Alice’s 6th Paris-Themed Birthday Party!


Alice has been obsessed with Paris FOR-EV-ER!  Back at our old house, we passed a cell phone tower on our way to school, and as a toddler she always pointed at it and said, “Paris!”  Lately, when we do our hikes that take us to beautiful long-range views, she always spots some kind of tower in the distance, and asks if it’s the Eiffel Tower.  We talk about going to Paris together someday all the time.  And when I ask her what she wants to do there, she’s very clear that she wants to, “See the Eiffel Tower, and eat macaroons and other desserts at a table on the sidewalk.”

Sounds pretty good, right?!  So it was easy to plan a Paris party for our girl’s 6th birthday!

She had a lot of ideas, and they were all so cute. I make the kids their new age number out of poster board for every birthday and then decorate it to match their theme.  So I had ideas for Alice, but she had ideas all her own!  She decorated her number 6 all by herself!  When I asked what she was painting on her number, she said, “Macaroons, of course!”  And then she said she used a lot of gray paint because, “the Eiffel Tower is gray.”

Her party was fairly small — just family and one friend from our old neighborhood — and we had the absolute best time!

Most importantly, Alice just loved her special day!  So happy we could celebrate our littlest turning SIX!  Happy Birthday, Alice!













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Alice’s Most Hilarious 5-Year-Old Quotes.


This past year with Alice has been hysterical. She is seriously the funniest little thing, and I just adore the way her mind works.  Tomorrow, she will be SIX!  I can hardly believe it.  And although I know 6-year-old Alice will be just as funny, I sure will miss 5-year-old Alice, because she has been a hoot!

So here are the best things 5-year-old Alice said in the past year!  You will learn about her love for Bob Ross, her completely honest dinner prayers, and her irritation with the English language — and really, what more could you want from your Monday?!

LOVE our happy, silly girl!

1.April 7, 2017
Alice: “Daddy, I love you 148!”
Kevin: “Yeah? Well I love you 149.”
Alice: “Ugh!”

2. April 21, 20178
Alice: “Mom, do you live safely?”
Me: “Um…well, I guess so.”
Alice: “Oh, then we’re different because I like to live dangerously.”

3. April 27, 2017
“When I’m 13 can I be the mom?” -Alice

4. May 4, 2017
“Hey, Mom! Guess what? I fell in love with Seth today.” –Alice

5. June 9, 2017
Alice: “I want to ride my bike to the moon.”
Me: “The moon?”
Alice: “Not the one in outer space, the one at the end of the street.”

6. June 24, 2017
Me: “What are you watching?”
Alice: “Bob Ross. He’s a really good painter.”

7. July 14, 2017
“You wanna watch the Belle movie with the lights off, and eat cupcakes?” -Alice

8. August 26, 2017
Me: “Mosquitoes love me because I’m so sweet!”
Alice: “And ants love me because I’m so awesome!”

9. August 29, 2017
Alice (praying before dinner): “Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us this food, so we don’t starve to death. Amen.”

10. August 31, 2017
Alice: “I think Dalton likes me.”
Me: “Why do you think that?”
Alice: “Because he asked for my phone number, but I told him I didn’t know it.”

11. September 19, 2017
Alice: “I already got hurt in my backyard earlier.”
Boy: “By a raccoon?”
Alice: “What?! No! Just falling down.”

12. November 30, 2017
Me: “You have your field trip to see the play today! Are you excited?”
Alice: “I’m kind of scared.”
Me: “Why?”
Alice: “I’m scared I won’t know when to clap.”

13. December 10, 2017
*I’ve just walked in the door after running an errand solo.*
Alice: “Tom cut himself with a knife while you were gone, but don’t worry, he’s still alive and everything.”

14. December 10, 2017
Me: “Now remember, don’t tell him what his present is.”
Alice: “OK! Tom, this present is yours, but you can’t open it until Christmas.”
Tom: “What is it?”
Alice: “I can’t tell you, but it’s some type of Transformer.”

15. December 18, 2017
Alice (while eating lunch): “I really want this chicken to be made out of steak.”

16. December 26, 2017
Alice: “I love you, Mama, and I think you’re the most beautiful mom in the world! (Looks at me longer.) No matter what you wear.”

17. January 16, 2018
Alice (excitedly): “My nose bled at school today, and even the FIRST graders were talking about it!”

18. January 19, 2018
Alice (hugging my dad): “I love you, PawPaw! But you’re going to be dead by the time I grow up.” #morbidgirl

19. January 28, 2018
Alice: “Pot haircuts are hideous.”
Me: “Pot haircuts? You mean bowl cuts?”
Alice: “Yes!”

20. February 10, 2018
“I don’t think it’s right that a letter can make more than one sound. JUST MAKE ONE SOUND, LETTERS!” -Alice (while practicing sight words)

21. March 1, 2018
Alice: “Is it OK if I do whatever I want?”
Me: “Um…what?”
Alice (scoffing): “I mean not pierce my ears or drive, but can I move stuff around in my room?”


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The Dump Dog.


This weekend, we took home a mange-y dog we found at the dump.

How did this happen?  I’m so glad you asked!

We spent the weekend at my parents’ farm in Eastman, and on our way out of town (and on our way to hike a trail in Macon), we stopped by the dump to drop off our trash.

Now, we stop by this dump every time we’re in town to do this exact thing.  And I am telling you the truth when I say we have never, ever, ever seen a dog there.  This is not a place where dogs are hanging out all the time or anything.

But on Sunday, this dog was there.

He obviously had mange.  But he also obviously was…sweet.  He walked right up to us.  He wasn’t terribly scared of us. He wasn’t mean.

He was just…alone.  At the dump.

And it turns out — for me — when I see a mange-y pup at the dump, I pick it up and put it in my car.

When I did that, Alice cried literal tears of joy.  She’s been begging for a puppy for a year, and the fact that I picked up this gross-looking one from the trash didn’t matter to her.  To her, it was a puppy!  And it was ours!

I told the kids not to get attached, because we didn’t know how bad off he was, or what his deal was.  And that all I could truly promise them was that we would make sure he was safe and taken care of.

They said okay.

And then they named him Finn.

And instead of stopping at our planned Macon hike, we just drove him straight to the UGA Emergency Vet Clinic, where they told us he was okay for us to take home and take to our vet the next morning when they opened.

So Kevin set him up in our shed that night, in a comfy dog bed, next to a space heater.

He was scared.  And he wouldn’t eat the food we set out for him.  But he stayed there in that bed all night.

And on Monday morning, Kevin took him straight to our vet.

And our vet had a bunch of UGA veterinary students there, who were ecstatic to see this rescued dog.

And here’s why:

He’s 8 months old.  The only issue he has is the mange, and it’s the non-contagious kind.  He has no heartworm, or any other issue.  He has a wonky leg, but because it doesn’t seem to bother him, they aren’t concerned.  They think he’s a dachshund-jack russell mix.  He’s 11 pounds.  He’s the sweetest dog in the word.  They said this is a dog that needed to be rescued.

We’re gonna keep him.

So for now, we give him special baths every other day, and he gets medicine two times a day for the mange.  We already think he’s cute, but we can’t wait to see how adorable he will be when he’s all fixed up!

In the meantime, life this week has been…pretty awesome.

Huck has been WAY better than I expected, and has been great with him.  We have them both sleep in the sunroom at night, and we think Finn likes that Huck is out there with him.  Huck is annoyed that Finn exists, but he also obviously takes care of him.  We think Huck is the grumpy old man that doesn’t want to admit he secretly likes Finn.

Alice adores Finn.  She has written him notes, drawn him pictures, and plays Barbies next to him so he can see her.

Tom LOVES Finn.  He has always wanted a dog that would truly play with him, and watching Finn come out of his shell with Tom has been the best!  They play, they chase, they do pretty much everything together.  It’s the cutest thing ever.

And Finn?  Well, he started off not eating or leaving his bed.  He started off with his tail tucked between his legs, and shaking in fear.

And in these few short days, he has just…blossomed!

He’s eating his puppy food.  He has found different sleep spots.  He’s good about going potty outside.  He’s conquered some of our short steps around here.  He’s been on a walk on a leash.

He plays!  He wags his tail!  He’s learning his name!

It’s just all so very…great.

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Finn.

We love this little dump dog.  And we’re so glad he found us.

The first day we had him.


With his favorite toy.

Love notes.

Reading to him.

He clearly has a death wish. (That’s Huck’s chair!)




Posted in Alice, Family, Finn, Huck, Kevin, Tom | 4 Comments

Tom’s 8th Dinosaur-Themed Birthday Party!


Tom’s 8th dinosaur-themed birthday party was so much fun!  Tom had the very best day, and he was so happy that so many of his family and friends were able to come.

Now that Tom is getting older, he definitely helps contribute ideas to his parties.  It was his idea that we have a dinosaur egg hunt, so we got Easter eggs and put mini dinosaurs in them to hide in the backyard. But when Tom saw them, he said, “Where’s the red on the inside of the eggs?  Eggs have all that red goo inside when the baby dinosaurs hatch.  You know, like in Jurassic Park!”  Ha!  So…I didn’t add goo, but I did paint the insides of the eggs red, and he was happy with that.

We also did a dinosaur scavenger hunt that everyone did together — collecting little clothes pins at each stop to clip on the backs of their paper stegosauruses.

But the kids just mostly played — they just loved being together.

We all had a wonderful time.  And then when it was all over, I realized I’d never served the ice cream!  Or the cheese ball for the adults!  And I totally forgot to give the kids their “binoculars” during the egg hunt!  I swear, I have no brain anymore. Ha!

We LOVE our big 8-year-old so very much, and we’re so happy everyone made the day so special for him.  Happy Birthday, Thomasaurus Rex!



Tom helped decorate!  He did such a great job!


Alice decorated the cake for me!  She had a full-coverage sprinkle plan, but ran out of sprinkles. Isn’t it adorable?!













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Tom’s Most Hilarious 7-Year-Old Quotes.


Every year, I do my best to quickly write down every funny thing my kids say — and this year was no different!  With Tom turning EIGHT on Monday, it’s time to compile all the hysterical things he said in his 7-year-old life — at least, all the stuff I could get down.

Oh my goodness, 7-year-old Tom has cracked me up! His mind is working all the time, and even though he got an untrained Mama (you’ll see what I mean), I think he’s turning out pretty great.

Without further ado, I give you…Tom at seven!

1. Feb. 11, 2017
Tom: “Dad is so classic right now.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Tom: “Classic means old.”

2. Feb. 16, 2017
Tom: “Guess where I got the idea!”
Me: “Where?”
Tom: “From my MIND.”

3. March 21, 2017
(discussing recess at school)
Tom: “He used to be my friend, but now he’s my archenemy because he betrayed me.”
Me: “Oh yeah?  What’s his name?”
Tom: “I forgot.”

4. May 19, 2017
“When you die, I’ll have a party for your birthday so your ghost can come. I’ll write my address down and leave it on your grave.” –Tom

5. June 9, 2017
Me: “Hey, you haven’t been bringing home your dirty socks from camp.”
Tom: “Yes I have! They’re in that pocket in my lunchbox.” #eww

6. July 8, 2017
Rachel: “Do you have on new undies?”
Gus: “Yeah, Tom had to use the others as a barrier when we flooded the bathroom.”
Both of us: “What?!?”

7. September 17, 2017
(Kevin has been on a trip for 5 days.)
Tom: “I miss Daddy. He’s been gone so long, I’m starting to forget him!” #5days

8. November 30, 2017
Tom: “I have a crush on Emmy. Don’t tell her.”
Me: “I won’t.”
Alice: “I will!”
Tom: “No, Alice!  That’s breaking God’s rule!” #thoushallnotconfesscrushes

9. December 6, 2017
Me (getting sentimental): “I love you, Tom. My first baby.  I didn’t even know anything about being a mom when I had you!”
Tom (seriously): “You should’ve trained.”

10. December 7, 2017
Tom: “Do you know what the real meaning of Christmas is?”
Gus: “Baby Jesus.”
Tom: “No. It’s caring.”
Rachel: “It’s caring?”
Tom: “Pretty sure…”

11. December 19, 2017
Tom: “Sometimes when I hear a bad word, I feel like I just need to say it out loud to get it out of my head.” #crap

For more of Tom, here are his 4-year-old quotes, his 5-year-old quotes, and his 6-year-old quotes!


Posted in Birthdays, Family, Motherhood, Quotes, Tom | Leave a comment

100 Hikes.

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New year, new goals!

Leading up to the new year, I kept trying to come up with a family outdoor-related goal, much like we did in 2015 when we visited a different Georgia State Park every month.  I had a  lot of ideas, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t quite muster up the enthusiasm I had for that 2015 goal.  (And 2015 was SO good!  I wanted something equally as good!)

Then my sister, Rachel, said she was going to try to do 100 hikes with her kids this year.   And that was it!  That was exactly the right thing!  It would be awesome, because we’d be doing a lot of them together (just because, that’s what we already do), and I was really excited about it because we’ve recently moved to a new area, and it’ll be fun to explore what’s around here.

I love having goals like this, because even though we get out a lot, having a goal makes me get out when sometimes I wouldn’t.

I’m pretty excited.  You guys already know that I’m a nut for Instagram and it’s my social media channel of choice, so I’ll be documenting there, but I’m also planning to document here, too.

My (completely made-up) rules are:

  1. Both my kids have to be there, but Kevin doesn’t.  I’m hoping he’ll be there for a lot of them, but his work/travel schedules are such that it’s not possible for him to be there for all of them.
  2. We can repeat hikes, but I’ll be making an effort not to.  I’m saying this because my kids go to school, and sometimes we may have to repeat nearby hikes, or we may just want to check one out again in a different season.
  3. Pics or it didn’t happen.

So that’s all I’ve got so far, but I think that’s all I’ll need!

This week we did hike #1 with Rachel and her kids, and it was great!  Seriously, if they all go this way, we’re in for a stellar year.

We hiked the Birchmore Trail at Memorial Park here in Athens, and we all just had the best time.  And Rachel and I made it more exciting by just guessing where the trail would lead us. (We guessed right, so yay!)

This hike wasn’t very long (1.25 mi), easy for our kids to do, had lots of things to look at, and had the bonus at being at Memorial Park, which is pretty much the best park.

The trail winds by a huge stone wall at one point, and it was beautiful! (And I looked it up later, and it was built by Fred Birchmore while he was in his 70’s!  Geez, man!)

We saw four deer run just past us on this hike too!  I mean, they were close!  It was amazing.

We saw a hawk up close, Tom brought his backpack of dinosaurs and he and Gus set up an entire dino world in a creek, and Alice was like…a hiking beast!  I don’t know how to describe it!  She climbed every rock and tree she could find!  She always wanted to lead. She wanted to show the boys the best way to get out of the creek.

At one point, she was climbing around a rock, put her hand on a root and it broke, sending her crashing into the cold water.  Did she cry? No!  And then right after that, she plopped her entire foot into the water too, and then just went about exploring like nothing happened.  No complaining, nothing.

Hiking beast!  I’ve never been more proud. Ha!

It was definitely a great way to start our 2018 goal, and I’m so happy we discovered this nearby trail.  I’m exciting to see what we get to explore next!







Posted in 100 Hikes in 2018, Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Motherhood, Tom | Tagged , | 1 Comment



I just uploaded all the pictures for this Christmas recap — and oh. my. word!!

Apparently, I have a picture-taking addiction.

And a do-a-lot-at-Christmas addiction.

And a coffee addiction, but that’s not relevant here.

Christmas was awesome.  It was our first Christmas living in Athens, and we truly had a really wonderful holiday.  We were able to avoid Atlanta holiday traffic, but still venture into the city to keep up some of our traditions!  And we got to add some new Athens-area traditions to our list too.

All in all, it was an awesome Christmas, and it looked a lot like this:


Visited Santa and rode the Pink Pig at Lenox Square, per our Atlanta traditions. And this time, Hazel got to join us!  Her favorite color is pink, so it was a big hit.  And the big man in red heard all about how Tom wanted dinosaurs, and Alice wanted a scooter this year.

We also…

Went to the Athens Children’s Parade for the first time, after eating at the most amazingly decorated Chick-fil-A EVER!


Built a car at the school Santa night, ran through the Christmas lights with friends, decorated our kids with Christmas lights, got a scare from the Grinch, decorated our house, and waited in line to ride on a train through the school!

We also…

Took the girls to see The Nutcracker, got a visit and breakfast from our elf, laughed our heads off at videos of people slipping on ice, posed in front of garage doors in our pretty dresses, and visited the Georgia Museum of Art on their Family Christmas day!


Decorated Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house!

We also…

Went fishing in our Christmas jammies, trained beluga whales, hid in gigantic ornaments, felt small, and loved on a giant Christmas tree.


Hosted a class Christmas party for Alice, and hosted a Polar Express movie night at home — on the same day (!!) — which also happened to be a day that my van tire blew, and Kevin’s truck battery died. Whatever, man!  Party ALL DAY ANYWAY!

We also…

Went to the local Bear Hollow Zoo with friends to visit Santa in his workshop!


Celebrated Christmas with my parents and my sister’s family, celebrated with Kevin’s parents and his brother’s family, celebrated with my extended family and all of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side, and managed to look at neighborhood Christmas lights, too!

Then we…

Got ready for Santa, and woke up super early…

To see that…SANTA CAME!

And then we fell asleep.


Merry Christmas!

Posted in Alice, Family, Friends, Holidays, Kevin, Motherhood, Parties, Tom | Tagged | 1 Comment