Monday, May 31, 2010

Beach Time

The girls sliding down together

Charlotte - loving life - she thoroughly enjoyed that slide and didn't hesitate once.

My mom and Douglass Charles soaking up the rays. He wasn't so thrilled about the water and made sure I was always close by.

The girls attempting to take a nap - yeah right. It never happened. :)

Happy Memorial Day and a big shout out to all of our service men and women who serve and have served our great country. Thanks to you and your family's hard work and sacrifice we can continue to enjoy the freedoms of this wonderful place we call home.

Also, I don't know what screams more to me on Memorial Day weekend than the beach and while this trip transpired a few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to share today.

My brother, Owen, and his wife, Mary Catherine, just purchased a condo down in Orange Beach and we took a day and went down to visit, play, and see their new place. Unfortunately, I didn't get one picture of their place (except the naptime photo) - which was lovely - but I got pictures of the kids playing at the resort where we went to swim. Who needs the actual beach when you can go to a swimming pool where you can wade in and there are slides?

The kids had a wonderful time and my mom was quite the trooper to help me throughout the events of the day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Two Peas In a Pod

My mother always says that she needs a vacation from her vacation and boy have I felt that way this week. The groceries, laundry, catching up on orders and work, getting the kids back on some kind of schedule, establishing our routine. Ah, I am worn out, but I couldn't let the week get by without at least getting one group of pictures up from our trip.

Charlotte and Adeline were two peas in a pod the whole time we were together and those girls seriously love one another - with an occasional fight or two. Come on, they are two after all. Mary Catherine and I dressed them up in the matching tulip outfits I made them and carted the girls and Douglass Charles off to do a little shopping. The girls definitely got a lot of comments and we had to explain on several occasions that they were not twins or sisters, but cousins.

We had such a blast with them and the rest of our family - so much so that Charlotte keeps requesting various family members and to return to her Nannah's house. If only...

So Happy Friday and Happy long weekend. I will be back next week with more pictures and guess what - an anniversary celebration. Yes, June 1st, The English Pea turns 1 so stay tuned for the festivities.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Back

I am back! Pictures are still in the camera and stories still need to be written out and told, but my trip near the Gulf Coast line got me into a very seaside/nautical state of mind - Oh, how I love summer! So, enjoy these little sea creatures. You can find them here. Happy Monday!

Friday, May 14, 2010

{bedtime play}

We are off to enjoy PGA golf, my inlaws, and my hometown with my mom. I couldn't leave you, though, without something fun so here is our bedtime play - which occurs most evenings right after baths and right before brushing teeth (fyi... happens between 7:30 and 7:50 if you ever want to stop by for some fun. Just kidding). So here is a play by play. Enjoy and I will have lots to post when we get back!

They normally start off with the slide and Douglass Charles insists Charlotte help him down.

Then it is off to the tent to play peek-a-boo.

Charlotte normally hangs in the tent for a while enjoying some toy she finds in there, while Douglass Charles grows bored and starts throwing a ball.

Then it is back to the slide again - static hair and all.

Bedtime play wouldn't be complete without at least one meltdown or fight breaking out - thus Douglass Charles sitting atop the slide obviously upset about who knows what.

And lest you think Doug and I are nowhere to be found, we are usually sitting right there watching the whole thing unfold.

The children normally grow tired of their games so Charlotte normally seeks out something new - this night she opted for funning around with Daddy.

Douglass Charles is always on her heals - and honestly, horsing around is "all she wrote" for a boy!

Wishing you happy play and evenings full of family fun. See you next week!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Atlanta Zoo

Looking at the giraffes

Charlotte is on the train here and other than the monkeys, it was her favorite thing - but you couldn't tell by looking at this face. :)

Douglass Charles looking out at something

Thomas chewing on the straps to the stroller

Charlotte looking out at the lion

Charlotte and Emma Grace enjoying the peanut butter and honey sandwiches Joy made them. They insisted on sitting by one another.

About two weeks ago we headed off to meet our friends, the Derrers', at the Atlanta Zoo. Joy is a friend of mine from way back and is from the area. Our lives somewhat parallell as we both have irish twins and our oldest are girls and youngest are boys. There are two differences between us though, her two are 11 months apart while mine are 15. She also is expecting baby girl #3 in August - giving her irish triplets.

We were so thrilled to catch up with them and enjoy a fun day. They have season passes, so we got to go for free (so nice and thanks for sharing, Joy!). They live about an hour away so we don't get to visit as much as we like, but we are sure to schedule our times together so we don't go too long without seeing one another. Her kiddos are just precious - Emma Grace and Thomas - and Joy is such a special friend.

Thanks, Derrers', for the invite, wonderful picnic lunch, and for the great company! We had a blast!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A few weeks back, after returning from my grandmothers, I was tired, irritable and it seemed I just couldn't shake it. I would find myself overly frustrated with the kids, angry about just about anything, and generally just unpleasant. I just had a feeling like I wanted to quit and if I didn't I would explode.

Since my 30th birthday and some "growing up" I did during that time in my life I have really become aware that I am in charge of these types of situations. Yes, leaning on God with things like this is important and necessary, but I must begin with acknowledgement and act on it first.

So... I decided to ask myself, "What (Alison) do YOU need to do to change the situation?" It is so easy to cast blame on everyone else and I believe it is the natural way to handle things, but that is exactly what it is - easy. The hard thing to do is take ownership and be proactive.

I began to pray. Had I changed something in my life? Why was I feeling this way? What do I need to change going forward to get back to the "old" me?

I realized two things: The first was that since daylight savings time I had been sleeping longer and forgoing my personal time before the kids got up - meaning prayer, quiet time, a little email and work in the quiet, and getting a shower and dressed by myself. Ahhh, now I know why I need som "me" time. I was giving that up to sleep - obviously the extra rest wasn't making things better. So, I changed this and saw a HUGE improvement in my mood.

Second was exercise. I have put this off and put this off. Partly because of the weather and partly because I didn't know when I would fit it in. So... I took a little Christmas money, headed to Target and purchased some new exercise clothes. Then I started walking the kids in the afternoon in their stroller (this is a tall task). I ultimately wanted to run, but it has been about 10 years since I have run on a regular basis and I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen.

One afternoon - after pushing my children around for two weeks in a stroller - I attempted to run by myself and was very surprised at how well I did and how much I LOVED the alone time - pushing myself, listening to music, having a few minutes to work out some of my frustrations.

So, I started getting up this last week before Doug goes to work to have my run. I have truly been amazed at how much better I feel. I also sleep better when I exercise - resulting in a happier me.

I am grateful - for my morning time, my run, and ultimately for God directing me that personal changes needed to be made to bring me a little sanity, and utlimately joy back into my life. I don't know about you, but I am guessing the hubs and my kiddos are pretty thankful for it too. :)

Here's to continuing to learn, grow, and figure out what truly makes us better and ultimately full of joy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Today is one of those days...

I opened the door today, struggling to get the groceries in, the kids waiting for me in the car to come and unbuckle them, to find a mess once again all over the floor. Moe had gotten into the trash again. I flew into a tizzy. Almost loosing it and feeling myself grow too frustrated for words. I yell at the dogs, force them out the back door, quickly attend to the mess and venture back to the garage. When I approach Charlotte's side she is crying, whining about who knows what. I unbuckle her and in a frustrated tone tell her to go inside. Then I approach Douglass Charles' side of the car and quickly remove him. I am not here, I am not present, I am just trying to keep it together.

You see today is one of those days that the outside world doesn't see - the kids not minding, the dog tearing into the trash, the tantrum that ensues from this mother. It is one of those days I don't want you to see. You know I get frustrated you are human after all, but I don't want you to believe that I loose my cool and today I did.

Today is one of those days where I cry out to God during naptime prayers and beg Him to help me and forgive me for being such a poor example. Today is one of those days I collapse into my unmade bed at naptime and seriously wonder if I will have enough energy to finish the day. Today is one of those days...

But in my effort to be a good mother, be a good friend, be a good example I realize, I put too much pressure on myself. What truly matters most... the laundry or reading books joyously before naptime, a clean floor or a few moments of play before lunch, a made bed or a few snuggles and tickles with my two precious little ones.

You see on days like today, I get off course because I fail to see the importance in tickles, bookreading, and the ever important play. I focus too much on ALL the tasks at hand and I loose it. May we all remember, on days like today, to set the tasks aside and refocus our attention on the bigger picture - like tickling, snuggling, and saying "I love you!"

{say thanks}

Schools almost out and Summer is almost here. Don't forget those special women and men who work so hard to care for and education your children. Say thanks with my personalized folded notecards for teachers. Just head on over here and receive a 10% discount on ALL teacher notecards through the end of the month.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

Got these gorgeous Calla Lilies from Doug on Friday (the main flower used in my bouquets when we were married).

A visit from my in-laws and their help.

An afternoon at the salon getting a very much needed haircut

A dinner with friends and family celebrating Doug's graduation

Chocolate cake

A lazy Sunday

An afternoon laying in bed, reading blogs, and watching guilty pleasure t.v.

A hamburger off the girl and an Ameretto Sour

A trip with Doug without kids sometime later this summer

Best of all - snuggles, hugs and kisses from my two little munchkins

An all around good Mother's Day. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

{my little blessings}

So thankful that these two little people call me mom. With all the chaos, dirty diapers, fights, and tears - nothing is better than their snuggles, kisses and their "I love yous!" Hoping your mother's day is a special one!

For Mom

So my mother asked all six of her children to forgo gifts this year for Mother's Day and send her a card - on time - with one of our favorite memories with her. Funny how most of us just want to remember, rather than receive gifts and I would imagine my mother - after nearly 32 years of being a mom - wants to remember more than anything now.

So, Mom, this is for you. Happy Mother's Day to the best mother who ever lived. I am so blessed that I am only one of six people on this whole planet that gets to call you "Mom."

My mother is a creative person, the only girl in her family, and the youngest with two older brothers. I think it quite ironic that she and my father had NO sisters, came from small families and wound up with five girls and one boy. Kind of funny how God gives us things we really know nothing about, but my mother was and is the best.

She is a small woman - 5 feet 2 inches - and every single one of us towers over her. I personally love it because I feel like we just get to love on her more. Don't think her short stature means that she is meek and mild, there is a spunky woman underneath that small exterior and a lady full of passion for her husband, her God, and absolutely for her children.

My mother is truly a saint. Not only did she deliver all six of us naturally, she homeschooled us, took us to every game, music practice (even an hour away), created with us, and she had someone in diapers for 17 years. She also was married to a very busy doctor and if you are writing off her woes because of my father's profession let me stop you here. In a small town doctors don't make as much money as the normal physician, their were 8 mouths to feed, and my father had to take call with the hospital on a regular basis - keeping him from ever having a 9-5 job. We also had no family around, so my mother heavily depended on her friends and our church for support.

I have many memories of my mother. Very sweet ones - like her nursing my younger siblings, her cooking spaghetti in the kitchen, fish sticks and tater totts when Dad was on call and not coming home, laying out in our backyard while we played in our little plastic pool, cooking cookies and cakes, and carpooling. Many of my memories are precious and I have never known what it was like to not be loved. Spoiled, no! Loved deeply, yes. I never questioned this from her (or my father for that matter).

My most precious memory, though, was at the age of six. You see my mother was only 33 at the time. She was putting me to bed and it was time for prayers. I was fearful that night - fearful of dying, fearful of what happens next. A lot, you might say, for a young mind, but I was just old enough to start recognizing that I would not live forever.

That night, when I explained my fears to my mother as she was tucking me in I realized I was afraid of hell. I wanted so to be good, but even at six I knew that I always messed up. I felt my mess ups might send me to hell. Crazy, you may ask? I was six, but in that fear my mother was able to explain to me about salvation and how my faith in Christ would insure that I would one day go to heaven. My mother presented her faith (which was only three years old at the time), asked me if I wanted to pray to ask Jesus into my life, and I followed her words as that evening I began my Christian journey. Even at six I knew I was changed.

So, Mom, thanks for the spaghetti, the fish sticks when Dad was gone, the cookie baking, diaper changing, and the overwhelming love you have always given me. But most importantly thank you for giving me the greatest gift I know - the doorway to my salvation.

Happy Mother's Day! I love you!

Your Eldest,

Friday, May 7, 2010

She's At it Again!

Seriously, I cannot get over how good these pictures are. You may remember my friend, Suzie - the one that took all the wonderful photos of Douglass Charles' first birthday. Well, she also happens to be BFF with Amy, Paxton's mother, and was there snapping away pictures of everyone at his birthday party - see below.

Suzie is also a beautiful redhead and she and my Charlotte have a special connection (and I ain't lyin' about that). These just turned out beautifully and she seems to just get better and better. My mother actually commented after seeing the photos that we were adopting her into the family and she was coming along with us on family vacation this summer. :)

So Suzie - thanks again for such beautiful work. These are stunning!

To check out her portfolio or to contact her for yourself just stop by here. Happy Friday and Happy Mother's Day to you all!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Douglass Charles LOVED the goats. He squealed and squealed over them.

Charlotte wore her hat for a good little while - I was surprised

Charlotte with Paxton's Grandpa feeding the goats - she wouldn't do it if Doug or I helped her.

Charlotte sitting with Paxton, the birthday boy, and Jayden. These two guys are her buddies.

Douglass Charles relishing in the goodness of the outdoors.

Charlotte and me (with Douglass Charles) in our matching outfits checking out the chickens.

The last Sunday of April we got to enjoy Paxton's birthday party. His parents threw quite the cowboy's hoe down at the Inn at Serenbe down in Palmetto, Georgia. The place was serene, beautiful, and quite frankly graceful.

Amy commissioned me to make custom invitations for their gig and I was more than happy to oblige - I will post on that later. But I was embarassed after creating and printing them that I did not realize where the location was. I went to google it and low and behold, it looked very familiar. The Inn at Serenbe was featured in Southern Living Magazine a few months back and I was so taken with the write up about it I went exploring on their website. You can imagine my excitement when I realized that we were going to get to experience it.

It truly is a beautiful place and they had horses, pigs, goats, and chickens for the children to pet and feed. After a hearty dinner of delicious BBQ made by Paxton's Dad, Brad, we all loaded up for a hay ride and got to explore the beauty of the farm some more.

We had a wonderful time and we enjoyed getting to share in Paxton's special day. Thanks, Amy and Brad, for including us in your wonderful and gracious festivities. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dress Making

A few weekends back I finished these matching dresses for Charlotte and me. If you remember I purchased this fabric over a month ago with the intent of making myself a dress. I was pleased with the turnout - even if it wound up being a tad short.

Needless to say, I was not prepared for the attention one gets when mother and daughter are dressed alike. Charlotte loves having a dress "like" Mommy's, but I can do without all the attention. It is fun, though, to share something together and I believe Charlotte felt just a little special that she got to be "just like Mommy."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Come On Ride That Train...

The Potty Train. I can just hear the beat in the background and we have been partying today as Charlotte has had several successes with going potty.

Some friends suggested trying going commando and since we don't have a crazy week I thought we would start this morning. We had a few accidents - which started when I gave in and let her wear panties - but she slowly started running to the potty to do both types of her business.

So... your prayers are appreciated as we continue down this journey. Funny thing is, her little brother is also wanting to sit on the potty like sister too. Mmmm... should I punish myself? Naaaa! I do sit him on it just for kicks, though. Wouldn't it be great if he could get it too. Now I am being unreasonable. :)

{YEAH for Charlotte!!! We are so PROUD that you went potty today - seven times already.}

Goats, Giraffes, and Peacocks, Oh My!

To say that the last few weeks have not been full of fun and exotic animals is an understatement. We have had the pleasure of being invited to two wonderful birthday parties involving animals and then to the zoo just last week. So... there will be more posts of animals coming soon.

This great farm is located in Cartersville and the party destination of Charlotte's friend, Jayden. Jayden's mom, Anna, does not live far from us at all and we meet up from time to time - pretty regularly, to be honest, to let our kids play. She has two boys - Jayden age three and Brody who is about to be a year. So our kids are pretty close in age.

The birthday party was so much fun as we got to feed the goats - Douglass Charles favorite, ride a pony - Charlotte's favorite, and take a tour of the farm on the hayride. It was better than being at the zoo because we were actually able to feed the camels. How cool is that.

Thanks, Jones' family, for the invitation and for sharing such a great experience with us!