Wednesday, July 12, 2017


It's July.  I have such a love hate relationship with this month.  It's Mason's birthday, Ellie's birthday, my wedding anniversary.  VBS.  

It's also what I consider to be the last month of summer.  Even though we homeschool, we keep a fairly traditional schedule with the first and last day because that works for me and helps me stay organized.  It also helps me stay motivated.  But it means that our first day is towards the beginning of August.  So once school starts back, summer, as we know it, is over.

In the meantime, it's hot.  So hot.  Like surface-of-the-sun hot.  So there's really only one place to be.  It's even hot in the pool now.  92 degrees.
But that doesn't stop them.  Or their jumping contests.

It's still raining, too.  I mean, it rains nearly everyday and has for at least two months.  I saw earlier this evening that we've had 45 inches of rain since January and nearly 14 inches during the month of June alone.  So it was on one of those rainy days that I took the kids to see a movie.  And this time, I took them for the very first time to the remodeled theater with the recliners.  Don't judge.  We always go to the "regular" movie theater because they didn't know the difference.  Well, not so anymore!  But this was hilarious!  I mean, I think Ellie played with her seat the entire movie!  She had more fun with her recliner than she did watching the movie!  And Mason thinks he's going to have one of these at his house!  Well, the secret is out now so I guess it's no more cheap theater seating for these three!
The other day I was cooking supper, and Ellie came in the kitchen and said, "Look, Mom.  I can write my name in cursive now."  I owe this to big sister.  Hannah Kate is my biggest helper!
All of the rain really did a number on my garden this year, but I still had a small harvest.  The squash and zucchini played out early.  And I'm finally picking a few eggplant now.  But that's all I have left.
My kitchen (and grilling) game has been strong this month, too.  My two favorite meals of late (although the chicken burgers with Carolina sauce and ancho chili slaw we had last night had me wanting more!) were the blackened redfish with pineapple relish, coconut ginger rice (even the kids loved it!), caribbean black beans and mango and jicama salad with cilantro vinaigrette.  Yes!!  So. good!!!  Now, there was a lot of prep work involved in this meal, but it was totally worth it.  Just not something I can do every night . . . 
. . . and then the fish tacos (which are a regular staple around here) and grilled Mexican street corn. 
It was on this same day in July 12 years ago that I hardly slept a wink and then had to be up and ready to go at 3:00AM . . .

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Georgia: A Quick Trip

A couple of weeks ago, we squeezed in a quick trip to Georgia.  Ever since Pop took us out in the boat three years ago, Mason has begged and begged and begged to go back.  So I promised him earlier this year that we would really try to make it happen this summer.  And he never forgot my promise.

When are we going to the lake?  Did you talk to Pop yet?  Did you ask Pop if we can go skiing?  When are we going to the lake again in Pop's boat?

Mason knew I'd call Pop on Father's Day.

Mama, when are you calling Pop?  Can you ask him if we can go skiing?  Mama, have you called Pop yet?  Mom, be sure you ask Pop about going skiing.  Mom, what did Pop say?  When are we going skiing in Pop's boat, Mama?

Enough already.  Let's go skiing!
Looking back, so much has changed!  I didn't realize I took almost the same picture of Mason both trips.

And Hannah Kate, too.  She's still wearing that same life jacket, but not for long.

Before we went to the lake, we spent the day with my bestie and her kids.  This totally cracks me up.  I mean, the Bayham kids and the Appling kids are obviously very segregated in this pic!  They acted like they didn't even know each other at first!  But it had been three years since we got them all together.
But by the time we finished Sky Zone and headed to the mall, they were all like this (never mind the Lego store guy in the background doing bunny ears on the girls):
So, back to the lake.  It was very overcast, and there was about a three hour window where we were able to dodge storms.  It worked out perfectly.  We had this little corner of the lake all to ourselves.
Ellie was so funny.  The last time we went, she sat in Mimi's lap the whole time.  She refused to even get in the water.  But she was only 22 months old at the time.  Mason and Hannah Kate had been reminding her over and over again that all she did was sit in Mimi's lap.  So Ellie kept saying, "When we go to the lake, I'm just going to sit in Mimi's lap like I did last time.  Okay, Mom?"  I really didn't know what to expect.  I never do with her.  So I was pleasantly surprised when she picked out "her seat" and actually sat by herself while we were driving.
I mean, this was the last time around.  The only thing that's the same is that Dora life jacket!
And then she really surprised me and jumped off into the water!

All Mason wanted to do was the tube so the girls took their seats up front.
This kid had waited on this moment for over three years!  He was pretty pumped!

Last time we went, Hannah Kate rode the tube, and she even tried to ski.  But this time she was very cautious.  She rode the tube but only if Mason rode with her.  And, of course, he was more than willing!
Our goal was to get Mason up on skis this time.  And he did!  He got up all three times and went about 750 feet the longest of those times.  He just needed to work on his balance.  I truly believe he would've nailed it had we had time to get up him again.  But all he wanted to do was tube, and we didn't have time to get the skis out again before we left because a storm came up.  I had mechanical difficulties and couldn't cheer for him and take a pic or video at the same time.  So this is all I have of him in skis.  Pop was out there with him giving him instructions.
And then there was more of this.  They only got off because I told them they had to.  Well, that was that time Hannah Kate got thrown off, too!  I could tell she wasn't exactly a fan, but she got over it real quick.
I'm not even sure how this happened, but we finally convinced Ellie to ride the tube with me.  It was slow going at first.  Super slow.  But she finally admitted that it's more fun the faster you go.  I honestly think she would've stayed here all day!
That day at the lake was like reliving my childhood.  We were at the lake every Saturday my dad didn't have to work.  And we'd go in the middle of the week if he worked weekends.  He dragged my brother and I all over that lake all summer long.  We'd also spend a week each summer at a cabin on Lake Burton in the north Georgia mountains.  That was my favorite!

The other obvious "bucket list" item for this trip was a visit to the peach orchard. 

I promptly made a peach cobbler and my annual July 4th from-scratch peach pie.