Wednesday, June 15, 2016

First Baptist Church Montgomery Wedding | Shaw & Caroline


Shaw and Caroline’s wedding day arrived on a perfect June morning, complete with soft clouds drifting across the sky and a swift summer shower that left the grass dewy. Caroline donned a intricately beaded cape, smiled sweetly, and confidently said “I’m ready”. The sanctuary was draped with flowers and filled with friends and family who looked on as Shaw and Caroline vowed to love, honor, and cherish each other, together, for the rest of their lives, sealing the promise with a kiss. 


First Baptist Church in Montgomery made a gorgeous backdrop for the couple’s lovely details.


Shaw waited patiently for the hours to pass and Caroline to be his wife.


Caroline put the finishing touches on her makeup before draping a delicate cape around her shoulders.


Caroline made an absolutely stunning bride.


Shaw and Caroline decided to see each other before the ceremony and I was so glad I could capture Shaw’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time.

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We walked the grounds for a little bit before heading back inside the church to capture and few more photos.

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Shaw could not take his eyes off Caroline.


Caroline’s dad waited until the last possible minute to give his daughter away.


After the ceremony, guests headed over to the Young House in Montgomery where they enjoyed champagne and a fabulous buffet.

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Caroline smiled radiantly all evening.


Shaw and Caroline, I love the way you love each other. Your devotion and gentle affection for each other are tangible and inspiring. Thank you for asking me to be a part of your special day.

Saturday, May 14, 2016



There are exactly eight more days of school left. That’s one way of describing this situation. The other would be to consider that we’ve made it through 172 days at this point. And when you look at it that way I’m doing good to just be getting the kids in the door before the bell rings, with teeth brushed and shoes on their feet. I gave up on making them brush their hair two weeks ago. I gave up on requiring shirts and shorts to match the week before that.

Teacher appreciation has been and done and now we’re just down to the last few field trips and those pesky days in between, which I is really like movie marathon. In fact, one day Jonathan came home and proudly announced “We watched three movies today!” To which I leaned over his head and mouthed to Caleb “They could have done that at home!”

I get it, though. I’m this close to checking out. I expended the last of my school energy on pink roses and monogrammed beach towels for some very deserving teachers last week. Because let’s be honest, my body may still be motoring through making school lunches, but my brain is parked in a hammock with a book and no agenda. And the teachers still have to make it through those last eight days. That deserves a whole bouquet. Or a day of movie marathon.

Getting our summer on a little early around here:

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Monday, May 2, 2016

when the bee stings


My kids have an irrational fear of flying, stinging insects. Which is a problem because we live in the woods. Bees, wasps, ants… If it has a stinger and can land on you without warning, you can bet that Jack and Jon are terrified of it. So I don’t know exactly when the issue got out of control, but it’s been going on for quite some time. And it gets a little more ridiculous every summer.

Last year I thought we’d reached the pinnacle of absurdity when we couldn’t persuade them to eat lunch on the deck because a yellow jacket once landed on Jackson’s plate. Or visit their friend down the street because a particular bush by the front door is a favorite carpenter bee hangout. And you can forget hiding Easter eggs in the azaleas because, incredibly, Jon’s love of candy is dwarfed only by his fear of the azalea tenants.  

Our school friends do not help. If I wondered before if my kids were the only ones with a bee problem, I wonder no more. While I was in the lunchroom one day I observed what occurs in an elementary school when a bee happens into the courtyard where some of the kids eat lunch outside. It was ten seconds of the biggest mass hysteria I’ve ever seen. Like dominoes. One kid screamed and instantly the entire courtyard was screaming and scattering in all directions.

So. Irrational fear of bees. Thank you, elementary school.

Anyway, about a month ago we were having a discussion about the bee thing. This is my weekly trying-to-reason-with-my-kids session in which I remind them that neither of them has ever been stung by a flying insect. EVER. Therefore, logically neither of them should be scared of them. Right?

This is when I had a brilliant idea that went something like this:

Me: “If you actually got a bee sting, you would see they aren’t that bad and you wouldn’t be so scared of them. In fact, if you get a bee sting I will pay you five bucks.”

Jackson: “Seriously? You’ll pay us to get stung?”

Me: “If that’s what it takes to get over the fear… then yeah.”

Caleb: “Hey, I’ll match that. So you can have ten bucks if you get stung.”

Jackson: “Wow.”

Me: “Except you’ve made it ten years without a single sting so your chances of making money off this aren’t looking too good.”

And that was the end of it. Or so I thought.

Over the weekend Jackson was outside with Caleb when a wasp flew into his shirt sleeve. It stung him three times before we realized what was going on and got his shirt off. Caleb proceeded to kill the wasp while I tried to coax Jackson out of the bathroom where he’d locked himself in.

Jonathan was screaming “what happened?” and Caleb was using Jackson’s shirt like a flyswatter. The dogs were barking and I wasn’t hearing anything from the bathroom so I started to panic.

“Jackson, open the door! The wasp is dead. Are you okay?”

“It’s dead?”


To which he calmly opened the door, held out his hand and said “Where’s my ten bucks.”

File this under “Unique Business Ideas”.

Friday, April 22, 2016

it takes a village to build a chicken coop


The chicks are almost 6 weeks old now and working on getting in their adult feathers. It’s a scruffy process. I’m currently growing my hair back out so I can relate.

Also, I am so happy to be back in the business of owning chickens. It feels great to have renewed interest in an old hobby and the boys are loving it too. Our recent conversations are distinctly chicken flavored, if rather gruesome…

Jackson: “Which would you rather fight? A zombie-sized chicken or ten chicken-sized zombies”

Me: “Uh… ten chicken-sized zombies, I guess.”

Jackson: “Why? A zombie-sized chicken would be awesome. Chickens aren’t mean.”

Jonathan: “It could peck your eyes out!”

Me: “Oookay! Look at that beautiful field of wild flowers over there!”


It may seem like a small thing because it’s ridiculously easy to drive to the co-op, pay $17 and walk out with a cardboard box full of day-old cheeping chick. But for me it feels like a huge step in the direction of setting down roots here. I’m now responsible for six living creatures that reside in a large coop I can see from my bedroom window.

It feels rather permanent.


Probably because Caleb doesn’t ever build anything in half-measures, so he designed and built a coop “we can park the RAV on”. This term goes back to his first wood project five years ago and the SUV I drove at the time. His project was a dining room table built out of 2x4s and 2x6s. In other words, heavy duty lumber. I almost threw out my back trying to move it into the house. And when we’d finished moving it in and stepped back to survey the behemoth, he turned to me and said “You can park the RAV on it.” 010

This is our second chicken coop, but our first time building one ourselves. We decided to make a permanent structure, one that will withstand storms and possibly still be around when my grandkids are swimming in the lake. In other words “You can park the RAV on it.”


Our timeline for the coop was a bit skewed. Actually, that’s an understatement. We were so rushed to get the chicks out of the house that we started on the coop before Caleb had even finished designing it. This led to a lot of confusion about the order in which the structure went up. And okay, I don’t think we agreed on a single aspect of how any part of the coop should’ve be done. Not our finest project in terms of cooperation.


When we’d worked through the Spring Break week and still weren’t finished, my family stepped in to help. My mom helped lay pavers, my dad shoveled sand, my brothers showed up on my birthday to help hang hardware cloth. It ended up taking about two weeks to finish out the coop… and then an additional week to finish all the decorative touches. We differ over what these should be called. Caleb says they are “unessential extras” while I call them “necessary elements”.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016



Almost two years ago we hatched a duck egg that was abandoned on my parent’s dock at the lake house. Loving and raising that duckling was one of the greatest adventures we ever had. A lot of people followed along as we dressed Wobble in a diaper and let him run all over the house, discovered “he” was actually a “she”, took her to the lake for weekend swimming lessons, and eventually released her on a friend’s property.

We’ve since moved away and aren’t able to visit Wobble, but still occasionally receive updates on her. She integrated very well into being a wild duck and even hatched out a brood all her own this Spring. I think this is about as happy as any ending can get.

In case you are wondering what it’s like to raise a wild mallard, here are the posts about our experience:

duck tales: episode 1

duck tales: episode 2

the time she almost died

duck tales: episode 3

duck tales: episode 4

duck tales: episode 5

duck tales: the finale