Friday, September 25, 2009

Handsome Little Feller...

Annabelle was in her car seat carrier sitting in the big part of a buggy the other day at the store when we met another shopper head on coming down the same isle. This "other shopper" was an older lady and she smiled and questioned if we could fit by one another. I smiled and said, "we'd give it a try"... As we squeezed our cart by, she looked down in the buggy and said, "Oh! Aren't you a handsome little feller!" Annabelle, who doesn't quite understand that the word "feller or fella" is another word for "BOY," just smiled her signature smile at the sweet lady while I thanked the lady. And everyone wonders WHY I keep a hairbow in her hair!!! ha...

In the lady's defense, AB was wearing jeans and a white shirt, and she had taken her hairbow out and was chewing on it.

One thing her Momma is sure of....
Precious, beautiful, adorable, cute, or handsome, whatever you want to call it, she's it!
Happy Friday!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Sunny Days...

.... Sweepin' the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet... can you show me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?!?!?"
I remember seeing Sesame Street Live for the first time like it was yesterday. I was a big kindergartener, and I had gotten to take my first official bus ride on my very first field trip!
I remember how huge the O'Connell center seemed and exactly what we ate for snack during intermission... Oatmeal Cream pies... But this post isn't about MY first Sesame Street Live... No sir, No Ma'am... Someone way more important than me got to see the furry crew on the big stage!!!
Tuesday night, we met up with Adam, Carrie & Allie to head to the show. We stopped at Chick-fil-A for some quick dinner before.... Look who FINALLY got her picture with the cow! The pics aren't the greatest...wish the lighting had been better, I don't know what was up with the camera....(probably the person taking the picture!)

She LOVED the big cow!!! I am thinking a Disney trip should be in her near future!!!

We got to the O'Connell center and got the girls dressed in their matching outfits. Of course they had to dress the part, and wear something with Elmo on it... and while I'm not the biggest fan of character clothes, how can you go see Sesame Street live without wearing something with one of them on it?!?!? Of course I am partial, but they were TOO CUTE!!!!

And these are this year's nominees for "Daddy of the Year"...

Annabelle & her Daddy

yep, not only did they treat their girls to 5th row tickets, but they WENT with them!!!

They couldn't miss this big first, but I think next year they might suggest Carrie & I take the girls to the morning show... (it got a little LONG last night....)
We got to our seats and within minutes the show began...

At first, the girls weren't really sure about the loud songs and dancing, furry (friendly) monsters... But after the first song or two they got into it....Annabelle was mesmerized.... her face was so cute.... she clapped,danced and watched with the sweetest surprised look in her eyes.... She also watched the shadows on the wall to the left of our seats.

Allie watched intently, trying her best to learn the dance moves...
because she was ready to break it down....
During Intermission, we got up to stretch our legs and take a few pics...

Do yall know how hard it is to take a 9 and 11 month old's picture, and get them BOTH looking at the camera and smiling? Well, in normal circumstances it's almost impossible. But add hundreds of people, lots of little kids running around, music, and a man holding 85 giant-sized, over-priced Elmo balloons and you aren't getting EITHER of them to look at the camera!!!
First, the Mommas tried holding them:

Then later, the Daddies:

The show was about "Sunny" the sunflower, who needed to be planted in a new garden. The Sesame Street friends looked to find the perfect garden (which happened to be Big Bird's garden). Big Bird must have heard that Allie Claire was having a Pumpkin Party in a couple weeks for her first birthday, because he had a pumpkin in his garden, too!

During the grand finale, "Sunny" was planted in her new spot. After the show, we went up to the stage and got a picture in front of the "garden"--- this was before the usher came up and said, "Ma'am, we can't have anyone on stage".... Oops... At least DW snapped a picture really quick! Annabelle can say she's sat where Elmo and his friends stood... (and had her picture taken with the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile... again, we live real big around here....)
After the nearly 2 hour show, we were all ready to head home! Here's our little sleepy head when we got home...

The show was another fun first for our sweet girl!
Goodbye, Elmo! See you next trip!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Gopher, Salamander, Mole-Thing

This is the story of a yard disturbed and one angry man (with a shotgun) who gets even.

DW takes really good care of our yard. The yard is HIS thing. Inside is mine. I do my best at keeping the inside spic-n-span, while making it feel warm and cozy and like a home. I lack most days. Him, on the other hand...he's got the whole yard thing down pat. I am certain his grandparents would be very proud of how well he takes care of the yard they started. He mows the grass once a week, keeps the weeds pulled from the planters, weed-eats, and fights fire ants ferociously. For many months, he's also been fighting another battle. These big piles of dirt have been popping up all over our well-manicured lawn. Last winter, he even got a trap to use to catch the "diggers," but as soon as he got the trap out, the "diggers" quit digging... smart little things!

Everyone around here gets them...DW says they're salamanders. I, on the other hand, believe that these little creatures belong to the gopher or mole family. (Not the gopher turtle....think Winnie the Pooh's, "Gopher")

I remember seeing a picture of a salamander in my 3rd grade science book when we were learning about amphibians. It was the first time I'd ever seen a salamander and on the opposite side of the page was a picture of a newt. So I am sorry, but the word salamander is, for me, associated with the amphibian kind. I googled 'salamander' to get a pic of what I consider a salamander, and here it is:

This one also popped up and I had to share it.

Is this giant thing not disgusting?!?!?

When DW said these were salamanders that were digging up our yard, I challenged him that they weren't. This was last year, when we were experiencing the same problem, and my dad was in on the convo and I think his was, too. Although I don't remember what they said. They probably agreed with DW and said it was a salamander reeking havoc on our yard, and that's more than likely the reason I don't remember. Ha... My point in all of that, was to say, I don't know for sure what to call these little nuisances. But I have a story about one...
The following takes place Friday September 18, between the hour of 6:00 p.m. and 6:05 p.m.

We'd just finished eating dinner and DW got up to put something in the kitchen sink. When he glanced out the window, he throws whatever he had in his hand in the sink and yells, "Oh, I got you know, you sap-sucker!" I didn't know what or who he was talking to. He takes off running to grab a shotgun. I thought maybe it was an armadillo, because they dig holes in the yard, too...(and there was a slight run in with an armadillo about a month ago in our yard. I tried to scare it off before DW came outside and saw it. That armadillo didn't know what was good for him, because he stayed and poked around and, well, let's just say it ended bloody for him)...

I ran over to the kitchen window to identify the "sap sucker"... after I saw the big mound of dirt flying around, I knew what he was after. I stayed by the window to make sure the furry gopher (as I call him)/salamander (as DW calls him) didn't scurry from the hole and run across the yard. I don't know if they do that, but I was on watch. (Just after I grabbed my camera, because I knew this might something I'd want to record for future references). DW had returned to the kitchen, gun in hand, and that man-on-a-hunt look in his eyes.... and the dialogue went something like this:

ME: "What are you going to do to him."
DW: "Blow his head off." (insert the sound of the door slamming behind him here)

I was still watching out the window, and every few seconds the gopher/salamander thing would stick his head out....

In the hole:

See it's head peeking out:

Look close and you can see it...

DW says they're scared of the light, and have really squinty eyes and he's not sure if they can see or if they can, how far their vision reaches.

Even though I saw one up close, I couldn't tell you if they even have eyes, because... well, Devin blew his head off.

As I was standing inside watching from the kitchen window, DW stood right by the hole that the gopher/salamander-thing was working so diligently at digging, and waited like a sniper for him to pop his little head out. BAM! was all I heard. Then the little victory chuckle that came from the sniper. I got Annabelle and we headed outside to check it all out. I strapped her in her jogging stroller, so I could get a better look. I didn't want that thing going all 'Lazarus' on me while I was holding my baby, so I thought she'd be safest strapped in her stroller watching from a safe distance.

The hole had been covered by the dirt that the force of the gun had blown over it. I wasn't sure Devin got him. But, he was. He got a rake, and started raking through the dirt and sure enough, the gopher/salamander-thing was there...headless.
WARNING: The following images may not be suitable for young viewers or those with weak stomachs.

I wanted to see it up close, and needed to take a picture....

Look at those claws! Amazing. This little guy was for sure made to dig. Just not in our yard.

AB's looking on and she's making a mental note not to dig in Daddy's yard one day. He gets real mad when something digs in his yard!
(Something tells me, he'd let her "dig to China" in our yard if she wanted!)

The story ends here, with the gopher/salamander-thing being thrown over the fence. But only after we debated hanging him on the fence as a signal to all his friends as to what we do to diggers when they trespass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Fall is in the air and on the fence!

Here in Florida, it's always hot, but I hear we've been having cooler temperatures in the mornings. I wouldn't know for sure, because by the time I go outside, its already hot again...However, the beloved heat and sunshine that Florida prides itself with, has not stopped the Fall frenzy around our house!

As soon as the calendar rolled over to September, I dragged out the orange rubbermaids that house our Fall decor. I also recruited DW to pull out the scarecrows from our storage shed. I don't go in there. For anything. See, there's been sightings of rodents and reptiles and insects (the 8 legged kind) in there. I leave all the "dragging out" to DW. We took a trip down to the fence to hang the scarecrow brethren. Upon ripping into the double-bagged (Lord, thank you for my husband who makes provisions to keep the spiders and such from infesting all my stuff) scarecrow bundle, I was reminded of the determination that last years cows had when it came to amputating all of the limbs on my scarecrows...

When we got them all secured on the fence (3 on each side of our driveway), I had to step back and check them out... and laugh.

Our poor army of scarecrows definitely took a beating (and biting) last year.

All of them are missing either arms or legs and more than half are missing both. I thought about taking up a love offering to either repair or replace my scarecrow buddies... After we talked about it though, we knew what would happen. Same thing that happened last year. So if ya'll drive down our road, we'll be the house with the mangled up scarecrows hanging on the fence.

I haven't tried the haybales, pumpkins and mums down by the road, yet. But, I think I may give it a shot, but just keep it as far away from the fence (and long cow tongues) as I can. I've gotta do something to help my pitiful scarecrows look a little better....

Speaking of seasons, I've been thinking a lot about the seasons of our lives. (Not to be confused with "Days of our Lives", although sometimes I think that my life's seasons could be considered for "Days")...
Our family welcomed a new baby last week and if that isn't a sweet season, I don't know what is.
Signs and balloons had to be hung

and cookies HAD to be made!!
I can't help but think of how sweet and precious this time is for that little family right now. I drive by their house and just smile and say a prayer for them. I remember the joy and happiness and sleep deprivation and overwhelming emotions that come along with that first precious bundle of joy! There is nothing, absolutely nothing in this world like that... I thought about the season that my life is in right now. Then, I thought about some of my family and friends and the different seasons that they are in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Some of us are in a season of change...some in a season of confusion....some in a season of heart-ache....some in a season of joy...some in a season of great disappointment...some in a season of healing....some in a season of building....some in busy, demanding seasons....some in slow, peaceful seasons....some seasons are just beginning, while others are starting to fade into different ones....

We're all facing diverse things and are in different seasons of our lives, but there's one common thread: God is there with us.

It makes me think of the song, "God Leads us Along." My mom recently gave me a Travis Cottrell CD, and on it, Travis sings his arrangement of the classic song.
(What a beautiful arrangement it is...)
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Some of us might be resting in shady green pastures, while others are struggling to keep their head above the raging waters of fear, anxiety and hopelessness. Some of us may be dancing along the mountain tops while others are struggling to walk through a dark valley. The fact is that we're all at different places, in different seasons and facing different things, but no matter where we are or what we're facing, The Good Shepherd leads us along. The seasons of our lives change, but He never will. He will always be there, walking right with us through whatever it is we're facing, the good times and the bad ones. Not only does He lead us, but like the lyrics say, God "gives a song"---

Tonight after dinner, DW wanted to take Annabelle and I for a ride to the lake on the 4-wheeler. We set out, despite the dark clouds that were passing we made the turn to head across the field to the lake, we looked up and saw a rainbow. I have gone years, and I am not even kidding, without seeing a rainbow. But, this summer, I've seen more than I can count. (DW and I were even lucky enough to see a rainbow that pointed down right on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. We're convinced that's further proof that the Lord is a Gator fan! Ha...)

The rainbow, a symbol of God's promise, is the beauty that comes after the rain and storm. It's the "song" that He gives the earth after a rain. There's always beauty to be found... I have to wonder why it's been years since I saw a rainbow. Is it because their haven't been any? Or could it be that I just wasn't looking? No matter what we're facing, He will give us a "song" if we're willing to accept it. Have you seen any rainbows in your life lately? Have you been looking???
Tonight, I'm thankful for all the rainbows in my life.
Thankful that God gives me a song....