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Insert sigh here

Vacation is about to begin! It has been pretty major to get to today and we are so thankful for all that has been accomplished.

We stopped mid-way to get some BBQ at one of our favorite spots – The Happy Tomato in Amelia Island (it’s kid-friendly too…although we just realized this year for the first time).

And now, this week, we look forward to showing Rand some new-to-him things about the world we live in!

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web surfing

reblogged from bloom

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Making some changes around here

Can’t post the “after” photos yet because I’m still in foil. But hoping it turns out well and if not, well, it’s only hair! Stay tuned…

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Do 9 month olds suddenly combust? Why is this on all Rand’s clothing? Last time I checked we don’t have any open flames anywhere and thankfully uncle James and uncle Sam haven’t taught him the magnifying glass trick yet…

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Rand the Restaurateur

I love this pic of Rand in his highchair at Ema’s house – James took it on Christmas day with his iPhone. Apparently I need to get better with my iPhone camera, sorry for the blurry pics I took…anyhow…

Since Rand goes to sleep around 5:30/6pm every night, we rarely go out to eat unless we have a babysitter. While Wes and I both enjoy being at home in the evenings for a home-cooked meal (got some recipes to share with you soon!), over the holidays, we’ve had some opportunities to go out and so we took Rand with us. He hasn’t been to a restaurant for dinner in a while, so I was a little nervous at first but Rand was on his best behavior!

The other day, Jonathan and Shelley were in town for a visit, so we called the Butlers and took the 3 boys to Outback. Rand had a great time listening in on all the conversations and was excited to sit next to his godfather, Sean.

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Rand also made an inaugural visit to our Raleigh favorite, Dos Taquitos. He’s wearing his winter gear because we were sitting OUTSIDE. I wished I had a furry suit to wear too.
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That night, we discovered that Rand LOVES cucumbers (even though he’s making a silly face) and when they are cold, it makes a pretty good teether.
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Speaking of restaurants and eating out… is running a great deal right now if you enter the word SALE at checkout you get 80% off. While I agree that you need to watch the fine print before you buy any coupons, I just figured out we can get $75 in gift cert. ($25 each) to three local restaurants we like for $6. That is not a typo. $6. Just passing it along…


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Look, it’s a…

Rand-deer!  (or Rand-dear to us)

I have to show you his adorable “Rand-dear” outfit too…sent with love from “the Rands” down in Florida. We love it!

p.s. Friday flashback coming soon (I’m on the search for a good one)…I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Dec. 10! Sorry about that!

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Deck the halls

We are hosting a small Christmas party for my bible study group AND Christmas Eve supper this year, so I’ve decided to decorate a little more than usual…I ordered this preserved bay leaf garland from pottery barn (it is on sale and says it will last 4 years – which ends up being less than buying fresh garland that you have to keep misting)

I’m LOVING this wreath idea from Pink to Green…might have to do one of these for the kitchen.

Our wreath for our front door is an Aldena Frye classic – a sweet holiday gift from my mother-in-law each year – I can’t wait for it to arrive.  It should be here this week.  I’m going with a preppy plaid and stripes Christmas theme throughout this year.  I promise to add a photo when it gets here.

Today I picked up my fun table cloth from the upholstery shop.  Got the inspiration from Urban Grace and the fabric from IKEA.  It is perfect!

In other news, Rand is eating broccoli.  What?  Apparently he likes it steamed straight-up.  Too bad I just spent an afternoon making purees…

Uncle Sam has been here to visit again and Rand loves it.  You can see for yourself why this is. Although Rand has logged some serious drive-time, he still does not have his “after nine” license yet. He can barely make it past 5:30pm.

Don’t forget to enter the holiday giveaway!!!

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Here we are after the finish of the Turkey Trot.  Charlie, mom, Rand, Wes, me, Sam, Kristen and Elizabeth.  While Sam, Kristen and Wes all posted some pretty impressive times, the rest of us took a more leisurely pace.  It didn’t help that Rand decided to fuss from mile 1 on…we actually crossed the finish line with Mom, Elizabeth and me taking turns pushing the stroller and carrying Rand who was thrilled to be carried.  He even clapped for himself as we approached the finish line.  Clapping is his new thing.  And screeching like an owl.

We were glad to see such a great turnout for the race – I think I heard there were over 1900+ people who participated.  Well, Rand is napping now so I’m off to get in a good Saturday nap myself.

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Today, I saw this fantastic Christmas swag (is that what you call it??) outside of the Aldena Frye Floral Design showroom in downtown Aberdeen.   Isn’t it fantastic?  I love how natural it is with the pine garland and pinecones, holly and grapevine all tucked in.  Magnolia too.  I think I need this at my front door.

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Friday Photo Flashback

I stole this photo from my facebook page…it is from a few years ago when my brother, Sam, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. When I was a kid, I never could have guessed that all three of us Franklin kids would graduate, like our grandparents did, from Carolina. Tonight, I’m a proud Tar Heel watching a good basketball game in an even better setting – on an aircraft carrier! Whoever thought of that one deserves a pat on the back.

Go Heels!!!

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Happy Birthday Matt!

Happy Birthday to my (favorite) brother-in-law Matt.  Matt is one of the most fun people in our growing family and I’m looking forward to all the family adventures ahead – with and without snorkels.


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Look what I found

This afternoon, I went to heat up Rand’s sweet potatoes and guess what I found…I used to always wonder how on earth my mom could put her morning coffee in the microwave for a quick reheat and then totally forget about it until who knows when.  Guess I know how that feels now.

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Pumpkin and Blue & White mania

I can’t stop eating THIS pumpkin bread (good by itself but REALLY yummy with the maple cinnamon cream cheese).

I’m contemplating this recipe from the Picky Palate too…don’t they look good?

I think I’m overcompensating for not actually getting a pumpkin this year.  We also didn’t dress Rand up.  Boo to us.  I’ve always said I’m “holiday minimal” in my decorating style but maybe that really = lazy.

Anyhow…for those of you who inquired last time, my dishes are a mixture of Mottahedeh Blue Dragon (large plates and butter plates)

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And Mottahedeh Blue Canton (dessert plate, large tea cup and saucer, cereal bowls and dessert bowls).

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The photos are from but One Kings Lane just had a big sale on Blue Canton and I missed it!

Our everyday wedding china pooped out on us a few years ago.  But hey, at least it was only the china.  It only made it 6 years…Wes and I are going on 9.  Take that Kim Kardashian!  So…since I don’t get another wedding, I’ve been slowly collecting it over time for birthdays and Christmas.  It is dishwasher safe and microwaveable, of course.  Our formal china is Wedgewood Platinum (i.e. white with platinum rim) so it mixes well with that too if we ever have ALL of the family over.

I also found some tin Blue Dragon plates a few years ago and we use those for outdoor dining and I can still use the real thing to serve from.

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Friday photo flashback

Fall 1983. The famous family pumpkin costume.

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Happy Birthday Wes

Happy 33rd birthday to my sweet husband Wes!  He’s one awesome husband and father.   I tried and tried to think of something that could make his day extra special but still couldn’t come up with something more fun than hanging out with Rand. Wes would tell you that even though our birthdays are in October, we’ve been celebrating and jumping for joy since April.

“We’re thanking you, God, from a full heart, we are writing the book on your wonders.  We’re whistling, laughing and jumping for JOY.“

Psalm 9:1-3


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Weekend fun

This past weekend we walked to a local crafts festival. I found some really cute handmade puzzles – Rand will get it for his 1st birthday so don’t tell him. We also found the funnel cakes…

And we found Grandmommie…and Nina decided to catch a ride.

All the weekend fun landed me in bed Sunday with a sore throat.  Rand (in his new Mater Onesie) had a little cold himself but he wasn’t letting it get him down.  I chose this photo because it shows his sweet little dimple (and it isn’t too zoomed in on the piece of dog hair on his cheek! Errr!)

I almost forgot…last week we took belated 5 month photos before Rand grows even more.  This one’s for you Auntie Jax!



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Home away from home

We just spent the past two weeks at our 2nd home – New Smyrna Beach, FL.  We’ve visited every summer but, this year, due to my grandmother’s illness, we pushed the trip back to the Fall.  I think we’ll visit in the Fall from now on.  It was nice to have temps in the 80s and low 90s vs over 100 degrees. The water was definitely warm enough for swimming.

Plus, we almost had the beach to ourselves (I even took this photo on a Saturday!)

We visited all of our old favorite restaurants (with no wait time!) like JB’s Fishcamp, the Spanish River Grill (just ask Wes about his Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Maple Bacon and a Fresh Farm Egg that he had for brunch…) and a new addition, the Taco Shack. It is exactly what it sounds like, except for Monday night we lucked out with $1 tacos, yummy queso and sangria!

Ocean’s Seafood was still crowded…

Not just with people…


But most days we just ate in.  I’m obsessed with Publix and wish we had one here at home.  We got some great things while we were there but my favorite had to be the Wheat Italian 5-Grain bread.  We stocked up before we left.

We had an entire week all to ourselves and enjoyed showing Rand the beach, relaxing and being a family of 3. Since Rand wasn’t really ready to “beach it” all day, we did some other fun things like visiting the local farmers’ market

where we bought some yummy mangrove honey to have on our Publix Wheat Italian 5-grain toast, experienced the local life

and lingered around to watch the boats sail in.

It was a full week of sunrises, sunsets and sea air.

After a whole week to ourselves, the family arrived and that was fun too. Rand got some quality time with his uncle Sam

He cheered up his “Beebo” who had lots of good stories about Florida

He met his Granny (on the Franklin side) – they really hit it off












And we hung out with uncle Sam some more.

After our “Geah’s” memorial service in Orlando, Rand got to meet lots of family.

Including his cousin (twice removed???) Rand. Here are some of the “Rands.”

It was sad to not have Geah with us – singing the songs and reading the scriptures she chose.  Rand cheered us all up with lots of kisses though.  His Geah would be proud.


We also tried to get a good family photo, but I just finished looking at them and there wasn’t a single one with all 3 of us looking at the camera.  Oh well.

The only downside to the trip…it was the end of “love bug” season. The Tahoe really took one for the team.

Is anyone still here?  This post is almost as long as our trip.  I still have a wildlife kayaking adventure to tell you about, but I’ll save it for the next post.

Finally, it was time to go home just as the rain set in.  Which made leaving a little easier.

Reminds me of a song I sing to Rand each night before bed…

Jesus, let us come to know you,
Let us see you face to face.
Touch us, hold us, use us, mold us,
Only let us, live in you.

Jesus, draw us ever nearer,
Hold us in your loving arms.
Wrap us in your gentle presence,
When the rains come bring us home.
(by Michael Card)


And so we’re home. For now.

Update: Speaking of bedtime songs…check out my guest post on fellow mom Johanna’s 101 Things I Love Blog

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Friday Photo Flashback

Fishing - NSB

While I’m ready to get back to our normal routine, I’ll be sad to leave the beach tomorrow.  I’ll especially miss waking up to the sound of the ocean and the beautiful sunrises (yep – we’ve been up for every single one!)

Each morning while having our coffee and hanging out with Rand, we’ve enjoyed watching a fisherman or two set up his bucket and pole, toss the cast net to catch his bait and then wade patiently with his line out in the surf as the sun starts to climb.

A few mornings, we’d see entire families fishing – reminding me of when my father would get up at 6am or so and, sometimes, we’d get to go too.  This is one of my favorite photos ever.  If I was a painter, I’d like to have a painting of it.


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Happy Birthday James

Happy Birthday to my brother James (aka Uncle James)!  We are still at the beach, so I’m sure James is thankful that I only have the photos on my computer to choose from.  While there were some silly gems on facebook, we’ll just stick to this one.  It was actually one of my first photos last year when I got our Nikon.

James and I usually get to celebrate our birthdays together (always on his birthday because the fam isn’t ready to eat another cake 5 days later).  But since James and his wife Samantha are in Austin, TX for James to attend Seminary of the Southwest, we will just have to celebrate long-distance.  As I said, we’re still at the beach and I’m guessing we’ll be at J.B.’s again tonight…so it might be key lime pie instead of cake.  Happy Birthday James – we love you and miss you – especially today!

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Hello from the beach

This was Rand’s first time on the beach. I think he loved it as much as a 5-month-old possibly could.  There have been a lot of firsts this week and it is only Wednesday!


It was pretty windy on the beach which was nice because it cooled us off. Here’s Rand’s “feeling the wind on my face” look.

And his “I just put a salty hand in my mouth look.”

As you can see it was pretty windy, so my hair ended up ruining most of the photos.

Rand’s other new thing is to “hug” us…we are loving it.


Rand made his first (and second…) trip to J.B.’s Fishcamp with us.  When you eat as early as we do these days you don’t have to wait, but we went out on the dock anyway before dinner and said hello to a few of the resident Indian River manatees and had fun explaining to Bubs that he was a fourth generation J.B.’s patron.  We’ll have to go back again and get another photo without the bib, although he does look very patriotic.


Speaking of bibs, Rand’s favorite bib was custom-made by Aunt Samantha.  I had been attempting to make some myself but when this awesome one arrived one day, I put the sewing machine away.  From now on I will celebrate the talents of my sweet sister-in-law instead.

Aunt Samantha

Speaking of talent, we are also celebrating my friend Settle Monroe and her new business Pinecone Threads.  I’m loving this birdie onesie she made.

And this adorable dress (she makes rompers for the boys).  I love the Amy Butler fabric Settle uses and the overall chic simplicity of Pinecone Threads.

I think Rand will look good in this creative  “Mater Onesie” I ordered for him.

The soft, organic burp cloths would make great new baby gifts – $6 for a special homemade gift is a pretty good deal, you could get a few…or have Settle make one to match your romper or onesie.  You can see all the different designs in Settle’s Etsy shop.

We serve a creative God who made us in His image and calls us to be creative as well. Pinecone Threads and Rand’s “R” bib are such beautiful, creative expressions. I’m a thankful witness.

This reminds me, I can’t wait to tell you about the book I’m reading…I’ll save it for another post.

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