49 In Life

Good Old-Fashioned Fun



We’ve been home and back since I was last here. Our trip home was wonderful, but I feel a little bit like Rover in the picture above. I’m not exactly sure what emotions he’s portraying but going back and forth involves time & effort, which probably means I’m pooped out. Or it could be that I’m a whole year older than I was when I was last here! πŸ™‚ I didn’t even get to talk to Erika on our birthday, just a few “Happy Birthday” texts. I was treated to a quiet & kid-less dinner out with a dear friend who later took me to TJ Maxx… I honestly couldn’t have asked for more.



Before we left the coast we had ice cream and a boat cruise with my sweet friend, Ashley {of Blessed Be the Name}, and her family on Friday night. The weather was perfect, and we had an absolutely wonderful time, the kids included! The girls were very excited to wear Miss Ashley’s clothes!

Now that we’re back we’ve been hitting the pool again.


While we were home we had a couple very specific goals: check on bees, check on garden, & pick blackberries. After church on Sunday we headed south to check these things off our list. I’m not sure where you live, but our hometown is arguably the hottest place on the planet. For example, it is currently 101 degrees there, but here it’s only 90, 11 degrees cooler with a breeze from the water makes a huge difference! There’s usually 100% humidity and no breeze, which makes manual labor {what I classify picking blackberries as} after church at noon almost intolerable, but we went for it anyway. It will be a few more weeks before we’re home again and by then the blackberries will certainly be gone. We guzzled water, more than we thought we might need and kept cool rags on our necks… and did our best to attack the blackberries with the purpose of getting the job done, not a leisurely stroll. BlackberriesΒ  make you work really hard for the fruit of your labor. Between the fear of snakes and their brutal thorns you almost feel like you’ve fallen prey to them. I wore the most ridiculous shoes– flip flops. I will never wear flip flops to pick blackberries again.


We concluded that we were about one week early, again making us work even harder for our bounty. Blackberries do not continue to ripen when picked, so if they don’t come off the bushes easily, they’re not going to be sweet, nor will they get sweeter.


Thankfully, there are mowed rows through all 20+ acres of blackberries that are happily nestled amongΒ  a young long leaf pine {Pinus palustris for Justin} stand. We likely only picked 1 acre of the 20+. The mowed rows made it tremendously easier to stay on the beaten path and out of the way of predators. Justin and I had a quick conversation that we were thankful that rattle snakes usually give you a good rattle to let you know of their presence. We thankfully didn’t see any, nor did we hear them.

The kids were champs considering at noon the heat was incredibly intense. JM picked in his church clothes because his mother forgot his change. He later swam in his church clothes too!






The kids lasted about thirty minutes before they retreated to the shade to hit the cooler full of water. Their fingers were thorn-pricked and their faces were heat-pricked. We let them play while we continued our mission.






I came across Passion Flowers loaded with Maypops intertwined with the blackberries, which was a pleasant surprise! I’m wishing now I had picked a few Maypops just to try, although I don’t think they were ripe yet!



I can’t remember who called it a day but one of us called it, the heat was too much. We promised the kids a quick trip to the creek that is literally a stones throw from the blackberries. It welcomed us with cool refreshing water!








Post creek swimming, we made our way to loot the garden… we made out with corn {that looked good but tasted not so good}, tomatoes, squash, more green beans, cucumbers, and lots of banana peppers.




This is how a six-year-old with two loose teeth eats a cucumber straight from the garden…



Yesterday was a BIG day for Morgan… that first wiggly tooth finally came out! Looks like her permanent one was chasing it!


I think that concludes our action packed weekend… we thoroughly enjoyed being home! Now I’m getting geared up for a big weekend down here because Mom & DaddyBoy are coming!

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  • Meg
    June 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

  • Jessica
    June 15, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I know I say this every.single.time but I could seriously eat John Martin right up! That first picture cracks me up!

    And I adore the t-shirt your girls are wearing from your sweet friend. Is she selling them? I need to check out her webiste. My girls would look adorable in them!

    And Happy (belated) Birthday! Sounds like you had a great one…dinner without the kiddos AND TJ Maxx??!! Perfection!

  • Jen
    June 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    how are your kids so cute? i ask myself this often…

  • Christy
    June 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    So glad I clicked on the blog tonight to see if there was an update, so worth it! πŸ™‚ I don’t think the title could have said it better! What happy times, reminds of my childhood, farms, creeks & good old fashioned fun. Thank you for sharing. Your kids are so stinking cute.
    PS. My son is wearing is HB tee as I type. πŸ™‚

  • Natalie Chalker
    June 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now. I recently ordered a couple of your tees for my little boy. Love them πŸ™‚
    Your kids are beautiful and the photography is amazing! I have learned so much from the info from yourself and Marla on your site about taking great pics. I have the Canon Rebel and have gotten so much better with it from reading your info.
    Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Karena
    June 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    What great family fun!! The kids are just adorable. I have a purple passionflower I love!

    Art by Karena

    Do enter my New Giveaway from the Artisans at Novica!

  • Ty's Nonnie
    June 16, 2011 at 1:02 am

    You do have 3 beautiful kids for sure. We will be in Gulf Shores this weekend (our first time there, we usually go to Destin)so if you see a couple of 40 something year old grandparents with 2 of their 20 something year old daughters chasing our 2 year grandson and calling him Ty then that would be us! LOL

  • natalie @ our old southern house
    June 16, 2011 at 6:13 am

    we’ve been picking blackberries here too…albeit the thornless ones. but girl, don’t forget about the chiggers…oh, the chiggers! i loathe them.

  • Laura @ LauraLikesDesign
    June 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I just love all of these pictures! They capture the moments perfectly.

  • kristen
    June 16, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Such cute pictured always! Loving the first one of morgan in the creek! Makes you want to jump in the creek too!

  • Whitney
    June 16, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Love the photos! How sweet! I love the sweet cowboy hat and the picture of you and your hubby! You look so great! I’m so happy that you’re having a summer like this; it’s inspiring to turn off the tv and spend some real QT with the people you love…even if you don’t have kids yet!

  • Melanie
    June 16, 2011 at 7:31 am

    The awesome summertime fun just keeps coming! I love it!

  • Katie
    June 16, 2011 at 7:57 am

    The girls look so incredibly sweet – and the anchor outfits are darling. Y’all have 20 acres of blackberries!! WHOA! They look beautiful. I just read an article on longleaf pines … so wild you mentioned them. And I can’t recall if I mentioned this before, but do you buy seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange?? They have a lot of seeds that have been handed down through families, seeds that have not been genetically modified (!), and are proven for taste and production. Be warned, you will want some seeds of EVERYTHING!

  • Mary Lanier
    June 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Happy Birthday Darby! πŸ™‚

  • Amee Love
    June 16, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hey Darby doll!! Alan and I would gladly help y’all pick blackberries anytime!! Alan was disappointed to only get enough blackberries on our farm for one (1) blackberry cobbler this year. :0(
    Sunday afternoon..in the heat…with 3 little ones in tow…makes.me.hot just looking at the pictures. My mother put me on to a gift idea for these hot, hot days….it’s called Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad and you can get them at Dick’s for $14.99. I actually just bought one for my dad for Father’s Day because he & Dr. Sullivan have a massive garden together and this heat makes me nervous with him working in it all day on the weekends. The Frogg Togg is suppose to help keep you cool for up to 4 hours at a time. Just an idea. :0)

  • JulieJ
    June 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I hear ya about the perils of picking blackberries! Add intense Alabama noontime heat into the mix, and I feel your pain πŸ˜€ I’m glad there was a creek nearby to provide some relief! Enjoy your time at the beach with your parents this week…can’t wait to read about it πŸ™‚

  • JulieJ
    June 16, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Oh, I forgot to wish you a happy (belated) birthday. So…..happy birthday! I’m glad you were able to work in a trip to TJ Maxx πŸ™‚

  • Cherish @ Southern Soul Mates
    June 16, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Happy Belated Birthday!! A date with TJ Maxx sounds perfect to me! We live 45 minutes inland from Savanannah and it is always hot as blue blazes here-always 100+ degrees in the summer, so I feel your pain. Our blackberries came in a month ago, which is crazy early, but now our blueberries are in and they are so much easier to pick, thank God! Love the pics of the kids-they look like they’re having so much fun! I’m sure you’re all glad to be back at the beach πŸ™‚ Have a blessed week! xoxo

  • kristen
    June 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Blackberries are my most favorite fruit ever but I can’t pick them because I am so terrified of snakes! Glad y’all didn’t see any. Enjoy your visit with your paretns!!

  • Katie@ Noodle and Boof
    June 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Happy Birthday! A trip to TJ Maxx is just right! Love the blackberry and veggie picking pictures. The creek was the perfect way to end the day! Hope the tooth-fairy was good to Morgan (although a 5yo patient of mine just told me last week she does not exist)!

  • Snekcip
    June 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Happy Belated birthday Darby/Erica!!!

  • Lindsay
    June 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

    This post makes me sad to live in the city!! Looks like fun!!

  • Britt@knewlywifed
    June 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Cute pictures! Makes me love my country life too!

  • The Mom
    June 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I picked blackberries growing up: hard, hot work and always came home with a purple mouth, purple teeth, and purple hands! The youngest always had stick duty. We carried a long stick with us that we poked into the bush and shook around to scare off the snakes. I don’t know if it worked, but we never saw any…and this was in Opp, AL…rattlesnake country!

  • Melissab74
    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Your pictures are fantastic, and it looks like y’all had a ball! I think you’ve got the combination for a perfect summer!

  • Elizabeth
    June 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Love the cucumber snack! If one of my kids ate a cucumber without drowning it in ranch dressing, I would feel like my mission here was complete:)!

  • Margaret
    June 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I think my favorite thing about summer is creek playing! My two and a half year old is a fearless beast around water, so taking him to the creek is alot more relaxing for me than wrangling him and chasing him at any other body of water. I love all those pictures of your sweet, sweaty red faced babies.

  • Ali
    June 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I picked blackberries a few times at my Great Aunt’s house and all the picking was finally worth it once she made a blackberry pie! πŸ™‚

    Your family is the cutest little “farming” family I have ever seen!

    Makes me want to leave the city and buy acres and acres so my 3 kids can pick blackberries after church and jump in the creek! They are having a dream childhood!

    ~ Ali

  • Julia
    June 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my word! That looks like it was A LOT of work!

  • Kara
    June 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Those pictures are GORGEOUS and looks like you had lots of fun! I’m sure your children will have wonderful memories of those hot summer days… even though I’m sure it is tempting to just cool your heels in the AC! (Or at least it would be for me!) And I just have to say… normally it is JM who steals my heart in these posts but Morgan wearing her Daddy’s hat was just too much!! πŸ™‚

  • Ali
    June 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Happy Birthday to you! Sounds like you had a perfect birthday celebration! I guess Mom’s with 3 young kids love the treat of a kid-less dinner out and TJ Max’s…I know I would!

    I love JM’s facial expressions! They crack me up! πŸ™‚ He reminds me of my youngest who is 2, Jack William! πŸ™‚ Isn’t the baby of the family something!?! πŸ™‚ Our boys would be a hoot together or a righteous mess!

    ~ Ali

  • Dianne
    June 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Happy Birthday Darby! So glad your parents are joining you at the beach…what fun for everyone! I am still painting (thank you). Reading your blog is a welcome break. Love you!

  • Tonja Owens
    June 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Darby,
    Just a note to tell you that I so enjoy seeing the pictures of the children. They are all beautiful and have such light in their eyes! It is a wonderful thing to teach children how to find joy. And, I see it in your children. It comes from varied experiences, working toward a goal, and being appreciated for what you accomplish. You and your hubby are wise. To learn that something good (sweet blackberries) comes from hard work and diligence (picking in the Dothan heat) is a lesson well learned. Your blog takes me back to days long past with my own 3 boys. They pass so quickly. How I wish there had been ‘blogs’ back then. Thanks for the memories you brought up for this Mom. It makes me count the days until Little Levi can have some of the same experiences. God bless you all.

  • Christina
    June 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Happy Birthday! I was born just a few days after you.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and am amazed at how much Morgan has grown, especially in recent photos. All of your children are BEAUTIFUL! Their loving relationships are evident through your photos. I hope they will continue along that path throughout their lives. Neither my husband nor I have close relationships with our siblings and it is missed. Happy Summer, Darby!

  • Lindsey
    June 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Your photos are awesome. The first one of JM literally made me laugh out loud. So glad y’all are having such a fun summer!!!

  • Haverlee
    June 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Your kids are way too much cuteness for one blog! I can’t stand it! πŸ™‚ That picture of Morgan in the creek with the hat on is SO gorgeous. I just love seeing kids in gorgeous kids clothes–Southern style. Those sandals on your little boy and those ruffled shorts on the girls–so sweet. I grew up partially in Georgia but now live in Iowa. People here don’t even do their little girls’ hair and I’ve NEVER seen a little boy in sandals like that. Even the girls wear Crocs with their sundresses. If I ever have a girl, she’ll be the only girl in her class with big bows on her head!

  • Jill Cribb
    June 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing the picture of the Maypop. I found something that looks just like that growing near our wild blackberries on the side of our long dirt drive. I was wondering what it was!

  • Nelle
    June 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Happy late birthday Darby! Can’t wait for your parents visit. Love the stories of your Daddy Boy. Will enjoy seeing what he digs up for you. The creek photos are dear and my gosh Morgan is such a beauty. I feel like you’ve allowed us to watch them grow up and it is delightful to witness her first missing tooth. Congrats to Morgan! xoxo

  • May
    June 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Darby, as always your photographs and anecdotes are absolutely delightful. I thank God for your blog, your lovely family. We’ve been going through some very tough times and your lovely Christ-like attitude is such a blessing. Thank you.

  • Sara @ The Fat Hydrangea
    June 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I want some good old-fashioned fun in my life! Makes me want to be a kid again πŸ™‚ Looks like you are having a great summer!

  • mrs. may
    June 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Cutest family on earth!!

  • Amanda Wells
    June 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I can attest to the torture of blackberry picking. i grew up doing it. And Jackson, MS is pretty stinking hot too, so I feel your pain!

  • Ivy Smith
    June 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Those pictures of the blackberries and the creek remind me so much of our farm! We have a place just south of Bainbridge and we love it! I hope ya’ll dont have as many gnats is we do, they are miserable!

  • Lindsey
    June 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    that first picture of jm is quite possibly the funniest thing i’ve seen in some time. and i LOVE the one of morgan in the hat. you do have beautiful children! so glad we got to see you guys over the weekend. looking forward to next time!

  • emily
    June 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

    that picture of morgan in the creek by herself w/ the hat on might just be the cutest thing i have ever seen!!! she is gorgeous, and is just glowing πŸ™‚ happy belated birthday!! those blackberries look divine, they have been my go-to snack/dessert for the past week. so glad yall had a wonderful time. xoxo

  • Helen
    June 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Darby ~ You’re kids are just so cute. JM reminds me so much of my Wells. Hope and pray God refreshes you during your back and forth summer!


    PS Happy belated birthday!

  • Tara
    June 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Dbone- I love the pics of the kids in the water! Those are great. Maybe I should pay you to come down and take a class from you this summer πŸ˜‰

  • tracy
    June 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    love reading your blog. the pics are priceless! where did you find that beach towel with the aqua & orange fish motif?

  • Jason
    July 11, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Babies are so cute and cuddly and yet they emit so much bleeeuuugghhhh!!