Monday, August 29, 2011

Slightly Succumbing to Savannah Touristdom

I started this morning on my own, while JB was in his conference classes, and I took the ferry over to find a place I've been lusting over since a blogging friend first mentioned it: The Paris Market. It is an amazing, eclectic brocante filled with all kinds of unique treasures. I haven't been in Paris in 12 years [typing that is heart-wrenching!] but this place is perfectly Parisian! Fully half the people in there were speaking French. They also have a coffee bar in the back corner, where I had been pre-advised to try the French Frozen Hot Chocolate with pink whipped cream:
It did not disappoint. Perhaps the best frozen chocolate concoction I have ever imbibed!!! Now *that* is a breakfast of champions. :-)

As I meandered back towards the river when it was close to time to meet JB for lunch, I saw The Lady & Sons. Now, y'all know I love Paula Deen, but I had kind of written off this experience, b/c the lines just to get a "come back & eat" time are usually so long, and I had heard mixed reviews, so I wasn't too keen on going out of our way. Everyone told us we should go to her brother's place - Uncle Bubba's Oyster House - instead, with the smaller crowds. We *did* pass it twice yesterday, but I just absolutely HATE seafood, and the only non-seafood on their menu is also at The Lady & Sons, so I figured I'd chat with the hostess about availability. Just out of curiosity. [BTW - Savannah is SUPER QUIET right now, with school back in session, next weekend being a long holiday one, & any spur-of-the-moment vacationers from this last weekend scared off by fears of Irene! We are so lucky!!!] To my surprise, the hostess gave me a "come back & eat" time of NOON! [It was 11:25, and JB's class got out at 11:45 = PERFECTION!] It was a no-brainer!!!

This was the ultimate in succumbing to touristdom, but also fulfilling a delicious dream. The reviews have been so mixed, but I am THRILLED to report we must've hit a "good" day! (Maybe Paula showed up for a surprise inspection? :-P) It was THE. BEST. SOUTHERN. COUNTRY. COOKIN'. OF. MY. LIFE.
The warm garlic cheddar biscuit they bring out as you are seated was the best biscuit I have ever put in my mouth. And I'm a Southerner! JB went nuts over the hoecake (a simple, savory cornmeal pancake) they bring you with the biscuit. I dove into the buffet, (against the grain for me; I am not a big buffet fan, but I had been assured that this one was worth it...and it was.) The fried chicken was as dreamy as everyone proclaims, but the pulled pork barbeque (y'all know I am a connoisseur!) was really wonderful. It was *NOT* sitting in grease, like most other sauced barbeque buffet trays I've ever seen, and the flavor was rich and fresh! The mashed potatoes were like a condiment - they made everything else on my plate that they touched even better. Oh, and the candied yams! Annelise would have gone nuts! (Those are her fave. :-)) They even had a hint of clove in the simple syrup - perfectly heavenly. The macaroni & cheese was the best homemade Southern-style I've ever had; normally macaroni & cheese on a Southern vegetable plate tastes of too-sharp cheddar with completely unsalted pasta, and it always disappoints me...but not this. It was seasoned perfectly! The only thing I didn't enjoy were the green beans, which were way too aggressively salted. I finally shoved down a small portion of banana pudding with fresh whipped cream.

Today's lunch is why I think of myself as a "foodie" instead of just a gourmet snob, b/c I love allllll quality food! I love country cookin', the neighborhood pizzeria, crazy international cuisine AND fancy modern gourmet creations. My life totally (happily! :-)) revolves around food!!! "What am I eating next?" :-D I am certainly eating a ton here, but I refuse to waste ANY calories on blah. :-D

I also don't think I have ever felt as full in my life as I did after lunch! :-D It's a weird feeling for me, b/c I am not a big over-eater. Usually, when things feel "off" with my tummy, I self-medicate with different foods & drinks - cooling ice cream, soothing teas, a spoonful of honey, the comforting carbonation of a diet coke, etc. But that would not do today, b/c the problem was that I was already too full! It was so weird. :-P

Tonight, we decided to go calm, quiet, relaxed, & slow-paced at dinner. We sat for ages at the lovely Belford's Savannah Seafood and Steaks,
nibbling on baked Brie in puff pastry with raw Savannah Bee Company honeycomb, baguette, & fresh berry whipped cream,
and later - of course - fried green tomatoes! :-D

The honeycomb got us longing to visit the Savannah Bee Company, again, so we skipped Belford's desserts in favor of going to the bigger SBC store on Broughton Street, just a couple blocks away.
Honey is just the most comforting thing ever. And we were SO GLAD we came up to the big store, b/c we got to try the #1 best honey that they were out of at the other smaller location. Remember how I couldn't pick a fave? NO MORE! The sourwood honey knocks all of the others out of the park! Our tasting was the perfect after-dinner treat. We also sampled their skincare products - the Royal Jelly Body Butter is dreamy beyond words... Certainly added to my wishlist!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eating Up Savannah in Style

We are just eating up Savannah...literally!!! We began the morning with Sunday brunch at Rocks on the River Modern Grill. Their chicken & waffle sliders rocked my world! [Belgian waffles, crispy chicken, Boursin cheese, pepper jam, baby arugula, stone-ground Dijon mustard, lightly dusted w/ powdered sugar!!!]
Then I had cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes (of course - my fave food on earth) with goat cheese, while JB had Crab Oscar Benedict. Final course: cinnamon-coated dumplings with fresh, bright apple chunks & homemade vanilla bean ice cream...

We didn't eat, again, until 7:30 PM tonight. :-D ...But oh, when we did!!! Ack - getting ahead of myself...

JB checked in for his conference after brunch and discovered we still had a few hours to play, so we headed out 18 miles to Tybee Island, (the closest beach.) We went all-out exploring the Tybee Lighthouse. After climbing a TERRIFYING 178 *slatted* spiral stairs, I managed a smile for facing (although not really conquering) my fear of heights:
(My legs totally felt like jelly - not from the workout, but from fear! :-P I told JB, going to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy was cake compared to this, b/c the steps there were solid marble; that was fun! Open steps are my ultimate heights fear.) The beach view, though, was absolutely gorgeous! With our lighthouse admission, we also got to check out the Tybee Island Museum; I am SUCH a sucker for history museums!!! (Wow - their website rocks!)

When we returned to Savannah, JB went to a few conference classes, while I bobbed in the hotel salt water pool & hot tub (ahhhh...) before getting cleaned up for dinner.

Tonight, I wore something really special. My Grandmommy had an amazing dress that she wore to a lot of my mom's debutante functions 40+ years ago:
Grandmommy just gave *me* her dress and told me to enjoy it! What better place to enjoy than picturesque Savannah?!
I can't tell you how many people complimented me on it tonight, and they were all surprised at its "vintage" status! Everyone kept saying, "It looks so now!" Ah, cyclical fashion... :-)

The Olde Pink House was A.MAZ.ING for dinner!
We began with a fresh cheese board accompanied with berries, balsamic, & a Savannah Bee Company honeycomb, as well as Anson grit chips. I then had more fried green tomatoes, but tonight's were served with a sweet corn cream & topped with applewood smoked bacon and sweet & sour purple cabbage - perfectly salty/sweet/sour, creamy/crunchy = beyond delicious! (And completely different from the fried green tomatoes I had at brunch, which were full of goat cheese and a ranch-style sauce. Nowhere near the same thing! And yes, I plan on having more varieties of my beloveds at every meal possible. ;-)) JB had Cobia Wellington - so good he still can't even describe it with words - and I also had two little pulled pork sliders with barbeque sauce made with Cheerwine! :-D We closed with their signature praline basket dessert:
pecans, almonds & brown sugar cooked down and formed into a basket which held vanilla ice cream topped with mango puree & fresh berries, all on top of a chocolate ganache drizzle alongside a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Yeeeeah. It may not sound like it, but it was so *light*. The perfect way to end the evening! (Next time, I really want to try their "Caramelized Vidalia Onion & Sweet Potato Ravioli w/Savory Pecan Cream Sauce" for dinner...)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Savannah Salutations!

Greetings from the swanky Westin Savannah Harbor Resort! JB & I are here *alone* for a work conference of his, while my parents hold down the fort with the kids & the dog at home. [THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, LaLa & Grandaddo!!! WE LOVE YOU!] It's our first trip w/o the kids (except house-hunting to move to GA) EVER - yes, in SEVEN YEARS. Packing was insanely easy - w/ no kid stuff in the mix, I was ready in no time!

Before we left today, LaLa, Annelise, & I slipped over to the nail salon for GIRL TIME! Sis got her very first pro princess pedi:
When all 3 of us are together, we are *the girls*. :-D

JB & I left home around 1 PM and were here by 4:30 - easy drive! (Finally, right?! After 5 years of living 13-16 hours away from our resort areas of choice!) Our hotel is on the opposite side of the river from the city, but it makes for gorgeous views, and there's a free water ferry that runs every 20 minutes from 7 AM - midnight. It is SO NICE not to have to drive over (& find parking!) to explore River Street!

We walked the whole length of River Street this afternoon, first passing Savannah's Waving Girl statue...
...with whom, of course, I had to pose!

We examined & critiqued every menu posted on River Street, b/c there was NO WAY we were going to waste a meal here on gimmicky blah crap. (This is when our "foodie-ness" kicks into high gear! :-D) We have extremely good luck finding gems, and we may have hit the pinnacle on our first try: Vic's on the River was stellar! Fried green tomatoes (of course) with goat cheese & tomato chutney [the breading had rosemary in it!] and pulled pork eggroll with barbeque sauce & peach chutney:
Along with an appetizer of house-made orange marmalade on fresh biscuits, and the charming, chic atmosphere: this was perfectly *us*!

After dinner, we actually enjoyed impromptu dessert at the Savannah Bee Company! I have been so excited to visit this place, b/c they have all kinds of honey samples to taste. It's like a wine tasting, only sweeter! I wanted to taste what the real difference is b/t tupelo, orange blossom, black sage, etc. I just know I like honey, but I wanted to finally figure out which one I like best. Did the Savannah Bee Company help me?
No. I thought I was going to decide on my favorite variety. Now I know I just like them all. :-/ ;-) [We bought a small jar of the Cheese Honey. No, it's not cheese-scented! :-P It is a blend esp. created to pair nicely with cheeses, like if you're serving a cheese board. It has the most smooth, balanced flavor... you know, now that I'm a honey expert. :-P]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Patriotic Money-Fishing with Sharks

Cracking up over Will's doodle on the back of his math worksheet at school: it's a big ship (USA! USA!) with nets hauling in *money* (!!!) while sharks jump & feed on seals. (Don't miss the bloody brown seal who's still smiling, b/c you know, it's just nature. "That's how life works, Mom." Indeed, son. :-P)


My mom said she likes the sailors in top hats. Yes, very classy. Very Uncle Sam! I also like that all the portholes are under the water level. :-) That's a much cooler view than any seasick-inducing horizon line.

PS - I want him to divulge the location of this secret money reef!!!


Here's one more - not as action-packed, but colorful:


It's a big, beautiful fish with baby fish swimming in front...and TONS of fish eggs in the back. :-P (I don't know why that makes me giggle, but it does.)

I love this kid...

Never Met a Stranger

A friend up north commented after reading my last post: "I see that sharing thing happen here in the Midwest, but it seems to happen more often when people have something in common (maybe that is the barrier you see?)." She hit the nail on the head: the big difference *I* personally experience b/t regions is that people in the South openly & OFTEN spill our life stories & "private" personal business to *complete strangers* - like in (my favorite) the check-out line at the store, or while getting your oil changed. [Don't ever bother bringing a book or your laptop to the auto repair; you won't have time to crack it. You will be busy meeting James, who is actually a manager at the Walmart, which is great to know, b/c your friend just bought some garden stakes there that won't work in her yard, but Walmart wouldn't let her return them, so he can either explain why or help y'all out. You'll also add Lisa's husband, Ben, to your prayer list, b/c he's a long-haul driver for FedEx, and they are really trying to get him a local job, so he can be with the family more; they worry so much when he's out, and you'll get to hear all of the reasons why...and you'll end up having a much greater respect for those poor drivers! (Yes, this was my exact last oil change experience.)]

Another prime example:

The other day as I pulled out of a parking lot, an older man also pulling out rolled down his window. I rolled mine down, thinking he needed to tell me something might be wrong with my car; nope. We still had the MI tags on, and he just started chatting, "So you're from MI?"

"Oh, no sir. I'm from Charlotte. My husband got transferred up north for a bit, but it was too cold! I couldn't stand the winter, so we came home!"

"I was gonna ask how on earth you got here! My son lived in Charlotte for a long time. He did some concrete work and ended up working with some of those famous wrestlers."

[I actually knew *EXACTLY* what this old guy was talking about! My elementary school BFF, Sarah Jean, got a pool when we were little, and a bunch of the famous (80's) wrestlers helped install it. (Think Ric Flair.) They did that stuff as their side jobs! :-P See what I mean about random Southern connections?!]

"Oh, yes sir! That's great! Some of those same men helped install a pool for a friend of our family."

"They were some of the nicest people. One of them still gives 30% of everything he earns to this children's home. He is such a good Christian man."

[I can't imagine many people other places talking to complete strangers about random "good Christian men", can you? But it is honestly 100% normal to us. (More open Southern spirituality.) Up north, I think people would assume you were a religious freak or Tea Party fundamentalist to talk like this. Not here. It's a perfectly beautiful compliment that doesn't imply anything else, except that the describee has a heart of gold. I love it...]

"That is so good to hear!"

[Insert LITERALLY 5 more minutes of stories about these guys in Charlotte, through which I nodded & smiled. :-D] "So your husband is working here now?"

"Yes sir, he works for [insert company :-P] in Americus."

"Well, that is just great. I know [this person] and [that person] and their cousin who have worked there. And you're liking it here?"

"Oh yes sir! It's so nice to be back home where people stop & speak." [...just like this. :-D]

"Wonderful, wonderful! Now make sure to go on and get those tags changed soon. I bet the ladies in the Junior League [PS - I hadn't ONCE said a thing about JL; he totally assumed! :-D] will wonder, 'What on earth?' if you drive up like that!" [Insert laughs all around.]

"We are getting them changed as soon as we can! I hope you have a wonderful week!"

"You, too, now. Take care!"

And with that, we unblocked the parking lot we had cut off with our 10-minute impromptu convo, [no cars came; we were watching] and went on about our day.

This is not a rare thing in the South. *This* happens all. the. time. And I love it!!! It's one of the biggest things I missed. Of course precious people connect in other regions, but down here, there are really no strangers.

PPS - We *FINALLY* got those stinkin' tags changed!!! WOOHOO!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"The Help" Southern Movie Experience

Y'all know I have been waiting to see the big screen version of The Help for ages, and yesterday was FINALLY the day! A fun irony: I went with my new Junior League friend, Tiffany. (If you're not familiar, Junior League plays a role in the story, although today's JL has certainly evolved, as has our society, over the last 40 years.)

Another "only in the South" twist: Tiffany already knows JB!!! (They worked together here until she went to a different company this summer!) We discovered this after the showing we had planned for was sold out, so we killed two hours chatting at Mellow Mushroom. I am telling you, this stuff happens to me all the time in the South and never once in 5 years up north. I can't think of a single round of "do you know?" that produced mutual acquaintances b/t me & new friends there; and it's not just b/c the South is my home. My real home is 6-7 hours away [not "close"], and we have no college connections here, either. But there is just something about the South that fosters these associations - the openness? The willingness to share our lives & personal business, as opposed to the more private, personally reserved tone I felt up north? [I acknowledge I am making sweeping generalizations; there are always exceptions (MOPS! NCC! :-))...but stereotypes stick for a reason.] Tiffany & I didn't stop gabbing for 2 seconds while we waited at Mellow Mushroom. It was such a blessing in disguise to be delayed, b/c we really got to know each other. (We had only said "Hi!" to each other last weekend at the JL council retreat; we made our "date" over our JL FB page, just b/c we had both mentioned wanting to see this movie. :-)) We talked in-depth re: work, college, family planning, and esp. religion! (More Southerners being open about spirituality! :-D) I truly can't imagine this kind of 1st-time-meeting-you convo taking place outside the South. But honestly, what's the point of life if you're not connecting & investing in others? Why hold back & exist in a private bubble? I love everyone knowing all of my details, b/c when people truly know me, we can go forward together with genuine ease.

After spilling our guts, we headed back to the theatre for our show: it was AWESOME! Technical notes: it was so well cast, and I think reading the book first HELPED! I would actually recommend reading the book before seeing the film, (if you ever plan on reading it. If not, just get to the movies ASAP! :-D) They stayed pretty true to the book, and the few changes didn't feel like travesties; it was obvious they just made the timing flow better. The film also wrapped up a little neater than the book ended.

It's almost hard to believe that this film was regular life just one and a half generations ago. ("Half", b/c Skeeter & friends are about 10 years older than my mom, and when you talk about the difference b/t being 23 in 1963 vs. 1973, that is a significant social & cultural change! Talk about a different world view!) I have to say, I felt really blessed to have the viewing experience I did. The theatre was filled [sold out, again!] with black & white women, all intermingled, and we *all* expressed the exact same emotions & reactions throughout. I think audiences (& book readers) in other parts of the country may have a more detached experience, viewing the setting as "somewhere else" instead of "home". One of my favorite sociology classes at Davidson was "Ethnic Relations", and our professor [Dr. Nancy J. Fairley], through various methods over the semester, made it crystal clear to all of us that regional differences are truly much stronger dividing lines than racial ones. I thought about that class last night during the film, sitting beside these two sweet black women, with whom I know I have more shared cultural understanding than some other white, middle class, educated, young 30's mom in a different part of the country. The whole film and its viewing were a fascinating sociological experience that I am treasuring.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peachy Quinoa Salad (& CFA)

My college friend, Liz, is writing a food column for our old college town newspaper these days, and her recipe offering today is sending me straight to the produce market!!! (I'm one peach & the cherry tomatoes short; our tomato garden has bitten the dust, thanks to TWO rounds of tomato hornworms!)

This salad sounds heavenly...

Peachy Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water or broth
2 peaches, chopped
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup packed basil, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

* In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
* Whisk vinegar, olive oil, shallot, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss with the cooled quinoa.
* Fold in the remaining ingredients.


One last food deal - a free breakfast entrée from Chick-fil-A the beginning of Sept.! Apparently you're *supposed* to have to wait until Aug. 29th to reserve this, but the link just let me go ahead & do it! I'm getting my free chicken, egg, & cheese bagel! (I figure if I eat it before Zumba that Friday morning, I'll just burn it all off, right? RIGHT?!?!? :-D)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to Tap

Teaching Will

I went to Will's 2nd grade orientation last night: I seriously want to cry for joy over his teacher. What a blessing to be in her class! She is the perfect teacher: super sweet, considers herself their "mommy at school", wants them to be happy & enjoy learning, really emphasizes having fun, but imposes serious consequences when warranted. She is all about teaching responsibility. Parents are not allowed to comment if their kids choose to use bad handwriting, and if it's worse than what they're truly capable of, they will have to redo their homework during recess. (LOVE THAT!) "Mommy won't be able to check every assignment they turn in their whole lives. Better to learn personal responsibility for their work now, and they'll learn fast - they won't miss many recesses by choice." She said that she had a student forget her bus label lanyard yesterday morning; the student said, "My mommy forgot to put it on me." Mrs. Hemphill replied [not mean, but with an honest laugh,] "Does your mommy ride the bus?" ["No."] "Well, then it's not her responsibility. Your mommy is busy enough running around with her own business." I. Love. This. Woman. (Will & Sis hear me chant all the time: "That's not my business," when something is their responsibility. :-D)

She wanted us to fill out a little sheet on our children, just so she can get an idea of how we view them. She said she's had parents who, when she tells them what their child is like in class, just can't believe they're talking about the same kid. :-D It's so true that kids often act differently for authority figures outside the home! Will isn't ever different at his core, but he *is* ALWAYS on his best behavior for others and saves up all of his extra overly-touchy freaking out & whining just for me. :-P I loved the personality survey, so here it is:

1. Please give three positive statements about your child.
* He is extremely kind and intuitive about people's feelings.
* He has passionate team spirit for whatever group he's involved with and loves cheering on his mates.
* He loves to follow the rules.

2. Please give two of your child's weaknesses.
* He can be too tenderhearted and overly sensitive sometimes.
* He likes to make rules for *other* people a little too often.

3. What is your major concern about this school year in regard to your child?
* Reading and spelling

4. What are your expectations for your child upon completion of this school year?
* I would LOVE to be as confident about his reading and spelling as I am about his status as the self-proclaimed "math king".

[Yes - he told everyone on the first day of school that he was the King of Math. ...And he can back that up!!! :-D]

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BIG LIFE BUSINESS!

* Guess who pulled the trigger on OFFICIALLY getting her Zumba Instructor Certification Sept. 25th in Savannah? Savannah is the closest location (3-4 hours away) where a certification class is being held that I can attend this year. [Here's the list, if you're curious.] (You *MUST* take their official certification course; Zumba is a major brand, and they go after people who say that they teach "Zumba" but aren't certified. It's so worth it, though - great prep & materials!) I'm excited! ...A bit anxious, but excited! :-P The owner of Annelise's new dance studio asked me yesterday when I was getting certified, so I feel great that she's still interested in offering my class. [BTW: Annelise LOOOOOVED her first day back! She had ballet & tumbling, (tap is on Wed,) and Ms. Kathy said she didn't stop smiling the ENTIRE hour & a half. :-D]

I've never been to Savannah, (we've always just stopped at Charleston, b/c it's been closer to home & so magical) and now I'm going twice in about a month! [In 2 weekends for JB's work conference, and then for this in Sept. I think JB & the kids will come w/ in Sept. and have a day at the beach on Tybee Island while I'm in training, since I get that chance this 1st trip...and then JB can drive my rag doll-self home! ;-) ...Unless anyone wants to come babysit the kids over Saturday night to let me & JB go *TWICE* by ourselves! :-D (Seriously!)]

Registering for this Zumba certification feels crazy revolutionary for me - a major step out in faith, b/c:

#1 - I am the girl who HATES EXERCISE! :-D Despises. Loathes. Dreads. And here I am, going to be a *fitness* instructor!!! :-P I don't know why this seems so different from teaching dance...but it does. I guess I know some out-of-shape dance teachers, but NO out-of-shape fitness instructors. (Not that I feel out-of-shape, but... ;-)) People will be taking my class to work out, not to learn perfect dance choreography. I had 15 years of dance background before I began teaching, and even though Zumba is way more simple, I don't want to seem like a newbie. The ghost of my former high-school-plump-girl-self still creeps into my brain at times...and I guess I just need to keep beating her derrière back into oblivion! ;-) I *am* confident I can teach great classes, but it's crazy realizing I'm being called to do something I would have NEVER, EVER dreamed!!! (But not like it's the first time... ;-))

#2 - I *know* this is a wrong way for me to think, but I always feel like since I don't have a full-time job outside the home, I don't "deserve" to invest in stuff like this for myself. Don't get me wrong - as JB says, I always get everything that I want. :-) [To which I always reply: "Because I don't ever ask for crazy things." I'm the anti-shopaholic, so when I want something bad enough to ask, it must REALLY be worth it! :-D] But example: as much as I love to dance, I would never spend the money on taking adult classes *just for fun*, esp. if I'd also have to pay for a sitter. When I get to be a SAHM, that almost seems extravagant to me. [PS - JB does NOT agree w/ this at all! I think it actually drives him crazy; it's just my hang-up.] But we're in a new season of life now, where I have the time w/ both kids in school, (which also flows into EVERYTHING I'm beginning to do more of now for *me* for the first time in 7+ years,) and we're in a more stable financial place, so I'm going for it, w/o freaking out re: earning back more than I put in ASAP. It's a big deal for me.

* As if that wasn't enough, one of my friends asked if she could share my LaLa's Girls crafty business site with her friends, so I updated it a little. I've tried to strike balance b/t having it look up-to-date and not having to re-do everything I've had on there since I started it 4.5 years ago. I kind of want to start a FB fan page to advertise it; but I'm scared that I'll get overwhelmed with orders starting out...and then it'll be crickets, with no action at all. :-P Or the other potential bummer: if I get a bunch of orders for the designs I don't enjoy making so much (but offer b/c they sell) and none for the styles that are more fun for me. :-P Am I just being completely ridiculous? I *know* I'll make the FB fan page, but maybe after Zumba, cheer, & Junior League are more settled?

* I had my Junior League Council Retreat on Saturday. It's cool to be brand new, but already be in leadership b/c of my Placement. (I'm running the website, FB, & email blasts, so I have to be "in the know" about everything. :-)) I LOVE this League!!! The women are awesome. The retreat was so comfortable and didn't take any longer than we truly needed. The BESTBESTBEST part? This League's fundraising requirements! Most Leagues usually have some kind of silent auction/raffle/sale of some sort as a part of their big events to raise money for our charity work, and who has to provide those donations? We do. Which I HATE!!!! Esp. being new in town, and I am just hands-down desperately terrified of asking people for money. I cannot do it. (If people come to me first, I can sell anything; but I cannot approach or initiate! Even for charity!) It's the only part of JL that makes me squeamish. Usually, the requirement is to collect about $300 in donations. And I've always gotten it done. [Continued blessings upon my massage therapist in Chicago who *offered it all* w/o me asking for my last JLKD requirement! :-D] But my new League? [Listen to the seraphim sing!] NO DONATION REQUIREMENT!!! The fundraising council (of which I will *never* be a part! :-D) does all that. We just have to do $100 in tickets to each event, which is cake, b/c that's just suckering ;-) enjoying the company of one other couple, and work a shift at the event. Yes, please!

Friday, August 12, 2011

1st Day of 2nd Grade (...& Sis Shines, Too)

Off he went, [and with chlorine-free-although-slightly-sleepy eyes,
thanks to my beloved Liz's advice of milk eye drops! :-)]

He was excited! I am SO THANKFUL to have kids who like school. How did *I* take it? Are you kidding: after him going from tiny Montessori to giant public 1st grade in TWO different brand new schools last year w/ our mid-year move, this is CAKE!!! He's in the same school, even on the same hallway as his last 1st grade class; he has the same sweet bus driver and still gets picked up at the same time right in our own, safe driveway. After the last year & a half since leaving Chicago, this "new" beginning is effortless, so I feel awesome. (But a bit sleepy - 6:46 is NOT my friend.) I just don't cry or get sad when my kids start a new grade. [Now a traumatic haircut? That's a different story! :-P & I always cry-happy when they're onstage :-)] I got to go to Zumba this morning kid-free for the 1st time since May = that's celebratory for all 3 of us! :-D And I made my ultimate oven-fried green tomatoes for lunch, which they didn't have to eat, and I didn't have to share! :-P

I'm so happy with the way Will's backpack turned out! I just got it plain, super cheap at Walmart, but then *OF COURSE* we monogrammed it. [Ridiculously excited that he was so excited to brand it with his initials! :-D] He picked out the letter color, style, & placement. :-) Less than $12 for backpack & monogram total!

He said his first day was great. (No homework may be the hallmark of "great" :-P) It wasn't anything new, yet - just getting reacclimated.

Not to be outdone, I got called inside out of the car line at pick-up today to see what Annelise had done: she found all the vowels to spell these words with the movable alphabet and read the whole thing!!! I seriously don't have enough exclamation points for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School Starts

We just came from Will's school's open house, where we met his 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Hemphill. (He's WAY happier than this pic - our eyes are stinging today from the pool; Hank cleaned & chlorinated it right before we jumped in to celebrate the last day of Will's summer vacay! :-P) We are extra excited for this teacher, b/c the daughter of one of the best 1st grade teachers (who has become a friend of mine at church now, too) is in Will's class, and you *KNOW* she would make sure her kid is in the best one! :-D WOOHOO!!! The bus rolls up to our house tomorrow morning!

[PS - guess which sucker responsible, involved, SAHM signed up to be Will's class "room mom"? Is it selfish that I want nothing to do w/ PTO, but I have no problem being room mom?]

Annelise is ROCKING Kindy, so far. She has homework every night, but she says she likes it, that it makes her smarter. :-P She's exhibiting perfectionist tendencies (where does she get that? :-P) and at this rate, she'll be reading better than Will this year! :-O She & Will both inherited my proclivity for putting off things that seem "too hard" instead of just barreling through. I hear the same words that were chanted at me ad nauseam - "If you would have just gone on & done it, instead of making excuses, you could have been finished & already playing by now" - coming out of my own mouth. :-P They are both so proud of their achievements, though, and obviously we are, too! Annelise is even "pre-learning" her multiplication tables - this is a great example of how Montessori teaches kids the foundations of how to learn: they're not drilling tables to memorize. In their regular Kindergarten-level practice of writing out their numbers, they write different number patterns: 2, 4, 6, 8; 3, 6, 9, 12; 4, 8, 12, 16; 5, 10, 15, 20. In figuring out what number comes next, they're teaching themselves multiples. :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?

GET READY FOR THE THUNDER, Y'ALL! :-D

*THIS* is my mama-dream come true!!! I am SO THANKFUL that Will is so excited to start his first season of tackle football! We went to register today and get him fitted for his pads. Now he'll have a skills evaluation on August 25th, and he'll get drafted based on that August 26th. The coaches we met today were awesome, and they even gave Will his first nickname: Super Glue. They told him to tackle one of the coaches with his pads on; he did, and he stuck to that guy like super glue. :-P

Annelise also got fitted for her cheer uniform, but those still need to be ordered. :-) I'm really excited about coaching with these people.

Be still my heart!!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

SEVEN!

Happy 7th Birthday to our son, our firstborn, our Will!

I interviewed him tonight as I tucked him into bed, so we could remember what his favorites were on his first day of 7:

Favorite food: pizza [shrimp has been usurped! Sushi is a close 2nd]
Favorite snack: frozen fruit (pineapple, peaches, mango, & strawberries)
Favorite song: "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz
Favorite sport: tackle football [he is SO excited to start, even though he rocked t-ball this spring]
Favorite sports star: Kyle Busch
Favorite subject: math [he is amazing!]
Favorite show: Wild Kratts
Favorite movie: tie b/t Cars 2 & Kung Fu Panda 2
Favorite toy: tie b/t wooden Thomas trains [the love affair has continued since before his 2nd bday! I *love* that he's held onto this innocence!] and Hotwheels
Favorite game: Monopoly [he(we) has(have) 5 different versions: traditional, wooden box set, Cars 2, the iPod app, & construct-your-own-board]
Obsessed with: money - spending & counting ad nauseam
Future job: train engineer [herpetology is still a passion, but may be slipping to hobby status]
His teachers say: he's the sweetest, kindest, most well-mannered boy they have ever met [bursting with pride, but less than ecstatic that he saves up all his whining & picking w/ his sister *just for me* :-P]
Favorite number: 7 [I thought he'd say 18 for Kyle Busch or 19 for his t-ball number, but he said, "7, b/c I'm 7! Next year, my favorite will be 8." :-)]

We had his birthday party this morning at the Flint RiverQuarium, and it was wonderful:

["I already know everything about snakes!" :-D]

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peanutty Plains

My mom, Will, & I explored Plains, Georgia today - home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th president & winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. It's about 45 minutes from our home now and just the next town over from where JB currently works, so we had our sightseeing adventure before meeting him for lunch.

What a sweet slice of rural, simple life! We saw all the Carter family landmarks, toured his boyhood farm and the train depot which housed his campaign headquarters...and had the most divine cinnamon & chocolate peanut brittles and peanut butter ice cream! :-) It was a special excursion to share with my mom, who was "close" to his administration - her hometown friend, Susan, married the man who became Carter's Deputy Press Secretary; they were all living in DC at the time, so they got to share experiences!

Back in Plains...


[On the Carter family's old porch swing - lovely!]

[Relaxing at the depot]




And PS...
...I can out-belle Scarlett any day. ;-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tea Time!

My mom just arrived from NC for Will's birthday weekend, and while Annelise has already started school, Will gets to [has to? :-P] hang out with our mother/daughter tag team & be exposed to a little extra girliness, b/c my mom & I don't have that much time together. [Never enough time together!!!] He graciously escorted us to high tea today, b/c I have been dying to try the local tea shop, and my mom is the perfect company, (although, I did spend the first few minutes also pining for Jackie & Tina, my high tea BFFs whom I miss so dearly! *Please visit, so we can go to tea!!!* :-))

[You can take a boy in a pink polo to a tea shop,
but you can't take out the Y chromosome.]

[Tea light-warmed pots, fabulous fare, & even fun marshmallows as garnish on Will's individual sandwich plate!]

[I wore my pink Lilly dress I got at a consignment shop in Charleston!
Lilly + tea = perfection]

It was such a sweet time! The critique: a little pricey for what you get on the full high tea, and the desserts weren't mind-blowing; but the blueberry scone was amazing - buttery, not dry & overly-floured. The sandwiches were lovely: I lovelovelove tomato sandwiches, and I'm really picky about my chicken salad (I like it a bit sweet, no nuts, & no or very minimal celery) and this was good. The teas were delicious! My mom & I both chose rooibos (my favorite kind; I'm not a pure black or green tea fan; my taste buds are hypersensitive to the slightest bitterness. Tannins & I aren't BFFs.) I had Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos, which also had amazing hints of honey. Mom had Provence Rooibos, which had such a perfectly pure lavender note w/o being the slightest bit soapy!

So, who's ready to come & go with me next time???

[PS - they also have a pink princess dress-up room for girls' parties! I cannot wait to take Annelise one day soon!!!]

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Scrap Catch-Up

We have had a packed, fun summer! 16 digiscrapped pages-worth! If you want to know HOW to digiscrap, (or at least how *I* do it) click here for all my details. (You can see these pages below a little bigger by clicking on each one or more so by going here and clicking on each, although they're listed in backwards order.)

Will's Tournament T-ball Team:

End of Will's 1st Grade & Annelise's Preschool:

1st RiverQuarium Visit:

Zoo Atlanta:

Early Pool Play:

Our NC Family:

Tweetsie:

Rest of NC June:

Fourth of July:

FLIP Burger Boutique & Georgia Aquarium in ATL w/ the Lubows:

Growing the Butterflies:

Owling & Pool Play: