Archive: Dec 2011

At least the house is sorta ready almost maybe…

As I’ve previously mentioned, we have had a lot to do around the house to get ready for Ennis.

Some items were necessary to get done before he arrives, while others were important to get done because after he arrives, we won’t likely have the time.

We’ve been trucking through a long list that has been known to grow due to things such as noticing one of my headlights is out. Thankfully my good friend Sheena has helped us, so it’s much more manageable than it was and progress has been continually made whether she’s been helping me fold and put away tiny onesies or picking up broken flower pots in the backyard. (Yes, my friends are awesome.)

In the coming weeks, hopefully before Ennis arrives, my in-laws (who actually own this house) and my parents will be coming to visit to help us knock off a few more items.

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Christmas lights at Bellingrath Gardens

Sometimes you don’t realize how lucky you are to be from a place until you’re gone. I can’t wait to be gone long enough to miss things Starkville, but I’m not there yet.

When you’re in a place, it can be hard to fairly judge and appreciate what’s common. I’ve learned since I’ve been away from the Coast. Ten years gone, and it seems like I keep coming up with things I never even thought to miss: the latest addition,  Bellingrath Gardens.

Bellingrath Gardens is an estate outside of Mobile that features various themed gardens and a home. It’s about everything you would expect from 65 acres of a traditional Gulf Coast bayou home, and yet for some reason I had never been until October of this year.

After a memory card mishap, I lost nearly all of my photos from that visit and decided I had to go back. So a few days before Christmas,  a car with friends and family, 48 miles, and $12 later, I was walking in a coastal winter wonderland. No sleigh bells or snow but lots and lots of lights, cascading from branches, lighting holly lined paths, and recreating traditional scenes of gum drops and gingerbread men along with crabs, jellyfish, armadillos, and other things to make a coast girl feel at home.

Here are some of my favorite shots:

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Treasure hunting for green baby deals

The little gPant, a reusuable diaper cover that takes either cloth or disposable biodegradable inserts. Pretty interesting, pretty expensive to start up.


Ever wonder what happens to the salvageable merchandise after a fire or a flood? Or what happens to the remaining stock when a store goes bankrupt? How about when something is returned or regardless of how much an item is marked down, it never sells? And overstock and out-of-season merchandise?

Well a good bit of it ends up in my house thanks to Treasure Hunt where mostly brand new items are marked down for 30-90% off. The stock changes constantly as new shipments from across the country arrive. Besides produce, they sell everything: furniture, clothing, pantry items, exercise equipment, sporting goods, snacks, even building supplies.

It’s a great place to go look with nothing in mind because the stock varies so much, but every once in awhile, you can find something that you’ve been looking for. With this baby on the way, there’s lots I’ve been looking for at a good prices. I must say this holiday week while visiting family I saw the motherload.

Really, though, stuff mothers buy: diapers and wipes, and not just any diapers and wipes but the expensive I care about the Earth and the chemicals I’m exposing my baby to diapers and wipes. For me who lives in a small rural town where you can’t buy these things without the Internet shipping them to you, I saw glittering, glistening gold.

Let’s go through my treasure chest:

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When I grow up

In 2006 I graduated with my M.A. in English. I was in love with grad school, English studies, writing, and teaching.

Thoughts upon finishing another degree I’ll not likely use professionally

Six years ago, I thought I’d grow up to be a professor of English. My specialty was going to be creative writing paired with postcolonial studies. With my abysmal GRE scores, I knew getting into these competitive programs would be challenging, so I spent weekends assembling submission packets to journals. To further amp up my application, I turned down lecturing jobs and an administrative assistant position to start a Master’s in French and Spanish with a minor in linguistics because most of the programs I wanted to enter had a foreign language requirement.  I was sure a better vocabulary in other languages would improve my GRE scores, making me ready to enter a PhD program in 2008 or 2009.

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I’ve never bought a TV

Some people have memories of their dads feet hanging out from under old cars.

Or driving tractors.

Or shucking oysters.

Me, I remember the glow on my dad’s face as he concentrated on fixing a TV.

Soldering irons and open back TVs give me the sense of nostalgia as pop bologna sandwiches and a worn deck of Uno.

It only felt natural to grab my camera and take a few shots when we returned from dinner to find my dad working on a TV during Thanksgiving weekend:

My mom holding up the light.

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Yum yum eat em up

This is what happens when I text my friend Sheena and ask her if she has dinner plans:

Cream cheese filled wontons

Egg rolls filled with all kinds of goodness

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Closet space or I don’t think I’m ready for this baby

When we were deciding if we thought we were ready to have a child, we looked at our finances, we looked at our career plans, and we looked at our health. Somehow we failed to consider our closets.

Surrounded by mountains of boxes, an upturned mattress, oodles of cables, and long forgotten evidence of former hobbies, Daniel said to me, “I did not anticipate the amount of crap I have in these closets.”

Example of crap from the closets


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Mandy and Lillie go to Disney World

Ok, so it wasn’t Disney World, but it may as well been the way they acted.

I do not think there is a place my dogs enjoy being more than at my parents’ house.

A place where the words “bad dog” and “no” don’t seem to really exist, and dreams of endless treats and extra large meals really do come true.

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Something to appreciate

Sometimes life comes at you hard, well maybe not you, but for me, sometimes I feel like a toothless bait dog thrown in the fight I was never meant to win.

While I’m not convinced these days (weeks, years) are making me stronger, they are giving me a stronger appreciation of the friends and family I have.

This past Sunday I was particularly grateful for my friend Andy.

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