Monday, August 30, 2010

Plain Jane says "YES!"

If you missed the first two parts, you can read here and here to catch up!

After dating for about 4 months, we were already talking about getting married.  We're both very traditional and practical, so naturally, Country Boy wanted to talk to my Dad before formally asking me to marry him.  One Dad lived in Texas and Country Boy lived in Alabama, and they had only met each other one time previously, during Thanksgiving. 

As it turned out, I was visiting my parents at the end of January while my Mom was in the hospital following surgery.  While talking on the phone to Country Boy from the hospital room one evening, he asked if my Dad was also there.  I handed the phone over to my Dad and heard my Dad's end of "the talk."  It was now just a matter of time, waiting for him to pop the question. 

We continued to see each other most every weekend, while I was secretly reading Bride's Magazine in my dorm room and had my dress picked out.  We then planned a whirlwind weekend getaway to Baltimore, MD in March.  I was pretty sure he had something up his sleeve (or in his pocket).  We drove 15 hours to Baltimore on Friday and then spent all day Saturday touring Fort McHenry and the Bay and then drove home all day Sunday. 

*History Lesson*
Ft. McHenry is where Francis Scott Key penned The Star Spangled Banner in 1814.  The flag that was flown during the battle was a 15 star, 15 stripe flag that was created after Kentucky and Vermont became states.  It was the only flag to have 15 stripes because it was later decided to keep the 13 stripes to represent the 13 original colonies and only add a star for each new state.  Known as the Fort McHenry flag, a replica of the original Star Spangled Banner is flown rather than our current 50 star flag.  If you look carefully, you will notice that the stripe directlly below the blue field is red, rather than white.  It is the only US flag with this distinction.

Fort McHenry Flag

Today's US Flag

Ok, back to the story....

Saturday evening, we drove to Havre de Grace, outside of Baltimore.  We were walking through the small community and along a boardwalk when we walked up to the Concord Point Lighthouse.  In front of the lighthouse, Country Boy dropped to one knee and popped the question.  Of course I said "Yes!"  Otherwise, we wouldn't be where we are today! 

Concord Point

As it turns out, Country Boy had taken a business trip to Baltimore several months before we even met and knew about the lighthouse.  Therefore, he had the whole evening planned out. 

So, that's how it happened.  We were married 5 months later, and I stepped into a life filled with gravel roads, mud-clad boots and jeans, cow poop, hay bales, John Deere green, and some of the most beautiful sunsets and star-lit nights you can imagine!  And now, I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Friday, August 27, 2010

8 years

I love my husband.  Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with God's provision for me.  He knew exactly who I would be a suitable helpmate for and who would love and honor me as Christ loves the church.  My husband knows me.  He knows my needs and he does his best to provide for them. 

He does not expect me to be perfect.

He does wash pots and pans.

He does not take me to fancy shmancy eating establishments.

He does praise me for my homecooked meals.

He does not get into the hype of college football.

He does understand my need to watch the Alabama games and makes an effort to make it happen.
He does not do the grocery shopping.

He does plant a garden every year for me.

He does not lavish me with worldly gifts.

He does paint my toenails.

He does not come up with spontaneous weekend getaways.

He does plan ahead and coordinate babysitting and make hotel reservations on his own so we can enjoy an evening away for our anniversary and I don't have to take care of anything (except for the 4 month old who will be tagging along).

He complements me in the best way, and he motivates me to be the wife and mother that God desires me to be, according to Proverbs 31.  I have a long way to go on my journey, but I am so thankful that he is by my side along the way.

If you will excuse me now, I have a date to get ready for....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

White vs. Wheat....

Chocolate chip cookies, that is.

I recently performed a side by side comparison with my homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Before we get to the results, let me explain a few things.  I am not a health food extremist who refuses to buy anything unless it is natural and organic.  We do not grow our own wheat and grind it fresh on the farm, although if I had a wheat grinder I would consider grinding my own flour (hint, hint).  I do prefer to make most of our food fresh at home rather than buying large amounts of processed foods.  That is not to say, however, that you won't ever find me feeding my kids Sonic corndogs and tater tots.  The purpose of this blog is not to criticize or demean anyone's eating habits or practices, but simply share my own experiences.

Last year for Christmas my husband bought me a bread machine and since then I have been experimenting with different homemade breads and flours.  By no means am I proclaiming to be an expert about any home breadmaking.  We do like my homemade wheat sandwich bread and french bread, that I usually turn into croutons after a  day or two.  Because I have been buying wheat flour for my breadmaking and I have seen other blogging moms discuss whole wheat pancakes, muffins, etc, I decided to give it a try...

Ok, back to the cookies....

My husband much prefers my homemade cookies to any store bought cookies, whether packaged or from the bakery (the only exception might be Oreos, although I have never attempted to make them at home).  I can almost see him cringe if he notices that I've bought cookies from the store, although it doesn't stop him from eating them.  Thus, the homemade cookies.  Without even thinking, I made the first batch of cookies like I always do....Similar to the Tollhouse Original Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a few of my own little tweaks.  I was planning on making two batches of cookies anyway when I noticed the wheat flour in the pantry, so I decided to have a little must be the homeschool mom in me.

In the second batch of cookies I substituted 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat flour....I didn't want to send my family into a complete whole wheat shock.  I left everything else in the recipe the same.

The result?  A slightly darker cookie and possibly a little more dense but it had the same chewy consistency.  It may have been just a bit less sweet, but with a mouthful of chocolate chips it was difficult to conclude.  Overall, it was a very tasty cookie and my 4 year old said that she like the wheat cookies better (although she did not know the difference in flour).  Unless you knew the switch had been made, I honestly don't think anyone would immediately say, "hmm, there's something different about this cookie."  I'm planning on doing a blind taste test with my husband to see if he can even taste any difference, without letting him know that they are different.

I think I will stick with the wheat flour in the recipe and maybe next time I will try using all wheat.  If I can make chocolate chip cookies a little bit more healthy and just as tasty for my family, then it's a success and maybe I'll feel just a little bit less guilty about feeding my children cookies for breakfast....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mashed potatoes, anyone?

When I was growing up "in town," as I now refer to it, I remember having to occasionally go borrow an egg or cup of milk from our next door neighbor in order to finish cooking dinner or some holiday baking.  By the way, our neighbor frequently returned the favor and borrowed from us as well.  If by chance the neighbor either was not home or was also out of the desired ingredient, no problem.  We would then make the quick 5 minute trip to the grocery store to get the needed ingredient and all was well. 

Well, things have changed a bit since then.....We are temporarily living with our closest neighbor (that would be my in-laws) and it's a 30-minute drive to the grocery store, one way.  So, the other day when I decided mashed potatoes would be a great accompaniment to stuffed peppers for dinner, everything was fine and dandy.....The peppers were baking in the oven, potatoes boiling on the stove, and garlic butter was melted and ready to be added to the potatoes.  Then it hit me....we were out of milk!  I had noticed earlier in the day, but just figured we would drink water with dinner and I would be grocery shopping the next day.  It was now too late to change dinner plans.  Let's just say that driving an hour to and from the grocery store (and therefore delaying dinner for my hungry family) was OUT OF THE QUESTION!!  I returned to the refrigerator, frustrated in defeat, as the wheels in my little brain started pondering what I could make with boiled potatoes and garlic butter when I spied it......Heavy Whipping Cream, unopened!  Score!  Let's just say that those were some yummy mashed potatoes.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Plain Jane Meets Country Boy......... Part 2

So, when I last left off, I had just met my tall, dark and handsome husband (who also drove a pickup truck, in case you forgot).  After that first meeting, we soon began seeing each other regularly.  Well, as regularly as we could, living 2 hours apart, working and being in school.  So, basically, we saw each other just about every weekend. 

Everyday life around the farm....

The rare, but greatly appreciated Date Night

Here are a few of my most memorable times during our courtship.....
  • When meeting his family for the very first time, his 4 year old niece very plainly asked, "So, is she THE GIRL?" 
  • Agreeing to go for a hike in the woods around the farm.....After an hour HIKE UP THE MOUNTAIN, he showed me a beautiful waterfall.  The verdict is still out, but I think the blisters were worth it.
  • In November he personally flew me down to Destin for the day one Saturday in a Cesna something or other....Did I mention he had his private pilot's license?  Once he showed me how to recognize the flashing beacons at airports along the way, I spent most of the trip identifying airports....just in case. 
  • Spending Thanksgiving together with my family in Louisiana, where he met my parents for the first time (and only time before asking me to marry him, but we'll get to that later) and we watched his first ever episode of Veggie Tales in my cousin's bedroom...Dave and the Giant Pickle.
  • Emailing him almost everyday from London during my 3 week overseas elective in January.....only to find out about 9 months later (after we were married) that he never received my emails until September.  Imagine his surprise when he gets an email from his new bride saying that she had safely arrived in London!!
That's about it for now....up next...The Proposal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plain Jane Meets Country Boy........... 9 years ago

My husband and I will be celebrating our 8th anniversary in 2 weeks, so I thought I would give a little more background on how he swept me off my city-girl feet and landed me out in the country amongst the mud and the muck (that would be cow poop for all you city folk).

Where I lived then......

Where I live now.....

It was 2001....I had just begun my senior year of nursing school in Birmingham.  I was beginning to face the reality that in just about 9 months I would truly be out on my own, with a college degree and expected to earn a living and support myself.  I completely accepted these facts and recognized that I had the freedom to choose just about anyplace to live and work.  My nursing degree would be very flexible and I had nothing tying me down to any particular city.  I was considering moving back to my hometown, staying in Birmingham, moving to Texas or Florida, and the idea of travel nursing had even crossed my mind.

Then, in mid-September, the phone rang and changed my life forever.  It was a lady whom I had gone to church with and had babysat for while I was in high school.  I don't think I had spoken with her in a few years and was actually surprised that she had my cell number.  At the time, my cell phone was more of an emergency only kind of, how times have changed!  Anyway, she basically got straight to the point and asked if I was currently in a relationship......Uh, that would be a no.  She then asked if I wanted to meet somebody.  I was quite surprised, and not expecting a mom that I babysat for to be trying to play match-maker.  But I thought that I certainly didn't have anything to lose, so we planned to have dinner with her family and some other friends about 2 weeks later.  It turns out that my husband had recently started working as an engineer (go figure in the Rocket City!) with her husband, and after getting to know him, they thought that we would get along together.

When he pulled up to the house for dinner that night, I immediately went through my checklist.....
Tall - check!
Dark - check!
Handsome - check!
Pick-up Truck - check!

It was a done deal!  Ok, so maybe it didn't happen quite that fast.....more details soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vocabulary lesson.....urushiol

Out here on the farm, we have plenty of things to watch out for.  In the 8 years that I have lived out here, I have seen black widow spiders, coyotes fighting in the backyard, a snapping turtle, chicken snakes, king snakes and one not so lucky rattlesnake that got its head chopped off by yours truly.  We have to teach our children at an early age to be watchful for such dangers and how to recognize them.  I think the message has sunk in because there has been more than one occasion when a child comes running inside the house yelling, "Snake!  Snake!"  I then stop everything I'm doing, turn off the stove, get off the phone, etc. and don my knee-high mud boots, grab the closest weapon (i.e. hoe or shovel) I can find and then slowly approach the enemy in the direction where the kids are pointing.  9 times out of 10 it is a black stick in the grass....the exception being the 9-ring rattler by my in-laws' driveway this summer.

My six year old, however, has recently encountered one of our worst enemies out here on the farm.  This creature does not jump out and attack immediately, but rather lies sometimes unnoticeable until it is too late.  The culprit....urushiol.  Now, I first met urushiol about 8 years ago while helping my husband (fiance at the time) string a new barb wire fence.  Of course, when I say "helping,"  I mean standing there and looking pretty while I hand him tools that I don't know the name of and watching him string and tighten the fence by himself.  I really don't know what he would do without me.....except maybe get the correct tool the first time.  Anyway, I suffered through the effects of urushiol for several weeks after that, and discovered that my wonderful husband is apparently immune to urushiol....lucky dog.  Well now, our oldest child has also discovered urushiol, and apparently he is not immune. 

Have you figured it out yet??  Scroll down for more....

For those you who don't have the vocabulary of my Uncle Charles, let me explain....urushiol = Poison Oak! 

My son decided to help out his Nana by chopping down the weeds and tall grass in the ditch by her driveway....with a pair of pruning shears.  I was actually pleased that he was working hard to be helpful to do something that no one had asked him to do.  I'm sure being allowed to use the pruning shears was about all the motivation that he needed.  He worked on it over the course of two days this past weekend, and the ditch looks much better.  My son, however, is covered in a rash from head to toe!  Behind his ears, on his face, neck, arms, stomach and sides, legs...and other places I won't mention here.  I'm beginning to wonder if he was even wearing clothes while he was working!    It never even crossed my mind that there might be poison oak or poison ivy.  It wasn't close to the woods and just looked like tall grass to me, but he said that there were vines with five leaves on the plants (that's why we're going with poison oak rather than poison ivy).  We've done the calamine lotion (which I don't think helps at all) and hot showers, but it looks like he will have to suffer through it for the long haul.

So, for anybody that comes to visit us, you've been warned.  Beware of our lurking enemy....urushiol!  This guy is bad news!

Monday, August 16, 2010

So it begins....

Like I mentioned previously, my 3 year old has been quite the mama's boy of late.  He will gladly ditch the swingset, sandbox, television, blocks, puzzles or playing outside to follow me wherever I'm going (usually just down the driveway to the mailbox or our house under construction).  He will come running, almost crying sometimes, if he thinks I'm going to leave without him, yelling, "Wait, I go wit choo!!"

Well, that all changed today......I have met my match....paint.  That's right, I'm being replaced by paint.  I set the kids up outside on an old sheet with paint, paintbrushes and scrap pieces of wood blocks this morning.  Later, when I needed to go talk to the rock mason for a few minutes and told them I was going down to the house, he looked at me for just a second, at the paintbrush in his hand, and back at me and said, "Bye, Mama!  When Daddy come home?" 

So, I've decided to accept that he is growing up....Now, if you will excuse me, I have some paint to throw away.....

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today, he is 3.

Three years ago he was our newest little bundle of joy.  Well, not so "little," weighing in over 8lb.  Now, I dearly love all of the men in my life, big and little, but this little man, with his blond hair and blue eyes can just melt my heart sometimes.  He is definitely in the mama's boy stage right now.  And that is just fine by me!  "Mama, I go wit choo" is one of my favorite phrases (most of the time).  He wants to sit next to me at the dinner table and go with me to check on our house every chance he gets.  I also love "I lub poo, Mama!"  It's just too cute to correct sometimes, and I know that eventually he will grow out of it and sound like a man.  How I will miss these days!  Two was such a wonderful age for this little man, that I was almost depressed last night at the thought of him turning three, but I am now looking forward to the new joys and adventures that 3 is going to bring us.  And, to my delight this morning, he still said "I lub poo" when he woke up, he still wanted to sit next to me at breakfast, and he still wanted to go with me on my walk this morning.  So far, 3 is turning out to be just fine!

A few pictures over the years....

At 3, this little man:
  • likes the color green best
  • takes great naps!
  • wants to sing the Prayer Song at every meal
  • went from saying nothing to talking non-stop in complete sentences within the past 6 months
  • weighs 28lb
  • would wear a green John Deere shirt everyday and everywhere if I let him
  • is a precious, delightful gift from our Lord, for whom we are so thankful!
Happy Birthday, little man!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Alas, we have pictures!

Thanks to my dear friend, Sarah, I do have pictures to post!  About three weeks ago the kids and I were able to visit a high school friend of mine in Birmingham for a few hours.  It was a last minute trip, so we were so thankful to be able to meet up with Sarah and her girls.

7 kids and 2 mamas.....Jason's Deli may never be the same!

Don't worry....the two babies had their own playdate....napping in their carseats.  After dinner, we braved the heat and mosquitoes and let the kids run around the quad at Samford, my alma mater, to burn off the ice cream before we had to head home.

I'm not sure Mr. Beason knew what to do with 5 kids sitting on him!

              Samford's #1!  I agree!

      I think I see some future Samford peeps
    in their first game of Ultimate on the quad!

Despite the heat and mosquito bites, we had a wonderful time with this dear family.  It was also nice to revisit my old stomping ground for a few minutes.  Maybe when the weather is more cooperative we can take the kids and spend more time walking around the campus.

Thanks for the pictures, Sarah!  They are great!


Psst.....tomorrow will be a BIG day on the farm.  I'll give you a hint.....3 years ago today I was pregnant....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why me? Why now?

So, I have begun a new adventure.....and created a blog!  Now what???  I have no idea!  So, why me?  Why now?  It started yesterday when I was reading some friends' blogs and just started playing around on blogger.  Before I knew it, I had my own blog page, with a web address and title and everything!  So, I figured I might as well give a try.

What will my blog focus on?  Probably what is most important to faith and my family.  I don't know what direction it will take, but I will share bits and pieces of our life on the farm as well as some history as to how I got to where I am now.  As the title suggests, I consider myself a "plain Jane" kind of girl....I like things simple and organized.  I don't consider myself extravagant in any way, except for my love for my God and my family. 

A little bit of history.....I have been married to the most wonderful man, loving husband and excellent father for almost 8 years.  It is because of him that I changed from a "city girl" to a "country girl" and I am so thankful for that!  We have 4 children, ages 6, 4, 3 (well, in 2 days, that is) and 4 months old.  We homeschool our children, but there are no denim jumpers in my wardrobe!  :)  We are also in the midst of a major home renovation.  Because of this, we are temporarily living with my in-laws, just up the road from our house.  We are hoping to be back in our own home sometime in October.  I'm sure I will be sharing more information on these subjects as the days go by. 

If there is anything more you want to know, just leave a question in the comments.....Recent pictures will not be able to be posted until we move back home due to technical difficulties on a borrowed computer. 

Thanks for stopping by!