Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Creek in Winter

Have I told you that there is a creek, two actually, on the farm?  We hiked through the snow so that we could see it in all of its winter glory and it did not disappoint!  While sitting and watching the slow movement of water under the ice I had to pinch myself because it was so lovely and peaceful.  I owe this blog a formal introduction to the property!  I'm not sure why I've been holding it so close, I guess because I love it so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Scenes from the Blizzard of 2016

Hello!  We had a blizzard over the weekend which I know was really horrible for some people, but we, fortunately, were able to hunker down in our cozy little house and enjoy the gift of a snow day (or two!).  The snow started Friday night and didn't end until late Saturday night!  It was a doozy of a storm, leaving us with almost two feet of snow!

I spent Saturday finishing a novel, making homemade marshmallows (that looked like snowmen), baking snowflake cookies, cleaning out a closet and taking a short nap on the sofa!  It was heaven!

The children did spend some time outside while it was snowing, but did the majority of their playing on Sunday when it was sunny!

The most brutal part of our snowstorms are always the shoveling out part.  Moving this much snow off of sidewalks, walkways and driveways is exhausting and tedious!  Fortunately, we do have some child labor.

At one point, out of the corner of my eye I saw Bryce "collapse" on a snow bank and had the alarming thought that he was having the dreaded snow heart attack.  I called out his name several times and he didn't answer which was even more alarming (though as Bryce points out I wasn't so alarmed that I didn't stop to snap a photo!).  Turns out he had music blaring and was just taking a rest!  Phew.

We also went over to the farm to see it all dressed up with snow, I'll share those pictures tomorrow!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blow Dry Bootcamp

Several years ago, I went on a girls weekend where I knew most of the ladies present but not all of them.  Over breakfast one morning, I was talking to a new friend and she was passionately discussing hair.  I learned that she is a hairstylist and that she loves what she does.  As I sat there listening to her, I remember thinking that I wanted someone to cut and color my hair who loved her job as much as Theo.  Theo has been doing my hair ever since! Going to her is like going to see your best friend who just happens to work on your hair.  She's wonderful!

I have great hair but, unfortunately, I really can't do it justice with a hairdryer!  It takes forever to blow out my hair, and I lose my patience, strength and will long before it's actually dry!  Therefore, I often fall back on a bun or ponytail.  Grace has really, really beautiful hair, but it's thick and coarse like mine and is also very hard to blow out.

Ever since she was little, Bryce has blow dried her hair for her (he's like an everyman!) while she sits on the stool in the bathroom.  It's actually very, very sweet and I think it's special to both of them. However,  looking forward, I'm worried she will get to college and not know how to dry her hair and always be frustrated like I am!  So when Theo offered up a brilliant "blow dry bootcamp" I signed Grace up!  The class was all about learning how to dry your hair and it couldn't have been a better idea.  I would have loved to take the class too, but I had a prior commitment that night so Bryce took her, which seemed appropriate anyhow : ).

They both reported that it was a lot of fun and that they learned a lot too!  Grace learned about the importance of really clean hair, a good brush and starting at the roots.  Her first attempt at home resulted in a few shed tears but I think that she will get there!

Would you take a class like this?  I love the idea of taking 1 to 2 classes to learn something new!  I'm thinking it would be a fun business as the ideas are endless!  Calligraphy, hair, makeup, knitting, canning, etc.!

*Photos 1 and 6 were taken by Donicia

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Favorite Things #52

These are two new, but old, favorite things that have been getting a lot of use lately!  The vintage Jadite batter bowl was a Christmas gift from my Mom and it's such a treasure!  We use it every weekend to make pancakes!

The second is this little pink measuring cup.  My old measuring cup had long ago lost all of its markings, probably due to the dishwasher, and I was forever trying to squint and make sure I was around the lines I was looking for.  I love this little pink one cupper because there is no writing to fade away, it's permanently marked.  Plus, it's pink!  Fun fact: it says Kellogg's on the bottom so perhaps it was used for advertising?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Eosiniphilic Esophagitis Update

Harris had an endoscopy last week.  A little summary of the last year leading up to this scope goes something like this...

1.  Fall 2014:  Harris has a scope and his numbers come back crazy high at 66.
2.  He has a full allergy test again and is basically allergic to everything.  Dust mites (gross!) are high on the list so we cover his bed and pillows with allergen free bedclothes and get rid of some of his stuffed animals hogging the bed.  He is also taken off of dairy, wheat and corn (and of course, no nuts).
3. We also visit a homeopathic practitioner who tells us to do some crazy sounding stuff but we do it to the letter.
4.  February 2015: He has another scope and has 0 eosinophils.  He's never, ever had a clean scope before.  They add corn back to his diet (he has been off of corn for years).
5.  May 2015: He has another scope and once again has 0 eosinophils.  They put wheat back in his diet.
6.  August 2015: He has another scope and still has 0 eosinophils.  They put him back on dairy!
7.  January 2016: He has another scope, while having zero restrictions on his diet, and has 0 eosinophils.

You guys, this is incredible.  After the scope, the doctor came in to talk to Bryce and I and expressed surprise that it looked so good (we would wait for numbers) because one doesn't "grow out of EE."

We are ecstatic for Harris!  We haven't had our follow up with the doctors yet so I don't yet know what their thoughts are, but I'm all over the map with my thoughts!  Could it have been environmental this whole time even though the doctors say that's highly unlikely?  Could the homeopathic doctor have cured him with her remedies?  Could he have simply outgrown it?  Though I"m incredibly curious about all of that, I don't really want to question how we got here but rather celebrate the fact that we got here!  Here's to cake!  And cornbread!  And milk and cookies!

P.S.  Photos of Harris exploring one of the barns on the farm!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Story of our Farm

Ever since the other house fell through, Bryce and I have kept an eye on the real estate market looking for something that spoke to us.  Unfortunately, nothing was coming up that we were interested in and that fit our pretty specific criteria which included, a barn to keep the airstream in, land, an old house/farmhouse and close proximity to our current community. 

When I first got the email of our house being listed, in June of 2014, I knew right away that it was something that we needed to see (I literally gasped aloud when I saw that it had a butler's pantry) and our realtor showed it to us on the first day it was listed.  I loved it and we were very intrigued but we, and our realtor, felt it was significantly overpriced so we decided to wait until the price was lowered.  Months and months went by and the price didn't budge one inch!

Six months after we saw the house, we made an offer that was significantly less than what they were asking but we felt like we might as well put our offer out there instead of waiting.  Needless to say, the negotiations didn't go anywhere!  So we waited some more...

Eight more months passed and the asking price still hadn't moved but we, informally, let the sellers know that we were still around and that our offer was still on the table.  Again, it was a no go.

As you can imagine, by this time we had all sorts of plans and dreams for the property!  I was fairly frustrated with the seller (who had owned the property since 1974) but decided that we needed to move on instead of spending so much time focused on the house and property.  We settled in, again, to staying right where we are.  It was about that time that the seller came back to us with a much improved counter offer and we were able to come to an agreement!  Of course, there are lots of little backstory tidbits, but I won't bore you with those details as the most important thing is that we got the property and couldn't be more thrilled.  When our realtor called us, I actually cried a little, I was so relieved and happy.

It wasn't an easy decision for us to move.  As I've said over and over, we love our current house and community.  Leaving town was a difficult decision as there is so much to be said for walking to town, riding bikes to the pool and being neighbors of friends.  I was so fearful of making the wrong decision and making a mistake!  But sometimes one just has to make that leap of faith and now that we've jumped I couldn't be more thrilled or excited for this next chapter.  Now to name the farm...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Bookstand for Cookbooks

Over a year ago, I bought a beautiful book stand at an antique store and brought it home to have Bryce "tweak it a bit."  Unfortunately, I know what I like, but I don't always know if something is in good shape or not and this bookstand was most assuredly not!  Only when I got home, and Bryce really examined it, did I understand that there were multiple fixes (someone had done more harm than good in their own fixing!) and that they were not necessarily straight forward.

It took a year of occasionally messing around with it, and my father-in-law making a special wood screw, but I came down recently to find the bookstand waiting for me!  I love this stand an unnatural amount.  I use it to hold my cookbooks while cooking and it is simply perfect for the job.  Plus, it's beautiful and that's always a win-win.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Grace made me a cake for my birthday!

Yesterday, I turned 43.  I can hardly believe it, but as I've said so many times before, I'd rather be 43 than not!

Bryce took me on a date!

This feels like a big year for us in so many ways and, if I'm totally honest, I'm terrified as much as I'm excited.  As I've mentioned before, as I've gotten older I've had a lot more fears, doubts and worries than I've had before.  This is the year that I"m going to try to let them go and embrace the change, mistakes and celebrations that come our way.  I think this year might be our most adventurous yet and I want to enjoy it to its fullest.

We had lunch with my family

My loves

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New, Old, Older and Oldest

Thank you for all of your well wishes for the farmhouse!  We are so excited (and a bit overwhelmed too).  I thought it would be fun to tell the tale of how Bryce and I surprised ourselves, years ago, by discovering that we love old houses.  We bought our first house the year we were married.  It was a small, sweet home and we loved that it was brand new and that we got to choose some of its unique features.   During those first years, when we were on a shoestring budget, we would go around to new developments and wander around the new homes that were being built for fun.  We would talk about, and plan, what we would build someday when we were able.  We would even use computer software to design our dream house.

After Bryce graduated from GSU and got a job across town (which in Atlanta translates to hours of traffic) we decided to move closer to his work.  Now, I cannot tell you how often I had said that I didn't like old homes and specifically I didn't like brick ranches that were so prolific in the area that we were looking.  So we looked and we looked and we couldn't find anything at all that we liked and that was in our price range.  Finally, in desperation I believe, our realtor took us into a 1950's ranch.  I knew the moment I walked in that I wanted the house.  The surfaces of the old floors glowed and spoke of lives lived.  It just felt different than all the other houses.  It wasn't large and it wasn't grand, but it was special to us.  It was a real fixer upper and we spent the majority of our time remodeling that house ourselves.  Both of my children came home from the hospital to that house and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Still, when we moved here we told our realtor specifically that we wanted a newer or new house.  We had just left behind a very loved and renovated house, but it had taken up so much time and with very young children we didn't think we were up for an old house.  Again, our realtor took us to dozens of homes.  We didn't like a single one.  Finally, again in desperation, our realtor told us she wanted to show us a house that she just sold but that we might enjoy seeing.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that we got out of the car, looked at the house, and at each other, and knew that this was the sort of home we wanted.  Not the style but the kind of home.  In retrospect, I believe our realtor must have been very good at her job to be able to tell what we wanted without us even knowing.  From that house forward she only showed us older homes and we quickly found our current home (1910). Again, we've renovated and love our home and in many, many ways feel that this is an ideal house. Through renovating and putting on an addition, we've been fortunate to make this house exactly what we want (it started with good bones)!

In looking for more land, we talked about finding land and building, but ultimately we decided that old homes speak to us (they might have more to say to me than to Bryce!). They are quirky and maintenance can be a nightmare but they just feel right to me.  We seem to be getting older and older (us and the houses!) as some parts of the farmhouse we just purchased are from the 1700's!

P.S.  The top picture of the farmhouse was on notecards that the previous owner gave us at closing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Eve

For many years, we have spent New Year's Eve with our dear friends, The O's (that's what we call them!).  This year was no different, but it was in a different location.  We decided to ring in the new year in our new, but empty, house!  And to take it to the whole next level, Gretchen suggested that we sleep over!  I sort of thought she was crazy, but in retrospect I can't imagine a more wonderful way to welcome the house to a new year and a new family!

Bryce set up strobe lights and a music system to have a dance party!  Leading up to New Year's Eve I kept finding Bryce tweaking and singing along to his playlist for the night!  We even practiced a few moves : ).  A little known fact about Bryce?  He loves to dance.

We even made a balloon drop!  Did you know you can buy balloon bags on amazon?  It was super fun.

I made a champagne cake from the cookbook Vintage Cakes, which was a Christmas present.  It was really tasty and we all agreed it definitely did taste old fashioned!

And much to our delight, the O's actually pitched a tent in our new living room to sleep in for the night!

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