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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…




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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!


54 In Life

Bullets & Cell Phone Pics

Greetings, strangers!

I used to be such a better blogger and now I’m just here when I can get here, which seems seldom these days. For the sake of time I will throw a few random thoughts into bullets…

    • TODAY is our 10th anniversary! Wow…  it simultaneously seems like yesterday and a long time ago! It has been 10 wonderful and refining years, and I’m thankful to walk the road of life with Justin! Life hasn’t slowed down much. I just looked down and counted with my fingers each street we’ve lived on… we are currently residing in our 7th residence. This may be why I’ve had to invest in new face potions.
    • We also recently celebrated Justin’s 34th birthday, he was thrilled with the killer cooler he received from me. It’s a bear-proof and Darby-proof cooler. I’ve been lifting weights so I can maneuver the handle back to get the ice-cold contents. He also made me laugh really, really hard the other night. He joined LinkedIn. I was laying in bed and he was working away at the Coleman camping table that we have set up in the corner of our bedroom. It’s like a makeshift “office” in the corner. Anyway, he proceeded to say something like, “I’ve just become LinkedIn, and people say it’s a really good networking tool.” This is probably all true and not funny at all, but Justin has always been adamantly opposed to social networking. Me… not  so much, so I welcomed him with a hearty laugh and told him it’s not so bad after all. He’s already reconnected with an old friend who plays for Redeemer Church {} in Knoxville, and we have thoroughly enjoyed their album! If you like Red Mountain Music or Indelible Grace be sure to check them out.
    • The sale at Honey Bee Tees in February was a huge success… thank you! I will certainly have to do that again. New & old designs are in the process of being restocked! I am so grateful my friend, Lindsey, continues to run the whole operation in my absence very smoothly from the garoffice.


  • I have re-enrolled Rover in preschool here at the beach in the fall. This means we think we may still be here.  Does this mean we will definitely still be here… we’re not sure. Nothing is really sure when you are dealing with an oil spill. I’m learning lots of lessons about taking things one day at at time, but when it comes to planning things {like school} for your kids, not knowing how long you will live somewhere can be a tad challenging. I also really miss doing anything to my house… not big projects, but little things like hanging wreaths on the door or changing bedding. We are trying not to accumulate a lot of stuff here, I tend think we have few personal belongings here but when we move out and have to get a uHaul for our bikes, strollers, & toys I’m sure I’ll be convinced we do have a lot of our personal stuff here!
  • When we were at the brown house last month I ran a quick errand to drop Justin’s boots off at the cobbler. While I was there I realized my boots needed new heels too, so I slipped them off and walked out in my socks. I climbed in my trusty chariot and took off to pick up lunch. Just a few minutes later I realized that my “LOW COOLANT” light was legit all those days and I almost burned up my car with no shoes on. Justin came to my rescue with water, coolant and the kids.


  • She’s back in working order after a water pump replacement… next major service for the ole girl will be a complete shampoo of her carpet because milk has been spilled and if you’ve ever experienced milk in the carpet of a car you know it smells like roasted brussels sprouts or a dead mammal.
  • Rover is undoubtedly a lefty. He has become completely enamored with coloring and it makes me so happy. He will sit still for the longest periods and color and draw…. mostly race cars and letters that don’t spell anything, but he asks me 100x a day what things “spell”, and I have to make up words with the letters he’s drawn and then he gets all excited and says, “I spelled HSYTOP”! We celebrate because I’m just glad he’s writing letters! Next we will work on the proper way to hold a pencil!



  •   I try to volunteer at the girl’s school as often as I can. I love to be there with them. It reminds me of my elementary school and I love to see them interact with their friends and classmates. The kindergarten classes all share an extra classroom and call it the “Fun Friday room”. It’s huge and full of different play stations. JM always tags along and never wants to leave. They have awesome vintage toys in there… and its the best reward for good behavior for the kids! {The Dr. Seuss “green eggs & ham” were for Dr. Seuss day… recipe source.}





  • I still have braces on my bottom teeth… I hope they come off really, really soon! I go next Wednesday and my fingers are crossed but thankfully my teeth are not.
  • I am officially a “softball mom”. The kids haven’t really been involved in extracurricular activities since Morgan played tee ball three years ago. We were all excited about softball this year… but friends let me tell you something I didn’t expect for a 7 & 8-year-old city league softball team: practice every night and 2/3 of the games are played away at different towns! Both of these are because we are the only girls softball team in Orange Beach in our age bracket. We have no competition for a practice field, hence the practice every night, and we have no teams to play so we have to travel to play the surrounding cities. Nothing like easing our way into an extracurricular. We’ve decided three practices a week will suffice! The good news is she loves it!
  • Justin and I have become completely hooked on Downton Abbey. {thanks to your recommendations} He betrayed me the other night and watched an episode without me after I fell asleep. We have two episodes left in season 2 and I hope I don’t have to wait long for season 3 to be released on netflix. I think you can probably watch them online but our internet connection is through our cell phones and it’s SLOW as molasses. Streaming anything is nearly impossible. And we don’t get any tv stations on our tv at all… not even PBS.
  • I found these bars at TJ Maxx {of all places} they are hands down the best “healthy” bar I’ve ever had. I’m sure you can buy them places we don’t have like Trader Joes or Whole Foods… but I will be ordering them online if I must. Earnest Bars… look them up people, they’re so good!


  • I also found some shoes at TJ Maxx for 2 weddings. I usually running anything I like by Erika for confirmation that they are as cute as I think they are…


  • These sunglasses I didn’t need her confirmation for… I’ve been eyein’ them for a while. I leaned over the dock a month ago to scoop up some minnows for Rover and my first pair of “good” sunglasses flew off my head and into the cold, deep water. They still lie deep beneath and are probably covered in barnacles. So, these are their replacements. Now Rover, Daddy Boy and I all match.


  • We have a neighbor here named Bob. We call him Mr. Bob. He and his wife feed a heron, and I consider that heron their pet. He waits for them on their upper deck handrail and looks in their windows waiting for food and fresh water. When they are out of town we try to take care of their bird. I’m pretty sure he’s the same one we fed minnows to last summer. Anyway, I pulled in our garage last week and was walking upstairs when I noticed he was on our back patio and just a tad too close to my seedlings. I just watched him a while to make sure he wasn’t going to mess with them… he must have been more interested in his reflection in the glass than the plants. Whew!


  • Today is also Justin’s parents anniversary and they are coming this weekend, along with his brother and sister and their families!! They have rented a beach-front condo, and we are looking forward to an action-packed weekend with them!
  • Last weekend we took a little trip up to Auburn. It was so wonderful to take the kids there. Justin and I have rarely been back. It’s such special place to us—full of wonderful memories of meeting and dating there. We were there for a wedding of our dear friend Jack {and his wonderful new bride Bethany} and the whole weekend was such fun. Before we headed off to the rehearsal dinner Friday night we dropped the kids of at a bustling apartment complex filled with Chi Omegas and we knew they were wonderful hands! The rehearsal dinner was wonderful and there were so many old friends there, some of which I hadn’t seen in over ten years. It’s always so neat to see how lives are orchestrated, how lives are changed, and how people are brought together. Justin and I had the pleasure of sharing a booth in the back  of the restaurant with Dr. and Mrs. Peter Doyle. Who we loved getting to know and hearing of their life adventures. Dr. Doyle has been a PCA pastor for years but also writes adventuresome children’s books that walk though significant historical events! The wedding was beautiful and held at First Presbyterian of Opelika, which is a small, old church with lots of charm!
  • On the way home from Auburn we detoured to the brown house to check on things, including the bees.



  • I will leave you with this PRECIOUS video! Rebekah was a pledge sister of mine at Auburn {later she transferred to to UT}. I have followed along with their adoption adventures of both Caleb & Isaac. This video is so powerful I can’t help but share! Such joy, such love, such encouragement!!!
59 In Life/ tshirts

You Can Steal Honey Bee Tees & Other Ramblings


Hello folks! I’ve been waiting for the shop to be completely restocked before offering this 30% off coupon… and we are well-stocked and ready to go! With the 30% off code you can get super cute tees for less than $10 a piece! This would be a great time to stock up for Easter baskets or birthday parties. And as soon as some of the inventory is cleared out we’ll have room for summer designs!

I’m not sure where January went and in a matter of days I’ll probably wonder where February went too. It’s been unseasonably mild here, much like the rest of the country, which has freed us to spend a decent amount of time outside enjoying the sunshine. I believe the car was already dusted in yellow pollen by  mid-January! I’ve snapped a few pictures here and there, not nearly as many as I wish I had. The kids are growing so fast, changing every single day. The little Raiger has learned to read like a champ at the tender age of five, and her voice, as she goes from word to word, is the sweetest sound to her mother’s ears. I want to freeze the moments. Morgan loves to read too and teach. “School” commences in the family room every afternoon when they get home from school.


Her classroom is a well-stocked, and somewhat-organized, fun place to play and learn. She’s very thorough and we’re working with her on tenderness and patience with her pupils who are sometimes berated when they lose interest in her game.


The little man is an aspiring race car driver, matchbox car collector, and patience-tester extraordinaire. We also call him Murray as needed. He verbally protests to his new name, which is only used when necessary, because he knows all about Murray. You see Murray is The Boy Who Cried Over Everything. If you have a three-year-old son {or daughter} who may be in a stage where they cry over things like: having to get dressed, you opening their yogurt {instead of them}, picking out the wrong spoon, having to wear shoes, not getting a treat at the store, having to take a nap, not having hot dogs for every meal, shall I go on… then I recommend you introduce your child to Murray. You see Murray seems to cry over everything. Rover knows that Murray’s behavior is not becoming of a young man… that crying over things that aren’t cry-worthy is not good. Little did I know that the book would have such an impact on him. Today at the library when he started in it only took a simple and gentle reminder of who he was acting like to dry him up. In the end, Murray figures out when it’s ok to cry over things and when it’s not. Now, if Betsy Childs and Dan Olson would take Murray to church and help him figure out how sit quietly, and be respectful during “Children’s Moment” at the front of the church, I’d be delighted. If they need any ideas of things that  Murray might do to interrupt the congregation I’d be happy to fill them in with a few of Rover’s secrets.

Here are few pictures from a Friday afternoon about a month ago at our community pier near the end of our street.






And a couple weekends ago we ran over to spend a weekend with Erika, Chance, & Sloane in Rosemary Beach… it was an awesome weekend but I only snapped a handful of pictures!



This is “Murray” trying to figure out how to share with Sloane.




I believe she walked away empty-handed and he was the torpedo victor so we have progress yet to make!

In other news, Justin did WAY better this year for Valentine’s Day! If you weren’t around last year, I received a cheese & sausage basket all in the honor of LOVE from my husband. He has heard a small amount of grief over this for the past 12 months. This Valentine’s Day I was thankful to receive dark chocolate, Twizzlers and a card! His dad, probably in fear that cheese and sausage would be on the agenda again, sent the girls and me the most gorgeous arrangement! It has made me smile ear to ear for days.

We are still without cable television {almost a whole year!} and Justin and I have been helping boost the Redbox & Blockbuster Express earnings. We fear before long we will run out of options. Last weekend we rented Jane Eyre and both loved it, if you haven’t seen it you should. Finding a decent movie, that is entertaining without trash is becoming increasingly difficult. We’ve also enjoyed Contagion and Courageous, although Contagion may have been a little intense at times.

We transitioned straight out of Valentine’s Day into Mardi Gras. This is our first Mardi Gras experience and I’m certainly an amateur when it comes to all things Mardi Gras. Paige & JM both had to make floats for their class parades. Without my usual arsenal of crafting supplies we resorted to the toy box for Paige’s float… I introduce to you The Mystic Order of Majestic Mares, they’re obviously a wild bunch!


Alright… time to pack up for 4 days at the brown house! Our first trip “home” in over a month!