Bicycles and Butterflies


Callaway Gardens....ahhhh....just the sound of it makes me relax. It has truly become of mine and Jim's very favorite places to go. It's also one of my parent's favorite places to go. They got us hooked on it last year. I think we went twice in a matter of two months!

By the way, does this mean we're getting old? Since it's almost the only place my parents will go on vacation?


Don't answer that.

Okay, back to Callaway Gardens.

This past weekend after the birthday cake icing was scraped off the carport cement, the umpteen bags of trash were tossed into the garbage can, the smell of horse poop was cleared from the air, and we passed out cold for nearly 9 hours that night at my parent's house, Jim and I hit the road to have an overnight date there.

Did I mention we love it there?

We spent the day Saturday looking for hours in antique shops, eating lunch at an old fashioned soda shop (pictures of that will follow), and playing a round of golf (well...Jim played...I just drove the golf cart...someone's gotta do it, right?).

We also managed to spend about an hour in a sauna...ummmm...excuse me...the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. It sure felt like a sauna, though. The all-glass enclosure is held to a certain temperature year 'round, so that just means in the Summer heat, it's twice or maybe even three times as hot because the sun is just streaming in from every.single.direction.

By the time we left, we both looked like we had just run a 3K. I think the beads of sweat streaming down our faces and hair stuck to our heads definitely had something to do with that previous statement.

But ask me (I don't even ask Jim. He just knows to play along when we go here because I can't get enough of it.), and I'll tell you it was worth it.

Worth every drop of sweat because we got to see creatures such as this one...

and this one.

I just love this one because he's looking right at me. It's like he's saying, "Whatch you looking at?"

Such beauty! I would almost swear I took 200 shots like this one in less than an hour.

On Sunday morning, we got up semi early and took a spin on a pair of two-wheelers...or bicycles...whichever you prefer.

I have no earthly idea when the last time I rode a bike was. You can tell from this following photo that I wasn't speeding.

I think I just needed to get the hang of the bike they gave me. The steering can I put this...very sensitive. And all I kept thinking about was my sister's crash on one of these things last year. I definitely didn't want to end up with scrapes and bruises like she sported for a week. Or at least that's the excuse I'll keep using for now.

Jim, on the other hand, was busy popping wheelies...

ringing the little bell on the handlebars (He said he wanted to make sure I could hear him and catch up. Whatever!)...

and leaving skid marks on the trail.

We saw scenery like this...

and stopped along the way to enjoy it.

It was absolutely gorgeous.

Which is why we love it here!

Look who just turned 5!


She's my free-spirited, very special, 10 shades darker than me (So.not.fair!), strong-willed, maker of cards for her Aunt Cindi with 10 "I love you's" written on them, non-eater of macaroni and cheese, cutest birthday cowgirl, niece Emily!

Her 5th birthday was this past Friday, and she is every bit of 5! She wears a size 5, she was 5 plus pounds when she was born, she weighs 5 times 7 pounds, is 5 times 8 inches tall, and rode the ponies my sister had at her party (at least) 5 times (probably more but I didn't keep count)!

She had more friends and cousins and parents of friends and aunts and uncles...

and more fun that I think I've ever seen her have at any of her birthdays so far (Well, aside from her birthday celebration at Pump It Up last year...That was definitely a little out of control if you know what I mean!).

There was a trampoline, a Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake, colorful bandannas, 32 hot dogs, a pinata, cowboy hats, 4 pounds of candy, and 1 birthday wish...just for her.

And just in case you were wondering, there was definitely plenty of Jake to go around too.

By the time we dropped him off at school that morning, he had determined that he would ride on every horse available to him "really fast" and had named them all (Thomas the Train names, of course. What other names are there?).

He also managed to let me know that I was too big to ride on the horses because I would "fall off". That's okay, Buddy. Mommy probably wouldn't want to anyway. But thank you for looking out for me.

Yep! He definitely turned into quite the cowboy on Friday...singing trail songs...

sporting his new blue bandanna...

telling the horses to "Giddy-up!"...

giving me that tough "cowboy" look instead of his usual smiles...

and rewarding his ponies for a job well done.

Yes, Sir! Coming from one biased Mommy, he was by far the cutest, most rootin'-est tootin'-est, 3-year old cowboy on the range!

Visions of Laundry Baskets


His laundry basket...

should smell really...


oh say about...

ten years from now!

"Look, Mommy! I can shake it right off of my head!"

That's so nice, Sweetie. Just don't do it when we get in the car, okay? Thank you!

I Saw God Yesterday


This is sort of off the subject, but I really wanted to write this all down yesterday so I could title this post I saw God Today...instead of Yesterday. That way any of you listeners to or fans of country music would know which song I was thinking about when I came up with the title. Love that song! It's one of my favorites by George Strait.

So back to my story and the reason I'm here writing...

This week, starting with Monday, has really just not been all that great. I think I'm hitting that valley of female hormone that leaves me in tears that are uncontrollable, a place where I don't know what else to do other than blow my nose and wish I had worn waterproof mascara.

Monday, I woke up, and all I could think was...This.Just.Really.Sucks. I went to work and sat in my co worker's office and started to cry. I simply said to her - I'm just having a really *crappy* day (** - This means this may not be the exact word I used; but for the G rating I give this blog, I'm choosing to use that one instead. And don't worry. It's okay if my mom reads this. Even she knows this is a problem for me at times.). I was negative, I was full of "whys" and "I don't understands", and I was sad...all at once.

That was Monday.

And yesterday was Tuesday.

Yesterday, I saw God. Well, actually what I saw was an e-mail in my Inbox that completely caught me off guard. It was from Shelida. Shelida is a life-long friend of Jim's. And when I say true friend, she has been one to him for more years that he's been alive than he hasn't. I've only met her once in person; and aside from pictures, she and I wouldn't know what each other looked like if we walked right into each other at Target. She's a women after God's own heart and a mommy who has experienced loss in a greater capacity than I ever have. And yesterday...yesterday, she wrote to me. She wrote to tell me that she reads my blog, shares in my sorrow, and has been touched by the expression of my feelings about losing a child. She told me she sees me as stronger than herself, a blessing to many, and that for reasons unknown to her, she had been burdened for me and carried those burdens to God in prayer. The tears flowed and flowed as I wrote back to her as fast as my fingers would type and my mind could process what I wanted to say without me misspelling every single word I typed for writing faster that my fingers could go. I immediately started telling her this week had not been my best yet...that I was still processing and grieving, and it was hitting me hard. I shared how I felt that my loss was completely inadequate compared to hers but how blessed she has made me feel in return. After all...she gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give me here on Earth...she gave my burdens to God for me. When all I could do was feel and didn't know what to say other than how *crappy* my day was going, she was on top of the mountain praying for me. She lifted me out of the valley, not even realizing that God's calling for her to do so had a purpose and wasn't without reason.

And, to me, what makes it even better is that she wrote to share this with me. Her words were so needed and so appreciated to say the very least. But a few were missing. They were the ones I saw embedded within each sentence...

Cindi, this is your Heavenly Father. I just want you to know that your burdens have been laid at my nail-scarred feet. I've counted every tear that you've cried, and my hands have caught each one. I am here. You are not alone. I am carrying you. ~Love, God

If Looks Could Kill


When my husband is on the golf course...

he's in complete concentration...

he's intense...

he's in deep thought...

he's got his eye on the ball...

he's sweaty...


he's ridiculously good-looking.

Oh yeah...if looks could kill, I'd be completely dead right now after editing these photographs I took of him on Father's Day.

Especially for Dad


There was a time...

when he held me...

like this...

For him to relive it all over again...

was twice as special this time around!

To My Dad on Father's Day ~

For the Dad you've always been and never cease to be...for showing me that love has no limits...for your hugs...for teaching me to try again if at first I don't succeed...for always keeping your promises...for the "Dad" you are to Jim...for holding my hand and wiping away my tears...for adventuring with me when I had wild ideas...for your listening ear and knowing exactly what to say...for the Grandpa you are to Jake and because of him, seeing with my own eyes what's already in my heart...I thank you so very much. I hope today is a day that's as special as you are to all of us, and I love you more than you'll ever know. ~Your Daughter

Two Weeks in Review...After Midnight


Yep, it is after midnight, and I am still awake. I'm also still cleaning my house. And two weeks probably doesn't even cover the last time I updated you all on life in general around our house.

There have been ups.

There have been downs.

There have been moments that I wanted to scream in frustration, cry like a baby, sit in a dark room where no one could find me, and pray to God that Jim is with me all the days of my life.

He's been gone (for the past two weeks), and, for the most part, I've been living as a single parent. It's been really difficult this time, and I hate to say this (I so do not like the feeling that I'm wishing my life away!), but I'm glad these past two weeks are over.

It all started with Jim being asked at the very last minute to fill someone else's spot at a two-week course at Maxwell again in Montgomery. We were in the middle of a failing (and very unexpected) pregnancy, but the good times didn't stop there. Just when I was getting back to "normal" and was back in Tuscaloosa, Jake crawled in bed with me (two weeks ago this coming Tuesday) with a temperature of 101.8. My parent's phone rang at midnight, and it was me calling. I've been with Jake through every sickness, and this is definitely not the first fever he has ever had, but I just needed someone to listen. I also needed help. I knew he would be out of school for at least a couple of days, and guilt and panic set in over the fact that my absences from work were growing by leaps and bounds. So my mom agreed and made plans to come stay with us the next day (this is where living as a single parent, for the most part, comes in). Jake's diagnosis from his pediatrician was strep poor baby. sniff...sniff

So the fun began with a five-day antibiotic treatment and my mom living with us for the rest of the week. The fun part was the latter about my mom coming to stay with us. It was won-der-ful! I love having her here. Her company was unexpected but so needed. We watched movies every single night...our favorite of all of them was Leap Year (soooo gooood!!). She made dinner...she cleaned...she took care of Jake better than anyone else in the whole world...she came to my rescue...she "passed the baton" to Jim on Friday, and he was home for the weekend.

Ahhhh....the weekend. Jake finished his antibiotic, and we celebrated with a trip to Birmingham to do some shopping and eat an amazing dinner at PF Changs. We loved every minute of those two and a half days unquestionably.

This week has been great. It has been pretty uneventful other than a minor trip to the pediatrician...again. But this time it was for a simple prick on the finger for Jake's iron levels to be rechecked. They were low when I took him in for his three-year appointment, so they gave me some suggestions for altering his diet (mainly decreasing how much milk he drinks...which is a LOT) and a prescription for a supplement. This appointment was a recheck to see if those things worked for him, and this go-around, his level was great. He, however, wasn't so great, nor was I when we got out of there. He handled them pricking his finger like a champ. What he didn't handle well was the wait time to be called back. It was probably about thirty minutes long, and during that time, he managed to scream, "Don't hit me, Mom!" at least five times, "I want my Daddy!" oh probably ten times, and "Don't talk to me that way, Mom. You not 'possed to say that to me! Don't say that word!" once or twice. I was seriously waiting to be handcuffed and put behind bars...either for them thinking I was a child abuser or because I was about to seriously harm him right then and there. I truly have no explanation other than the fact that he didn't like what I had for a snack nor did he like the fact that my purse isn't a magic hat that I can pull anything I want to out of at any given point. I mean, honestly, if I could have pulled an entire set of matchbox cars out of my purse, I would have. But he just wasn't getting it. "But I said Please, Mommy!" Baby, I wish that would work, but I have no cars in my purse. "Don't talk to me that way, Mom. You not 'possed to say that to me. Don't say that word!".............Huh? Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that one out.

But now we've made to the end of the week (with no more major speed bumps along the way), and my other baby is BACK! Jim got back around lunch time today, and I am ecstatic!

I'm also I'm going to bed.

Thousand Words Thursday: Father's Day Edition


This one...

gets me every single time.




what I'm


when I


at these


Man, I wish my booty looked that cute bent completely over while wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse pajamas!