My Girl, Button Girl

We sent Amanda off last night, first to my parent’s house in Birmingham so that they could make the rest of the trip to school with her. They wanted to celebrate a late Christmas with my brother and his family and also wanted to make sure that Amanda got to school safely. It’s convenient since my brother and SEU are in the same city.

She picked her car up yesterday, half finished, and it’s sort of a long story. The little caravan made it as far as Dothan, AL when her car started pouring transmission fluid. I got a call from her that went something like this

“(mumble, mumble, mumble,) been shot! Pouring fluid!”

As much as I appreciate my daughter’s dramatic side, I wasn’t appreciating it at that moment. The translation was that Babette, her car, looked like she’d been shot because transmission fluid was pouring out. No one had actually been shot.

Babette has now been towed and is in a repair shop in Dothan. It can’t be looked at until tomorrow and then they’ll determine whether or not it had anything to do with the damage from the raccoon. It will be at least Monday before it can be repaired so she and my parents are driving on to Lakeland. This whole thing seems so bizarre. It has been taken completely out of my hands and is in the hands of people I’ve never met before and my parents. I’m praying for wisdom for everyone involved and trust that 1. this didn’t take God by surprise and 2. that He has a plan. I’ll also say that I don’t like this feeling of being completely useless. I’m so thankful though that my parents are there, making the decisions and taking care of her so she’s not there by herself.

And now, I have a little announcement. I’ve started another little project where I’ll be posting  tutorials, recipes, homeschool ideas, etc. I’m not completely sure how much of that site will contain thoughts like this or what it looks like. I have a plan but I’m also trying to figure out what it’s all going to look like and how it’s going to come together. Probably the best way to figure it out is to actually commit to writing there and not so much over here. I’m a little sad because Button Girl is a cute title but is sort of unrealistic for me to keep forever. Which I outline in my first post at My goal is to post two days a week and I’ve done that for this week. I’ve got tons of ideas for posting fun, relevant things for people that have the same interests as I do. I envision myself as a faith-based DIY-stay-at-home-gluten-free-homeschooling-mom….that has a dog.

I hope you’ll follow along. I want to have a lot of fun in the process of making things pretty or delicious or crafty…whatever we’re doing that day.

Blessings (because I really don’t want to say adieu),



A Mad Dash

Amanda has been here for 3 weeks now and it’s time for her to go back to school. I’m a little sad. I’m also in a mad rush to get her car fixed so she can leave. What happened to her car you ask?

A raccoon. A raccoon happened to her car.

She was driving home from school with her friend, Taylor and they were both really sick…and they got lost in Alabama. They were on some kind of back road and a raccoon ran out in front of her. And the ill, sweet college girls sobbed.

When they got to Birmingham my Dad took Amanda to get her oil changed and the mechanic said she had a leak in her a/c and her radiator. Since it was at a Jiffy Lube and her car hadn’t shown any signs of overheating they decided to let us take care of it when she got home.

To make a long story short we took the car to a mechanic on Friday to get the radiator fixed and found out that it was cracked, along with the air conditioner and he asked her if she’d hit an animal. The estimate? 1K. D’oh!

I made a call to the insurance company and as it turns out, hitting an animal is covered under comprehensive on her policy. The policy we’d changed to less than a month earlier. The policy that Travis insisted on because it had a lower deductible. Good job, Honey.

Now I’m waiting to hear from the adjuster so I can get the mechanic to finish the work.

Which is helping me to forget that I won’t see her for two months and she only gets 1 break during the spring semester. I wonder if I can make a trip to Florida before April?




The Year in Review…Part 1

2011 is in the bag and I couldn’t be happier! The year was a battle from start to finish and while I’m thankful for everything God has done I’m ready to move forward. Today, I’m doing a review in pictures. That way, I talk less and you get to see the big highlights that I never ended up blogging about. Um, yeah, not quite…I talk too much.

In a bit of a recap, this time last year we couldn’t have imagined that Amanda would end up going to college in Florida. We also couldn’t have imagined the doors that God would open for her in such a short time. In addition to being a panelist on the school’s TV show, she also starred in two short films. I saw one of them and it was funny and fantastic to see Amanda doing what she loves. So I think the college trip is a good starting point…

On the drive down, Halle gets the award for most uncomfortable sleeping position…ever.

Halle also gets the award for cheesiest photo.

I made Chloe do the water skier but she objected strongly. Gone are the days when she was up for anything. Sigh. She was definitely up for some Florida orange juice though.

When we got to Shane and Angie’s house (Trav’s brother and sis-in-law) we’d driven 14 1/2 hours. It was Amanda’s first time to ever drive that far. Add nerves to that and she ended up in a crying heap slumped over her steering wheel. I calmed her down knowing it was temporary (she is very much like me after all) and the next morning looked much brighter. Literally. It is Florida after all.

We visited the campus and got a head start on filling out all the forms. Thankfully we beat the mad rush and didn’t have to stand in line for anything. Then we headed to Ikea. We also planned to go to John’s Pass but it was too much for one day.

The next day was the beach…Not sure if you notice but this is *a lot* of driving. We were tired. But we were so close, we had to go to the beach.

The only picture of me taken the whole trip…by me.

I’m noticing that I’m much blonder in Florida. Hmmmm….

The beach was fabulous. Even though it rained and even though the water temperature was like bath water…it was fabulous. It casts a spell over me every.single.time. I find it hard to believe sometimes that I spent the majority of my life there. It often seems like a dream. Then I look at the hills here and I snap out of it.

We got back from the beach around midnight and were in bed around 1am. We had to be back up by 6 to get Amanda to campus to check into her dorm. We were tired.

And I took pictures of everything…this is Amanda leaving Shane and Angie’s house. She’s giving me the “Mom, you’re crazy!” face.

Here she is once we got to campus…and is giving me the, “Mom, you’re annoying me but I’m going to be nice about it” face.

And the, “Mom are you *really* going to take a picture of everything I do?” face.

This particular table was step one. I fully intended to take a picture of steps 1-4. At the end of step 1 though, Travis started tearing up and we both sort of bolted out the door so that she wouldn’t see us cry. We knew that the last thing she needed was for her parents to start sobbing. She was being so brave, her life had changed so much in just a few short months and we needed to be strong for her. I think I said something ridiculous like, “If she stays here for more than a semester I’m moving back.” I’m not really, it’s one of those silly distraught mom things to say.

Then we got to see her room!

And even though it’s sort of bare bones, it was a hundred times better than the nasty dorm she stayed in at MTSU. I’m slightly jealous of the palm tree view she has outside her window. I’m not even remotely jealous of the heat and humidity. Just sayin’.

We rushed off to pick Chloe and Halle up (who were having a fantastic time playing with cousins)…

Then rushed off to Target to pick up essentials and meet my brother and sister-in-law for lunch.

I also got to meet my great-nephew for the very first time!

I also got to see my nephew (pictured) and nieces.

Target seemed to be the breaking point for the girls. Halle wanted me to carry her through the store and tried to sleep on my shoulder. Chloe burst into tears because someone she didn’t know rolled their eyes at her. We were truly at the point that we couldn’t jam one more thing into the trip. So we went back to campus and then back to home base. Trav’s family was kind and all met us at Shane and Angie’s.

It was lovely and rainy and I tried to sneak out to the patio undetected to cry a bit. Amanda saw me and she and I had a talk. Then after everyone left all the girls watched the first two episodes of season 4 of Gilmore Girls. The ones where Rory goes to college. It was a moment that you’d have to be Amanda and I to understand but it helped. I think we were both ready to move forward after that.

The next morning we packed up and left for the long drive home. Amanda didn’t start sobbing and neither did I. It’s miraculous really.

Okay, so I stink at not narrating.


It’s a catch-up post!

First off, it’s Amanda’s last week of classes! Then finals and then she’ll be home for at least 3 weeks! I’m so thankful that even though college in Florida wasn’t even on our radar until a month before classes started, she has thrived and I’m truly blown away by the doors that God has opened for her. My kid has always, always wanted to be in movies. Always. It’s a scary thing for me because of everything that comes with that. But I was given some very wise advice just before she left for school and that was to “never parent out of fear.” As I’ve watched Amanda this semester (thank God for Facebook!), I’ve watched her star in short films and get a part on the campus talk show and God has really validated her dreams…at least to me but I think to her too. I’ve never discouraged her wanting to be in media. Ever. We have prayed and listened for what God’s plan for her is. And we’ll keep doing that very thing. We’re taking it all one semester at a time. When she visited here over fall break she told me, “Mom, I love it here (in Franklin) and it’s where I want to be but I know it’s not where I’m supposed to be right now. I’m thankful that my daughter prays and listens for God’s will too. I am very blessed.

I’m thankful for my husband who, upon hearing me groaning in pain (my darn back) yesterday morning, decided to stay home with me and our sick girls and crazy dog. He ran all the errands, including grocery shopping and Target run, did the dishes, folded clothes and washed laundry. Then got up at 5am to be at an early meeting this morning. Yesterday would have been incredibly difficult if he hadn’t been so unselfish.

Shane and Angie and their 3 beautiful kids came here from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with us. It was crowded. It was loud. There was lots of laughing. And we loved every second of it. Sure, we had to time our showers. And yes, “I’m getting in the shower, does anybody need to use the bathroom?” was said several times a day. But the weather was (mostly) nice and it was even warm enough for the kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner outside. And I’m very happy that I took the time to refinish my patio chairs.

We had two fires in my fire pit (besides, Daisy, it’s the best birthday present ever!). We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows- with little kids roasted marshmallows can easily turn into flaming, gooey, sticks of death- and we talked an laughed into the night. We saw the Opryland Hotel, the first time for us since the Flood. And it brought back memories for, Angie, who grew up in Tennessee and went to many a youth convention there (do any A/G people remember Thanksgiving Youth Conventions?). The lights were fantastic, as always, and I plan on going back at least once more before the end of the season.

We visited mutual friends (that I’ve mentioned a million times), Kris and Mary at their house in Mt. Juliet. We ate the most wonderful food and my sweet friend took the time and went through the trouble of making a lot of things gluten free. I brought some gluten free bread, figuring I could eat a turkey sandwich, but I could eat almost everything there. Including a PEANUT BUTTER PIE!!! With a gf, oreo (type) cookie crust! It was absolutely incredible. And I honestly don’t remember the last time I had pie. (Oh wait, it was for Trav’s birthday…gluten free apple blueberry that tasted like sand paper 🙂 ) I never expect friends or family to go through the trouble of cooking for me but it means so much to me when they do.

We also hiked and told stories from our Lakeland days. Then Shane and Angie bid our group adieu, to start the trek home. I know it wasn’t an easy trip for them but I’m thankful they came.

Travis and I stayed at the Kelso house, talking and laughing. I love making new friends but friendships that are old, the ones that have weathered many a storm with you, are the ones that feel like a pair of favorite jeans. Comfy and warm and familiar. There’s no worrying about saying the right thing, or whether or not you’ll say something dumb. It’s almost a given that somebody will say something dumb. Then we’ll riff on it for a while, have a good laugh and move on. It was a great day.

There are a lot more things that are good that are happening around here. Physically, I feel so much better. I’ve noticed lately that my strength has returned. I actually ran, no, sprinted a couple of days when Shane and Angie were here (chasing the dog and then chasing kids). Those of you that have walked through this saga with me know what a big deal that is. And we sold my exercise bike. I loved that bike. But after having it for 5 years it was time. I have to step up my workouts in order to really lose weight and Travis really wanted to do an annual membership to the local Rec. Center. We sold the bike for the exact amount we needed to cover a year at the gym (which was a nice profit over what I paid for it 5 years ago. Craig’s List score!) and not only can I workout, Travis can too and the girls can swim for the whole summer. We’ll see how this goes. In general, I’m not a fan of having to drive to workout. But I was willing to do that for all the Rec. Center offers and for a really reasonable price. It’s *way* less than the Y and the facilities are great.All-in-all I think it will work well for us.

That’s all for now…


Rainy Days and Mondays

‘Tis a rainy day here and I’m busy. Like an “I do not have a good grasp on my life” sort of busy. School is different because Chloe is going to the Academy two days  a week and I love it. I love that someone else is giving her homework and she’s excited about it. It also makes it easier to focus on Halle. But Halle is doing more work and I’ve been visiting (visiting? It would be great if I knew what I meant to write there) and a Realtor is coming to look at the house Friday and our anniversary is Sunday and we’ve been given an amazing opportunity to get out of town and, well, I just don’t have a good grip on it all. I know it just takes time. We’ll get there.

The Realtor thing? I e-mailed a Realtor about a week ago and I really just wanted her opinion on the market and such. So she’s coming to take a look because it seems that the market may be catching up with us. There are still some things to be done but we’ve done a lot and Realtors are really good at advice like, “don’t worry about that” or “fix that” or “I’ve got a guy that could do this for $$ instead of $$$”, you get the idea. So I guess we’ll see. But we’re cleaning and mowing, etc. like mad and everything takes more time than I want it to.

The out of town thing? My Dad works for a golf course and it’s part of a trail of golf courses in Alabama. One of the perks is that we can get really good rates at an awesome resort. So we’re meeting my parents in Florence, AL and they’ll take the kids so that Trav and I can spend some time together. But the town is really close to the house that Helen Keller grew up in and they’re having a Helen Keller festival the weekend we’re there and we can take the kids on a tour of the house which means I can count it as school. Yay! Besides, I read a Helen Keller biography about a dozen times when I was younger and was fascinated with her life so I benefit too. Then Saturday Travis and I will tour a Frank Lloyd Wright house as part of our anniversary celebration. I’m a nerd and I don’t care…this is exciting!

Getting Ready

Deep breath.

I was going to do a picture through the years sort of thing for Amanda today but it would require too much time to scan the pictures in and it’s something that I might not recover from emotionally anyway. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be and I’m really dreading this trip. I’m happy that we get to see family and friends and we have to be there for Amanda but part of me wishes that I didn’t have to walk through this.

Parenting is hard.

Letting go is harder.

But letting go is what we’re working toward from the day they’re born. It’s the only way to parent them well.

I could say, “I’m too young for this” or even, “I’m too old for this”, although neither is true. It has nothing to do with my age and has everything to do with my heart being broken. But because I love Amanda so much I will walk through this knowing that I will cry a lot and I will miss her so much but I’m not alone.

God is with me.

God is with us.

Amanda has been through so much to get her to this point. You may not know this but going to college is a point of surrender for her. And I know He is with her.

I thought this morning, “I love her so much” and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “I love her too”. I know He does and it’s my comfort. And I trust Him with her. I’ve said that we’re leaving Amanda in the care of SEU but it isn’t true. We’re leaving her in the care of my Father and I trust him to take care of her.

Deep breath.

Something New!

Last week during the little adventure that Chloe and I took, I stumbled upon a little clearance patio table. It was half price plus another 25 percent off. It wasn’t super-cute, rather it looked like my neighbors pool furniture from the ’80’s. But it was a table and it was cheap! Then my phone rang. It was the hubs with some news about something or other and I was able to present my table purchase for approval (I hadn’t intended on purchasing a table that day) and he did the math and figure it should be $24. Sold! When I got to the register it ended up ringing up for the regular sale price but I explained that it was supposed to be another 25 percent off and I think he must have given me a percentage off besides that (possibly because it rang up wrong?) so it was $24 out the door. Ahem, I didn’t realize that it rhymed…at the time. Haha…I’m stopping now.

Here’s Trav putting it together. Which he did in about 10 minutes. He’s really good at that kind of thing.

He hates having his picture taken but I like this one. He’s pretty cute.

This is one of my sunflowers. I thought it was funny that it was almost exactly half open. I love it when they’re blooming. A few days ago I saw a hummingbird sipping nectar from some of these flowers. I just stood there drinking it all in. I didn’t rush to find my camera because I knew I’d miss it.

Here’s my new table.

It was dark by the time it was all together. What’s that you say? Those chairs are rusty? Well, I never! How did I not notice that? Kidding. I bought those cushions last year and knew I needed to refinish the chairs but wasn’t in a hurry so they didn’t get done at all. It’s probably a good idea for me to hurry. Now of course, it’s my goal to do the table and chairs at the same time so they all match. Which will likely happen sometime after we get back from taking Amanda to college.

Oh, and did you notice the sunflower wall? Oh yeah! I didn’t plant any of those, the birds did last year. I actually pulled out a bunch and that was after I’d dug out the entire garden. These things are unstoppable I tell ‘ya! It makes a really great screen between our patio and our neighbors house. The neighbor on our left is a really nice guy but I like to sunbathe and our houses are too close for comfort. A fence would be great but that’s not happening right now. So the sunflowers will do.

It was about 78 degrees at 10 yesterday morning so I thought I’d read my Bible and sip coffee outside…at my new table. Yay!

Approximately 5 minutes after I took this picture the sun came out and started baking me. I tried to keep reading but had to try to shield my eyes from the glare. I was defeated. But autumn is coming. Now if I could just somehow score a deal on a firepit…

A Bunch of Stuff

I was just uploading a bunch of photos to my computer and realized that I’d taken a lot of pictures that I intended to blog about. Overwhelming people with pictures is sort of a specialty of mine so I figure I’ll just stop typing once I get overwhelmed by the pictures.

Dance camp…seriously fun! We had to be at church by 9 every morning which was really good practice for getting Chloe to school by around 8:30 since it’s at the same place. I never actually made it on time. It’s difficult in the morning since Travis and I both have to get in the shower and so if either of us takes our time at all it really messes things up. We just need to practice. It’s not like when I used to take Chloe to school and I just wore my pj’s. There was no way I was walking into church like that.

Halle didn’t actually “get” most of the dance moves but she had such a great time. During the performance the teenage girls that were helping would quickly drag her to wherever she was supposed to be. I had to laugh.

This is the best shot I could get of her face since my camera isn’t really made for action shots. The instructors at church are offering very reasonably priced dance lessons for the fall semester and I really hope that we’re able to let her do it. I’d love for her to be able to learn technique because I think that would really help her.

Chloe and I had while Halle was dancing. She really ate up the one-on-one time with me. We went to Michaels, which I hadn’t been to in forever. And she and I *loved* it. There were so many art supplies and cake decorating supplies and other things that she and I are interested in. We both liked it better than Joann. But it’s probably because I’m not a big fan of sewing. Then we went to Rooms to Go…because it was next door and we had time to kill. Then Home Depot…because it was next door and we had time to kill. I realize that we don’t live that far away and I could have gone home but there are so many places that I think I’d like to go to and we never actually end up going there.

Friday. Wow! Travis and I tried to prepare for Amanda moving back in but we couldn’t have imagined how.much.stuff. she has. She had even sold the majority of her furniture. And since we don’t have a garage, there was just no place to put everything. Halle was kicked out of her room and she’s sleeping in a sleeping bag on Chloe’s floor. Overall, the girls have been really sweet about it all but Halle wasn’t really happy about the new sleeping arrangement. So I promised her a first-ever trip to Krispy Kreme to help make up for it.

We went out Saturday and we wanted to watch the sunset from a lookout point that we visited before we ever moved to Franklin. And it had changed…a lot.

There was graffiti and broken beer bottles and obscenities painted onto the walls and curb. Yes, in Franklin. It was really disappointing. So we left and took the girls to Krispy Kreme instead.

The loved it, of course. And I couldn’t eat anything (which is a *really* good thing, I think) but it was nice for us to sit and talk and watch them make doughnuts.

And I think that’s enough for today. Now, I’m going to research and (hopefully) purchase the girls homeschool books. Is it that time again already?



Last week was busy. This week is busy. And I’ve barely even thought about writing.

Halle is in dance camp at church Tuesday-Thursday this week and it means that I’m up at 6:30 (yep, that’s *am*) to get things together to get us out the door. This is the very, very, very first thing that she’s ever done without Chloe.

Halle has always been my daredevil/extreme introvert/very mommy clingy girl (hmmm, kind of like Amanda only more extreme) and so I said a prayer before I went to sleep asking the Lord to help her feel secure and at ease. I knew she wanted to do this. She’s asked about dancing a lot in the past few months and I thought this would be a great opportunity for her to dance, get some energy out (she’s so high energy that she often just runs the halls because she can’t help it) and it would also give Chloe and I some real one-on-one time for 5 hours a day, 3 days this week.

My sweet Chloe has sort of gotten a raw deal since Halle has been born. She was 3 1/2 when Halle came along and that was pretty much the end of one-on-one time with her. Today gave us a chance to catch-up and she could be the center of attention. She got chocolate milk and pop tarts, some girly type clothing items and she got to eat at Wendy’s. She was singing and giggling and she and Halle got to spend some time apart. They do well together, but since we homeschool those girls are together 24-7 and everybody needs a break sometimes.

Tomorrow is going to look the same although we probably won’t run as many errands. Seriously, we did 5 hours of errands. Whew! And I think I’ll call it a day. Oh, and blueberry lime tea? You should totally try it.


So, I’ve realized something about myself lately that I thought you might find interesting…

I don’t actually like squash.

So why grow it? I’m not sure. I think I read that it was easy to grow and I wanted to grow something that I could actually eat. And then I remembered that I actually, really hate cooked squash. It’s gross and slimy and it doesn’t really taste like anything except gross slimy-ness. The only way I really like it is raw, in a salad. That way it’s just sort of crunchy and there are a bunch of other flavors that I do like plus salad dressing so I put it on my salad. Travis is fine either way. I mean, I could call him Mikey but that would confuse him for at least 15 seconds. Really, that guy eats anything I make. Even if I don’t like it.

A couple of nights ago I decided to actually use the squash I picked so I made some brown rice, shredded the squash (so as not to get any slimy seeds), and added some chicken andouille chicken sausage and basil. And honestly, I could barely swallow it. I hated it. Travis? He loved it. And I decided to stop trying to make myself eat things I hate. Eating (for me at least) is difficult enough. I like broccoli. That’s good, right?

I think I’m going to rip out the squash plants and make an herb garden. I’m actually having real trouble with cilantro. Who would have thought? Herbs are supposed to be really easy.

Something that is easy? Bugs. Not the ones you’re thinking…but these cute little guys.

I didn’t notice until I uploaded the photo that It’s blurry. But they’ve all been eaten so I can’t take another one. Such is the life of a bug shaped scone. More scone-ish than actual scone. They’re gluten free after all.

This sweet little buggy pan was on clearance for under $6 at Target and had originally been $23. Nice.

It wasn’t dirty when I bought it. And you know what? It was so much fun! I’ve realized (I had help realizing) that it’s been a really long time since I’ve had any fun. It’s a long sob story that I’ll skip but the jist of it is that I haven’t really been cooking or baking or singing or creating or painting or taking long walks in the city I love or anything else that I enjoy in a really long time.  And then I picked up this cake pan. You should have heard the girls squealing over it. That is fun in itself, my friends!

Often it really is the little things…