officially lot 151!

well, we have a sign. it is our lot. something is marked, too. but we are still waiting to hear from the project manager or whomever is supposed to contact us before they start. but a sign marking our lot is forward progress enough!!!


a story by cotton

hi. this is cotton. my mom said i could tell you all a story and she would help me with the pictures so here it is. the other day, my mom decided we could feed the squirrels that live behind our apartment. so we put some peanuts on the porch. (ok mom... now we need a picture.)

see? those are the peanuts. and then we just waited. all three of us. you know, me and barley and dave. he likes to hide in the blinds. but me and barley can't fit in between those. we are too big. and this time, barley was tired and decided to rest while we waited. oh, and mom waited with us too. (ok mom... more pictures now.)

yep. that's us waiting for the squirrels. and it took them awhile to find the peanuts, but they finally did. actually, a bird found them first. but it only took one. it was a cute little bird. and we got really excited.

and then finally, the squirrels came!!! two of them. they took turns. one of them was really fat! and the other one buried some peanuts in the ground to save for later. and me and barley just sat and watched. we tried not to move but we were sooo excited.

see, this is the really fat one. and he ate a lot, too. which is probably why he is fat.

and this one is burying one to save for later. he is much skinnier than the other one. maybe because he can't find the ones he buries.

here is the skinny one again. he decided to eat some, too.

haha, we steamed up the glass while we watched for the squirrels to come. and mom had just cleaned the window the day before. oops!

barley is almost as big as me, see? she likes watching the squirrels as much as me, too.

mom took this picture with the new camera. it takes really good pictures. you can even see how shiny barley is. this time, i was tired of sitting so i laid down for awhile.

i think me and barley look cute sitting together. i made mom take that one. but she didn't mind. she was practicing with the new camera she and dad got for christmas. they really like. they like it so much that they won't stop taking pictures of me and barley. even dave. but anyway. we had fun feeding the squirrels. i hope you liked the pictures and my story. i am glad mom let me write on here. well, with her help. barley wanted to tell the story but she didn't really know how so she just said for me to tell you she said hi and that she likes to watch squirrels and birds, too. ok. that's it. bye. love, cotton.


it's christmas!

merry christmas, everyone! i am at work and jay is at home sleeping. but it is christmas and has been for over 2 hours now. so i thought i would wish everyone a merry merry day from me and jay. (and i so did not mean to rhyme.) we love you all and miss seeing everyone.


the joys of toys

well, cotton, barley, and dave got petsmart gift cards from their pops (aka dad/jerry) for christmas. so today, after picking the girls up from sparky's, we went to petsmart for some toy shopping. we even picked dave up a little something and will have to go back to get more for him. but the girls picked out new nylabones and a christmas tug-of-war toy. and dave got some little weeble wobble birds, which he loves. so i thought we would share some pictures of how christmas is shaping up for the animals. (dave is even helping me write this right now... he is in my lap between me and the computer. so helpful...)

a close up of dave's wobble chickens... so cute.
dave in attack mode, playing with his new toys. he loves them!
action shot... dave doesn't tend to play this hard, so he gets lots of pictures this go-around.
cotton enjoying their new rope toy...
barley could hardly keep her eyes open to play with anything.

both girls gave up about 15 minutes after we got home. they got to play at sparky's for about 5 days and are worn out. it is worth every penny! but the animals say thanks to pops for a fun christmas filled with new toys.


a nashville christmas

well we got home today from nashville (franklin) after visiting lots of family and friends for an early christmas. jay has to work on christmas eve from 8-3 and i work all christmas eve night. we had this time off together and decided to take a mini-vacation to tennessee and celebrate the holidays early. dave stayed home alone (with plenty of food and water) and the dogs went to play at sparky's (just glad they don't have to dress up anymore).

we drove down on friday and got in pretty much in time for bed!

and after a good nights sleep, we started the weekend with lunch on saturday at stoveworks at the factory. it was delicious and hit the spot. jay and i ate with mom, aunt janice, and angel, our cousin. it was a bit of a "girly" lunch spot, but jay hung in there. :) jay and i spent part of the afternoon at the farm visiting with the animals. spooner has a lot more white in her face. (jay's old black lab). but she's doing well, at the ripe old age of 12.

we also met marty, jay's mom's and sister's new beagle. he's a cute little guy.

sunday was a good day as well. we met up with friends becca and brad for some afternoon coffee and catching up. then it was off to jay's mom's house to visit with her and his stepdad, paul, for a bit. then it was back to my mom's for a dennis family christmas with mom, dad, phil, samantha, and courtney! we had lots of fun watching courtney play with new toys and crawling around like such a big girl. the hat i knit her barely fit her head, so i will have to make a new one so she can finish out the winter. but we had lots of fun playing and getting reacquainted. we even had time for some pictures at grandmama's house. everyone was there for sunday night dinner and we all had a good time, while roasting until we convinced them to turn on the air conditioner. (it was 70+ degrees outside and 77 degrees inside. too hot!)
the hat just fits her. it is the first hat i have ever made so i just need to find a pattern that is big enough. we thought it was time for a good christmas picture. we are a bit casual, but it turned out well, i think. grandmama's living room is always a good place for pictures.
the dennis family at christmas time. it has been since may since we have all been together and able to get a picture taken so we took advantage had had uncle steve take our picture. and i haven't had a picture taken with courtney since she was born. well, that i was in at least. so with our rosy (sweating) cheeks all a-glow, we posed for a picture.
courtney and i had lots of fun growling at each other. she apparently learned how to growl from her schnauzer, phoebe. so we played and played and entertained each other and let phil and samantha eat a peaceful dinner with adult conversation. here are some little cousins, james (in the middle), jason (with the gold tie), and justin (in red). they are brothers ages 6, 4, and 2. they were having a good time having mom take their picture. justin didn't want to look, so james gave him a hand in turning is head.
and lindsey, regina, and haley... not sure why haley chose that moment to make such a lovely face at her mother, but at least lindsey gave a nice smile. they had come to visit here just a couple of months ago. and then monday we slept in a bit and did a bit of shopping in cool springs. then we went to see our friend amy's new house in spring hill. then jay went to study a bit and i went to visit with mandy and harrison at their house. and then it wasn't much longer and it was time for dinner with pam, paul, and erin. we had a delicious dinner at sperry's. then it was back to mom's to rest up before heading home today.
it was great having 3 whole days to spend with family and friends and not feel rushed. we couldn't believe how warm it was. it made it not feel much like christmas, but the trees and presents helped. :) but it is back to work tomorrow for jay and i will go pick up the dogs and do some grocery shopping, laundry, and a bit of cleaning. vacation never lasts long enough.


semi-homemade with stacie lynn

ok. so who doesn't love a hearty, yummy soup when it is cold outside. so this recipe is easy breezy. all you need are a few ingredients and some time. this delicious soup recipe was passed along to me from my fabulous friend, ashley (lovell) dalton. it was passed along to her from another wonderful woman, julie hunt.

baked potato soup

2/3 c. butter or margarine
2/3 c. flour
6 c. milk
1 bag frozen chunky hash browns
3/4 tsp. salt (or to your taste)
1/2 tsp. black pepper (or to your taste)
4 green onions (i used 3 tsp. of freeze-dried chives)
6 pieces bacon or bacon bits (i used one bag oscar meyer bacon bits found in the salad dressing aisle)
1 c. cheddar cheese (or more if you like!)
8 oz. sour cream

~Melt butter and add flour and milk. Stir until thick.
~Add potatoes, salt, pepper, green onions, and bacon.
~Add shredded cheese.
~Cook until thoroughly heated. (This takes about 2-3 hours.) Stir in sour cream. Allow time for soup to "reheat."
~Add more milk if necessary, or water, if soup is too thick.

jay and i enjoyed this soup tonight and will be enjoying left overs for many more days and nights to come. hope you enjoy it soon, too.


happy thanksgiving

well, it is after thangksgiving. but better late than never, right? lots has been going on during this sleepy little month of november. mom, pam, janet, mama mac and aunt betty came to asheville the week before turkey day. they came thursday and stayed until saturday. we spent an evening enjoying the candlelight tour at the biltmore house. i still had not been when we went that thursday and was amazed at the size and beauty and can not imagine having all of that luxury and opulence at the turn of the 20th century. or even now. it is incredible. we spent friday doing some shopping and enjoying the display of the gingerbread houses at the grove park inn. and saturday they left for home. short vist, but a good one. here are a couple of pictures that mom emailed me.

strawberry shortcake's house... in gingerbread

me and mom posing in front of one of the grove park inn's massive fire places

and then last week was spent working busily and getting ready for a kingsport thanksgiving. the first one jay and i have spent there and the first time he's been in kingsport for thanksgiving since high school. and, we went up on friday after b/c i had to work thanksgiving night. but we had a great time. we stayed with larry and mitos and were able to visit with isaac, jay's half brother. we visited with cousins and their new babies and aunts and uncles and mamaw. we watched a very long ut football game. and we ate. a lot. and that's about it.

we are getting ready for a visit to nashville. we should roll in sometime on the 7th and leave around the 11th of december. it will be our christmas there. we are busy finishing some early christmas shopping. fun fun...


santa's little helper

ok. so i am sure that i will have more pictures to share soon, but i realized that i hadn't shared any pictures of my sweet little niece, courtney, in awhile. so here are some that i have borrowed from her own little baby website her mom and dad started for her. but, i like to dote on her too, so here are my favorite recent pictures of her.

seriously! could she be any cuter!?! i am sure she could. but this is the only proof i have for now. enjoy!

shoe update...

ok. so i wore my new shoes to work last friday night. for more than 12 hours. and my hips did not hurt. my feet didn't hurt. my calves didn't hurt. it was fabulous!!!


"stand up straight"

ok. so who hasn't been told at least once in their life to stand up straight? seriously. i think we can all say yes. so, after remembering some great shoes the wonderful julie hunt was wearing on the day of ashley's bridesmaids luncheon, i have searched online and found some fabulous shoes. they are called earth shoes. http://www.earth.us/ and they have "negative heel technology" which makes you stand up straight by putting your spine in alignment. yes. they are on the expensive end. about as much as one would pay for a pair of dansko clogs. but i figure if it helps my spine to align correctly and helps my posture... maybe it'll even help my hips to not hurt so much either. and this would be nice. i can wear them to work. i can wear them around town with jeans and khakis. they are versatile. and cute. http//www.earth.us/shoeDetail.asp?Gender=women&cat=3&ID=2362 this is the shoe i purchased. and, i got a nice discount. about the only thing my employer is good for. haha. i didn't say that. :) so check out the website. save up. try some new shoes.


at play with sparky

http://www.atplaywithsparky.com so the girls went to sparky's. and i know we keep mentioning it. so here is a link to sparky's. they run and run and run some more. and then they are just plain tired. and lazy. and unmotivated to do anything.

camping and riding

ok. so i think we are finally up to date except for this weekend. the girls went to play at sparky's and jay and i went (car) camping. the last time he camped was a couple of summers ago. the last time i camped was in girl scouts. and let's face it, it wasn't real camping. sometimes we camped outdoors. but mostly, toward the end, it was cabins. it was fun, but i have not ever gone real camping. so i am being broken in slowly. on saturday, our plans were to meet up with some members of the upstate cruisers (the western and upstate s. carolina land cruiser association) and drive from mt. pisgah to mt. mitchell on the blue ridge parkway. so we thought it would be fun to camp at the mt. pisgah campground on friday night and be ready to meet up with the group on saturday as planned. so we did. and we had a great time. it was really cold. and we had some "neighbors" a few sites down who must not be able to read that quiet time is from 10pm - 6am. i know i heard them last around 1am. yeah. those kind of fun neighbors. but i did eventually fall asleep and jay missed all of their noise. lucky him. but we woke up saturday and packed up and did some driving further south on the parkway before meeting up with the club at the pisgah inn restaurant. we got some great pictures, as the leaves are beginning to change. i won't describe them all. i am sure they can speak for themselves. but we had a great weekend....

these three were taken at mt. mitchell. it was unbelievably clear. the clearest it has ever been on top of that mountain. (the highest east of the mississippi.)

ready for halloween

ok. so dave loves to dress up. all cats do, right? haha ok. so he doesn't. but here is dave in his halloween costume. isn't he a cute little rooster?

lot 151

ok. so this is it. the site of our new home.

this is lot 151. it is in the meadows of river stone. it is in fletcher, north carolina. (about 10 minutes from where we live now.) our street number is still unknown. we have now picked out all of our colors for the exterior and interior. we made a few upgrades. we have signed all the papers and are just waiting for the contractors to call us and for everything to get started! we are very excited. if all goes according to plan, our new house will be ready the beginning of may. the dogs will have a fenced in yard to play in. not huge. but more than they have now. and we won't have any neighbors above us. and none directly connected beside us. it will be fabulous.

blueberries in september

so back when mom and dad and larry and mitos came to visit, we went up to craggy pinnacle. on that trip, we noticed that the wild blueberries were ripe. so jay and i decided to go back up the end of september to pick some for ourselves. and we decided to take the dogs along, too. they really enjoyed the hike. cotton seemed so excited to find whatever was at the end of the trail. and barley was just there. haha we picked about 1/2 cup of fresh mountain blueberries. ok. i did. while jay minded the girls. we all had a good time and got some great pictures that day, too.

so even after the blueberries had been picked over and cleaned out, there were still more to ripen up. and all those pretty blue-green leaves... blueberry bushes. deliciously organic. (now i sound like i'm from asheville, yeah?)

and, of course, the dogs were enjoying the fresh air, oblivious to the altitude.

cotton knows what stay means. barley couldn't figure out that we just wanted her to sit on the bench with us. so she didn't. but the picture in the middle, of her... she is on the bench. alone. she figured it out. too late, though.

jay started a bad trend after some picture taking of his own. he climbed over the wall to sit for a picture. it was a lovely, almost clear day.