We recently bought a Vitamix.

Yeah! Smoothies, fresh juice, salsa, peanut butter, ice cream, soups, the list is endless right? I use it every day, and know we are getting our money’s worth out of it in the amount of fruits and veggies we now can consume.  I will say though, that it’s not as easy as the road show guy makes it look. I love the way he just tosses all kinds of stuff in there and out comes something amazing. When I get home though, and start throwing various flora into the machine, the results are not always positive. I can’t tell you how many smoothies I’ve tossed because no one will drink them, myself included.

“Too tart.”

“Too sweet.”

“Too watery.”

“Something bitter in there.”

“What IS this?!”

I know they give you a recipe book, but a lot of those recipes have something like 20 ingredients or just 1 ingredient that I never seem to have. Obviously, it’s been a learning process.

But today . . . . . .

Today, I made a 10.

A drink it all, lick out the glass 10.

A “where have you been all eight weeks that I’ve owned a Vitamix?” 10.

A “there’s no way this can be healthy” 10.

(And no, I didn’t add any alcohol!)


Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a TINY bit. Maybe you aren’t gonna go slap your momma after drinking it or anything, but it IS yummy. It’s especially yummy after so many mistakes and failures. So you wanna know what was in it? Of course you do! It’s actually not anything earth shattering, but I think for me it’s the consistency and sweetness that’s always been off, so the STATE of the fruits here is what made it work out. Here you go.

1 orange, peeled of course (taste it first, make sure it’s a good orange. Bland oranges make bland smoothies)

5-6 fresh strawberries

1/4 C fresh, peeled cucumber

1/4 C FROZEN watermelon

1/2 FROZEN banana

1/2 C apple juice (if you have the time, do fresh pressed in your vitamix and strain it, if not, you can use store bought-it’s only 1/2 a cup)

That’s it! Blend it up for 30-45 seconds and BAM! Yummers.  Makes one HUGE serving, for a carry around cup, or a 2-3 modest servings.

. . . . Nonsense (click the link, watch the annoying video)

This popped up in my Facebook feed and I just had to soapbox about it for a minute because that video annoys me on so many levels.

If you managed to steel yourself through the entire 2:07 of her bored, superior, and demanding rant, then you probably don’t even need me to tell you why it annoys me. It’s not just because I have a husband with an AWESOME beard and she’s stepping on those toes. I understand preferences, and if you are a woman who doesn’t like beards, I have nothing at all against you. It’s just her whole tone and attitude.

This video is a perfect example of the way women in our culture emasculate and disrespect men. With her controlling “i don’t care what you want, give me what I want,” attitude, and her mocking, “you’re a caveman if you have a beard,” assumptions, she’s probably looking for something like this or maybe this. Maybe she’s really close to her baby brother and wants a man boy that reminds her of him. I don’t know.   Don’t even get me started on the whole witholding posture of “if you want my kisses you have to do what I say.” Ugh. This whole thing is just classic modern American culture bullshit.

I love me some Andy with a beard. I didn’t always. When we were first married, he had a scruffy little “soul patch” and  we often disagreed over his itchy, stubbly facial hair. I remember different seasons of his early beardedness in which I suffered from “face rash” if we made out. LOL! There were times I asked him to shave it, and he did, but I came to realize that it was important to him. It was a choice he wanted to make for himself concerning his appearance. So I learned to live with it. Not because I’m some amazing, self sacrificing wife and not because I’m a door mat and he said “deal with it woman!” I learned to live with it because THAT’s WHAT YOU DO in relationships. You give sometimes. The only thing this woman gives is no room for a man to have any say about his own appearance. For her, and many young women in our culture, it’s her way only and he’s a neanderthal fool if he doesn’t step into her line. It’s just so sad. I kept wanting to yell at the screen, “Back off bitch and let him be a MAN!”

These days, Andy’s beard is one of my favorite things about his face. I don’t want to make my kind readers uncomfortable with TMI, but in regards to the video, I love the feel of his beard in my hands, on my face, and I LOVE kissing him with his beard. That’s part of the experience of being loved by my man. It’s comfortable and comforting and so much a part of him that I can’t imagine asking, much less TELLING him to change.

She can have her androgynous, pansy boys, but I doubt they’ll make her any less unpleasant, or any more satisfied.

PS. If you are a man with a clean shaven face, please know that I am not calling you or your other clean shaven brothers pansies or androgynous. I know many attractive, manly men who don’t have a stitch of hair on their face. That’s not the point. My commentary is about this woman’s attitude, and the attitudes of other women like her that are negatively affecting relationships and men in our culture.

What Happened?

Have you ever been in a place in your life when you’re sitting there asking yourself, “what happened?” Where did that come from? How did we get here? I’m sure you have. It’s probably pretty normal for us all to have seasons like that, but it’s just so confusing and depressing that I think people don’t always talk about it. Sometimes in those situations you can step back and if you’re looking closely you can see it–that moment, that decision, that choice that lead you to the place where you now stand dazed and at a loss. I know I’ve been there. That “ahaah” moment is humbling  and somewhat humiliating, but in a way comforting because it brings some illumination to where you are. Things start to make sense.

Sometimes though, there’s no trail to double back on, no big picture falling into place no matter what angle you try to look at it (because you just aren’t big enough and can’t step back far enough to see it), and you’re just confused. Why did things change? Why did we go back to a place we’d thought we’d left far behind? During all of this you keep repeating the truths you know about God owning this situation and having your good in mind, trying to trust, trying to have faith.


You’re begging for faith, begging for guidance.



And obviously, when I say “you” I mean me and that’s where I am. I think that’s kind of an explanation as to where I’ve been, because I just haven’t felt like writing, haven’t felt like counting gifts or posting memories, haven’t felt creative or expressive, just mopey and confused, and sometimes a little angry. Trying to figure out what to do when a season of guidance, grace, direction and pursuit ends and it seems there’s nothing left. What was all that if not lasting? What was it for if not for growth?

I love November. I love the weather, the warmer clothes, the leaves, the anticipation of our yearly trip to Mamaw’s, and I love being reminded everywhere I look to be thankful for all the things we take for granted. Being a blogger (albeit, an inconsistent one), I was eager to join the ranks of all my other blogging, instagramming, pinning, flickring friends and post pictures of my thanksgiving advent tree. Us crafty types take pride in our creative, usually all-natural ways of inspiring our children to act out gratefulness during this season. Verses learned, goodies baked, moments remembered, simple acts of kindness, all done by little angelic faces and hands, make perfect blog fodder in this season of thanksgiving.

I mean really . . . .


Melt your heart, right? Moments like this make you say, “ah, that’s why we had kids!”

So naturally, I’ve been attempting to fashion moments where the gratefulness in their little hearts can pour right out.

Well, there isn’t any.

Today was day four and not once have we had an advent tree activity that hasn’t involved, whining, arguing, crying, complaining or pouting. Yesterday’s was so bad, we didn’t do it. We were supposed to do something nice for daddy to show how thankful we are for him. We couldn’t settle on something and we didn’t have a TON of time, so I suggested we drag the trash can back up from the curb for him because he always does that. It’s a tiny little thing, but when he sees it done, he’ll feel special, etc. Nothing doing. They weren’t going to buy it and thought that it was a “lame,” “not very good,” “how the heck is that thankful?” idea. How the heck indeed. After many long, exasperated moments, I guilted them into doing it, but every inch of the way was riddled with complaints and grunts and groans of difficulty and dissent. It didn’t end well. I sort of got mad and told them to forget it and get in the house while I not so patiently dragged the trash can up the drive, stormed into the house and declared that clearly no one was really thankful for daddy and some other guilt inducing, law infused, grace bereft remarks that ended with everyone in a crying heap.


Maybe my advent tree is broken.

Honestly, ever since I read Ann’s book last year, I’ve seen so much more clearly the lack of thankfulness in my home both in myself and in my children. I did my 1000 gifts and went through this really great season of genuine gratitude, but once the rush of all that died down, it’s been so hard to get that momentum back. There’s ungratefulness everywhere and I know that I can only teach it to my children by demonstrating it in my own life, but it seems the harder I try to do it, the more I fail at it. It’s so discouraging to be trying to teach thankfulness and end up angry (clearly, unthankful myself). How confusing it must be for them to see me flounder so much in this area. I don’t know how to get out of it. I can’t just generate thankfulness in this broken heart.

On a lighter note, I really am thankful in this moment that the Thanksgiving advent tree is still standing (even though Gillian suggested tossing it out the window). Tomorrow’s another day.


. . . at least for one of them. The late Mr. Mouse sneaks out of hole, sniffs trap and walks around, goes into oven drawer and starts munching on an acorn that he somehow snuck in there.  Having seen him run scared from this drawer straight into aforementioned hole earlier this very evening, I maneuver a trap to fill the space in front of the hole he just came out of. He will NOT get through without snapping this trap–no way.  Then I quietly position another trap in front of secondary escape route, throughout which time he continues to brazenly chow down in my oven drawer.  Suddenly, I open oven drawer very fast. He runs full speed for the safety of his hole (only about 6-8 inches from the oven) and gets his leg caught in my oh-so-cleverly-placed trap. SNAP!


He doesn’t die!!!

Stalwartly, he fights for survival, trying to pull the trap with him through the hole. Afraid he’ll wriggle his little foot out of the trap and get away, I have no choice but to grab the trap by the little metal latch thingy (the point furthest from the mouse) as he continues to run, positioning himself dangerously close to the other trap. I wasn’t TRYING to torture him, but I certainly didn’t want to WATCH him get killed by the other trap. I tried to pull him backwards, thinking that if I could get him out to the big trash can, and with the trash running tomorrow, he might survive the night in there and  he could take his chances at the dump. Yes, that’s the humane thing to do. That is what I will do!

Or not.

As I begin to pull him away, he darts forward into second trap and gets it right between the eyes.


Thankfully, there was no blood. It really was a fast paced drama over here for a few minutes (seconds). My heart was completely racing, my emotions conflicted between revulsion and sympathy for the cute little guy who has found the ultimate repose in my trash can. Alas, the traps are re-set–this time with cookie butter.

P.S. I took a picture because one mouse in two traps looked so crazy, but I figured that was a little morbid, or maybe against some unspoken blog rule, like not posting pictures of poo. So no picture.

10 Years Ago . . .


. . . we were younger, thinner, had way more energy, and I can’t even go into how our hair has changed. We wandered around the then Reedy River Park with our friend Chris and took a few photos to commemorate our engagement. Fast forward ten years, three kids, the house, the job, the mini-van, yaddy yadda, and we found ourselves once again in the same (barely) park, commemorating our togetherness. It was such an interesting project, trying to recreate the energy (did I mention that we had more energy back then? Sheesh!), the DRAMA, the anticipation, the “oh, don’t you wish you had a love like us”-ness of our engagement. I look at those two crazy in love kids and think about all the things they’ve got ahead. So many memories I’d love to re-live, and so many I wish they never had to go through. I think back on choices, think back on places and people that will cross those paths. I get a little melancholy.


I’m a nostalgic person by nature, dwelling more on the past, painting it up all nice and then looking at the future with a weird combo of idealism and fear, often having to remind myself that this moment is what is important. Living in the moment isn’t my strong suit. When I first saw these comparisons, I have to admit that I struggled a little. It’s easy to see what’s lost (or gained I might say in both our cases!) It’s easy to long for certain parts of the past that we’ll never have again. Do any of you get all mopey sentimental like that? That also happens when I go on a college campus. I get all reminiscent about my younger days as if they were so great. Why do that? Where’s my living in the moment?





Then I saw the “out takes,” the shots taken when weren’t trying to be melodramatic, desperate-in-love twenty year olds again (which, I must add for the sake of my younger friends, there’s not a thing in the world wrong with being melodramatic, desperate in love and twenty all at the same time, so you go right on with your far off looks, retro filtered photos and vintage threads. I am with you!)

Anyway, it’s in the “oops! I wasn’t ready!” shots that I see it.



There’s my moment.


There’s my right now.

There’s my breath catching, tearing up “wow, honey, can you believe all that God has brought us through and yet here we are with our arms around each other in this old park, still working through each day together? Isn’t God amazingly kind to us?”

What a happy anniversary it turned out to be! 

Oh, I guess I already posted this one. Well, we weren’t pretending in this one!


That’s me. Seriously. The worst.  My son is at that stage where kids are losing teeth right and left. Blood stains all over the house, his face looks different every time you see him and there never seem to be enough dollar bills at my disposal. Half the time I forget there’s even a tooth waiting for me under the pillow, so the next morning he comes out with this sad little face and a pitiful lonely tooth in his hand rather than the dollar he was expecting (and what’s up with that!? I got a quarter! Stinking inflation!)

The first time I forgot about his tooth I completely screwed myself too because I told him that the tooth fairy was just on vacation and it was okay because you get double when she doesn’t show up. I said this of course assuming that I would get my act together and remember from now own. He has now gotten paid double for four teeth and has more spending money than I do!

The other day he yanked one out at church (not at all distracting the people sitting behind us). Somewhere between there and home he lost it. I told him it was tough luck and that the tooth fairy had to have something substantial to trade. He put this note under his pillow that says,

Dear Tooth Fairy

I lost my tooth at church. I hope you can still give me a little treat.

Love, Liam

How sweet is that?! How could I say no to that?! So I made a deal with him. I told him the tooth fairy could give half in exchange for the note. He gladly accepted, telling me that since the tooth fairy was two days late he would get half times three, giving him $1.50 for his note. I feel so swindled.

He knows it’s me too. He doesn’t believe at all that there’s a fairy who comes at night and swaps out his nasty old tooth for cash. He just blandly goes along with it, humoring me in this condescending way that only a seven–almost eight–year-old can have. I know this because he’ll say something like, “hey mom, you forgot again–oh, I mean, the tooth fairy forgot again. Too bad for her she has to pay double!” What was I thinking!? I wasn’t thinking–I was surviving, and sometimes the survival instinct misses the little details that get you in the end.

The Boys’ Room

Well I “finished” this project a couple of months ago, but I  put off this post because there were a few tiny details I wanted to get to first. What do you know, but life just keeps happening on me and I’m not getting to them, so I’m just gonna post what I’ve got and have to be happy with it.

Liam came up with the color scheme for the most part. He loves Clemson and sort of wanted that, but I didn’t want to do a sports room, so I told him he could have the orange and we would pick another color to go with it. This blue is what he chose. He picked out the curtains too. My always handy, ever so talented brother in law built the bed/cave. He and Andy laid down the new floors (LOVING my new floors! So THANKFUL for my new floors!!!). I’d like to make the boys a rug like Gilly’s if I can find the material and want to get a couple of orange bean bags for the cave. There are plans for monkey bars under the bed at some point and more painting to be done on the walls of the cave hopefully.

Right now I’m having a love/hate relationship with the room because every time I go in there I have to clean guinea pig mess off of the floor. Apparently well adjusted guinea pigs do this hopping thing called “popcorning,” which means they’re happy, sending hay and bedding and poo all over the place. I’m glad they’re happy, really I am, but I wish they’d keep their happiness in the stinking cage. (I think I just hijacked my own post. sorry.)

Picture time!

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Mom, I Want A Dog

Over and over. The begging, the hinting, the bargaining, the reasoning. Not gonna happen. I’m not a dog person. I like dogs. I love to pet them and cuddle them. I like it when they lick my hand. I’m fond of the wagging tail, but that’s about it. It’s not even that I so much dislike all the other things about dogs, it’s just that the like isn’t strong enough to make up for all the extra work having a dog would create for me. So, sorry pups, no dog.

We’d get a cat if we could. We LOVE cats. Andy and Liam are allergic to cats. Boo.

So a few weeks ago on a hike, the boys caught a bunch of frogs. Liam staked a claim on one of them but I wouldn’t let him bring it home because we had nothing to put it in. Thus we found ourselves at PetSmart looking for amphibian habitats. I still wasn’t liking the idea of a pet, but Ando didn’t want me to just get them a little vented plastic box wherein the frog would probably die after about a week. Long story short, we didn’t come out of PetSmart with an amphibian habitat, or an amphibian at all. Instead, we came home with this:


     and this    

This is Alice.                                                                   This is Ariel.


It only took a week for me to regret it. At least they aren’t asking me for a dog anymore.






Longest. Hike. Ever.

Okay, so not really, but for someone who’s been slacking off on her fitness routine the past few months, this hike totally kicked my butt. It was something like 2.5 miles.  I know, I’m a wuss. I DID have Eliot strapped to my back the whole time, but that doesn’t really exempt me from wimpy status, does it? There were 5 moms, 19 kidlets, 4 frogs, a zillion lizards, 2 kids who couldn’t hold it and had to poop in the woods, 1 scary she-man who passed us on a bike, 1 cotton mouth–oh, wait, no, his eyes weren’t “slanty,” maybe it was just a water snake, and ZERO (amazingly) serious injuries in 3.5 hours. It was AWESOME. When we reached the end Liam asked if we could go again. The moms all but screamed NO! Did I mention that the oldest of those 19 kids was 8? We must be crazy.  Anyway, here are the pics. Good times. Beautiful day. God sure makes pretty stuff.

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