Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sunflowers, Butterflies and Bees

I took some pictures yesterday of the sunflowers.... the fields are not yet in full bloom, and it was mid-day (the sunlight is too bright for the best photos...) but I thought I'd go out and see what I could capture. I will start taking pictures of the kids in them this week...

This butterfly happened to sit down on the very sunflower I had my camera focused on!

This picture with the bee was not so spontaneous... for every sunflower out there, there must be about 5 bees. In fact, to get a few pictures of the sunflowers without bees on them, I always have to shake them off!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Want To Go Back!

My babies at Cocoa Beach in May...

Big Boy Underwear

This is my Momma with the kids at her house... the kids were playing in the sandbox over there today. Cub is showing me (and the camera, so I will take a picture!) his big boy underwear, and is very proud of them... can't you see?! I have been trying to potty train Cub for awhile now... not seriously, but I am trying to get him interested.

Now, I am serious! He has gone naked a lot this summer while we are outside, and that has payed off. And, don't worry, we live so far away from "civilization" that no one sees him but me, EJ, Momma and whatever animal is in the yard. He's now much more aware of his bodily functions, and is adamantly wanting to wear big boy underwear... so, off came the pull ups, and on went the Spider Man underwear.

Anyone know where I can get Buzz Lightyear ones? He has told me a thousand times that is what he wants...

Anyway - I'll see how this goes for now. I am sure I'll have a few good stories from this experience to write about!

Grumps and Ferocious

Buzz and Jesse are now about 9 weeks old, and bouncing off the walls. Whew! The other night one of them chewed through a power cord that is part of Geoff's Mac laptop, and also ate one of EJ's most favorite pink crystal embellished flip flops. (And, no, I haven't told her yet... I'll cross that bridge when we get there...)

I am just glad that they weren't electrocuted or choked... but believe you me, before leaving the room we now make doubly sure that there isn't anything of value in their area. The crate works great, but if we are leaving for any stretch of time, I now put them in a bigger pen that my Great Aunt is letting us borrow... they have more room to play around, but they are still contained. This also helps with any "messes" I might have to clean up when we return, but for the most part they will not "mess" in either the crate or the pen... and I love the puppy pads! What a wonderful invention...

This is Buzz... his ears are too cute, and he reminds me of a bunny at this age. His ears stand as tall as he does, and he is our "grump". When you pick him up he never fails to start that low growl, like he is trying to say something, or as if he is grumpy... but he loves it when you rub his belly! He sleeps on his back usually - and the opportunity to love on him then is just too great!

Now, Jesse has a ferocious growl for such a little ball of black hair and eyes, but he's the cuddly one really... he will let you pick him up and hold him more, and he likes us to turn him on his back in your arms, and rock/pet him. The ferocious bark thing is just when he is playing and is really into it - he wants us to think he is bad, but even the kids know better!

Their personalities make them all the more lovable and cute... they have been here 3 weeks now and fit right in our little family!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Beginnings

Lots of things are happening here! Our church is in a flurry of activity as our Pastor of over 27 years, Dr. Mills, retired last Sunday. Dr. Wallace, our new Pastor, joins us this week.

Dr. Mills is like family and will be missed greatly... he is now on a trip that will take him through many foreign countries, and will be gone about a month. When he returns we all hope he will come back to visit regularly and soon!

About a year ago, I was asked to be on the search committee, and was involved in the daunting task of finding a new Pastor for our church family. We all prayed very hard for His guidance, and everyone's patience as we began that search when Dr. Mills announced his retirement plans. After hundreds of resumes, visits to listen to other preachers, and watching DVD's from folks far and wide, we were surprised to find ourselves listening to a man we all thought might be that person. Our committee was diverse in many ways, but we were all intrigued, and after interviewing him were all in agreement to present him to our Deacon Board.

The church family got to know him through a series of Sunday morning sermons, Wednesday night suppers, and a church wide picnic... he was later voted in, and Sunday is his first official day as our Pastor.

I am excited about this new beginning for our church - our community is growing daily here in what used to be such a sleepy little place, and our church is in position to help bring the word of God and his love to many people. We are a small church (150 -200 regulars), but we have a big heart, continuing to share God's grace with our community.

Bible School is also in full swing this week, headed up by Pastor Drew, our associate preacher. We have an awesome group of kids there learning more about God and his word. Our pre-school children are also involved, and it's exciting to see all the children as they grow in his love.

On Monday the lesson dealt with Thankfulness, and as the littlest ones had snack, we went around the table and asked them what they were thankful for.

As you might imagine, the answers were all very cute, but one 3 year old boy said, very sweetly, "For Jesus!".


Mark 10: 14-16
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
And he took the children into his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Standing Tall

The sunflowers are beginning to bloom! They will be short again this year, due to the drought, but still beautiful when the fields are full of them at their peak.

This one is the talk of our family... it stands tall and proud, way above any of the other plants.
Everyone notices it, and so I decided to share it with yall too. I took this last night as I was coming home from VBS with the kids, so maybe I will get a better shot of it today... there will be many more sunflower pictures to come!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Cat Food Bandit

Meet Bandit, our cat food napper. He steals up to our porch most every night, lights on or not (he's very brave, this raccoon!) and opens the cat food bin. He's also very smart.

The cats don't mess with him really... they must have some pact about when he can go get into their food, and he's safe?

The other night Geoff grabbed the camera, and went out to get his picture. We both thought as soon as he opened the door, "Bandit" would run away.

Nope! That raccoon kept eating, only pausing briefly to check out my husband and the contraption that kept flashing every time he took a picture.

We aren't strangers to wild animals here... living out in the middle of nowhere (well, it used to be nowhere, but now somewhere is getting closer...) we see deer and wild turkey like we see our cats. Coyotes are all around these days too, as well as many other creatures big and small. More snakes than I care to think about, I am sure... But rarely do these animals allow us to get that close... they are still wild, of course.

But then there was Jasmine, the squirrel.

Geoff found this little guy watching him while cutting grass, and when he called us over to show the kids, that squirrel went right up to him, ran up his pants leg, all the way to sit on his shoulder! Jasmine was so friendly, we considered keeping her as a pet, but with all our cats we thought better of that idea. We ended up taking her to the closest wild life preserve, where they could take the best care of such a trusting little animal.

I am not sure if I know what is going on around here, but we love animals, and so they are coming to the right house. With two new puppies, two country cats and two children under 5, we aren't really in the "need any more pets" mode right now... but I can sure find them a great home.

Except for Bandit... he can stay. He is obviously able to take care of himself without us interfering, and I love watching him during his nightly visit to our back porch.

Besides, he is just plain adorable!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Little Garden

When I was a little girl we always had a garden during the summertime. I can remember sitting on Diddy's lap as he drove the tractor through the rows of our backyard garden, and watching daily as the tomatoes, squash, okra and other veggies would grow.

My Grandmother Banks had a huge garden, and she tended to it like it was her baby. One of my fondest memories of her is out in the garden, straw hat on her head and a sleeveless summer dress. I was standing by her pink crepe myrtle tree, and I watched her as she went up and down every single row. I was supposed to be helping I am sure, but somehow I had taken a rest there in the shade, just watching my Grandmomma.

She would love these pictures, and boy, would she love these babies.

The garden in my parents backyard has long ago been covered in grass, and a new family one was planted up the road at my Aunt and Uncle's house years ago. I admit I rarely help much up there, but have been enjoying the veggies from that garden for years as well. (Thanks Diddy!)

My Grandmother passed away the summer Geoff and I got married, but in her later years she was unable to take care of a garden. She still enjoyed a good tomato, cut in half and doused in salt and pepper up until she went to heaven to be with Jesus. Oh, and she could make the best veggie soup ever... I do mean ever! I am sure she is up there helping God with his summer garden right now.

Reynie, BB's wife, began a garden a couple of years ago back at their house, and I have tried many of the veggies (and some peppers) that they grow. Grandmomma would be proud! And they can cook, those two...

So, I have dallied many years about planting a small one in our backyard, and when this spring rolled around I decided I really wanted to try my hand at it again. Somehow I forgot that it takes time to tend to it, and with two kids under 5 that becomes more difficult, so you will see more weeds in my version of gardening than most. But, we have 4 tomato plants, some sunflowers (yes, I know... why, when we have fields planted around us? Well, I wanted some in my backyard silly!), 3 cucumber plants and a squash plant. We had more in the ground, but when the new sprouts were first coming up, something ate them all up! Varmits!

It warmed my heart yesterday when the kids ran inside to tell me that we had a red tomato! They were so excited, it was beautiful to see... the excitement on their faces was so sweet. I love that they are experiencing so many of the same things that Geoff and I did as children, and it makes me smile to know that Grandmother is up in heaven, smiling down on my babies as they get excited about a red tomato. Soon we will cut it up to eat, and douse it in salt and pepper, just for her.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Playing Around

I haven't really had much time to play much with the new camera... this afternoon the kids went outside to the swings and sandbox, and I took it out there to see what it could do.

I am loving this camera! It's lighter and smaller than our other Canon Rebel, and it is quick on taking a picture. I have been missing so many of "those perfect moments" because the other one wouldn't focus quick enough, or even at all (!), and now I hope to be able to capture more of them.

So far, I am thrilled!

EJ has been "trained" well - I have had a camera in her face since she was born, and she has got posing down to a "T"...

Cub has also had a camera pointed in his direction since birth, but he isn't as easy to photograph as EJ is. He's way too busy to flash his baby blues my way, and he's very much like the other men in our family... they do not like to show their teeth when they smile.

Here, Cub goes a step further.

It's as if he is saying, "Okay. I'll look at your camera, Mommy, but it's all on my terms."

And, what do you know, it is one of my favorite pictures of him!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


These are sweet summer memories, like some I remember having with my friends when I was a kid... I took these yesterday when EJ had a friend over. Her Mom made them matching dresses from pillow cases, and they are truly adorable. I asked the girls to put them on so I might get their picture together, and after the "posed" pictures this is what they wanted to do...

Cub just had to follow them on their flight through the front yard... in his diaper no less!

Still, priceless to me...
Happy Wednesday Yall!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

We got a new camera! It's a Canon Rebel XSi... we had a Canon Rebel, and it has been one awesome camera, but I am hoping to get a bit more involved with all this photography.

I can't wait to really play with it - I did go out to the rock garden this morning and take a couple of shots of the flowers in my wine barrels...

Much more to come as I get accustomed to this camera, and all that it will do. I hope to take a few classes, and get my family and friends to continue being my guinea pigs as I learn the ins and outs of how to make great pictures!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Puppies, Puppies, Everywhere...

We are a week and a few days into this new world of kids and puppies, and we are learning a lot. I can only hope the puppies are too!

1.) They are just adorable... okay, I learned that from just holding them at Aunt Peggy's house, but I had to say it just one more time.

2.) Puppies are a lot of work. I knew this from the start, but I am now feeling it! Potty training is the hardest part, and the next is keeping peace when the chaos of puppies and kids playing/biting/holding ensues!

3.) I have always been a "cat person"... sure, we have had many dogs in my lifetime, but I have always had a cat, or two, or three. Okay, or four, five and six... I think I am now a cat/dog person! These puppies are just too adorable...

Oh, have I said that already?!

Now, here is their latest picture - they are 7 weeks old... Jesse is first, and then Buzz. You can tell them apart by their ears right now, if by no other way... Buzz has one ear up, and one down. Both dogs will have ears standing up eventually, and Buzz's began standing up late last week. Too cute!

Friday, June 13, 2008

If I had a Penny...

If I had a penny for every time my children said "Mommy" I would be a millionaire. And that is just a days worth. It has been a long week... a fun week, and a tiring one, but I bet the kids have said "Mommy" more than ever. I love them, and I love being that "Mommy" they are calling for, but sometimes at the end of a long week I want to change my name to something else!

I think this is my 100th post... I must look to be sure, but this makes 100 times I have sat down to talk about this crazy life we have going on here... I am so excited that I am saving memories for the kids to look back on later, as well as myself!
Update: In one place it says it is my 100th post, in another it could be 91.... since I am not going to stop and count (!), I will go with approximately 100 posts. Works for me!

I realize I am rambling today, but that is kinda the way my day is going...

We will be back at Billy and Reynie's house on Sunday for Father's Day - I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and time spent with the special Daddies in your family!

Happy Father's Day Geoff, Diddy, and Grandpa Choo Choo!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gardenias and the Weather

I love the smell of gardenias... we have two bushes in our yard, and they are overflowing now with blooms and flowers. It sure is nice to sit out on the porch and enjoy their aroma... but you have to wait until the sun has gone down, because it is just way too hot to think about during the day. Yesterday was a record breaking 98 degrees here, and that was without the good 'ol southern humidity added in...

Still, the gardenias smell really, really good!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Dancing Princess, Hula Style

Dear Elizabeth,

We are so proud of you! I know you were a little afraid yesterday when I dropped you off for your dance recital, and had "a little bit stage fright" as you put it. You looked so beautiful in your costume and stage make-up (A little too much so - note to Geoff and Diddy - clean the guns now ... adolescence will get here before we are ready!).

Momma, Diddy, Aunt Runelle, Daddy, Cub and I waited patiently as the recital progressed for your number... and I cried as you bravely danced your way on stage with the class. I knew you had a bit of "stage fright", but no one else would have ever known - you were right in step, in time with the music and tapped your little heart out. Your smile was as big as the sun, and my heart swelled as the music came to an end and yall waved as you left the stage.

I was still crying then too, and not because I was sad, Boo Boo. I was overwhelmed with pride and joy. I was proud of you for taking on something you were a little uncertain of, like dancing on a big stage in front of hundreds of people, and doing such a excellent job. I was joyful because you like to dance, and it makes you happy. (And, coming from a Mommy who danced my way from childhood to adulthood, it does a heart good...)

Now, this picture of you and your Daddy makes my heart swell too - another Daddy's Girl in the making. Be proud of that, sweetheart... be very proud.

So, to sum it up, I want you to know that your family loves you. We will be there for you through it all. God made you special, and we are lucky he gave us you to love and watch grow... very lucky!

Now, about the make - up....

Dearest Cub,

I just wanted to tell you that I was also very impressed with you yesterday too... you sat most patiently in Momma's lap for Sissy's group to come on stage and dance. Your sweet enthusiasm for your sister's dance was touching, and affirms my secret knowledge that yall really do love one another. By forgoing your afternoon nap, and being so good I am most impressed... we love you very much, and know God has big things in store for you.

I love you both, to "infinity and beyond"... Mommy

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Am Now Officially Obsessed



They are just too dern cute!
I can't stop taking their pictures!
I will try to curb my enthusiasm soon, I promise!
(my fingers are crossed...)

Puppy Love

The puppies are home, and boy have they stolen all our hearts - already!

I do have one correction from my previous puppy post (say that 10x fast!)... Cub's little pup has had a name change.

You guessed it - the new name is none other than Buzz. So, the duo taking over our living area is now Buzz and Jesse... I could have told yall that was gonna happen. Mommy instinct.

Anyhow - we made it through the day without too much of "Mommy, when are we gonna go to Aunt Peggy's?!"

When Geoff got home there was total pandemonium, and Aunt Reynie was here to attest to that... So, we loaded up and went to get the newest family members. The kids were so excited, and the grins on their faces were priceless... it was worth more than a million dollars to see their faces.

When we got home and got them settled in, the fun began... Buzz and Jesse have quite a lot of personality, and I will be much more at ease when they are crate trained (HELP! Anyone out there got any tips on crate training?!), but they are already a part of our family.

Yes, it was quick, but man are they cute!


Geoff and Buzz

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Little Sunshine

Just for the record, today began a little off.

We are a week into being home from vacation, and summer break is in full swing. The kids slept well, but they were a little testy with each other when they got up.

My goal for the summer is for the level of yelling to tone down a few decibels. Oh, and for the hitting to cease as well...

Just keeping it real.

Anyhow, after we got through that crisis I began a load of laundry. And the sweetest thing happened!

My little Snow White brought me some of the prettiest artwork I have seen in a few days. You know, since my little Cinderella brought me some on Monday.

I love the drawings - the first one is of EJ and myself. She spelled my name without asking how (!) and put her name and age below her picture.

Below is the second drawing of her Daddy and Cub. She also wrote Cub's name with out help, and got the first letter of Geoff's name correct, which is impressive to me as he spells it differently than most.

But the sweet part came after she gave me the pictures.

She hugged me real tight and said "I'm sorry Mommy". Then she said "I love you", and "I promise to try to use my words softer".

I could have cried -

Such sweet words from Snow White!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sunflower and Corn Fields

The sunflowers and corn are growing, and though I do not want to wish life away, I always look forward to seeing the sunflowers open in the fields. They are so beautiful!

So, this is where we call home... if you follow Reynie's blog (my sis in law) they live close by. My parents do too, and my Aunt and Uncle.

I'm certainly not leaving out the corn... we grow and eat a ton of it here, and it is good! My brother BB is the main farmer, along with my Uncle, and when needed other menfolk in our family, but I want to give credit where credit is due... Thanks Billy and Uncle Milton!

In July, around EJ's birthday, the sunflowers will be in full bloom. They are gorgeous, and I love getting the kids pictures in the middle of them. Then, around Cub's birthday, near the end of the month, the corn will be ready to pull, shuck, cream, blanch, bag and freeze. It isn't my most favorite chore here, but it is soooooo worth the effort. We all pitch in, and doing it together is always fun.

I also put up corn on the cob, which the kids enjoy... but there is nothing like creamed corn from the field.

On a cold day in the middle of December, it reminds me of summer...

Pure heaven.

New Additions to the Family...

Ah, no, I am not pregnant.

Just needed to get that out of the way first...

The kids are getting puppies tomorrow night, and they can barely stand the wait...
Nana got each one a scottish terrier for their birthday present (both birthdays are in July), and the pups are of age now for them to come to our home.

These pictures were taken a few days before we went away on vacation... Nana is getting the puppies from her sister, Peggy, who has been breeding dogs for over 30 years. We went to Aunt Peggy's house for a visit, and try to decide which ones the kids wanted to have for their own.

As it turns out, Elizabeth and Cub both decided on a black one. All the better for Mommy not to know which is which, but I am sure I will once they come to live with us...

You may be wondering what their names will be? Well, surprise, surprise folks! In yet another tip of the hat to Disney's Toy Story II, they will be called Woody and Jesse. EJ wanted to call hers Jasmine (for the Princess in Alladin of course) but the dogs are both boys, and so a compromise was struck with naming hers Jesse. I know, in Toy Story Jesse is actually a girl, but it can be a boys name, so it worked.


A thousand pictures will soon follow of all the puppy joy that is bound for our house tomorrow night...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summertime Fun

Since our return from the beach we have been busy. I don't know why I seem to think things will slow down in the summer, but I need to make a note to self about that silly notion.

Good thing is though, I am not in the road as much. Especially with gas at about $4 a gallon! During the last school year I was heading in to town at least 3 times a week, and sometimes more... I am thankful that I have reprieve from that schedule.

We have had a lot of friends over to play, and the kids have really been enjoying the kiddie pool in our backyard... the temperatures are in the 90's already, so I believe they will be in it a lot. They may have to move over and let Mommy in!

Momma got them a "slip and slide" too...

Maybe by the end of this summer we will have ourselves a water park in the backyard!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Snapshots of True Love

My parents will be married 43 years this August... isn't that beautiful?
It's not always perfect - they do argue.
But they truly love each other, and they love the Lord...
I love them both very much.