45 In Life

Fun, Food, Old Friends, Non-Fiction, Fire & Furry Animals

That’s a lot of F’s.

A lot has been going on–me sitting at my computer hasn’t been one of them… now I’ve got this crazy backlog of photographs and things we need to talk about.Whether or not I can cover them all will be determined by the time I wrap this post up.

Keeping in the theme of F’s… I will FIRST say that our sweet & feisty little Rover turned 3 today! Doesn’t seem possible does it? Wasn’t he just born? He keeps me on my toes at all times. He’s matured into a kind yet rambunctious, independent yet needy, three-year-old, with absolutely no shortage of spunk. He’s all about testing his boundaries, and I’m all about keeping him in range. This picture cracks me up but also serves as a good representation of life with the Rover!



Justin did the birthday shopping this year. This is impressive, as shopping is not one of his strong suits but taking great care of his little man is. He picked out a Cars themed tricycle that was destined to please. Despite Rover’s special request for a TV with a ladybug remote control {we have no idea?}, he was thrilled with his new tricycle.


While Justin covered the gift part of the birthday celebration, I was assigned to the decorations. A   quick trip to the Dollar General for balloons, ribbon and a banner, and we were all set for his usual 6 am wake up call!

Bday boy

In other news, we are self-proclaimed pool rats. This has been greatly influenced by the fact that the girls have been enrolled in swim lessons for two-weeks. As every mother knows, by the time you have 3 in bathing suits, and lathered up in sunscreen, you might as well stick around for a while. The girls worked hard on their strokes, and Morgan even worked on her dives and flip turns.



One morning the clouds rolled in, and we decided we’d go to the little zoo in Gulf Shores.








Look, a Joey Bag of Donuts! This is all I could think of when I saw these joeys in bags, then I wanted Moe’s.

The zoo was good entertainment for a rainy day, but consider yourself informed that should you choose to go, once inside there are individual “exhibits” that you pay to see up close. For instance, we could see the little joeys in bags through the fence, or we could go inside the fence for $5/person. I gave in on the little “petting zoo” exhibit,  but the rest we enjoyed from the outside.


In the afternoons I’ve been reading, either in our bedroom {above} or on a lounge chair tucked away in the shade of the deck, where a breeze is almost always constant off the water.


These have been my entertainment, and all non-fiction entertainment at that…

Library loot

The Glass Castle, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, The Art of Simple Food, and A Homemade Life. I was going to muster up a summary/review, but I don’t think I have it in me right now so here are a few brief thoughts. Like many of you told me, I think you should read The Glass Castle. I’m convinced writing a memoir takes an incredible amount of courage, which apparently, Jeanette Walls has no shortage of. Nor is she short on grace, and while I’m not sure if she’s a woman of faith, I believe anyone could walk away from The Glass Castle with a great appreciation of her humble acceptance of her parents despite their enormous deficiencies, much like the grace we so undeservingly receive.  Ree Drummond’s book was a fun and easy read. It too, I’m sure, took courage to write, despite her story being a great contrast to Jeanette Wall’s. It made me laugh out loud more than once. I consider it an easy pool/beach-read. I’m in the middle of A Homemade Life and loving it. Who knew a cookbook could be a page-turner!? Molly Wizenberg {of Orangette} accompanies each recipe with a well-written short story that she effortlessly weaves into an introduction of the recipe. If you enjoy a well-written story and a good recipe, you should read it! After reading each story, I want to immediately run to the kitchen. This afternoon I found myself wanting chocolate one minute and tuna the next… an unlikely pair to crave within minutes of each other.  The Art of Simple Food is a collection of simple recipes, none of which I’ve tried yet, so I can’t really speak to it.

While I read this afternoon, Morgan and Paige were very entertained with chalk.

Chalk girl


Our patio is covered with mermaids, sea turtles, hop scotch courses, American flags… and our girls are subsequently covered in chalk dust!

Now, moving on to fire & friends, which seems a suitable place to wrap up, despite not making my way to the food yet!

Gulf State Park had quite a devastating wildfire that started last Saturday. I think over the course of 5 days over 600 acres  have burned. This is the view of the smoke from our dock. The sky has been peppered with falling ash and the smoke can be seen for miles. My understanding is that it is now under control.


Last Saturday, Justin and I slipped in a little date. Did you know that dates by watercraft are always exponentially better and much more romantic than a car ride? It’s true.


Once we arrived to our destination {Ono Island} we had an even better view of both the sunset and the smoke.


It was a fabulous evening in the company of old friends. There’s just something special about old friends. These are friends of mine from Auburn, friends who, over the last ten years, I’ve bumped into occasionally and some not at all.



They remind me of Auburn, they remind me of being younger and staying up late, so much so that we pretended to be young and stayed up really late, or maybe it was early. We ate, we laughed, we danced, we sang, we talked, I DJ’d, we danced some more, ate some more, took a few pictures, laughed really hard, and had an absolutely wonderful time. They reminded me that though the years may pass good friendships don’t. They also remind me of just how much I loved my years at Auburn, I look back on those years with incredible fondness and I am thankful for sweet memories. They also reminded me that I still like the  Red Hot Chili Peppers.





This next picture cracks me up because Emily is not a friend of fluoride, Brett to her right is an orthodontist.

anti-flouride powwow

I feel certain by the end of the conversation either Emily was ready for Crest or Brett was ready for baking soda, I just can’t remember which way it fell.


And this was taken around 1 am, about 4 hours after my bedtime, we were all danced out but miraculously still awake with eyes opened. Fear not, I have made a mental note not to do the “cheer squat” for pictures.


The end.

Food, coming up next.

aluminum bottles

PS: These cute things rolled in this week and have been listed!!

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  • Kristee
    June 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I’m waiting up to check a blood sugar and was so happy that your new post popped up on my google reader. Love all the pics and what awesome memories all of you are making at the beach this Summer. I also clicked on the link for honey bee tees, bc I know two girls that need a pink water bottle with the bicycle. 🙂 Let me know where to pick up. Happy Birthday, Rover. Love your hot new wheels.

  • Cherish @ Southern Soul Mates
    June 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Happy 3rd Birthday to JM!!! He is so cute-you should have another one 😉 Looks like y’all are having a blast with all of the fun activities. We have been dealing with smoke and ashes from wildfires here in South Georgia, too, but thankfully the good Lord blessed us with some rain this week and it has helped tremendously! I agree that dates are SO much better on a watercraft 🙂 Good for y’all for getting out and catching up with old college friends! Have a great weekend!

  • Serenia
    June 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Oh my! Three years old, a reunion and a fire?! I am glad you could remind me what a “date” was…Maybe I’ll have to remind my husband 🙂

  • Christine
    June 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Date night! Awesome. I’m excited that the hubs and I will get one in August. (yes August, but it will be catching up with lots of pals so it is worth the wait). You have even inspired me to make a point to get to the gulf in the near future :).

  • angie
    June 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Looks like so much fun! Glad y’all are having a blast! Very cute water bottles. May have to snag a few! Happy Birthday John Martin! I can. not. believe he is 3! Not possible.

  • Brittaney
    June 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Happy 3 years to Rover!
    Since my dad lives in Orange Beach I’ve been hearing lots about the fire. Last I heard, the fire was under control & now they’re controlling the fire so that there aren’t any more fires anytime soon. I think that’s what he said anyway!
    Looks like you had fun with your friends from Auburn. I might be a little biased, but I’m pretty sure Auburn friends are the best!

  • carrie
    June 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    first off, happy bday to john martin! and i had to come over and comment b/c i see my sweet friend, sara flurry (now mcfarland) in one of your pics! we went to high school together 🙂

  • Ashley
    June 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Cant wait to pick up a homemade life from the library next time I’m there!! Sounds fabulous! Don’t you just love summer reading?!

  • Christy F.
    June 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    A few of my loves on this post… Morgan’s dive, Paige’s jump, and the picture of them all looking at the lions. Girls fascinated by the huge cats. John Martin climbing the fence. Fabulous!

    So awesome that you and Justin are spending regular nights together and some awesome date nights too! What a blessing for the whole family! Love and miss you!

  • Christy Keyton
    July 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I read The Glass Castle about two years ago and will never forget it! Amazing book- shocking, but amazing. If you want another great read about women’s relationships and the south, read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. I loved that book! Happy Birthday to your little Rover!

  • Stephanie
    July 1, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Just got the happy camper water bottle! SUPER EXCITED!

  • april
    July 1, 2011 at 12:47 am

    thanks for keeping a nursing mother company at 1:45 in the morning. 🙂

  • JulieJ
    July 1, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Your little Rover is such a cutie pie! I’m sure this isn’t new information for you 😉 I’m so enjoying the pictures and stories of your family’s summer adventures. Your kids will never forget this summer! I’m glad you got to visit with some old Auburn friends. I wish I saw mine more than I do, but being together with them instantly transports me back to college. There’s something pretty magical about that 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend, Darby!

  • Ellis
    July 1, 2011 at 4:41 am

    I was over from Mobile spending the week in Orange beach last week, and we were at the zoo when y’all were there. I wanted to say hi but felt like too much of a nerd, and then I didn’t see you again. We were going the opposite way around the “loop” in the zoo. Have a great weekend!

  • paige
    July 1, 2011 at 5:20 am

    love your updates beach barbie, i mean beach darby

  • abbie
    July 1, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I absolutely LOVED Homemade Life as well. I wish Molly W would write ten more books–I was sad when I got to the last page.

  • Jennifer
    July 1, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Laughing SO hard at the cheer squat. I love your posts … beautiful, inspiring, and often hilarious.

  • Mary Lanier
    July 1, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Love love love the Dollar General birthday theme! 😉 My parents’ birthdays are in July and we would always celebrate at the lake with the DG as our party supplier! I also love the water bottles!

  • Sherry
    July 1, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Love the bottles!! Oh sooo cute!
    You are oh so tan!

  • Taylor@WiseFamilyLiving
    July 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

    A friend told me recently… She would not have another child if someone offered her a million dollars cash. Sounds harsh, I know. But do you know why? Because she has three already and absolutely could not endure putting sunscreen on a 4th child! Which I thought was absolutely hilarious. I suggested that with a million dollars she could hire some help, but she didn’t seem convinced. Have a great 4th! Our baby is in surgery, so if you think about it, we would appreciate your prayers!

  • Shea Ford
    July 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Love your blog~always a good read!!! Small world…grew up with Brett!!! There’s just always a Selma, Alabama connection! ha!

  • Margaret
    July 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Happy birthday, Rover. I swear, your Rover and my Max would definitely be best friends (Max will be three in August). Kind, yet rambunctious is a perfect description–one minute, he’ll kiss my pregnant belly and ask when his baby sister is coming out, and the next minute, he’ll sneak attack me by jumping off the back of the couch onto my head. Let us know how Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is! I can’t wait to read it!

  • Katie@ Noodle and Boof
    July 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Y’all have been busy! I also enjoyed The Glass Castle. Something about summer makes me want to read (even though school required summer reading always made for a good struggle!). Happy birtday Rover! Hope y’all have a great 4th!

  • Kathleen
    July 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Darby, I love your blog! I’ve been following you for about 2 years. The Honey Bee T’s are so cute. Have you every thought about carrying rompers? I’ve got a 9 month old and I know I’d buy some since that’s all he wears. Just a thought!

  • Serah
    July 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Every time I see a new post from you, I get so excited! It’s like a little Christmas present! What a fun time you’re having down at the beach this summer. I love how much you seem to embrace every day with your children, both the good and the bad, and still make time for your friends and family. And Happy Birthday Rover!

  • Jennifer
    July 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Looks like y’all are having a blast! Your water bottles are adorable! Happy Birthday Rover!!!

  • Natalie
    July 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Talk about small world…you know Todd? He was a sig ep with Stephen, my husband, and he and his fabulous family are great friends of ours. Bennett (my three year old) had/has his first crush on todds niece Mae.
    You are in great company with them but I know you know that!
    and happy bday to JM


  • Melanie
    July 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    whoah- you covered a lot! My son will be three this Friday…he is quite a handful liek Rover! We totally must have been at Auburn during the same time becasue the Red Hot Chili Peppers always remind me of college, too! Looks like you guys are still having a BLAST!

  • Katie Griffith
    July 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    You remind me how much I need to keep track of my kiddo and the baby on the way! It goes soooo quick and I inevitably forget the camera;-/ have a great weekend!

  • Lynn Campbell
    July 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I have to say it’s a small world as well! I recognized Brett in your pictures. We all used to live in Selma and he went to school at Morgan Academy with my two oldest, Nathan and Gretchen (Campbell.) His younger sister Maggie cheered with my daughter. It’s crazy how small this world can be at times! I keep looking for you when I’m making my Target visits even though I know you are not in town this summer. It’s been great fun living at the beach this summer through your writings. Before we moved here, we lived in Panama City so it’s always fun to see, read and think about coastal living. I miss it sometimes.

    Enjoy the holiday weekend and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROVER!! Welcome to the TERRIFIC THREE’s! : )


  • Lindsey
    July 2, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Happy Birthday Rover!!! Glad you had a chance to meet up with Auburn buddies and have a date night. I agree with another comment, someone needs to remind my husband what that means 🙂 have a great 4th weekend!!

  • tara
    July 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    you love your days at Auburn as much as I loved my days at UGA…such great friends and wonderful memories!

    love all of the pictures….the girls covered in chalk and the ROVER celebrating his bday…so special…what great memories you guys are making this summer together!

    and, I just have to say…whoever that girl is in the sporty bikini is…..she looks adorable and she’s in freakishly good shape. 🙂

  • Katie Gibbs
    July 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    So funny – apparently Brett is a popular guy! My husband is from Selma and also grew up with him. 🙂
    I love, love, love your blog. Makes my heart happy to read it. 🙂 And HBD to Rover! Anxious to see what your take on the threes is … been a bit challenging on this end, but entertaining, rewarding, and humorous, to say the least!!
    Have a wonderful long weekend!

  • Holly-- The Storm Chaser
    July 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Hey, I grew up with Heath and have known Emily since they started dating in highschool!
    Love reading your blog. Fellow AU alum over here!
    I almost spewed my coffee when I read your caption about the cheerleader pose. Looks like a super fun weekend.

  • Susan C.
    July 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Darby! I think your “cheer squat” and Alex’s “frat tuck” just completes the whole college theme. Still can’t believe I missed this fun!

  • Kat
    July 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Sara!! My husband and I are good friends with Jay & Sara! They are so awesome!

  • Irene
    July 9, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I enjoyed reading your post. So glad you had a good time. And yes, as the old scout song goes, “new friends are like silver, but old friends are pure gold”. Enjoy life!

  • Kristin
    July 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    You have the most adorable children! I’m loving all of the pictures of the waterways that I grew up on! We live in Pensacola. My parents started out with a camper on Perdido Key, then on to a small condo, then a big condo (which they still own), and now they own a home on Ono Island. I’ve spent most of my life on those same waters. The sunsets are absolutely stunning! Hope you are enjoying your summer there! Maybe we’ll run into you!

  • Kate from Party Resources
    July 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    The ducklings…your adorable kids and the fab new water bottles…it is too much to take!

  • kathleen
    July 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

    War Eagle . Just read the story of the missing spearfishing diver — 40 miles off the coast of Orange Beach. Curious as to the big stories in your neck of the woods –I went internet surfing. If it weren’t for the Gulf Oil Spill last year, the average person would have no idea about all the abandoned improperly capped oil wells at the bottom of the sea!! The spear fishing diver story on a tv station web site –has images of the diver underwater — on an earlier dive I assume, near what appears to be a platform of some sort– a derrick perhaps. Be careful out on the water– we enjoy reading your bog

  • Misha
    July 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Man! I haven’t looked at your blog in a while and now I’m sad that I haven’t. Your blog is always so inspiring and heartwarming. I love all the photos of you guys and your friends. How much fun! Shame on me for staying away so long!

  • RobynC
    July 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Daaaaaaaarby, where aaaaaaaare you? I think, along with all your other stalkers, we’re assuming absence from the blog equals mega fun at the beach. 🙂

  • Darby Defender
    July 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Hootie Hooo! Hey Darby! I haven’t checked your bloggie out in a while and I’m loving this post. This summer will be such a great memory for your kiddos!

  • Caroline
    July 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Miss you… come back!!!!!

  • Heather
    July 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I loved The Glass Castle too!