Late Twenties

I am always thinking back to where I was during this season or this day when (fill in the blank.) I just like looking back and remembering good times or tough times and seeing how it has changed me or where it brought me. Today is one of those days. Not only does today kick off the last week I will spend in my twenties (and man did I love my twenties) but five years ago today, I met Bert. I was one week from turning 25, living in Atlanta and dating someone else. I loved my job, I loved where I lived, I loved my life in Atlanta but obviously I loved Bert more. One year and three weeks later, I was married and living in Charleston-whew!!! Kind of crazy when you put it that way.
The five year mark finally makes me feel legit. For years it has seemed crazy that we were married and then having Loulie when we had friends that had been together a lot longer than us not even married yet. But five years sounds pretty solid and we have packed a good bit of living into those years.
Just fun to think that 5 years ago, I was driving back to Atlanta in my company car after meeting Bert. Getting ready for work the next day. Talking to my roommate about how I really couldn't see a future with the guy I was dating and that I didn't really know what to do about it. Today I rode home with Bridget and Loulie in the back seat watching Disney movies and making lists of all the things that I need to accomplish this week while still putting at least two days aside to have my nervous breakdown over turning 30 :)
Things can change in a blink. Thanks for sharing in the nostalgia with me. Pic from one of our first dates....


She's Baaack!!!!

First off--my apologies for the last post. It was lame. What can I say--it was late, I was tired and I just stopped writing. Our weekend was way better than my 3 sentence summary.Moving on...My baby is back!!!! I was so happy to have this sweet, love muffin back in my arms Saturday night. I left Loulie in Macon with her Lovey on Wednesday so that I could come home and get some major cleaning accomplished. For the past two years, our family has suffered from TMSS (too much stuff syndrome) and I have been wanting to have a major purge for months now. I have been very convicted over the past couple of months on evaluating the "value" of something. My thoughts finally came to this--an object is only as valuable as how often you use it and none of it is going to heaven with us. Who cares if it is a costly vase, it's a vase and if I don't like it now, then I never will. With this thought in mind, I finally held a garage sale Saturday morning and I am feeling so free.
You would not believe the things people will buy. My friend Katie told me to include anything and everything, so I did. The one item that I thought would never sell went first--two used leopard candles. Just goes to show everyone has a different idea of value. We definitely had some wacky patrons but there were a few that just touched my heart. I ended up just handing over a few items but was paid with hugs and a whooping laugh from a little boy over some Legos. (It was all I could do not to barter with the parents to keep him). I now have empty closets, an organized attic and a little cash for holiday presents.
After the exhaustion of Saturday's chores, we spent Sunday enjoying having Loulie back and kicking off Thanksgiving. We are heading to Macon to spend the holiday with Bert's side of the family so we headed out to Sullivan's on Sunday to eat dinner with my parents. I have to say this is my favorite time at the beach and it has nothing to do with wearing jeans instead of a bathing suit. (maybe a little) We played in the sand and threw the ball for Bridget--basically just enjoyed the company of family. It was a great day and an incredible meal. I'll miss being with my parents, sis and brother in law but am looking forward to heading back to Georgia again on Thursday. Hopefully, I'll have some good updates and some gloating over Georgia's win over Tech on Saturday. We are a divided family in case you didn't know.

Blessings and safe travels to all this week!


Fall Actually

No lie--every leaf in my front and back yard is still green. The trees usual don't start changing until the week after Thanksgiving which is strange because you are hanging Christmas lights as you are just starting to enjoy the beauty of fall colors. It is the one thing I miss living in Charleston--the fall season.
This weekend we were able to experience an actual, true fall--rolling hills, beautiful leaves, crisp air, long sleeves, the smell of fires burning, and football. The whole family, Bridget included, headed back to Georgia this weekend to attend a college reunion at my best friend and former roommate's home. After our trip to Sea Island in October, we thought it would be fun to get all the husbands and kids together too. Lynmarie hosted us at Heavenly Hollow Farm in Newnan and I can assure you it lives up to its name. She is the kindest, most loving friend anyone could ask for and she went above and beyond typical hostess duties to make the day special for the kids (and us).
The men fished and watched football. The kids played and ate birthday cake and explored the pastures. And the girls drank wine and talked and eventually pulled out old college albums which was both tragic and hilarious. We headed back to Macon after watching the dawgs lose to Auburn. Loulie is staying for a few days with my mother so I can get some things accomplished at home.


Kick Off to Christmas

Tonight might be one of my favorite nights of the entire year. It is the Dasher family annual kick off to the holiday season--the Festival of Lights Walk. The James Island county park is within biking distance from our house and every year they have a Festival of Lights. It is a two mile tour of thousands of lights, along with activities for the kids, a marshmallow roasting pit--you get the idea. They have one night of the year when you can walk through it (versus ride) and tonight was it.
I start looking forward to this night sometime in September every year. Now keep in mind, this is not your regular run--tonight two miler took us a whopping hour and a half. All of our friends attend with their kids and it's amazing that we haven't lost one yet. This was Loulie's second year participating and you would have thought it was her tenth. She stayed in her stroller for about 5 seconds and then insisted on walking herself the majority of the way. She did catch up with her buddy, Wesley for a minute but after a few love pats, she became disinterested and went back to walking with the big kids. You would think that walking at least a mile would wear a one year old out--not Loulie. We stayed afterwards to checkout the scene, get some Christmas candy and listen to some music. We finally had to drag her out of there promising we would bring her back in December.
Starting Line--everyone still has some pep in their step
First light display and....Loulie is off...

Baby Perrin--isn't she delicious?

It was a fu night and I am absolutely exhausted. We are leaving for Georgia in the morning and I haven't started packing yet. We're heading over to spend some time with my college friends and their families. It will be the first time we have gotten all of our kids together.

Also, thank you to all the men and women who either are serving or have served in our military and to their families. It is a great sacrifice that you have made so that we can enjoy the many pleasures of our freedom. I pray for all of you that are away from your families so that I can safely raise mine!


Hey Big Stuff

My little punky pie is 14 months old today! For a while now, I have still been referring to her as my baby (which she will always be) but there is no denying it anymore--she is becoming quite the big girl. ALL of her baby equipment is up and I have started letting her do more and more things on her own. She knows when I am trusting her to do something new--you can see it in her eyes. She gets a big smile and kind of sticks her belly out with pride. In the picture below, she is having her first big girl picnic--no bib, nothing fastening her down, and all food she can feed herself. Look at how proud she is (or maybe that's me)!
There is no big doctor's appointment at 14 months but Loulie has learned a new thing or two:
  • weighing in at 25 lbs and towering at 30 inches. I have to throw in the circumference of her belly--20 inches.
  • She can say dog and Bridget. Rarely we get a mama or dada
  • When you ask "Where is Loulie?" she points to her shoulder.
  • When you ask "Where is Loulie's belly?" she lifts her shirt and pats it.
  • Her favorite thing is her baby dolls who go everywhere with us. She rocks and pats them and takes them in and out of their high chair.
  • My favorite thing is her eagerness to hug and when you seem tired, she pats your back.
  • Oh, and we read about 5,000 times a day--I am not complaining, trust me--I love that she likes reading. But Eric Carle (Spot author) could use a little work on plot development.
I can't believe how times is flying, that the holidays are coming up and just a year ago I was preparing to go back to work. I have to say, life isn't any less hectic than it was in 2009 just a different kind of chaos. I actually started calling preschools today to start Loulie next fall or possibly for a day a week this winter. I had no idea the cut throat operation that is mothers morning out. If you have a two month old--CALL NOW! I know it is in the Lord's hands and that Loulie will end up exactly where she needs to be but geez--I feel like I am applying for college again. One school actually told me I would need to come in with Loulie and meet with the executive director. For what?--is he going to ask Loulie where she plans to be in 5 years? Come on. Anyhow, something will work out. If not, I'll just homeschool--at least until Loulie turns 4 and surpasses my intelligence level;).


Our family's love language

It all started with my grandfather...
Apparently, he woke his three girls up every morning with a sing songy rhyme. My mother's was "wake up Fredda Jeannie beenie weenie whoa" which was right after he hollered to my aunt, "time to get up Andrea Leigh hee hoo hoo ha ha." I know--weird, but it has become the norm for my nutty family.
My mother must have a gazllion nicknames for each of us, including all the cousins. When I was little my grandmother used to warn that none of us would know our real names if she continued to make up ones up for each of us. And they weren't out of nowhere--many developed and evolved over time. For instance, my cousin Bina. She was born Mary Righton Brown, aka MRB. Which turned to Murb, which lead to Murbina, which lead to Bina Ballerina which was shortened to Bina. The girl looks like Jennifer Aniston and yet we have called her Bina for the past 20 some odd years. When I was growing up, my mother didn't hold back with her wacko language. She'd hold the phone against her chest (as if that stifles any sound at all) and yell, "Little Big Mac, the phone is for you" or "LaurieLouLou Bird, your date is here." Seriously, mom?!! If you ask me, it was her way of overcoming the name Fredda. If you call everyone else something ridiculous, then Fredda doesn't seem to stand out so much.
But it wasn't just the nickname, there was usually a song to go with it as well as a gush. Now this is an important term in the Owens household--if you call somewhat fat or chunky and then gush them, it means you love them so much you can't stand it! You could be a 90lb. teenage boy but if we think you are cute, then we will say "Come here you chunky thing" and then gush your heiny. I am not making this up--Meredith (my sister) gushed Bert within the first 5 minutes of meeting him.
I'm not saying I dislike this. I mean, I have carried on the tradition of cookiness. For as long as I can remember, my number one nickname was Loulou or Laurielou--no one called me by my real name. I didn't mind--hence, the name Loulie. It didn't just fall out of the sky--the Bug's name came from a long line of loving nicknames.
It took Bert a couple of months to catch on but he is now on board. It started for him when we got Bridget Bojangles who quickly became Shaniqua while she was napping because sometimes it was just more fun to say. She has had about a hundred nicknames since then. One anniversary, Bert turned it around on me. I had been calling him Mr. Pufftastic for about a year. He had gotten used to it and by that time was answering to anything. It was our second anniversary which calls for a "linen gift." I opened the box to find a towel wrap with the monogram "Mrs. Pufftastic" in blue script on the right corner. He told me if he was Mr. Puff, then that made me Mrs. Puff--great, I had never thought about it that way. Names have only evolved from there.
Bottom line, you probably need a translator to visit our house. I'll try to be clear in my post but just in case, I have included a translation below. Is anyone else out there as wacky as we are?

Gush: (verb or noun) meaning to pinch on a squishy part of a loved ones body.
Mullygrubs: (noun) to have the "I can't help it"s, a little down, usually the result of January or a rainy day
Fat: an endearing term that means you are good enough to eat. Has nothing to do with size or weight of one's body
Lauren: Laurieloulou Bird, Laurielou, Big, Little Big Mac Attack, Bunny Biscuit Weaver, Bunnybear, Little Bit and Sparkplug
Bert: Mr. Pufftastic, Husky Bear, Husk, Johnny, John, Johnny Bickerstaff, Bonshnowzer
Loulie: Loulie Bug, Munchkipuff, Punkin Pie Beanpole, Dyschweka Patterson, Muffinfuss, I really could go on and on
Bridget Bojangles: Shaniqua, Dysheki, Fat and Husky Dog, BB, Bergit
Fredda: Mom, Lovey, Gertrude, Apple Fredda, Fredda Cheese, Frida
Tom: Grandaddy, T Burger, Fatboy, T, Big Tom
Meredith: Aunt Muffy, Piff, Mufliuflionipone,
Bruce: Uncle B, Brucifer, Brusky, "whoa--who is that tall guy?"

I could move on to extended family but I'll stop here. If you have made it to the end of this post, please don't call the psych ward.


Exercising our civil rights and weekend rundown

Loulie, against all odds (or just a yucky day), voted in her first election! She woke up late from her nap (6:00) so we had to race over to cast our vote in time. Have you ever noticed that it is always overcast or raining on election day? At least in the past three I have voted in. Anyhow, we did our civic duty and it looks like things in SC are moving in our favor.

I cannot believe it is already November--where has the fall gone? It has hardly seemed like fall with the 85 degree heat up until this weekend but the cool weather came in just enough time to have the perfect Halloween celebration! We did all the things any other family would call usual Halloween festivities except for that it was our first year of enjoying these things through Loulie's eyes. Fall festival, pumpkin carving, GA/FLA cheering, trick or treating--she did it all! And with a lot of enthusiasm. From the moment the firefighter put that first piece of candy in her bag at the Halloween festival, she was hooked. By Sunday evening, she had learned that even if mama won't let you have candy, you can bite through the wrapper and suck the sugar out. It took an hour after we got home to get her to take her costume off and let go of her trick or treat bag.
We began our festivities on Friday at Hampton Park. And oh did I fall in love. I think I have found our new running spot. It is gorgeous down there. Loulie rode her first horse, trunk or treated and yelled at the ducks in the pond.

We ended on Sunday at a house off the beaten path in Riverland Terrace. I was so glad our friend Eric had done some scouting out beforehand because this was a spot that should not be missed. The pictures don't do it justice, but the owners had set up a creepy cafe. They were not just giving away candy but had dinner, snacks and beverages set up for guests as well as a campfire. They must of spent two days decorating and preparing. It was the cutest set up and I loved the idea of serving total strangers on what is known as a "wicked and frightening" holiday. It kind of caught my heart at their generosity and obvious love of fun.