We are...


home today


nursing the oldest one back to health

reminded of what the weather was like in Boston because the weather here resembles it almost perfectly

making up for the lack of sleep from the hours of three to eight am (the hours that Jake was greeting our toilet every fifteen to thirty minutes)

folding the laundry I washed and dried last night before going to bed

doing more laundry

trying to explain the difference between stress and anger

showing up for dental appointments

eating cereal for lunch because the pickins' are gettin' slim

worn slap.dab.out!  

The Point and The Public Garden


This is The Point.

And this is the Public Garden

on a very



September afternoon

in Boston.

just to sum it all up a bit

So much to say and no time to say it...that's what I'm feelin' tonight as I sit at my keyboard. My last post kind of came out that way too, I think...just a bunch of thoughts put together that may or may not have even flowed...and this one may be no different.

I went into work this morning, and powered on a computer for the first time since Friday. I also feel like this morning was the first time since Friday I actually sat in a chair. Ahhhhh... The work we did this weekend wasn't easy, and neither was saying Goodbye to Ivey. She was just over thirteen years old, and she was the first pet Jim and I added to our family right after we got married. She was simply old and tired. She had almost quit eating anything at all, had lost the majority of her hearing and vision, and at times, we were strangers in the world she was living in. I was reminded by the receptionist at my vet's office on Saturday morning that, "Loving means letting go. And I can see that she's really and truly loved." We are still heartbroken. I'm crying as I type. But I know with time, we'll all be okay, and we'll adjust to the home that's missing an extra set of paw prints.

Belle is slowly but surely taking over our sadness, and Diverse Beige took over our master bedroom and bathroom walls in the home we'll close on this Friday morning.  Yesterday, Jim made three consecutive trips between residences and nearly emptied our garage completely.  We've also almost completely emptied Jake's toy closet, and boxes are beginning to take over every single room in the house we currently live in.  We made progress...real progress...and I made the walls in my laundry room go from a creamy tan to a bluish-green called Silvermist.  Sam, our painter, is responsible for almost all the rest (minus the boys' rooms and our kitchen).  He and his crew will start tomorrow morning and work for probably three days straight to get it all done before new carpet is laid at the end of the week.  And yes, I'll take you on a tour (maybe even a "before" one?) as we fill it up and make it feel like our home and less like "the new house" which is what we'll be calling it for just a few more days.
Jake stayed busy playing Toy Story 3 on his Leapster, watching Scooby Doo DVD's on our portable DVD player, and doing some lizard-catching.  Parker enjoyed the time he spent with my family, and my family enjoyed the time they spent with him. He also filled in the gap between the two teeth he already had on his bottom row (which means he has a total of four now).

This week is overwhelming, we forgot to send Jake's nap mat to school this morning, I have no idea why my eye is still bright red (I thought taking out my contact would help...maybe it had a piece of dust or debris on it and was causing it to be irritated?), I still need to finish "showing you around" Boston, I've packed Tupperware and done my best to keep our laundry situation under control, I have a dental appointment tomorrow afternoon, I'm asking God for wisdom tonight on when to speak and when to just be quiet, and I'm calling this one a wrap.

Happy Monday, Ya'll!

Packing, Possession, Pinterest, and Parker


Before I start packing, tonight I had to pack for Parker.  He'll spend the next two nights with my family while Jake stays behind with us so he can be treated to popcorn, coke, and his very own ticket to see The Lion King tomorrow night and a weekend reminiscent of the days before Baby came along.

And before Jim started removing artwork, drapery hardware, and portraits off the walls, we walked to Publix...all four of us...Jake in one stroller, Parker in the other.  We pushed them right through Publix - Jake held the green, plastic basket while I threw in jars of Beechnut and Gerber foods, and Jim tossed in two rolls of packing tape.  We left - but not before Jake and I made passes up and down two different aisles with no one on them, my legs running as fast as they would go, not giving a second thought to who might stare - to create a sense of surprise, to act impulsively and twenty years less than my age, and to see him smile as the wind blew his hair out of his face.  He loved it.  And so did I.

Today at lunch I stared at samples of paint, picking out colors, so long I thought I'd go blind, and we recently met two more families in our new neighborhood.  Karen lives diagonally across the street from us with her husband and yellow Labrador Retriever.  I'm pretty sure she's a follower of one or thirty of her friends on Pinterest by the way her pumpkins cascade down her front steps, leaves spilling all around them.

The house we bought  (we found out) was previously owned by Mike Vollmar, Associate Athletics Director for the Crimson Tide from 2008 through 2010. His home state of Michigan and the health of his dad called him back to the Wolverines this past year, and so we're calling the house he did while he and his family were here our home as of this coming weekend. We've been given permission to take possession a week early so we can do some of the important things we need to do like paint and install new carpet before we make the big move a week from tomorrow.  Sigh....... There's a lot.to.do.  Which means I should probably save my thoughts and keystrokes for another night.




It's what he's doing...

right this very second.

And better than the fact that he's sleeping so soundly he never moved a single muscle while I captured this moment of him in deep slumber - he fell asleep in just the right spot that he created right above my rib cage and underneath my neck...so close I could feel his breath and feel the tickle of his hair made into a mohawk by his big brother and I after we dried him from his bath...so close I could almost count his eyelashes one by one and placed kisses on his forehead as uncountable as the minutes I just held him...so close I almost couldn't bear to put him down (until I got the idea to take this photo of him in his crib and share it here...then I got all excited, whipped him into his crib and into this crooked position, and bless him's heart, he was still in the same exact spot when I whipped out my camera and whipped it over the top of his crib to snap this photo).

Sweet Dreams, My Love!       

What I'm Loving (Fashionably Late)


"Come back to me!" That's what the What I'm Loving posts said...no, shouted...to me this morning. So I'm coming back to them...maybe only for a week or two or ten. But I feel a need to look for the little things in which I take pleasure. They're never far away...I just need to be aware of them. That's all. Oh...and I'm playing catch-up from last week (hence the title) just so you know. So here goes...

I'm loving...first field trips with my absolute crave-his-affection, love-him-obsessivly, favorite four-and-a-half year old.

Our hours at the zoo seemed like they would never end. Admittedly, in a way, I wanted them to because I was cold.

But the importance of this one being the first (not only his first class field trip but also his first time to see and experience the Birmingham Zoo) and spending time with the ones he calls friends and the parents who adore them as much as I do him, far outweighed the uncomfortableness of light rain and numb appendages.

A choice between riding the train once more or the carousel were all his.

A choice between a blue parrot or a green one were also his.

He chose blue.

I'm loving...temps cool enough to dress my two bed bugs in full lenth pj's and the shhhhing from our extra bedroom that came from my sister telling two cousins to quiet down and go to sleep.

I'm loving...5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son..the book.

Vicki writes, "Deep in a mother's heart, she knows that when it comes time for her son to leave, he will leave both physically and emotionally. He will eventually turn his attention to another woman who will become the recipient of his adoration. Of course our sons will still love us, but their feelings won't be manifested in the same way a daughter's feelings would be toward her mother. Our role is to prepare them to love another, all the while, enjoying every minute of the brief season when we reign as queen in their hearts."

And now if you'll excuse me while I go get myself a tissue.

..................Okay..........(using the tissue I just went to get).........I'm back.

I'm loving...Valspar's April Thicket for the laundry room and Homestead Resort Cameo White for the kitchen walls.

I'm loving...the semi-conscious state he's in while he drinks his last meal for the night, his fingers completely covered in baby fat that rest against my arm, the sound of the springs in the cream rocking chair as it pushes our weight back and forth...back and forth as we sit in his dark bedroom that's lit only by the light from his musical nightlight that hangs on the side of his crib.

And last but not least...I'm loving...the two 8 x 10 Organic Bloom frames that await photos from a new season of life...and my husband for meeting April in Downtown Northport on Saturday morning to pick them up.   I'll love you forever and always, Babe!

Dear Garage Sale, Oh how you wear me out! But you are so worth it.


When I rang my parents at about three on Saturday afternoon, my dad answered the phone and described to me that my mom basically COA (Collapsed On Arrival).

From the time they got here Friday night until we crashed and then again at five the next morning until noon, none of us stopped moving, lifting, bagging, and finally boxing up the leftovers of what we didn't sell.

Our garage sale has come and gone and so has my family.

It was a huge success and a huge amount of work...but so, so worth it.

And speaking of succes, Parker is having lots of it with learning to drink from a sippy cup.

"Can I have your sippy, Baby?" (tapping it on the tray of his booster). He starts to laugh and so I see his not-just-one-but-three-teeth toothy grin.

If he keeps them spaced out like this until Halloween, I think I'll paint him orange from head to toe and sit him on our front steps with the rest of our pumpkins sporting jagged grills.

"I love you, Parker...and I love all three of your budding wittle toofies."



to a really great Friday...

because I didn't have to leave my office for lunch because I work with some really great moms who really know how to bring it when it comes to cooking

and because my mom, sister, and niece are here to join in on a major garage sale we're having bright and early tomorrow morning.


 to Kelly for knowing that the original Cheers that inspired the TV sitcom was located on Beacon Hill in historic Boston...

and for adding it to our list of things to see while we were there on the fly. 

And Cheers!...

to the reruns I plan to watch of the show just so I can get all excited and be really annoying and super loud and say, "Look!  Look!  Look!  I've been there.  See it?!  Oh yeah.  Uh huh."...

right after I finish throwing around preprinted, neon pink, price tags onto a gazillion things I hope to sell by lunch time tomorrow.

Boston: In Photographs


While our house was being appraised this morning, I downloaded my memory card full of memories made in Boston - definitely a wind of change from those of a dressing mirror, a three-times-painted bookshelf, and a car seat we don't plan to hand down to Parker ("Thank you, Tuscaloosa Garage Sale.  I no longer own any of these because of you.").    

Last Tuesday when we jetted off to Boston, Kelly and I stepped off of our plane with places to go, sites to see.

I'm thinking about all of them...   

and I'm thinking about my day tomorrow and taking Jake on his first official school field trip to the Birmingham Zoo tomorrow.  

While Parker is pulling himself from one end of his classroom to the other (Yes, he's getting really, really skilled at moving himself/gliding along the floor to new locations on his own.) at his preschool and Jim travels to Gadsden for work, Jake and I will be smelling the smells and listening to the sounds of the zoo.   "Will there be lions there, Mommy?!  What will they say to me, Mommy?!  (not pausing for me to actually answer his questions) I know, I know!  We'll see parrots!  Tell me how they'll sound, Mommy!"  A red polo with his school logo on it, endless chatter just like this, and hours of fun are awaiting us tomorrow.  

Forty-five minutes, a few "extra" stops on the "T", "This ride right here is a round of antibiotics waitin' to happen.", and a few miles on foot kept us from taking an actual tour of Fenway Park.

We found Bleacher Bar instead.

We walked right in, walked right up to the two people sitting in these chairs just staring at it...

 and walked right up to just a few feet away from center field.

We also walked into Yawkey Way Store and were asked to cut our shopping spree short of spending any money at all because they were getting ready to close ("I thought the sign said they close at 6...not 5.  Didn't you?").

And I'm getting ready to end this Part: One of Six (or who knows how many) Boston: In Photographs series to rest up for my trip with Jake to the zoo tomorrow.


rewind to the message


Hi ho, hi ho...it was "Back to work I go!" for me this morning.

And when I sat down at my desk and thumbed through my notepad to find a blank page to scratch down the messages in my voicemail from last week, I ran across something I had written down a few weeks ago...a voicemail message from the week Jake started K4. It was from his K2 teacher, Ms. Diane. And it went like this:

"I just wanted to tell you I saw Jake today. He let me pick him up and hug him...like always. He looked like such a big boy...walking in line just like he was supposed to...carrying his lunch box. I just wanted to let you know he's doing everything he's supposed to...growing up right before our eyes. Now we just have to realize that he's becoming the big boy he already is. I'm so proud."

As I listened to it over and over until I had every single word written down exactly like she said it, I thought, "Wow!  How much must she truly love him for the sight of him and the feel of her holding him to be so important to her that she would call just to share it with me?" 

My children are mine...so loving them comes natural to me.  For someone else to really, really love who they are inside and out, on their good days and bad, is, in my books, such a gift.  They don't have to.  They haven't been called to like I have as their mother. 

What a privilege it is that Jake has received a piece of someone else's heart.  And what a privilege it is for me to know he's loved this much...and that he's "...walking in line just like he's supposed to."



There's so much to enjoy about being away from home - to take a break...step away...shed some responsibilities briefly...venture out of what's comfortable and mundane and renew the mind, body, and spirit.

But the best part hands down is the coming home.

To miss the ones who my life wouldn't be complete without is knowing I'm blessed. Counting the minutes until I'll see them again, "I miss you!"'s, the sound of the phone dropping to the floor because Parker tried to grasp it when he heard my voice, and finding exactly what he asked me to bring him back from "the airplane" are the ultimate highs of every second I'm gone. The extra toothy grin (extra as in he got two more in three days), chubby, baby-soft legs bouncing with extra energy the minute he lays eyes on me, and holding his hand on the way to our car when I pick him up from school and anticipating the look on his face when he sees the new dinosaur I added to his collection are just a few of the moments I lived for for four solid days.

It (being away from home) lets me know all over again that there's something extra special about a size 4T number 12 crimson and white jersey, drool from the lips of a teething eight month old, and the feel of my husband next to me as I fall asleep.

I'm loving that today I'm at home. I'm loving the testosterone-dominated family I call mine and the over-filled garage that looks like a bomb went off in it because we're in the process of moving.

And on the tenth anniversary of a day no one will ever forget, I'm loving freedom, and I'm super, super proud and thankful to be a part of this United States of America.

Make Way For Ducklings


So Kelly and I have been in Boston since Tuesday.

We've attended a job-related Financial Administration workshop, and we've ridden the red, green, orange, and blue line trains on the Boston "T".   We've crossed the Longfellow Bridge, walked the The Freedom Trail, and made way for the ducklings in the Boston Public Garden. 

Today we're leaving our view of the Boston sky line and heading home...it's bittersweet.

We love Boston.

We love our families even more.

We're almost ready to board the first leg of our flight home.



from the Charles River in Boston.

Which means I'm here.

And I'm completely pooped.

Labor Day


On our back porch swing

September 5, 2011