44 In Life

I Could Be a Professional Spring Breaker

Before spring break came for our children, it came for many others who have invaded our little town and my grocery check-out lane at Publix, but that’s ok, really. Anyway, since the majority of the people in town were on spring break I pretended for at least two weeks that I, too, was on spring break, music turned up and windows rolled down. I was simply conditioning for my turn. Thankfully my conditioning didn’t include seven cases of Keystone Light like the college guys in line in front of me at the checkout who said,  “You know this won’t even last us a day!” {If I could add an emoticon of a guy puking I would put it in right here but I don’t think such thing exists.} And finally our spring break came, and just like that it’s over! Yesterday my three precious companions resumed pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade.

I recognize that I have been allowing myself to get so far behind on posting that even siting down to write a post in attempt to catch up seems to be a monumental task. But I’ve come to conquer tonight. Last time I was here I told you that Justin’s family was coming for the weekend to celebrate his mom’s birthday… well, sadly she came down with a nasty virus, and she & Justin’s dad didn’t even make it to the weekend in her honor. The rest of us enjoyed the weekend but missed them greatly! In a nutshell, we stayed in a sweet condo on the beach.  The cousins had so much fun swimming & playing together. We went to an art festival {where Morgan won a ribbon for  a piece the school submitted!}. We shopped, we ate, and we enjoyed all being together! Oh, and of course, we laughed a lot and I only took a few pictures with my phone…




The following week I got my braces off! Hip, hip, hooray! It was my second round of braces {this set was bottom only} and will undoubtedly be my last. When they were yanking the brackets off I thought they were going to accidentally pull out a tooth. Looks kinda scary doesn’t it?


We’ve also been on the road a lot, back and forth between the brown house and the beach. I ride shotgun and try to keep peace in the backseat, but even great attempts at doing so seem to fail sometimes. Speaking of failing, Paige failed a vision screening at school and the scary words they sent home on her report would have made you think her eyes were in serious need of attention. Thankfully our good friend, who the kids call “Dr. Joe”, is a pediatric ophthalmologist and worked us in on a Monday to see if the Raiger had any issues with her vision. She was very brave and did exceptionally well and walked out with a clean bill of vision health & a handful of stickers!




She unfortunately was under the weather the week following and got lots of TLC, like lunch in bed and popsicles at 2 am!


Everything tends to run together when you don’t keep up, but one week Justin was away in New Orleans for work and I did my best to let him know I was holding down the fort ok and that we made it to softball practices. JM is a total clown and I fear for his future teachers. We’re thankful for a few more years before big boy school and we hope to have him a little more refined by then.


We’ve also had many laughs over JM and all his newfangled Nascar gear. A kind reader from Nascar headquarters graciously sent JM a box of official Nascar gear. One night I took him to the softball fields in this… {sporting what he calls his “race car man” face}. You can’t tell from the picture but even the sunglasses are Richard Petty! There’s no doubt he thought he was the coolest kid at the park.


We’ve had a few rainy days here and there…


But when it’s not raining we are outside…


I still have to pinch myself when I walk outside…


The first weekend of spring break our friends, Krista & Michael came over from Fairhope for an impromptu slumber party. We spent the day on the water and found enough food in the pantry for dinner. Krista and I scavenged clothing for her three children from my children’s drawers and we stayed up until the weeeee hours waiting for our husbands to arrive safely home from sea. Justin and Michael took the boat to a bluegrass festival, left at sunset and arrived home around 1:30 am where we were holding vigil for their safe return {I joke, kinda}. If it hadn’t been for Ricky Scaggs I don’t think they would have made the journey from Orange Beach to Dauphin Island by boat, which is a far shorter distance by sea than by land, but it still took them over 2 hours each way, and Mobile Bay was fairly unkind to them that night. They came home looking a little forlorn and shocked that we were still awake. We were thankful they were home safe, and equally thankful that we weren’t with them being tossed about in the pitch dark. Instead, we were snug in the bed {with a confused baby girl sporting JM’s pirate jammies} catching up on life.  After a very late night, we offered them a small loveseat and some coffee on the porch Sunday morning. They’re about the kindest people you’ll ever meet… but next time Michael may turn down the bluegrass festival by boat invitation!



The days following I loaded up the kids {with one minor detour to the brown house} and headed over to my sister’s spend a few days with my parents who were down visiting from Illinois. Justin has been very busy with work so we escaped without him with hopes that quiet evenings at the house would afford him a little extra time to catch up on work…  but we sure missed him! We got to spend lots of time with sweet Sloaney B while Sister was away on business. We hit the ice cold pool {I swear kids have completely different thermostats than adults… cold water never, ever seems to bother them}, spent a day by the bay, dined at the Airstreams in Seaside, played on the green in Seaside, celebrated Mom’s birthday, loved on our greatly missed pup who’s in the loving care of my parents while we are renting our house, and spent lots and lots of time outside! The weather was glorious!







The kids and I journeyed home and made it just in time to meet our dear friends for dinner who came to visit for a few days!  Dr. Joe {who gave Paige a clear bill of vision health}, his wife, Susie, and their three kids were also on spring break and we were thrilled to have them here with us for a few days. We did a lot of this…




d s

We laughed a lot and caught up on lost hang time over the last year. We almost made a trip to the Florabama but much to my dismay {I jest} we didn’t make it! Maybe next time!

The last weekend of spring break was spent as a family enjoying our “back yard”!




And before I go…


Monday’s field trip was a success. But can I tell you that our very kind principle drove our bus and when I boarded I asked him if the air worked better near the front of the bus. He laughed a little and kinda looked at me like I was crazy. It was like a sauna and I really wondered where the best seat was. He asked me if I was joking and explained I could turn on the air by putting the window down. 🙂 Y’all, school buses don’t have air conditioning… still. It’s 2012 and I figured they did by now. I rode a bus to school from kindergarten to 5th grade and for some reason I figured that was decades ago and by now they’d have air. They don’t. And it was hot. But it was fun and I was so thankful to get to spend time with Morgan and all the other little first graders!

Ok, now I’m going to challenge myself to pick up my real camera and see if I can get back into the groove of taking pictures with something other than my cell phone!


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  • Taylor@WiseFamilyLiving
    April 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Wow! That is a big post. So glad Paige’s eyes are all clear. I know how unsettling it is to be given potentially bad news about your kids. It was the same way with my Bette and her hearing loss. I know you are relieved. But God is good!

  • Julie Carter
    April 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    SO LOVE this post Darbs!!!! Miss y’all like CRAZY TOO!!!

  • Kate@Daffodils
    April 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Such a wonderful post to catch up on. I miss the gulf coast, so pretty!

  • Rachel
    April 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Looks like so much fun!!! I love seeing a family who is on the go making memories with their kids. We do it too. Exhausting but worth it!

  • meaghan
    April 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    i love the catch up posts! i’m so bad about using anything but my phone lately too. it’s so easy, and i always have it, and they’re decent pictures… 🙂 can we come visit you on our spring break?? trade ya houses! colorado for florida 🙂

  • Denise
    April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    LOVED your blog!!! Have been missing you!!! Have a great week!

  • Julie
    April 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Welcome back Darby! I had no idea about AC on school buses either!

  • Sherine
    April 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Welcome back Darby!
    I love the photos!!! I’ll be back home to mobile this Memorial Day.
    I can’t wait to get some of that sunshine and great seafood.

    Enjoy your Spring!

  • Amanda
    April 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Welcome back! Love that JM is enjoying his new NASCAR gear!!

    Now I am trying to figure out who in my office sent him the goods – HaHa.

  • Jen @ Rambling Renovators
    April 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Oh the kids have grown so big! Looks like you’re having a wonderful spring. I totally would have thought buses would have AC by now too. Glad to see you back.

  • Megan
    April 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I’m so glad your blog has been popping up in my feed again lately 🙂 I can’t believe how big the kiddos are. I feel like I’ve been stalking you forever!

  • Today's Letters
    April 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    TLC, lunch in the biscuit, and popsicles at 2am? If I’m ever sick may it be at Casa de Stickler! Sounds like a great spring break, Mama. Love to you and the Rovers! PS, I’d give my right arm to cash out on JM’s beach towel.

  • shay shelton
    April 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Great to see your post! we love anything you give us, and equally love it when you DON’T post, because we know your spending precious time with your beautiful family!


  • Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife
    April 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    My grandparents have a condo right where you stayed in Orange Beach! And I grew up about 10 minutes from Fairhope. = ) Looks like a lovely time. I know that I have so many wonderful memories there.

  • Renee
    April 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

    We have a few school buses in our district that have AC but they’re used primarily for long trips. My dancers & I were the first ones to ride on the very first one that district purchased about 6 years ago. We were so excited for an air conditioned hour ride home from dance camp and the bus driver was so proud that he nabbed it for us. LOL.

  • dani
    April 4, 2012 at 8:26 am

    We have been living at the beach for the past 8 months and I am LOVING it. Spring Break forever! Ha! Although it’s back to reality next month.

  • Tara McClendon
    April 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Loved the recap of the Sticklers’ life as of late…maybe we can get together when we’re at the beach this summer?! I miss your face!!

  • Anne W
    April 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Darby! So, I had to comment and share that I am headed your way next weekend for my girlfriend’s bachelorette party! She is very dear to me, but she leads a far more colorful, shall we say, life than I, so I am a bit nervous about what to expect! I’m told we’re going to the Florabama too–I don’t even know what that is, but it seems like I have reason to be afraid??!! 🙂

  • Rachel
    April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    What a fun update! You get around {in a really good way!!:-)}! I can’t believe your teeth were crooked enough to need braces- they have always looked perfectly straight! Love your writing and your blog!

  • Beverly Atkins
    April 5, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I’ve missed you! Thanks for the update. Love seeing the pictures.

  • Konie
    April 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for the great update !!!:)) I was just telling your sweet MIL that I was missing your blogs. And Abby’s too!! BUT understand where most of your time goes….:))) Enjoy these days……:))

  • Konie
    April 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for the great update !!!:)) I was just telling your sweet MIL that I was missing your blogs. And Abby’s too!! BUT understand where most of your time goes….:))) Enjoy these days……:))

  • Kelley
    April 5, 2012 at 8:50 am


  • Melanie
    April 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

    good to see you guys are still enjoying the life!!! The kids are so cute!

  • Lindsay
    April 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    As a fourth grade teacher, I’m all too familiar with the joys of a field trip school bus ride! Bless your heart, Darby! I’m sure Morgan was thrilled to have her mama as a chaperone!

  • Erin
    April 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I love the NASCAR pic!! I have two little boys who love Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne!! Your little guy looks so cute decked out in his gear!

  • Jenni
    April 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I always love your posts! Your family is absolutely precious. I’m especially jealous that Justin not only got to see Ricky Skaggs live, but also got to meet him!

  • Eliza
    April 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Oh, we were on Spring break there 2 weeks ago and seeing these pictures makes me long to be back on the beach. Hope you are having a glorious time!

  • Anne
    April 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Love Morgan’s prize winning picture! It reminds me of a similar picture I have of Megan and a friend right around the same age…next to their prize winning projects. Good for her! Glad you had a nice Spring Break….it’s such a beautiful time of year isn’t it?

  • Keri McBride
    April 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hi! I have been enjoying reading your blog for a while now, what a lovely family! When you mentioned Dr.Joe I thought could it be the same one I know. What a small world…I knew Joe and Susie when he did his residency here in Chattanooga, TN. They looked great, funny to see them here on your blog!

  • Michelle @ Lifewithacrazypup
    April 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Good Morning Darby! It looks like you and your family had a wonderful spring break! I’m happy you had some time to relax and hang out with family and friends. I’m glad little Paige is feeling better! I look forward to seeing more of your adventures!

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