Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

This is the first year since Brett and I have been together that we have not made it to Marlene's family's Christmas Eve festivities in Atmore. Since we knew ahead of time that we couldn't make it, we made plans to drive down to Gulf Shores on Friday night to see Jim, Marlene, and Alaina for a few days. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we had a great time!

One of my favorite places is down at Marlene's parents' house (MeMe and Bubba) in a little community called Shell Banks right outside of Fort Morgan. Their house is right on the bay and backs up to the Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

MeMe and Bubba have a resident heron they call Gertrude. I FINALLY got the chance to get some up-close pictures of her. She's not the most sociable gal in the world. She also had a pelican friend hanging around the boathouse with her. He was a little less camera shy so I was able to get a few more pictures of him.

I was the only one who wanted to brave the chilly wind on Saturday and go down to the beach and I am SO glad I did. I ended up with some pretty awesome photo ops while I was down there.

As much fun as we had in Gulf Shores, the absolute highlight of my Christmas was going to church with my parents and Brett on Sunday night. This is the first year that my Dad came with us to the candlelight service. It will always be one of my favorite Christmas memories! This church has always been very important to our family. My great-grandmother donated the land for the church to be built and it is the church that my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins all grew up going to.

Christmas morning was low-key. We had breakfast with my parents and then I got to work in the kitchen. This was the first year that Christmas dinner was on me and we also had family coming over! I was a little on the nervous side, but everything turned out better than I expected and we all had a good time.

Thankfully, all of the bad weather that came through didn't affect us. A tornado passed just a few miles away from us!

I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:11

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Welcoming Fall on the gulf!

I haven't felt inspired to blog in a while, mainly because there really hasn't been anything too exciting happening in our neck of the woods! We've been catching up on some major yard projects, playing with Gomer in the cooler air, and spending as much time on the beach before it gets too cold as we can. Oh, and a little thing called finally fighting the infertility monster. :)

I'm not sure how much I'll blog about our fertility treatments, but I'm excited to say that I have a wonderful OBGYN who has been a great source of knowledge and encouragement. Even though our situation is less than ideal, he's confident that we'll be able to make everything work!

The weather is finally starting to cool down a bit and I absolutely love it! Fall is my favorite season by far so I'm finally a happy girl. Marlene had her first art festival down in Fairhope two weeks ago and we had a blast! The weather was beautiful and the beach was even better. :)

A few assorted photos from October so far :)

Friday, August 17, 2012


We will be headed to beautiful Ft. Morgan/Gulf Shores in 3.5 hours. I can't wait!

I'm ready for sun, sand, and surf!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Montgomery highlights via Instagram pictures

My birthday isn't until next Tuesday, but Brett and I went to Montgomery last weekend to celebrate with just the two of us. This weekend we'll be in Fort Morgan with Jim and Marlene and then we'll celebrate with my parents on my actual birthday. We take birthdays seriously 'round here!

We lived in Montgomery for a little over a year, but I never went to the First White House of the Confederacy OR the State Archives. That's hard to believe considering my obsession with genealogy! I'm sure Brett was bored to death, but he at least acted interested for my sake.

We had the best tour guide at the FWHOC. I thought I was asking some pretty tough questions and he rattled off the answers before I finish the question! He was fun to talk to and let us wander around until my heart was content. Had a huge group of people not walked in at the last minute, I was going to BEG him to sneak us into Jefferson Davis' study and take our picture in there.

The house originally stood almost directly across the street from where the official government seat of the Confederacy stood. The marker for that is right outside of Wintzell's Oyster House behind the Renaissance Hotel.

The Alabama State Archives are right next door to the FWHOC. I was so tempted to poke my head in and look up a few things, but I knew that there was no way it would be a quick trip. I could easily spend all day in there! Brett was being a trooper and I didn't want him to be bored to death.

The best part was Saturday morning's temperature. It was actually in the 60's in August and I have proof! I'm so ready for Fall to get here. Bring on the boots, scarves, chili cookouts, and Auburn football! WAR EAGLE!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No Spend August: Day 5 (and weekend recap)

I'll fess up. I blew it yesterday. Twice.

Yesterday morning I drove up to Selma and I stopped in Greenville to grab breakfast at Krystal. I was weak for two reasons: 1) We don't have a Krystal within an hour of where we live and 2) I'm a complete sucker for their Sunrisers. -$5.00

Saturday afternoons have turned out to be our weekly shopping time. Brett went with me to Walmart and we actually stayed well within budget. Once a month we always stop and pick up chicken wings and cheese bread for dinner with my parents and it was our turn this month. -$45.00

Maybe next weekend will be a little better!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1 - No Spend August

I've made it through approximately 1/2 of Day 1 and I've learned that I'm way too tempted to shop online at work! I've deleted Etsy from my menu bar so hopefully that will squash any extra temptation. :)

My birthday plans have been excluded from the 'No Spend' clause. Hallelujah! We're going down to Fort Morgan for that weekend. I told him I was totally OK with no shopping, but I wanted at least 2 round of min-golf and dinner at Southbeach

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Spend August

I'm a little late to the "7" party; I just finished reading it last weekend. It ranks a place in my Top 10 Favorite Books Ever pile for sure. Despite the fact that it was an awesome book and that I totally think Jen is a rockstar for pulling that off, I'm not sure that I have the self discipline to do so. Imagine my surprise when my hubby (who never read the book nor did he know I was reading it) decided we need to tackle some 7-esque type challenges to make us aware of just how much extra crap we have/spend/do/waste.  Hello, God. Nice to meet you here. Would you care for a glass of tea?

{This is where I inserted a pretty big sigh and a slight eye roll. Just being honest!}

We're tackling spending for the month of August. There are several good reasons why I'm not excited about doing this during the month of August -- my birthday being a big one! I had some pretty fun ideas that are now pretty much flushed down the commode. Granted, if I know Brett I'm pretty sure he has something nice up his sleeve, but I'm still not in love with the idea.

The goal for the month of August is pretty simple. If it's not a bill or a necessity, don't buy it. It sounds a lot easier than it's going to be. I'm already not a fan of no new Kindle books, no stalking good deals on eBay, no cute stuff from Etsy, no new iTunes downloads, no Sugar Rush (our local version of Starbucks) -- no ANYTHING.

Unlike the book, I don't think I'm going to ask for external accountabilty partners. I think Brett and I are going to try to fly this thing alone. Hopefully we won't crash and burn!

I'm planning to use my blog as a way to journal this. Here's to hoping I can remember to update it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sweet Summertime

The past few months have slowly melted together in the delicious blur known as summertime. Nothing overly exciting has happened; we're just enjoying life!

Our family grew by 4 paws over Memorial Day weekend. A sweet, 2 year old male Boxer wandered up and adopted us. We managed to find his original family and after learning that they were not able to keep him any longer, made him an official member of our family! His first family named him Bama, but Brett starting calling him Gomer as a nickname and it seems to have stuck. He's such a funny fellow!

Jim and Marlene drove up for Memorial Day and my dad twisted Jim's arm hard enough that he agreed to take Dad's Harley for a spin. I'm pretty sure that my Dad is now on Marlene's bad list. :)

I've been fighting 2 new addictions lately --- HGTV and Pinterest! I've dabbled on Pinterest for a while, but I've been really drawn in over the past couple weeks. Brett laughs at me when I hole up in the bedroom every night to pin until my heart's content! LOL

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bon Secour

Once again I'm way behind on updating my blog. Sheesh! It's so easy to be a slacker lately. :)

Brett and I spent last weekend in Gulf Shores and had a wonderful time. Jim and Mar took us on a back road tour of the Bon Secour River area and I think I like it as much or more than Gulf Shores proper.

One of my favorite stops was the Swift-Coles Tidewater Mansion that was on the Bon Secour River. Marlene's childhood friend's aunt (say that 5 times in a row!) was the last Swift family owner of the home and Marlene and her friend would spend a considerable amount of time here back in the 60's and 70's. It was so fun to walk around the house and hear Mar share her childhood memories.

After our visit to the Swift house, we decided to plan a last minute shrimp boil. Mar suggested we stop at MeMe's favorite place to get shrimp -- Freddie Stewart Shrimp. Freddie and his wife (whose name I can't remember. Ugh! I hate when I do that!) have a boat that they use to shrimp in and around the Bon Secour area when it's in season and down around Port St. Joe, FL when Bon Secour isn't in season.

I love the inside of their shop! They a huge bulletin board that is covered with load tickets back from the 70's. The Stewarts have been shrimping here for a good while.

We spent most of Saturday afternoon down at the beach and then came back to the house for our darn good shrimp boil. After dinner we went to play a quick game of putt-putt at Pirate's Island. That seems to be tradition in our family!

We slept in Sunday morning and then Jim, Brett and I went to play golf while Mar finished up a painting. I learned a valuable lesson out there. I may not be able to drive worth a flip, but I can sure putt! LOL

As always, we had a wonderful time down there and can't wait to go back in a few weeks.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wedding preview

A few quick shots from last month's wedding. :) These two make my heart smile!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Once again, I've fallen WAY behind on blogging! A lot has happened since my last post. :)

Brett's dad retired on February 29 and we went up there for a little over a week to help them pack and to celebrate his retirement. Thankfully their house sold (and closed!) 10 days before he retired.

{Brett couldn't resist a last chance to pose!}

We spent Jim's first day of retirement in Chattanooga. It was a nice break from packing! We have been to Chattanooga many times, but I had never taken the time to drive through the Missionary Ridge battlefield area to find the memorial for the brigade that my great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Perry Merrill, had fought with/been captured. I was glad to finally check that off my bucket list!

 {Moore's Bridgade memorial. Jacob Perry Merrill was in Co. C of the Alabama 37th}

We wrapped up our final trip to Scottsboro with dinner at Salt. It was our first time eating there and the food was great. Our dinner was interrupted with a massive hailstorm, but fortunately my car managed to come out unscathed! Phew!

{Dinner at Salt -- before the hailstorm!}

As soon as we came home from Scottsboro, I got busy getting ready for our local Arabian show. It is a qualifer for Region 12 and is always a good (but tough!) show. I was pretty tickled to get to show the same gelding that I had shown at the Baker show last fall.

Jim and Marlene drove up for the weekend to hang out with us during the show. It was great to have them there with us! We had a great group of folks all weekend and the show was a blast. Sadik did a great job for me and we came in 3rd in ATH Geldings!

One of my co-workers got married last Thursday night and she asked me to take pictures for her. I've never shot a wedding before (this was my first and last!) but we had a great time. It was a small ceremony with just family and close friends in the old chapel at the First Baptist Church. I've just started editing some of the pictures, but I love the way some of them turned out.
Brett and I drove down to Gulf Shores last Friday evening to spend the weekend with Jim and Mar at their new house. Let me go on the record and say that while I really miss going to the mountains, I'm THRILLED to have a place to go play on the beach! LOL

I didn't get any cell phone pictures of their house, but I did get some down at MeMe and Bubba's. Their house is our little piece of paradise. It's one of my favorite places!

{Pottery fragments from an old Indian shell midden}

We went to The Beach Club for dinner on Saturday night and it was excellent. The bartender made one of the best Mai Tai's I've ever had. :)

Jim and Brett went golfing Sunday morning while Mar and I went shopping for a bit. We met for lunch at Tacky Jack's and then hit the beach until it was time to go home.

Can I take a minute and say just how excited I am for private beach access? Can I get an Amen? LOL

This weekend is going to be a stay-at-home catch up weekend. Between yard work, cleaning out my closet, and editing photos from the show and wedding, I'm going to be busy for a while!