Friday, April 25, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This was the view from our backyard late yesterday afternoon...

Our Feline Family

We have always had lots of animals here at our home. As a child I can remember feeding the kittys outside, and when called to eat they would come from everywhere... the field, woods, under the house and out of the bushes. I think at one time we had over 50 cats (!), and many began as strays that folks would drop off on our land because they knew we would take care of them. Of course, before we could get them "fixed", some were pregnant, or got pregnant, and many were the little ones from these litters.

We took some away once to a dairy barn two towns away, but those cats were so smart many found their way back to us... much to my Daddy's chagrin, and my joy!

Oh, and we have had lots of dogs too - and I loved each and every one... Our sweet dog Maddie died just this past December, and we are considering a new one (or two?) for the kids summer birthdays...

Last year was hard on us as we also lost three of our cats - Inkabink, or "Tink" (Momma's cat), Tiger and Whisper.

But, thankfully, we still have these three beautiful cats who are a part of the family. The first one is Sugar... when he was born I swore he was a she, and I learned how to tell a cat's gender when I was Elizabeth's age. When we took the litter to be fixed, the vet told me that actually, Sugar was a male. Doesn't really matter now he's been fixed (!), but he is the sweetest cat I have ever known. He is also the softest, even though he is an inside/outside kitty. The kids can pretty much hold him upside down and he will let them. He used to reside here on this side of the field, but after EJ was born he decided to go to Momma's to live!

I don't blame him really, Geoff probably wanted to move then too... I was hormonal, we just had our first newborn who had severe reflux, and no one slept. Those were some long days and nights... really months if I am honest!

Next up is Sugar's brother, Booger. Geoff gave him this particular name because of the dark spot on his nose. it actually goes under one side, and looks like he has a booger. Seriously! "Boog Boog" as we somehow call him is a true hunter. He loves to go into the field and bring us mice as a way to show his love... many mornings I will wake to find one on my door step! (and yes, I am sad for the mice... that is another story!) He's a great cat who loves to play around.

And last, but not least is Tasha. She was from a litter of kittens that arrived on the scene a few weeks before EJ was born. (We had a lot going on when she was born - adding to the crazy stress that made those first months a wild ride for us all!) Anyhow, in the mix of it all we called her Mustache, for the white around her mouth... later changing it to a more feminine nickname of Tasha. She is a sweet kitty too, more timid than the others, but really wants to be the inside cat. Not happening right now, but I do miss my inside kitty, so maybe one day...

EJ and Cub love each one, and have learned (still learning) to be gentle and and kind when petting and playing with them. Truth be known, Geoff is even smitten with Sugar, and he is more a "dog" kinda guy. They are truly part of our little world here, and have brought us a lot of joy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dragon Under our Porch

The kids came in a little while ago all excited... so excited, in fact, that I couldn't understand a word of what they were trying to tell me.

Something about a dragon under the porch?

Now, we have a lot of animals that find their way to our home, but I have yet to see a dragon...

Lucky for these two, Uncle BB came by to wash his truck off before heading to a bachelor party/ weekend of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. He agreed to go under the porch and check for any dragons that might have decided to take up residence there.

I'd gone as far as I dared after they tried to get me to take a look... the innocence of children is a beautiful thing, but my mind was imagining all the snakes that could be neighbors to that dragon. I used to have an ivy bed in the front of the house, but it had really taken off a few years ago and Geoff began cutting it way back. We still need to go under the porch and cut it out before it takes over the front part of the house... but it is probably a nice shady, cool place for snakes?! In view of this, I'd told them that under the porch was a new "off limits" area, even the back part that has no ivy. All the while I was flashing back to my childhood, filled with playing in all the old barns and under our house... a place my parents probably didn't want us to be either. Right here, on this same piece of land. Still, country kids and all... off limits!

So, back to BB going under the porch to check things out... he did find an animal under there, but it had already seen it's last meal days ago. I think it was a raccoon, or possibly a stray cat, but the kids now think either the dragon got this animal, or this animal is the Big Bad Wolf. The teeth were rather menacing....

I'm gonna love trying to explain this one tonight before bedtime! Everyone knows that is when the boogie men come out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Somewhere along the way I have lost my creativity... the title of this post is all I could come up with today...

Yesterday, we went to town and got the annual forest of fern to place on our wrap around porch. When this house was built, I always had a picture in my head of springtime and beautiful hanging fern all the way around the house. It just makes our home more inviting, and it's the southern thing to do. So, every year we go and get these fern... what I never thought of in those early days was the watering it takes to keep fern alive in the middle of a hot Georgia summer.

Lots and lots... and since we don't seem to have lots of water here in Georgia these days, nor do I enjoy watering all those fern everyday, I was in a pickle.

So, last spring Geoff fixed it all for me! He went to Home Depot and got the stuff to have the watering done for me... by itself! Yep, he has it rigged up to where the water is on a timer (you know, for all those rules about when you can and can't water...) and a tubing system that drips into the plants. Somehow, at the correct time/s, the fern get watered and I do not get wet in the process! The plants look great, they were huge last summer, and they even get their daily dose when we are on vacation...

Notice the pretty pink petunias? Elizabeth had to have pink flowers when we were there, so I opted for two of these to hang at our back steps this year... I hope to replant them in a green container this afternoon.

Along with the title of "yesterday", here is Cub at his Laptime Program. The theme was "Ducks", and this is the art he made while there. He loves going to the library for this learning hour, and calls it his "school".

This is Elizabeth last night during Awana at our church. They were at "recess" and she had a great time playing on the newly refurbished playground - can't you tell by that grin?!

Yesterday was a good day!

They'll Get Me One Day!

I have more where these came from.... many, many more!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Tax Season Bites the Dust...

I know, this may sound a little strange to most of you, but for my family this is one of the best days of the year! You see, my Diddy is a CPA, and January - April is what we call "tax season".

This generally means that for these 4 months my Daddy is at work 24/7, or at least 20/7 ... he is forever at his desk in Atlanta, or the one at my parents house with someone's tax return in hand. I can remember as a little girl looking into the office and seeing him in there with piles of paper everywhere, as he worked long into the night.

Last night he sounded tired as I talked to him on his cell phone. He was on the way home from his office, and it was after 9 p.m. There were extensions to file, and a long night ahead. But, through his tiredness he was quick to tell me a joke, and that is my Daddy. He is a rock through the tough times, and I am so proud of him!

I must say though, my Momma is pretty involved in tax season as well... over the years she has become his secretary at home, and all the while raising my brother and myself, and everything else that comes with running a home. She also had her own job as a school secretary, and then teacher when we were a little older, so she juggled a lot during tax time too.

Diddy had a firm in Atlanta with a few other gentlemen for 41 years, but in 2006 they merged their company in with another one. He is gearing up for retirement, and we are all excited that in the next few years "tax season" won't be as stressful, tiring and long for him.

We have our beach trip, scores of antique shops to check out, and many tractor pulls to attend to when this tax season ends tonight, so Happy April 15th yall!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Elizabeth's Art

We go to the beach in 5 1/2 weeks, to a place that is near and dear to our hearts. In 2001 my parents went on a cruise with family, and ended up buying a timeshare in Cocoa Beach, FL... we have been every year since then, except the summer my Grandmomma died.

It's a great place to go and relax, or it's so close to so much that you can fill your week with tons of activity. Since our family continues to grow, Diddy and Momma just bought a second timeshare at the same place... Now we can all go and have enough room to spread out! Of course, I love just staying at the beach, or going to the pool... Geoff enjoys that NASA is just down the road, and my parents love the antique stores and flea markets along the road. We usually have a pretty good balance of it all, but one thing the kids enjoy is Disney World... it's a short hour away from our condo. Seeing the Princesses and Buzz Lightyear in person is, well, magical for them.

Not too long ago EJ made this heart at PreK. I don't think you can read it from the picture, but it says, in her own writing - I love you because "They take me to the beach!".

I will frame this after it comes down from the side of the fridge... it is touching to know that they have a place to dream about, even if it isn't somewhere incredibly far away. There is plenty of time for far away places. For now, I just love knowing she looks forward to our beach trip every year with family, and the anticipation of this years trip is growing daily!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I know I have said it before, many times... but we live in a rural area. This means that our internet is either powered by a dial up connection, or by satellite.

Neither is as good as what most of you have... a cable connection.
(Please forgive me if I am not using the correct technical terms - I am so not a technical person!)

A few years ago, my graphic designer, Mac computer expert husband got really fed up with our dial up connection (!)... we bought the latest and greatest satellite for our house. It is supposed to run both our TV and our computer, but somehow we still have two satellites on our roof. At least they aren't those huge ones that sit in the yard like the old ones from the 80's.

Anyhow, the speed of our computer was greatly increased, but I understand it is still slow in comparison to what most everyone else is used to. Geoff can tell a huge difference from his office in Atlanta and our home, so I know it is frustrating for him. And, when the wind blows too hard, or it is storming, we have no television or computer access... seriously!

My Daddy is a CPA who also works in Atlanta... and, yes, it is quite a drive for them both to get to work, but necessary. My parents only have dial up at their house, and because of this are seldom on a computer. Daddy does need to use the computer for tax returns/work he does from the house, so he too gets very frustrated with the slow connection.

Momma has been calling the cable companies to find out just what it would take to get cable to come to our homes. She has been put on hold, transfered, and almost laughed at for asking, but found out today that the grand total to get cable run to their house would be $12, 244.00! That is just the figure to get it to their house, it would cost more to run it on to our home, and then BB and Reynie's house.

I guess we will just stick with the satellite for now!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Now, This takes the Cake!

Here in the south we have a Groom's cake at weddings.

I never knew until I got older that it was a southern thing, but I am told it most certainly is, or that it started here at least.

When Geoff and I got married, our talented cake lady made Geoff a Piper Cub airplane for his groom's cake... it was pretty cool, and got lots of attention. Only it was so hot and humid in September that it began to melt, and the wings had to be held up with big cups so they wouldn't collapse.

But, yall - this one truly "takes the cake"... at the wedding we went to this weekend, this was the groom's cake -

Isn't it awesome?!

I can't begin to explain to you how we are kinda related to the groom, but he went to high school with us. In a nutshell, Geoff's Aunt Betty Jo is married to the groom's Daddy, among a few other family connections that might really confuse someone. They own/run a large dairy farm not far down the road.

This cake is absolutely perfect for his Groom's cake, and also the most awesome one I've ever seen. I was told the Bride's Aunt made it... she should go into the cake business.

And, just so you can tell that it is really a cake, here it is after it's been cut. Yes, it's also red velvet!

We wish Kirk and Stephanie many blessings and lots of love as they begin their life together - God bless you both!

Monkeys at the Zoo

Last week was a whirlwind of activity here at our house...

Sunday, while also shopping for the jogging stroller, we picked up our nephew at the airport. The kids were thrilled to see him, and also all the big airplanes!

I was very nostalgic being back at ATL International Airport - I have spent much of my life there, (or, going to and from there I should say!) and it is a bit of a heartbreak to not have my ID anymore. Silly, I know, but true nonetheless... even the old familiar smell of jet fuel is always strangely refreshing. What we flight attendants and pilots say is true (even us former flight attendants!) - flying gets in your blood. Even though you may hear them complaining about being overworked/underpayed, piggy-backed, and short called, many wouldn't give it up for the world. Some of us only considered it for the best opportunity ever - being a stay at home Mommy. And, to be honest, some days you may still hear me complain about being overworked and short called, but never "underpayed".

On Tuesday Nana flew in from Seattle. She really lives in Charleston, SC, but was helping family in Seattle with newborn twins, and their 18 month old brother! (Talk about a Mommy being a bit stressed - though I hear she is taking on the task like a champ!)

So, on Wednesday we all loaded up to go to the Atlanta Zoo. Geoff, Nana, EJ, Cub, Jeffrey and I... It was a lot of fun - and the kids really enjoyed seeing the animals. EJ had been about a year ago with Nana when Cub was in The Children's Hospital with a bad bout of rotavirus, which is a long story in itself. And even though I believe Jeffrey has been to many zoos, he was as excited as Cub, who loved his very first trip to see the animals he sees in the books we read at night.

Especially the monkeys, and this gorilla! We watched them for a long time, and all the kids enjoyed seeing the baby monkeys play. This Daddy was taking a nice siesta when one of the babies came over to mess with him... in the blink of an eye the daddy Gorilla shot up and tried to grab that baby monkey for interrupting his nap. But, before that even happened, Mommy monkey jumped in between them and pulled the baby to safety. She held him tight and smoothed his hair down, trying to calm the little scared thing, all the while giving Daddy gorilla quite a look. Anyone else see how funny this is?!

We had church that evening, and then EJ had a play date after school on Thursday. Jeffrey came back over to play, as everyone else was cleaning and getting ready for a family wedding on Saturday night. The wedding was beautiful, even though it was supposed to be outside, and it had been raining for two whole days. They had a tent for the reception, and moved the ceremony underneath it as well.

Through it all, I have neglected the house and laundry... so, today is catch up day for as much as I can do!

As I used to say a thousand times a day on the plane, at the boarding door when everyone was leaving... (just for old times sake, you know?!)....

Bye Bye, Goodbye, Bye Bye, Thank you, Bye Bye!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Take Me Home, Country Road...

This is the dirt road that goes to our house, BB and Reynie's house, and Momma and Diddy's house! And, it connects to another little road that takes you to my Aunt and Uncle's house, as well as the house that started it all - my Grandmother's house... she is in heaven with our Lord, but the house remains. I have lived on this country road/property most of my life - I grew up here, as did my Diddy. I took several roads that led me out of this small town for brief moments in time, but not for long. There is just something about this place that is special. Things do change, and so has the look of this property, but there is alot of history here that is a strong bond between our family, and our friends. Thing is, we are not unique... I can tell of many other families in our community who live next to their relatives, and have also been here forever. Geoff's family is much the same... he grew up just like this, in the next small town 5 minutes down the "big road". I hope it can stay like this for years to come... it's a great place for children to grow up.

I have been a little in the dumps lately, and realized that only I could fix it... over the winter I had gotten somewhat complacent, and wasn't taking the best care of myself.

So, I decided I needed to start running again. My options were slim, as part of the "problem" is scheduling. Between the kids school, activities and other outside obligations, I'd taken on too many other projects as well. I really enjoy being involved, I always have - but overload is stressful, and I had reached it. Stress alone can send me into the dumps!

So, about the running... I used to love to run. It is so relaxing and helps keep me in shape. Of course, for a few years there I was either pregnant, nursing a newborn/baby, or pregnant again... I wasn't able to sleep, much less run... or think, shower, etc.

Last January I started to run again, and caught the fever... Somewhere in the summer I lost the fever (!), but I know it is just what I need now to get me out of this slump. It will also help me loose those few pounds that always make me feel terrible. We go on our annual trip to Cocoa Beach in about 6 weeks, and I want to enjoy being at the beach with our family... not worrying about putting on a bathing suit!

Well, I will always worry about that... but I don't want to be terrified.

Anyhow... I started last week on a whim. The kids and I were outside, and I was pulling them around in their wagon. They were loving it, so I decided we'd go up the road and into "town"...

After two or three days of that, and the shin splints I got from tugging them along, I decided I needed a jogging stroller! We had one when EJ was little, but I now needed a double. The double stroller we were using wouldn't hold the weight of both kids anymore, and wasn't good for running anyhow... so, after church on Sunday, we went and bought a new double jogging stroller that I am thrilled with. We have tried it out, and it is soooooooooooo much better than the wagon! (Yes, okay, Duh!) Seriously, it is perfect, and I am so thrilled to be out running again.

I can already breathe a little better knowing I am doing something good for myself, and my children are enjoying it too!