Sunday, July 24, 2011


We are no longer owners of baby chicks.  Our fowly friends have officially graduated into the "adolescent chicken category."  They are just full of teen angst and hormones and stuff like that. 

Actually, they really aren't full of hormones, since we don't feed them that kind of thing.

But these hens are the most efficient garbage disposals I've ever seen. We toss all kinds of greens, weeds, yard clippings, and melon rinds into their pen - and the girls go berserk over the goodies.  Whatever leftovers they leave goes into our compost bin- but they really don't leave much!

On weekdays, the chickens are usually Momma's responsibility and she tends to their feedings.  Evie visits them every other day or so. But on weekends, Evie loves to go help feed and play with them...

Come and get it, ladies!
Still in her pajamas, Evie requested to feed the chickens
right after she was done with her own breakfast.

Evie still hasn't been able to sit still long enough
for the girls to come eat out of her hand.
She gets excited when they get close -
and starts bouncing and scares them off.

Here you go, bawk-bawks!

Our girls are definitely living up to their names.
Foxy Cleopatra (who we call Fox) is by far the smartest of the group. (She's the dark brown Speckled Sussex at left, burying her head in the group.)  She's the first one out of the coop in the morning and definitely the quickest to learn things.
The Rhode Island Reds (reddish browns) are friendly chickens - and behave just as backyard chickens should. Thelma and Louise are their names - and they are definitely partners in crime. 
The two blondies are the epitome of every bad blonde joke you've ever heard.  Sorry to offend any of you natural blondes out there, but these chickens are absolute idiots. They are funny, ditzy, and entertaining -  but they really do have a pea-sized brain and a personality to go with it.
The black speckled chickens are the most aloof. These are the Silver Laced Wyandottes (Jay-Z and Artimus Fowl). They are polite, cautious, and quiet. What more could you ask for from laying hens?

Evie is filling up their hanging feeder, which is attached
to the bottom of their raised coop to keep the feed sheltered from the weather.

Momma is more than happy to enlist Evie to feed, even if most of the food doesn't actually make it in the feeder when Evie does the pouring. Baby brother has been making it harder for Momma and her expanding belly to wiggle and duck under tight spaces, so Evie's help is much appreciated.

Proud little chicken farmer.

My work here is done! Eat up, ladies!

We finished just in time to listen for the morning train to go by.
Nothing like a rousing CHOO-CHOO chant
to get your day started off right.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


No, I'm not really his mom. Obviously. But let me explain.  Sports fans know exactly who I'm talking about. For non-athletic supporters, let me enlighten you.  

Shane Battier is a darn good basketball player. He played four years at Duke University, where he led the Blue Devils to two Final Fours. Duke lost to UConn in 1999, but came back to win the national championship against Arizona two years later. 

In 2001, his Duke jersey was retired (a big deal), he received the National Player of the Year award (an even bigger deal), and then he was selected as the sixth overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies (cha-ching!), he then had a stint with the Houston Rockets (ehhh), and then was traded back to the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2010 - 2011 NBA season.  He was even recently named the seventh smartest professional athlete by the Sporting News.

And despite his impressive resume, can you guess the first thing that pops in my mind when I think of him? 

Sadly, it's his cornrows I think of first.
Shane has cornrow 'scars' on his scalp. Someone once mentioned that the scars were because his mom left his cornrows in too long as a child and they created permanent impressions on his scalp. (Granted, this may be an urban legend that I'm ignorantly repeating. If so, sorry Shane!)

I don't think his scars are really that bad, but depending on his facial expressions and head movement, you can still see the wrinkles and the 'rows' left in his scalp.

Over the years, the wrinkles have even started to fade...

Come on, guys.
They're not bad now!

What I found funny is that "they" (meaning: the media/ sportsfans/ chatterboxes/ etc) have always blamed his mom for the scars. They didn't blame his dad, or his grandma, not even the hairdresser who might have been the one to actually put the cornrows on his head. His mom always got the blame for it. Even if Shane was old enough to tell somebody "Hey, my head really itches, maybe I should take these out," everyone still points the finger at his mom.
I'm sure Shane's mother is a very nice lady. She raised an intelligent, successful, athletic, and seemingly personable fellow. But sadly, I only associate her with his cornrows saga. Whether it's a true story or not.

He even has a fun sense of humor!

I remember watching Shane play ball in person when Duke played at my alma mater, Georgia Tech, while I was in college -  and I thought that he was a very good looking guy, even with the odd wrinkles on his head.

Heck, recent pictures make him look like a pretty good candidate for a potential GQ model:
I can't even look at the camera.
It may break under the gaze of my awesomeness.
His wifey definitely digs the look.

So, why am I blogging about this? Because of two reasons:

(1) Anytime I do anything to slightly alter Evie's appearance, there's a little voice in my head that says "Am I being Shane Battier's mom right now?"  Meaning: Am I doing something that is of little consequence right now, but could permanently scar her later?


(2) When Evie and Baby Boy are older I don't want my legacy to be as the "mom who screwed up her kid." (Whether it be physically, psychologically, emotionally...) I don't actually think Shane's mom screwed her kid up at all. I think he turned out just fine!  But you know when people hear his cornrow story, some of them shake their head and think "Awh, poor kid, what a bad parent his mom was."  (Which also tells me that their scale of what exactly makes for a really bad parent is skewed.)

To be fair, we don't do much to "alter" Evie's appearance. However.... 

EXAMPLE #1 of my "SBM moment" (SHANE BATTIER MOM moment):  A few weeks ago, Evie got a ferocious sunburn on her face. I had forgotten to apply sunblock before she went to school and she rubbed something (lotion, bug spray, baby oil?!) on her cheeks prior to going outside. Her shiny baby doll porcelain skin got fried, y'all. Blistered, red and puffy.

I walked into school to pick her up and the school administrator stopped me before I even got to her classroom, asking me "Do you have a good dermatologist for Evie to go see?"  Ohhhh, crap.

We kept her indoors and out of the sun for the next few days, applying all sorts of lotions with the magical healing powers of aloe and vitamin E.  Her little cheeks were sore and they peeled a bit, but ultimately the redness faded, her skin returned to normal, and she was fine. 

But I just knew that ONE SINGLE DAY was responsible for ruining her complexion and her skin for the rest of her life and it would be a "SBM" story. All because her silly mommy forgot to put sunblock on her that morning.

EXAMPLE #2 of my SBM Moment:  Evie loves nail polish. I find this funny, as I hardly wear nail polish on my fingernails, but I do on my toenails. 

Evie was about 12 months old when she first saw me with a bottle of polish and came running, yelling "Me! Momma! Me me me me!!!" with her outstretched hands waiting to be painted. (She has definitely noticed nail polish on other people... Aren't these toddlers perceptive little buggers?)

Blue!  I like my toes to match my Play-Doh.

Pink fingernails - definitely her signature color.

So, I started letting her wear nail polish. Not a heavy coat- a quick swipe of one layer of color. But those of you mani/pedi connoisseurs know that you really need to put down a protective base coat. (A primer coat that protects the nails and keeps the color from staining the fingernail.)  Sometimes, you can end up with yucky looking yellow nails that are brittle from not taking the time to change the polish enough.

Yeah, well... Momma didn't do the protective base coat.  Last week, I notice that the some of the colored polish was starting to be absorbed into her nail color. 

Great! My kid will have gross yellow nails for the rest of her life!

Not that gross.
Come on, y'all.  Give me a little bit of credit.

I took her nail polish off, cleaned her nails, and everything was fine -  but anytime Evie has asked for polish since, I tell her she has to sit perfectly still through a base coat before she gets the color she wants. (Surprisingly, she will sit still - and even blow on her nails to dry them. This toddler never ceases to amaze me.)

So, now you know the back story. I just thought I'd let y'all know that I'm really not that crazy when I say that I'm trying to avoid a Shane Battier Mom moment. 

I realize my own SBM moments may seem like silly, incredibly trivial little issues to worry about... but I wonder if Shane Battier's mom thought that his cornrows were just silly little things that would take care of themselves? Obviously they didn't take care of themselves, and he ended up with some small scars on his head.  Evie's not even 2 years old yet-  so I'm sure there will be many more opportunities for me to have unfortunate SBM moments in the years to come with both Evie - and her little brother.

And no... don't read between the lines:  this post is not a hint that we are naming our baby boy "Shane."  You'll still have to wait till November to find out his name.  =o)

I'm getting off my soapbox now and will leave you with some pictures of other moments (non-SBM) from this weekend with Evie. 


I don't need a manicure - since my mom makes
me do chores that ruin my nail polish anyways.
(She's attempting to sweep up the mess of seeds
our parrot makes on the basement floor.)

Although she's handy with the Swiffer, Evie's skills don't extend to sweeping... so, the mess just gets spread out more whenever Evie wants to help "sweep."

She prefers to cheer Momma on while
I clean up the basement floor instead.

We asked her what she was cooking in her kitchen...

And she said "penguin." 
(Maybe I should worry more about her cooking
her toys or small animals than having a SBM moment.)

Kiss your mom goodbye, you're going in the frying pan!
Fabulous imagination. Seriously.
And no, we don't support eating penguins in our house.
Putting her rally cap on to watch the US women's
team play in the World Cup championship against Japan.

And promptly ignoring the first U.S. goal.

She's still ignoring all the cheering..
and her parents high-five-ing and yelling in excitement.

Once she did start paying attention to the game, we asked her to move back so she wouldn't ruin her eyes being that close to the TV.
She decided her farm animals need to move too - in case their eyes would be damaged from being so close as well.

Can you guys see the screen from here?

She put her rally cap back on to help the U.S. cause, but it was no good...
Japan ended up winning.

Oh, well. She's still young... and there will be plenty more
World Cups for the U.S. to win her lifetime.
(We hope!)

Friday, July 15, 2011


The Little Lion Man's room is pretty much finished. 

Of course, "Little Lion Man" is not his name, but I've had Mumford & Son's song Little Lion Man stuck in my head for days now. And since we don't an official name for the little fellow yet, I've been thinking of him that way - as my little lion man.   

(I'm not even going to attempt to be a musical critic/lyrical interpreter...  the song is catchy, but the lyrics are quite Freudian-  and I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on their meaning. I just like the song, okay? Disclaimer: Yes, Gabba, there are a few very naughty words in the song. Don't let it deter you. That's a British folk rock band for ya!)

Our little dude's room.
We decided to keep the nautical theme going. The walls were already blue - and this was the
only room we didn't paint upon moving into the house. The beds are actually bunk beds that belonged to Grandaddy Neal and his brother, Uncle Wesley, when they were growing up. The beds got a few coats of paint in Momma's favorite go-to color: Benjamin Moore's Linen White. The stripe on the wall is also in Linen White.

We've often called the framed lithograph in the center of the room our one piece of "real art" in the house. (But now that we have artwork from Cousin Nick, we can say we own two pieces of real art!)

A close-up of the work.
The lithograph was given to us as a wedding present from Mary Ann Rasmussen, wife of the late artist Keith Rasmussen. The lighthouse is the Palmer Island Lighthouse in New Bedford Harbor near New Bedford, Massachusetts.   We've never been there, but it's definitely on our list of places to go see someday. 

According to lighthouse officials, the lighthouse is not open to the public except by special arrangement (hmm... think we can arrange it sometime?). It can be reached on foot at low tide via the hurricane wall in New Bedford Harbor, and can be seen from the ferry from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk Island.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Forget the lithograph, what about the two pieces of amazing artwork that are flanking it?!"

The dolphin and octopus pieces are one-of-a-kind, folks. You can't get them just anywhere. They were created by Miss Evie and her momma. (Well, mostly by Momma.)  

I painted two canvases with a blue flat paint and then used painter's tape to set the area of the stripes. Miss Evie then helped paint the green stripes all by herself - and she might have painted the dining room table and a few other items while she was it. (All part of the creative process, right?!)  She also helped apply the fish cutouts and was especially interested in making sure their eyes were in the right locations.

Evie gives her stamp of approval on the room.
After looking at these pictures, I realized I completely forgot to take pictures of the crib. No, we don't expect our infant to hop straight into a big-boy bed. 
The crib is against the opposite wall, I promise.
The changing table is an old Tennessee dry sink that we found while antiquing a few years ago.

I haven't been happy with any infant mobiles I saw for sale in stores. They were either too plastic-y, too expensive, or just looked unappealing.

So, in addition to one-of-a-kind artwork, the little man got a one-of-a-kind mobile as well.  It was incredibly easy to make (minus one or two bad words I muttered when burning myself with the hot glue gun). 

Since I knew I wanted to use the four boats I had found a few years ago, it was a pretty easy process: Take ribbons in a variety of colors and draped them over a 14-inch embroidery hoop and attached the boats by the same ribbons.

Something tells me that Row, Row, Row Your Boat
might be a future bedtime lullaby in our house.

Now, I understand y'all may think I've gone overboard with the preparation and "nesting" for this baby.  The belly is getting bigger and bigger and that means these kind of things are getting harder to do. 

My plan is to do this stuff now, so I can be an absolute bum during the last month (or two!) of pregnancy (you hear that loud-and-clear, Dadda?!).   

Although I doubt Evie will ever let anyone be a bum in this house... We pulled out a lot of our infant stuff from the attic this week, and she immediately laid claim to it.

Hey, I remember this thing!

Wait a minute,
it doesn't quite fit like it used to!

HELP! Momma, I'm stuck!!
Baby brother can have it, I don't like it anymore.

So, the new nursery is pretty much complete. But now it's on to organizing the office, which currently looks like an atomic bomb, a cyclone, and lunatic Tasmanian devil decided to lay waste to it all at the same time. 

If you don't hear from me within the next week, please feel free to come search for me. I'll probably be buried somewhere under the Halloween decorations, sewing fabrics, old textbooks, and the massive amount of trophies/awards that my stud of a husband earned back in his spearchucker days.

Or I may just be trying on my old prom dresses and laughing at how ridiculous my pregnant shape looks in them. (No pictures, please.)

Monday, July 11, 2011


She shoots.

It's up and away!

Looking for added crowd support.

She scores!!
(Yup, we have another little competitor in the family.)