Celebrating 90 Years

When you turn 90, you deserve a party to celebrate! We had a birthday party planned for Grandmom last weekend, but the snow quickly changed those plans. Luckily, most of the family could still come this Saturday, so we put our party pants on. No surprise party though…..that’s a little risky for a 90 year old.


This photo took a few attempts with the timer, but ALL of us are looking, even the kids. Amazing!


Grandmom and Aunt Hattie, her younger sister. Colby had fun giving her a hard time about being an Auburn fan. Between Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn, football is always a fun subject in our family.


This boy loves his Nana!


Twinning with Aunt Steph.

It was a beautiful day, so the kids spent most of it outside. A shovel, stick, dirt and water and they were entertained. And messy. Carson had to change pants twice from falling in the mud before he could come back inside.





It gets confusing figuring out how this next generation is related, so everyone is just a cousin.


Weston was just passed from lap to lap, so he was a happy camper the entire day.

Callen ended up in his Spiderman costume and showed us his superhero tricks. I said, “Carson, look, Spiderman is at the house.” Callen looked at me and said, “I’m not really Spiderman, it’s just a costume I got for Christmas.” One of my favorite quotes from a child.


We had such a fun day celebrating Grandmom! We didn’t put 90 candles on her cake because it seemed like a bad idea for someone with heart problems and that many candles!!




I’m Frozen

It’s that time of year where I’m constantly saying, “I’m so ready for spring!” I’m not a fan of winter and will definitely be moving to Florida or Costa Rica when I’m old enough to live in a retirement community.

We got a few inches of snow yesterday and are expecting more tomorrow. I’ve been drinking hot chocolate and sitting in front of the fire all week to thaw out my southern bones.

Carson loved the snow this year, although Roxie and Tenley loved it more. I think those two would have stayed in the backyard all day if we let them.




I spent the first week of December in Dubai for a work trip. Other than the 16 hour flight home, it was a really great experience. Oh wait, I lost my wallet, credit card and cash while I was halfway around the world without my husband. So there were a FEW bumps in the road. Luckily my co-workers didn’t let me starve and I survived.

This was the view from my hotel room.

IMG_2242 2

We spent an evening at the Dubai Mall and here were a few cars parked outside. I can say until this trip, I had never seen a Rolls Royce at a mall. Or a cop driving a Mercedes.

IMG_2250 2IMG_2254 2IMG_2256 2

Once we walked inside the mall, there was a giant aquarium. Just your average mall attraction!

IMG_2271 2

IMG_2261 2

There was also an ice skating rink. Another section of the mall also had a full dinosaur fossil set up.

IMG_2277 2

Here was another feature in a different part of the mall. I heard everything in Dubai was about showing off and I have to agree with that statement!


By the mall is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The fountains at the base are choreographed to music and play every 20 minutes. I was expecting traditional music, but heard Enrique Iglesias instead.

IMG_2279 2IMG_2293 2

We ate at a local restaurant and all the food was fresh and delicious. I stayed away from the  spices!

IMG_2299 2IMG_2302 2

IMG_2319 2

Half of the stores in the mall were all high end-Chanel and Jimmy Choo-while the others were normal clothing and toy shops. I told my family I finished my Christmas shopping in one spot:

IMG_2335 2

The food was a mix of Indian, Mediterranean, and Asian.

IMG_2350 2

We had a free day on Thursday before we flew out at 11 p.m., so we got to explore a little bit. The metro system is the cleanest, nicest I have ever seen. It was a definite step up from the DC system.

IMG_2359 2

I never saw a section of town that was in terrible shape, but where we went to the market was definitely not as nice as our hotel area. It was mostly locals and we got to browse some shops and barter for some goods. More people were in traditional dress here than where we stayed. Once we started talking to people, you could start to tell where they might be from because the clothing style is slightly different from each country. I can think of people we met from Saudi Arabai, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. There were several local mosques in the area, so it was interesting to hear the call to prayer and watch people going in.

IMG_2363 2IMG_2365 2IMG_2374 2IMG_2382 2

This guy was from Afghanistan and I bought a few things from him. Everyone wanted to sell you something for “a very good price.”

IMG_2388 2

This was on the nightstand in my hotel room to point you in the right direction to Mecca. IMG_2400 2

Dubai was somewhere I never thought I would have the chance to visit, so I jumped at the chance to attend this conference. A week there gave me a good flavor of the Middle East, but it’s definitely more modern and relaxed than other countries. I heard people refer to it several times as the “Middle East Vegas” and that captures it perfectly. There were things I noticed, such as no alcohol at public restaurants, and I never saw women wearing revealing outfits. Some of the couples at the mall were holding hands, but you don’t see people kissing; everything I read said you can go to jail for public displays of affection. Another thing that really stood out was men tend to walk along holding arms or hands, even if they are just friends. You definitely don’t see that here!

I don’t know if I can top 2015 in terms of travel-3 countries in 4 months will be hard to beat!


Christmas flew by this year. Or maybe it was because we were wearing flip flops and tank tops for the month of December, so it didn’t feel like Santa was about to arrive.

But even though it was warm, we packed a lot of jolly activities into the month!

We decorated the tree.


Elsa the Elf came to visit from the North Pole. Carson has never even seen Frozen, but being around Lily constantly obviously rubbed off because he named the elf Elsa. And said it was a boy.


We made Christmas cookies with the cousins.

We went to Springfield and stayed with Nana. This is what you get when you take a picture with three boys. Chaos.


Dad and Janet sent Carson a bubble machine, so we had a bubble filled Christmas. He is obsessed with this thing and doesn’t take his finger off the trigger until we say the shark needs to “rest” to blow more bubbles.


The entire family was actually together on Christmas Eve and Day this year-a Christmas miracle!



Carson asked Santa for a horse trailer and truck and was so excited when it showed up on Christmas morning. So excited that he didn’t want to open any other gifts for the rest of the day! Next year, it’s one gift for him.



We also had a monsoon and our backyard creek flooded. Nick’s attire is the latest fashion trends for 2016. The dogs had a blast.


Christmas is over, so bring on spring!


Y’all, I just realized that Carson is closer to 3 than 2. I look back at pictures from this summer and he still had a baby face to him, but it’s already changing. So before I have a full on mama meltdown, here is what he’s up to these days.


Carson, you take after my side of the family in the talking department and have a lot to say. You are constantly repeating everything we say (scary) and saying words new words daily. It’s amazing how funny a conversation can be with a two-year-old. Some of your favorite words right now are “that’s pretty cool,” “holy cow,” “sure,” “boom,” and “um….yes!” And no. We hear no a lot. As in, I wish it would be banned from the dictionary. And you are apparently too cool to call me “Mommy” now because I’ve been “Mama” for about a month now.


Now, if someone you don’t know talks to you, you turn mute and just looks at them. Daddy and I were both shy kids, so you get it from both of us. You are very passive when it comes to other kids. If they steal a toy, you just look at me, like, “what do I do, Mama?”


You has been counting to three, but always counted 1, 2, 3 without counting the objects. You just started counting to 4 this past week! You are very proud of yourself for counting. Occasionally when you count, we will hear 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, yay! (Those would be my math skills).


You have been a mama’s boy since birth, but have been very attached to Daddy these past few months. I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed being the favorite!  You want to go in the backyard with Daddy and “work” and get “our tools” and build.


You moved to a big boy bed AND big boy underwear in August. We weren’t planning to do two major things at one time, but it worked out. We were moving you out of the crib and had a few rough weeks where you would NOT stay in your bed. Of course, the first night was a breeze and you went right to sleep and never got up. We thought it was going to be great-ha! You showed us the next night and we probably spent an hour getting you to stay in your bed.


We were planning to wait until closer to three to potty train, but you started using the potty with Gigi while I was in Canada for work. Since you were doing well, we went straight to big boy underwear and you didn’t have any accidents on Saturday. Sunday and Monday were another story and we almost threw in the towel. By the next weekend, you finally had it. Most of the time you do great, but occasionally you will still have an accident.


You can sleep anywhere and Target carts seem to make you want to take a nap. You nap from 1 to 4 in the afternoon, but there’s a good chance you will nod off in the car if it’s around 11 or later.


Carson, you still LOVE anything to do with fire trucks and can spot one in town before we can. You do the same with school buses. You like to watch the traffic lights and says, “green means go” and red is, “now we stop.” Speaking of colors, you know the basic colors, red, green, black, white (wipe), purple, pink and blue. You confuse yellow and orange.


You love going to church and don’t even look back at us when you go in the room. You also like going to the gym with us. School is a different story. You NEVER want to go and always cry. It breaks my heart. We aren’t sure if it’s because you know you are staying all day or if you just like to make me feel guilty. We are trying to decide what is the best path for you while I work.

Right now, your favorite TV shows are Wallykazam and Wild Kratts, you love anything to do with guns, which I would like to point out we didn’t teach you, and digging for worms will last for hours. You will play by yourself in the playroom for hours and we hear you making up little stories. Cowboys are high on your “cool” list and you love Woody and Bullseye from Toy Story.

Carson, I wish I could just freeze your little personality because this age is magical. The way your eyes light up when you see Christmas lights or a fire truck just melts my heart. Sometimes you are too busy for a hug, but when you decide to run at full speed and throw your little arms around my neck, I just want to remember it forever. Your voice is precious when you say, “I love you, Mama.” I hope we are always best buds. However, you have a stubborn streak and there are days I don’t know what to do with you. Sometimes I think a demon swoops in and possesses your little body. I am usually sweating at the end of one of these episodes!! I can only imagine your teenage years. I’m praying already about those!

Life Lately

Roxie typically steers clear of Carson, so this made me do a double take. I guess when a grown-up lap isn’t available, she will take what she can get.

P.S. Is that not the sweetest little face you’ve ever seen?!


Nick used to always put Carson to sleep in this hold and it’s apparently effective on Weston as well! And those were Carson’s crab pajamas; I almost cried when I got them out.


I’ve started helping Annie’s cheer team one night a week and occasionally we demonstrate our skills.


Tenley isn’t a small puppy anymore! At 6 months, she is around 60 pounds and still growing.


Carson started out hating the dirt, but he has officially embraced and loves it. He likes to dig in this dirt pile. We spent an hour burying his truck and finding it. He had a blast, but didn’t care for Tenley helping him dig.


Carson helped Aunt Della cut out the shapes for the Christmas ornaments. He looked at her and said, “we are doing a good job!”


We kept Maeve the other night and she did not want Roxie anywhere near her, but quickly warmed up and wanted to play.


Whenever I go on a work trip, we show Carson where Mommy’s plane will go. I’ll be honest, I had to look for Dubai. I don’t think we studied the UAE in geography at Roane County High.


This boy, he’s my best little buddy.


Within two minutes of being in Target, he fell over and went to sleep. This kid can sleep anywhere.


If you get a Christmas card and the address is written all crazy, it’s because a little elf was “helping me.”


I told Carson we had to go get his hair cut and he said, “I already got my hair cut.” Apparently one time is sufficient! He loves getting to sit in the car and “drive.”



Run Turkey, Eat Turkey

Steph and I started Thanksgiving at dark thirty. Deciding to run a Turkey Trot always seems like a good idea when you sign up and it’s still warm outside. When I picked her up at 6:15 a.m., it was freezing.

We were both frozen for the first mile, but warmed up quickly and we had so much fun! It’s a down and back race through Turkey Creek and it’s wonderful because it’s flat. Score! This was especially great this year because I signed up for the 10k and only made 3 runs in the past 3 weeks. However, I’m happy to report that although I had my slowest 10k, I ran the entire 6 miles. And Steph ran her fastest 5k ever! She may have passed me heading to mile 3. :)


We got an early Christmas present this year-Brandi and family have moved back!! I was with my cousins all.the.time growing up, so I’m so excited for this new generation to grow up together.


Nick said you can tell Colby has younger siblings because he was so patient with Carson…letting him climb all over him and driving him around in the car. Carson thinks Colby is pretty cool (his words).

Funny story-Colby asked Brandi if they could get a membership to our pool for next summer. I told him I would be happy to charge a small fee!

Aunt Della has always had Christmas crafts for us to do once the Thanksgiving meal is over. This year we painted Christmas ornaments. I also stole an idea from Kayla and we made Indian vests out of Food City bags. Nothing better than a free craft! It’s a good thing Brandi is used to home school projects because I was struggling trying to cut out the arm holes. Martha Stewart I am not.


Kids will have a pile of paint on their plate and say they need more. Carson just likes to paint one item and pile it with as much paint as possible (that’s if he sits down to do it). He recently painted the same piece of paper for 10 minutes and it took hours to dry.



And don’t think the craft fun is just for the little kids-the original kids still participate!


Carson, when you look at these photos one day and wonder where you were, it’s because you refused to paint a vest and just ran around like a wild Indian.


Happy Thanksgiving little goblets!