Sunday, July 31, 2011

Melt my Heart

I could go on and on about the reasons I haven’t found any time to blog lately, but really, that’s another blog all together.
No really, it is.
I’m hoping for a more regular schedule when school starts.
Let’s just hope it’s not more regular non-blogging.
Unless the blogs I’ve written in my head count. Oh, you couldn’t read those?
Ok then, let’s get on with it.

I have a two year old.
He’s a pretty cute one.
Even in all his tantrum throwing, he manages to sqeeze in some manner of cuteness.
It’s a good thing too, if you’ve ever witnessed one of those tantrums.

{Here's one in case you've missed it.}

He has been forced in front of the camera his whole life. He was 6 days old when he was subjected to his first photo shoot.

He has become accustomed to the camera and the appropriate face for photo taking.
Enter Lincoln’s “cute face.”
He cuts his eyes, flashes that smile and raises his shoulder to his ear.
Cute face.
That’s what we call it and he know’s just what to do.
Melt my Heart!

That boy, like his brother, loves his crib. Most two year olds are looking at or already in their first toddler bed. Not my guy. He has no intention of leaving that crib. He wakes up in the morning and spends quite a while in there practicing his meditation and singing. I’ve heard his songs and most of them consist of cows, water, choo-choo’s and paw-paw. Occasionally, Cars 2 makes an appearance too. When I’m finally ready for him to get up, I will go in and happily announce good morning. He pops out of his “I love my crib” trance and reaches out those little hands for me to hold him. When I pick him up he says, “Chank chu mama a hold.”
Ahh, he just said Thank you mama for holding me!
Oh Lord!
Melt my Heart!

Recently at Jason’s parents, the boys and I went on a walk. We found a mud hole (imagine that)! It had some tadpoles in it that Jackson insisted needed to be caught in a cup for closer examination. As Jackson decended into the ditch Lincoln called out,”Jack-see, mi be a nake.” He felt the need to warn Jackson of the possibility of there being a snake down there. Gotta love brotherly love.
Melt my Heart!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Second Edition

We’re back! In a riveting second edition blog book, the deFoor family has made another debut in print. After the excitement of last year’s blog book, I knew we would make the second edition cut and I knew just what to do to make it better. Almost a year after my last print, I started researching options to make my blog book even better. My ONLY complaint for the first edition book was the lack of cover choices that I found acceptable for my taste. Everything else was beyond my expectations in quality. It was pure published, New York best seller quality. I mean, if I saw it in a bookstore, I’d have to pick one (or 10) up! Ok, maybe not quite that good but my family just loved it and that’s what counts right?
This year, I discovered that www.thecutestblogontheblock teams up with my publishing company of choice ( to provide better, more fitting cover options for the fabulous life of Team deFoor.

This book begins last summer and signifies our last year in NC and in the Army. The fall takes us through our Atlanta trip and then our stay in NC Christmas. The end of this book marked the beginning of our new life in Nashville, TN. It was a move a long time in the making but the new life is definitely "new" to us. Jason has left the Army after 10 years of service to pursue an MBA from Vanderbilt. We are embarking on a journey that we don’t know our final destination but I do know, I’ll follow him anywhere and that sums up the subtitle of the book.

"Home is wherever I’m with you." It’s a song(by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's) we discovered and fell in love with but it’s a true statement for us. We are not in our forever home but it’s a great place to be and as long as we’re there together, that’s what matters!

I was more than pleased with my second edition blog book and even happier that I held out for the 15% off code that I inquired about. It pays to just ASK for a discount! If you have a blog and have considered printing…DO IT, now. You will not regret the decision and to me, it’s worth every single dime.

If you’re interested in reading this compelling real life account of team deFoor and their travels and trials you can always visit the sidebar of past blogs at OR if you’d rather hold the pages between your fingers you can reserve your copy at…well, since there’s only ONE world wide copy, I’d be happy to show it to anyone willing to look!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We have a Swimmer!

This is your fair warning. This post is a whole lot of PMM.

That's Proud Mama Moment!

I admit a good amount of bragging is about to happen as this is our first athletic milestone and our oldest child.

Ok, now that the disclaimer is posted...
Jackson is a swimmer. He's always been a fish in the water, I mean from WAY back to before toddler. We spent a lot of time at the post pools last year but he still lacked the confidence to believe he could swim all by himself.
We moved here in May and joined the YMCA. At the pools here, you have to pass a swim test that consists of jumping in the lap pool, swimming one lap and getting out, completely unassisted. Once you pass, you are awarded the freedom to slide down the super cool water slides at the indoor pool.
When we first joined, we thought it would be out of the question this year and maybe into next before he would be able to do this feat but today his daddy worked with him and within an hour, he said he was ready.

Boy was he ready!

That boy jumped in and swam that lap like a champion swimmer.

I wasn't sure if something was chasing him or he really did believe he was Michael Phelps going for the gold.

Either way, he swam his lap and came out with a smile on his face. I think even the lifeguards were proud.
They were proud enough to hold the pool open an extra 5 minutes so that boy could reap the rewards of going down the twisty water slide one time before closing time. You'd have thought by dinner time that he had already joined a swim team the way he talked about it. No big deal, he does it all the time.

I'm not sure who carried the bigger ego, Jackson or Jason. It was definitely a milestone for Jason too who has nightly dreams of having athletic children.
I don't think he's got anything to worry about.

There are sadly no photos of this milestone.
We were all waterlogged and there were no cameras or even phones in the near vicinity for me to grab. Don't they always perform when the camera isn't handy.

Here's to the Summer Olympics 2024!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Prodigal Cat

This is Cotton.

He is our 7 year old part maine coon, hairy ball of fur.

We got Cotton BK (that's before kids) as a playmate for Roxy while we were gone long hours working. She had always loved cats and they are far easier to potty train and less trouble than dogs (ha!not so much).

Cotton quickly became Jason's cat. He loved to lay on Jason, sleep on his clothes and once when Jason was sick we noticed that Cotton had this uncanny ability to sympathize with Jason every single time he sneezed. Really it was America's funniest videos material how Cotton would open his mouth and make a light and whining sound every time Jason would sneeze. It was amusing and it became a lifelong habit of his. It's mostly for Jason but in his absence, Cotton has been know to sympathize for me also.

If you think cats are lazy, then you are probably right. But if you think they don't have a lot of personality and sometimes sass, then you are dead wrong.
Cotton, even though he is a cat, doesn't like to be left alone in the house. He would do bad things when we would leave him for the weekend. There's no fooling him. When we take Roxy somewhere, he knows it and he shows his bad side. It's certainly not that he wants us to take him with us.

Oh no.

Have you ever ridden in the car with a cat? Multiply your misery level by 5. That might cover it. He hates to ride in the car and that didn't bode so well with our frequent trips to Alabama for extended time frames.

Our latest move was no different. All the kids and animals were graciously picked up about a week before the movers came. This kept them all safe and happy. Or so we thought. Cotton is a roamer and he loves the great outdoors. He's as fat as most small dogs and fixed and declawed but he likes to pretend he's a mountain lion ready to pounce on his prey (a moth). One night before we made the long drive, he escaped the fence outside mom and dad's house where he was completely comfortable living for a while. I knew he would come back, I just didn't think it would be very long. Mom on the other had, worried a hole in her small intestine over the pet. She's a great keeper of all things and pets and kids are her specialty. I told her not to worry, he'd be back but after a week had passed, we were all skeptical. She had signs up all over town and even chased a few dead end leads.

It was 2 weeks he had been gone when I pulled up from a date night late movie and jumped out of the car in the street to see him sitting in the flower bed.
We were relieved to see him and mom vowed to keep him under lock and key until we got settled in Nashville.

More than a week passed and under close surveillance Cotton was allowed outside in the back yard once again. Next thing you know, Cotton is again missing and the saga has started over again. Mom-worry, us-he'll come back. After more than his last episode of 2 weeks passed, we began to loose hope. He's a sweet and lazy cat, we thought someone else had found him adorable and wanted him as their rag doll kitty. I think we had all (well, except mom) given up any hope of seeing Cotton again. It was hot, deep summertime and he's a hairy, well fed yellow cat. If he was around, we would have seen him.

Then one evening 7 FULL weeks later, Mom was walking my first baby (Roxy) around the neighborhood block at her house and up ahead she saw an orange blob in the curb. She ran and scooped him up and marched him back home without ever even looking down to check him out. Once she got him home, she observed significant weight loss but no other injuries to speak of. She watched him closely and only noticed signs of weakness. She sent me a pic message of him eating his food that said "Guess Who?"

Yeah, we were totally shocked.
hen next day, he made the trip to Nashville. It was just as excruciating as the 12+ to NC can be, that cat just hates to travel. We got him home and cleaned him up (by the way, he also hates baths!) and watched him for several days. He was weak, he wouldn't even land on his feet when we picked him up at first but he seems to be firming up and filling out. He has been spending his recovery days eating and rediscovering his favorite hiding places. His weakness has faded and he seems to be happy back here with us.

We've spent a lot of time wondering.

Where did he go? Was he at someones house? Was he trying to find us?

We've tried hard to make him answer but I think the cat's got his tongue.

We'll never know where Cotton was or if he was trying to get home to us.

We know he's here now and he's happy.

So here's to Cotton and the rest of his 7 remaining lives.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This Ain't Yo Mama's Library

You know you've moved to the BIG city when your library has a parking garage.

You might be a redneck when your 5 year old ask "Mom, are we at the airport?" when we arrive in the parking garage to the downtown library.
I can see it.
We take a ticket when we drive in.
We have a letter and number to remember.
We ride an elevator up to the main floor.
There are escalators along the way.
It could be the airport now that I think of it.
But we were at the Nashville Public Library downtown.

It is a sight to behold, well once you reach the ground floor anyway. As soon as we walked in I told Jackson that it was bigger than my college library! At 4 full stories of books, media and publications we were impressed. Not to mention the main atrium is made of marble and boast 2 spiral staircases up to the other floors.
We went there for an International food tasting for children and they had tables set up all over the conference room with foods (mostly sweets) from several different countries. There wasn't much to it but Jackson did get to try an Australian delicacy (apparently). He tried Vegimite on toast. (For those that don't know, Vegimite is is a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is a spread for sandwiches, toast, and filling for pastries. Thanks wikipedia!) The best part is, he thought it was chocolate. Yeah, that was a pretty funny twist. Needless to say, he didn't like it!

We took the elevator, along with several of the local homeless folks, and we got off on the children's floor. Yep, a whole FLOOR of the monster library is dedicated to children. We had an impromptu puppet show led by Jackson. Then, we ventured back to the theatre where unbeknownst to us there was a marionette puppet show that was just beginning. It was called Skybear. It was an Indian folk tale about how the milky way was formed. I'll be honest, it was pretty cute and it kept the boys quite entertained for it's entirety.

Afterwards, we picked out some Scoobydoo movies and several CD's for the car. I chose Kids Bopz 17 because if I'm going to listen to kids songs, at least now we can feel down with the times, well, almost.
Okay, not really.
We also chose some Kindergarten themed books since the beginning of school is upon us.

Can you believe I'll have a kindergartener?

I don't think I can discuss it right now.

Before we left, we took a stroll around the courtyard. On the second story, they have a pretty significant courtyard with trees, benches and a fountain. If the "free" parking ticket wasn't about to run out we might have stayed out there longer.

Then like all good library patrons, we had our parking ticket validated and returned to the sketchy garage underneath our fabulous new library.
It won't be our last visit here. The library nearest us is a pitiful little thing that will from now on be used only to return books or pick up holds. We are proud users of the Nashville Public Library-downtown!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Same Kind of Different

To the untrained eye, three years of sunsets separate these photos and not much else.

To the mother of these 2 boys, it's more like the difference of night and day. Each one important in their own right.

To better explain, the first one is Lincoln. My 2 year old ball of fire. He's a momma's baby from birth. He's loud, proud and independent. He has an opinion and thinks everyone needs to adhere to it. He gets what he wants. Let me say that again, he gets WHAT he wants. He definitely has that second child syndrome. The one where he has to be loud to be heard and he quickly learned to play on the fact that mom and dad are somewhat occupied by another human and works it to his advantage. Don't get me wrong here. He can be sweet. He even has a signature "sweet" look that he can perform on cue but only if he chooses to do so. He can not be coerced into doing anything that isn't his idea in the first place. Hand him a treat and if he can not hold it himself, he'd rather not have it. He's high strung, high maintenance, all eyes on him. Trouble might be his middle name. Some might say, he's a typical 2 year old.

Then there's 2 year old Jackson. He was the most articulate 2 year old I've ever met. I have the home video's to prove it. He is a quick learner with a photographic memory. He's also a charmer. He's always been a pleaser type child. He was easy. I already knew that. He was always SO easy to bargain with. I can still pull off the "if you will do this...then we will do that" and he abides like it's the law. He plays us to his advantage as well but most of it includes some can't resist him games like "I will help you with the dishes if I can have some fruit snacks, mom!" Who's going to say no to that? He is a rule follower, he was born that way. He seeks out what you want to hear and never forgets it. I think that child remembers the day he was born, his memory is so fine tuned.

So sure, they look alike.

Sometimes they look like me and other times they look like Jason but in personality, they are vastly different.

Only God knows what the future holds for these 2 boys he entrusted us to raise. I pray they will go on to do great things using their differences to their own advantage in life but most importantly, I pray that whatever they choose to pursue, it is Him they know first and foremost.

Life's a Beach

Better late than never right?

Sure, we've been back from the beach a week but I don't feel like my vacation has started yet, maybe this week.
We ended our "tour de southeast" with a week long stay at the Destin Recreation Center. This trip was NOT spontaneous. I actually planned this trip in early December and made the reservations on December 28th with SNOW covering the ground in NC.
I wanted to stay in a 3bdrm Cabin and there are only 3 of them. I asked what day and time I needed to call to secure one of them and they told me the exact day. This girl gets what she wants...if she plans ahead! You just can't beat a 3 bedroom HOUSE overlooking the bay for 120 a night in June/July. This was our 6th stay at the resort and we just love it there. Our own pool, pier and bay access in a gated community of quality citizens! Ok, maybe they are not high class but they are decent people since they are military families.
They have done significant renovations since we started vacationing here. Flat screen TV's, showers and backsplashes are just a few of the much improved facilities! The beach is a 3 mile drive but it is also military ID card holder only so it is NEVER crowded. There's a lot to be said about a non crowded beach the week of July 4th! It may have been the only thing not crowded that week.

is what we feasted on the first night at the beach. I'm convinced that nobody in Destin ate as good as we did that night! Believe it or not, nobody loved the crawfish more than THIS boy! That is him doing it cajun style sucking the heads. I guess he's living up to his last name.

In the middle of our meal, Jackson decided we needed to "cheers" our crawfish before we continued. I'll drink, er pinch, to that!

This is monumental. This may have been the first time since Disney World in Oct 09 that ALL of the whole fam-damily has been together. Our holidays were a little crazy, our Sept. Atlanta trip was off a little so for the first time in almost 2 years, let me introduce you to the entire Smith-deFoor-Mooring families! I wouldn't say it's a world class photo, probably not even framable in my book. You'd think with mom being a photographer, we could do better than this but we all know too well that we were pretty dang lucky to get one this good. The men are as hard to photograph as the children and put them all together, that's why there is NO disney photo to prove that we were all together then. You'll just have to trust me.

Jason and I worked together to build Jackson a sand castle. He was supposed to be helping. He got stuck in the ocean, having fun in the waves. But as you can see, Lincoln is doing a fine job bossing us around. Don't worry, we're kinda used to Linc bossing us around. It's usually in the form of a squeal of displeasure. Hey, whatever works for him.

One fine afternoon right before time for us to go make the boys beach pictures, their sweet daddy heard the icecream truck and went out to get them overpriced frozen treats. What little kid (or daddy) can resist the ice cream truck! He came back in with a homerun in the form of icecream. He got Lincoln a "midaman" popcicle. That's translated as spiderman for those that don't speak two year old. He also got Jackson a batman pop. Yeah, dad, good job, you win on this one. Well, Lincoln enjoyed his pop, you could see it all over his face. No really, you could see the stain of popcicle resembling a goatee on Lincoln's chin. I realize that one day the boys may develop facial hair but I'm not ready for their 2 year old portraits to reflect it. I used eye makeup remover, baby wipes and good ole mama spit and still didn't completely succeed in removing midaman from his chin. Thank goodness for photoshop or some of you would be asking if Lincoln is maturing a little too quickly!

Yeah, sure, it looks like we breezed through this photo shoot and made these as they posed this way and that way.

Well, take my word for it, that was NOT the case. They were posed, bribed and threatened in the very same sentence. An entire box of tic tacs was in Lincoln's mouth at one time and he was still asking for more. He didn't like the sand on his hands and Jackson was in a permanent state of CHEESE which doesn't suit him well. It was an hour of pure torture for all of those involved, including those behind the camera. But wasn't it worth seeing those cute faces of my 2 and 5 year olds at the beach in perfectly natural fashion?
Yeah, sure, natural.

They just happened to be so nicely playing together on the piece of drift wood.
Right after this Jackson pulled Lincoln down and proceeded to walk on it himself.

No matter what, they are sweet boys and I love them and their anti-picture making selves. That's the great thing about being the mommy. I win!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Last Sunday we took the WHOLE family canoeing in Holmes County Florida. We were headed to the beach for a week and I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the thought of a three hour canoeing tour. I was feeling a little bit like Ginger and we all know what happened on her 3 hour tour!
I was willing to be the Mary Ann and get out there but the promise of ICE cold water was slightly less than appealing.

The “we” includes Mom, Dad, Me, Jason, Tracie, Wyatt, Jackson and little Lincoln. It took 3 cars loaded down just to begin our vacation at the beach for a week. We arrived at our canoe pickup and when we stepped out, we saw the bluest water I have witnessed outside of the Caribbean. It is a spring fed creek in Northern Florida in one of the most unlikely places possible. Not that close to the beach or anything else spectacular lies a creek perfect for canoeing, floating or ice fishing. Ok, maybe not ice fishing but had you stepped into the water, you might have to look down to prove to your feet that you didn’t step through the ice. The water temperature hovers around 55 degrees and that is when the outdoor temps are topping out over 100! Lucky for us, this day was no different on the heat meter and so the cool was some sort of reprieve.
We were taken to the drop off point and would canoe back to our cars. You have to understand that the clientele that were participating in this canoeing event were not movie stars, they might not even consider themselves high class but more of a redneck crowed. So when the friendly local sheriff pulled up to the point to do a cooler check (no alcohol rule) Jason took one for the sake of the locals and offered up our cooler of Dr. Chek, turkey and blueberries while the partiers launched their canoes and rafts filled with the contraband. They must have known the sheriff wasn’t going to come after then in his pressed shirt and all important hat. We got on our way, pulling Jackson in a raft behind us. I wasn’t a very good paddler and after asking Jason several times which side and what to do he said just put your paddle down. Fine by me! The water was really shallow, sometimes ankle deep but we were able to float on down. Our first stop was at what they call the blue hole. This is where the real party is. All of those rednecks from the launch were taking their prohibited substance to this exact spot. It was the bluest fresh water I have ever laid eyes on. It was also the second coldest I have ever taken a dip into. (Once, as a teen, I decided to take a lake dip in March. It was 80 outside. My dad still laughs to this day about it.) The closer you got to the blue hole, the colder it was. When you got to the middle, you can look way way down and see the spring water bursting from the ground. Just one of the many interesting sights we viewed at the blue hole was a floating homemade boat called “the recycling boat” It had 2 Large white tubes on bottom like a pontoon with holes on the side for placing your recycling trash into. Rednecks can be “green” too!
Our next stop was for our picnic. With the entire contents of our home in the cars for the beach, we packed what was left into a cooler for our lunch. This included; leftover pizza, blueberries, a loaf of wheat bread and a pack of turkey. No mayo, no mustard. We pretended it was on there and we all survived the day without condiments!
Later, we made a minor pit stop for our daily dose of entertainment as you hear mom let out a little scream and hear a little splash. They had tipped their canoe. It was some sort of altercation about which way to paddle and an underwater tree trunk that took them down. After we were done obsessing about the fate of the camera, we laughed a little and then paddled back to help. They had to drag it to the no trespassing shoreline to turn it back over and dump the water out. I’m just glad it wasn’t me. Mainly because we had Lincoln in our canoe at the time but also because as I mentioned, that water was COLD!
We knew we had to be approaching the end, we had found another spring, took another swim and even had a little rowing race with my sister when we heard the thunder roll. We got back to the ending point and didn’t have all the canoes pulled out of the water when the rain started. Florida is famous for quick thunder showers so we thought it wouldn’t last long and we sat down on the shack that is home to the canoe people. It rained so hard that it fell though their tin roof. We really came in just in the nick of time; it would have been tough to ride out that storm along the banks of that creek. Not to mention, Lincoln is petrified of thunder. It was such a fun time and I highly recommend it to all my south Alabama peeps. Now on to the third and final leg of our “tour de deep south!”