet as they come. She loves food and when not greeting guests she could be found lying in the kitchen waiting for any morsel that would come her way.


Her old, tumor-ridden body was giving out on her and watching her seize and suffer was as painfulΒ  for us as it was for her. She had thirteen wonderful years and we are so very grateful for the wonderful memories we have of her. It’s amazing how a pet can become part of a family. We loved her so much and we will all miss her dearly. Erika and I picked her out in 1997 and surprised our parents with her. We were going off to college and thought they “needed” her to keep them company! It turns out she has been so much more than just good company!

Now, I’m not sure how to transition from that to what we did on Monday but I’m going to try…

First, I will let you know that it is no longer “chilly” here. In fact, it’s down right tortuously stifling outside. Monday we went into town and took the kids to the city pool. I have so many wonderful memories of this pool as a child {when we’d come visit family}. My cousin spent many summers working as a life guard and I love being able to bring the kids here. It’s a pretty rockin’ city pool, especially since it’s been around since the 1950’s. It’s definitely worth the $2 admission fee.



JM has a new sense of confidence since you all told me they were water “muscles” and not “wings”… we also call him Hasselhoff now. He thanks you!




We were only a couple minutes into our trek back to the farm when the little man couldn’t stand to hold his tired eyes opened any longer… farm life and swimming exhausting!


That evening after dinner we took our little green chariot to the small school in my parents community. Behind it lies a hidden treasure… a playground, surrounded by beautiful fields. The kids and I spent a lot of time here last summer and had a blast! It was just as much a hit this year as it was last.







And what would a trip to the playground be with out a least a couple meltdowns…


He was having a hard time getting all the pebbles in his front loader… it was a really big deal to him. It’s hard being two. He finally snapped out of it and decided he’d give the merry-go-round a whirl.


I’m not sure how old you are or if you’ve been to a playground lately but if you think you’re still young and spry, try swinging on a swing set or riding on a merry-go-round, it will humble you. I tried both and thought I’d toss my cookies. I also tried the monkey bars and realized what upper arm strength I thought I had must have been my imagination. Thankfully the children haven’t developed my aversions to playground equipment.






When we got home JM blew off the driveway for us and the girls had their friends {twin girls} who live across the street over to play.



Justin took us on a sunset cruise around the property… and every one slept really good that night!




This is for Justin… Mom bought JM a “big boy” hat… he thinks he’s big stuff now!


I’ll be back soon with August sponsor details and a recipe… here’s a picture to whet your appetite! It’s my mom’s specialty!


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  • Nelle
    August 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Joyful! So happy for you all to have so much time to chill and play. Ah summer. And so sorry to hear about your puppy!

  • Rebecca
    August 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    What kind of car do you drive? I see that you fit all three kids in one row. We are about to have our third child and three car seats won’t fit in our Ford Escape. We’re feeling like our only option is a big SUV or minivan, neither of which is preferable for us. I’m curious!

  • Amanda
    August 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry about your beloved golden! But what a wonderful trip. Love all the fun pics and your commentary is awesome. I love seeing and reading about your family’s adventures. I’m just south of Nashville and my daughter would love to play with your kiddos if you need a break on the way home πŸ™‚ I’ve been reading for a while but haven’t “properly” introduced myself. So, “hello my name is Amanda. It’s so very nice to meet you!” I’m not a scary stalker, just a curious one πŸ™‚ I am chronicling our life at http://www.amandamankin.typepad.com if you’d like a visual. Happy Wednesday!!

  • Jessica
    August 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter…wanted to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your beautiful golden. No one can quite touch your life like a dog and for that we must consider ourselves lucky.

  • Steph
    August 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Like Jessica @ 220, I’m a first time commenter too. Just had to say I’m so sorry to hear about Chasey. We just in May put down our 12 year old black lab who too suffered from tumors. Now they’re both watching over all of us! On a happier note, water muscles, love it!

  • Katie
    August 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about y’all’s sweet dog. Bless his heart, he’s beautiful.

    At the park the other day, I was attempting to impress my own babies by my high-flying swing skillz, and I almost yakked. I even had to have my husband stop the swing so I could get off. I reckon that’s what I get for trying to show off…good lesson for the kiddies. HA!

    And do I spy fruit pizza?! YUMMMM!

  • Sarah
    August 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I am so sorry about Chasey. We have had many goldens and lost them all to tumor filled bodies. It is brutally painful each time we lose one. They are just the best companions.

    I love the sunkissed skin on the kiddos – they look so happy!

  • Cat Moore
    August 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    beautiful pics! i just have to say — your little boy is precious! he’s one of the cutest and most handsome little boys I’ve ever seen! I mean that! i love that there are little rocks on the playground. I hate sand on playgrounds. And that pool! Amazing! so big and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • alison g. (brazil)
    August 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I imagine your parents’ hearts are salved a bit with ya’ll there. Rest peacefully, now, dear pup.

  • Katherine @ Grass Stains
    August 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Darby, I am so, so sorry to hear about Chasey … losing a pet — even as an adult — is so difficult. My thoughts are with your parents and the whole rest of the family!

  • Alice
    August 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear abour your sweet family companion! It’s always a hard thing to say goodbye.

    I just wanted to tell you that reading about your trips to Illinois always take me back to visiting my grandparent’s house in Missouri. It’s as if they are almost parallel in adventures. Neighbors across the street to play with (mostly twice a year), the big city pool and coffee on the front porch! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your family visit. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and longing for those summers spent in Missouri with my family.

  • Bridgette
    August 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    oh thinking and praying for you and your family. i’m so glad you got to love on the doggy and be there for your parents. I have a soft spot for golden’s and have one myself.

    ps- beautiful pictures

  • Emily
    August 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Chasey. I know that must be hard. I also wanted to let you know that you have such beautiful children! (Not like you didn’t already know that!) Where did they get their blonde hair?

  • Sara
    August 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Looks like the best time! Paige’s facial expressions are to die for, what fun she is having!!! So sorry about Chasey πŸ™

  • Tara
    August 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I love the pictures of your family enjoying time in the country with your family…you’re having so much fun together!!

    And, I have a rendition of that yummy recipe..I’m wondering if it’s the same as your moms?

  • kelly
    August 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Mmmm. that pie … it looks like heaven!


  • Beth
    August 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm


    My boys hate swimmies – so I found this for Jaxon last year (he’s 3 now) and he loves it. We used it all summer last year and this year as well…Maybe Rover will like it better!!!https://www.walmart.com/ip/Swimways-Power-Swimmer-Vest-Small/4787052

  • Ashley
    August 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Oh how I love your blog! It just makes me gooey inside. So sorry to hear about your pup. I lost my sweet Stella, a black lab my college boyfriend gave me, recently and it’s been so hard! Love the photos from the farm – gosh, what I would give to have a place like that in the country to visit. And I adore that pie. Yum.Oh.

  • Hannah
    August 4, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Great pictures! Sooooo sorry about your dog. Our chocolate lab went to heaven about 6 weeks ago, and I never thought it would be so hard.

  • Laura
    August 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of you sweet family pup. Other than that painful loss it looks like you’re having a wonderful visit with family which is always treasured time. What a neat little town your folks live in. I love seeing all of your pictures and hope you enjoy the remainder of your visit.

  • Jennie-Marie
    August 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    D, so sorry about Chasey, I know you are all missing a precious part of you today. I can’t wait for your recipe, I know I enjoyed many of your moms specialty treats when she came to Auburn. I think she fixed one of her delightful fruit parfaits the first time I met her and I think of her every time I have one.

  • Lauren
    August 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Precious pictures….they look like they are having so much fun swimming and playing on the playground!
    Can’t wait for that recipe~looks delish! πŸ™‚

  • Bonnie
    August 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    My heart is always warmed with your posts. Watching your children grow is delightful and hearing about your family life is very special. Your mother’s pie looks divine. I love your visits with them because I’m their age and relate so well to what I know is a special time when you visit.

    I am sorry about your family dog.

    It is very HOT in south Alabama. Be glad you are missing this heat wave.

  • Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss
    August 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Such great photos. And I’m so sad about Chasey. I have a golden retriever— and they all just melt my heart. Fruit pizza— yum!

  • Kristen
    August 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Darby I am so very sorry about sweet Chasey! I know how very hard that is. But I am glad you are having such a wonderful time with your family! Beautiful pictures and that pool looks so FUN!!

  • Lindsey Encinias
    August 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Darby…so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. I’m certain he’s in doggy heaven.
    Where on earth did you get that blower for JM? That’s a necessity for my nephew. πŸ™‚
    Enjoy the rest of your time with your parents. That trip to the farm always looks so fun!

  • Brittny
    August 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    My four year old son ran up and saw the pics of the pool first and thought JM was his little cousin and then when I told him no he quickly asked when we were going to get to play with JM. When I told him we weren’t b/c we didn’t really know him he asked how far away he was and I told him Illinois. He just said, “Whoa, that’s really far.” I was still scrolling at this point and then he saw the pics of JM with the front loader and I heard him whisper slowly, “fro..nt…lo..ad…er” with that sound of pure awe and amazement. He has been obsessed with all things trucks and construction since he got his first cast iron catapillar excavator at less than 2 years old. I remember he slept with it that first night and he’d never slept with anything before. We still have it. Paint has chipped mostly off and I think it was even recalled b/c of lead in the paint. It has a piece of wire holding part of it together and one of the tracks is broken on one end, but I have visions of it sitting on his desk at his construction company when he’s grown. Have fun with it and embrace those trucks! Now if you want to impress a boy, just learn the names of all of them. That’ll get their attention! : )

  • erika (mommasissy)
    August 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    jealous i’m not there. kiss those beautiful babies for me. and give momma a BIG hug. and tell the Prof i love him.

  • Cousin
    August 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Oh I’m sad about sweet Chasey. She will be missed. Those pictures of the city pool certainly bring back memories of my lifeguarding days! I see you left out a couple details;) I love you all and can’t wait to see you all!!

  • Kari
    August 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Chasey. Losing a dog is like losing a family member – they definitely hold a special place in your heart!

    Also, I felt the need to tell you that I can’t handle how cute I think your kids are – it’s just too much!

  • Yevette
    August 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Your little boy looks like your dad in his “big boy” hat!

  • Maggie
    August 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    So sorry to hear about Chasey! Chasey’s passing won my golden a seat on the couch for the night! He says “Thanks, Chasey!”

  • kristen
    August 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    gah!! these pictures are amazing!! the one of jm standing at the bottom of some stairs makes me want to throw every rational thinking piece of me out the window, have a 4th child, and pray that he is a boy

  • Mandy
    August 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    So sorry to hear about Chasey…we thought we had to put our dog down Monday but she snapped back and is ok…dogs are such sweet animals…none like them! The pictures are precious and beautiful! I have a “big boy” too, 18 months, and I could eat him up like JM..they are just two sweet! And the girls are precious…my 5yr old daughter wanted to join your girls on the merry-go-round! Have fun!

  • emily
    August 4, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I’d love to know more about the pie charger with the silverware cut out when you have the time please.

  • Lindsay Nicholls
    August 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your dog!

    I love the city pool. So wish dothan had one as amazing as that one.

  • Lindsay Nicholls
    August 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your dog!

    I love the city pool. So wish dothan had one as amazing as that one.

  • Shar Yates
    August 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    So sorry to hear about Chasey. I lost my dog of 12 last year and it still hurts but I do charish the loving memories of those 12 great years.

    Loved the photos of your precious family!

  • Maggie @ Living the Life of Riley
    August 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    So sorry to hear about Chasey. Losing a dog like is like losing a child. Our dog Riley is just as important to us. I even named my blog after him.

    JM cracks me up. Our soon to be three old was the same way when he first turned two. We also joked its so hard to be two. He would get frustrated about the funniest things. He also loves his tractors, trucks, and diggers.

  • Amy
    August 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    awww…what a precious doggie. i’m so sorry for your loss. we had a golden growing up and they are just the best. it seems they are always “smiling.”

  • Allison
    August 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I’m a long time reader but a first time commenter…I’m so sorry about your sweet dog. It really is like losing a family member and my heart goes out to all of you. On a lighter note, I love reading about your trips to Illinois. Makes me want to have a place like that to visit…complete with a schoolhouse! πŸ™‚ Your kids are precious and I love calling them “water muscles..” too cute!!

  • Justine
    August 4, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I love reading your blog, your photos are so good. So sorry to hear about your parents dog, our black Lab, Harvey, is 5 now and I want him to be around forever.

  • Sarah Hedgspeth Foster
    August 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I told Erika already since she came up in my reader first, but I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry about Chasey. I completely remember when you guys got her. So cute. I have some pictures somewhere…Glad you got to have great family time, nonetheless! I love seeing the farm pictures…thanks for sharing.

  • pam
    August 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    So sorry to hear about your beautiful golden. Such a painful time. Looks like you guys had a wonderful monday. Beautiful pictures. πŸ™‚

  • Heather
    August 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I always love your photos!!! Your mom’s specialty looks like my fruit tart, my daughter made this one.


  • Lindsey
    August 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    sorry about chasey… {awkward transition here} but i tried swinging with reese in my lap the other day and almost threw up?! why can’t we swing anymore? glad you are having a great time. heard our hubs had a great time together last night. and i have that white tank top you had on in the last post pictures. that’s all for my randomness.

  • Tara McClendon
    August 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Looks like you’re all having a blast! Do tell what you’re wearing in the bumper of the car picture…I need it and want it!!! πŸ™‚

  • kim
    August 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

    oh my dear Lord! Rover looks SO much like your father in the last picture you posted of him. all he needs are your dad’s glasses and you have a mini me of daddy boy :). glad you are enjoying your summer with your family. my heart goes out to all of you and the loss of dear sweet chasey πŸ™

  • jackie
    August 5, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I know how you are missing your sweet dog. We lost our Nick just about a month ago. He would have been 13 in December. They just become such a part of the family. Glad you are with lots of family and friends. Looks like you are having a blast! Jackie

  • Heather
    August 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    poor puppy:(

    You trip looks like so much fun! Melt down and all.

  • Kathy
    August 5, 2010 at 9:18 am

    In the picture where your son is wearing his “big boy” hat he looks so much like your father!

  • Angela
    August 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    You have the cutest kids ever!

  • jenna
    August 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    mmm..i can’t wait to hear about this fruit tart!! looks amazing!

  • ryepye
    August 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Sorry to hear about the passing of Chasey. How comforting that you are all together. We have lost two of our pets in recent years and they are dearly missed. On a lighter note, thanks for sharing your trip to IL. The farm is always beautiful and you are all having so much fun together.

  • Melissa
    August 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Your cousin sent me to your blog a while ago but I’ve never commented b/c well I figured you wouldn’t remember me anyway. We were so young when we would all play together. Anyway, had to comment after seeing the pool! Lots of memories of that pool and some that involved your cousin and a slumber party and middle of the night! Anyway, didn’t know you parents live close to there now! Glad you are enjoying your time.

    Your family is beautiful and I enjoy reading your blog (or stalking since I’ve never commented!)

  • Stephanie
    August 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I love updates and photos of your precious family! Looks like you’re having a great time visiting and vacationing =) I’m so sorry for your loss and so thankful you had her. My childhood dog is still at my parents’ house and will turn 15 in November, Lord willing. She has always been a family member, I don’t even want to imagine the future without her.

  • julia
    August 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I once tried to do the things I used to do one the playground (flip right side up from a bar). I almost landed on my face. Those were the days.

  • Amy
    August 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Your son reminds me so very much of mine. They could be brothers…and I may even stretch it to twins! Darlin’

  • Sara
    August 5, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    You really have the most beautiful children.

  • hanna
    August 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I thought they weren’t allowed to have those merry-go-round things anymore! Those used to be my favorite things.

  • Lynn
    August 6, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about Chasey. It’s so hard to see our beloved faithful pets suffering. They seem so healthy as they begin their puppy lives, and through the years provide us with such fun and unconditional love. It seems they will never get ill, but then they grow old and the days come when we know their time draws short. It’s just so hard to say goodbye. Some say our pets won’t be in heaven but you know, I’ve never seen that spelled out in the bible. God expresses a love for His creation, including the animals. He requires that man care for them in a loving, responsible way as well. Always heard the arguement that they don’t have souls, therefore won’t be in heaven. Well what about the angels? Neither do they have souls, yet they are in heaven. So who knows! If lions, lambs and horses are in heaven… and the bible indicates they are, then perhaps our beloved pets will be there too, waiting to greet us!
    God bless your hearts for I have had several beloved pets over the years who filled my life with happiness and fun, who came to me as puppies, grew up, lived their lives devoted to family, and finally grew old and had to leave – I do know how it hurts to say goodbye to such faithful loving friends. God bless your hearts with comfort and with happy memories.

    Love and hugs,
    Lynn.. your local target buddy!

  • Amanda
    August 6, 2010 at 2:17 pm


    I can no longer wait for your mama’s fruit/pizza/pie…whatever that thing may be…I want to make it!!! ASAP! πŸ™‚ It looks amazing…I will try to be patient. What a teaser! πŸ˜‰

  • Cami
    August 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I’m so sorry about your loss of Chasey. They truly are a part of the family and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to say goodbye.

    Where your parents live is just beautiful. It makes me want to pick up and leave the city (Atlanta) and buy a family farm. : )