Tuesday, June 25, 2013

stephanie howell, 2 of her chicks, and jenni's chickens

some of my favorite blogs are those that feature little ones.  beautiful, innocent, trusting, delightful, funny . . . their antics are good for the soul.  to get to meet these little charmers in person, to actually hold them, chat with them, and sing to them . . . heaven on earth.

stephanie, jimmy, and the two youngest chicks made a pit stop in nashville today and we enjoyed every minute of it.  when stephanie tells you the girls are hard to photograph, believe her!  these two are busy!

from left to right:  cate, me, stephanie, lucy, melissa, and jenni

thanks for stopping by stephanie and family!  safe travels!  we love you!

randoms . . .

many thanks to betsy for another fabulous blog redo!  she even knew instantly where to find the cute flower graphics i wanted.  that betsy sure knows here way around the webosphere!

i am still absolutely 100% loving mowing the one acre lawn with my old push mower.  no sarcasm at all.  love it truly i do.  only problem is the neighbor boy.  he's in middle school, stuck at home most days with just a bicycle and motorbike to keep him company.  i'm not sure if he's super bored or just loves the riding mower but he is always wanting to mow my lawn!  and i want to mow my lawn!  i have such a hard time saying no to his puppy dog eyes every week when he comes knocking so i cave and let him finish up.  one week he actually beat me to it and mowed the whole darn thing!  that was a sad week.  this week i finally put my neon converse foot down and said no.  a friend was over and she laughed and laughed at me all afternoon because i felt so bad.  it's just a hard thing knowing that chivalry is not dead and i'm stomping all over it.

i will apparently do anything to stay out in the sunshine as i'm also enjoying hanging the laundry out to dry.  i've never bothered with fabric softener before as i'm no domestic diva, but i think i need to give it a whirl if i plan to continue with this energy conscious trend.  our towels are getting a bit rough.

have any of you ever seen pink edged queen anne's lace?  i hadn't, but i've found this beauty on my walking route.  i wonder if it's normal, a rare strain, or a mutant.

i've also been dabbling with a bit of crocheting lately even though my lap kitty tries to help a little too much.  are any of you yarn goddesses?  i'm wondering about some good places to shop online.  i really only like to work with cotton yarn and there isn't much of a selection of that at the local big box stores.

off to edit more pics!  i'm loving blogging in my freshened space!  :)

movie reviews: "now you see me" and "monsters u"

i don't review many movies here as i'm not really qualified as i just don't see many movies.  i just wanted to pop in quick to mention these two that i've actually seen in the theaters recently.  i suppose i just want to brag that i saw an adult movie out in public.  ha!

but seriously.  "now you see me" was unexpectedly awesome.  i probably never would have seen it if my friend and i weren't committed to going to the movies and this was the only thing remotely interesting playing.  the plot just seems a bit odd and not movie worthy.  but really it's a thoroughly enjoyable flick from beginning to end.  i can't tell you at all why that is because the story relies on you not knowing anything.  it's just really a good movie and that is all.

then g and i saw "monsters university" opening weekend.  it's a charmer.  i left the theater wanting to go home and watch the first one (which is really the second as "mu" is a prequel sequel) right away.  there was an older couple sitting a few seats down and i heard them laugh out loud several times.  too cute.

so there you go.  my token movie reviews for the summer.  have you seen anything good lately?  especially on dvd.  i see most of my movies via redbox these days . . .

Monday, June 24, 2013

a marathon a week . . .

those of us with ocd tendencies really thrive on challenges.  a personal challenge that i've tried now and then over the last few years is to walk 26 miles, a marathon, in a week.  this can be quite challenging!  doing the math here, that's approximately 3.75 miles a day.  i finally managed to hit the 26 mile mark again in early may and i've been going strong ever since.  in fact, i've been doing so well that i think i need to up the challenge to two marathons a week just so i'm challenged!  of course, this will all change when school starts back in the fall, but i'm trying not to think about that just yet.

good blog reads . . .

i'm tinkering with the blog today.  feeling the urge for something fresh that's a bit more the me that i am right now.  does your sense of self change from time to time?  mine seems to.  right now i am surely consumed by sunshine, that is for sure.  i see light peeking out here and there and try so hard to capture it with my lens.  it is just so beautiful and joy filled.

i fell off the posting wagon in may and didn't even share any blog reads with you all.  i'm sure i've missed some good ones, but here are a few i grabbed that you might enjoy:

most of you know i'm a teacher and am thoroughly enjoying my summertime magic.  this post from jill sprott, a fellow teacher, really resounds with me.  she has such a gift for words.

manzanita is a charming blog i stumbled upon a couple weeks ago.  her 52 weeks project, a granny square a week, is one i can really wrap my fingers around.  totally planning on trying this in 2014!

amanda johnson has been making a few posts again lately.  this one, "and life goes on," is so life affirming.

i was checking out facebook the other day and noticed a blog post from kayla aimee that looked like fun, so i went on over and read it.  i had forgotten how utterly adorable she is.

a new online scappy ezine.  this first issue is great.

wish list blog posts aren't always my favorite, but this one from stephanie howell has more things to do rather than things to buy, including two great diy home project links plus one about ikea paper (paper i can afford.  yes, please!).

this one from a beautiful mess looks like such a fun diy and such a great way to showcase 54 of my favorite photos!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

the great american pastime

monday night we took our cubs to see the sounds play baseball.  this was the conversation i heard earlier that day while i had these two at the lake . . .

g: baseball sucks
j: yea
g: the only sport i like is fishing.  and swimming

luckily he's gotten plenty of both lately.  uncle greg and aunt debbie stopped by last weekend and g got to spend three blissful hours at the bass pro shop with uncle greg while my sister and i played mall rats.

then the next day we spent hanging out at the rv park at nashville shores.  g got a lesson in fly fishing then the two rented a paddle boat and tried their hands at it for reals.

this is g's first fish caught on a fly rod.

i'm not sure who was more proud, g or uncle greg who had an iphone photo of each of the five fish g caught on the fly rod.

and here's g happy as a lark that he finally snagged some pool time at his buddy's house.

and one more baseball story to bring us full circle.  another overheard story between g and one of the other moms there . . .

g (somewhat confused after the first inning): it's halftime already?
cub mom: it's not halftime, this is the end of the first inning.
g (even more confused after the second inning): how many "endings" are there anyway?
cub mom: nine. you've got a long way to go.
g: well, i'm gonna need another snack after the third "ending" or i'm not gonna make it.

so much for the great american pastime.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

long hunter state park: bryant's grove

we spent a couple hours at bryant's grove monday afternoon and g wanted to go back better prepared today.  i was in a good mood and feeling accommodating, so i picked up g's bestie again took the two of them over.  i think if i hadn't been in a good mood, this blue sky full of happiness makers would have put me there real quick.  such a beautiful day.

when i am old(er) and he is grown, this is the image of him that will forever be burned into my memory.  my child in his element.

he is always so eager to share his finds and catches with me and my camera.

and his smile too.  such a generous soul.

and with the bestie too.  i treasure these moments.

the one thing that we miss from our apartment days is the pool.  i think we have discovered our new version of the pool.  this section of percy priest with beach access for swimming is only five or so minutes from home.  nice.  several of the boys were trying to ride the boating buoys.  it reminded me those mechanical bull scenes that were popular in 80's movies.

g was lamenting the fact that he brought his net today (they didn't have it monday), but the crawfish weren't out.  well, while the boys were bronco busting, i was sitting on the shore reading and noticed this behemoth appear out of nowhere right under my toes!  seriously, the biggest one i've ever seen!

g ran to shore to snag it and, of course, posed for me again.  won't this be a great shot for the slide show when they're all graduating seniors?

you may have thought i brought the camera to document the boy.  for sure i did.  but truly the motivating factor was this amazing field of wild black-eyed susans and purple coneflowers.  you know i brake for flowers!

these photos were taken around 4:00 in the afternoon when the sun was still pretty high in the sky and intense.

i am already making plans to go back in the early evening.  i know the lighting will be stunning on these beauties.


happy butterflies.  i remember these from my childhood in florida.  so far, all of the tennessee flutterbys i recognize from my butterfly chasing days.  i am wondering about the monarchs and viceroys though.  i haven't noticed them yet and am wondering if they don't come this far north.  but i think they do.  maybe they're just not here/out yet.

and this gem is a new one for me.  i noticed it as we were leaving.  need to look it up!

you know, at one point this afternoon i was actually mentally complaining about getting nothing done again today.  how crazy is that?  i think we all need more "nothing" days like this in our lives.  yes indeed.  and thankfully, the mental complaining only lasted for about 6o seconds before i totally came to my senses.  :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

nature journal: spring babies

gabriel and i headed out to run errands around 11:00 a.m. the other morning and his eagle eye spotted these little guys right away.  i was completely charmed.  aren't they adorable?  i know.  praying mantis aren't usually placed in the adorable category, but at a diminutive one centimeter in height, truly, they were adorable.  they reminded me of tiny southern gentlemen waiting for the debutantes to show up for the first dance at the cotillion.  they were all swaying to a tune that only they could hear.  so adorable.

i so desperately need a macro lens.  perhaps santa will bring me one this christmas if i am good.

HERE is an awesome website written by mantis lovers.  warning, the bugs here are big and not so adorable.  shudder.  i am hoping that my mantis population stays cute and tiny and dines on the aphids on my tomatoes.  i surely don't need any hummingbird killers around here.  <<<----- don't open that link.  trust me.

i believe this is the carolina mantis, stagmomantis carolina, a species native to east tennessee.  as adults, they will reach a little over 2 inches in length.  adult mantis are also apex predators in the insect kingdom.  dependent on camouflage, much like lions, tigers, and cheetahs, they can be brown, grey, or green.  the nymphs can actually adjust their color to match their surroundings at the time of each molting.  they will then retain the color of their final molting into adulthood.  and speaking of adulthood, this cotillion will end badly.  25% of all sexual encounters amongst the mantis end in cannibalism.  charming, i'm sure.  if you would still like to import some of these little guys as a natural means of biological control in your garden, carolina mantis oothecae are apparently available at your friendly neighborhood garden center.  - source

Thursday, June 6, 2013

spring camp out at uncle jimmy's

despite the rainy weekend (hello this is a rainy spring!), the cub scout camp out at uncle jimmy's was a huge success.  this was due, in part, to the empty hay sheds (or whatever these structures are called) that sheltered our tents from the elements.  we were so dry.  happy happy happy!

while the men put up the dining fly . . . 

and the boys set up their base camp . . . 

i walked eight miles around the "pond."

of course i took pictures of the flora . . .

and fauna.

 the guys got straight to fishing after all the man work was done.

we caught a patch of sunny weather the next day, so i took them all to the creek.  that's anna, the only other girl on this trip.  i was very thankful for little sister i tell ya!

my little water bug.

 i found this guy . . .

 and g found a faux arrowhead.

then i took more pics of flowers . . .

and bugs . . .

before packing up and heading home, blue skies smiling on us the whole way.  :)