The Marvelous Lady I Met at the First White House of the Confederacy


The First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama

It seems like big times in America, doesn’t it? The President of the United States sang ‘Amazing Grace,’at a funeral this week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of homosexual marriage, Southern state capitals are taking down the Confederate flags, and ISIS runs through the middle east, torturing and killing everyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Where do you even begin to explain the world today to your children? Well, I very happily will show them the video of Obama singing Amazing Grace. As for the other stuff, we tell them what they are ready to understand, and explain the rest as they get older.

We may have introduced the ISIS information too early. A few months ago, we went out to dinner, and right before we got out of the car, one of the boys said, “Okay, let’s keep the Jesus talk kind of shush, though, because we don’t want anyone, you know, killing us.”

Sad! So, of course, we explained to them that in America, we have the freedom to be whatever religion we choose, and no one should kill us for that.  That was a great relief to the boys. However, people abroad matter just as much as people in the U.S.A., and in many places, Christians are martyred in great numbers.






This week we happened to be passing through Montgomery, Alabama. The boys learned all of the state capitals in school this year, so we figured a drive by the capital building would be nice. When I discovered that the First White House of the Confederacy was right across the street, I was so excited. I just had to take the boys inside.


Why? Well, for one thing, it was one of my favorite field trips when I was a fourth grader. I love touring old buildings of historical significance. Plus, the boys know very little of the Southern side of the war, which is funny considering that they had about 30 super-great-grandfathers that fought for Alabama in the Civil War.

It doesn’t bother me that they pulled the Confederate battle flag down from the Alabama state capital. If it is being used as a symbol of hatred, then we don’t need it up there. I wish pulling the flag down could fix the problem of prejudice in America, but of course it won’t.

Sometimes it feels like the world is falling apart, doesn’t it? How could a man walk into the House of God, and murder nine people?

How come no one seems to know right from wrong anymore?

How is ISIS getting away with mass murder?

Why can’t we all just get along?

One day we will.

Revelation 21:3-5

…3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”…


I can’t tell you how oddly encouraging my trip to the First White House of the Confederacy was, and it had nothing to do with the Confederacy or Alabama history. It was all a divine appointment, you see.

We dragged our boys into the building and showed them around the rooms, all decorated as they would have been in the Civil War. We walked to the back, where there was a teeny tiny souvenir store, and John David started clinging to us and crying. He would not go in there because it had a high counter, and he was afraid it was a church nursery. Poor baby. I escorted the boys upstairs, while Alan stayed and talked to the sweet older lady, keeping the store.

She had a faint Polish or German accent. She complimented Alan on our children.  She had six herself. 5 boys. 1 girl. She was also a military wife. Alan saw us going upstairs, and said, “Oh, I’d better catch up,” but she said, “Oh, she’s got ’em. She might be pulling her hair out by the time she’s done, but she’s got it.”

We didn’t spend too long upstairs. There were lots of beautifully decorated rooms, full of period furniture. You go through a place like that pretty quickly with four little boys. When I got downstairs, Alan told me how much in common we had with this sweet lady.

I asked her, “What birth order was the girl?”


Of course.

Her husband was a Vietnam War veteran. She said that when the kids were babies, it felt like it would never end, like she would go to Heaven on a tower of diapers. And then, just like that, it was over.

She gave each boy a different flag, to represent a different Southern state. She took a book about the history of the house and stuffed it into my purse. She gave us all the things a field trip group would get. I so appreciated it. She told us all about the Davis children in the painting.


Only Margaret (the oldest girl) lived to be an adult.

Then, without any prompting whatsoever, she looked right at me and said, “You know, for many years, I had a terrible pain in my hip.”

Y’all! Ever since my first pregnancy, my hip and I have been back and forth. This whole trip, my hip just keeps getting worse and worse. I’m in here lying flat on my back, as we speak, trying to get better.

She gave us a history of all the treatments that doctors tried for her hip, and finally a chiropractor told her that it was from years of carrying all those babies, always on her left hip. It took two years, but the chiropractor was able to completely fix her hip.

Her words were so encouraging. I ALWAYS carry my babies on my left hip. Always.

She turned to Alan and said, “You make sure she gets taken care of.” Alan said, “Oh, yes, ma’am, I’ve already made her an appointment for when we get back.”

I could relate to every word this lady spoke. She was even from my same home town.

I asked Alan if he had said something to her about my hip, and he assured me that he had not. It was just the craziest thing. There’s something extra special about meeting someone who has walked the path you are walking and meets you with encouraging words. I left that museum feeling so uplifted.

Thank you, dear lady. I wish I knew your name.

6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.  Colossians 4:6


inside the First White House of the Confederacy–How awesome is that dress!?

No matter what this world throws at us, I hope that I too can be an encouragement to those around me. I want to make sure that the words of my mouth only edify and never tear down. It’s a tough order, I know I’m not there yet, but what a great ideal to aspire to.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

Our Southern summer vacation is ending now. It’s been a pure delight. Thank you all so much for spending a little time with us. This has been a balm to my soul, and I’m not just being dramatic. We needed this. Thank you!


Caleb, in his happy place



Summer Updates: Sunburn, Confessions, & Pictures. This is the rest of the story.

IMG_1830 Sometimes I mention things on my blog, and then I never come back and tell you the rest of the story, so today I’m going to just do that. Here’s a little update on things I’ve mentioned, with lots of cute photos thrown in.

I told you that we packed up and headed South, but did I mention that Daniel is my #1 packing assistant? He is a hard worker! He’d pack one suitcase with me, and I would want to take a break, but there are no breaks with this little slave driver.

“All right. Now let’s go pack ‘yours’ suitcase!”

“Shew, Daniel, I’m tired. Let’s take a break first.”

“No, Mommy, no. Let’s go pack it now!!!”

Reminds me of someone. Nonna. I remember the time Nonna came to DC to help us unpack. Nonna arrived ready to WORK. We put the kids to bed, and Alan and I were like, “Phew. Ready for bed?”

Nope. Nonna had us all up until midnight. I still remember. We were used to unpacking by day, putting kids to bed, and then watching DVDs until we fell asleep.

Yes, it takes us a while.

Which reminds me of something else:


Now I do not mean accepting my sharp tongue and tendency to be insensitive. Those are sins that I should master, with God’s help. What I’m referring to is the fact that I’m not the high type A, high energy person that unpacks and decorates 2,000 square feet in a day. I don’t pop out babies and show up at church that next Sunday either. Give me about 4 weeks.

I’m slower than all that, and THAT’S OKAY. I’m a writer. If I were always running, when would I edit photos and write? When would I read? When would I look at the sky and just think? Just thinking is IMPORTANT to me, so is prayer.

God made us each different, and I love that. It makes the world more interesting.   IMG_1833 IMG_1835 IMG_1845Did I mention that when JD sleeps, he looks like an angel? He slept on Alan on the plane. We are firm believers in buying toddlers their own airplane seat, if you can afford it. We had no choice for the return flight anyway. He is officially two now! IMG_1857 Do you remember the post where I mentioned shopping at Cracker Barrel? Well, this is the art that we purchased, for our guest room. It was love at first sight for me and this picture. IMG_0271 This is Daniel, driving my dad’s scooter, just another reason my dad is so extremely popular.


Also, do you remember the story about how JD cried every night for 10 minutes when I first put him to bed, our first week in Alabama?

Good news. That’s over. He’s back to his (somewhat) laid back self. While we were still at my parents house, I decided one night, after I laid him down and covered him up, to put my hand over his heart and pray over the sweet boy. I did, and he calmed down instantly and went right to sleep. It hasn’t been a problem since.

We pray with all the boys before bed, but since JD is so young, I am praying FOR him. I love the way it soothes him.

Prayer, y’all. Confess your sins, we’ve all got ’em, and PRAY for help. I see God answer my prayers every single day.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  James 5:16

Sometimes I worry that because I blog, people will think I have it all together and that I’m trying to give advice. Or you will see our fun stories and think we are always this happy.

I’m not. We’re not. I only show you what I think you want to see/hear, and what I want to show you. That’s why there are no fat pictures of me on here.

When you find out that sometimes I say bad words, lose my temper, and just act like a general pain in the rear to be around, you will be so disillusioned!

Well, go ahead and be disillusioned now. I’m a selfish Southern whiny brat with a hot temper. Then I’m calm and pleasant at other times. I don’t blog to give people advice. I don’t have much to give in that department. I blog to encourage you with our stories.

I just felt like I should confess that.

Now where was I?


Nana made it, Alan wrote on it, and someone stuck a helicopter on top of it. I carried it to the table. :)

Oh, yeah, JD turned two, and he wanted a Cars/ Paw Patrol birthday.  IMG_1900 All is well, so long as you do NOT sing Happy Birthday to JD. He HATES IT. No, really. He cries, buries his head, and scowls. (Another reason we call him Joshua #2. So much alike!)IMG_1903 IMG_1925 IMG_1928 IMG_1930

I love this photo of JD watching his brothers outside.IMG_1936THANK YOU, Grandaddy and Grandmother, for letting us stay at your condo!! We are so happy here. The boys fell for this gag hook, line, and sinker, but I am sad to report to you that the spring no longer works, so it didn’t get to scare anyone.

Here’s Dan all suited up, and ready for the beach, while Caleb tells me a story:
IMG_1937 IMG_1965 We took the boys to Golden Corral.

I don’t even want to talk about this. I’ll tell you 3 lessons:

1. It takes a long time to fix plates for 5 people.

2. No, I know, you think they are old enough to handle it on their own, but they kept following me, “Can you get this for me? I can’t work the tongs.”

“Mom, where are the…”

“Where are the???”

“I can’t find the…..”

“Where’s the shrimp? Where’s the shrimp? Where’s the shrimp? But there’s a picture of the shrimp, see?”

3. I tripped over JD, and we both ended up on the floor of the Golden Corral.


I’m not going back. I’m not.


“Hey! I remember y’all, from church!” the Kona ice girl said.

Alan is the hero of this trip. He doesn’t even really like the beach. I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday about when we plan to leave Florida.

Alan looked at me and asked, “When are we allowed to leave???”


Now, don’t take that the wrong way. We have an incredible and amazing, free, place to stay. It’s not that. We love our boys. It’s not that.

It’s the sand (which I love) that bothers Alan, and the sunscreen, the salt, and just the general circus act of vacation, I think. If it’s left up to him, none of the kids will see the beach part of our beach vacation again, I’m afraid.

But you know what? He does it anyway. He spreads sunscreen. He cooks breakfast. He orders supper. He spends ridiculous amounts of money on outings, and hasn’t even complained!


Adorable JD at Harborwalk Village

And it’s supposed to be Father’s Day week. What a great sport!   IMG_1976 IMG_1982  Alan and I are completely burned. The kids, thankfully, are fine. Alan feels a little sick from his, we’re using tons of aloe, and oh yeah, I messed my right hip up again.

Gotta love getting older.

We’ve had to modify our beach days to correspond with when the sun is less bright. I loved this recommendation from Alan’s Aunt Karen. Her entire family of 5 is red-headed! 

“Here’s us at the beach….”Kids! It’s 10:30! Run for shelter – RUN!!!!!” Then we hover in the darkness inside (eating, watching movies, playing games, maybe shopping) till about 5:30 or 6:00, when it’s finally safe to come out and play at the beach and pool during the lovely hours of dusk to around 9:30 pm. And that’s with our 80 sunscreen.”

We’ve decided to make those rules our own.

We took the kids to see the new Disney movie, Inside Out, yesterday. I laughed. I cried. I highly recommend it. 

JD was excited about this Minions display.


shaking hands with Bob. JD loves to say “Bob”.

Oh, by the way, JD is not ready for the movies. It wasn’t a total failure, but it was harder than taking two-year-old Daniel was. The attention span just wasn’t there. This movie is definitely more of an elementary age film. The concept of feelings in your brain controlling your actions was a little much for the preschool boys.


And last but not least…….

11311689_934940239878417_1334322514_n I’m still doing the premium coaching with him. I’ve lost 2.5 inches on my waist, 2 inches on my hips, and 1 inch on each thigh. That’s mostly just from drinking my water obsessively and working out a smidgen more, believe it or not.

Make Over Your Mornings: I decided to wait until after vacation to take that on. I’ll blog through it when I’m back to regular life.

We are having a summer to remember. When I think about last summer, I just remember how miserable I was. This summer is nothing like that. Phew! It feels so good to be on the other side of that. Now I get to live one more year in California. Then Alan will graduate, and we will load up the moving truck again.

But I won’t be borrowing trouble by worrying over future problems. Our business is to just take care of today.



“Dad, you’re better than a kangaroo.”


It was Father’s Day, and he sat by JD at the restaurant. Oh, Alan, I am so thankful!

As I mentioned yesterday, we are in Florida, on vacation. Joshua asked us last night, “So where are we going to church tomorrow?”

Oh. um… I thought we’d just go to the beach. However, we are not ones to ignore the requests of our children, especially such a noble request. We went to a contemporary Southern Baptist Church called The Village.

We dropped JD off at the nursery, and the rest of us sat together through a service, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt genuinely encouraged. They had a great gig to celebrate Father’s Day too: free snow cones for everyone, after the service. Not too shabby!

I asked the boys what they thought, as we drove away. The big boys said, “It was great!” Daniel replied, with a scowl, “No me liked it.”


Well, it is important to always be honest…

So we headed to Outback Steakhouse for a Father’s Day lunch. They even had blank cards all set out for the boys to design, so Alan got 4 beautiful cards out of the deal.

The boys are always saying humorous things, which I rarely remember to write down, so I grabbed myself a kids’ menu and a crayon and took notes.


First, there was the ordering debacle. Joshua wanted to order salmon, steak, AND shrimp. Ahem, from the real menu! He settled for splitting a steak and shrimp meal with Caleb and a kids’ chicken finger meal with Daniel. Then he came home, heated up chicken nuggets, and ate half a crate of strawberries. Watching him eat reminds me of someone.

Who does it remind me of?

Oh,yeah! Alan! Back when we were dating, I stared in disbelief at the amount of food he put away. I remember telling my friend Leigh, before Alan and I even went on our first date, “Oh no! Leigh! I could never marry Alan. I could never feed him.”


Okay, so no one was ready for that shot.


The most adorable thing to me was Joshua’s helpfulness with Daniel today. We were almost done eating, and Daniel had eaten maybe three french fries, and that was it. Joshua said, “Oh, I can handle this. This always works.”

“Hey, Daniel,” Joshua said teasingly, “I’m going to eat your chicken,” as he pulled one of Daniel’s chicken fingers off of Dan’s plate.

Dan giggled, “Okay. I eat them. No, no, no. Here. Give it to me. I eat it.”

Then, he DID! He at the whole entire chicken finger. Astonishing! I guarantee you Daniel would have come home hungry, if it weren’t for Joshua’s little trick.

We are so thankful for Joshua. We were talking at lunch about how JD never gets into the sort of mischief that Caleb and Daniel did. Of course, we realize that that’s also because Joshua is a very protective, ‘helicopter’ brother.

Joshua also likes to tell jokes, and sometimes Daniel’s answers to these riddles are funnier than the real jokes. Joshua asked Daniel, “What’s the opposite of smart?”

Daniel quickly replied, “John David!”

I laughed so hard. Don’t worry. I don’t think his brothers got what I was laughing at. Daniel didn’t even know he’d said something funny.


John David sat next to Alan during lunch and hugged all over him. Caleb sat across from me, drew the sweetest picture for Alan, and made his usual nonchalant, dry comments that make me smile. I wrote down a couple of these, all from Caleb:

“I bet this is your best Father’s Day ever.”

Alan’s eyes looked big. Three of the four boys woke up at 5:45 this morning, thanks to J.D., Alan spent the first HOUR cooking them all breakfast, he sat between two that wiggled all over him through the early church service, and then he sat by J.D. at lunch, so….blessed but tired..

“When I grow up and get married, maybe I will come visit you, like on Father’s Day.”

Alan replied, “Well, Caleb, I certainly hope you WILL come visit, as much as you can. You know, your mom and I both visited our fathers this week of Father’s Day, and we visit them as much as we can.”

(We love you Dad, DaddyO, and Granddaddy!)

Kids do learn by example.

“I know I’m really eating pig because this comes from pigs,” Caleb said, holding up his steak.

“No, Caleb, that actually comes from cows.” (We gave him the obligatory lesson on which food comes from what.)

Caleb replied, “But don’t feed the cows too good, or else vampire bats might suck their blood out.”

*I had no adequate reply to that point, so I just got out my crayon and scribbled his thought down. Vampire bats. Huh.*

Alan made a few last attempts to get J.D. to eat something besides just drinking from his straw cup, which he was a huge fan of. All attempts failed, and JD began trying to feed Alan like an airplane, so we decided to call it quits and go home.

We all sat and waited about 5 extra minutes for Joshua to eat and eat and eat, and then we headed home, after a quick stop by the church for J.D.’s missing sippy cup. I bet I’ve spent $1,000 on sippy cups over the past 9 years.

Now Alan and the three oldest are at the beach, and J.D. and I are supposed to join them once J.D. wakes up. Judging by the sound of the door stopper, boing, boing, boing-ing, J.D. is up. Door stoppers are a great fascination for John David.

Perhaps J.D. and I can make it to the beach before the boys leave. We only need sunscreen, towels, swimsuits, swim diapers, and a few more sips of water….This will only take an hour, right?


We were too late. We had fun with them at the pool, though. We had one heck of a jumping contest.

IMG_1943 IMG_1947 IMG_1951Happy Father’s Week!

Oh yeah! The kangaroo comment was also Caleb. We were eating at Outback, so Caleb drew a picture of himself with a kangaroo, not so happy, and a picture with Alan, super happy. Yes, lots of warm and fuzzy feelings were felt all around. We hope you all have a good week too.


Thanks, y’all!

Father’s Week (and the tick story)


This was a hoot! Granddaddy told the boys they could throw water balloons at him as he rode his scooter around the backyard. Of course, he was throwing balloons at them too. :)

We are now in Florida with Alan and all of our children. I just took all 4 boys to the pool while Alan went grocery shopping. I am five kinds of exhausted.

I found a tick, halfway burrowed into Daniel’s head. I had to hold him down, keep JD from jumping in the pool, and pry that thing (which had an amazing grip) out of Daniel’s head. Have no fear. I won. Some kind of primal instincts kicked in, and I was DETERMINED to get that nasty animal out of my precious boy’s head. Laugh all you want, but it felt like a major victory. Of course, now we’re watching him like hawks for signs of lyme disease.

It was all that you imagine taking four brothers to the pool would be. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. But this weekend isn’t supposed to be about me. It’s about Daddy. We’ve missed Daddy. We’re excited that he’s back with us.

My words can’t do the men in our life justice. They are all incredible. We love you, Alan, Dad, DaddyO, and Granddaddy. We hope you are having a happy Father’s Day!  I’m thinking Alan will have a happy but exhausting one!

Here’s a few fun photos of our dads:


Alan and his dad. JD was DaddyO’s faithful sidekick when I went on vacation with my mom. We are so thankful for this man!


Alan took the boys golfing back in California. They had so much fun.


a day at the ballpark


Alan just rented the new Spongebob movie, so we will be doing this tonight.


As I shopped for Father’s Day gifts this year, I was appalled to find so few things to choose from. There were still more “I love Mom” gifts available at most stores, and here it is Father’s Day week. What an under appreciated group!

I want you fathers to know that I could not be more thankful for you. I love not only the way you open jars, carry in the suitcases, and put together the furniture. I love the way you hug, share, look out for your family, spend time with us, and make us laugh. You deserve a whole Father’s Week!

Deuteronomy 1:29-31

part of the crew at Grandaddy and Grandmother's house--They are so good at bringing the family together.

part of the crew at Grandaddy and Grandmother’s house–They are so good at bringing the family together.


still one of my favorite Daddy photos!



John David Takes Alabama: in which I am reminded that vacation with a toddler isn’t exactly vacation.


Our adorable JD is bringing in his second birthday with a bang.




We arrived in Alabama with much excitement. Vacation, whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! I spent the first few days of it in Florida with my mom, and it was paradise indeed.

Then I reunited with my children. We put JD to bed, and that’s when I remembered. Vacation groooooaaaaaaan. Vacation with a toddler. Does it really qualify as “vacation”?

There are still fun times, but the story of vacation week #2 is definitely all about the little fellow we sometimes refer to as Angry Bird, a nickname he lives up to at night when you put him in a crib that is not his familiar bed at home.

He likes to stand up in his crib and shout and holler and fake cry for 10-15 minutes, which feels like 30. Then he, ever so carefully, lies down and covers himself back up with his blanket and goes to sleep.

I’ve told you before that JD does not like change. His coping method has been to fasten his body to my lap all day. Anywhere we go, we go together. He is literally overjoyed to have his mama back. How dare I leave him for 4 whole nights???

It’s so sweet, really. He climbs all over me grinning and giggling, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” That’s all well and good, and I do enjoy it, until we’re in the pool, and I think I’m about to drown, or he holds on to my clavicle like it’s a safety rail. Yow!

We hear the same words a lot from JD lately:

“Mom? Mom? Mom.”

“lap. lap.”

“Want juice.”

“Noooo. Juice.”

“Cars. McQueen. Cars. McQueen.”

“Want Cars.”

“Want to go walk. Go walk.”

“Donut. Donut?”


“Slide? Swing?”

“Mac. Doc. McQueen.”

“Read to me.”


“Here you go.”

“Yes ma’am. Un’er’tand.”

“Pee pee.”

Wait a minute. Did he say pee pee?

Yesterday, Mom and I took all of the boys to a water park. It’s the best work out ever. That’s not due to all the swimming I do there. It’s because JD is very heavy to carry around in the 90 degree heat. I ate all the onion rings I wanted at lunch, knowing full well that I was burning about 300 calories an hour, carrying JD around.


I didn’t take any water park pictures, but here we are, afterwards. Yes, I really have that many freckles. They multiply in the sunshine.

We’d been there about 30 minutes, when Daniel announced that he had to go to the bathroom. I think I have the only kids in America that NEVER pee in the pool. Mom was at the water slides with the big boys, and I was at the kiddie pool with the little ones, so I had to take JD to the bathroom with us. He hates his sandals, so I carried him everywhere.

Guess how long we spent in the bathroom. 30 minutes. First, the toilet was too tall, so I had to lift Dan up in the air for him to pee.

I cringed the whole time to see poor JD standing in the bathroom floor barefoot.  Ewwww. Best Mom ever.

As soon as I put Dan down, he said the dreaded words, “I have to go poop.”

Ooooo, no. Why didn’t he inherit my refusal to do that in public? I set him up and closed up the stall.

I turned and looked at JD, who thankfully, is the kind of toddler that never wants to wander away from me and actually listens when I say, “Stay with me.” (Thank you, JD.)

JD pulled on his trunks, which are a size 18 months, pulled as tight as they can go, and still are falling off of him. The he said the dreaded words, “Pee pee. Pee pee.”

No, JD is not potty trained. He’s been standing in front of the potty asking to go pee, unable to make anything come out for months.  Of course, he suddenly figured out how to make it actually come out on vacation.

First, I looked for another toilet. What do you know? The other stalls had shorter toilets! Wha? Poor Daniel. So I started to help JD, figuring he’d just stand there and nothing would happen, as usual.

Nope. He peed all over me and the floor. I know that it was pee and not pool water because it was hot.

Cheer or cringe? Cheer or cringe?

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be returning to the potty training phase. We won’t be trying to work on this until we return home, but we have a little fellow that is obviously ready.


Caleb’s teeth, blue from the snow cone.



Mom and I also took the boys to Chuck E Cheese. The three oldest had a blast. JD had fun too, but oh gracious. Never take a 2-year-old to Chuck E Cheese unless you absolutely have to do so. That’s my best advice.


Nana and the boys, after a day of fun


I figured he’d like the ride-on cars. No. He cried. I thought he’d like the thing you climb up in. I was actually relieved he didn’t go near that. I would have had to climb up in the thing and fetch him when he realized how high he was and started crying, like he did on the elephant slide in the kiddie pool.

Thankfully, he did love the pizza and air hockey. He played air hockey with his hands instead of the bumper thingy, but hey, he played, so I was happy.

It’s just hard to enjoy Chuck E Cheese when you’re two because everything is taller than you, hard to push, and apparently, rides are very scary for some.


Joshua’s pants broke right as we got there, so he wasn’t feeling too happy. Does anyone know a great place to buy shorts for thin kids??

By the way, do you see JD’s hands? They are FULL of cars from the movie Cars. He carries them around everywhere, all the time.


JD is getting more used to Alabama now. I am sitting in the living room, watching Hoodwinked with the kids and my dad, and wonder of wonders! JD is not in here climbing into my lap! I can actually hear him in the kitchen playing cars! Hallelujah!


By the way, don’t bother texting me this week. I also drowned my cell phone. I put it in the bottom of the stroller with a water bottle that leaked.

The funny thing is that I haven’t missed my phone at all. I feel FREE, really really FREE! Cell phones are sort of a ball and chain, aren’t they? In fact, the only thing I will potentially miss is the GPS.

Meanwhile, you can email me, contact me on Facebook, or call my mom. I’m more of a laptop girl anyway. Sorry, y’all!

I hope you are all having a great week. We are sunburnt, bug bitten, bothered by gnats, and eating all the southern vegetables and fried chicken a person could want! Life is good. Roll Tide!

My parents put this up for the kids.

My parents put this up for the kids. It’s 100 degrees outside!!

Just clicking is voting. Thank you!!

Southern Summer Photoblog 2015



Every summer we travel south. It’s a tradition. We visit as many family members as possible, stay out of the OPPRESSIVE heat as much as we can, and eat tons of popsicles. At least, my children are certainly eating their weight in popsicles. Nana keeps them well supplied.

I’m afraid Northern California has spoiled me from ever living down here again. Don’t worry. Ultimately, we go where we find work, but goodness- gracious- in- the-mornin’! This place is HOT.

In California, we were wearing long sleeves! Here we are wearing as little clothing as we can get away with and still be considered ‘decent.’

I think the real story of this past week in Alabama was Daniel and Tori. They are the CUTEST cousin buddies ever. Alyson and Janet captured some wonderful photos of the two of them at play.


golf cart with Great-Grandma and cousins


playing in the basement


It’s beautiful here, truly beautiful, and bountifully blessed with rain. 90+ degrees though.


We are so blessed to have such a fun family.


Gotta keep the guns and Pokemon cards at the ready!

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The heat doesn’t bother them too much. They are so happy.

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They have done some sort of water activity every single day.

packing fail

The biggest glitch to taking part of my vacation without Alan? (He’s back in California. Sad! We miss you! Get your finals done so you can join us!)

Packing the van without Alan was the hard part. I picked up this giant red suitcase to stuff a smaller suitcase inside of it, and it fell over and half of the contents spilled out onto the ground.

Eventually, I had to give up and let Alan’s dad load it for me. I wanted to be all tough and do it myself, but I’m going to go with the whole ‘no man is an island’ thing and not feel too badly about the fact that I just couldn’t.

The kids were so excited to spot this rainbow yesterday. It’s been raining a little almost everyday. We need to pray for that to happen in California! Daniel didn’t even know what thunder was. Alan had to show him what lightning is on a You Tube video a few weeks ago.

This is my favorite thing bout southern summers!  THIS PLACE!!!

I just found this humorous. There’s a ninja turtle peeping into our house.

The boys have done a lot of this.

Coach Cox said that I need to add in more veggies to my diet. He suggested adding them to my omelets in the morning. It was good!

The big boys have been studying this Biology poster, just for fun. Many questions have arisen as a result thereof. Let’s just say they keep us on our toes. I just love trying to explain reproduction. *cough* ahem um uh. yeah.

Don’t worry. We haven’t over shared. We have managed to keep our answers brief so far, and everyone has been satisfied. They have learned a few new vocabulary words, though.

Yes, you can really wear this outfit in June in northern California.

My latest summer obsession…..

I was so excited that Grandmother had coleslaw at the family BBQ the other day! I put mine right into my BBQ sandwich, just like the restaurant near Yosemite. It was just yummy.

Wishing you all a relaxing summer!

Thanks to Alyson and Janet for these photos! I’m off to watch The Croods with the boys.



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My Video Interview and Fitness Plan with Coach Cox

exerciseThis is me, trying desperately to do planks. And this is what actually happens anytime a mom of a toddler tries to do floor exercises.

You want to know scary? Try doing a kettle bell swing with this little guy around. Don’t worry. It’s completely impossible. Once he walks in, the kettle bell goes down. But plank time is big fun to him.

C’mon, Mom!! Get up!

Every single toddler. Every single time.

I’ve never had an online personal trainer before. I’m doing this program with Coach Cox, and it’s really all about building healthy habits. What I like about this is that he focuses on life style changes, rather than crash diets/cleanses/ or abstaining from this food or that. That mess gets on my nerves.

First, he sits down with you and does an interview. You tell him where you’re at, fitness wise, and what your goals are. Then he gives you guidelines on what and how much to eat, he builds you a work out calendar, complete with videos, and together you agree on your very first goal.

Here’s my interview. I wasn’t overly excited about being on camera, and at the end, half of my children barge in, and I have trouble not laughing. This is a great video to get ideas for ways to get in shape yourself. I DID fix my hair and put on make-up for this. You are welcome.

He briefly mentioned in this video that he has an AWESOME app to go with all of this.

Fast forward.


So month one is over for me now. I convinced Justin to work with me a second month. This is something I wanted to take on because I majorly FAILED in the ‘taking care of myself’ department this year. It is painfully noticeable when I’m standing with all of my southern relatives, and they all have pedicures, and I never even make time to paint my toe nails.

I told my Mom, “I just don’t really have time to spend pampering myself.”

Mom said, “It takes 5 minutes to paint your toe nails.” Oh, yeah, so maybe I’m just getting lazy…and less and less girly. I need someone super girly to move near me and make me do this stuff that used to be second nature to me. What is happening to me???

Okay. y’all. Hold me accountable! I am going to drink my water, get my rest, and follow Coach Cox’s work out plan through the rest of June!!  If you’re hangin’ out with me, don’t let me make excuses. Let’s encourage each other to live healthier.

Want to join me on this adventure, or learn more about his free fitness videos and articles?

Find them here:

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