Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lost and Found

Lots of the new vacation craze is urging you to "leave your cell phone at home."
I can tell you that I do not highly recommend it.
It could save your life. Or help you find your way back home.
Besides all the calling 911 or for help, you could (hypothetically, of course) be lost in the woods at dusk with dinner in the oven at home and use the compass and GPS functions to navigate your way back to your beloved gas guzzling SUV.

OK, fine. I'm speaking from experience here. Today, while Dad was visiting, we decided to impress him with the massive Percy Warner Parks. We started out on a dirt trail and came upon a nice paved trail. Mind you we are doing our best to exhaust the energy from a 5 year old and 2 year old. I think that if nothing else, we accomplished that. We walked along the trail for a while and came to a fork in the road. I was always taught: When you come to a fork in the road, you take it. And take it we did. At some point along the way, Lincoln lost his zeal for walking and I began to worry about dinner in the oven and the fact that I could hear the highway but I had no idea how to get back. None of us did.
Lost. In Nashville. On a paved path in the Percy Warner Park. It was pathetic but because we had a trusty cell phone, there was no panicking mother of 2. As we walked on to activate the GPS, we discovered that we pretty much had to go back the LONG way around. As we were topping the trees, we could see the trail we needed to be on WAY down a pretty steep cliff. It was like driving under the interstate, knowing you need to be up there and having no way to do so. Dad decided that we would/could scale the side of the cliff rather than walk the half mile around the curve to take us down. So sporting my yoga flip flops, we begin a VERY steep decent to the trail below. Dad carried Lincoln and Jackson and I let momentum propel us from tree to tree as we hung on for dear life or our foothold. It was touch and go for a while as we sunk into rotten wood or decaying leaves. I wasn't thrilled with the idea but Jackson seemed to think it was the highlight of his day. My "never again" decision was confirmed as we approached the end and I, the most arachnophobia mom on the planet, ran right smack into a spider web. I think the rest of my hiking party enjoyed watching me pummel my own head to rid it of the awful web. I didn't find it amusing in the least bit. We continued to follow the trusty GPS and it did in fact lead us right back to the parking lot. Not many times have I been so happy to see my large gas guzzling, anything but eco friendly, kid hauling SUV before. It didn't help to know that dinner would be done when we got home. Hiking has a way of making a girl hungry.

The summary of our trip goes something like this: We were lost in the woods and the GPS on the phone graciously found us and led us back home. You'll rarely ever see me without mine. I mean, not that this experience has changed that at all. It just confirmed my never leave home without it theory. Besides, without it you wouldn't have these great pictures to document our recovery. You can call off the search parties, we will all be sleeping at home under the air conditioning tonight. Thank goodness!
Now, you tell me, are you willing to leave your cell phone at home?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Help

Well, he's no Minnie or Abilene from "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

He's much cuter and he has no use for his own private bathroom. In his opinion, he has no need for a bathroom at all but that's another blog.

But help, he's a big help! He likes it too. Well, he likes it because it involves water and Lincoln likes ANYTHING that involves water and if it makes somewhat of a mess, it's all the more fun.

I was recently reading a blog (no idea which one, I read hundreds a week) about having your toddlers help you while you are cleaning house. I bit on this one as I had an empty soap bottle lying around and I filled it with water and talked to Lincoln about how cool it would be for him to help mommy. He squirted and sprayed water, wiping it occasionally, until it was all gone.

A few days later, we had began our daily routine of cleaning up from breakfast and he pointed at the sink area said "Mommy, I wan sa melp" I asked if he wanted some milk and he said no. Again, "Peeeeese, mommy, I wan sa melp" Ok, Lincoln. So I fixed him a sippy cup of milk. He danced around stomping and saying, "No, I no wan it, I no wan it!" So finally I looked up at the sink and realized the empty soap bottle was still up there. He didn't want any stinkin' milk, he wanted to HELP!

Ok, now I get it! I got him a cloth and a new better (don't soak the floors as much) spray bottle and he went to spraying and wiping away. Here, he also demonstrates a few of the other ideas in the blog such as using the toddler for a mini sweeper, swiffer or spot cleaner/duster. It was really a great idea to build a good habit for them as well as making it seem fun. He'll learn to complain about it soon enough, too soon if he listens to his brother on the topic of making up his bed.

Just look at these sweet little hands wiping away while helping mommy! I MUST preserve these memories of him begging to help me. They will pass too soon.

I'll also try to keep in mind how sweet it is when I bust my butt on the soaking wet kitchen floor. Wiping is not nearly as much fun as spraying.

Now, if someone will just write a blog on how to make them think laundry and dishes are super duper fun, well, I might pay to read that one.
Instead, I need to stop blogging and get to work.
At least until the Help arrives.
Oh wait, I AM the help around here.
Better get to work before I am fired.

"Housework is no joke! Calgon take me away!"
Just look at that sweet little fat hand!
It takes some serious concentration to really clean these floors up nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

All you need is a big fancy cake and a bunch of people who don't currently have a birthday and there you have an UN-Birthday party! Can you think of a better reason to eat cake? I couldn't, so that's what I came up with.
Last weekend we were in AL for the wedding of a close family friend. The weekend also included a girly party with lots of calorie laden foods, cake and cup cakes. At the end of the night, the cute little top cake hadn't been touched and the bride didn't seem to want to take it on her honeymoon. We considered freezing it for next year but remembered that's the wedding cake topper. ha! So we needed a reason to celebrate and cake is as good a reason as any. It was also the last weekend before school started for everyone so celebrate we did! Nana booked us a room at the Shoals Marriot resort and spa. It's well known in the shoals for being a great "staycation" for a night or two. Luxury in your own back yard.

We checked in early on Sunday so that Tracie and Uncle Wyatt could enjoy a little time at the pool before leaving. The afternoon was great, and hot, really hot. My grandparents came out to visit the boys and watch them swim. Little fish, they kept that pool rockin'. My cousins Marc, Will and Ben also came to hang out and celebrate with us. Afterall, it ws their un-birthday too! Around 5pm we took a break from swimming and ordered pizza. Yep, cake and pizza, it's the only way to celebrate the end of summer. A pretty significant storm was rolling in on radar and of course the pool was closed for lightening. Heavy rains saturated the area and the lightening didn't seem to be going anywhere. A few minutes before the pizza arrived the power went out in the entire hotel. There were back up lights but it made entertaining toddlers a little more difficult. Sure, there was the excitement of a dark hotel full of guests wandering the halls and then there was the sliding closet that made a great little hideaway.

We feasted on pizza and soda in a dimly lit room while waiting for the power to return. We decided now was as good a time as any to break out the cake. We sang a short rendition of "A very merry un-birthday" from Alice in Wonderland minus all the mythical characters and funny hats. We cut the cake that was decorated with a little "ooo la la" phrase from the girly party the previous day. There was also incidentally a few finger markings in the cake from it being left a little too close to the counter. What is it that is so tempting about a perfectly decorated cake? It just begs little fingers to take a dip.

Mid-way through our little made up celebration, Dad calls from downstairs and asked us what in the world was going on at the hotel. We told him it was no big deal, the power was out. He said, well, it doesn't look like no big deal, there are 5 firetrucks downstairs where he was parked. Hmm, come to think of it, the fire lights in the hallway were flashing but we thought it was related to the outage. We didn't panic but we did grab the beloved laptop and camera before we proceeded downstairs to the ground floor. Sure enough we were greeted by every fire department in the area. The boys were fascinated by the firetrucks and we were a little confused as to if there was actually a fire or just a precaution. Several stories were of people stuck in the elevator of a tower shaped restaurant next door or smoke coming from the kitchen of the same restaurant. We sat outside on the curb like all good rubber-neckers do and gwaked at the rescue workers. We never got to the heart of the matter but when the trucks left, we felt it was safe to go back inside.

We all hung out in the lobby for a while, the boys all ran around like crazy and the staff brought out some glow sticks that made it all the more fun. In an effort to entertain ourselves, we played a few rounds of "the color game" starting with red. When we exhausted all our the "red" phrases we could possible think of, it was almost time for the nightly entertainment at the hotel bar to begin. The lights finally came back on and we decided to stay put for a while and listen to him sing. About 9:15, the pool was reopened and the bigger boys immediately headed for the pool. That fun didn't last long. They closed the pool again about as quickly as it was opened because of more lightening. We called it a night after all that excitement.

As you might expect, they boys were up early and we were the first in the pool the next day at 8am. Coffee and a spa pool. It was a great Monday morning, a very merry un-birthday indeed.
What are you going to do for YOUR un-birthday?

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Land of Hopes and Dreams

Today, two of my boys entered into The Land of Hopes and Dreams.

Jackson had his first day of Kindergarten on Thursday and again today for a short day.
He has just embarked on a fantastic journey through school.
He holds the potential to be ANYTHING that his heart desires.
On his first day, while walking into school I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He said "A space man, a football player, a puppet show artist (new one to me!), oh, and then a doctor." After that, I'll be an Army man.
I'm thinking we're going to have a really well rounded child.
Jackson is going to be a great student. He's always been a pleaser. He wants to see other people happy. He is loyal and will be a good friend. He is so much of his father, it's hard to see them differently at this age. I have no doubt Jackson will go far in life.
Now is the time I can only hope and trust in the virtues I have spent the last 5 years teaching.

Courage: There is nothing Jackson is afraid of. He may pretend so when others are around but all his life, courage has come naturally to him. From Hot peppers to scary movies, Jackson is always bold and courageous.

Patience: When Jackson was about 18 months, I taught him patience. I thought I was a fantastic mother because he learned so quickly. This was no ordinary child I was mentoring. I would have him repeat back to me saying, "What do you need to have?" and he would reply "Paaatience." At first it was just a word but to an 18 month old, just saying patience takes a little. I quickly learned that he was a natural at this, I just had to put a word to it.

Generosity: This one didn't come quite as easily but Jackson learned pretty early on to share and give. We have always talked about giving things to the children that don't have as much as him and well, having a brother come along taught a few things about generosity as well.

Honesty: Jackson has never been able to keep a secret good or bad. I know someone else that is much like this (Jason)! Jackson is so transparent that he can't keep it to himself. Honesty flows from his mouth like water. It's been a good thing so far. It has caused him some trouble but kept him out of MUCH more.

Sure, it's just kindergarten.

But we could be educating the next Bill Gates, or Billy Graham, or United States President.

Here's to the rest of your life fulfilling ALL of your hopes and dreams!

Today was also Jason's first day as an Owen Graduate School of Management student at Vanderbilt. You bet I made him hold up a tacky sign and you can tell by the look on his face just how much he liked it. I even told him I wouldn't post them but that wasn't at all true. Here they are for your enjoyment and my writing pleasure.
Jason also entered into the Land of Hopes and Dreams today. Two years ago, our life as a family was on a much different path. As I understand it, a meeting with God while shaving in a Iraq bathroom changed our course in life and here we are attending the MBA program with all our hopes and dreams in tow. I fully support Jason in everything he chooses for our family and I love seeing him thrive on all that he will learn and discover in this program. I'm not sure where our hopes and dreams will take us but I do know it will be somewhere good, it will be together and it will be successful. Jason has a drive and a focus that I don't think I fully comprehend. Your own thoughts are sometimes masked by what the military needs but now there is no limit to his motivation. He also has more integrity than most humans walking the planet today. He claims part of it was taught at West Point but I think he must have been born with it and passed it along to his children as well! He sees his distant future in politics but whatever he chooses, it will be the right choice for our family. I fully believe in him and know that he has paved a golden road for us and this is just the final steps to a life well lived.
His kids are lucky.
I am lucky.
And here, he is silly.

Lincoln Lately

Lincoln is still very much the baby of the family. I am assured that he likes it this way and has no desire for it to change. Some of the things you'll find him doing lately(besides crying) are :

Singing. We checked out Kids Bop 15&16 from the library. It's slightly more tolerable than wee-sing silly songs. I mean, it is kinda cute. It's kids singing Justin Bieber songs. Wait, HE is a kid so I guess it's just kid pop songs. Lincoln is a big fan of Boom Boom Pow. Sure, it's long gone from the top 40 but to Lincoln's age, this song is a classic. Well, it will be. One day. He is pretty cute singing Boom, Boom, Boom but I found it really cute when he also threw in the "Gotta get, get!" part at the beginning.

In the mornings that we don't have to rush out the door and Lincoln wakes naturally, he sings in his crib. Or more likely he yells to the top of his lungs. His mantra usually includes COW, MOO, WATER. It has also been known to mention paw-paw, nana and jack-seeeeeee. He is actually in no hurry to get out of the crib while he sings. I like to think of it as his good morning wake up call. It makes his yelling much more pleasant.

At the YMCA, Lincoln stays in childcare while I go and workout. He usually really enjoys it but sometimes he regresses to his 7 month old self of incessant crying and head banging. They will come and get you if they can't get them to stop and they have had to do so a couple of times. Today when I went in to get him after class they said they were about to come and find me because he was upset and had been for about 10 minutes. I took him and asked him to stop crying if I was going to hold him. When he calmed, I asked him why he was crying.
Lincoln said "cause I baby."
Yep, a BIG ol' 2 year old BABY.

Speaking of baby, the boys had their first babysitter in Nashville that wasn't my mother recently. A girl mom taught in AL came over to watch them. Lincoln was asleep when Jackson and I talked about the babysitter and what they would do. She was a little late arriving in traffic and we had to rush out the door but I told her Jackson would tell her everything. Lincoln was eating dinner when I left. Everyone was asleep when we got home but she told me she was pretty sure that Lincoln thought her name was bebe'. He called her bebe' the rest of the night. I guess I didn't think to introduce them and he knew she was the "baby-sitter" so her first name must be baby. Now I know, introduce Lincoln, or as he calls himself "Ginkin."

Lincoln loves yogurt. He gets it from his mama. Every morning when I ask him what he'd like for breakfast he says either "Yurt, yurt" or "bapple". Those fine breakfast choices are translated as either yogurt or applesauce.

He hasn't give any thought to giving up his "bank." That would be his bumper pad strap that he managed to get off of the bumper and fall in love with. He actually has 2. One of them my mom sewed to the blanket (thus the term "bank) he favors so that we wouldn't have to transport the entire bumper pad everywhere we go, the other one is loose and it goes with us on most car trips. He will succumb to leave it in the car when we go places but it is still very much a necessity.

It's time to start considering potty training for Lincoln. He knows what it's all about but he's not committed to doing it. He has no problem telling me after the deed is done. He'll come to me and say, "Ma, I poo-poo pants." I reprimand him and we take a trip to the potty where he SHOULD be going and then ask him where do you poo-poo? He usually replies "pants" with a smile on his face. Little Punk.

Lincoln can DANCE! Last weekend we went with some of Jason's grad school friend to the Warner Parks Full Moon Pickin' Party. It's a big open field with bluegrass music, picnic blankets and tons of kids armed with mass amounts of glow sticks. The kids can dance like crazy up in front of the main stage and let me tell you, that Lincoln can cut a rug! His brother, however has no rhythm what-so-ever. It's pretty cute to see Lincoln throw down to a little bluegrass music or even Elvira which was being sung that night.
"Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow"

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I have another confession. Lucky for me this one is not linked to my OCD or children's clothing.
This one is legit.

Hi, my name is Jamie and I suffer from arachnophobia.

I have an unnatural and overwhelming fear of spiders.

ANY spider.

That's right, little ones, big ones, hairy ones;
Anything with 8 legs scares me. Well, except an octopus, he's not really scary. But then again, I've never encountered one in the ocean. If I had, I might count him in there as well.

My mother (the ultimate science teacher) has a tarantula as a pet. See and you thought she was perfect, huh?
How anyone could consider keeping one of these in their house and feeding it, I'll never understand. In my mind, the only good spider is a dead one. You can go on all day about how they eat bugs and they are good for the environment but I'm not buying it. My version goes, kill it before it kills you. Now I understand that some are poison and some are not. Just ask Jason. He had to hire an exterminator quarterly in NC to rid us of the daunting black widows.To me, all spiders are creepy, scary and out to get me!

Including this one.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to get the boys a remote control spider. A black widow no less. The remote has been long lost but the spider hasn't lost it's wonder. They insist on hiding it everywhere that I'll seem to find it, knowing it scares the bejesus out of me every single time. It never gets old or looses it's creepy factor. They put it in the hamper, under towels and clothes, and in my bathroom. So when I get up in the middle of the night and stumble to the restroom, there it is. My heart nearly jumps out of my chest and I'm jolted awake by an over sized toy spider. It has no real proportions to a real spider. I mean if they actually grew this big in the wild, I'd hire an exterminator for there too, just on the off chance that they could migrate here. Even so, I still shudder every time I see this giant toy freak fest.

I mean really boys, in my makeup. They know well how much I hate them. They have even been known to rescue me when one of those tiny house spiders creeps up on me and I'm paralyzed with fear.
I guess it's just more fun to keep scaring your poor arachnophobic mother.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jacksonisms and other news from the Daily deFoor

This week my life, our lives are forever changed. It kinda slipped up on us without a parade or any fireworks or anything. We just woke up and it happened.
It is kinda like the first day of the rest of your life.
For Jason, it was the first day of MBA grad school. The first day of the next 2 years of school and the lead in to the job that follows. Hopefully a rockin job that he's always wanted. A job that is definitely NOT the Army which is what we've always known. A change indeed.
For Jackson, it's the first day of Kindergarten. He will enter school on Thursday and will continue in school for the next 17 years or more. Wow, that's a long time. Life will never be the same for him. It's a growing up process. We knew it was coming but it's still heavy to think that our lives will never be the same again.
Just better!

One day Jackson bit his brother on the face. I think it was a playful bite that turned wrong. WAY wrong for a 5 year old.
During our talk I asked, "Why did you bite your brother?"
Jackson said with a serious face, shrugged and said "I don't know, he looked like he needed biting?"
Wow, I didn't see that one coming. As I tried to keep a straight face I told him "Well, Jackson, you know what you look like? You look like you need a spanking!" And he did!

Overheard in the Sears bathroom: (Disclaimer, I don't normally shop in Sears but I was returning a Lands End purchase there.)
An grandmother was corralling 3 girls in the handicap bathroom stall when her cell phone started ringing. She was already a little flustered with the 3 girls you could tell and the phone ringing just really put her into a tizzy.
She said, "Good Lord, now my phone's blowin' up in my purse."
This was probably a form of cursing here in Alabama. Her Southern Baptist preacher would defiantly not approve.

My Granny has a tiny black kitten that has shown up on her doorstep. They are not much on pets but the cat insist on hanging around their house and so they feed it occasionally. Well, when we were there the boys found a great affinity for the black cat. They were allowed to bring it inside and play with it and that sweet cat just let them. It's a VERY docile cat. And I mean VERY. It will let Jackson toss it around and Lincoln carry it around by it's neck only. The boys drug that cat all over the house making it go into toy houses and under tents. They would toss it into a bedroom and say, "Kitty night night!" Oh that poor cat. Yet he never ran from then and would even sleep with Jackson at night. It either was starving for attention or was too young to know any better but the boys just ate it up!

Last week I spent 4 hours with my hairdresser in Alabama. I've been seeing Kim for about 4 years and most of the time I spent in NC, I would plan my appointments around the time I would be home in AL. I always said I was her long distance client. She really does a great job on my hair but its more than that. She's like a mentor to me. We sit and talk for 4 solid hours and not just about celebrity gossip and hair styles. We talk about life, love and happiness. She is a christian lady and very knowledgeable. She and I discuss husband issues and raising Godly children. It's really like therapy, the best kind of therapy; and I come out looking fabulous when I leave. Not everyone can say they have that kind of relationship with their hairdresser.

Driving to AL for a wedding, we crossed over the interstate where there were 4 homeless men under the bridge. Jackson is always fascinated by homeless people. I can see that, I am too. He asked me why they were homeless and we discussed what the possibilities were. Then he asked, "Do the homeless have wives?"
Hmmm, some of them do but I'd say most don't.
"Why not?"
Of course, hmmm again, well they probably can't afford them.
"Well a wife doesn't cost anything, does it?"
Ha! Sure they do, just ask your father!!!

Conversation between Jason and Jacskson :
"Jackson, are you a little nervous about starting school?"
"Yeah........Dad, What's nervous mean again?"
"It means a little worried or scared."
"Yeah, then I'm a little nervous ."
"What part are you most nervous about?"
"ummmm, I forgot."

Jackson is a Bieber hater. He sqeals every time he hears a Bieber song. They learn so early these gender roles and he's serious about it. Well, I noticed an ad with a singing toothbrush that has 3 Bieber songs. I told Jackson I was thinking about getting it for him, just to hear him protest. Instead he said, "Well, I still don't like Justin Bieber but I like toothbrushes that sing so go ahead and get it I guess."

A recent conversation between Jackson and I.
Me: "I'm probably going to cry when I drop you off the first day at Kindergarten."
Him: "It will be okay, mom, it will be just like at preschool and I'll be home in the afternoon."
Me: "Okay, but I'll still miss you during the day, you are such a big help playing with Lincoln."
Him: "Yeah, I know but I have to go and LEARN some things Mom!"

Today Jackson came home from school and the only thing I could drag out of him as to what they did was, "we played."
I asked what he played with and he said Legos. Then he said, "and there was a dumb person in our legos." I said WHAT? He repeated there was a dumb person in the legos. I could tell he was serious and soon realized that by dumb person, he meant dummy, as in not real life. I can see where that would be a bit confusing.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Confession time.

I'm a dork. I don't like to admit this but when you take organization and children's clothing this far, there is no choice.

Do you recognize the ROY G BIV color spectrum? Yes, I went there.

These are Jackson shirts for school which begins on Thursday and Monday half days and then it's full time Kindergarten. He will wear a uniform of ANY color solid polo and khaki pants. I wasn't sure about this restriction at first. The way I dress my child is a reflection of me and I go to great lengths to dress him that way. But now that I stand back and look at my (er, his) rainbow of uniform shirts, I see that it's not going to be so bad.

The positive points are that Jackson can pick out his own clothes from these choices. He really doesn't care what he wears. He doesn't care if it's on backwards or even inside out. Lately, he's been known to not care if he happens to put on Lincoln's clothes either. So Jackson will easily be able to dress himself (I hope!).

I'm just glad I wasn't subject to uniforms in school. Oh the crisis of having to wear the same blah colored shirts and limit the amount of accessories I was allowed! That would have made high school completely unbearable. As if it wasn't already. College, that was more my style. Auburn shirt, check, Soffee shorts, check, teva flip flops. Yes. Oh and of course, earrings!
Ok, back to Jackson, this isn't about me.

We also have a brand new name on his backpack from last year's preschool. I got a GREAT deal on this adorable L.L bean backpack a few years ago and since I'm not much of a Disney character mom this is going to be the Kindergarten backpack again. We have a brand new nap towel too, with a name embroidery as well!
This kid named Jackson is ready for Kindergarten!

Then there is the beloved school supplies. I did my deal shopping and managed to purchase all of the necessary school supplies for Jackson without taking out a student loan. I just wish I could say the same for Jason! ha! With all these cool supplies sparkling and new, it kinda makes me want to join Kindergarten. Then I'd get there and be attacked by 5 year olds and remember that the YMCA called and needs to see me, pronto!

I am, however, looking forward to spending time in Jackson's classroom and at his school doing all the "mom" things around there. I hope I can help out in many ways and enjoy it as well as show Jackson that I care about his school and his education.
I know it matters.
He told me so. I asked him what he liked best about his pre-school and all of his accounts were time that I had also participated.
I'm so thankful that he will be attending a school that I am happy with.
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have time to spend investing in his education.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rosemary's Playground

This is what the boys call "Rosemary's Playground."
First, you have to hear the story of who "Rosemary" is.

Being a planner, I started looking for a house in Nashville in February.
We didn't move until May at the earliest. I couldn't understand why there were no houses to rent available that far out.
Doesn't everyone like to plan their life more than 30 days out?
Apparently not in the rental market.
I had searched houses that fit our price range, size, distance from Jason's school and mainly and mostly in a good school district for Jackson.
Private school was just not an option for him this year. We decided only one family member at a time can go to private school and this year was Jason's turn ( Vandy is private).
My school search was looking futile. There was only ONE, yes O-N-E highly rated elementary school in the entire Metro Nashville Public system. I had searched high and low for rentals in that area and there were none. I had convinced myself that we were going to have to settle with the moderately rated schools and hope for the best but it wasn't easy to digest being the first child I have sent off to school. I had fully planned to be as involved as possible. It was only for 2 years.
While perusing craigslist ads one day, I came across a CUTE house that looked fairly new that fit our price range and had a fabulous playground in the ad as well. It fit ALL of our criteria except being in the moderately ranked schools instead of the perfect 10 school. It was one of those, too good to be true looking pictures. I'm not the only one that thought so. Mari and I were on one of our "stomp out the witching hour" afternoon trips to the park in NC when I showed her the ad and she was well aware of my futile search. Her words were, "it looks perfect, I wonder what's the catch?"
Well, fast forward a few months and we learn that there was no catch. God answers prayers and this was one of his little miracles.
I flew to Nashville in March to look at a few homes available. This was the first I looked at. It was a craigslist ad and I would be meeting the owner at the home. She talked of how the carpet was being replaced and the walls were going to be painted. It was CUTE! It wasn't my house in NC but it was a HOUSE, with a yard and a playground across the street. My only drawback was the school system. I told her my concern and she was aware of the school I desired. We met the neighbor outside and she has school age children. We talked to her a moment and asked her opinion on the school. She told us how she LOVED their new school and how they had been rezoned to a new school...to Harpeth Valley. This school was no stranger to me. This WAS the 10 rated school. The ONLY 10 rated school in the whole system. Where do I need to sign the lease???
That made our decision for us and we are now living in the house owned by John and Rosemary.
Rosemary is the owner of the home we live in as well as the home next to us. They are grandparents and use the homes for investment. We rent directly from them. They are great to rent from and appreciate a nice family taking care of their rental home. They
live a few miles away in a historic neighborhood of Nashville. We recently ran by their house and were invited to play on "Rosemary's playground."

They have grand-daughters and she claimed that they don't enjoy the tree house because their are bugs up there. My guys didn't seem to mind the bugs at all. They also didn't mind that it was 10am and approaching 100 degrees quickly.
John and Rosemary have a fantastic tree canopy yard and lots of great green space! It was a boys paradise and if it was 30 degrees cooler, a mama's too!

The treehouse hightlight was this fantastic zipline swing! It was so fun for both boys. We played as long as I could stand it. When I started melting (I'm sugar you know!), we had to leave.

You didn't really think a day, event or even a blog could get by without one of Lincoln's famous tantrums. They are epic, every. single. one. Somebody get this boy a cookie.

Happy once again!
I only wish they had a swinging zip line for ME!

Jackson took right to the treehouse scaling up one side of the tree and sliding down the fireman's pole on the other side. We will have to revisit this paradise when the Good Lord blesses us with some cooler temperatures.

As HOT as they were, on the way to the car, the boys actually asked me to make their pictures under the archway. They are learning to speak my language!
Look at all that cuteness under that arch! All 5 years of it!
And there you have it folks, the "cute face" provided by Lincoln deFoor.