It is amazing how refreshed and motivated I always am right after our trip. I make it a point to not go to school to work AT ALL during the summer, until after our long vacation. When we get back, my summer break is officially over, and I dive right into getting my classroom ready for school to start.
I had such a productive day Sunday and yesterday. As soon as we got home Sunday, I hit the ground running and started laundry and got everything unpacked. Yesterday I finished up the laundry (7 loads total), put it all away, finished unpacking, and cleaned out/reorganized the kiddos art cabinet. Then I took the kids down to Grammy and Pappy’s so I could go work at school for a few hours. Got a little bit done at school, then took Josie to ballet, then worked in the garden and made supper.
Have I ever mentioned I have the best hubby in the world? Because I do. After supper he came up to school with me to do a few things I needed some muscle for :). I love him. And of course, after we were done, we went to Sonic to get half price shakes! 🙂 Josie was just a wee bot excited about that!

Our trip: A bullet list

Every summer, we go on 10 day camping trip to my favorite place on earth, Dale Hollow Lake. It really is like a second home to me. If I was ever forced to move, that is totally where I would go :). Just to keep the recap to a minimum, I thought I would just do a random bullet list. Pics will come in another post. 🙂 So here goes:

-Packing with a one year old is MUCH easier than packing with a four month old. 🙂

-I am SOOO very grateful we have a camper now. We have done this trip a few times (the whole 10 days) in tents (with a baby!), and now we are SOOO blessed to be able to have a small trailer. It makes the entire process about a thousand times easier and more enjoyable. 

-I had to take Jack to the doctor the day before we left. I thought he might have pink eye, but he ended up having a viral infection in his eye and throat. Since we had Josie, we have NEVER been on our vacation without a sick kid, either before or DURING. Just part of having kids, I guess. He was pretty pitiful for the first couple of days. Until his fever broke, we just took it easy for him and hung out at the campground so he could take good naps in the cool camper and not get too hot. 

-I guess because of being sick, Jack was a HUGE momma’s boy the whole trip. He was FULL of temper tantrums, too. However, we finally had a “breakthrough” towards the end, and our last full day he was AWESOME-I mean, beyond good. New popular phrase in our household: “Use your WORDS, Jack!” 🙂 

-Last year on our trip, it rained This year, it only rained a few times at night-yay for pretty days! 

-Jake and I were COMPLETELY unplugged the entire 10 days we were gone. Our phones do not get service there, which we think is a blessing. No phones, texting, computers, email, internet, TV, even radio, at all. Not even a weather forecast, except if we overheard it at the dock or something.  It was absolutely awesome. It is such a wonderful break from reality, almost like we are living in a bubble. 

-Probably because I was completely unplugged, I finished a Bible study I have been working on for awhile, and I read seven and a half books while we were gone. The rest of the City of Ember series, some more of the Shadow Children series, and some other stand alone books. I LOVE to read. When I was little, my mom would let me pick a book out at the beginning of a grocery trip, and I would have it completely read before we even got home. I am going to have to take more “unplugged” breaks, if anything just so I can keep with my reading :). 

-My whole family was on this trip, at some point. Not all at the same time, though. Mom and Dad, us, Shshr, Nana, Ta and Tommy, and Andy and his family were there the whole time. Justin was there for the first part, Josh and Jackie came up for a day, Chad came up for a few days, and Casey and Kyle came up during the week. Lesa was the only one who didn’t get to come at all. Uncle Bill came and brought Brianna one day. Grandaddy even visited with his wife and her family! (They were staying in the cabins at Horse Creek). 

-We also had some drop in visitors during the week. Cindy, Chester, the girls, and Kayla and Brandon came on Monday, and Mr. Steve and Mrs. Laurie came on Saturday and brought the kids. Josie loved getting to play with all the kids. One of her prayers every night is always “Dear God, thank you for my kids and cousins…” :).

-Josie was a MAJOR rock/crystal/shell collector this trip. She so reminds me of ME. 

-Jack loves to “rye” (ride) anything and everything. Push car, stroller, bike, bike trailer, boat, kayak, you name it and he loves to “rye.” 🙂

-We went to Livingston one day to antique, of course. 🙂 What’s a camping trip without some antiquing thrown in, too?

-The guys went jugging for catfish a couple of nights. One morning I went with them to pick up the jugs. We caught one big catfish, and one HUGE snapping turtle. Needless to say, we didn’t keep the turtle. 

-We got to do LOTS of kayaking this year. Between us all, we had a total of 5 kayaks, which Daddy pulled over with the duck boat everyday. One day Casey, Alec, Justin, Jake, and I kayaked from the dock all the way to the end of Irons Creek and went exploring. 🙂 It was really fun. Daddy picked up Casey and Alec in the duck boat, and Justin, Jake and I paddled all the way back. I can tell I am much more in shape than I used to be-I just have more endurance!

-I also got to slalom. I just went once, but it was good to know I can still get up, cross the wakes, and crash with the best of them. 🙂

-Jack LOVES the water. He loves going UNDERwater, too! He will jump off anything, all by himself, and by the end of the week, he was bending down and putting his face under the water, just for kicks. He is totally fearless. He was copying EVERYTHING the big boys did. 

-Josie LOVES the water, too…but she does not like to go under the water involuntarily. No jumping for her. She does put her face under the water sometimes, though. 

-Daddy, Jake, me, Casey, and Kyle took Jack and Josie over to explore the sunken island one day. Josie was so excited! She asked Pappy, “How did the island sink?” 🙂

-One day there was an ant invasion in my camper. I do NOT like ants. Thanks to some awesome spray Tommy shared, though, the invasion was brief. 

-Josie LOVES to spend the night with people. On our trip, she spent one night with Nana and Shshr, one night with Grammy and Pappy, and one night with Katie Ann! She was so excited to get to stay in Katie Ann’s camper. This was her first time to stay overnight with anyone other than Nana, Grammy and Pappy, or Mee-Maw.

-Josie was so sad to come home. However, when we got home, she went straight to her room and did some HEAVY DUTY playing :). She had definitely missed her room, whether she knew it or not. 

-I am always sad to come home, too, but always so glad to get back to my house-it always feel so BIG! 

-While we were gone, Mama Judy took care of our garden for us. She picked 78 cucumbers, 42 bell peppers, 31 large tomatoes, and a plethora of cherry tomatoes. I think it is safe to say that my garden is NOT done yet. 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. We are so very blessed that we can take a vacation every year, especially one to my favorite place on earth, surrounded by family and friends. 🙂


Yes, I know I have been MIA for the last week. We have been on VACATION! Yay! I love our annual camping trip to the lake. I am too absorbed in mounds of laundry and the Olympics to blog tonight, so watch for a vacation post over the next couple of days! 🙂

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I have been wanting to do a post like this for awhile. My kiddos are forever doing whatever it is the other one is doing. They do all kinds of stuff together, and Jack especially watches and copies EVERYTHING Josie is doing. I tell them they are “monkey see, monkey do” all the time. So I thought I would post some evidence of this…..(these pictures make me smile)……

I am absolutely, head over heels, immensely in love with my two little monkeys. And I think they are pretty smitten with one another, too. 🙂

I have a sick little boy :(. Had to take him to the doctor today-he has a viral infection in his eye and throat. He is still so very sweet, though. If it wasn’t for the fever and runny eye, I wouldn’t even know he’s sick!

4 years, 1 month


You are MORE than 4 years old now! You are SO proud to be four-it is the proudest you have ever been of your age. You have suddenly acquired a new found bravery and confidence, and when we ask you why you will do something now that you wouldn’t do just recently, you say “Cause I’m four now!” Four also has come with some challenges….you are testing your boundaries big time right now, and Mommy and Daddy are having to reprimand you more than ever. I’m sure this is just a phase, though….and you are still our sweet Josie girl, no matter if you are listening well or not. You have had an exciting month….

-You had an AWESOME birthday! You had a princess tea party with Raegan and Addie, went roller skating, to the Aquarium Restaurant, and Sweet CeCe’s with Mommy and Daddy, and had a birthday party with the whole family, complete with a gorgeous purple princess castle cake. 

-You had two weeks of swim lessons with Mrs. Pam, and you did really well. You had not forgotten anything from last year, and every day you got stronger and stronger. You put your face under the water, and you can swim the whole length of the pool and back by yourself (with a kick board). You do NOT like jumping off the side, though. 

-Swim lessons also helped you get over your fear of putting your ears in the water, so now you can wash and rinse your hair all by yourself in the bathtub.

-You are, in fact, getting very independent. You can bathe yourself, put on your lotion, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and get dressed all by yourself. (You still need a little help with buttons, and you can’t tie shoes yet) You can also make your bed all by yourself. 

-You had a fun play date with Maddie and Carolyne. You also got a whole play day with Abby, Carley, and Matthew while Mommy babysat them-you had a blast! 

-Chad babysat you one day while Mommy had inservice. You were really good-you love your Uncle Chad.

-You helped Mommy make pickles. You always like to help do ANYTHING. 

-We went to Nashville Library’s story time twice. You really love going; your favorite puppet is J.J. the lamb. 

-You had your third dentist appointment-you always do a very good job letting them clean your teeth. They are always impressed with you! 

-You also had your four year old well check. You are 35 ½ lbs (55 %tile) and 39 inches tall (40 %tile). They tested your hearing and vision, which were perfect. 

-You spent the night with Nana one night, with Grammy and Pappy one night, and with Mee-Maw one night. I think you would spend the night somewhere every night if we would let you! 

-We went to the Fourth of July Parade in Greenbrier. This was your first parade, and you ate it up-you loved it! 

-You do great at learning your weekly memory verses, and you love reading your Bible story at night. You say the sweetest prayers. They always go something like this: “Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the food, and thank you for the day. Thank you for my kids and cousins and for the whole family. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross. Holy name, Amen”  And here lately you have also been adding “thank you for letting it be close to camping time." 

-You are SOOOOO excited to be going camping soon-it is basically all you talk about. 

-You are learning more and more letters and sounds, and you love doing math problems with Daddy. You are good at any addition problems that are "plus one” and you can even do some “plus two” problems. Your handwriting is improving, too. You can’t wait to go back to school, and are so excited that you get to go three days this year! 

-You NEVER stop talking and/or singing. In fact, the number one reason you get in trouble right now is for interrupting-you have SO much to say, all the time. 

-Your little brother worships you. He tries to do EVERYTHING you do. 

-You love: sleeping in big t-shirts, any kind of arts and crafts (especially painting), READING, Barbies, your dollhouse toys, stuffed animals (especially Peepers and your little dog Pappy gave you), your brother (you seriously love him-it is the sweetest thing to watch you two together),  wearing skirts and dresses, nail polish, being outside, swinging, dancing, tumbling, going to the library, SWEETS, cantaloupe, watermelon, salads (seriously your favorite food), carrots and ranch, tacos, eating at restaurants (you ask us to eat out all the time), playing “pretend,” Sunday school, helping Mommy pick veggies from the garden, swimming, playing dress up, singing….

-You do NOT like: most casseroles, storms, any type of bug (except ladybugs), jumping off the side of the pool, when Jack messes up your toys if you have them all set up a certain way

Josie girl, you are such a unique, fun, sweet little girl. You have a humongous heart, and a very sweet spirit. You make everyone around you smile, and you are always polite and caring towards others. You are the best big sister I have ever seen, and you make your Daddy and I so very proud. It is so fun watching you learn and grow and change. Your personality develops more and more every day, and I think now I can catch glimpses of what you might be like when you are older. Sweet girl, know that we love you-now and always. 



Since we had such a productive weekend….

I was able to put a dent in my goals list, so I thought I would post another update. 🙂
Summer Goals-Another update

Weed/clean out flower beds

Mulch flower beds- got them done before Josies’ birthday party, with a lot of help from Jake! 

-Clean out my closet

Paint closet and bathroom doors-doing good; did foyer closet and bathroom door, now just have to do Jack’s closet doors  Finished Jack’s closet doors on Tuesday! 

-Organize all the pictures underneath cabinet in living room

Get scrapbooks and organize Josie and Jack’s artwork-got the scrapbooks, just need to organize the art.    Done! And it worked perfectly. 🙂

-Get memory boxes for both kids Yay! Did this while reorganizing stuff to put in the barn. Now they each have their own (clear) tote for special memory items. 

-Take kids to the Nashville Library story time a few times- went today! Plan on going next week, too.  Went twice! 

-Catch up on both of the kiddos’ “year books”-Still not completely caught up, but I FINISHED Jack’s first year book! Yay-now he is only 7 months behind. New goal before school starts: get Josie’s third year book complete, so I will be on the current year for each of them. 

Read, read, readalready read 5 books-Prince Caspian, and the Hunger Games trilogy (for the second time), and Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal; now I am working on “City of Ember” ; Read 3 more books to bring the total to 8-finished City of Ember, read the latest book by Karen Kingsbury (Loving) and the latest book by Nicholas Sparks (The Best of You); Read 2 more books- “Among the Hidden” and “If I Stay” -gotta get the sequels to each of these! 

Deep clean my whole house at least once Did this before Josie’s birthday party! I even scrubbed every window in my house, inside and out. 

-Take a weekend trip with just Jake, Josie, and Jack

Sew Josie a dress-Done! And I LOVE the way it turned out! 

-Paint patio furnitureDone! And I got it ALL polyurethaned, so I shouldn’t have to repaint next year. 

Take Josie’s four year old pictures-Done, now I just have to ORDER them….

Other things I have accomplished I didn’t list before: 

-Made 14 quarts of pickles with cucumbers from my garden

  • Kept up with my workout goals

-LOVED having a garden

-Cleaned out Jack’s clothes

-Cleaned out my clothes (again)

-Did some major cleaning out/organizing in the barn that I didn’t expect to get to do! 🙂

VERY productive weekend!

Sorry I have been MIA around these parts; we had a very busy, and very productive weekend around here. The good news is, our barn is done! Yay!! The electric was finished on Saturday morning, so then Jake and I got busy moving stuff in and organizing. We went to Lowe’s and got the shelving units and new totes for the storage side of the barn. Then we got busy moving stuff from our old little shed to the barn and finding it a new (ORGANIZED) place in the barn. And yes, we DID in fact do all of this moving in the rain….we were too excited to wait! The kids had a blast, though, playing in the rain, getting soaked and filthy in the mud :). They didn’t complain a bit! We worked until dark on Saturday, and made a big dent. 

On Sunday after church we went right back to work. Our first task was going to Shshr’s and getting all of our stuff out of her attic that we had been storing there. Then we brought it home and started organizing and cleaning it out. We got rid of some stuff, put all the stuff we were keeping in a new, clear, labeled tote, and found it  a place on the shelves. We also got to clean out the closets in the house and put some of that stuff in the barn-yay for clean (er) closets! 

The storage side of the barn is a dream come true for my type-A personality. Everything has a specific place, there are rows of clear, LABELED totes, and I can find everything easily. I am in HEAVEN-seriously. 🙂 I love organizing and putting things in place, so this was a great weekend for me! I continued the work today, and I think I am just about done. 🙂