I don’t blog very much anymore. It makes me sad, but I just can’t seem to find the time. But this morning I have a lot to say.

I was going to put the following post on Facebook this morning:

“I’m drowning over here. The shopping, the decorating, the baking, the parties… it’s all too much. And these kids…they keep insisting on being fed…night after night after night. I can’t do it anymore!”

But then I realized…I couldn’t leave it like that. That’s not who I am. That’s not who I want to be.

So, I write this blog post, not because you have time to read it. You probably don’t have any more time than I do. But I write it for me.

I write it quiet my thoughts. To remind myself that it doesn’t matter that my living room looks like a bomb went off in there. It doesn’t matter that my kitchen counter is piled high with all the stuff that used to be under the sink because my disposal is broken and leaking. It doesn’t matter that my tree is not up and decorated and that my cards aren’t addressed. It doesn’t matter that I’m not finished shopping or that I haven’t started wrapping.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t reclaim my title for most festive cookie at the cookie swap later this week. (Which might be hard to do if I have to resort to slice and bake cookies… Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind.)

It doesn’t even matter whether I am creating perfect Christmas memories for my children.


Because none of that is what Christmas is about.  So, I write this not only to quiet my thoughts, but also to focus my heart.   What matters this Christmas season is that Jesus was born to live among men and fulfill prophesy.  He became flesh and dwelt among us so he could bring us Good News.  He came to save us from ourselves.

This is what we celebrate.  If I forget that and get focused on trying to make perfect memories for my kids or have the prettiest outdoor lights in the neighborhood or make the most festive cookie, I could get lost in it.  (And, I’m afraid for the last several days, I have been lost in it.)

So, I’m making a conscious effort – beginning with writing this blog post – to regroup, relax, and refocus.  Will you?

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Summer rewind: July/August Edition

With all the gray cool weather lately, I’ve been wistfully reviewing photos of our fun July when it actually felt like we lived in the South. You know when you live in Atlanta and start thinking a move to Seattle for sunnier weather seems like a good idea, something is off.

Anyway. After a week to recuperate from our vacation, the kids were off to WinShape Camp for a week. Their tag line is “Best. Week. Ever.” And my kids would definitely agree. This is Evan’s third year and Pressley’s first. She has been looking forward to it since Evan’s first year when we attended family day. They get to pick 3 “skills” to participate in throughout the week. Evan’s skills were fast food, wacky science, and flag football.

Pressley chose fast food, cheerleading, and gymnastics.

They had a blast.

Also in July, the “baby” of my Berry girls group turned 40. We’ve had a really good time over the last couple of years celebrating as each of us turned 40. We had a blast celebrating Jolynn with a girls’ night at the lake followed by a family day. It was so good to see all of our kids playing together and enjoying each other!



We also spent some time in July checking off some of our summer “bucket list” item. We went to Six Flags with friends (more than once):


We went to Stone Mountain with the cousins:



And we made the trek up to Cartersville to the TELLUS museum. Evan had been asking to go there all summer. P was not as excited about the prospect, but she thoroughly enjoyed it once we were there (though I will admit she did not enjoy the planetarium show as much as E and I did…)

Finally, we kicked off the first couple of weekends in August with having more friends out to the lake. First up were some of Corin’s law school friends. It was a smaller group and it was so nice and laid back.

Then, the weekend after school started, we had some friends from the neighborhood come out. We had 16 kids and 10 adults. It was a super fun day. So much fun in fact that I forgot to take very many pictures. I did get a few – and a friend sent me a couple more.

So, that’s it. That was our summer! It was a great one. I hope that the rain will relent and the temps will warm up so we can have a bit more warm weather fun even though we are full-on in the throes of school.

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School days

I cannot believe my kids have just started 2nd and 4th grades. We have finished our first week and we’re rockin’ right along. We like our teachers, I’ve been getting lunches made the night before, which makes me considerably less grouchy in the mornings, and we have no tardies yet.

Here are some pictures from their first day – looking decidedly retro in a faux hawk and a side ponytail:



And, here’s a little trip down memory lane. Because you know how much I love a trip down memory lane…

Pre-K and 1st:

Kindergarten and 2nd:

1st and 3rd:


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Summer rewind: June Edition

So, you may have noticed I took the summer off. I didn’t mean to, but here we are on the eve of a new school year and I realize that my last post was Memorial Day. Yikes. We have kept ourselves extremely busy this summer. When we got home from New Orleans and Orange Beach, I took on another brief-writing project, so June was a blur.

The kids were on the swim team again this summer, so that took up most of our mornings and Tuesday nights. However, because I was a bullpen coordinator and worked my fanny off during every meet, the only pictures I have are ones my dad took when he and mom came to a meet. And one P took of the cake at the end of season party:


The kids went to the yellow river game ranch, sky zone, white water and six flags with a babysitter while I worked.


We had a fantastically fun weekend when my childhood friends and thier families came out to the lake. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am so blessed to have been doing life with some of the same wonderful people for 20, 30, and even (gulp) 40 years now!




At the end of June, we headed off with the fam to the Bahamas via Carnival Cruise. It was a great trip. We capped it off with three days at Fernandina Beach after the ship docked. Fun family memories!

On the ship:


Half Moon Cay stingray experience:




Fort Clinch:


The town of Fernandina Beach:


Beach time:


The month of July and first week of August were full of hanging out with friends closer to home and making sure we checked off all of our summer bucket list items. More on that next time….(though there may be an intervening post about the first day of school since that is happening in less than 12 hours. Yikes!!)

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Let the summer fun begin

Because we had a very different spring break this year, we decided to take off on a little road trip as soon as school got out. Last Wednesday was the last day of school, and we set out Thursday morning for New Orleans. I had never been to NOLA before, so we tried to cram as much as we could into just under 48 hours.

This was the view from our hotel room:20130530-165045.jpg We ate dinner the night we arrived at the Palace Cafe. It was delicious.
20130530-165126.jpgAnd we ordered bananas foster for dessert.
After dinner we headed to Jackson Square where P got a harp lesson from a street performer.

The next day, we headed uptown to Camelia Grille for breakfast. 20130530-171340.jpgThen, after taking a short drive through the 9th Ward in an attempt to educate the kids about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, we headed to Mother’s for po boys and then the Audobon Zoo. The kids loved the zoo. We saw some different animals than we have at the Atlanta Zoo.
20130530-170352.jpg20130530-170416.jpg20130530-170444.jpgWe also learned about hawks and owls.

(I’m sad to report the hawk appears to have knocked Misty’s earring out during the beginning of the show, and to the extent she was ever a happy, willing sidekick, the loss of the earring brought that all to a grinding halt. Seems she could have at least smiled for my picture… P.S. I know that is an owl in the picture. The hawk who knocked out the earring was not available for pictures…)20130530-170624.jpg20130530-171530.jpgAnd then the kids enjoyed the splash park aka Cool Zoo. 20130530-171537.jpg
After the zoo, we quickly showered off the ick of the day and went to Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse for dinner. It came highly recommended and did not disappoint.
20130530-172754.jpgI’m also happy to report that, despite being worn slap out, our children were delightfully well-behaved at what may have been the fanciest restaurant they’ve ever been to.

The next morning we got up and took a streetcar to Cafe Dumond for beignets to celebrate Evan’s birthday. We were ever so grateful we got there at 8 because we walked right in and sat down at a table whereas when we left, the line for a table was two blocks long.

On our way out of town, we rode the ferry across the Mississippi and stopped at a Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 to show the kids what cemeteries are like in a city below sea level. They enjoyed hunting for the oldest (1830) and newest (2/2013) graves they could find. 20130530-174234.jpg

Our next stop was Orange Beach, Alabama, where apparently it is well-accepted that you must wait two hours for a table for the privilege of eating fried seafood. We found a place to eat the first night, which turned out to be pretty darn good sushi for only a 30 minute wait – and we managed to get back to the condo in time to let Evan open his birthday gifts and eat a cupcake. The second night, we went out and sucked it up and waited an hour and a half at a restaurant on the water because the view was nice, we had drinks in hand, and there was a place for the kids to play. Aside from the restaurant situation, our time at the beach was fabulous.

Opening birthday gifts:
Fun in the sand:20130530-181748.jpg
Fun at the pool:20130530-181802.jpg
Waiting for a table at Tacky Jacks:20130530-181845.jpg20130530-181859.jpgMore sand fun: 20130530-181911.jpg
The last night, Corin and the kids went out after dinner with a flashlight and a net to catch critters. They returned to the condo with these guys in buckets. Thankfully, once I’d sufficiently documented their catch, they took the poor guys back to the beach and released them. 20130530-181921.jpg

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Excerpts from her writing journal

My favorite part of my day so far has been reading Pressley’s writing journal. She has quite a way of expressing herself that I think is so cute. This is from the very beginning of the school year:
(By the way, I love her teacher’s comments too!)

20130522-220937.jpgUgh. It starts early!

20130522-221200.jpgThat 4th one would be spinach. And she has something against seafood…

20130522-221236.jpgTranslation: “the weather was so cool that I felt free.”

20130522-221336.jpgBecause we all know how much homework a first grader has to do…

20130522-221447.jpgThat “tounatou” was Hurricane Sandy, but whatever.

20130522-221456.jpgIt’s always hard to know whether you’ve won a game.

20130522-221542.jpgFrom our little tree hugger/ animal lover.

20130522-221551.jpgAwww. Sweet Bunny.


20130522-221654.jpgThose super bull parties can be pretty wild.

20130522-221705.jpgShe loves her daddy!



20130522-221733.jpgI love that she’s so impressed with herself that she had to stop and point out her big word!

And, this one might just be my favorite:



20130522-221757.jpgTee hee!!


20130522-221810.jpgSo sweet!

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My Sweet Lil’ P is Seven!

Seven years ago today, I arrived at Piedmont Hospital at an ungodly hour to give birth to the pink little bundle that would complete our family.

I didn’t think I could love her any more than I did the moment I met her…

But with each passing year,

I fall in love with her more and more.

She is smart and funny,

sweet and cuddly,

witty and hilarious,

girly and sporty,

and the apple of my eye!

Happy 7th, sweetie! We love you more than you know.

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