Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back....

So, I started this blog not really sure if I'd keep up with it. I wasn't sure if it would become just something I did for a few weeks and then got bored with or what. I'm really glad that I've stuck with it thus far. I, myself, enjoy looking back at past posts and smiling at the memories my family has made over the months. When I was thinking of a name to call my blog, I wasn't really sure what to use. I knew that my pictures and my memories mean the world to me. I knew that I wanted to remember my children being small, and the little things they say and do. That's where I came up with "The Days I'll Remember".

After much thought of what I should close this years blog out with I got to thinking since my son, my family and pictures pretty much consume my life, why not let it be just about that. I've taken the past hour to look through each and every picture I've snapped in the past year. I've fought back tears at some points, laughed at others, and just thought about how truly blessed I am. The past year has had a few trials, a few tears, lots of laughter, new beginnings, and the biggest thing is our new home. 2008 has been a year that will forever stick out in my mind.

In January, we went to Alabama for a family oriented hunting trip. The kids had a blast, and of course the guys did too in hopes of the "big one!" January also brought a new chapter for little Carter.... potty training. He took right to it and within no time we had kicked the diapers to the curb! Way to go little man!!!

March brought a few firsts to our family. We took Carter to the PBR to watch some professional bull riders and to say he was hooked after that, is a complete understatement!!!! After watching those bull riders, this kiddo wanted to ride anything he could straddle. From the recliner, to the little stopper thingies in the parking lot! All this bull bucking led to our first trip to the emergency room. Carter was bull riding on Daddy's back, fell off, and we thought he chipped his elbow. After several weeks in a air cast, he was better and right back to riding bulls and being your typical little boy.

Spring brings an all to familiar memory back to this family, fair time! In April we visited the Clay County Fair and Carter was just in awe of all the lights, animals, and let's not forget the mechanical bull! Granted he wasn't brave enough to get on him this year, I'm sure next year will be different!!! We also welcomed, what was then, sweet little Tater Porter (our dog), into our family. He and Carter became best of friends!!!

Then came May. It's become routine for Trav to pack up and head back to Canada for a bear hunt. Carter and I didn't make the trip this year, because.... they drove!!! Heaven knows I can't sit still in a car long enough to make it there by car. This sister is bound to fly! :) Travis' grandparents went along for this trip, and I'm sure there were memories made that Travis will forever hold dear in his heart. While he was away, Carter and I did what we do best... just hung out and did our thing! :) After Trav's return home we couldn't miss the Big Top Circus that came to town. We watched as they pulled the big top up, and visited with all the animals before the circus began. Carter enjoyed every minute of that day! He rode an elephant, a camel, enjoyed a snow cone, and lots and lots of popcorn!!! With May also came lots of warm weather. We headed down to the lake for some much needed relaxation and Carter enjoyed fishing with Travis & cousin Klynt. He most of all enjoyed the water though. I think the kid is part fish sometimes!!! :) We closed out May with a family trip to the beach for Memorial day. Of course Toot (that's my nickname for Carter sometimes), was in the water time we got there and wasn't really thrilled about leaving. Not really sure where he gets his love for the beach from, his Dad and I aren't really beachy people!

Hot, steamy June. Nana's out for the summer, so we spend a lot of days with her. This year was Carter's first trip to the movies. He was so excited as we walked to the theatre. His first movie, Kung Fu Panda. He ate a belly full of popcorn and sat still the entire time, it was a bit of a bitter sweet moment for me. The end of the month brought me something. My 28th birthday, woohoo! Nah, all kidding aside I'm glad that the Lord has blessed me with another year. Granted it's a lot closer to 30 then I'd like to be but that's okay. With age comes wisdom and heaven knows if I knew five years ago what I know now, there would be a few things I'd change. The biggest memory for me from this month would have to be that our little Carter started preschool. He started June 10, at Sonshine Christian Academy. He wasn't hesitant at all, walked right in and immediately started playing. What a joy to see my little one spread his wings. Nothing has changed since that day. He looks forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays so that he can go to school and "play with his friends!"

July 1, 2008!!!! What a day that will always be in my memory!! We had tried for several months for an addition to our family. When I woke that morning, there wasn't an ounce of patience within me. I had to test and see if by chance this was going to be our month. Within seconds the test turned the slightest of slight pinks. I of course took another to make sure I wasn't seeing things, again another light pink line!! Let's make sure this is for real, I took a digital test and within seconds it popped up with that word I'd been waiting MONTHS to see.... "PREGNANT!" I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to tell Travis. God had answered my prayers and once again, we are going to be parents!!! The month also brought independence day which we enjoyed camping with the Moody family. Carter still doesn't like fireworks. I'm not sure that he ever will! Late July we packed up and headed out to Panama City Beach to visit my sister. Carter LOVED the beach, loved the sand, the waves, the seashells but wasn't really fond of the jelly fish that stung him on the back.

August established the Soles Family on August 10. Amanda and Eric were married at Jekyll Island club hotel and it was a beautiful day, and she was a very beautiful bride. We wish them many years of happiness and joy! August will always be a special month to me for it is Toot's birthday!!! THREE, already?! Wow, where did my baby go? This year he wanted a bull rider birthday, go figure! Would you have expected anything less? :) We had his little western/bull party complete with bulls on his cake and a huge water slide so the kids could try and beat the heat. We also received a very wet hello from Tropical storm Faye. Rain drop after rain drop we watched the front and back yard turn to mush. Luckily we weren't flooded but several other homes just miles from us were. We were glad to see Faye pack up and leave!!

September, the end of summer. I love to see September come. To me, it's the time to start welcoming Fall although it is usually still 90 degrees! Our new home was well under way by this point, not much longer and we would be moving in. This month we were also able to get a sneak peek at the little one in my tummy!! The anticipation within me had grown beyond words and I couldn't wait for my OB office to do an ultrasound to tell us whether or not we were having a boy or girl. I scheduled with A Storks View, and found out at 15 weeks, that we would be welcoming another sweet boy to our mix!! I cried with joy!! After the appointment, the race was on to name this child. As if I didn't have weeks yet to figure that out, nope I wasn't having it. He would be named before the weekend was over, and he was. Tucker William would be his name!!!!

October. Fall is trying it's best to get underway but hey, this is Florida let's not forget! Carter had decided that for Halloween he would be Woody, from Toy Story. He also informed Travis & I that we would be Buzz lIght Year and Jessie. That didn't happen, but a kid can dream, right?! We visited my moms church for their Fall festival rather then trick or treating since the day after Halloween we would be moving. Our current house was in shambles and boxes lined all the walls, so we took a year off this year. Next year though, there will be a Halloween party at our home followed by trick or treating!!!!

November 1, 2008... again, another day that will forever be etched in my mind. We moved into our new home on Cow Bird Lane. Peacefulness, serenity, calmness. I love this place, have since the day we started building!! My mom asked me if I slept good the first night and I told her it was somewhat strange how "at home" I felt as I laid down that night. This is home, no doubt about it. Travis has his roots from childhood here, and I can't imagine any other place for our boys to grow up then here. Carter LOVES going to visit Granny & Papa and feeding the cows & roosters. This is our life, we love everything about it... well, except for that lovely stinging weed that I keep getting myself into! :)

It's the most wonderful time of the year, December!! As all the years that came before, this month was full of excitement, parties, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and most of all happiness and joy. Carter was really in to all the festivities of the month. He loved singing the Christmas carols, and adding his "must have" items to his Christmas list. Amazed me how early kids realize that they better inform mom and dad what to tell Santa! :) We enjoyed several Christmas parties and as always, if there was music... Carter was dancing! Christmas morning was a true blessing. As Carter entered the room, it took all I had not to cry. Will that ever change with me? I always fight back tears, LOL! He was so happy to open all his presents and even said "thank you" to Santa! We also broke the tradition of driving from house to house this year. We opted to stay home and it was one of our best decisions by far! So much so, that we have decided that every year will be celebrated here at home. We enjoyed having family over and the fellowship that we shared with each one of them. On the 28th of December we visited a Storks View once again for our 3D ultrasound for another sneak peek at little Tucker and to my surprise he looks just like his big brother!! We can't wait for him to arrive, only 70 more days!!!!!!!!!!!

Today closes this year. A year I look back on and see how truly blessed I am and how good God is to me each and every month. Yeah, there are down days, bumps in the road, and even some road blocks sometimes but through each day that passes He teaches me something new. This year I've learned to be more mindful of what I have and the blessings that are literally all around me. Whether it be the sun coming up over the trees, my sons laughter, the wind blowing across the field, or just the moo of a cow off in the distance. God is good, and if I will keep my eyes focused on Him and keep my faith in Him, each day will pass with a smile. For each and every thing I should be grateful unto Him!

I look forward to 2009. It holds another year of many firsts for me. I can't wait to welcome my sweet Tucker into this world. I dream about the joy he will bring to us. I look forward to watching my family grow and become stronger and more bonded. I pray that God will watch over each of us, keep us all safe, and bless us. May 2009 bring us all more peace then we have ever had. If you've made it this far in this super dee duper long blog... bless your heart. Now, let's see if you are up to watching the super dee duper long slideshow that follows!!! :)
Click to play 2008
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Many blessings and much happiness to you and your family in the New Year!!!!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

73 days and counting....

Today we had our 3D ultrasound at a Storks View, in Jacksonville. I am 29 weeks pregnant and seeing our little Tucker, was just as exciting today as it was the last two times we've had an ultrasound. I was anxious on the way to the appointment, just wondering all the what ifs. The tech was so friendly and welcoming which always helps make for a great visit!

Right from the start we got a friendly little hello wave from our little guy. I was watching the screen the entire time, never took my eyes off it once. Still amazes me how awesome our God is, and how blessed I am that He chose me to be the mother to two very precious gifts. As I watched the screen, I thought back to the day I had my 3D for Carter. I became as smitten today with Tucker, as much as I was with Carter. He has the same little chubby cheeks that Carter did, and the same little button nose. Pretty awesome that I've not even held him yet but I'm so in love and giddy. I think he is going to look quite a bit like his big brother. We did see a few little hints of hair, not as much as we did with Carter, but the scan wasn't super clear. What little bit I saw, I'm hoping & praying is red. Maybe, just maybe Tucker will get some of his Daddy's genes.... maybe! :) Our tech said that Tucker was approximately 2lbs. 9oz. and 14.1" long. His heart beat was 146, and we learned that he likes to keep his hand near his mouth. Will I get a thumb sucker this time????? Have to wait and see, I suppose.

***Tucker smiling at us***

Today made this whole, "I'm going to be the mother of two!" a real feeling. As I've said in the past, I don't know if it is because I'm so busy chasing Carter, or just the normal everyday hustle and bustle of life but I feel so good that most days I don't even feel pregnant....until I get kicked, LOL! :)

***The little toes that have been kicking me, all five of them... aren't they precious?****

I showed Tuckers pictures to our cousin Heather tonight and she said, "makes you wonder how people could say, there's not a God." I just smiled, and agreed one hundred precent with her. To know that I'm carrying a life inside me, that is growing and moving, and smiling back at me.... there is a God. He is awesome, there is nothing He can't do. My anticipation, and my day dreams of what my life will be like in just a few more short weeks have really been sparked today. I can't wait. I'm ready, but I'm not ready. I pulled out my scrap book this evening and was looking back and comparing the photos of my two boys. ((Snicker)) two boys, how cool is that? Double the blue, double the mischief, double the laughs, double the hugs, double the joy, double the boots, double the "cowboy pants", double the dirt.... oh man, the dirt! :) Our lives will once again be changed forever, and I just can't wait. I truly can not wait!

***Just our sweet baby, can't wait to hold him!***

Now that the busyness of the holidays is behind us, and I have time to actually think, I believe it might be time to start getting things in order. So different this go round then last. By this point with Carter, the nursery was ready if he decided to come early. Poor Tucker... he has two bear rugs snoozing in his room right now. What kind of mother am I?! :) We've got to find a new home for those fellas, and all those extra boxes of clothes that are stacked against the wall. Then there's the bedding, and a few new things for the little man. The life of a mother is never an laid back easy one, is it? That's okay, anyone that knows me knows I'm not one to take the slow route.

Hope you enjoy the pictures of our little Tucker. Isn't he just precious? Like Heather said, how can you look at that sweet face and not know that there is a God???

{{Thank you Lord, for this precious child inside me. I love him beyond measure and I am blown away that you love us more then I could love my child. My children are my world, and without them I would be so lost. I pray that You will allow me to be the best mother I can be to them. May they see Your love through me. Watch over my little one until it's time for him to arrive, and thank you for your many, many blessings on me!!}}

Counting my blessings...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our first Christmas on Cow Bird Lane

We knew this Christmas was going to be extra special. Especially after seeing how excited our little man was getting throughout the month. From the lights, to Santa, to parties & presents, and don't forget the festive music, he was loving every aspect of this season. Watching the joy that filled his face as he took it all in, reminded me of my memories as a child. I used to think going to Orange Park shopping was so exciting. The car lights as we approached the big hill on Blanding Blvd. always reminded me of Christmas lights. All the cars, waiting inline to get to the desired store. Christmas music playing in the car & in the stores. Santa waving from his big chair in the mall, and waiting ever so patiently for our turn to sit on his lap. Then there is the memory of Christmas day. The memory of waking up to momma's home cooking, Christmas music playing softly, and my mother's joyful face. All of our presents placed under the tree with love, and the excitement between me, and my brother and sister.

Christmas is full of memories for me. I could go on, and on, and on. This year, things were a bit different. We've always started Christmas morning at home, then immediately after opening gifts the rush is on and we are out the door until late into the evening. After some discussion, Travis & I decided that this year we needed to change things up. We have a new home, a three year old, and we felt it best to stay home and enjoy our day with Carter. Carter was up around seven a.m. and as he walked out of our bedroom, he said, "What in the WORLD!?" It was the cutest thing ever. From there it was almost like he wasn't sure what to do next. As I've said before, watching him truly blesses my soul. He made his way to the tree and for a few minutes would only pull one gift at a time from under the tree. Then he realized, hey they aren't kidding... all this stuff is for me! :) He loved all his toys. Our living room now looks like a 300 acre farm, but hey as long as my boy is happy. We have every tractor imaginable, every pick up truck with matching trailer, and all the cows and horses a three year old could ever take care of! :) After opening gifts, we did our own little tradition of having breakfast together and then there was the slight bit of rush trying to get things in order for our guests. We did visit his grandparents here in Callahan, but then around 1:30 p.m. my family came to visit and enjoy Christmas lunch at our home. Everything went wonderfully! The food was superb, the fellowship between each of us was nice, and having my grandparents break the tradition that they've had for fifty years was something special as well.

There's just something about having friends and family in our home. Travis and I both love to have people over and share our home with them. Our goal on Thursday was to make everyone feel as welcomed and as at home as possible. I do believe that we accomplished that. We also accomplished change. Something that my family isn't very keen on sometimes, but it went well and so far all the ones I've talked to really enjoyed the day and I think it is safe to say, the Higginbothams have a new family tradition!

I sat back on several occasions on Thursday and just watched, and listened. I thanked God for my family, the love and support that is within such a small group of people. I was and still am so grateful for each one of them that shared the day with us. I pray that each of you had a Christmas as special and enjoyable as ours. I look forward to Christmas in our home next year, with all of our loved ones and our newest addition, Tucker. I am looking forward to 2009, and all that lies ahead. Happy Holidays to all! God bless!!!!

Enjoy the slideshow, just a brief little moment of our day!! :)


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not much longer....

Not much longer, and Christmas day will be here!! I was one of the ones (better known as crazy) that opted to venture out into the world today to shop for food for our Christmas dinner. Of all places, I chose Wal-Mart. Quite honestly, it really wasn't that bad. It was busy, but not really any busier then a normal Saturday if you ask me. There were a few things I forgot to pick up, so luckily my sweet husband picked them up for me at our local Winn Dixie. He said it was a MAD HOUSE!!! Honestly, Wal-Mart was not that bad.

Carter is getting more and more excited as the hours pass about getting his presents from Santa. We started Christmas this past Saturday with Travis' Dad & Mimi Shari. We usually have brunch with them, then open our gifts. Carter & Gaige, our nephew, gleamed with joy as they opened their presents. Carter opened a Leapster, and a tool box full of tools that has yet to leave his sight. Gaige opened a fire mans helmet that talks, and a read along Leapster (not sure of the exact name for it). Watching the boys open their presents just warms my soul. I think back to past Christmas' when it was just me & Trav and they were special, but watching our son and other children just reminds me of what one of the joys of Christmas is all about. After opening gifts, we went outside to enjoy this lovely Florida Christmas weather we've been having. We were out there for about 45 minutes when we heard sirens. It sounded like they were moving closer and closer. My sister in law, Amanda, finally walked to the fence to find that they were closer. Close enough to be walking up the driveway!! We were shocked, and then all of a sudden we hear, "Ho! Ho! Ho!!!" The boys jumped to their feet, ran through the gate and welcomed Santa with big hugs!! Santa gave both of the boys some candy & then motioned for his elves (other volunteer fire fighters) to come over. They came carrying two wrapped gifts. When Santa handed Carter his gift, Carter immediately tore the paper off to see what was inside. When he finally got all the paper off, he turned and with the most heart felt voice I heard him say (without being told), "THANK YOU SANTA, THANK YOU!" At that moment, I lost it. I got choked up and started to cry. The innocence, the purity, and the truthfulness that came from his mouth left me in awe.

Carter brings me more joy then I could ever explain to you. I'm sure all mothers feel the same way, but God uses my child all the time to show me how grateful I should be. Something as small as a gift from Santa, but he was so truly thankful. His eyes sparkled, and then he turned to me and said, "look momma, from Santa!" I was trying to hide my tears from the others standing around me and especially Santa. I mean, come on lady, it's just a gift from Santa. I can't pin point exactly why it made me cry to see my child light up that way. It's not that he wants for anything, or is in need there was just something about that moment. I must admit, I do that quite often actually. Little things he does, just melt my heart and the emotions start to flood. The Christmas parade a few weeks back, it got me. When I heard him say grace for the first time, it got me. When he watches something new with sheer amazement, it gets me. Bitter sweet those emotions I tell ya, bitter sweet. My little boy, growing so fast. I'm trying to remember every little detail, each little moment, but I'm afraid that one day I won't remember them all. For now, I just thank God for giving me such a precious, precious child and I pray that each day, each year, will bring more joy into our lives & memories to hold on to.

Gaige & Carter with Santa

Santa on his way to visit the next little one!

May we all remember to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. The gift that we were given so many years ago, in a stable in Bethlehem. As I came through Callahan today, I looked up to read the sign at Burger King and it said something along the lines of, Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree, but about the gift we were given on Christmas that hung on a tree! That is so true. The presents, the money, and all this hustle and bustle don't matter. It's the joy of knowing Christ and living our lives to glorify Him!

Wishing each and everyone of you a very special Christmas. May it be filled with love, peace, joy, and most of all the love of Christ, and may you know what it is to have a true relationship with Him!

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2008

"Want to see my pickle?!"

This morning I am sitting at the kitchen table, drinking my coffee and going through the million and one things I have to do today, tomorrow, and next week. Just doesn't seem to be enough hours to get it all done. Carter was in the living room playing with his trucks and I hear him talking to himself but I'm not really paying close attention to what he is saying. Then all of a sudden I hear, "MOM!" I responded with the usual, what Carter and he says "Want to see my pickle?!"

I sat there for a moment and thought, what on earth could this child be talking about? I just gave him toast for breakfast but he wants to know if I want to see his pickle? I thought, does he have his grocery cart with food in the living room? No, that stuff was still in the pantry where I just saw it. Then again, I hear, "Mom! want to see my pickle?" At this point I'm thinking, oh lord what on earth is this child fixing to show me? Please don't let him come running in here buck naked, he's been known to strip down here lately and thinks it's absolutely hilarious.

I hear his little feet come running through the kitchen and I glance over as he flops his foot on my lap and says, "Look, see my pickle!" I looked down and he is pointing to his second toe on his left foot! Bless his little heart, his pickle was actually a freckle!!!! I laughed so hard I thought I would spit coffee clear across the room. I hugged him and asked him if he could get any cuter? Then I said, Carter, that is a freckle. He says, "oh yeah! a freckle." In his little mind it was what he had said all along. I had to call Travis right away and tell him what his little son had said. He laughed probably as hard as I did!

We discovered this little freckle on his toe probably a month or so ago. Every since then it has just fascinated him! Each day with Carter amazes me more and more. Some days I just have to sit back and just stare at him and smile, he's just awesome!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Wednesday, do you know what that means?

Each Wednesday Granny & Papa head off to the sale. Some weeks they go with a load of cows to the sale and come home with a load. Sometimes they go empty handed and come home with a load, or they go with a load and come home empty handed. Did I lose you on that? Regardless, today is Wednesday, and that means that they go to the sale today.

Last week Travis decided that he would feed the cows for Papa before he got home so that he wouldn't have to do it in the dark or cold. Carter and I were quickly recruited to be the gate openers. Carter of course, not much help but he's catching on. Me... I probably wasn't much help last week either, but hey! I'm learning too! :) Twenty head of heifers looking back at you within inches of you can be intimidating to a girl like me. Today, we got the call to meet Travis at the gates and off we went. As I usually do when I leave the house, I slid on my favorite Reef flip flops and off we went on the four wheeler. Oh, and you know I had my camera in hand.

Travis was waiting for us, so there was not much time for my 'quick' shots, I had to get to work. There were cows standing at every gate within viewing distance. One pasture held probably a hundred or so cows, the other had about fifteen or twenty that were recently taken from their momma's, sixty or so in another pasture, and then about thirty in another. There were cows standing everywhere, patiently awaiting their hay! As Travis approached the first gate and I was unlocking it, my eyes caught "the man". Yep, that's right the bull. He was laying very close to the fence and it's been brought to my attention that he can be a bit moody at times, if you get my drift. I looked back at Travis with a look of, "what about this guy????" He just said, "push the gate open, he'll move!" Umm, yeah... okay, right on that boss! This animal is huge and you want me to walk towards him, is this correct? Yep, that's what my husband wanted me to do, along with sixty of his closest girlfriends. :)
***That's him in the picture below laying in front of the fence to the left!***

Luckily, my husband was right. Those cows weren't the least bit worried about me, they had their sights set on that tractor carrying two bales of hay. I was just in their way and needed to move!! :) Carter and I watched as Travis bounced through the gate on the tractor into the field. Those cows followed him like school kids in line going to the cafeteria. The others in the fences on either side, watched anxiously as they knew that their turn wasn't far away. They were eating off the bale on the front of the tractor, and the back of the tractor. Not caring one bit if they were in the way of the tractor or not. Oh, and the wrapping they put around it to keep it baled together... they don't care much about that either. Travis jumped off to remove the wrapping and those girls & guy could not wait to for him to get out of the way so they could continue to fill their bellies!

Time for pasture number two. By this point, I'm thinking, okay I've got this. I push the gate open and off he goes. Carter is at the far gate that connects the two, and he is actually working too! After the second set received their hay, Travis headed out the gate and I look and Carter has this face of, "oh no!" then I see him look down and it had happened. The dreaded step, into a big pile of poo! You are probably thinking that I freaked....nah, not this time. He had his rubber boots on (since the dogs chewed up his other ones earlier this week), and I actually laughed. Travis asked me what happened and I told him, he thought it was funny too! He never said it, but I'm sure he was patiently awaiting me to step in a fresh pile myself since I was wearing the inappropriate pair of shoes to be feeding cows. Reef flip flops are not the ideal footwear for this job, just F.Y.I. Just wait, we'll talk more about that in a minute.

We headed off to the third pasture. These are the youngsters that are facing the world alone now. Still fairly small and oh so very cute. I opened up my gate and squeezed as close as I could to the gate since Travis would have to make a sharp turn to get in this pasture. Carter was on the opposite side watching intently. He would give anything to be on that tractor with his daddy. I'm sure it won't be much longer and my title of gate opener will be passed on to him. I grab my camera in hopes to get pictures of the little ones chasing after the tractor.

Oh, I got the picture but I also got something else. As I stepped to take the shot, I felt an immediate burning sensation on the inside of my left foot. I knew immediately what had happened. I had stepped in my lovely friend, stinging nettle! If you've never stepped in this stuff it feels like an instant bon fire on your skin! My thoughts of taking pictures of the little moo moos was the furthest thing from my mind. My foot felt like it was going to burn off! Of course, this made my husband chuckle. Once again he was right, I didn't have on the proper footwear, when will I ever learn?!

Burning foot in tow, I tried to ignore that I felt like I needed to go the E.R. and headed off to the last set of cows to be fed. This was the big group, and everyone of them was at the gate looking at me like, 'just open the gate woman! We want our food!!!' And just as a side note, these gals were looking a tad bit hefty, or should I say healthy?! :) I pushed the gate open and made sure that Carter understood his part in this job. If any of them were to try and come out the gate he was to wave his arms in the air and shew them back in!! Yep, I put my three year old up to that task, luckily he wasn't needed today! :) When I say that these gals weren't interested in me, that is a complete understatement! They were after one thing, and one thing only..... the tractor with the hay! A few of them were I guess what you could call slackers, they were more concerned with me then the hay but quickly figured out I wasn't near as intriguing as the hay, and off they went. I snapped away like a mad woman. Then I see Travis motioning towards me and I hear him say, "Ears, ears!"

Ears, is what one of the young calfs has been so perfectly named by granny and papa. He is the cutest little thing I think I've ever laid eyes on. He is this beautiful chocolate brown color with the most adorable floppy ears you've ever seen. When Carter heard his Daddy say Ears, he said "Momma! That's him, do you see Dumbo?!" Carter prefers to call him Dumbo, rather then Ears. After Travis unloaded the hay and made his way back to us, we all three rode out into the pasture on the four wheeler in hopes of catching a shot of Ears/Dumbo, whatever you want to call him. Sure enough, the little guy let us get pretty close and I did get a few good shots of him and several of the other ladies in the field. I love this pasture because it is full of expecting mommas, mommas with brand new babies, and then those like Ears who are a wee bit older but still cute as a button. This pasture is the one that when you drive down our driveway is to your left. Makes me smile just about every time I come down the drive and see them playing in that field or lying close to their mommas.

That concluded our Wednesday chore of the week. Once again, I'm pleased to say that I'm loving this life. I'm loving this house, I'm loving this property and the simplicity that it brings. In a way it's my peace. I love everything about it, well almost everything. If we could teach Tater & Cowboy, our dogs, to quit chewing up everything within their site, I'd love absolutely EVERYTHING about this place.

Hope I've not bored you with what seems to be becoming a Wednesday routine for us. It's a day in my life, one my husband loves, and my son is growing to love. Soon, there will be three of them out there feeding cows and I can sit back and watch and just smile and thank God for how blessed I am to be here! My little piece of heaven, here on earth.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm the mom and I said so!

I often catch myself repeating phrases to my three year old that I swore as a kid I would NEVER repeat!! You know, "clean your room or your going to time out (well for us it was grounded)", "eat your vegetables if it kills you... EAT THEM!", "don't get that outfit dirty!" Yep, each of these phrases has already exited my mouth upon numerous occasions.

Well tonight, I check my email and I have this forward call the Mom song. H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S, yet oh so true. As a mother now, I understand all the reasons why mom wanted me to stay clean, keep my room clean, make good grades, eat my vegetables, take my vitamins, be polite, use manners. As a kid though, that stuff is a waste of play time what on earth are mothers thinking?! Today was a good example of "keep clean Carter!" He was outside with Travis, in a good pair of jeans (don't even ask why did I have him in good jeans if I didn't want them dirty... the answer... his daddy was supposed to watch him!:)) and when I looked, they were covered in that lovely pitch black dirt from our yard. I fussed and told him to stay out of the dirt. To any of you that may read this, don't bother telling a three year old BOY to stay out of the dirt. You might as well say, "Son, there's a big pile of dirt out there I want you to go get as filthy as you possibly can!" Why, you ask.... because that is exactly what he is going to do regardless of your wishes. And to think, I have a second boy on the way. Things are bound to get interesting around here!!! :)

Anywho, back to the song. It is absolutely true, and hilarious because the music it is set to and the manner in which the lady sings it is pretty much how any mom feels on a given day. There's a link below, enjoy and if your a mom.... laugh with me, because we've all been there! :)

Here's to the days where are kids stay clean, eat their veggies without fussing, and say please and thank you! **wink, wink!**


The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

***Just a warning, I'm feeling a bit rambly today, so who knows where this post may end up!***

Everywhere you look the look and feel of Christmas is all around us. The music is playing in stores, the crowds have started to form, the rush is on! It's the first year that I can say, I'm not one of the ones stressing and fretting over starting my Christmas shopping twelve days before!! :) My gifts and goodies are all hid away so that little Carter can't find them. Well, they're not hidden very well since they are in the half bath in our laundry room, thank goodness he NEVER goes in there!!!
This Christmas seems to be a bit more special as I watch Carter's eyes sparkle and he lights up as we talk about all the fun things of Christmas. Last night we had our first fire ever. Carter was Travis' little helper, go figure. He wanted to help carry firewood, but when it came time for the flames, he was out of there. Such a smart little fella! He was amazed by the fire, and kept telling us it made his ears hot! Carter loves to rearrange the bells on the tree, talk about Santa coming down the chimney, making cookies for Santa, and all his presents! His list gets longer as each day passes. When I say he wants everything he sees on t.v., trust me, he wants everything... even the BabyAlive that learns to use the potty! Umm, none of that in this house! :) When I say he gets excited when we go in Wal-Mart or Garden Ridge and he sees all the lights, that is a complete understatement!!!! He just bubbles over with sheer excitement. Then there was the Christmas parade, last weekend. He was ready, bag in hand, waiting for some candy. Of course, I was snapping pictures from behind, but as I watched I couldn't help but get a bit choked up. We won't go into that, because I already have tears welling up in my eyes. :) I'm just so blessed by this little three foot tall person that consumes my life. I love to watch him learn new traditions and just be in awe of the joy that this holiday brings.

I've also tried to make sure that he understands that Christmas is not about the presents, the tree, the stockings, or goodies. Each day I remind him that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birthday. It melts my heart when we are driving down the road and out of the blue he starts to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!! One of my biggest prayers is that I instill christian values into my children and what better time to remember then Christmas? I pray that my children grow up and live their lives for God and seek His will for their lives. His little mind is so inquisitive now about where things come from, or who made the moon, or why does it rain? I love to ask him who makes the moon, stars, trees, or whatever. He always responds with, "momma, God made it!" his response has that bit of 'shouldn't you know that?' Then sometimes he'll break out into a little song he learned at school, "God made me!"

This Christmas I'm not stressing the gifts and the where do we go on Christmas. We are taking things a bit slower this year because one of my goals is to really enjoy the day and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We've decided that we will be staying home this year. Lunch will be at our house for those who choose to join us. This is the first time in eleven years that Travis and I have not had to leave at ten in the morning to start our Christmas day which usually doesn't end until ten or eleven at night. We've come to the conclusion that we have to start somewhere with traditions for our own family. I want my boys to grow up and enjoy the smell of Christmas lunch cooking (although me cooking should be interesting!), the excitement of being home all day with their new toys, and the joy of having extended family in our home on Christmas. I think back to when I was little and the holidays were always special because mom and granny would always rise before the rest of us and get things underway. Momma would always have a special Christmas breakfast cooked, and we would invite my grandparents over for breakfast, since they lived right next door. We would open our gifts and then run to the kitchen for momma's hot yummy breakfast. From then until lunch, it was our time. Play with your toys, try on your new outfits, just be kids. No rushing to get out the door to go someplace else. Thinking back, it is very apparent to me now that my family is the biggest part of my Christmas memories. I am so grateful that I was able to spend the first twenty years of my life with my grandparents on Christmas morning. I'm grateful for the love and pride that my mom and grandmother put in to every meal they prepared for us. I'm even thankful for those Christmas' that just weren't "normal" coming from a divorced family, but those are probably the most special ones. They are reminders that you don't have to have the best of this or that, just as long as you have family that loves and supports you that is all you need at that time. I like traditions, they give me a peace, a comfort, and a feeling of who I am. I can't wait to share my traditions & Travis' family traditions with our children. What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Sparkling lights, Christmas carols, good food, and family! This is really my most favorite time of year! :)

Happy Holidays!

P.S. I tried to warn you this post would ramble and ramble about nothing! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And then there were three...

I'm not sure how many of you are, but I usually wake up with a plan to my day. I like to know what is going to go on in my life, I'm not good with curve balls or surprises most of the time. My friend Jill is much the same way and today would prove to be one of those 'surprise' days! As many of you read last week, my friend Jill & her husband Clayton were expecting their little boy Madox Daniel. He was due to arrive on December 21, but had other plans! :)

I sent Jill a text message this morning to see how she was feeling, and received a rather quick response back that she was feeling a few little pains but nothing bad. I told her to not ignore them, for they could be the real thing. She began to time them, and sure enough, they were consistent and coming every ten minutes. She never expected this morning when she left for work that today would be "the day!" She stayed at work, still counting contractions. I later received a phone call from her saying that she had just went for her 1:30 doctors appointment and they were admitting her!!! How exciting! As I listened to her phone call, it was very apparent that she was calm, some what, but you could hear the nerves in her voice. She told me I needed to head to the hospital, the doctor said the baby would be here by six p.m.

Of course the one day I don't have my camera in my car, ready for this event.... it happens! I was in Orange Park, my camera back in good 'ole Callahan. I rushed home to get it and then straight back to Jacksonville. I arrived at the hospital at 3:30 p.m. and found Jill very much so in labor! The contractions were fast and furious and she was patiently awaiting her epidural. From that point on it was a blink of an eye it seemed and the entire process flew by!

I must admit, as I stood there watching this family wait with excitement pouring out of each one, I thought back to the day of little Carter's arrival. As many mothers will tell you, your own emotions come back very vividly! I remember the anticipation, the fear, the joy, the "what if's", the I can't do this, and the uncontrollable amount of emotions that you experience during this special time. The time had come, it was time for Jill to bring Madox into the world. As I watched her look into her husbands eyes, not sure, hesitant, scared, but happy all at the same time I felt myself begin to cry. Knowing that she would soon know more about love then she did just hours ago, and that her heart would be flooding with joy & happiness. She did awesome, and at 6:32 we welcomed Madox Daniel Burnsed into the world! What a blessing this was to watch and be a part of. I watched a husband and wife weep with joy, I watched love immediately bond the three of them together....and then there were three!

The room was full of tears, smiles, and uncontrollable excitement. The grandmothers were in awe, and how sweet that is to watch. As I watched Clayton's mom just stand back and watch as her son welcomed his first born, her first grandchild, I thought to myself, "how good is our God?!" At that moment, without a shadow of a doubt, God was in that room filling each and every heart with a peace, and love.
I can't believe that once again I was a part of such a miraculous day. It makes me even more excited for these last weeks of my pregnancy to pass. I can't wait to welcome my own little miracle! I can't say thank you to the family enough for allowing me to be a part and asking me to capture the memories that were shared in that room today. I pray that the pictures I took will bring smiles to their faces each time they look at them.

Congratulations & God Bless,
Clayton & Jill,
God is good! The gift you received tonight is the best God could ever give us. Cherish this child, and enjoy each and every moment that God gives you with him. You are both wonderful people, and therefore I know you will be amazing parents to little Madox. May your hearts & lives be full of peace & love this holiday season as you welcome him. I love you all and wish you the very best!

Baby Madox,
Welcome! You are a handsome little man and you have many, many people that already love you more then you know! I pray that God will watch over you as you grow and keep you safe. May you always seek His will for your life!
Many blessings to you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

~This is Home~

Any of you that know me, probably know I'm not a morning person. I would rather stay up until 3:00 in the morning then have to get up early. I'm not sure if it's my body preparing me for my near future with baby Tucker or what, but lately it doesn't matter if I go to bed at midnight, I'm up no later then 7:10! Trust me, it shocks the heck out of me too!!!! There was a reason this morning though. I didn't know it yet, but would soon realize.

This morning was no different. I woke up to Travis' alarm clock, tried to snuggle myself tightly under the covers in hopes that I could go back to sleep. No luck. I laid there, tossed & turned, and my mind just kept saying, "just get up and start your day!" So, I followed those suggestions. As I walked through the kitchen to go to Carter's room to check on him, I stopped and just stared out the window. Luckily, I wasn't staring at anything the dogs had destroyed throughout the night, I was stopped by the amazing peaceful sight outside the windows.

Some of my dear friends, Renee :), will probably laugh at me for what I did next. I grabbed my camera, slid on my flip flops and out the door I went! I had to get this picture, just had too! Now here's a picture for you... me, in my pajamas, just minutes out of bed, camera in hand, dogs nipping at my heels and me tip toeing towards the fence in hopes that the cows don't spook and run off. Luckily, the gals stayed right where they were. They gave a few puffs to the dogs, but didn't mind me. They've come to learn I'm just as nosey about them as they are about me. I'm sure they think the camera is a part of my face! :) I snapped away.

As I snapped, they mooed. The babies were running and jumping. At one point I just stopped and looked around. As the sun was barely peaking over the trees I was yet again reminded of God's amazingness (is that a word?). That moment, as I stood there, it was so peaceful and calm. There is a Christian song by MercyMe titled, "Word of God Speak" I couldn't help but think how often we let our days start in such a hurry and we forget to say good morning to God and let Him & His word speak to our hearts. Today was a good reminder to me that I need to 'hear' God more often. This morning, as the sun peaked and the fog began to clear, God woke me up for a reason. I needed to be reminded of God's love, grace, and mercy.

The old saying, "everything happens for a reason", I'm beginning to understand more and more that it's not by chance but God's plan. This was my day to remember Psalms 118:24 "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." I have so much to be thankful for, so therefore I thank God and I am glad! :) I thought to myself as I walked back to the house, this is home! I'm so peaceful and content here, cows and all!

I figured by this point Carter would be up for sure. As I peaked in his room, he was still snug as a bug. Again, I found myself being thankful for my day. I've added a slideshow of the morning, enjoy & remember... "this is the day that the Lord hath made!"


Click to play This is the Day
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The anticipation....

This evening, I had the privilege of taking maternity photos of my very good friend Jill. She is 37.5 weeks pregnant, and doesn't look a day over six months. I am six months and I am sure I'll be double her belly in just a few more weeks. :)

I have known Jill, for many years. I'm actually the one that introduced her to her husband, Clayton. The two of them are an amazing couple. Their son, Madox, is such a lucky little boy to have such sweet, caring, compassionate, and loving parents. You can definitely say that these two waited their turn to become parents. They are a true vision of hope for anyone waiting and wanting a child. They are proof that if you seek God's will, and cast all your cares upon Him, He will see you through.

I can not wait for Madox's arrival. He is due on December 21, and he has many family and friends waiting to greet him already. I look forward to watching this sweet couple welcome their little one and watch their family begin to grow.

Clayton & Jill,
Thank you so very much for allowing me to be a part of this very special time in your lives. I pray that this child brings more love and joy into your lives then you ever dreamed possible. I pray that God will give you both the wisdom, strength, courage, and patience it takes to be a parent. I am proud of both of you, and I wish you all the best for many, many years to come. Enjoy your last few days as "Clayton & Jill", you'll soon be three and you'll soon wonder what in life was so important before having your child! :) I love you all very much. Take care & God bless!
Many blessings...

Here are just a FEW of the photos from tonight. Enjoy!!!

PS. Jill's favorite craving... brownies, hence the picture :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

99 days and counting!!!

Could it really be? Do I really have less then one hundred days until I meet my little Tucker? Wow! That's all I know to say. The days have flown by in the blink of an eye. My mid section is starting to look more defined, and the punches from the inside are very, very distinct by now. This little guy is quite the squirmer, that is for sure! Early morning, and around 9:00 every evening he loves to put on his dancing shoes and cut a rug! :)

When I ever slow down long enough to think, I imagine what will my little one look like. Will he have his momma's hair & skin, like big brother or will we actually get a little fare skinned, red hair Travis look alike. I must admit, I'd kind of like to have a little Travis look alike running around here. A mini me, and a mini him. If that is the case, lord help us all! Just what the world needs is another Jennifer & Travis, LOL!!

Travis doesn't say much (but does he ever?), & Carter is beyond excited about having a new playmate. Always wanting to touch my stomach or talk to Tucker. Yesterday he was picking out toys for him at the mall. He would say, "Momma, Tucker would like this one!" How sweet. I find myself so busy that during the day I over look the little hello's that Tucker is sending but at night, I take in each and every punch, flutter, and movement. For anyone that has ever been pregnant, I'm sure you can agree that there is nothing sweeter (well to me anyways) then feeling your little miracle moving and squirming around. I just add it to the many blessings that God has already bestowed upon me. How lucky am I that he has allowed me on this journey, not once but twice. There's always that thought in the back of my head, 'will this be the last time I am pregnant? will there be a third little Higginbotham running around these parts?' Whether there is a third time or not, I pray that these days of carrying this sweet child will stay etched in my mind forever.

Ninety-nine days, think about it... that's not really that long! I mean three months, huh, I've got a lot of preparing to do yet! We still need bedding, diapers, make sure the car seat is still in good condition (which I'm sure Travis will say it is perfectly fine, we all know girls always like to get something new though :0), make Carter a bit more aware of how his world is fixing to change dramatically. And then, there are those sleepless nights that lie ahead of me...... oh boy! I didn't do so bad with Carter, but I keep thinking that this time around since I'm chasing a three year old now, I'll probably be doubly exhausted so how on earth will I survive those every two hour feedings?! YIKES!!!! My mom and grandmother keep telling me, it will come to you. It will all fall into place and it will become as normal as your life is now. They are far more patient, understanding people then I am, LOL!

I can't wait to see how Tucker changes our lives, and how well he will just "fit" in our lives. Does that make any sense at all? I can't wait to see Carter's first glimpse of his baby brother, Travis' first kiss to his second son, and to watch the three of them become the best of friends in the years to come. Only ninety-nine days and that friendship will begin! Tucker has so much to learn from his Dad, and big brother Carter. I just hope Carter doesn't teach him to jump off the top of the swing set too soon! :) I can only imagine the mischief that the two of these, wait...the three of these guys will get into. I think of my Aunt Kathy who has two boys, somewhat close in age and I am reminded of all the mischief they used to get into & how I used to laugh... we'll see who's laughing in a few years!! :) My Aunt always just shrugged and said the old faithful saying, "boys will be boys!" May I look at their adventures the same way, and may they have many, many memories ahead!

We are planning on having the 3D/4D ultrasound later this month. I'm anxious to see how much this little guy has grown and get a glimpse of his face, and features. Keep checking back for pictures later this month after the scan.

My ever changing world. Soon to change again, but I truly can not wait!

Counting days...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday.... dare I say I went?!

Thursday afternoon, I discussed going shopping with a few of the ladies of the Eddy family. There were a few things in the sale ads that I thought I'd try to get, but I wasn't bound and determined that I had to go. I'm a girl that's all about shopping, but before daylight? Is that even a reasonable thought, especially for a mother of a three year old, and 6 months pregnant with baby number 2? I debated Thursday night, to go or not to go. I asked Travis, "what should I do?" His response, "what time do you need to leave?" "I will be leaving at 3:15!" "ARE YOU CRAZY?!"

I thought, and pondered, and thought some more. I wanted to go, but wow! 2:30 sure would come early!! I called Dee & Kati to let them know I'd go. I mean what is one day of sleep, right? The plan ended up being that I would meet Dee and go to Fernandina with her and her daughter Stephanie, and Kati would meet us later. Dee said she needed to be to Stephanie's by 4:00, not a minute later. There was something Stephanie wanted at K-Mart so we had to be there in plenty of time, they were to open at 5:00.

I tried sleeping. I was like a crazy person, still trying to decide what in the heck I was thinking by agreeing that I would be up by 2:30 to go to KMART?! Not to mention this lovely sinus/cold junk I have going on. If I did close my eyes, I couldn't breathe, so I tossed and turned and maybe got a total of 2 hours of sleep that night. Finally at 2:25, I said, enough. Just get up, make some coffee and get ready. Maybe the coffee would jump start me, nope didn't work at all! I know that Dee is always on time, and an early riser so I wanted to be on time, and not make her wait for me.

I drink one cup of coffee, and poured the second into a travel mug and out the door I went. The dogs scurried off the porch as if the house were on fire. They had not seen the likes of me at that time of the morning in, well, forever! I drove to Winn Dixie to meet Dee, it was 3:10 when I pulled out of the driveway. Again, what in heavens name was I thinking? I pulled in the good 'ole WD parking lot, no signs of Dee anywhere. I was shocked, and surprised that I beat her there. I waited. Waited, and waited. Finally at 3:38, I decided to call her because maybe I misunderstood the time I was supposed to meet her. Maybe I was supposed to be there at 3:00 instead of 3:15! I sent her a text message and she called right back and informed me she was, "sipping coffee!" She said she would be there in ten minutes.

Sure enough, ten minutes later she arrived. We were off. Both of us laughing at how crazy we must be to be on the road at 3:50 in the morning to go shopping. We picked Stephanie up and headed to Fernandina. K-Mart was to be our first stop. We passed the 24 hour Wal-Mart in Yulee, but we were on a mission..... K-Mart it was. We pulled in the K-Mart parking lot, and it was a complete and total ghost town!!! Where are all the people that should be waiting in line? As we turned in, Stephanie pulled the sales paper off the dash and said, "Umm, what?! They don't open until 6:00!" All three of us had looked at that ad numerous times and how on earth we thought they were to open at 5:00 beats me! We decided we'd go to the Wal-Mart in Fernandina, since they WERE to open at 5:00.

We parked, pretty close I might add, and got inline with all the other anxious shoppers. We were probably the 50th ones in line. Not to bad, I thought... since I'd never waited outside a store to buy something. We had ourselves about a 25 minute wait. The doors finally opened and people stormed to the most desired department... Electronics! Stephanie found the GPS she was wanting, I found numerous movies and toys for Carter and the cutest pj's. All three of us were shocked at the limited number of people, and how we really didn't see any rudeness of any sort. Most of all we were shocked, that we didn't wait in line!!!

Off to Target we went. I had to pull in at Chick-fila though to get me some of their tasty little chicken biscuits. I was starving by this point. We entered Target, and to much surprise it really wasn't that crowded either. I mean it was a little grid lock in the toy department, but nothing that you couldn't handle. Thus far, I was pretty impressed with my shopping adventure that started at 3:00 that morning! :) Our cart was loaded down. My stuff, Dee's stuff, and Stephaine's stuff, and don't let me forget to mention Stephanie's three year old Tyler was in there somewhere! Yes, we took a three year old with us shopping and I have to give that little guy credit, he did an awesome job! Another shocker... no waiting in line at Target eitehr!

After leaving Target, we dropped Stephanie and Tyler off at their house. Dee and I were just getting started. We hopped on I-95 and off to the airport shopping center we went. Michaels was our destination. Dee was on a Christmas tree hunt. She found "the one" but just to be sure, we ran across the parking lot to Wal-Mart (for the second time that morning) to make sure they didn't have a tree she liked better. Both of us loaded down another cart in Wal-Mart. Then it was back to Michaels to get her tree. We laughed at how loaded down my Expedition was at this point, and it was only 9:00 in the morning! We left the airport, headed to the Orange Park Mall. Neither of us really sure what to expect when we got there, except major chaos! That was not the case. As we pulled in on the Wells Road side of Sears, we drove towards the doors and low and behold there was a up front parking spot just for us! This has never happened to me on a shopping day like today! We entered Sears, and although their parking lot was not full there store looked like an ant farm. There were people, EVERYWHERE! Our goal in this store was a GPS for Papa Cotton. We went upstairs to electronics and I think that was the V.I.P area of the ant farm. Those people were in every area you could see. Fortunately we walked right to a sales associate and told him what we wanted. He said they had them in stock, that I could pay for it and go downstairs to pick it up. It was all of 5 minutes in the store and my mission was complete! We were both in disbelief!!!!!

We decided to venture through the mall, towards JCPenney. Once inside JCP, we found another ant farm. This one however looked like a three year old had gotten ahold of it and shook it for about 5 minutes. Clothes, shoes, you name it were scattered everywhere. It honestly looked like a tornado had blown through the store. Dee's mission: to find her a new coat! We walked straight to that department and she got the last one on the shelf, lucky girl!! We visited each department, and once our arms were full it was time for us to hit the road. We had all intentions to go to Christmas made in the South, but our feet and my aching, 6 month pregnant back, were not going to allow it! We slowly walked to the car because we were exhausted. We made it home around 12:45ish and both of us put a very good dent in our Christmas lists. I have four people yet to buy for, but everyone else were knocked out on the dreaded BLACK FRIDAY!

All in all, we had a good trip. An enjoyable time, and I'm not sure about Dee but I think the two of us should make it a tradition. We shop the same, focused and on a mission! Until next year, happy shopping and get the best buys!!!!! :) :)

Oh, I might add that when I got home Travis had worn little Carter out and it took all of about an hour to get him to take a nap with me. Two and half hours later he and I walked out on to the front porch to find Travis with his shotgun in hand, shooting birds.... again! :)

"Giving thanks always..." Ephesians 5:20

Thanksgiving. As the turkey day approached and families prepared I was reminded as I often am, just how truly blessed my life is. I spent Wednesday helping my mom and granny prepare for Thanksgiving at their house. We always eat lunch in Callahan with Travis' family and then out to my moms for dinner. I figure the least I can do is be there to help prepare the day before. There's always the cleaning and tidying up that can be done, and then don't forget about all the food preparation. Mom still had her grocery list to buy, so off to Middleburg we went for the goods. Wal-Mart was crawling with people. As we walked the aisles I noticed that four out of five people that passed were grouchy, or just plain rude. How could this be? I mean, aren't we supposed to be preparing for a day of Thanksgiving and fellowship with our families and loved ones? It saddens me to know that we let the holidays over take our joy. We let the little things like the meal, the desserts, the things that really don't matter steal our joy.

We finished moms list, and headed back to Granny's. We immediately started the chores that needed to be done. My 82 year old papa sat on the couch and watched. I started to vacuum and he would lift his feet for me to go around him. I thought to myself how lucky I was to be spending such a special holiday with my Papa. He has seen so much in his life, faced many trials far harder then any I'm sure I'll ever face. He's a man of very few words these days. This was not the case just 5 years ago. Age has began to set in, he has the start of alzheimers disease, and he's just quiet now. I often sit and watch him as he stares off into the field, and I wonder just what is he thinking about. There is so much to be learned from this now quiet man, his hands folded in his lap as he rocks in his chair. I wonder if his health were better what would he be doing rather then sitting in that chair? Just his presence is such a blessing in my life. I don't know how much longer God will allow my family to spend with this sweet man, but I know that God knew I would need a man like this in my life. I love you Papa!!

The kitchen was beginning to fill with the aroma of different foods, and how could I dare ignore the smell of Big Granny's coffee brewing. This little woman, all ninety pounds of her, drinks coffee like it is going out of style. I don't think I've ever been to her house and not seen a pot of coffee ready for someone to drink, usually her! :) Speaking of things to learn from such a knowledgeable person. Neither of my grandparents went to college, or even graduated high school for that matter but the knowledge of life that they have inspires me. I watch Granny prepare meal after meal for our family and each time it amazes me how she knows just the exact amount of flour, sugar, oil, or water to add to any recipe. When I say that I love her home cooking that is a complete and total understatement. My favorite meal of hers would have to be tomatoes and rice with fried potatoes and don't dare forget that frying pan cornbread!!!!! I've watched countless times as she has mixed up the meal to make the cornbread. I ask her for the recipe so that I can at least try, she just responds with, "Jenny, it's just a dash here, and a dash there. I don't really know the recipe." That's not much help to a girl like me that needs step by step instructions!!! Back to the Thanksgiving preparations. Granny started me with the chopping of the bell pepper, onions, and celery for the stuffing. They usually give me something easy, because they are aware of my abilities, LOL!! I was grateful that I sat at that table cutting those vegetables. A night spent with my little granny, a night I'll remember forever.

While my mom and I were stirring around doing all sorts of things, Carter was running and playing with Uncle Faron. He loves being at Big Granny & Big Papa's house. Watching him run circles through the dining room and living room another memory from my past popped into my head. The many holidays that I ran that same circle. We were loud kids, knocking things over, giggling and laughing, but Granny never harped or got on to us. She just allowed us to be kids. I thought to myself how blessed I am that my little boy is now doing the same things I did as a kid. The circle of life I suppose, pretty amazing. Carter brings more joy to my grandparents then I ever dreamed he would. There is a little sparkle that comes to their eyes when we pull into the driveway each time. Then as it's time for us to go, the say "now ya'll come back in a day or two now!" They just adore the kid, and I think they are pretty fond of me too! :)

Driving home that evening, I thanked God for my family. For the peace they bring me, the lessons they've taught me and for the ones I've yet to learn from them. I thanked Him for the simplicity of our family, the genuineness of each person, the humbleness of my family, and for the blessings that each individual one brings to my life.

The next morning, I surprised myself by getting up early. My boys, Trav & Carter weren't too far behind me. The boys shared a cup of coffee, Carter's new favorite drink (it's mainly milk, with a little splash of coffee!). Carter helped me bake cookies, and then Travis helped him finish his Thanksgiving cards for Nana and Big Granny. My holiday mornings are usually chaotic, busy, and just frustrating. This morning was far different. We were all relaxed, and enjoyed the morning. I was even ready to go on time, can you believe that???? Me either, don't worry. We headed off to Granny Noni's to visit before leaving for lunch at Granny Pullet's house.

Lunch was superb! I must give my mother in law credit, the woman knows how to cook! The family gathered, we ate and just enjoyed each others company. Once again, I was reminded of how blessed my life is. I married the man I love with every beat of my heart, and his family is welcoming, loving, and warm just as mine is. If you must join another family, what better one to join then one like your own?! Travis' grandparents are just as precious to me as my own. There's Granny Noni & Papa Cotton that we live behind, and they are just good 'ole country people. Love everything about these two. I love their love for one another, their relationship and their patience with one another. I love that they share everything, they finish each others sentences, and still look forward to spending each day with one another. Then there is his sweet little Granny Vera, and Papa Joe. Quiet and observant, Granny Vera. The joker, Papa Joe. Papa has always teased me by calling me by some other girls name, and sweet Granny always greets you with a hug and wants to offer you a plate of whatever she may have at the time. Granny Vera reminds me so much of my late Granny Colea. Her house always ready to feed anyone that will take a minute to let her feed you, regardless of whether or not you are hungry. Papa Joe, he loves to watch the great grands play, and ride them on the golf cart. Papa Joe was recently diagnosed with cancer, and actually has his first chemo treatment tomorrow morning. This has burdened the entire family, but my prayer is that each of us finds a way to let go and let God take care of Papa. Our God is in control and we just have to have faith that all will work out. Grandparents are such a special blessing to each and every person, what would our lives be without them? I pray that Carter's little memory will remember these precious days with such sweet people.

Then we were off to Nana's. The tradition always the same, we're usually the last to visit for the day but there is always still more then enough food to fill our already stuffed bellies. When we arrived, Big Granny, and Nana were on the back porch. That porch is where we are usually greeted when we arrive. Thanksgiving day, Papa was inside though. He said it was getting a tad bit chilly for his liking. Our visit was nothing out of the norm, just a good visit, laughter and togetherness. The home cooking, and desserts were yummy! Nothing like going home for the holidays!! Carter was all about eating Tom Turkey this year. He ate a belly full at Granny Noni's, Granny Pullets, and Big Granny's house. I think it's safe to say the kid is good on turkey until next year! :)

Our day finished earlier then usual with us being home before eight o'clock. We had a wonderful day. A memorable day, and a day filled with many, many blessings. Whether those blessings were the family, the food, the fellowship, or whatever, they were blessings nonetheless. My heart is over joyed, and so thankful for every aspect of my life. I pray that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. Now on to the holiday shopping and a season that is like none other!!!

Ephesians 5:20 "Giving THANKS always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Many blessings to all!

Much love,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Did you miss your shadow?

As Travis pulled down our road yesterday, Carter was patiently awaiting his arrival. When I told him to look down the road, he jumped in the seat of his John Deere Gator and said or I should say screamed, "MY DADDY'S HOME, MY DADDY'S HOME!...LOOK MOM, MY DAD!" The excitement that streamed out of this little guy was precious. His little heart was so glad to finally have his Daddy home.

As soon as Travis opened the truck door, Carter ran as fast as he could to get to him!! The dogs also joined in the welcoming. I just stood back and watched, and took the moment in. Before long, Carter will be in the truck with his Daddy! As any three year old that hasn't seen his Daddy in ten days would do, Carter immediately started asking questions. Following Travis' every move, and as soon as I approached Trav, he informed me to "go away!" Momma had officially become chopped liver! That's okay though. To see these two together, you know they have some sort of special bond. :)

I asked Travis if he felt like the ground hog, on ground hogs day. Because if he did, he would surely find his shadow if he looked! Carter was on his heels every turn Travis made. Once the truck was unpacked and we headed inside, it didn't stop. He wanted to follow him to the bathroom, to the kitchen, sat on the couch with him, talked, talked, talked! This little guy had a lot of catching up to do with his Dad.

Today, Travis had some things to take care of here in town and as he left this morning, Carter was extremely upset. He cried, and cried. He wanted so bad to go, but Dad had business to take care of. We promised him that we would meet up for lunch and then he could spend the rest of the day with his Dad. We met for lunch, and he made sure that he was going with his Dad. Unfortunately neither of us remembered that Travis did not have his car seat. So, Carter rode back home with me, against his will! When we got home, guess what Travis found.... his shadow, yet again! Like white on rice, Carter was there! They piddled in the yard, played with the dogs, rode the four-wheeler, and next thing I know.... Travis has a gun! Carter has his play gun and they inform me they are going bird hunting!!! Not what I was expecting, but hey, whatever. As they walked towards the front fence, I ran inside to grab my camera. I stood on the front porch to start with, just watching them. Carter mimicking his Daddy's every move. "Shoot 'em Dad, get 'em!" , "I've got my gun Dad!" I can't begin to explain to you what joy watching these two together brings to my heart.

I went and sat on the ground near them, and with each shot of Travis' gun... I got a ringing in my ear. The dogs would scatter, and I would flinch. Carter on the other hand, he was on the hunt! Those poor birds flying over. I've been watching them all last week while Travis was out of town. I guess I'll never understand the purpose, LOL! Our routine is getting back to normal. Wake up, Dad at work, do some chores, wait for Dad to get home, play outside, eat some dinner, play some more, go to bed, just to start all over again the next day. Not real exciting days, but it's our days and they mean the world to me. We are so glad to have Travis home. Until May, when he does it again, we'll keep playing!

Enjoy our pictures from today, there are quite a few. I couldn't pick which were my favorites!

Take care & God bless!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm 28 not 17, right?!

So, it's 8:35 and I'm as excited as a school girl about going to school to see her new beau! My honey is on his way home, and granted he is still a good five hours away... HE'S ON HIS WAY HOME PEOPLE!!!!!! Last night I was so giddy and excited about him coming home that at one point I had to ask myself, are you 28 or 17 again?

**Just so you can see where he's been for the past 10 days, this is the lake they stayed on**

I remember the days when we started dating and I was so infatuated with my new love! The days I would have to go to school, and he to work, I couldn't wait to get out of school to call him. Then the weekends, dare we even talk about the weekends and how wrapped up I was in this boy? Ask any of my family and I'm sure they will tell you (or ask his, I'm sure they could agree), I followed him like a bloodhound! I wanted to be with him regardless of where it was or what we were doing. I can't tell you how many times I road in the Osceola forest with this boy & his best bud looking for the "Big" deer! I'm telling you, as long as I was with him I was as happy as a kid in a candy store.

Last night I had to laugh at myself for just a minute because I felt like 'that girl' all over again. Like this is going to be the first time I see him or something?! I guess it's a good thing, that I still get giddy, huh? I mean 11 years ago I was giddy, I'm still giddy, and I pray in 11 more years that I still get giddy!!! :) Thank you Lord for the love in my life!! I'm so glad that he has had a safe trip thus far, unfortunately no deer was slain in the process (but I guess that is a good thing, huh ladies?), but regardless... my hubby will be home in just a few short hours!!! Dare I go look for that perfect outfit (you all know we did that at one point)?? Okay... that's a bit to far, I know! Besides, I'm pregnant and it's cold, he'll either love me in my comfy clothes or else! :)

Now all of you reading this, quit laughing at me!! Here's a picture of me that I found with a giddy face!!

Patiently waiting for my honey....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Newborn, 3month, 6month....

Lazy day around these parts. Carter and I are exhausted from our week of absolutely n.o.t.h.i.n.g!!!!! Today we've laid low, and stuck around the homestead and relaxed. We had a nice visit & lunch with the Burnseds. Always great to see such a sweet couple, and their soon to be little Madox (not much longer, Jill)! There's nothing better sometimes then just relaxing and doing nothing, you know? The house is clean, the chores are done, and I twiddle my thumbs and then I get the bright idea to sort through baby clothes, like Tucker is going to be here in a few weeks or something, LOL! :)
I pulled two huge boxes from the barn and brought them to the house. As I sat down and opened the boxes I just sat in amazement of how truly blessed we are to have so much stuff, for Carter and now for Tucker. I'm glad that I kept all the stuff!! I started to sort through everything, it started with 18 month clothes and as I neared the bottom of the boxes I reached the itty bitty tiny stuff! I surprised myself that I didn't cry. I just sat there thinking back to when Carter was that small and how really it doesn't seem like it was that long ago! Three years, that's not long but to look at those tiny little clothes and look at the rambunctious little guy running down the hall, I had that brief moment of, "WHOA! Where did my baby go?!"

I must admit that going through all the stuff really kicked my excitement and anxiuosnes into high gear about Tucker's arrival. Sleepers, tiny socks, the bibs, the blankets. Each piece that I pulled from that box, I could remember Carter wearing. I remember who each piece came from. Strange? I thought so, I didn't think I'd remember the times that he wore those little outfits and I mean down to like certain places that he wore some of them. Then those little blankets, the ones that I loved obviously slightly more 'used' looking. I can't wait to bundle Tucker in them like we did Carter.

Of course, Carter entered the room upon several occasions and informed me that those were his things, but Tucker could borrow them. It will be very interesting to see just how generous he is with "his things" when little Tucker arrives! :) Let's talk about shoes for a minute. I have a basket of shoes that would almost make a Payless look like they were out of shoes!! There are certain shoes in that basket that I've had to move to the bottom of the basket so that Carter can't see them. He's not very keen on sharing certain shoes, LOL! One particular pair would be his lace up boots. Those are "MY cowboy boots, NOT Tuckers!" I listened to that for about three days. Finally I said, well they don't fit you anymore so we should share them with Tucker. His response, "no momma! These are mine, Tucker can get some at the store!!" So like I said, it will be interesting to see how this sharing stuff goes in another 3 months!!

A little stroll down memory lane tonight. Our family will be a family of four before we know it. I can't wait. I know little Tucker is going to bring a ton of joy to us and I can't wait to watch Carter with him. Only 3 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days until we see our sweet little boy!!!
Enjoy the pictures from my stroll! :)