Saying good bye to a sweet friend

Yesterday my husband came home to find that our dog, Millie, had died. It was unexpected. She had spent much of the day barking at the farm workers tearing up the peanut field behind our house.

She was a healthy, happy, sweet, seven-year-old dog. She was a good dog and we will miss her.

I got Millie when I was still in college, living alone in a town house my last semester of school. I was nervous to be alone and my fiance, now husband, suggested I get a dog.

I immediately wanted her when I saw her. She was black as night and fuzzy and sweet as she can be.

Millie stood guard over the town house while I was in class. She slept at the foot of my bed, ready to pounce. She stole pizze from the dining room table (true story!).

When Jason and I got married and moved to Atlanta, Millie patiently endured living on the thirf floor of a walk up.

When we bough out first house she was happy to play in the back yard, enjoying the suburbs.

But her real personality came out when we moved to the country. Her huntress came out. She even caught, killed and ate a rabid skunk and had to be quarantined for six months (true story!).

Last summer I was in a wreck that injured my right leg. Sometimes I walk with a slight limp. In February Millie got kicked by a cow and injured her front right leg. She walked with a slight limp after that. Every day she accompanied my down the driveway, where we both limped to the mail box.

She will always be the sweet baby puppy who met me at the car every day. She will always be the good girl who howled at the dangers of creatures like raccoons. And she will always be the dog that made our sweet baby boy giggle at the sight of her.


There's a mouse in the kitchen...

Last night we ate take out pizza. There is not recipe today because there is a mouse in my kitchen. This means I am not setting foot in there.

Yesterday I was sitting on my couch, eating my lunch. I was taking a much needed five minute break while the baby napped. I had just gotten a ton of work done and needed to let my brain rest. (I own my own business. You should check it out here)

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Tales from the house on the hill Part 1: I'm home

I'm Home-

The first time I saw the little blue house on the hill I knew I was home.

It was a rainy day in March. It was unseasonably cool for Georgia and there was mud everywhere. We drove our little Saturn up the gravel driveway, across a rickety little bridge and to the little blue house on the hill.

Our home was supposed to sell soon. We had a buyer in the wings and we had to get out fast. (Side note, this sale did NOT happen. The house wouldn't sell for another year. But we will get to that later.)

I had been driving 95 miles one way to work everyday to work here, the best twice weekly newspaper in ALL of Georgia.

Also, our financial situation was a far cry from when we had bought our house in Metro Atlanta. The economy had hit us pretty hard. My husband took a HUGE paycut and the company I was working for closed and it had taken me a long time to find that newspaper job in Northwest Georgia.

I had been making the drive for almost a year. It was getting to be too much.

So it was time to move. The landlord had left the key hidden behind the electric meter. We walked through the tiny and empty house. It was a far cry from the house we were leaving.

"This bedroom is the size of our closet," my husband said.

We took it.

So we moved to the little blue house with the little red barn and we set up shop.

It was Easter weekend when my husband's parents moved us in. I am not a good mover. While I was happy to be selling the house in Atlanta (although it took much, much longer than I wanted) it hurt to leave it. Selling that house felt like a failure.

Leaving Atlanta for the hills felt like we were running from something. There were hurt feelings and tears and anger. Truthfully, I was a little depressed. So each box I watched my husband pack, hurt.

I just wanted to lie on the floor. At one point my mother-in-law had to tell me to get up and pack a box.

The move ended in tears. It was bad. Moves don't bring out the best in people do they?

But the little blue house it held a lot of possibility and once the tears stopped, I was happy to embrace those possibilities.

Next week: Looking for a sign.


Bottom of the Hamper Day

Bottom of the Hamper Day. What? You've never heard of it? Hmmm....

This is an elusive celebration, not oft celebrated in our house. I suspect it isn't celebrated in any house that is home to small children. 

It is a magical day that occurs when all of the elements align- the washer, the dryer and the motivated Mama. 

I remember when I was a little girl my mother too a photo of the bottom of our hamper. (This was a long time ago, back in the days of film.) I think that was the last time I saw the bottom of a hamper. 

Until now. 

I believe on that day my mother made a cake. Perhaps some baking is in order. 

How I don't organize anything...

I do not have an organizational bone in my body. In December when it came time to move from Northwest Georgia to South Alabama I moved several garbage bags of dirty clothes and a basket of mismatched socks.

I am many things. I am good at many things. But organized is not one of them.

I terrible at crafts, I don't know how to sew and I am not organized. Although I would love to be all those things.

So I have decided that if I am going to run a house, a baby and a business I should probably get myself into some sort of organizational routine. I am starting in the front of my house and working my way forward.

A few days ago I took five minutes to organize my our entryway.

This was what it looked like. My husband's shoes were everywhere! Which resulted in a lot of yelling on my part.

SO I took an old book shelf and organized that a little bit. Oh and I made ugly curtains.

It's a start.

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the gardenias

The past few days have been less than easy. As evidenced by the cookie dough incident. 

I was stomping down the stairs to the laundry room, my heart and laundry basket heavy. It was hot, I was tired, the baby didn't want to nap, I was frustrated with the 1,000 other things that had gone wrong (stolen debit card, our dog ran away). I did not want to carry my laundry to the garage.

"Why can't the laundry room be in the house?" I huffed. "A man designed this because men don't hold screaming babies while they do the laundry." 

Then I caught a whiff of something. Something that make something in the back of my memory stand up. The scent of gardenias. 

They are my favorite flower. 

Our first home had a gardenia bush planted in the front yard, it was given to me by my daddy. When we sold the house the bush stayed and it made me a little sad. 

But here in our rental, tucked in the corner of the yard, was a long-neglected gardenia bush that was nearly overwhelmed by another vine. 

It was in full bloom and it smelled amazing. 

I put down the laundry and walked over to the gardenias. 

How many blessings have we all forgotten we have tucked away because life has gotten too stressful? 

Judgey McJudgerson strikes again

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I am in constant danger of falling off my high horse. I am not a snob, no way, she who shops at the Dollar General can't be a snob. I am something worse- judgmental.

This is something I have always struggled with, and to be honest it has gotten worse. Nothing brings out the Mrs. McJudgerson like motherhood, right? *Sighs in shame.

Recently a friend posted to Facebook a challenge to encourage someone instead of judge. 

It struck me. I have always considered myself an encourager, but is it authentic encouragement when I am silently judging someone for their mistakes and shortcomings? What does that make me? A big, fat hypocrite!

When I told my friend that a judgmental attitude was something I was struggling with she pointed out to me that sitting in judgement is not "a job we can master because we weren't created to do it." She pointed out that we were created by God to love and encourage one another and she challenged me to see God in everyone.  "It's much easier to love our brothers and sisters when we see our Father in their eyes and hearts," she said. 

We are told time and time again by our Father not to judge.

Luke 6:37 says: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven."

Again in Matthew 7 it is repeated "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7: 1-5)

I end by asking this, what is judgement? For me it is my way of having others validate my life choices. "This is the right way to do it, don't you agree?" But if I need others to validate my life choices am I living authentically?


Worth the Read: 31 Days to a Better Budget

31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget

Money Saving Mom is one of my favorite web sites. She is funny and practical and offers some great advice. One of the best things she has written is 31 Days to a Better Budget. I highly recommend it. It will only take you about 30 minutes to read through the entire series and she offers great advice like, plan your meals in advance and don't be brand loyal.

While I do disagree with her on the concept of buying the newspaper (come on, a girl's gotta eat!) it is still a great series.

5 Things I've learned about motherhood so far...

My little boy will be 5 months old soon. Since we are all about the 5's around here I thought I would take this as an opportunity to talk about 5 things I have learned about motherhood so far.

No matter how many books you read, people you talk to, advice you get, practice you've had babysitting nothing and I mean nothing will prepare you for taking a baby home from the hospital.

It will come as a shock to you when they wheal you out to the car and say goodbye. They won't let you take a nurse home with you. So this is what my husband, Beardface UnStoppable, and I have learned.

1. Sleeping

Newborns don't need the quiet to sleep. In fact, they will zonk out anywhere.

At a moments notice. (We did not leave him there.)

As they get older it's a different story.

But when they do sleep through the night the first time. It is like magic befalls your home. You can think clearly, you might get a shower. You can string together a coherent sentence. Magic!

2. Poop, spit up and other bodily fluids.

Babies, while cute and cuddly can often be gross. When the UPS man tells you you have spit up in your hair- gross. When you have to rinse out a onsie because poop came up and out the sides of the diaper- gross. When they poop on a hotel room wall in Greenville, Alabama- gross. 

A baby will pass gas in church and it will be so bad the lady in front if you will turn to look. For a good laugh, blame it on your husband.

But hilarious. Even if those first few months teach you nothing else other than to relax and go with the poop, you're still good.

3. Emotions. 


Photo by Candi Barnwell

Babies have a lot of feelings. They are kind of like drunk college girls. They go from smiling, to crying, to passed out in a matter of seconds. Refer to images below for example.

Photo by Candi Barnwell

Photo by Candi Barnwell

4. Behold the power of routine.

Babies, even little babies, appreciate a routine. Don't we all. And in my case you dare not throw him off. My baby was a good napper... for 2 weeks. He was taking a 90 minute nap two times a day like clock work. Then went out of town.

That was two months ago. This (photo above) is the face I get 45 minutes into an attempt to nap. Pray for me, won't you?

5. Not matter how tired, exhausted, frustrated, upset, much pain you feel you will be able to take care of your baby.

I am struggling through some pain from a wreck I was in when I was pregnant. (Long story, not talking about it right now.) Last week I was in so much pain I feared I couldn't pick my baby up out of his crib. But I did and we were ok. It hurt, yes. But I "mommed up" and did it.

I had a good example. My Mama is still Momming up.

Bottom line. You can do it. It's great. It's fun. It's draining and exhausting. I get tired and frustrated. But every morning when I get my son up to start the day he smiles at me and I see the face of nearly everyone I have ever loved in that crib. That's the biggest blessing.