... and that only means one thing: my babies are all keyed up on company, crayons, and chocolate. They are wound up tighter than eight-day clocks, as you can imagine. And I'm pretty sure they are going to just wear Auntie Lisa's skin right off.
There are definitely happy faces around here tonight (all be them filthy).
Especially when Mike and Lisa start reminiscing and performing...
A couple of weeks ago, my first peony bloom of the season opened up, which for me heralds the beginning of a month of the most beautiful flowers in the world. My gardening self just lives for this moment in time. Few things rival the spectacle of peonies in bloom, in my book. I experienced a bout of mild hysteria when I learned that I would not be able to grow these pretties in Texas. So for any of y'all who can grow peonies, please do! For the sakes of those who cannot. ;o)
Now I won't be winning any awards for floral arrangement any time soon, but this bunch smells so good that at the very least I'll call it a room freshener.
At any given moment during the summer, my sink is usually surrounded by some nature of bloom ...
... and almost always at least one immature bud that Jack and Amelia have plucked for me.
The past month has been a whirlwind of activity for us. We have been planning, painting, packing, planting, and partying. That's right! Jack and Amelia celebrated their 2nd and 4th birthdays, respectively.
Both of the babies (I know, Amelia is four) got bicycles, some new books, and some paint sets. The paint sets were thanks to Kiki, of course, so we will be sure to bring those to her house when we visit. She forgets that she has a baby now, and I will gladly retaliate. reciprocate all of her good deeds.
In the past couple of weeks, we have also battled some fever-inducing funk around here. It started the Saturday evening before Easter. It always breaks my heart when they are sick (especially on a holiday!), but it makes me all the more thankful for the many, many days that they are healthy. I am guilty of taking that for granted, and when they do get sick and are laid up on my lap, thankfulness for their otherwise good health just overcomes me. I'm blessed.
Since they didn't get to wear their Easter best on actual Easter Sunday, I'm thinking they will wear them this Sunday. Because Amelia has begged no fewer than a million times to wear this dress.
Who could blame her? Isn't it sweet? I found it at Goodwill last winter for less than $1.75. I get so many emails about dressing Jack and Amelia. I would venture to guess that 95% of what they wear is consignment, and oftentimes Goodwill purchases. You really don't have to break the bank for cute children's clothing.
Okay, I feel like I am sorta kinda caught up ... :o) There is a crew outside at this very moment painting the outside of the house. I am so excited to see it finished. And then the house goes on the market!
Y'all were all right ... we are moving to TEXAS! And if Amelia's notions are correct, we will all turn into a pack of cowboys as soon as we step foot in the state. Supposedly, someone is watching a horse for her there. ??? Should any of you happen to be or know the horsewatcher, kindly reassure me so that I may put her mind to rest that her horse is being well fed and watered.
My mind is racing with so many things, I hardly know where to start. Long story short (I do hope):
Just before we got married, Mike took a job with a great company here in Atlanta ... moving him from the Carolinas and me from Tennessee. I am certain that many of y'all know that I am a girl of old-fashioned ideas, and I just knew we were going to be here forever, raise our brood, and he would retire from that company many years down the road, and then we would turn into grandparents. The End.
Had you asked me at the beginning of December if I would be here for the rest of my days, I'd have given you money to take to the bank on it. It sure is a good thing nobody asked me. Shortly before the holidays, Mike received a call that would change the life plan I had set up in my mind. I am not one who takes well to change, but to see my husband so excited about the new position was all I needed. I literally started packing that day. And watching the complete series of Dallas ... just to get me ready for life in Texas.
Now, where exactly are we going?
When are we loading up the truck and moving?
When we sell our home here in Atlanta. Our plan is to have it on the market in a couple weeks.
What are our plans for setting up our new home?
We are planning to find a place to rent while we learn the area before buying a new home. Renting or buying, I am looking forward to making a new space our own little sanctuary.
Am I expecting?
I get this question A LOT! Not yet. ;o) Hopefully, we can hold off the next baby till we get settled. I say that only because I cannot imagine orchestrating a move and selling a home whilst pregnant. However, should The Bossman come through the door and tell me it's time, we all know I'd be game.
Am I sad to leave this place?
Yes and no, of course. I will miss so many things about this wonderful place. I love Georgia, and part of my heart will always be here. Especially my little yellow house on the hill. I will miss the nursery where I brought both of my sweet babies home and rocked them by the window. We have received so many blessings in this place, but I know the Lord has many more things in store for this family. And I do love trusting in my God.
I am so incredibly grateful and thankful to so many of y'all who have taken the time to let me know you are praying for us and thinking about us and loving us. The same is yours in return. To those of y'all who live in Austin and have graciously offered to help us find our footing, thank you! I am anxious to meet every last one of you!
We've been busy decking the halls, donning our gay apparel, and flat-out making merry. And let's not forget the Christmas carols. Last night, I rocked Amelia Kate to sleep while singing "Silent Night." I tell you, I could barely get through it for the tears and the emotion. There is something so tremendously and beautifully gripping to a mother holding her baby and imagining what it must have been like for Mary holding baby Jesus. Not only did she have the joy of adoring her precious son, she was adoring the Messiah. "Jesus, Lord at thy birth...." Amen!
One night last week, after Jack and Amelia had been bathed up and greased up, we surprised them by a Christmas light drive. Amelia was "sooo mex-cited!" ;o)
But that, of course, didn't mean she wanted to take pictures. I don't know what I was I thinking...
This is the 3rd year Santa has sent Elfie to check in on us ... and, my gracious, he has been into plenty of mischief this year. It's one of the highlights of our days (the babies ... and mine) to see exactly what he is into each morning. We all love Elfie. :o)
Now, we've also been elbow-deep in sugar cookie dough ... and it has been glorious!
Hope y'all are all making VERY MERRY, too!
OH! And before I forget ... I had to share one of my favorites for Christmastime!! I can (and do) listen to this song a million times over ... so good!
Ha, that's sounds like a bad name for a bad cover band, doesn't it?? Haha!
Y'all had asked about the okra. You know I fried it. I am liable to deep-fry anything that sits still longer than two minutes. I used Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour on it.
Momma always uses this to fry Daddy's hot peppers. When I go up to visit, we actually set up a table outside for the whole family to come over, and Momma will fry peppers for as long as we'll all sit there and eat them. She makes a batter with it, though, to coat the peppers before frying them. I just do a light coating of it on the little okra slices before coating them with an egg. Then, I'll do a final heavier coating of the KK flour on them. I drop them one by one (or attempt to, as they are a little sticky from the coatings) into a big skillet of hot oil. I start with enough oil to almost cover the okra (they are too tiny to fool with flipping them). I shuffle them around with a big spoon after about a minute or so in the oil. They only take a few minutes to cook. I can (and will) (and have) eaten bowls upon bowls of fried okra.
Now, on to the Artful Dodger....otherwise named Amelia Kate.
Remember when I came home the other day with my new finds, and was so excited I started taking pictures of them as soon as I hauled them out of the truck?
Remember the table, the chunky frames, the iron whatever-it-is?
Remember Amelia Kate slipping two toy balls in her pockets at the junk store?
Yeah, I don't recall that last one either.
Please do take note that this bit of photographic evidence above shows the exact moment that I realized she had two new balls. I asked her where in the world she got them. She showed me.
So, I immediately packed the babies up and went back to the junk store. I told the extremely nice gentleman about the balls and asked what I could pay him. He declined my money and told me that she could keep them, just like the little racecar she took home a few days prior. To myself: "Hmm...racecar?" I just assumed he had us mixed up with some other wild clan. Well, sure enough, I got back out to the truck and found a racecar in Amelia's carseat! I ... liked ... to ... died. We are in talks with her about these events. And for the record, I paid the man for the toys.
This picture has nothing to do with anything, but it just sort of sums up some of our days around here...
Poor Mike, some days he comes through the back door, and we just look like a band of haints. At least there was fried okra. ;o)
"Everybody loves a baby!"
Even though I wholeheartedly agree, I assure her that not everybody loves a baby, that there are probably some souls out there who would disagree. But I sure have never known or met them. And we are certainly not those people!! ;o)
As I have mentioned before, my beautiful sister Kiki and my awesome brother-in-law Derrick are expecting their first baby! And since I will be a first-time aunt, I quickly decided we needed to have a PARTY to celebrate the event! So that is just what we did!
One of our good friends Brooke was my cohort. Kelly's partner at work, Elizabeth, rounded out our trio. Thank you, Brooke and Elizabeth, for all y'all did!! I was so disappointed I didn't get a picture of them with Kelly.
Most of Kelly and Derrick's friends and family live out of town, so we brought the party to them. I brought a lot of my favorite glassware and silver, some limelights, and Brooke brought two of her momma's sacred cheeseballs. (One of which accidentally never made it out of the fridge for the party folk...hmm....) There were about 50 people, and the late luncheon lasted from afternoon well into the evening. One thing is for sure...we celebrated! I am certain that Baby Girl was able to feel all the love through the walls of her womb room. :o)
I did manage to capture a picture of Kelly with Laura, one of our other good friends. Kelly is so cute!
We had separate food stations for the guys and dolls. Upstairs, the ladies had chicken salad in tiny phyllo cups, fresh fruit with homemade whipped cream, and finger sandwiches. Downstairs, the guys had barbecue, brownies, and beer. Sausage balls and sweet tea were everywhere...naturally. ;o) Even though it was designed with the girls upstairs and the guys downstairs, everybody was more or less, well, everywhere. We were thankful that there was a happy mix with the mixed company. It flowed perfectly.
Jack Jack certainly made the rounds...
...and there was an 11-week-old precious baby girl present that captured Amelia's attention.
Baby Girl is due for her much-anticipated arrival in October!
Well, we are alive and well as we continue to traipse our way across the great state of Kentucky.
We landed in at the lake on Sunday evening after being in the car 45 minutes past the point that all the "car surprises" I had packed lost their luster. I half expected the babies to kiss the ground once we finally arrived. Instead, Jack Jack did his own version and just ate some rocks. Y'all know how he does.
Trying to keep Amelia Kate out of the cornhole game was just plain wasted effort...
Oh, let me tell you, she came down with a major case of puppy love. This is Skippy...whose real name is Lilly, but we continue to lovingly refer to her as Skippy. She belongs to a gentleman who owns the farm where we stayed. He lives in a tiny log cabin that earned its stripes by raising up a family of fifteen. Anyway, AK adored this dog. And I think Skippy adored Amelia even more, if that was possible. It was just about the most precious thing I have ever seen...ever. I almost wanted to bring Skippy home. Almost.
I also ate my weight in s'mores...but that is only because AK would roast a million marshmallows every evening. Of course, each one had been drug through ashes and across smoldering logs. And you had to catch them mid-air, because she would swing her stick with such ferocity that we were either dodging or attempting to capture flaming hot marshmallows as they whizzed through the air. And when I say flaming hot, I mean they were actually still flaming. What a sight, right?! Who wants to go to a campfire with us?? Haha!
Next stop...Chewmomma and Dad-Dad's....