Monday, December 20, 2010

Some Things


We are busy celebrating Christmas, as I am sure y'all are, too. I just wanted to check in...

1. Duke has gone from quiet, reserved puppy to wild dog in the week that we have had him. He has definitely gotten used to our family -- and Bubba just loves him. We took him to the vet last Friday to get shots, and they estimate that he is around 10 weeks old, and he weighed in at 16.5 pounds. He is going to be a big boy!

2. The kids are now out of school, but last week was filled with Christmas parties at school, breakfast with Santa, and ballet recitals for the girls. We have more Christmas parties this week, too. I love all of the parties and fun things this time of year! I have a lot of cute pictures to post soon from the ballet recital.

3. We celebrated Christmas with Brad's mom's family this weekend, and I did breakfast for everyone yesterday morning. One of the recipes I made was Southern Living's Praline Pull-Apart Bread, and it is sooooo good. It is great for Christmas morning!

4. I recently made this Chicken Divan, Lightened Up recipe from, and it was some of the best Chicken Divan I have had. I did make a few changes from the recipe, though. I used regular Swiss instead of reduced fat (I just can't go there), I used a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking my chicken, and I didn't use whole wheat breadcrumbs. But I highly recommend this recipe -- the fresh broccoli really makes it good!

5. This time of year I always say that I am going to get myself more organized in the next year...and it never seems to happen. I feel so unorganized this year. I just sent my Christmas cards out today, and I am still not finished with my Christmas shopping. I feel like our Tortola trip put me even farther behind than usual this year. I hate feeling like I have to rush around during Christmas and don't get to enjoy the season; it always seems to end before I even feel like it has begun! I have got to get myself more organized! to do some online Christmas shopping! Thank goodness for overnight shipping!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Came Early!

The kids and I got home from school around lunchtime on Monday (they had half-days all week), and I was getting groceries out of the car. I was walking up the stairs into the house and heard a dog crying -- and we don't have a dog. I assumed that I was imagining things, so I kept about my business. But then I heard it again, so I went out on our deck to check it out.

And there was a puppy!

The kids were immediately thrilled that we had a new puppy, but I tried to explain to them that the pup didn't actually belong to us. The kids weren't having any of that. Bubba kept telling me "Mommy, he can be our friend!!!" Sassy wanted to give him a name right away -- although she wanted to give him a girl's name; she refuses to accept that he is, in fact, a boy.

The Farmer went around and knocked on some doors to see if anyone had lost a puppy. So far we have not found his owners, and people had seen him wandering around for several days before he ended up at our house. I have a hard time figuring out how he got to our house because we don't live very close to anyone; the closest houses are some trailers several hundred yards away -- we seriously live in the middle of a watermelon field right now.

So, unless someone shows up and claims him, the puppy is now ours -- and his name is Duke!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It Wasn't Your Typical Day...

On Thursday I had to go to a meeting at a farm in Georgia with Uncle Mac and my sister. Uncle Mac and Hunter flew over here to pick me up, and then we flew over to a small airport in this teeny town in Georgia.

I had never flown in a small airplane before. Uncle Mac is a pilot and has been for a long time, but I have never flown with him. I don't mind flying in big planes, but I admit I was a little nervous about flying in a small one. I totally trust Uncle Mac -- he is a very conscientious flyer -- but still; those little planes don't seem to be the safest things to me.

The flying part was totally fine. I don't know what I was worried about. It was a bit bumpy getting up to a good altitude and then coming back down for a landing, but other than that, we had pretty smooth flying. And it was a lot faster than driving!

When we got to the airport in Georgia, it was unattended and didn't have a car rental place nearby. So, evidently, it is a courtesy to pilots to be picked up by the local police when this is the case (or at least it was in this town -- I don't know if it is in other places?). So, Hunter and I got to ride in the back of a police car into town!

If you're counting, that's two firsts for the day: first small airplane ride and first ride in a police car.

(Don't know why this one is so small)

The sheriff's deputy who picked us up took us to the jail -- yes, I am serious -- where we picked up another police car for us to drive. This one was unmarked. We asked him directions to the farm where we were having our meeting, and instead of just telling us where the farm was, he lead us out there -- going at least 15 miles over the speed limit the entire time.

I think there must be a lot of crime to fight in rural Georgia.

We had our meeting, which included a 30 minute ride out to a freezing cold onion field so that Uncle Mac could stand in the back of a pickup truck and "rally the troops", if you will, to come work at our farm this summer. On the ride out the the field we had to follow a guy, Omar, who also drove at least 15 miles over the speed limit.

Omar then tried to take us to lunch at this family dining place, but when we walked in the lady said "I'm sorry, you're too late; you should have been here earlier." and refused to feed us.

It was 1:12.

And what was worse, she and four other people were sitting around a table eating!

After we finished lunch, we headed back to the police station to drop off our unmarked car and catch a ride back to the airport -- this time with a policeman who had definitely been into the donuts -- he weighed at least 400 pounds.

I have never had the possibility of so many good Facebook status updates before!

And here is my PSA from the day: Make all attempts to stay on the right side of the law as they don't make the back seat of police cars very comfortable for criminals!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fun Was Had By All

Disclaimer: I don't know why it is doing this blue type-underlining-thing....

You know how it is with family. We all have those people. The ones who know everything. The ones who think they are hot stuff. The ones who are better than everyone else. The ones who don't like anything. Or whatever. So I was interested to see how it was going to work out when we got 24 of us together for a whole week -- especially when the majority of us work together. It's like we can't get away from each other!

I am happy to say, however, that we all survived. And I am pretty sure that everyone had a great time on vacation.

I think the rum might have had something to do with it.

We would wake up every morning and have our cabana boys -- Graham (my brother), Joe (my brother-in-law), and Brad (The Farmer -- and yes, I am obviously using real names) -- start the pina coladas. And you just can't have a bad day when it's 80-something degrees and you have a pina colada in hand!

Today I would like to post some pictures of my crazy family and the fun we had in Tortola, starting with my favorite picture of the week:

Obviously my dad had a terrible time:

We got my cousin, Reed, to take our picture. He didn't quite get us centered...

Our fam. Yes, we are all wearing the same shirt. Please excuse Brad's facial hair...yuck!:

The four siblings (and farm officers): Uncle Mac, Aunt Caroline, Aunt Lea (rhymes with pea), and Daddy:


Daddy and Aunt Caroline acting like little kids in the pool:

That would be my hubby:

Looking out toward Jost Van Dyke from Steele Point:

And then, sadly, it was time to come home....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steele Point

It is hard to believe that we have been back from our vacation for over a week now. We really got home and hit the ground running, and Christmas is here and in full swing!

In Tortola, we stayed on this wonderful compound called Steele Point. It is made up of eight acres on the western peninsula of Tortola. There are three houses for rent on Steele Point as well as the owner/caretaker's house.

Each house is for rent individually and has everything you would need -- full kitchen, washer/dryer, etc. Each house also has a great pool and a great view. The Steele Point staff will go to the grocery store and have the kitchen stocked for you before you get there if you want, and they will even provide a cook for you if you would like. We had Kellan, and he cooked some really great meals for our entire family -- all 24 of us. I really liked him and his food until he asked me if I was expecting another baby...after that, not so much!

All of the houses are open air except for the bedrooms. So the kitchen, living rooms, den, etc are all open to the elements. You can have a bird fly through the dining room while you're eating; we kept hearing about parrots but never saw any. Even the showers are open, which can be a little daunting if you are a modest person. My brother and sister-in-law's shower was right next to our pool, and both of them are really tall, so they would have to warn us when they were about the bathe so we wouldn't get a little too much information!!

There are two docks at Steele Point, but one of them was damaged in a hurricane earlier this fall so only one was available while we were there. We rented three boats and spent a lot of time exploring around Tortola and the surrounding islands, but I will talk about that in another post.

Here are some pictures of the houses. My family stayed in Gestalt, so I have the most pictures of it...

Gestalt (our house):

Our pool:

View from the pool toward Soper's Hole:

View from our bedroom:

Front entrance:

The living room:

The dining room:

The den:

Steele Point Villa:
Flying our colors at the big house:


I would highly recommend Steele Point to anyone looking to go on vacation to Tortola. I would go back in a second. In fact, can I go back right after Christmas?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daddies, Lock Up Your Daughters....

This guy's a keeper!!!

We're Back!

The Farmer and I got back at 1 am Sunday morning from Tortola, British Virgin Islands. We were there for a wonderful week with my family, and I have to admit that I was sad to see our vacation come to an end even though it was wonderful to get home to the kids. I have a ton to share and will do it over a couple of posts, but I wanted to just check in and let y'all know that I'm alive and give you a few pictures for now...

The whole crazy crew:

I hope y'all all had a very happy Thanksgiving!
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