Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Field Trips, the Fall Edition

Holdyn took a field trip two weeks ago to the state capital in Montgomery. Since that's K's home turf he and I went, too. We had a nice time touring the state capitol, state house and state archives. Holdyn used my phone and took nearly 100 photos (mostly of nothing). Every once in a while I'd snatch it back to take a snap here and there.
One of mine -- a class photo RES 4th grade

Another of mine -- Holdyn and his buds

One of his -- soldier with gun

Another of his -- a pretty girl

And another of his -- large canon-type gun
As you can see, Holdyn is all boy. Most of his pictures are of guns, soldiers, and girls. Does anything else matter? Seriously though, he loves his Alabama History class and was enthralled for the majority of the trip. He asked all kinds of questions during the tour of the legislative floors of the state building; including, whether or not past legislators could spit hard enough to "ding" the spitoons and why modern legislators didn't use a hologram for days they had to be absent during session.
I'd love to get inside his head for an hour!

Evie and Kallie didn't get a class field trip this semester, so I took them on a girls' day. Mom, Aunt Elizabeth, and cousin Roma came along, too. We went to the mall for a little shopping, lunch, and a carousel ride. Fun!!

Two cuties getting ready to shop, shop, shop!

Sweet Roma decked out as a snow bunny sans snow, of course.
As things get ever hectic and stressful it is my hope that you and your loved ones will take time to remember the birth of Christ, the true reason for this season of celebration. Don't let our fast-paced, commercially driven lifestyles ruin the peace and comfort Christ brings to us all. The best gift love!

Much Love,

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

Did you miss me? I certainly missed you! I've made it through my first semester as a PhD student/nerd at UA. It was touch and go there for a while, but I did it and I'm so happy!
I'd like to apologize for being out of this space for so long. Believe me, I just couldn't fit one more thing into my life or my brain. So blogging had to fall by the wayside for awhile.
The thing I feel the worst about is not posting our silly, daily life stories. This is our family journal and I regret that there are three whole months missing now. However, now that I reflect those three months held a lot of stress, stomach viruses, strep-throat, and dirty laundry. Not a pretty picture! But seriously, writing in this space helps me look for good moments throughout the day.
There have been lots of those to go with the not-so-good. Dinner with friends, visits with family, wrestling in the living room floor, giggles, gap-toothed smiles, the list is soooo long!

Four-wheel riding with Daddy!

Scaring up fun on Halloween!

And falling asleep exhausted from too much fun!

So, forgive me, my friends, for letting this space go dark for a while. But, please know you have not left my thoughts and prayers. Maybe we can catch up a little over the holidays?!

Much Love,


Friday, September 10, 2010

Some days I wonder...

Some days I wonder what's harder, being a kid or being a mom? This week, I'm definitely choosing mom. Although, I'm having a hard time because of the hard time one of my kids is having. Does any of this make sense? Probably not. It barely makes sense to me! Anyway, I found this video clip about motherhood and through my sobs the words of Jeffery R. Holland brought peace to my soul. I wanted to share it with you; maybe it can help you, too.

Much Love,


Friday, August 20, 2010


I got an iphone this week.  I know, fancy, right!  Anyway, that's not really what this post is about.  While setting up the phone (does anyone else find the process of choosing ringtones annoying?) the kids came in and wanted to hear the ringtone.  I'd chosen the tone called "old phone," it sounds like...duh...an old phone circa 1950-80 ringing.  So I played the ringtone and all 3 kids laughed and said, "What's that supposed to be?"


That's when I realized they have never heard a phone with a bell ringer!  I shouldn't be surprised because we've not had a "landline" in all the time they can remember.  But still, it's a shock to the system to be reminded of how much things have changed just within my lifetime.  Both sets of my grandparents had those heavy, black rotary dial phones.  In fact, until I was a teenager my Granny had a "party line."  The old lady who shared the line was ALWAYS on the phone!  Could you imagine that today?  It's not like this is ancient history we're talking about; I'm not THAT old.  (Shut it!  I hear that snorting and snickering!)

My children have never lived without cellphones, video games, satellite TV and the Internet.  They are very savvy, not only technologically so but also environmentally and gastronomically.  They remind ME to turn off lights and not to run the water when I brush my teeth.  They sigh and shake their heads whenever they see people clearing land and cutting down trees.  They question the origin of their hamburgers' beef and want to know if their fruit is organic.  I'm amazed at their sophistication -- I did not teach them a lot of this stuff -- they are just products of their era.

Of course, they are still kids (thankfully).  They ride bikes, play outside, run in the house, and jump on the furniture.  At the same time I marvel at the differences in our childhoods, I smile at the similarities.  It all makes me wonder...what will they live through?  What will their children never live with and without?

Much Love,
- J

PS -- I'm not daft, I know this is not a perfect time we're living in, but I know there is more good than evil.  I would drown in fear if I thought about all the chaos, hate, and danger prowling today.  You can say what you will, but I choose to focus on the positive in the hopes that I can increase the amount of good, beauty, and love in the world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big Girls Now

Posting two days in a row?!  Shocking, I know.  But there's been some big time events the past few days and I'd be remiss if I didn't document them.  Last week, on the first day of school, my two sweet baby girls turned SEVEN.  I cannot believe they are seven years old!  We had a little pool party on Saturday complete with pink elephant cupcakes and a giraffe mini-cake.  Evie loves elephants and Kallie is my giraffe girl.  We had a great time with friends and family.  The girls got new bikes and some other great things, but they were most excited about this.....

Yep, my two babies got their ears pierced yesterday.  Now I've got two big girls complete with bejeweled ears.  There were a few tears (from them) and a little doubt (from all of us).  In the end, however, they are happy and I'm excited, too!
As my sisters can attest, this ritual was a big deal in our house growing up.  We had to wait until we were 10 to get earrings, but it meant we were big girls.  And they are big girls - sweet, kind, and helpful.  I love those two!

Evie didn't want me to take her picture just after the piercing.  She asked me to wait, "Until my face isn't so red and puffy from crying."  Seriously.  We are definitely raising a priss here!  Kallie wanted to choose skull studs.  "Ooooo, these are cool!", she said.  I convinced her to pick gold hearts with crystals in the middle.  Hint - She is NOT the priss we are raising.  Holdyn's only comment after the piercings was, "I'm glad I'm not a girl!"  This will not be the last time in his life he thinks that, I'm sure.

It's as crazy here as ever!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I have turned into a horrible blogger!  And while I'll admit I like the idea of people reading what I right (frustrated writer), the entire purpose of this blog is to document what's going on in our lives so that later we can remember it all.  FAIL. 

I've got a break from the "murder drive" today so I'm going to post and try to catch up....

School has begun and we now have a 4th grader and two 2nd graders.  It is ridiculous to me how fast these three have grown!  This year marks a lot of firsts, not the least of which is that it's the first year that I was not there for "back to school".  Thankfully, K is awesome and took a few photos of the big morning.  He also called me as soon as he dropped the kids off and gave me the morning report.

As most of you know, I wasn't there because I've just begun my PhD program at the University of Alabama.  I'm excited and scared and intimidated all at once!  However, I know this is the thing I should be doing because we have been so blessed.  I thought with my teaching responsibilities that I'd need to be driving to Tuscaloosa (197 miles round-trip) four times a week.  Last week, while in orientation I received my assignments for this semester's work and found that I would not have to be on campus for work!!!!  I can complete all of my GTA work online and just go to Tuscaloosa for class 2 afternoons a week and then for any special events/meetings.  I cannot tell you what a load that has taken off; driving three hours a day is exhausting!

Well, it's time for my first school drop-off of the year!  Smiles all around here!

Much Love,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


That's all I can say!  I stumbled across this awesome, inspiring blog last week.  Gayle is the mom of four kids and she (along with her husband) eat each week on a grocery budget of $60.  That's right, $60 a week for a family of 6 (including at least one teenage boy)!!!  That also includes toiletries but not make-up, clothes, etc.  Also, they only spend $40 per week on gas ($20/2cars).  They do have a garden and she homeschools the kids.  However, judging by our food consumption this summer that may not be a budget helper!  Perhaps my favorite thing about Gayle's plan is that she doesn't use coupons -- that's right NO COUPONS!  Considering that I absolutely loathe coupons, this chick immediately won my favor.

We used to have a much tighter grocery budget, but lately we've gotten a little lax.  I'm ready to tighten the reins; thankfully not because we HAVE to, but just to be more responsible.  We are wasting a lot and we know better!!  That extra cash could be used to pay off some debt and boost our savings.  I'm not sure I want to immediately cut back to $60 per week, but I'm really considering $80.  We'll see.

So, not to be nosy, but I'm wondering what do you spend each week on groceries?  What about clothes, shoes, gas, etc?  Just wondering...

Much Love,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

As Corny as Kansas in August

We shucked, cleaned, and prepped the corn and ended up with 35 ears and a bunch of creamed corn. However, I thought this photo best depicted the magnitude of the job. My helpers did all the shucking (and jiving?) while I washed, trimmed, blanched and bagged. Although I had more individual tasks our workload was about even. I'm proud of my little workers.

Here's to hoping your summer is corny, too!

Much Love,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Even more pickin'

Thanks to some kind family friends with an awesome garden we're enjoying a sweet bounty.  The kids and I picked corn, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cantaloupe yesterday morning.  45 minutes of picking yielded this...

It is literally more than we could carry! Holdyn is proving to be a very good farmer-boy. He loves the hunt for ripe veggies/fruits. Also, he love the various creatures he finds while picking! Evie and Kallie seem to be able to find any ants within a 50 mile radius, become promptly bitten, and then find the closest shady spot to "rest" and "take a water break". However, they love to help me prepare the bounty once we get it home. I love it all! I so wish that we would have planted a garden this year. It is high on my list of goals for next year, though. Especially since the kiddos are so enthusiastic. In the past any garden we had was a solo effort on my part.

So, how does your garden grow? What do you love to plant? What never turns out?

Much Love,

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blueberry Picking

We made a trip to a local blueberry farm today and did a little picking.  I tried to get us there early but by 9am it was already close to 95degrees out.  The place was beautiful and the bushes were loaded!  We picked 5 quarts in just under an hour. 

Since the farm is only open on Fridays and Saturdays I plan to get out there at least once more this summer.  The kids loved it but started to flag near the end.  In an effort to push them on to full our bucket I suggested we sing while we picked.

We only had to sing a couple verses of "Found a Peanut" and "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain" before we had the bucket filled and were ready to go home.  Of course, our renditions had blueberry picking appropriate lyrics -- "Found a blueberry" and "She'll be pickin blueberries when she comes." 

Apparently we had an audience to our performance because as soon as I told the kids we could pack up a lady picking across from us, whom I didn't see before I suggested singing, said she'd enjoyed our entertainment and was sorry we were leaving. Maybe the farm should hire us and pay us in blueberries?! ;)

Hope you're having a sweet summer!

Much Love,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Walk Like an Egyptian

The kids have been going to vacation Bible school at a nearby church this week.  They've had a great time learning about the Israelites in Egypt.  I've enjoyed the three hour study sessions (comps are today).  I've always wondered why we LDS folks don't have VBS, but I'm not asking for another calling or assignment, so I've kept my wondering to myself. ;) Today is the last day of VBS and the kids were told to dress like any Egyptian or Bible figure they've studied.  Here's what I dropped off this morning --

Yikes! (That's a mummy, Miriam hold baby Moses, and Pharaoh in case you can't tell.)

Much Love,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Yesterday was the last day of my last class for my Masters degree!!!  I'm done, sort of.  Now I have Comprehensive Exams -- eek!  Thankfully, my English Comps are on a seperate day from my Education Comps.  I think I'd keel over if they were together.  Summer is plugging along.  The kids are loving vacation bible school this week, the library's summer reading program ended last week, and Holdyn's birthday is Sunday. 

I know I've been woeful in my blogging duties this year.  I'm not keeping a very good family journal, nor am I keeping up with my bloggy friends and family.  It looks like I'm going to have to break down and become a "follower."  You know I hate that term -- weren't we all taught to be leaders not followers?  So, I'm going to become a Subscriber instead.  How is that different?  I don't know, just humor me, umkay?

Anyhow, I pledge to better fulfill my blogging duties.  I'll get some pics up this week, too.

Much Love,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Wish

Wordle: Wish 2

I am lucky enough to be participating as a fellow in the 2010 JSU Writing Project.  Today was Day 1.  I am so excited to be a part of this project.  My personal goal is to challenge myself as a writer and learn from people who have tons of classroom experience.  For our first teaching demonstration (taught by Melissa Shields) we wrote an I Wish poem.  We began by creating 5 simple "I Wish" sentences like "I wish I had a million dollars".  Then we expanded the sentences by adding conjunctive adverbs (because, consequently, in the event of, etc).  After creating the poem we made our poems into Wordles.  My Wordle is above; click on it to make it bigger.  Here is my poem...

I Wish

I wish for my children to be safe because I cannot always be with them.

I wish my Grandma was still living because I need her guidance, love, and stories everyday.

I wish my house would sell so that we can move to Tuscaloosa and begin our new adventure.

I wish I had a laundry folding machine so that in the event of my death my husband and children won’t be crushed in an avalanche of dirty socks and smelly underwear.

I wish for perfect hips (and tummy and butt) like the ones I had before I birthed three children, including a set of twins.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Rite of Passage

A field trip to the Birmingham zoo is a rite of passage for 5-7 year olds in central Alabama.  Last Friday, the girls and I joined about 20 bazillion other K-2nd graders at the zoo.  We had a great time!  Evie loves to go anywhere and Kallie is our very own little Dr. Doolittle.  Both girls were in heaven and I was happy to be along for the ride and take the pics.

Nothing like starting the day with a little tree climbing...I thought they kept the monkeys IN the zoo!

Riding the carousel, so nice we did it twice!

Kallie's most favorite part - feeding the giraffes.  They are her favorite animals.  One day when she is a vet, she says, she will lasso one and ride it across the savanna.  I do not doubt her!

Evie feed the giraffes, too.  She did not enjoy the experience!

By the end of the day we were tired; but, it was great!

What a way to round out a great 1st grade year!  These girls are awesome!  And just so you know I haven't forgotten him here is a recent picture of Holdyn...

Watch out Daddy, one day he'll be tying you into a knot!

As usual, it's crazy around here.  School ends in a few days, Nana's coming to visit, and the house renovations are FINALLY coming together.  New adventures are on the horizon!

--Much Love,

Friday, May 7, 2010

De-Greasing Update

The girls' hair is back to normal today. I got tons of help from family and friends and I ended up using Dawn dish liquid to rewash their hair. It worked wonderfully! Now their cute strawberry blond hair is back and we're keeping the Greaser look in the 1950's where it belongs.

Much Love,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

21st Century Greasers

I've always loved the greasers. You know, the 1950s style with leather jackets, white t-shirts, jeans, and hair greased into a pompador. Zuko, Kenickie, Ponyboy, Dally, and the Fonz are the epitome of cool! Greaser girls were cute too with their red lips, teased hair, tight pants, and shades (the Pink Ladies even had matching jackets). Greaser girls didn't actually grease their hair; but, with the Feminist movement and a desire for equality I guess anything can happen...enter Evie and Kallie the 21st century greasers.

Yesterday evening the kids were at my mom's while I went to a meeting and K put another coat of poly on the floors. Mom was kind enough to feed the kids, take Holdyn to Cub Scouts, and have the girls get a bath. She even let them take a bubble bath! Anyway, towards the end of bath time she hears them calling and goes to check on them. She finds them in the tub with the baby oil -- they tell her they couldn't find any conditioner so they just used the baby oil instead!! She put them in the shower and had them re-wash their hair.

I, of course, don't find out about this until they are already in the bed asleep. This morning I get them up and see they're still rockin "the wet look." I send them to the shower and tell them to wash their hair again. They get out slightly less greasy than before; but, they still look like two members of the Sharks and/or Jets.

Thank goodness today is Field Day and they can wear hats to school! A desperate plea for help on the Book of Face this morning yielded a call from my sister Emily. She searched the internet and found that Dawn dish liquid should help degrease my two T-birds. The plan for tonight - Operation Oil Slick Removal. We'll see how it goes...

Much Love,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Random Happenings

Here are some random photos of things that happened around here during my bloggin hiatus....

My 9th graders

2 cuties

practing the "pageant walk"

Of course Holdyn was here too. He just seems to escape my camera. I'll get him soon though!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Long Time No Post

It's been a long time since I've posted. That's not because I had nothing to say or nothing was happen here; actually, it was quite the opposite. Last Friday I finished my semester of student teaching. It was AWESOME! Somedays sucked and somedays were fabulous; but, everyday I knew that teaching is what I'm meant to do. My students were great and so was my Cooperating Teacher. I chose to abstain from posting during my student teaching for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to be absolutely sure that I kept all things about my students private. Second, I was EXHAUSTED at the end of each day and just the thought of turning on the computer made me want to cry. Third, I didn't want to fall into the WWW at the end of each day and waste the little family time we have together.

K and I have been spending oodles of time working on this forsaken house. We've almost finished the interior and are preparing to move to the outside - just in time for warm weather.

Plans for the move are slowly creeping forward. We're shooting for mid-July to be in T-town. I keep teasing K that I'm moving in July with or without everyone else. ;) But of course, I could never go anywhere without my sweeties. How blessed can one girl be? I've got an awesome hubs, 3 stinkin cute kiddos, and we're all happy and healthy. As long as we're together we're good.

Gotta get back to cleaning and packing!
--Much Love,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Evie wasn't feeling well this morning. She convinced me that she had over-indulged in Valentine's candy and was tummy-sick. Of course, today is the day that I begin my independent teaching unit (Romeo and Juliet) so she had to go visit Mama Ford. After a frantic early-morning phone call I dropped her with my mom on our way to school. About 25 minutes later I get a call from Mom. She tells me Evie has eaten bacon, grits, and a biscuit feels better now and wants to come to school. WHAT?!

I rush to Mom's grab Evie, race home grab her backpack and snack, and we head back to school. As we're pulling into the parking lot Evie says in a completely serious voice, "Mommy, am I going to have to go to the office and get a tardy-pants slip?"

It was all I could do to hold back a laugh. Then my heart warmed; my sweet baby was worried about being tardy! She's never been tardy before and only knew that the "tardy-pants" in her class had to go to the office and get a "tardy-pants slip."

That and holding her little hand as we walked down the hall-way to her classroom made the rush, frustration, and worry all worth it!

So, just call us tardy-pants today.

Friday, February 5, 2010


The Country Vaughns got some big news this week. I've been accepted into the PhD program in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Alabama. We are super excited at what all this entails! I've been offered a graduate assistantship as well, which means a move is required. In the next few months the Country Vaughns will be in full renovation completion mode so that we can get Vaughn Farms on the market and hopefully (fingers and toes crossed)sold. That's right, the plan is to bid farewell to this little piece of land and move the country mice to the city.

The kids are excited at the idea of living "in town" where they can ride bikes, play sports, and possibly (gasp) walk places!

For now, we're enjoying little league basketball season, my student teaching (I LOVE IT!!!), and just being together.

So, we'll see what happens over the next 6 months. It should be exciting, stay tuned!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Snow" Day

We're home for a "Snow" day today. I use the quotation marks because there isn't a lick of snow to be seen. We got out of school at 11a yesterday as the fat, fluffy flakes swirled through the frigid air. The kids were so excited to get home to "make snow angels, snowmen, and have a snowball fight" they said. I wanted to get home, pull on some fleece pants and socks and campout on the couch. Well, we all got our wishes, sort of. The snow didn't stick but it did accumulate (slightly) on some things like the steps, the picnic table and the trampoline. This allowed for enough of a thin layer of dust for snow angels and snowballs about the size of a gumball. =)

Overall, I dislike the cold, dreary weather and I'm thankful that I live in a place where it is a rare occurance. School was cancelled for today, too. Now we're snuggled in for the weekend and enjoying our snowless "Snow" day.

Much Love
the Country Vaughns

Thursday, January 7, 2010


We've been losing things around here lately. These lost items aren't the normal things a household may lose on a daily basis - car keys, socks, homework, everloving minds, etc. These lost items are special because they can only be lost once and never again...

Kallie Dec 09

Evie Jan 10

That's right, the girls' have reached another milestone - Snaggles. They've each lost their first tooth. As with all of their other milestones they are about 1 month apart. Coincidentally, they didn't lose the same tooth. True to their usual standards (one with long hair, one with short hair, one left handed, one right handed, one girly, one sporty) these girls lost OPPOSITE teeth. Too funny!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


2010 is here - can you believe it? This holiday season was a whirlwind of fun, food, and family. We loved every minute of it! In addition to Christmas and New Year's K and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on 12/30. We enjoyed a quick get-away to Gatlinburg, TN and spent New Year's Eve and Day in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. The kids got to stay with the grandparents and were treated to a roadtrip to Chatanooga with Aunt Lacy and Uncle David. BIG thanks to those two brave souls! ;)

As we headed back to Bama from TN we were able to stop by and visit with K's brother and his family - the Knoxville Vaughns. We don't get to spend enough time with the Vaughn families and we miss them dearly!

Everyone had a great time on their respective trips and we're glad to be back home on "the farm" getting ready to head back to school and work next week.

I'll start my "Clinical Field Experience" aka student-teaching on Monday and the kids head back to school on Wednesday. Thankfully, I will be spending my semester at Ragland High so we can all go to school together until late April. I'm so grateful that things worked out that way!!

We hope that 2010 is full of blessings and happiness for all of our friends and family!

Much Love,
the Country Vaughns