Friday, July 31, 2009

A Thrifting You Should Go!

It's been raining today. After I finished dishes this morning we tried to swim, but got rained out.


So we came inside had a picnic in the family room and watched cartoons. After serving her lunch I asked Paige how much she loved me.


It joys my heart when she does this. Then she said, "I WANT MY MILK NOW!" That doesn't joy my heart.

I also let John Martin have an Oreo. He scarfed his down and made his way to his sister and managed to snag hers out of her hands. Rover!

She snagged it back.


And he completely fell apart.


So what is the responsible mother to do? Strip him down...


And take pictures of him.


And give him another Oreo. And this, my friends, is how you spoil a child rotten. Don't do as I do. Please.

So, what does all of this have to do with going to the thrift store? Nothing.

My intentions were to also show you some great deals we found at the thrift stores this weekend. First, I didn't find this at the thrift store... but it was cheap and I think it's cute. I also found a little black knit cardigan to wear over it. It's from Walmart and I paid $1 for it. I buy most of my clothes at Walmart. I have no problem admitting this. They're cute and they're cheap. And their jeans come in lengths. Our local store is "rearranging" resulting in clearance racks that are overflowing. $1. Packs of gum cost more than that. {They have it brown and white too.}


These are the precious curtains panels we found for $4. I haven't completely decided what I'm going to do with them but they sure are fun and colorful.


I also found a handful of really great clothing items for me and the kids. And last but not least... the most exciting find was a new stroller. A rockin' {literally} new stroller.


It's called a Rockstar Baby Stoller {Infinity model} and I paid $10 for it. It's by Jon Bon Jovi. Seriously. I didn't know he was in the business of designing strollers but apparently he is. It's basically just like a Bugaboo {with a smaller price tag} and in my case... a MUCH smaller price tag. The picture above is the toddler seat completely reclined. It also comes off and can face forward. Like this...


It was fairly nasty when I got it. But a little elbow grease and it's like new! I also found this YouTube video that shows all it's bells and whistles. I may have to loan it over to sister for a while... with a Snugride clip and a pram attachment she probably would use it more than I would. I don't think they make it any more.


I'm not a very big fan of the "graffiti-ish" logo but I can very much get over it, especially since you can't really see it when he's in it. And while he rides in it his new nickname shall be John Bon Martin.

Ok, you should hit the thrift stores this weekend.... just don't go to the ones I like to go to.

FYI: rover is a word


ROVER- [roh-ver] –noun
1. a person who roves; wanderer.

ROVE- [rohv] --verb
1. to wander about without definite destination; move hither and thither at random, esp. over a wide area.

He fits the definition, whew. I could add a few more adjectives for a rover though. But I'll leave the defining up to Webster.

Be back soon... I just wanted to enlighten you this morning. Please use the word ROVER a lot. It's a great word.

He's such a complete and total rover.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roll With Me

Hello friends.

I need to go on vacation more often. The blog gets more attention when I'm not at home. When I'm home my children need me, my husband needs me, my house needs me, my laundry needs me, my closets need me... you know the story.

While we wait for Marla to muster up the bravery to address your many questions I thought I might bring you up to speed on life.


First, my mother left this morning. I can hardly stand it when she leaves. She's so much fun to have around. She loves these little ones and is such a fabulous, energetic, loving, and creative grandmother. Mom, thanks for spending the last few days with us. We hope to see you again soon! Do you spy the Marimekko-ish print behind Morgan? That was a fabulous thrift store find. I also found some other fabulous things this past weekend... I'll share soon!

Second, last weekend we had a shower for Erika {she's my twin sister, expecting her first-- in case you are new around here}. She posted about it on Monday, twice. It was such a wonderful party and my favorite part {besides celebrating the new life} was seeing old friends I haven't seen in a LONG time.


Tara being one of them. I can assure you I was equally excited to see her as she was me {can you tell by baby Blair's expression?}. She was a sorority sister, lived on my hall my freshman year at Auburn and became a dear friend. She's from Childersburg, AL and is about as Southern as they come. My first memory of Tara was watching her crack open a can of boiled peanuts and asking her what on earth she was eating, I'm sure she was just as shocked that I didn't know what boiled peanuts were! She's fun, a ball of energy and hilarious. A few years ago she had a major scare and underwent open-heart surgery to replace a hole she had in her heart that went undetected since birth! I'm glad she's alive and I was really glad to see her and her angel, who has her mommy's lashes.


The shower was straight from a magazine.


No detail was overlooked.


The setting was perfect.


The food and flowers were also perfect! {flowers were all done by Anna-- pictured below}


And thirdly, my children. Oh these children, more specifically my son. Complete scallywags.


I've never given much, if any, thought to the idea of man evolving from ape, until I became the mother of a son. And now I must spend some more time in the Word to fight the creeping suspicion that man possibly did evolve from ape.

Please, look past his sweet, innocent looks.


And trust me when I tell you he is a total maniac. Do you see the ribbon tied {tightly} around his waist? What you can't see is that it's doubled up and also goes behind him to keep him in.

On a very regular basis I say, "John Martin what are you doing? You are going to kill yourself!" I've decided to call him "rover" when he acts bad. I say, "You are such a total rover!" I don't even know what a rover is... but I can probably muster up a pretty good definition and put his picture beside it.

Rover also will never be still and that is why I am mourning the fact that he is no longer nursing. {sniffle, sniffle} He had no problem weaning. I on the other hand am still coming to grips with the reality of it. Why? Because the child is rarely still. The only time he would be still and let me hold him was while he was nursing. I keep reminding myself that I can wear dresses now. Dresses, Darby. Come on, you can wear dresses again!

Right now, he's sitting at my feet eating a few nerds his sisters shared with him. He only has 7 teeth, all incisors, so I'm not sure how he's chewing them. But at least he's not in the fireplace.

Oh, he's such a rover.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Checking In


I'm still up to my eyeballs in laundry and tending to the house but I thought I'd take a second and check in! You all came up with some awesome questions for Marla! I can't wait to hear what advice she has to offer us.

I've decided {on this rainy day} to tackle the closets in my sewing room... but I'll be back soon with some pictures from Erika's baby shower!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Professional Help

We made it home in just a few minutes short of 12 hours! Thanks for your prayers. He was 150% better on the way home than he was on the way up. He cried between Birmingham and Montgomery but that seemed like nothing compared to the long ride up. While I regain my blogging energy I'm going to do a little something fun.

Something that involves this beautiful, talented and gracious friend...


Marla Carter {pictured here with Hornet}. Marla's a professional. I'm an amateur.

Sometimes you all email me or leave comments asking for photography advice. I'm honored that you would like for me to give you advice on photography, however, me giving you advice on photography would be like me telling you how to perm your hair at home {the results could be really scary}. So, I'm going to leave the advice up to the professional.

Marla is a very talented and trained photographer. And.... she has agreed to answer your questions about photography. Do you know how excited I am about this? Very. I've already started my own list.

Marla received her Bachelor's degree in Commercial Photography from Syracuse. After graduation she made her home in New York City trying her hand in fashion photography, only to realize that the industry wasn't a fit for her. Her heart had always been in portrait photography but knowing the start up costs of such an endeavor she put her dreams on the back burner. Until... the industry went digital, then she went for it and hasn't stopped since. She and her husband are in it together and have been going strong on their own for six years. Marla and Shane have a retail space in Redfish Village, along Florida's scenic Hwy 30-A. They each shoot over 100 clients a year yet make it a priority to maintain a very personal relationship with each one. Marla is such a natural with children {and parents}. None of the shots Marla takes are contrived. She captures each and every personality with such ease. She especially loves to shoot children playing with each other and interacting and playing with their parents. She also was recently chosen as a consultant for the nation's largest professional lab and the picture featured above is part of their marketing campaign. Have I made it clear she's good? Better educated than me? Better suited to answer all your questions? Ok, good.

Here are the rules for the sake of Marla's sanity...

Be specific in your questions. General questions like, "How do I take good pictures?" are very hard to answer. Specific questions are much easier to answer... like, "Do you recommend filters? How do you get good pictures inside? What should I look for in a camera bag? What's your favorite lens? How much can I expect to spend on a good SLR and a couple of good lenses?" You could probably even ask her a Photoshop question! Have fun, be creative, and be specific.

I'm going to leave the rest up to Marla. She'll be back with answers early next week. I'll keep the comments open.

In the meantime, I'm going to go hang out with her and throw my sister a little shower this weekend!

Photo courtesy of Marla, snapped by Erika!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lator Gators & Blessed Names

I'm getting techincal and setting this to post in the morning... so, if all goes well we should be on our merry way or close to it.


Our time here was PEACEFUL & FABULOUS. My parents are wonderful hosts and we are leaving feeling filled to the brim. It's no small task to invite 3 very small children into your home for 3 weeks. Mom already asked if I'd mind waiting until John Martin is in first grade until I have another baby. I'm not sure why she asked, she knows our track record. As the words came from her lips he was climbing naked and soaking wet from the tub onto the tile floor. She must like first grade because the funny thing is that she also fears he will nurse until he is in first grade {I've assured her he's days from being done!!}. So, if her calculations are right she'll be right on track. I think we he may have done her in. He's 100% boy! He can't walk yet but he has no problem getting where ever it is that he wants to go. I think he could scale a wall if he wanted. Today we were loading the car, looked over and he was sitting on the Gator. He looked at us as to say, "What? Am I not supposed to be doing this!"


I love my parents so much and thank them for the sacrifices they've made to have us here these past 3 weeks. They are the two hardest working people that I know. They started restoring the farm in 1996 and it has been their on-going project ever since, along with about 50 other on-going projects. My parents make me very proud. They have worked so very hard to have what they have and yet they realize material possessions hold no eternal value, which makes me even more proud. I cherish the time I have with them and wish we lived closer. Maybe you've noticed that we don't get together often, but when we do, it's not for hours, it's for weeks. And I love that.

Thanks, Mom & DaddyBoy, for having us here for so long. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time and already can't wait until next summer. Same time, same place... 2010, ok? Would it be okay if I brought a couple of college girls to help with the kids next year? They can stay in the cottage and we can send the kids down there every night from 5 pm until bedtime... but we'll be sure to have the college girls come put the kids in bed while we sit on the porch and eat homemade ice cream and drink decaf coffee. Any takers!? :) I could pay you with blueberries. Millions of them. And they're organic, if you're into that kinda thing!


And the girls could show you some awesome dance moves. Any college band party wouldn't be the same when you return. If you've ever seen me dance you can tell the girls got my rhythm.


I'm really being 97% serious. We have had a wonderful time but as most of you know, vacationing with kids can be a lot of fun and a lot of work. Mom and I have spent a lot of time together but our time together revolves primarily around these three little monkeys.


In case you're wondering, John Martin's clothing is by God and the girls' clothing is by Blessed Be The Name. Remember, I told you I'd show you? I'm holding up to my word.





When companies make clothes this cute it makes me want to kick my sewing machine to curb. Ashley, you are one talented lady and I've yet to see anything that I didn't love!!

Lator gators! Again, prayers for travel mercies would be so appreciated... especially in light of Hornet's trip up and forecasted RAIN! And if he chooses to be a total hornet again we'll be "good" in a few hours... it only took me a few to get over it when we got here.


Lator gators!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Mornin' stalkers! {Let the pictures load. It will only take a second!}

Hope you all are well this Tuesday morning. Today we'll be packing up and tomorrow we'll be heading back home. Justin's been bachin' it since the 4th of July weekend, maybe you've noticed he's not been around? Anyway, I'm not quite brave enough to spend 12 hours in the car with 3 kids by myself so my very gracious mother is driving us home. Bless her dear soul and Lord help us.

Yesterday was the most fantastic of all our days here {in my opinion}. As I mentioned before we took the kids to the zoo a couple weeks ago. I haven't blogged about it because, quite frankly, it was hot and hilly the animals were rather lethargic. If it weren't for a couple giraffes to make us laugh we might never darken the door of another zoo and we still may not.

Let me suggest a FREE alternative to a zoo...


Free. The best things in life are free. This little county 4H fair put the big zoo to shame. I'm even thinking of going back today by myself.

Mimi was the one who suggested we go. She must know her grandaughter.


I honestly don't know who had more fun me or the kids. There were chickens, rabbits, and pigs, Oh My!


They were all in cages. Can you imagine if they weren't? It's hard to shoot animals in cages. Sometimes you can't see the cages, sometimes you can.


Do you all have any idea how dangerous it is to take me to a 4H fair?


This was the only creature that I didn't really want. A fancy pigeon with her collar up.

Oh, and I didn't want the guineas either.


Have you ever heard a guinea?


They're like roosters on crack. I had to find someone who looked like they knew what they were doing and ask, "Are those guineas always that obnoxious?" He said, "No. Usually they're worse. They're the best watch dog you could ever have." So, friends, if you want to drive you neighbors crazy and keep the robbers at bay go get a flock of guineas.

The kids loved it.


This girl dominated the rabbit exhibit and told us which rabbits would bite. But my kids put their fingers in all cages regardless of whether they bit or not. Thankfully we made it home with all our digits.


Some looked more like guinea pigs.


And some were tattooed.


There were pigs too.


They were so thirsty.


And stinky.


The boys who own the hogs were so proud and I was so proud of these boys. Aren't they cute? I could hardly keep up. They were pointing and telling me who's hog was who's.


The one in the white nearly killed himself to get his hog to turn around so I could feed it a marshmallow. He finally got it turned around and then I accidently dropped the marshmallow and getting down in front of a 400 pound hog to retrieve a marshmallow was out of the question, for me at least.

Second to the guineas, this little sheep got the "loudest participant" award.


I'm not sure what it wanted but it sure was "baaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaa'ing" for something.


And I don't think it was to have it's picture made.

I caught up with the rest of them at the goat exhibit. By the way, the crowds were so slim. If you see anyone else in our pictures, they were likely participating in the fair. Most of the kids thought I was with the newspaper. I can't imagine what would give them that impression!


The goats were my favorite. Mom couldn't resist either. Those furry little lips were so soft!


This one wanted to escape. Must be why Billy had a collar on.


This girl made me mourn being a city slicker. 4H was never an option at any of the schools I ever attended.



She was so sweet and totally dominated the goat exhibit.

Mr. Mouse even got in on the goat action.


And I did too.

I spotted this very full {or so I thought} dairy goat.


I asked the girl if she was really full or if that was normal... "normal," she said. Then she said, "Do you want to milk her?"

I mean, seriously, when will I have another opportunity to milk a goat.


As I placed my hand on the goat's boney back, she explained that the milk takes the fat from the goat. I wanted to tell her that lactating had a similar effect on me. But she was in high school and I didn't want to totally wig her out nor did I want to compare myself to a dairy goat.

Have you ever milked a goat? It is extremely difficult. Thankfully they only have 2 teats. This young lady milks 3 goats twice a day. She also has hands and forearms of steel. I tried and a little stream would trickle out and then she'd show me and milk would squirt out hard and fast and then I'd try and a little trickle would come out. She definitely needs to be the 4H queen. They pasteurize all the milk and drink it. She explained how good fresh goat milk is and how good it is for you. I wanted to try it. So I put my head up under her teat.... no just kidding.

Next up... cows.


This one was a beautiful champagne color. The owners explained her mother was a Charolais and her father was an Angus. I thought she was beautiful. Her owner did too. These kids are so proud of their animals and all wanted their pictures made with them.


This is for my friend, Everlie. She used to show dairy cows and was the 4H state champ back in her day. This 4H fair had one dairy cow. And it didn't even have any milk yet. But her owner was as proud as he could be of her.


And for my sister, there were inside exhibits too. And one lonely participant in the Interior Design category.

interior design

Ok, time to start scouring the house for all our belongings that are scattered from one room to another.