Monday, June 21, 2010


From Tybee. Man, is it H-O-T! It was so hot yesterday on the beach that I could hardly stand it. Factor in the humidity, the sticky salt water and the sand and you have a perfect recipe for misery for A Girl Named Kelly Kelly.

I love the beach and it never bothers me for it to be hot, but when it's so humid I can hardly stand it. And there was absolutely no breeze. It's gorgeous weather and I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just saying. It was hot.

We've had one very good meal and one not so good meal. We tried out a new Mexican place and it was terrible. Jeff and I could run a restaurant better than those folks. We predict when we come back in December, they'll be gone.

Got a list of some things I want to do while we're here.

1. Rent a bike and take a ride around the island.
2. Take a long walk at night to listen to the bugs.
3. Visit Bonaventure Cemetery.
4. Walk to the pier and back.
5. Go to the movies and see Toy Story 3.
6. Try at least two more new restaurants.

So I've done no less than 10 loads of laundry already. It's okay, though, because it helps me feel organized and tidy. I just can't help myself. I don't relax well.

Okay. Well, gonna scoot. I think Jeff would like some computer time before we head out to the sandy shore.

Till next time...

Oh, and BTW, yesterday I blew my healthier eating by eating a Zero bar AND two good handfuls of Dark Chocolate (which I bought by mistake) M&M's.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The House that Built Me

First things first. Happy birthday to my most precious neice. In fact, my only neice. Today she's 11 years old. A lovely young lady, with lots of spunk, plenty of kindness and loaded with beauty, inside and out. Love you, Alayna, a/k/a Nayna. I hope you have the birthday that you deserve!

Second things second. I'm participating in a party that Leigh at Bloggeritaville is hosting today. It's called The House that Built Me. I don't have any pictures, because, frankly, I'm very tired today and I have a headache and I got cat dander -- which I'm highly allergic to -- in my eye last night and it's still irritated and pouring water like a faucet. I'm just this side of miserable.

But I do want to share with my friends about the house that built A Girl Named Kelly Kelly. In all of my 44 years, I've lived in only four houses. Maybe one apartment for a short time after I was born, but I don't remember that, so I don't count it.

Four houses in my whole life. Can you tell I don't like change? The house that built me, though, was the house we moved in when I was about four or five. My dad built most of it with his own two hands. He never had a house payment. Never. Ever. He'd save and work on it a little at a time until it was finished. I think you can understand why he's my hero.

Built on Austin Road in Stockbridge, Georgia, it's a three bedroom, two bath house. Very typical of the houses built in the early '70s. All brick. Carpet, linoleum and tile cover the floors. Every piece of material that was used to build that house came from the finest materials available at the time. My dad is a believer in quality.

We had a basement, which for many years was unfinished. For my sisters and me, it was a skating rink. We'd skate for hours on the smooth concrete floor. Metal poles helped support the upstairs. We'd use those poles to practice kissing. I'm not kidding. I learned to kiss on a metal pole. And no, I did not become a pole dancer.

I shared a bedroom with my sister Crystal for years. Suz was the baby and had her own room. Then later when Suz was older, she and Crystal shared a room and I had my own room. I was a neat freak even then. I loved to clean my room. Loved it. It was never messy.

Our house had no air-conditioner until I was about 13. We had an attic fan. I loved to play with my Barbie dolls. I remember playing in my room with my Barbie dollhouse, watching Father Knows Best on my tiny little black-and-white TV, pouring sweat.

Playing and playing until my mom would call us for supper. I loved my room. Later when I was in high school, my dad finally put a phone in my room. Once, when I was talking on it way toooo long, he came in and ripped it out of the wall. Well, being my father's daughter, stubborn and determined, I figured out that if you put the red wire and the black wire and maybe a yellow one, too, together, you can get a connection. So I spent countless hours in my closet talking on the phone. Just a little static here or there from the wires coming loose. My parents were none the wiser. Oh, and BTW, that cute little girl playing with the dollhouse isn't me. My hair was much blonder and all my dresses were way cuter than hers.

Have you ever slept in a house with an attic fan in Georgia? This is how it goes. You go to sleep dry. You wake up feeling like you have been covered with dew. The fan pulls in so much humidity. But it was perfect. Absolutely perfect. I promise you that I can still hear the sound of that attic fan.

Our house had a dining room with a big wallpaper mural. Those were very popular back in the day. This one depicted a beautiful farm house with a stream. Crystal and I used to pretend that we lived in that house. We also used that big mural and pretended like we were teachers. It was our chalkboard. Of course, we had no chalk.

Like every family, I guess, the kitchen was the heart of the home. My mother cooked every weeknight. And we all sat down together at the table and ate. Ah. The kitchen table. Is there anything that screams home more than the kitchen table? As a matter of fact, I sat with my parents at their kitchen table just last night. I went for a visit and my dad insisted that I eat with them. He didn't have to twist my arm too hard because my mom had made a pile of homemade veggies.

The driveway was rough concrete. Not nice and smooth like the basement. It wasn't good for skating. It would vibrate on your feet and cause them to tickle unmercifully. But it was perfect for riding your Big Wheel. Which we rode and rode and rode.

The House that Built Me had a front porch and a back deck. The deck seemed 10 stories off the ground when I was a girl. The porch was where my dad sat every night and pondered life. He has told Ross before that he made most of his money late, late at night. Just pondering things to do and making plans to support us.

There were a couple of trees in the front yard that Crystal and I would climb. A swingset that I would swing Suz in. A swimming pool in the backyard that hours and hours of pure bliss were spent in.

The house that built me is a house that my daddy built. A house that my mama made a home. And it's a house that I will love and remember my whole life.

How 'bout you? Tell me about the house that built you. Join Leigh at Bloggeritaville and share it with the party.

Till next time when I'll write from my heaven on earth, Tybee. Live. Love. Laugh.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She Tickled the Ivory

Since September, Alayna has been taking piano lessons. She has a keyboard at home that she practices her music. Sunday night she had her very first piano recital. And she indeed tickled the ivory, and when she did, the most beautiful music played.

There were two other girls performing, so it was a short recital. Sometimes that's a good thing, but these girls were playing sweet, old hymns. It was beautiful.

These two always make such a pretty picture.

And here's the lovely pianist with her certificate and the bouquet of flowers I brought her. Don't ya just love her sequined bag that she carries her music in?

I was so glad that my mom went along. She really enjoyed herself. She hasn't been getting out much lately because she's having some problems with her foot. But after the recital, we went to watch my favorite six-year-old play baseball. She sat in the shade of an umbrella and did her fair share of cheering Eli on. They won the game. They're playing in the district tournament and it's two losses and they're done. They lost last night, and I'm hoping they'll get their mo back and win tonight. I'd love for that little slugger to win a district championship!
After sweltering in the scorching heat, we went back to Suz & Jason's house to relax for a bit. The heat here is exhausting right now. It completely drains you. Eli chose Pizza Hut for supper, so that's where we went. The large pizza, any topping for $10 is a great deal, and the pizza wasn't half bad either.
Got a busy day today. I'm going to my gyno for a checkup and have lots of work to catch up on. With this heat and humidity, I'm doing my outside chores after the sun goes down some. What does that mean? It means mosquito bites. And lots of them. Maybe they got their fill of me last night and will leave me alone tonight.
Alayna's birthday is Friday, so I'll be heading up there for that. I need a helicopter, don't you agree? And on Saturday we head out to our beloved Tybee.
Oh, yeah, on Friday Leigh over at Bloggeritaville is hosting the neatest party, and I sure hope I can join. It's a House that Built Me Party. Go check out these posts and you'll want to join in too, I'm sure.
Till next time... STAY COOL!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Not a Saturday in the Park

But it was hotter than the 4th of July. Way hotter.
Remember a few months ago, I blogged about these water oaks we had in the front yard. Well, we finally got the stumps removed. Jeff covered the holes and then the yard looked like this.
Jeff ordered two pallets of Bermuda sod and Ross drove to the Farmer's Market early Saturday morning and picked them up.

In 1995, Jeff and I together put out seven pallets of sod. We remember it very, very well. I don't think I've ever been as tired. Laying sod is very hard work. But that was seven pallets. This was only two.
But Jeff was also 15 years younger then. Bless that hardworking man's heart. He worked himself to exhaustion Saturday laying those two pallets of sod.

Oh, he had help.

Ross helped him out quite a bit, and I think Jeff would agree that he couldn't have done it without his help.

And when Cam got home from working at his hunting club, he also helped.

Smokey observed as if she knew there was something happening to her new favorite place to wallow. She also was sure to give it a bit of personal fertilization.

Even with the extra help, my poor hubby was whipped. It was just too much to accomplish in one day. In our nearly 23 years of wedded bliss, I've never seen him so tired. We had dinner reservations with Ronnie, Nan and a few other friends. We couldn't even make dinner. He'd get up to get ready and I'd walk back through the room and he'd be back on the bed again. I really think he had heat exhaustion. I don't know what the heat index was on Saturday, but I do know that it was HOT.

After working for several hours and just giving completely out, this is what was left from the two pallets of sod.

And this is how the yard looks now.

Not quite ready for yard of the month, but it's well on the way. Because of the way our yard slopes, getting grass to grow has been a work in progress for 15 years.

It looks a lot better and after vacation, we want to fill in the island with mulch or straw. The grass will spread and hopefully, by next summer Jeff can practice his putting on that beautiful grass.

He did recover by yesterday. It was scary for a little while. I was worried he had had a heat stroke or something. And as a matter of fact, he felt well enough to finish putting out the last little bit of the sod yesterday.

If you've ever laid sod, then you know it's hard work and you don't forget it. I don't think Jeff will be putting out any more for a while. Maybe ever.

While you're probably thinking that I was out by the pool, chillaxing with a cold drink in my hand, shouting instructions, you couldn't be further from the truth. I knew my limitations and honestly, putting out sod is a man's work. I did do their laundry afterwards though. I only had to run the clothes through the washer three times to get them even remotely clean. Jeff soaked through two shirts and two pair of shorts. It was some nasty laundry.

Back to my chillaxing. Here's a glimpse of what I did.

Pulled weeds. (No picture.)

Removed dead leaves and blooms off my flowers and cleaned the flower pots on the front porch.

Washed the rocking chairs and porch railing with bleach.

Made 458 (exaggeration, but that's what it felt like) trips up and down the basement steps.

Put my 4th of July wreath on the door, which required two of the 458 trips up and down the steps.

Cleaned out and filled up the hummingbird feeder.

Repotted some flowers that, even after repotting, look like they may still die.

Brushed enough fur off of Smokey to cover another cat.

Which then caused me to have to sweep the porch, which caused me to step in a pile of bird poop. And if you've never been privy to the smell of bird poop, consider yourself lucky. Trust me, it's one of the worst smells I've ever smelled.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart to get a new flag.

I don't like a faded flag. I feel that if I'm gonna fly one, it should always look its best; bright, proud and strong.

So yes, friends, a Saturday in the park it was not. But it was a whole bunch of stuff that needed doing and we did it. Even if it did almost kill my dear husband.

Till next time...

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Little Trip

Alayna had been asking me since school has been out to come up and spend the night with her and her mom. She's wanting to get highlights in her hair. Her hair is pretty and dark, like Suz's. Suz didn't really want her to lighten it up, but Alayna knows she tugs on my heart strings and really has me quite wrapped, as do my nephews as well.

She also thinks that if I tell her mom I think she should let her have her hair lightened, bam, she'll let her. Maybe it's because I'm eight years older than Suz and used to give her her bottle. I don't know, but anyway, Alayna thinks Suz will change her mind if I approve. So part of the purpose of my visit was to convince Suz to let Alayna lighten her hair.

We bought the hair lightener last night. Ha! Alayna is smart, don't you think?

Old town Buford is really a great place with lots of small, hole in the wall restaurants. Suz and a friend had been to this place called Rico's and she went on and on about how good the food was.

It's very, very small. It's actually in an old automotive garage. Jason said his dad had some tires or something done to his car there back in the day.

Well, let me just tell ya. The food was amazing. I had a fried green tomato salad. Suz had a fried green tomato and grilled portabello mushroom sandwich. Alayna had shrimp. Their dishes came with homemade sweet potato chips.

I love fried green tomatoes, but who'd have thought to serve them alongside a salad? It was very good. Maybe the best part of the whole meal was the dessert, which I didn't even get a picture of. I think it's because as soon as the plate and bowl hit the table, we devoured them. We ordered a slice of orange cake and banana pudding made with those adorable Pepperidge Farm chessmen. Oh, my heavens. The cake was wonderful. We tried to figure out what the icing was made of. We think it was cream cheese, whipped cream and powdered sugar. The banana pudding equally yummy.

Here we are after pigging out. Looking all full and sassy.

We rented Shutter Island since I never saw it while it was at the theater. We made popcorn and dumped Milk Duds and Raisinets in the bowl. Just like at the movies. I stayed up until 1 o'clock watching that movie, which I thought was good, by the way.

Perhaps the best part of my trip was my bed partner. Sweet Eli. I love to snuggle with that sweet boy, but he's always so busy playing that it's hard to get him pinned down. But with him sleeping, I could snuggle all I wanted. It was unfortunate to me that he is equally busy when he's sleeping, as I literally slept the entire night in about a one-inch part of the bed. Oh, well, I got me some good kisses. I can sleep later I guess.

Jeff and I have picked up a cold and we both feel awful today. I can go the whole winter without a single cold, but every summer I get one and it's always bad.

Well, gotta go. I've got to help Eli look for his little ball that he throws up against the wall about 10,000 times a day.

Till next time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Swim & Eat

And celebrate birthdays. Just in the last week, we've celebrated three birthdays. Britani and Bradley's and my mom's. June is crazy full of birthdays. We get a little break in July. Then August hits and it gets crazy again. But a summer birthday is a good excuse to have a pool party, right?

What is it about boys that makes them like to wrestle in the pool? No need for expensive pool toys with boys in the pool. Look at sweet Alex's face in this picture. She looks like she'd love to get in on it with those boys.

And a birthday is a dang good excuse to have cake and ice cream. Or a cake that is made with cake AND ice cream all in one. That's what we had at Britani and Bradley's 17th b'day party.

Suz made The World's Best Coconut Cake for my mom's party at my house Sunday night. It was the kind of cake that after your first piece, you have a second claiming the first piece was so small. The second leads to a third. Have you ever had cake like that? And honestly, is there anything prettier than a snow white coconut cake?

Except maybe the smile on my 64-year-old mom, my kids' Mimi's face. This picture shows my pretty Auntie Brenda in the background. Not sure what tale Eli was telling Mimi, but from the looks on their faces, it was pretty amazing. It was a great party and will be a new tradition at my house.

And then there were the kids. There were 11 of them here. I still count Ross and his friends as kids. Hey, if you're 23 years younger than me, you're still a kid.

The big kids throw the little kids. Eli's the only one small enough for them to throw more than a time or two and honey, he'll wear them out. I love this picture because you can see the excitement on Eli's face before he hits the water. I love it, too, because it shows my dad and my Auntie Theresa having a chat. Now, there's a bond for ya.

We're a family of Georgia Bulldogs. We have a scattering of Tech Yellow Jackets in the mix, but for the most part, we're Georgia Dawgs. And when you're a Georgia fan you CAN'T STAND THE FLORIDA GATORS! Except Ethan. He's a gator fan. The irony of this picture is that the alligator's tail had a hole in it. But it had enough air to hold up a gator lover.

I realize I never posted any pictures of our Panama City trip with Ronnie and Nan. I posted a couple on Facebook, but I didn't post any here.

These are a few of my favorites. This is Ronnie and Nan at Pineapple Willy's the first day we got there.

Jeff and me on the balcony at sunset. Only God could creat the colors in the sunset. There are no crayons in the box to match those colors.

This is the pool at The Shores of Panama where we stayed. It was seriously the prettiest pool I've ever seen. And at night with the lights, it was even more beautiful.

We had our best meal of the trip at Captain Anderson's.
If you've been to Panama City before, you've probably been there. They have amazing seafood. When we were little girls and would take our beach vacation to Panama City, my dad would take us there. We'd go early to watch the fishermen unload their catches of the day. I have many good memories of my girlhood vacations in Panama City.
The weather and the water were just beautiful the entire time we were there. A couple of days the water was as calm as a lake.
And one day the waves were crashing in and we had so much fun playing on the shore, just like little kids. I thought I'd have to get my Mickey Mouse pressure washer to out to get the sand out of my bathing suit bottoms! If only we had had a movie of that. I'm pretty sure we'd win Funny Home Videos. Two 44-year-old women getting bounced around like a beach ball in the water. It was hilarious.
Since we had no camera that day, I'll just share this picture with ya.
We saw dozens of stingrays. They were swimming in schools. Not bothering anyone, just swimming along.

And we could see dolphins playing just out of reach of the swimmers. There was no seaweed in the water and the sand was truly like sugar. It was Panama City Beach at its finest.
Now I'm worried about this coming along and messing up everything. Not only am I worried for all of the sea life who make the Gulf of Mexico their home, but also for all of the people who depend on tourists for their livelihood. From the images and news about the oil spill, we need a miracle.
Without a miracle, some little girl somewhere might not get to make her beach trip to Panama City with her parents and sisters. She won't get to float in that clear aqua water. Or build sandcastles in that blindingly white sand. Or have dinner at Captain Anderson's or Angelo's.
Yes, indeed, a miracle is just what we need.
Till next time...