Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday- Happy Fall!

The Great Pumpkin

The Giant Sunflower

A Perfect Pair

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall, Ya'll Bloggy Giveaway

The Fall, Ya'll bloggy giveaway is upon us. It's a circus of sorts, a hay day, a carnival (without the carnies, of course) so what are you waiting for? Let the fun begin! Head on over to Bloggy Giveaways for all the details!

For the Fall, Ya'll Bloggy Giveaway I am giving away a gift basket containing Tastefully Simple Beer Bread and Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup. The basket comes complete with dish towel, mini cutting board and soup bowl!

Thanks for stopping by. I invite you to stop by every now and then to say Hi and to see what is happening here in Sweet Home Alabama. I know I can't expect you to stay and visit now with all those other bloggy giveaways just waiting to be won ... so ya'll come back now!
Happy Fall!

Tackle It Tuesday

Sprite decided that we needed to tackle the pantry this week.


While tackling the pantry, she sampled a little bit of everything and what she didn't like ended up here:


As you can see, my pantry holds a little bit of everything, food, tools, paperwork, dogfood, Hubby's books... It is more like a little storage room but I did manage to tidy it up a bit and throw an apron over the door for that extra touch! Oh- and that baby gate that you saw in the before photos- yeah, that is now in the doorway since Sprite knows how to open the door!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

3 Pumpkins, 2 Munchkins and 1 Giant Sunflower

Our day at Aplin Farms included a corn maze, a hay ride and a "punkman" patch. We never did find our way out of the corn maze; we cheated and ended up coming back out the entrance. Sprite was getting tired and kept sitting down in the middle of the cornfield. Her Daddy had to carry her out! The kids loved the hayride-Sprite laughed whenever we went through a puddle and Sprout picked a giant Sunflower for me at the "punkman" patch! Oh how I love Fall!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Free for All

I think he stole the eyes from the back of my head!

It has been a tough week with this little guy but even amist the trouble, he makes me laugh! Take for examle:

He took these same googly eyes and put them on top of his hand and said, "look Mom, it's Ooobi!"

These are called "punkmans." I giggle every time I hear it, which has been a lot lately since we went to the "punkman" patch (pictures coming soon) and Halloween is just around the corner.

And this- this is "Hot-n-Solo" aka Hans Solo-from Star Wars, for those of you who don't recognize the photo of young Harrison Ford. When I hear this, I can't help but chuckle and sing a little song to my self-"Just call me Hot-n-Solo!"
And some random thoughts...
For those of you who have been keeping up with my challenge to walk 100 miles before the end of the year, yes I am fully aware of the fact that I have been slacking and have some miles to make up!! Sprout was on fall break and there is just no way he was going to walk 3-5 miles with me in the mornings and if you think for a moment that I was going to push my 45 pound boy in the running stroller with my 23 pound girlie in a backpack- you are CRAZY! Yes, I have tried it and I think I deserve credit for at least 20 miles for even attempting such a trek pushing/carrying 68 additional pounds! This past week the weather has been dark, dreary and rainy and while we needed the rain, it turned me into a crabby couch potato! Now that the weather is clearing, I am looking forward to putting some miles back on these shoes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

And the Oscar Goes to...

Best Actress in a Drama Series: Sprite's Grammy

"Yup, you gessed it- Mommy has gone "GREEN". She took away all of my gels, sprays, spritz, and even my hair polish. She says we have to help save the EARTH. I'm so proud of my Mommy. The only problem is that my pride has been "uprooted". The ozone won this round but, if she starts feeding me organic veggies I'm moving in with Grammy. She dyes her hair and uses straighteners. Daddy says she is a tree hugger, but I can deal with that as long as she gives me my gel back!!"
(This one made me pee my pants so lots of bonus points!!)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Sarah @ The Pitter Patter Boutique

"Look Bitches!!! Don't hate, Hollywood hoochies pay big bucks to get the "punk/just rolled out of bed" look."

(While I didn't pee my pants I did spit coffee out of my mouth so bonus points for that too!)

Congratulations, I have decided to award you both with the prize of taking my children to Chuck E Cheese, while I enjoy a pedicure, massage and a few bons bons! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, come directly to Podunk, AL to claim your prize-NOW! Just remember you agreed to release, discharge and hold harmless Sweet Home Alabama, its affiliates, and subsidiaries from and against any/all claims, losses, injuries or damages, including death, resulting from the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize!!!! Ha Ha Ha!

Thanks for playing everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wordy Wednesday!

Wordless Wednesday is just below this post- looks like I found my words and lots of them...

Meg from Simply Nutmeg has sent me a few interview questions for your reading pleasure. But before I begin I want to tell you how I “met” Meg. I came across her blog as a link on another blog, which I came across when googling breastfeeding and weaning of all things! While I never really found the resolution I was looking for, it was reasurring to learn that I was not alone in my breastfeeding blues! After it was all said and done I found a few blogs that made me cry, laugh out loud, and almost pee my pants- hers being one of them. This was the beginning of my blogging addiction as I felt like I had found a community or neighborhood where I belonged. I’m getting ahead of myself so here goes:

Why do you blog?
Hmmm, why do I blog? Because it gives me a voice- even if no one is listening! No, seriously, we recently moved across the country (twice) after being stationed at one base for 10 years. My husband was accepted to flight school and had the opportunity to pursue his dream of flying. While this was very exciting it was also very frightening as I was forced to leave most of my friends and a rewarding career that I was passionate about. We packed up and moved to Kansas when I was 7 months pregnant with my second child. This move was very hard and short lived. We bought a house that required a lot of fixing up, had a baby and barely got settled in before it was time to pack up again. We only lived in Kansas for 6 months before moving to AL. Kansas was a very lonely and isolating place for me. We were far away from everything comfortable, our family and friends, our home, our neighbors… I did not make any friends while we were there and Austin did not play with another kid the entire time we were there! Maybe I didn’t try very hard- I find it is hard to make friends as an adult; it takes time to build trusting, nurturing relationships-something I didn’t have much of and I was struggling with being a new stay-at-home-Mom in a strange place. It really felt like OZ. I was waiting for Glenda the good witch to come with the ruby red slippers so I could close my eyes, click my heels together and whisper, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” waking up back home in NC. She never came! But a giant tornado whirled through picking us up and dropping us in Alabama! :) The transition to AL was a little easier. Maybe it was the courage that the cowardly lion shared with me; maybe it was the 2 little munchkins that were depending on me. Whatever it was, I knew that I needed to find something that replaced what I was missing. This is where blogging came in. I wasn’t expecting to find what I did. I first started blogging to keep in touch with family and friends. I wanted a place where they could come and get a glimpse of what was happening in our lives. I also joked that this would allow me to stop inundating their in-boxes with pictures of my kids! But what I found through this process is that blogging helps me feel connected to other woman and less alone in my struggles and triumphs. I have found that blogging is a great outlet for the craziness that comes with being a woman, wife, mother…the sad, the silly and everything in between.

Wow, that was long-winded. Sorry- I’ll try to be a little briefer in my responses to the other questions!

What have you learned from the blogging experience?
I have learned that I am not alone in my struggles to find sanity in this crazy world or in my desire to write about it for everyone else to read. I have enjoyed learning from the number of other woman in the blogosphere who are brave enough to share their journeys and allow others, like me, to read about it and am hoping that I can do the same-help someone, somewhere, realize that she is not alone. I have also learned that I find humor in almost everything my kids do! They make me smile and laugh out loud and I love sharing those moments!

You picked a card from the pile of life that says, “Do not pass go. Move directly to another country.” Where would you move?
This one is really tough for me. I have not traveled much, something I long to do someday. The only time I have been out of the country was to visit my husband in Bogotá, Colombia when he was deployed there. While it was a fascinating experience, I am not sure I would take my “do not pass go” card and move to Colombia, South America.

I am, however, drawn to Ireland or at least my naïve perception of Ireland-its rugged, natural beauty and majestic emerald landscape (green is my favorite color), its fascinating heritage and turbulent history, the mythical legends and castles…

If you could give the twenty-year old you a piece of advice, what would it be?
Trust yourself-your heart, your head, your gut-and you will find your way!

Oh, this is going to be another long-winded one. Toby and I were high school sweethearts and got married when we were 19. He was in the Army and I was in our hometown working two jobs trying to support myself and pursue my education. Toby proposed after graduating from basic training. I turned down a full ROTC scholarship to Syracuse University. We closed our eyes and followed our hearts. Most people thought we were crazy and told us that we were throwing our lives away. Little did they know that we had found at an early age what most spend a lifetime searching for and rarely find. Had I taken the scholarship, Toby and I may have ended up on opposites ends of the earth with the military, a chance I was not willing to take. I believed in us and knew that together we would make it-and we did. We struggled, with pride, to make it on our own while following our dreams. I managed to finish school, we bought our first home, had a baby… I will never forget my graduation day-it was one of the proudest moments of my life. The years of determination, dreaming and believing rolled down my face in the form of tears as my husband cheered me on-just one of the many memories that I cherish! I am not going to lie and say that it has been perfect because it hasn’t. We have had our struggles but 11 years later we are still working towards our happily ever after, each struggle and victory bringing us closer together and stronger than ever.

What is your greatest challenge as a mother?
Trusting that I am being the best mother than I can be. Believing that I can find the balance between allowing my children to be who they are, intrinsically, while providing the guidance and boundaries that they need-all the while instilling genuine values and beliefs that are important to our family. As you can probably tell by now, I am highly emotional and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. While most days I am ok with this, I tend to be a little bit of a softie when it comes to my kids. I am not always the disciplinarian that I need to be. At the end of the day I want them to grow up to be happy, strong, independent, self-thinkers who have the roots they need to stay grounded but are secure enough in their individuality to spread their wings and fly, believing that they will make it. I don’t always know if I am going about it the right way and struggle with the balance of it all. And like many moms, I struggle with Mommy guilt. Being the best Mom that I can be also means being true to myself-my wants and desires- and sometimes it is hard to allow myself that freedom without feeling guilty. As moms, it is easy to put ourselves last while caring for everyone else. The problem with this is that when we neglect our true, inner selves for too long, we burn out and have nothing left to give. If this continues for too long we start to become invisible to ourselves and to those around us, allowing the emptiness and loneliness to creep in. There has to be a point where we allow ourselves to recharge, refuel and replenish our spirits. Then and only then can we be the best moms that we can be. When it is all said and done (which is never, really)- I hope I can look back and be proud of myself, my kids and the journey!

What made you fall in love with Toby and what keeps you in love with him?
His quiet strength, his silent confidence, his humbleness, his deep brown eyes, the way he wore his hat low-just above his eyes, the mysteriousness that surrounded him…

Toby believed in me at a time when it was hard to believe in myself. He was the rock that kept me strong when the world around me was falling apart. He made me feel safe and protected. To be completely honest, back then, I wanted him because I needed him. Today, I need him because I want him. This is a huge difference to me but I don’t know if this makes a lot of sense to others. When we got married, I was escaping from a past I was trying desperately to forget- I was young, naive and not very strong emotionally. I depended on Toby for a lot of things, including my own happiness-I needed Toby. Don’t get me wrong, I have always deeply loved and needed him and truly believed that we were meant to be together. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was blessed to have had found him at such a young age-but today our love is a much stronger, deeper love. It has not always been easy-many times we have had to choose to take the road less traveled and find our own way. And finding our way together in the darkness has been hard. There were times when it felt like we were growing apart and taking different paths but ultimately our paths always lead back to one another. And through this journey we have continued to learn more about each other and ourselves than we ever thought possible. We have learned that nothing is quite the way we thought it would be. The hurts have been deeper-and the joys have been greater. We’ve learned what it feels like to love and be loved, to hurt and to be hurt, to forgive and to be forgiven. What makes us survive and thrive is simple yet complex-our love for one another. Through the joys and the sorrows, I have loved him; through the successes and failures, I have loved him; through the laughter and the tears, I have loved him. I have always loved him and I always will. We have grown and changed and the world around us has changed even more but he has not given up on me and I will not give up on him.

What keeps me in love with him is all of this and so much more! He challenges me to be the best person that I can be. He supports me even when he doesn’t always understand me. He allows me to be me and accepts me, flaws and all. He makes me laugh at myself- when I least feel like but most need it. He is gorgeous and still gives me butterflies when I look at him and he doesn’t know I’m watching him. He is an amazing father. He is my best friend, my confidant, partner and soul mate! While it is easy to forget these things in the continuous chaos, and mundane daily humdrum, I try not to and appreciate the opportunity to reflect on this.

Phew-If you are still reading-thank you. I got a little more personal than I intended to but that is me-I am who I am-why hide it! :)

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday

Well, I didn't tackle it but Sprite and the Hubba Bubba did. You see I am not very good with directions of any kind and I am kind of dangerous with a drill so these two came to my rescue and put my shelves together for me! Thanks guys!

I am, however, tackling some interview questions from Meg at Simply Nutmeg so stay tuned! Thanks Meg!

Autumn Swap Update

I received my Autumn goodies yesterday from Courtney at A Mom Speaks. Take a look:

Ooh how I love fall! Aside from the beautiful basket full of Autumn goodies and decor, Courtney included my favorite Halloween candy and even included something special for the kids. A very thoughtful swapper! Thanks Courtney.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Caption Contest

Your Caption Could Be Here

Leave your proposed caption as a comment. I'll pick the caption that makes me laugh the loudest, bonus points if I pee my pants, and announce a winner...when I feel like it. Hey, I didn't get much sleep last night because my little princess here decided to pull an all nighter, so I'm a little ornery today! The lucky winner will win an all-expense paid trip with my two kids to Chuck-E-Cheese.** No need to thank me, really!

** No purchase necessary to enter or win prize. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Ok, it might- go to and purchase something to improve your chances of winning. Valid only at particpating locations in Podunk, AL (which would be zero). Void where prohibited (which would be everywhere). Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prize permitted. By participating in the Contest, entrants agree to abide by the decision of the all-powerful judge-that would be me- which shall be final, and release, discharge and hold harmless Sweet Home Alabama, its affiliates, subsidiaries from and against any/all claims, losses, injuries or damages, including death, resulting from the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize- it is Chuck-E-Cheese with my two kids after all!!! By accepting the prize, winner agrees and consents, where legal, to the use of his/her name and/or likeness without further authorization, compensation or remuneration of any kind for advertising, promotions, and other publicity purposes in all media and on the Internet conducted by Sweet Home Alabama...yada yada yada...
Thanks for playing!

Oh and I totally stole this idea from Jennifer, aka, Binky Bitch, from Playgroups are No Place for Children. I love her blog and she is a fellow transplant to AL who is adjusting to life in backwoods LA (Lower Alabama)- what's not to love? Check out her blog and tell her I said Hi!
Thanks for the inspiration!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Daddy's Shouldn't Dress Their Daughters!

Nuff Said!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Habla Espanol

Sprout and I were riding in the truck yesterday and at some point in the conversation I said jokingly, "Listen here, Senor!" He said, "Mooommm, I am not a Senor, I am a nino. Daddy is a Senor, you are a Senora and Sprite is a nina!"

Well Exccuuusssee Me! :) I'm glad to see he is paying attention in at least one class!

Later that night when the kids were in the bathtub I was telling the Hubba Bubba about our conversation (we all seem to congregate in the bathroom at bathtime because all too often something happens that you don't want to miss). He mentioned to Austin that he could teach him a new Spanish word every day and that he could share that word with his teacher. To this Sprout replied, "No, she never lets us talk, all we can say is Aqui," with his arm raised high in the sky!

Spider Slayer

Have no fear, Sprout is here!

My Hero!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spooky Spiders

We found this in the back yard today:

We think it is a Banana Spider, a very large common spider in North America that usually hangs in webs with its head facing the ground. A brightly colored spider whose venom is a neurotoxin similar to that of the black widow. However, its venom is not near as potent. Its bite causes local pain and redness with blisters forming.

Any spider experts out there in the blogosphere?

Should we be afraid of this kind of spider?

What about this one?

Aspen says, "be afraid, be very afraid!"

Wordless Wednesday-Old Soul

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Autum Swap

Get your mind out of the gutter...

It's an Autum Goody Swap and you still have time to particpate. Mozey on over to Are We There Yet? for details!

What do you like best about Fall?
Cool Breezes, Autum Hues, Halloween...
Do you have any family traditions for this time of year?
Going to a local pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and taking pictures of the kids tucked amongst all of the pumpkins.
What’s your favorite Halloween chocolate?
Toss up between Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.
Is there any Halloween treat you do not like?
"I don't like Candy Corn" (or those nasty pumpkins). Can you tell we watch a little Noggin around here?
What has been the best Halloween costume you’ve ever dressed up in?
Queen of Hearts.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just Keep Walking, Just Keep Walking

I have joined my sister-in-law in The Challenge to walk 100 miles by the end of the year. Care to join me on this challenge? I have been walking 3 miles on the days that I don't have Jazzercise and attempting a 5 mile trek on the weekends. So far I am up to 14 miles- only 86 to go!! This is where I think of Dory whispering in my ear- "just keep walking, just keep walking!" Actually, I turn to one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson for inspiration: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." I use this time to reflect on my journey and what lies within. What is your inspiration?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Johnny Appleseed

How many American pioneers are remembered for wearing tin pots on their heads, traveling barefoot, and scattering seeds? Only one springs to my mind—Johnny Appleseed. Here is Austin's tribute to the tin pot-wearing, seed scattering pioneer...

My Little Whistle Blower

Ashlyn found this whistle in the toy box the other morning and began blowing to her heart's content. Unfortunately for me, this was before my morning cup of Joe. Clearly, she did not follow the number one survival strategy regarding blowing the whistle: before taking any irreversible steps, talk to your family or close friends about your decision to blow the whistle.

Apparently, she knows something that I don't! Maybe she is part of The Whistleblower Protection Program!

Friday, October 5, 2007

I Won, I Won!!

See for yourself:
Scroll down to #30 and you will see...

Skimbaco - is giving away one blue Gigi Blankie. Visit their blog spot here.
Winner: Lisa (Sweet Home Alabama).

Yippee!! Thanks Skimbaco, Happy Panda and 5 Minutes for Mom!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Yesterday was just one of those days- well last night was anyway. YesterDAY was great! Ashlyn and I went to a playgroup and had a really good time. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous as Ashlyn has a strong personality and isn't afraid to show it in public. She also has the most bizarre cry you have ever heard!!! And when she cries, or screeches, people in Timbuktu hear her! It is a high-pitched guttural roar, which have left friends saying she sounds like a Tiger! I always sit and wait for the vomit to fly out of her mouth and her head to start spinning- yes, it is that bad! I have never heard such a cry in my life and it can be very disturbing at times. If you don’t know her personality, you would think something is wrong with her, which is why the Ferber method of getting her to sleep through the night was out of the question, especially since we live in a duplex! We recently had a friend visiting from Minnesota and it was her first time meeting Ashlyn. Around the second night she was here, Ashlyn didn’t want to go to sleep and started roaring when I put her to bed. My friend, who was a nurse by the way, jumped off the couch get her out of her crib, certain that there was something seriously wrong with her. My husband and I laughed and told her she was fine but I know she didn’t believe us- until she had been here a few more days and saw Ashlyn’s personality, in all it’s glory, first hand. Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there. So, anyway, the playgroup went really well and Ashlyn managed to refrain from roaring until it was time to leave. After her very short nap we went to the park and we had a blast. She was so excited, she was squealing with delight. But when it was time to come home to get ready for dinner, the roaring began and I think the entire neighborhood came out to see what the commotion was about. Leaving the park put her in quite a mood, which made the rest of the evening a little difficult. Here is where the fun really begins.

Birch, my bunny, had a sick tummy and pooped all over his cage and himself- it was NASTY! But in his defense, it was my fault because I ran out of rabbit food and when I went to the pet store they were out of the kind that we normally get so I had to get a different brand. Well, rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and don’t deal well with sudden changes in their diet-NO KIDDING! Have you ever tried to bathe a bunny? I don’t suggest it!!!! I knew Birch was not keen on being dunked in water so I wrapped him in a towel, turned him upside down, which is supposed to relax them, and began to give him a sponge bath. EEEWWW!!! While I am doing this Ashlyn manages to find an open juice box and proceeds to spray it across the kitchen like a fire extinguisher, squealing in delight all the while. I take the juice box away from her (with an upside down rabbit in the other arm mind you). This of course leads to more roaring from my sweet little girl and a very non-relaxed rabbit squirming in my arms. At this point the phone rings twice and the door bell rings!!! So, I put Birch back in his somewhat clean cage, put Ashlyn in the living room and begin clearing the bar stools and whatnot out of the kitchen so I can mop up the juice before it becomes permanently stuck to my kitchen floor. I manage to finish mopping with only minor roaring from the tiger but then Ashlyn manages to climb through my barricade and makes her way to the kitchen floor. One step into the kitchen and she looks like Bambi on ice, which leads to major roaring!! I pick her up and try to climb back over the barricade with her in my arms but manage to catch my water-ski sized foot on one of the barstools, bending my big toe completely backwards, and trip. I attempt to catch my fall by running into the wall but ultimately catch the lamp instead and land on the floor. I am a majot klutz!!!! I somehow managed to hold on to Ashlyn the entire time-thank goodness. After a few choice words I pick up my swollen toe (and pride) and decide I better just sit in the recliner until bedtime!! I wish I could say this was the end of it but bedtime was a nightmare! Calgon take me away!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I SO Entered This Contest!

It's a Cyber Baby Shower

Relax, it's not for me!!! It's for Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom (click to read about their incredible story)! Pamela, from Happy Panda is hosting a fantastic month-long cyber-shower in their honor and asking readers to share pictures and stories to win some cool prizes. Here are my faves (just in case I win): #10 Graced Designs, #15, Ju Ju Beane Boutique, and # 32 TBO Designs. Check it out!

Let's see, I couldn't find a G-rated sympathy-inspiring delivery photo and I'll spare you the details from my delivery story and shoot for the best (perhaps biggest) baby bump photo.

Here it favorite Baby Bump photo. I was 9 months pregnant with Ashlyn and looking pretty cool hanging out with my little man, right? Well, I wasn't so cool when I was trying to climb into the boat with the giant buddha belly and tripped, ultimately rolling into the boat!!!! I know, I was crazy to go boating when I was 9 months pregnant but I went skydiving when I was pregnant with Austin (but didn't know it yet) so I had to have a good story to share with Ashlyn. And I would be lying if I said I wasn't halfway hoping that the water would be especially rough this day and bring on the contractions. I was almost 2 weeks late with Austin and was not thrilled about the idea of going over my due date again, especially since the basketball was already sitting on my lap!

And I just had to share a couple of my favorite photos from the day we brought Ashlyn home. These pictures still melt my heart and will always bring tears to my eyes.

Thanks for indulging in my trip down memory lane- it was a beautiful trip!

Dancing Queen in a Diaper

"You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen."

~Ashlyn shakin' it to the Hokey Pokey