Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Swimming & Diving

Did you know that I am a swimmer & a diver!

Those of you who know me personally (not virtually) will know that neither of these are true. However, there was apparently some misunderstanding while at a party shortly after we moved here when I was explaining that I almost drowned at an Auburn University Intramural Swim Meet. Apparently the words... DROWNED & INTRAMURAL weren't heard and a friend has been telling others that I swam for Auburn. It actually makes me laugh pretty hard.

While I can do neither in the water with any skill whatsoever; I can do both in the trash with some agility. Wednesday is curb-side pick up day in our town and you can always find a treasure or 4. These I can't take complete credit for... but I do have a dear friend (who's husband is a doctor & was a tad too intimidated to be seen scrounging through her neighbors trash) who called to inform me that her neighbor was throwing out some really great wicker chairs I needed to come look. So, me in my pregnant state with her help (thankfully she's not too good to be "seen" with a "diver") loaded up all we could fit in the car and off I went! Here's what I found... and I hope to "clean 'em up" soon. While they're not in "mint" condition, I can certainly get at least 3 or 4 more years out of 'em. Unfortunately my husband isn't near as thrilled about my find as I am... men, can't they get excited about a little trash!? Now what would he have thought if I had actually spent our money on them!? Then he'd be excited that they were free. I should have first told him I paid $50 a piece for them... then maybe he would have been more excited! :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Silence is ...

GOLDEN purple!

Yesterday morning Justin was outside working in the yard with Morgan and the Raiger was playing quietly in the playroom. As a mom you start to learn (eventually) that sometimes silence (while thoroughly enjoyed) is not always golden. I got an inkling when she was just being "too" quiet in there and I decided to go check on things. This is what I found-- purple mouthed, tongued, and teethed Raiger. She was a sport about it and I told her what great blog material she was and she (being the well behaved daughter that she is (ha! ha!)) posed quite nicely and opened her mouth on cue for the camera! Her lip is healing quickly and thankfully the markers are non-toxic as I'm sure some of the ink entered her bloodstream if not through her saliva than through the laceration in her upper lip that is almost completely healed. What a little squirrel she is.

While the purple squirrel was napping on Friday I had a little time to myself on the patio. I'm always eager to see what I can find in the treetops and I was very delighted to see a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers. I'm not sure how many, if any, of y'all are bird enthusiasts but these little guys (while not extremely rare) are seldom seen in your backyard. I spotted them in the Dogwood and was so excited that I called Justin on his cell phone. Thankfully he is equally enthralled with these type things! Unfortunately (for me), he keeps our Sibley's guide in his truck (archaeology can take you places most don't go so he's much more likely to need it than me!) so I had to take a good mental image and wait for him to get home before I could actually confirm what it was that I saw. The one I saw didn't have his/her "crest" tufted up like this but he/she was beautiful nonetheless! Special treats like the Flycatchers makes me anxious for my husband to build a platform feeder. We've had one at every house and have yet to put one out here. If any of y'all enjoy birds (and don't have cats that eat them) I highly recommend you get (or build) a platform feeder you are sure to attract the greatest variety of birds... and well, squirrels too... but that's why you should have dogs instead of cats! :) Justin makes ours out of plywood and drills holes in the corners (covered with wire mesh) to drain water and places it on a galvanized pipe "stand". They are really easy to make and I guarantee you'll see lots of birds on them. Ours was always frequented by Red-headed Woodpeckers in Tallahassee. They are some feisty birds and always made for good entertainment when others would join them for a meal!

While I'm on a "nature" note I will share this quick (40 second) video with you. If any of y'all were reading last summer, you'll remember the snake Justin introduced to Morgan. Justin has never been one to fear anything in nature (well, besides snakes that are poisonous) and has instilled in his children to enjoy God's creation. This morning we were walking in the back door when he spotted an Anole in the fern. He quickly snatched it up was showing it to the girls. Paiger is much more reserved around "lizards" and bugs than Morgan so he thought it would be a good opportunity to show it to her. You must watch below to see what happened. We didn't think it was funny at first. The Anole doesn't have teeth and didn't hurt her. He scared her because he latched on to her finger but it just barely pinched her and didn't harm her at all. After watching the video over and over I can't help but laugh. We thought we'd show her just how harmless these little creatures are and now I'm certain we've scarred her for life. Watch and enjoy and please know she wasn't hurt at all... and if she had been I most certainly wouldn't have posted it on the blog. I make myself sick at the end as I snap at Justin as if it was his fault the Anole got her... remember what I said in my 100 post... I think I know best on most occasions... well, here ya' go... you can hear it first hand! Something I'm not particularly proud of!

after she got "bit" she walked around with her "wounded finger" in the air... milking it for all it was worth... needless to say, it got lots of kisses

As for my sore throat... still have it! I have finally resorted to drugs. I tried the tea and honey and salt water gargle... you name it, I've pretty much tried it. Today I started a z-pack and I'm hoping it will do the trick. Thank you all for your suggestions!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What's a woman to do...

... with no water all afternoon? Our water main broke today (thankfully on the city-side of the meter as hundred of gallons of water gushed into the road and down the drain) and with no water... how can a mom/housekeeper do dishes, laundry, shower, or clean? She can't. Oh darn! So, instead I cranked out a couple little things for the girls... just thought I'd share.

Patty Cake, Patty Cake... Clap & Play!

the girls in their jammies (w/Rabbit & Carol and Morgan holding her ticket)
Mom, she also insisted on wearing her slippers and camisole (like "Mom" does!)

Who knew that Miss Patty Cake was such a HIT? I really think there were over 1,000 people there! I'm not sure who was more excited, the girls or J & I!? We had a ton of fun and we will certainly go again if she comes back next year! We hope she will. Morgan wanted to wait afterwards and tell Miss Patty Cake that she enjoyed it but the line was SO long. We opted for a Sonic treat instead and had a wonderful evening together as a family... until Paige dumped her entire "Strawberry CreamSlush" in her lap in the car seat! So, guess what I've been doing today!? Taking apart and reassembling the car seat! Oh well! It was fun regardless of the mess!

Anyone have any tips for a sore throat? I've had one for...hmmm... 14 days now!? It's no fun and I know a lot of it has to do with sinus issues. I laid in bed yesterday afternoon for 2 hours and tried not to swallow... why is it when you don't want to swallow all you can think of is swallowing?! It's kinda like being nauseous and all you can think of is McRib sandwiches {barf!}! :)

We have a low-key weekend planned around here and I'm hoping to just relax! I hope everyone has a great weekend. Y'all be patient with me on the Tastebook... I haven't gotten very far and hopefully I can get it out in the next week or two!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beach Weekend Recap!

beach bunny #1
beach bunny #2

Now that it's Thursday... I better "recap" our beach weekend before I forget. We have another big event tonight.... Miss PattyCake; she's in town and hosting a "Pajama Party" the girls (& I must admit, Justin and I) are totally pumped about it. If you don't know PattyCake... and have a child between 18 mos and 5 I highly recommend you check her out! She's great for kids and always shares the Gospel with them! I'll be sure to snap some photos and blog about our evening.

Back to our weekend. It was fantastic and I'm already looking forward to next year. We had PERFECT weather and it was a wonderful group. We ended up not going down until Saturday morning (which made things easier on me) and the fact that Erika (& Chance) took the girls Saturday night was also a tremendous help. Justin helped lead worship on Saturday night and Sunday morning and the fact that I could just sit in my chair and enjoy & participate peacefully was such a ROYAL treat. I'm sure it would have been great if the girls were there too but it was nice not to have to be chasing them around. Erika spent several hours with us on Saturday and then rejoined us (w/the girls) Sunday afternoon. The Laguna Beach Retreat center was so MUCH better than I expected. We were "gulfside" with an incredible view and heated pool! I'll include a few pictures for those who may not believe me! :)

Anyway, it was a wonderful weekend of fun, sun, and fellowship. I love to see all the precious children playing together and the girls both did great. Paiger thinks she's a big girl and only uses a "swimmy ring" in the water. Both are fearless of the water which makes me all the more thankful for that new fence! All in all, it was an absolutely DELIGHTFUL weekend!

the "view" from our balcony! it was beautiful!

"MommaSissy" (& us)

the "fam" (little did I know my hat was on backwards with the tag on my forehead... I'll blame it on the pregnancy!)

there's very little sweeter than "Raiger" kisses... she doesn't give them... but she receives so well!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Seeing Red!

Paige + Coffee Table = bloody mess
N0 mommy wants to see her baby like this! We were on our way out the door last night for a K-Life banquet when the babysitter comes running to me with Raiger covered in blood. (This picture was taken over an hour later--- after we cleaned her face, arms, hands & legs.) Needless to say, we didn't make it to the banquet (well, Justin did later) but we rushed to the pediatrician's office (which thankfully has "after hours" and had a quick consultation. All teeth were OK! Praise the Lord! The internal upper lip laceration looks as though it will heal on it's own! Praise the Lord! And she still wants that paci. The dress is soaking and hopefully Morgan is right, "Mommy you can get those stains out!" We'll see.

We had a great weekend at the retreat! I'm off to the dr this am to drink some lovely orange or grape sugar loaded soda for a glucose test! I have to fast which makes for one hungry mama! Ok, I'll update more later!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A few minor details...

I suppose I left out a few minor details and assumed that everyone knew where my family lives!? Hmm... can you tell I hadn't had any coffee when I posted that post? My family doesn't live in Alabama... but rather, Southern Illinois. The farm (which is in Lancaster on the map below) is just a few miles east (West Salem) where the earthquake seems to have been centered. I finally got up with mom and she said that she thought a tornado was coming through the house. At first she heard the dishes rattling then things (like a stained glass window, pictures, and a giant deer head) began to fall from the walls. She said she didn't know where to go or what to do! I can imagine not. Thankfully, besides being all shook up, no one seems to be injured.

As for the big trip ahead of us... my husband has informed me he has a very long day ahead of him. Looks like we may not be making it down to the retreat center until tomorrow morning! We'll see.

Also, some of y'all were looking for Jennifer's bulletin board... I asked her if she'd snap a few pictures and post it on her blog... you can check out her handy work here! Thanks, Jen!

Who Calls at 6 am?

us at the farm last summer
We don't have caller ID or call waiting. So, when the phone rings at 6 am and you can't get your sorry pregnant carcass out out of bed to run to the kitchen to answer it (because the phone in our bedroom doesn't work) you don't know who it was or what on earth they wanted. I thought... "hmm, maybe it was my husband who's been out turkey hunting since 4:45 am and he wants to know if I was a bacon, egg, & cheese biscuit from Hardee's." Then when the phone rings again 15 mins later and I can't get my sorry carcass out of bed in time to get there once again.... I'm really wondering what on earth is going on. So I call Justin. No answer. Call my MIL (who's on her way to France, thinking maybe she wants me to give her dog one more kiss). No answer from her and then the cell phone dies. Now I just wait by the phone at 6:30 am and think "maybe they'll call back". And minutes later they do.

It's dad and the first thing he asks is "Are you watching the news?"

"Hmmm...watching the news..." I think to myself. I said, "No, I'm not watching the news. I've been 1/2 sleeping 1/2 wondering why you're calling."

Anyway, he goes on to inform me that an earthquake hit the farm. Never in a million trillion years would I have guessed that one. He said he thought everyone was ok and the phones are out but he got the neighbor on her cell phone and she went to check on mom and she's ok. I called Mimi and she sounded like she had just been in a car accident with lots of shaken up nerves and she said her two chimneys had fallen over and that all her pictures had fallen off the walls and the dog was going berserk. It happened at 4:30 am and when it started she said she sat up in bed and yelled, "DARBY!" I was honored, unfortunately she meant to yell, "Mitzy" (which is her dog!).

Anyway, that's the excitement of the day so far and it's only 7:15. I'm sure they'll be more excitement as my day moves on and I prepare for Laguna! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do Fence Me In!

I've been a nervous wreck since November when we moved into this house with 2 small children {that can't swim} and a pool without a fence around it. Do you know how many nightmares I've had? How many times my heart has nearly beat out of my chest when I can't get one of the girls to respond to me when I call for them? Lots. I tell you, lots. Anyway, despite a hefty price tag {because although I'm cheap... I'm not cheap enough for chain link} I have convinced myself that an expensive fence around the pool pales in comparison to losing a child {of which I'll have 3 (3 years old & under) in 3 months that CANNOT swim}. Today was the day the fence guys finally showed after 3 (boy this blog is full of 3's) weeks of telling me they are coming. Thankfully, after a massive renovation I'm used to these type people who have the nerve to say they'll be here tomorrow and never show or call. Anyway, they showed today and the fence is in. No gates yet, but the fence is in. I'd say it's sorta bittersweet. I'm reminding myself of what a relief it will be to allow the girls in the back yard to play with out being "helicopter mom" hovering over to make sure they don't step near the pool... and at the same time I'm sad to see my yard be cut in 1/2 before my eyes. I'm sure it will just take a little getting used to! The most important thing {preach it to yourself, Darby} is that my girls will be safe and no one will be able to get to the pool! Woo hoo! I know the grandparents, loved ones, and my friend Anne (who makes me look carefree & probably wouldn't move in the house without a fence) will all be quite relieved too.

Here are some pictures before & after:

Moving right along to my next struggle of the day... being too good for a "retreat"! I really know I'm not too good for the Laguna Beach Retreat Center... but my flesh is fighting a big battle today as I mentally prepare to take my large pregnant self & 2 small children to PCB (aka: Panama City Beach) for a retreat over the weekend with our Sunday school class. I did fail to mention that my husband will be there too... and for that I am grateful. I've been warned to bring my own food, only after I signed up to pay for ALL the meals! And I've been warned to bring some flip flops and not to take them off until I get in the bed (of which I've been warned to bring my own bedding and pillow)... GREAT... I can't wait! :) Despite not being thrilled about the accommodations I've been praying for a wonderful weekend of fellowship with other families and new friendships to blossom! I'll be sure to snap lots of pictures and report back when we return. The most comforting thing about the trip is that Erika's house is a short drive away and I told Justin if I went missing he "might" could find me there!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tastebook Cookbook & Other Stuff...

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever" Isaiah 40:8

Hello bloggers... I snapped a few pictures last week and wanted to post them and never did so I thought I'd throw them in this post! I took the picture of the rose early one morning. I couldn't get over it's beauty... and if you could only smell it! As much as I enjoy gardening and tending to plants I'm always reminded (even just the next day after this picture was taken) of truth in what Isaiah 40:8 tells us. Gorgeous one minute, gone the next. The same really is true with company too... here one minute, enjoying their presence all while the house seems to be inundated with bustling women tending to the needs of little children and then they leave. And it goes from bustling to barren in a matter of seconds. I'm certain there has to be a "scientific name" for that empty feeling when everyone departs after a gathering. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about; it usually comes after the holidays or a vacation. You think, how could the fun end so abruptly? Well, I'm thankful that my sadness was just momentary and that I can find comfort in knowing that the flowers will fall and family will leave, but the Word will stand forever! What an amazing promise!

Later that morning (after I snapped the picture of the rose), Justin found a female box turtle in our yard! You would have thought that it was Christmas morning. I loved seeing the girl's (well, really Morgan's) excitement over the little creature. We only entertained her for an hour on the patio and then Morgan helped me set her "free" on the other side of the fence. Mom's dog, "Bird Brown", would have certainly had her for breakfast had he known she was a living creature. Anyway, here are a few pictures of that...

I couldn't resist... she was so cute and patiently waiting for her to come out

Still waiting...

Can you hear her? "Well, I think it's a good idea to set her free!"

Ok, now for the Tastebook update! Today is the deadline, but I tend to be like one of those teachers who would still accept papers days late. So if you have a good one and have the inclination to procrastinate (like myself), I'll have grace on you (because if anyone needs it... it's me!) and you can still send 'em in. I've probably processed and entered 2/3rds of the recipes and I've been a little slack in the last week or so. A bunch of emails got caught up in my spam filter and I didn't think to look there until last week and I found 'em, a bunch of 'em. So, with that said, send 'em on because I'm still entering them in the book. I'm still missing a lot of pictures and some people have not included where they are from... which makes it more fun! Once the book is done, I'll put it out there for a week and let y'all help me "edit" and make any necessary changes and then once everything is looking good... we can order away! It's been a real treat to read all the recipes, hear all the stories and best of all to see God's providence through something that seems as meaningless as a "blog"! It has been truly a blessing and such fun! Y'all are wonderful and I'm thankful for your willingness to sit down, type an email and tell me your story... I've been tremendously blessed! And I've tried to reply to all the emails, if I haven't, either I haven't "processed" it yet or it got lost in cyberspace!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who doesn't love a project?

Mimi & Mom are back from their adventure to the beach. They got in last night and are leaving in the morning. Of course, with the short time we have, Mom & I decided we needed to tackle a little project. We couldn't clear out the room and not tempt two little princesses to break out in dance. I captured it on video and have to share! You might can tell from my voice that I've been attacked by a nose, throat and cough crud! I spent the better part of Sunday in the bed and have been fighting a low-grade fever! No fun, but I am feeling better today and for that I am very grateful!

Now to our project... My friend, Jennifer, has a very cute bulletin board in her kitchen with her children's art work on it. I was so inspired by it that I thought I'd copy her for the playroom! I've been searching for a bulletin board to put in a big frame that's been in my garage for months and months. Well, I finally resorted to the cork squares from Target... until I priced them and realized how many I needed... OUCH! Last week we made a quick run to the AAA Salvage house and low and behold there were 2 enormous... I mean enormous (4 ft x 8 ft) bulletin boards. These are some really nice, executive boards and I was thrilled. One was damaged (slightly) and one was perfect... the total for both was a whopping $40. Mom and I went on a wild goose chase today for some fabric and nail head trim. We were successful in both of our searches. Hancocks had a great sale on outdoor fabric (no fading and heavyweight) and Ed at Houston Seat Cover (who did my chair) sold me 50 feet of nail head trim and 300 tacks for $23! What a bargain! Mimi was a champ and stayed home with the girls while we were on our search for our goods. We arrived home in time to whip up a dinner and get one board behind us before dinner started. After dinner, we tackled board number 2! Justin must have gotten some really good experience last week with Erika, because he was a champion with the nail head trim! Thanks, Justin! Erika, you trained him up right... except, he believes these boards are far too sophisticated for the artwork of a 3 year old and 20 month old! Oh well... here are some pictures of our project!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just for kicks...

I'm totally wiped out. It's 9:29 and I feel like it's 1:29 am! Anyway, "Mom" and "Mimi" left this afternoon for the beach to visit with Erika for a few days. I'd be totally sad and depressed if I didn't know for a fact they're coming back in a few days! Yea! Justin got home tonight from a 3 day jaunt to Tallahassee on an "interior design installation" with Erika at a house she just finished up. We keep teasing him and telling him what a great interior designer he could be... he'd have to change his voice, lose his work boots and wear tighter clothes.

Here are some pictures over the course of the last few days. And a few baby boy shots (for you Shireen!). Cousin is back in the Windy City and I miss her like crazy. She's one of my most precious friends and I hate that we can't be closer. Despite nasty weather we had so much fun and I made her PROMISE me that she'd come back again soon! Anyway, here are few pictures from our time together...

Darby, Cousin, & Erika (w/a Bays English Muffin) This is not a good picture but oh well. It was at 7 am and yes, I do have on my CAL Alumni sweatshirt!! Can any of you all believe I still have it, let alone wear it!? Ha ha!

Morgan, Cousin , and Paige

Paige LOVES Cousin!

Morgan loves "Bird Brown, PhD" (aka- Professor) Have you ever heard of such a name? Only Erika!

Mimi (Elizabeth) and Paige (Elizabeth) Paige also loves Mimi and has been sleeping with her since she got here!

Mimi & Paige again

1, 2, & 3 (& tired Mama)... should I be alarmed that I still have 14 weeks to go!?

Morgan giving "Kevin" sugar.... she named him "Kevin"... it's been made clear to her that this is just his "pretend" name.

Last but not least, my very thoughtful husband brought me home a special treat. I couldn't have done better myself... thanks, Justin! I love you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Boutique Hair Bow Tutorial

Since I've never been one for keeping secrets (especially not ones that can save people lots of $$) here's a quick tutorial on how to make a hair bow. I hope that some of y'all will find this useful (Dena, I hope you don't lose any business by me doing this!). If you want to share the love with other moms feel free to link.

Supply list:
- 1 yard of ribbon of your choice & width, unwired grosgrain does best (I like ebay for fun unique ribbon, I've even bought from Bobo in China, but it did take a couple weeks for the ribbon to get here)
- a couple inches of coordinating ribbon in narrow width (1/4") to wrap around center of bow
- fine gauge wire
- hot glue gun
- hair clip of choice (Alligator/pinch clip or barrette clip for older girls. Pinch clips can be found at Sally's Beauty Supply stores or Ebay and barrette clips can be found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.)
- wax paper (not just to keep a clean surface but also for attaching the completed bow to the clip)
- lighter
- if you tend to be anal you can lightly starch your ribbon and with a cool/warm iron press it... it will make for a better looking bow! I did starch my ribbon prior to starting this bow.
Step 1)

Take the ribbon (I'm using 1 1/2" ribbon in this tutorial) and make the shape shown above, always be sure to keep the "right side" (ie- printed side up in center). Make sure the long side of the ribbon is in the back with the longer side of the ribbon hanging down to the left.

Step 2)

Bring the long side of the ribbon up over the existing ribbon so that the long side of the ribbon is now up and to the right.

Step 3)

Take the long side of the ribbon (that is up and to the right) and bring it back down BEHIND the top piece of ribbon in the center of the bow. The long piece will now be hanging down towards the center of the bow.

Step 4)

Take the piece of ribbon that was hanging down towards the center/left bottom and bring it to the upper left side of the bow. This would be a good time to make any adjustments to your bow to be sure all the loops are even.

Step 5) Turn your bow sideways (horizontal) and in the center carefully fold the bow (see picture above). For wider ribbon you should fold it so that there are 3 peaks in the center.

Step 6)

Using your fine gauge wire tightly wrap the wire around the center of the bow and twist it on the back side of the bow and trim off the long pieces. Press the wire down so it's not sharp.

Step 7)

Singe one end of the smaller ribbon (I always use a long candle lighter-- fray check is expensive and I've found it to not work as well) to prevent fraying and starting on the back of the bow where the wire is tightened and cut off, glue one end of your small ribbon. Wrap the ribbon around the center of the bow. Trim off excess ribbon and singe again and glue down on back of ribbon. It's important to completely finish the bow prior to attaching it to the clip. Especially for the alligator clips. Some clips are made with the center ribbon wrapped around the entire clip and this causes the clip to not close entirely and the clip won't stay in as well. This way the "seal" on the clip is tight.

Step 8)

Tear off a piece of the wax paper and fold it over several times. Clip the alligator clip to the wax paper and load the clip (the angled side) up with hot glue. And stick your bow to the glue covered clip. Allow the glue to dry completely and then peel away the wax paper that is in the clip. Trimming away any excess that can be seen from the front of the bow. This should leave a very smooth and even surface inside the clip so that it will hold the hair! Trim and singe the ends of the ribbon with the lighter... be careful though... just barely get the end of the ribbon near the flame... the ribbon will turn black if burnt.
Step 9)

Place the bow in your daughter's hair and try not to eat her alive! :)