snapshots from days past

If you find yourself in the position of needing an altar built, look no further than Annabelle. She erected an altar to the Lord on top of the hot tub and while it’s not your traditional design, it’s the thought that counts. The blue under the globes was supposed to be hands, a la He’s got the whole world in His hands. “Can you make the hands, Mom? Not to be rude or anything, but those hands don’t look good. You should try again.” The winter wonderland candle slightly masked the chlorine smell wafting up from the hot tub.

My real camera is not focusing and my phone camera is on the fritz so quality photos are few and far between right now. I haven’t gotten many good pictures lately but I love this one of AB’s face when the angel was falling off the tree. Fallen angel is a very 2020 theme but it’s not the look I was going for.

Of all the Christmas decor we own, AB’s favorites are elves and snowmen. She’s loved snowmen since she met them at her first Christmas. Gee, Sarah. I wish you’d take us on a trip down memory lane to AB’s first Christmas so we can admire her cuteness and cry into our Christmas pillows over how fast she’s grown. No need to ask me twice!
We have no less than 13 snowman statues of various designs lined up in a snowman parade in the living room. They take up a lot of room but someday she won’t care about them so let’s snowman it up.

My aunt sent her a cloth elf a few years ago that she loves and sleeps with nightly during the holidays. That same aunt sent her an actual Elf on the Shelf yesterday and sweet girl is thrilled. “I’m going to keep it forever and save it for my children.” His name is Kris Kringle but his close friends call him Candy Cane. He has elf training during the day and sleeps in a box by her bed at night.

Our church had an outdoor Christmas service on Sunday night. During precedented times it would have been held in the sanctuary, but they had to adjust and held it outside.

Part of me wanted to tear up because on top of everything else we can’t even have a normal candlelight service, but the other part of me thought it was special to see everyone gathering in the rain to celebrate Jesus. I was so caught up in Thoughts and Feelings that I missed Annabelle’s hair going in her candle during Silent Night. “Wow, Mom. God really protected me.” “Protected you from what? What are you talking about?” “My hair went into my candle but I put it out.” What a precious Christmas memory singed hair would have been.

partying in the garden

Of the three people who live in this house, two of us like to party it up and the third is not a party animal.

You’ll never guess who’s who.
Christopher’s birthday was on Thursday. AB and I had many whispered conversations about gifts and plans and whether or not we should buy him balloons from the dollar store. We didn’t buy the balloons but we did sing him a rousing birthday song written and composed by Sesame Lee. “Let’s have a paaarty. It’s your birthday. Let’s have a paaarty! It’s your birthday.” She has a real way with words.

I planned a birthday/family day for us yesterday. We almost had to call it off thanks to a raging headache but I pushed through. We haven’t had a family day in so long and I was afraid if we pushed it back any farther we’d risk the world shutting down again before we did something fun. There aren’t many options for day trips around here so we drove two hours away to a botanical garden. There is a grand total of three trees changing colors in our neighborhood. That’s not acceptable for my northern heart. I miss leaf peeping so much and every minute of the two-hour drive was worth it to see the trees.

The manager of the visitors center told us most of the outdoor gardens were closed because of the virus, but there were a few paths still open. There was a little stone chapel by one of the lakes and a man was inside playing the organ. We could hear it the entire time we walked around the lake and it was lovely.
The butterfly garden was the only indoor garden open. Annabelle so badly wanted to hold a butterfly. A little Boy Scout explained to her how to get one safely and even tried to give her the one he was holding which was very sweet, but she didn’t understand what was happening and the butterfly wasn’t interested so the handover was a slop.
We ended the day with Jason’s Deli, me taking a solo trip into Old Navy and this spectacular photo of my chins.

here a friend, there a friend

Everyone has been asking about my social life here so I thought it time for an update

Absolutely no one has asked but I don’t have much else to talk about right now so here we find ourselves.

I have but feels like a friend abundance and a friend rut which is a bit confusing. I know a decent amount of people but only REALLY KNOW a few. I have several girls I’m friendly with and enjoy being with when we’re together, but we aren’t close enough to see each other often. I have a few girls here that I love and we want to get together more, but due to work/homeschool/general life schedules, we seldom get to visit. This leaves me wishing for more friend time.

In our last few civilian moves, I came to the realization I couldn’t wait for the established people in the new town to reach out to me. I have to go WAY outside my comfort zone and make the first effort and eventually it might pay off.

A few years ago we switched AB from a preschool at one church to the church preschool across the street. It was a big decision but I finally did it. I didn’t want to hurt her teacher’s feelings but I assumed I’d never see her again so she’d forget about the swticharoo. Then we moved across the street from her and see her frequently so that plan backfired. All that to say, switching schools was one of the best things we’ve done. It’s in a first-place tie with moving from the frog and mold-infested house to our current mostly frog free house. I made myself start talking to some of the playground moms after school and over the past few years they’ve become wonderful friends. Sarah Beth invited us to church with them and now we go there every week. She is so funny which is vital to my friendships. Claire is exceptionally calm and has an immaculately decorated and spotless house which normally would make me feel bad about my baseboards, but she’s so sweet I don’t mind. They’ve both watched Annabelle for me and are always up for a playdate. Last month AB was doing an event at church with Sarah Beth’s daughter and the three of us hung out at the playground like old times. That’s how you know you like someone. You’re willing to be at a playground with their children when you’re own is elsewhere. They’re both homeschooling this year and since Annabelle is in public school we aren’t able to see them much these days. Annabelle’s new educational path has really put a damper on my social life. I met a new friend at the same church playground a few weeks ago and have only seen her once, but she texted me a Starbucks gift card when I had a doctor’s appointment which I thought was incredibly sweet. That playground is the gift that keeps giving.

My closest friend here moved to Japan a few months ago and I still haven’t forgiven the government for offering them a job with a paycheck and opportunities they couldn’t turn down. Without fail, every single time I was in public with Sarah, she ran into at least one person she knew. We could be literally anywhere in town and see someone she knew and have a conversation with them. It was never a nod at someone you are acquainted with as you go in opposite directions down the baking aisle meeting. It was a whole conversation and I loved it. I called her the mayor. She would have known what was going on at CVS this morning. The store was closed for the morning and group of men with gas masks were standing by the front door. One man was standing in a kiddie. The doors of the work vans were open and inside were stacks of large plastic bins. None of it made sense and I’m dying to know why the masks and the pool were both needed. Sarah would have known all the workers and their mothers.

I’ve made an increasing number of acquaintances/potential friends around town. I know Cathy at Publix who has knee issues. PJ, the receptionist at the doctor’s, is not on board with her 3yo daughter suddenly getting homework from daycare. The boy at Dunkin Donuts tells me how cold he is when the temperature dips below 80*. The girl at the other coffee shop and I bonded over a conversation about her hair. Mareka at the jewelry store complimented me on my eyelashes (“and I do eyelash extensions so I see a lot of eyelashes”) so obviously, she’s now my favorite person on the planet.

Maybe it’s good other Sarah moved to Japan. I could be the new Mayor Sarah in town.




a few highs and a few lows

We brought Annabelle to her own personal Disney World on Saturday- the electric hand dryers in the Home Depot bathroom.

She has never met a hand dryer she doesn’t love. Give her two at once and she’s in heaven.

Yesterday our church service was held outside. We’ve been back inside for several weeks, but it was a combined contemporary/traditional service and because of the stupid You Know What we couldn’t all be together inside. I wore jeans to church for the first time since March 23rd 2014, which was the Sunday before AB was born. I NEVER wear jeans to church but I thought the Lord wouldn’t mind, given that we were sitting in a parking lot surrounded by folding chairs. There was a family fall festival after church with inflatables and whatnot and Annabelle made it about 6 feet up the rock wall.
She felt like she had scaled Mount Everest. It reminded me of this scene from Frozen.
That evening we had new friends over. We’d only ever talked to them in Sunday school but they seemed to have good friend potential. I got up early to prepare the pot roast. I tried to seer it before I put it in the crockpot, but it was too big for the pan and I bent several utensils trying to turn it. Then I put it in the crockpot, turned it on low and walked away. An hour later, Christopher noticed that I hadn’t plugged in the crockpot.

As it turns out, cooking in Pioneer Woman pans does not make you Pioneer Woman herself.

sweating really adds to the autumnal mood

We sweat our way through the traditional pumpkin patch activities while wearing shorts and swatting away gnats. Such is life when you live in the swamp of south Georgia. It’s my third fall here and I’m still shocked when it’s 97* in October. That seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment.

This is the first year Sesame didn’t wear a smocked outfit to the patch and I envied all the moms with little girls in smocked pumpkin shirts. I did convince her to wear this fallish outfit I picked up at the consignment sale. I had my doubts that she’d like it, but I really sold it by talking up the horse on the front. It’s so fun! A horse face on your shirt! And tassels! And I will pay you $25 to wear it with a happy heart! We then paid for her to paint a pumpkin while wearing said outfit which seemed like a poor parenting decision, but it turned out fine.
We wandered through the sunflower patch instead of the corn maze. I have a deep moral objection to paying hard-earned money to purposely get lost in a field of dying corn.

Annabelle and I have come to the agreement that whenever she poses for pictures, she can do her kind of smile first then my kind of smile. I NEVER want her to think or feel that I am making negative remarks about her appearance, but I love it when her sweet little smile crinkles up her face. They’re both beautiful smiles, but this is an arrangement that’s worked well so far.


What a lovely family moment captured in time forever.

little parties

Everyone has been asking where I’ve been and what we’ve been up to and I’m here with a full report of all the exciting events in our lives.

Just kidding.

No one asked and nothing exciting has happened.

Over the weekend we went on a family trip to play mini-golf. AB’s golf stance has improved drastically since our golf game last year. Instead of looking like she’s play hockey, she looks like she’s playing croquet. It’s not a typical golf stance but at least croquet is a game with a ball so she’s getting closer.

She got multiple holes in one which I attribute to good genes. After all, I took one week of golf lessons 17 years ago and the PGA has been begging me to go on tour with them ever since.

A few years ago, Sesame was VERY into parties. We’d have multiple birthday parties for her stuffed animals and toys every week. She’s gotten back into the party scene lately and set herself up a party to attend while she ate her snack on the deck. It was close to suppertime so I said she could only have a small snack. I meant a small amount of food but she took it literally and set up a small in size party. She got out mini pretzels and we used tiny Solo cups. She set out eleven cups but there were only had 3 human guests. She still has an array of imaginary friends so I assume they were the other eight guests.

She painstakingly wrote out invitations that did not come with an English translation.
Even as someone who also struggles with spelling, it took me some work to decode the words.
Hello Daquana, (I) would like you to come here to (an) outside snack party.”

AB’s alter ego, Ella, is turning 7 on October 12th. She’s already planning how we’ll celebrate.