Trip to GA and TN

This past weekend we went to north Georgia for a family wedding.  Jimmy's cousin, Whitney, got married at a beautiful plantation house.  Whenever we are invited to a wedding we feel quite honored, as our family increases the guest list, the need for food, and totally changes the electricity of the dance floor.  The kids lit it up.

I took some shots of them as soon as we got there...I worked hard on their outfits and wanted to get them before their clothes got messed up.  It wasn't really that golden hour but I didn't want to risk waiting.

Before we left on the trip Jimmy and I were talking about the kids clothes and I told him I needed to buy a few more things and he wasn't really happy about spending more money.  I said, "I'm just trying to work it so we don't look like white trash."  And Jackson, standing across the kitchen playing with his yo-yo says, "That's going to be pretty hard, Mom."  It was, actually.

Later on, it arrived.  The perfect time of day.  The amazing natural light.  As a photographer when you see what my good friend and I used to call "the Rumpelstiltskin hour" you just can help taking some photos.  So I pulled them off the dance floor, cupcakes in hand, and had them pose for a few more.  They'd thrown back a few by then (unlimited lemonade) and were feeling loose and good.  So the expressions were rich.

We also saw little Henry, who we hadn't seen in nearly a year.  He is second cousins with our kids and he had a blast being pulled around the dance floor by Libby.

After the wedding we drove to Nashville and stayed with our friends Stacy and Josh Phillips.  Stacy and I were in each others weddings and generally pick up where we've left off no matter how much time has passed.  We are sisters.

We had a blast with them but of course I took next to no pictures because I was too busy having a good time.  Talking, playing outside, playing games, and talking.  And talking a lot.

After we left Stacy's on Monday morning we met another friend, Danielle Peters, who is Eric Peters wife.  I have written about Eric and Danielle before here.

Eric was out of town but Danielle (and one of their boys, the other was at school) was nice enough to meet us at Centennial Park downtown.  We saw the Parthenon and Jackson posed with his yo-yo in a couple different places for Jimmy.   Then Danielle indulged the boys by taking us to "Hot Diggity Dog" a hot dog stand also downtown.  It was great to see Danielle, I had not seen her in over 10 years.  Yet we are friends, because sometimes people you know are like that.  She was and is super.

And then, we started for home.  500 miles back to Tally which went very well, considering the crazy weekend we had endured.

I have been married to my husband for nearly 13 years.  Since then, he has never been in a car accident.  He has only gotten one speeding ticket.  He has driven us safely on numerous trips.  I am thankful for his driving abilities.

That said, with nothing else to do but ponder the road for hours on end, I often begin to wonder if Jimmy was given a different Driver's Ed manual than the rest of the entire American population.  Because it seems as if no one is following the rules he believes they should be following.

So move over, America.  The J Train is coming through.  Sometimes we bend the rules a little (do not climb on locomotive), sometimes we pass on the right, sometimes we eat too many cupcakes, but we always run on a full tank of gas!  (That one was for you, Stace.)


I can pull weeds later.

I have finally sat down to breathe deeply and enjoy a few moments of solitude. They are few and far between. When we were on our Disney trip last month we were around thousands of people; not to mention in close proximity to our own family constantly. On the way back to our hotel one night Libby said to me "Mom, I can't wait to go home because I like sleeping alone and I like the feeling when no one is around me." I typed this into my phone as soon as she said it because I didn't want to forget. She articulated exactly how I feel every night by about seven o'clock.

But this is not the reason I am writing. I wanted to get down a few things about Juliet because she is changing so fast and my baby girl has turned into a little girl. It is shock and awe.

Whenever she says strawberry or library she adds an extra syllable so it comes out "straw buh berry" and "li buh brary."

And there it is. The only thing about my angel I can remember because I am so brain dead.

Tonight we planted the remainder of our summer garden and I let the dishes lie and sat on the back porch stoop with my Jimmy and watched Juliet play.

She brought out a bunch of buddies (small stuffed toys from her bed and the favorite, "bunny.") into the yard and worked so very hard at buckling them into a play stroller and whatever wouldn't fit, carrying them in her arms. She kept dropping them or they fell out and she never got frustrated, just kept her eye on whatever the goal was.

I took a picture of her and her sweaty messy head and then she proceeded to have me take a picture of her with every single one of her buddies one by one.

The weather was beautiful, she was beautiful, and sometimes you get those moments that don't involve dishes, laundry, or cleaning. Because chores are like weeds. They really have a way of choking the good times out.

Somehow even though I've got lots of weeds in my life, they haven't managed to choke out our moments. I just step over the dirty laundry and give my daughter a hug. I can pull weeds later.


Plants vs. (7) Zombies

Well, my sweet Cashy Boy, my big smooshy marshmallow, turned seven today.  He had two friends over for a party yesterday and today we just did church and played games and everyone did their part to try and make him feel special. 

Because he is.  Special.  I love you, Cash.

He is into the video game Plants vs. Zombies.  (We all play it, actually.  Even Juliet walks around the house saying "Zombies!") It is a game where you try to prevent zombies from entering your house to eat your brains.  You do this by planting plants that kill them by shooting peas or melons or corn at them or chili peppers that blow them up or squash that you guessed it, squash them.  So the older kids and I decided we'd try to make him a plants vs. zombies cake.

We thought of it kind of last minute so we didn't have much time but Cash loved it and that's the most important thing.  I put on seven zombies and put his candles next to them so maybe they would burn up.  One of them did!  It was fun.

And now for a little artsy soap box tangent...

As I was trying to finish up the cake, I needed one more zombie to make seven.  I went online to look for coloring pages to use and made the mistake of visiting a website, maybe you've heard of it, called Pinterest.  I am not a member of this site, but sometimes get there through a Google search.

I discovered a wealth of Plants vs. Zombies cakes and party ideas.  Since Cash's friends were arriving in an hour, these ideas were not going to happen.  This made me feel dejected and down.  I felt like the cake that Jackson and Libby and I worked on was sub-par.  I went from feeling like I had a good idea to make a P v Z cake to feeling like a loser for not doing a better job.

Much of this feeling is not fault of the internet, but my own perfectionism seeping in.  Still, I don't want to visit a website that makes me feel that way.  I made something for my son.  Because I love him.  So what if it wasn't expensive or perfect.  He liked it.

I love creativity.  I love ideas.  I love being influenced by other art and creativity.  I think it's great that you can be motivated to do cool stuff and especially work with your hands.

But there is something about the availability of it all that makes me feel unsettled.  I think that sometimes we get too much information too quickly and have no appreciation for the fact that we can get it so easily.  It is overload.  And if you don't overload yourself, you're behind somehow.

I think about Van Gogh.  And how his art changed when he went to Paris and was able to see with his own eyes, the work of the impressionists.   He didn't look them up, he journeyed to a different country.  He saw new paintings and artists one at a time.  Over a period of months, years.

I think about art being a process.  And how if you read about 25 other people's trial and error and pick the best way, you miss out on the process.  And end up robbing yourself of making your brain work in that specific way.

Don't let Pinterest, I mean, zombies, I mean, the internet, eat your brains.  Slow down and come up with your own ideas sometimes.


Disney Trip Mania

We've been back from Spring Break an entire week but I'm finally getting around to the blog and a report on our crazy excursion to Walt Disney World.  What can I say?  Here's something.  It is truly a lot of money.  But you are paying for some of the best creative talent in the world and that is something I can get behind.  We enjoyed all the rides, shows, and parades.  We were going to hit all four parks but decided to save our last day for another trip. 

Here are the cousins!  We went with Jimmy's parents and brother Gary and family.  This is the kids on the first day, first thing, getting ready to get on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  I love all things Disney, but must admit I resent the fact that you are required to go to the Magic Kingdom by ferry or monorail.  It feels just a little bit like a prison to me.  A magical awesome prison, but still, I get a little itchy all over when I think about the fact that I could not just walk to my car.  I am a little crazy, I know.  But Disney can make you a little crazy.

Here we are getting ready to go on the Barnstormer, aka Goofy roller coaster.  Cash and I sat in the very front car and he raised his hands the entire way.  (Two days later he and I rode the Rockin' Roller Coaster together at Hollywood Studios.  I thought he might be scared.  Not. At. All.  My Cashy boy is a thrill seeker!  I was proud of him.)
My baby girl.

In preparation for the trip I bought a book on Amazon about the "Hidden Mickey's" that Disney Imagineers have hidden in designs all over the parks.  Jackson carried it everywhere and enjoyed finding these all over the place.  Here is a drain cover in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom.  The pebbles around it make a Mickey head and ears.

On safari at Animal Kingdom.  Libby is getting so big.  She looks like such a young lady in this photo to me.  To have your children grow up without your consent leaves you feeling so helpless.  But then they come and hug you or giggle and you can cope somehow.

This was our first time meeting Sela, our nephew who just turned one year old.  He was a trooper and took good naps in his stroller and generally looked super cute and went with the flow.

Here is another hidden Mickey on the ticket window to Hollywood Studios.  Jackson and I really had fun looking for these.

I think Cash might be choking Juliet with his Mickey hands.  Just kidding.  In front of a Muppets fountain at Hollywood Studios. 

And saving the best for last...not the best picture (although I love it of course) I'm talking about the best ride in every single Disney park...drumroll...it's Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.  Absolutely everything about this ride is amazing.  It is SO MUCH FUN.  It is by far my favorite part.  The design of it is great, the concept awesome, the 3D is flawless (and I'm very picky about 3D) and you get completely lost in it and truly forget where you are and what you're doing, you just want to shoot those dang targets and get a higher score than your trash talking husband!  Okay, he didn't trash talk that much.  And he did beat me.  But I was hanging in there.  And I had a 2 year old in my lap!  This is us after we rode.  Look how happy we are!!

So that's the brief version.  I left out the packing, traveling, meltdowns (mostly by me) and anxiety because all of that is definitely not what I want to remember!  I want the good mania, not the logistical mania!  It was a lot of fun.  Thanks, Walt!