Archive | October, 2014

Preschool Portrait

29 Oct

Every day with a toddler that is exploding with new abilities and language is amazing. Today was no exception (and it’s still before noon!).

This morning Walter spoke his first long sentence (that I could understand):

“No mama, this is mine.”

Uh oh. I think I’m going to be in trouble for the next year — or more.

And we got his first school portrait back. There were two poses, neither of which were super flattering, but at least he was sitting still. The one I bought was the goofy one. The other one he looks so serious and unhappy I couldn’t bring myself to spend the extra $22 on it.

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I love this boy!!!

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Mountain Bling

28 Oct

Walt and I went to music class last week after Dave and I got home from our retreat in North Carolina. I found out our music teacher, whom we love, was also in Black Mountain while we were there. She was at something called the Leaf Festival, where they play music, camp, join in on drum circles, and artists sell their wares. Sounds like a lot of fun, actually.

Adina brought back this very cool instrument that a man named Jonathan Rose had made out of used propane tanks. It makes a most beautiful sound. Who knew?

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I always love the small world feeling you get when you see all these coincidences in your life. My father is on the board of Blossman Gas, a fantastic family-owned propane business in the Southeast. I plan on at least attempting to connect these people together for retail purposes; it could be fun for them both!

And while Walter loves music class and has really blossomed there, Adina has played an even bigger role in our lives. I was struggling with Walter’s lack of talking and looking into speech therapy, but unsure if it was really necessary to spend the money when Walter seems so bright. I was on the fence of “every child develops differently” and “maybe he needs some help”. I mentioned this to Adina and she pushed me again to teach him sign language. My response was: I’ve tried a million times and he just smiles at me! But I’ll give it one more go I guess!

That week was the magic week. He picked up on signing a few words, and it must have flipped a switch in his brain. He went from 30 to 60+ words in the last couple weeks, copies sounds and words we make, speaks in phrases, and uses signs without prompting. He’s really getting it and it’s really fun to watch. I knew it was in there (I wasn’t worried about that part of it), but I wanted it to come out!

The best part has been when we went grocery shopping the other day, without any prompting ever on my part, he pointed to the wine section and said repeatedly, “Wine! Wine! Wine!” … That’s my boy!

“The opposite of spiritual is not material, but impersonal.” – Peter Hobbie

We left the baby and the Bible but brought the bourbon

27 Oct

Last weekend we had the pleasure of going on our church retreat in Black Mountain, North Carolina. I haven’t been on an overnight retreat since high school, and it was very fun to include alcohol in the mix. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and to be honest, I really enjoyed that it wasn’t too churchy. We had one session per day that lasted a couple hours, and it was more like Christian and life philosophy and discussion with 60 of my favorite people. I could have sat there chatting the whole weekend if the chairs had been more cushy.

Walt let us sleep in Friday morning, so we got a late start driving up there as we had chores to do before we could drop him off at my mom’s, and we also wanted to enjoy David’s day off work. The drive up to Asheville and beyond was gorgeous, though about halfway there David realized we hadn’t remembered to bring a Bible for the retreat. But we had made sure to have homemade snacks, wine, and bourbon! I have no doubt my priorities were clearly thought through. And of course we stopped for boiled peanuts as soon as we made it to the country.

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This guy’s Cajun-style peanuts were so good we stopped here on the way home too — in the front yard of the ACE Country Store up somewhere outside of the city.

We were going to arrive too late to make it to dinner at the lodge, so we stopped at Juicy Lucy’s in Asheville for a burger. They stuff their burgers with cheese (yum) and had great draft beer. It really felt like we were on vacation.

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We arrived at the lodge just as the first session was over, which was disappointing because it was about happiness, and I can always benefit from learning more about that. But we found our room, opened a bottle of wine, and sat out on rocking chairs on the front porch with good friends and a mountain breeze.

Our room, unfortunately, had two twin beds that were more similar to concrete slabs than to mattresses, and they were squeakier than a mouse being chased by a cat. This amused me since it was our first trip out of town without Walter (no sharing our room with a baby!), but we survived. Not all trips need to be super luxurious, just like they don’t have to be across the world to be interesting.

After lunch the next day we had lots of free time, which most people use to go hiking in the area. This was the main reason I didn’t want to bring a two-year-old (aka a slightly disobedient toddler), besides the fact that Dave and I seriously needed some adult-only time together. Our group walked a few miles from our lodge to the top of a cliff on Lookout Mountain, via a trail nearby. And we were greatly rewarded for our hiking efforts!

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The 360 views were spectacular.

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Saturday night they brought in a local storyteller. I thought half of her stories were really good. The last one really riled the kids up about a bear who liked to eat out of the nearby dumpster.

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On the way home Sunday we stopped again in Asheville for lunch at another yummy place, Wayside Village. Then of course back through the mountains and roadside art of North Georgia.  I thought this sign in particular showed a good sense of humor.

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I wanted to stop at every flea market, thrift store, and art stand on the way back, but we were in a hurry to get home to Walt. So we only stopped at one where this guy painted old window frames with rural scenes. I didn’t buy anything but I loved his art. I’ll have to get something next time.

Juxtaposition

20 Oct

Saturday we went for a hike in Montreat, NC. It looked like this and I was happy:

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Monday is absolutely back to the grind. I’ve been working at the computer all morning, and Jose is giving our kitchen a facelift.

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Not nearly as relaxing a view, but I do appreciate the Dexter-esque kill room look.

A Johnny Appleseed kind of weekend

5 Oct

My friend Katina and her family decided to go apple picking with us yesterday in Ellijay, GA (which is now the host of two of my favorite yearly events: birthday tubing and apple picking), and we had a blast.

We chose out the Red Apple Barn and it couldn’t have been better. At first I was a little worried given the amount of people there, but we easily got on a hayride to the orchard and didn’t feel crowded there at all. We got there around 2:30pm, and when we were done picking at 5pm there was a much bigger hayride line, so we were lucky.

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Sixty degrees and warm in the sun. Couldn’t have been better fall weather!

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It didn’t take him long to figure out how to eat a whole apple.

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I don’t think I have ever picked an apple off a tree and eaten it before. Just like growing food at home, it was so much more delicious than buying it at the grocery store.

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Walt definitely ate more than he picked.

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He had such a blast walking around the orchard, stuffing his cute little apple face.

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Apple coma. This was one of my favorite Walter moments ever. I love how much he loves being outside.

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Katina and I were friends in 6th grade, and now here we are with our husbands and kiddos!

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After spending a couple glorious hours in the orchard (much more than I thought we would), we roamed the pumpkin patch. I really loved how relaxed and friendly everyone was here. They even have apple cider and apple cider donuts waiting for you when you get back from picking.

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We picked out a couple pumpkins to take home with us between more apple bites.

Walt didn’t give up his last apple til we got in the car and I took it from him. We ate a bag of yummy boiled peanuts on the way home to Nini’s house for dinner, where we ate a delicious roast, drank amazing wine, and watched Crocodile Dundee.

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We convinced my mom to light her fire.

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Walt fell asleep on the way home, which he never does. We’ve driven home from Chattanooga at 10pm and he never fell asleep. But I guess it was a big outdoor day and he was exhausted. So adorable.

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Today we lit our first fire of the season, because it’s been downright chilly!

It’s definitely been a weekend that makes me thankful I live in beautiful Georgia with great friends and family.