The Thomas Family Blog

"And wherever we are, Home is there, too."
~ Jack Johnson

Monday, November 5, 2012

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Like most people don't already know this... and like my appearance is not a dead giveaway... but we are becoming a PARTY OF FIVE! Since I am so far behind on the blog, this post would have been much more timely in July, but it's too important to skip over. It all started this summer when I noticed I was getting, well, FAT. I was tired all the time and felt gross. This didn't really strike me as odd, though, because I am chronically tired and always feel fat. Some friends and I went shopping one day in late July and I was telling them how I had been feeling - and then when all the clothes I tried on wouldn't fit, they insisted I take a pregnancy test. I laughed at them. I was NOT pregnant. I really didn't even entertain the thought. There was just no way (I mean, I guess there is always a way, but I did not have the slightest inkling of female intuition on this one). Anyway, I came home late that evening with a test one of my friends had given me and figured I might as well go ahead and figure out if I was just FAT and exhausted or, in fact, (the unthinkable) pregnant. For crying out loud, I had just sold virtually all of my baby items in a garage sale in June (while I was pregnant, mind you). So, short of the long, the test came back glaringly screaming in my face that I was, in fact, very much in the family way and so much for my female intuition.
After some screaming, some shock, some crying, a lot of panic, and (at least for Trav) a good long time alone in a darkened room, we slowly embraced the fact that this was real and OUR plans were no match at all for GOD'S. We called the doctor the following Monday (all of this transpired on a Saturday night) and went in the next day for our first appointment. Ultrasound confirmed little rascal number three was, indeed, alive, kicking, and cooking properly. And had been for six weeks.
We're getting there on figuring out life with three. Bear with us.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. 
 It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." 
~ Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A little Halloween spirit

Here are a couple of cute and easy ways to dress up your nest for Halloween - one of the easiest and most fun holidays to decorate. I shamelessly admit I first saw both of these ideas on Pinterest.

I have probably ten or more old Christmas houses that I don't use anymore. No room. Lost interest. I haven't gotten rid of them, though, because, well, I don't really know... but I am so glad I didn't because I love, love, love their new function! Check this out! You just take out the old electrical cord and light bulb and spray paint them glossy black (use glossy!). Instant haunted houses for the mantle!

Really, how ingenious is that!?! I only wish I had thought of it first.

For this project, I piggybacked off my wreath letters. I am telling you, these letters are so good for so many different projects. For this one, I just picked three different Halloween-themed scrapbook papers and covered the letters. Then I used thin ribbon to connect all three letters and then hung them with a wider ribbon. So cute.
I think maybe the best part is knowing I did it myself. There's something totally therapeutic about working with your hands. I think that's what's missing from a lot of professional work - it's all upstairs and not a whole lot of tangible output is there as evidence, so when you do have something to touch, hold, feel, or look at when you are finished working -- I think it satisfies something very deep and very human in us all.

Front Door Chic

Here I go again all out of order. Feeling rebellious, I guess... but I also figured that this post is time-sensitive, so I better get it out there to my blog-reading audience of... well, as far as I know, one. So, here's to you, faithful reader :) You know who you are.
I LOVE to piddle around my house. I also LOVE to save money (and it's a darn good thing because I don't have much). Of course, Pinterest is for me, like millions of other people, a great source for ideas and inspiration. A lot of what I attempt around the house is Pinterest-inspired. Most of it turns out alright, some is a total bust, and virtually everything deviates a bit from what was originally presented. One of my favorite design/decorating events of the year is decorating our porch for fall because (a) I have a small but very welcoming true southern-style front porch and I like to take advantage of it, (b) fall colors are beautiful and (c) fall is a visitor-rich time of year at our house so our front porch gets a lot of mileage and I want it to be welcoming and fun. So, here is what I did this year... you may find some inspiration.

Rule number one: If you have a front door (and most everyone does), it should always be decorated with something. I have a great (well, I think it is perfectly fabulous) way of making this happen year-round. I will get into the details of that a little later, but let's focus on the fall theme for now. I start with a really full, large scale wreath. You can go buy a pre-fab wreath, but be prepared to shell out a good $60-$75 minimum for a good one. The good news is that you can very easily create your own fall (or any type) wreath for your front door for about $10. These can be stored and used year after year, as well, so it is money well-spent. Simply head to any craft store, I like Michaels or Hobby Lobby (never visit Hobby Lobby without using the 40% off coupon), and get a nice-sized plain, unadorned grapevine wreath. You will also need one or two garlands of artificial fall leaves. Top this off with a large suction cup hook from which to hang your wreath. You simply hot glue (or, if you are feeling really snazzy, you can use florist wire) the garland of leaves around the wreath until you run out. So, yeah, that's done. Slap that baby up on the front door and you're Martha Stewart. The next step is to dress up your wreath. I do this by personalizing with our family's monogram. Here's what you'll need: wooden letters (again, I really like the Hobby Lobby ones), 2-3 inch ribbon, scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and the glue gun (if you don't own one, get one - you will use it all the time). Scrapbook paper comes in 4,389 patterns, so you just choose one that fits your theme (for me this time it was fall leaves) and then pick some ribbon to match. All you do to complete the letters is trace and cut out the scrapbook paper to fit the letter (always go a bit smaller when you are cutting out so you don't overlap), Mod Podge the paper to the letter, then Mod Podge over the top of the scrapbook paper, and add ribbon to hang the letter. Super easy and a custom look for your front porch! Here's the finished product:

Remember, a whimsical, inviting home is not expensive - it just takes a lot of heart, a lot of elbow grease, and some ingenuity (borrowed from the Internet - absolutely acceptable!).

Better than we had ever imagined!

I am a little out of order here and it is really causing my OCD to flare up. Grrr. This post is out of order! Oh well, until I figure out that functionality of Blogger, it will just have to stay out of order. During our week on Jekyll, we took the boat down to Cumberland Island... a longtime unchecked check on our Bucket List. There is only one way on and off the island and that involves a floating vessel - which we now have access to! Yay! So we thought we were something taking our own boat down there and not having to take the totally bourgeois public ferry. The trip down from Jekyll was a lot longer than we thought it would be, but it was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Once we got to the island, we tied up at the dock and made friends with a park ranger. In case you don't know much about this little gem of an island, it is the southernmost of all the Golden Isles and is unpopulated by people (except for the rangers). This is where JFK, Jr. and his bride, Carolyn Bessette, were married in the old First African Baptist Church. Originally part of a royal land grant, General James Oglethorpe first built here - a hunting lodge he called Dungeness. Revolutionary War Hero Nathaniel Greene owned Dungeness next and, finally, the Carnegie family made Cumberland their own family compound and built magnificent homes here - rebuilding Dungeness, and building Plum Orchard, Stafford Plantation, and Greyfield. Wild horses are abundant here (and so are skeeters, so bring plenty of OFF!), and the hauntingly natural beauty of this place is truly unmatched. We had so much fun exploring. We definitely want to go back, but next time we think a fall or winter visit will allow for a much more comfortable experience. It was HOT!

The boat ride down to Cumberland.

Silly girl.

The ruins at Dungeness.

Found our wild horses!

Such a neat experience for all of us.


Caroline piloted us home.
 "There is little success where there is little laughter." ~ Thomas Carnegie

Stomp and Shake It

Siss boom bah hoorah hoorah! Caroline is a cheerleader! Well, not officially, but she was for a night! She got to participate in the annual Union Grove Junior Wolverine Cheer Camp this year and had so much fun! The girls practiced with the Varsity and Junior Varsity squads throughout the week and then got to cheer with them at the Varsity game on Friday night. It was adorable! We were so proud of her trying something a little scary. Watching her grow up is such a pleasure and a privilege.
All ready to go!

Caroline and her kindergarten buddy, Savannah.

Emily practicing her spirit faces.


GO Grove!

"Come on, Grove, we want to see you STOMP and SHAKE IT!"
 ~ Union Grove Junior Wolverine Cheerleaders

The Best Week of the Year

There are lots of weeks that ring my bell throughout the year. You've got the first week of chilly fall weather (that I am LOVING right now), the first week of balmy spring, the week leading up to Christmas, ANY week I am off work and the list goes on... but no week ever even comes close to the joy that our summer week at Jekyll brings. Settling into our borrowed house-for-the-week complete with the usual sixties and seventies decor, riding bikes 'til your butt can't take it anymore, beach basking and combing, exploring the Millionaire's Village, visiting the tiny little shops populated by adorable handmade local keepsakes, watching the deer and the dolphins, playing around on the boat and eating lots of freshly caught seafood. It just doesn't get any better - oh, wait. It does - the BEST part? There are NO PEOPLE! I have an unashamedly admitted aversion to places that have lots of my fellow man. Ugh. Jekyll has just enough to remind me that mine is not, in fact, the only family on earth - but not enough to conjure my ugly inner misanthrope. Hehehe. You think I jest, but I do not. I do not like people! Because I get to be so utterly alone with my own people during my time on Jekyll Island, I am a much nicer person, myself. Here are some pictures of our wonderful week this summer. Sigh. Smile. Memories.
See what I mean? Totally unpeopled!

Is this just the most beautiful thing? It was just as peaceful in reality.

Caroline, Em, and their beach bum muse, Grandmama.

Caught this beautiful rainbow one afternoon!

Caroline and her ghost crab friend.

Kiss the crab, Caroline.

Poor guy.

Our last night at the beach - only night eating out. New restaurant housed inside the old Blackbeard's - Fins on the Beach. It was pretty good!
Caroline's photo shoot on Driftwood Beach.
Pretty little mermaids.
Daddy and Emily
Caroline has the eye.
Another of Caroline's artsy shots taken at the Horton House ruins.
And this is one of my absolute favorite spots on the entire island. I'm not sure what it is about this spot...

Channeling Jimmy Buffett.
“The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!” ~ Bryan W. Procter

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paink my fing-o-nails

Caroline and I have always loved to go and get a pedicure... when the budget and time allows... which hasn't been often lately... Over the summer, we finally decided that little Miss Em was ready for her first pedicure or, as she puts it, "paink my fing-o-nails." She was soooooo excited! The place we usually go is close to our house and the ladies there are so nice. They took really good care of our girl - she was nervous! I don't think I have ever seen her sit so still. When all was said and done, though, she had a precious little set of ten pink piggies! So sweet!
Paink my fing-o-nails
"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." ~ Coco Chanel

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

Oh, summertime... the best time of the year... no work... lots of sun... plenty of time on Jekyll and Tybee... less makeup... less clothes... oh, the list goes on. So many reasons to love that special time of year. And since we are still landlocked and have not yet made our permanent pilgrimage back down to the coast, we are happy to have Grandmama's pool to keep us cool in the summer months (some dear neighbors, too!) Caroline is finally learning that she will not drown if she puts her face underwater and Emily just loves splashing and playing in the water. The days passed too quickly, though, and, before we knew it, summer 2012 was a thing of the past!
Getting ready to jump in the pool!

Maddie and Em being silly at Grandmama's pool.
 "Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the
two most beautiful words in the English language." 
~ Henry James

I am a teacher, after all...

... and so, therefore, my children are forced to participate in educational activities year round. There is no summer vacation from learning. The good part is that the learning can be a lot of fun! One of the things we did this summer was participate in the summer reading program at the local library. The children's coordinator there is great and she booked some creepy, crawly guests for the kids to enjoy. The June visitor was Jason from Southeastern Reptile Rescue. He had all kinds of cool critters! Some were pretty scary - like the Timber Rattlesnake and the Cottonmouth, but we knew we were in good hands. The July visitor was The Bat Lady, Vicky Smith. She brought some of her beautiful and mysterious bats for the kids to see, learn about, and enjoy. It was really fun to take the girls to both of these events. Here are some pictures from our visit.
Waiting patiently for the program to begin.

Emily was a little nervous about the snakes!

Fears are educated into us and can, if we wish, be educated out. ~ Karl A. Merringer

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Adventures on Old Tybee

The BEST trip! Outside of our sacred pilgrimages to Jekyll Island, Tybee is our other favorite place. Beside the fact that it is in such close proximity to Savannah, Caroline's birthplace (she will always remind of of this) and my all-time warm fuzzy place to be, it's a funky, somewhat derelict, but unabashedly real and humble little beach town. This time was different because we got to take the Miss EmiLee Grace out to sea. During the days Trav and Granddaddy fished and the girls parked it on the beach, but in the afternoons we all went out for a little sightseeing. We took the girls to see Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, and all through the creeks and sounds. They were born pirates! No fear and eyes alight at the beauty! There's nothing like the salty air and marshy, muddy smell of that brackish water :) We were visited by a really curious and friendly pod of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins who got very close to the boat. We almost always see dolphins while out boating, but they are usually very aloof and act like they don't even see us... and they never get this close. This cluster was full of characters!


Fish? Anyone?

We thought this one would have climbed into the boat if he could have.

They were close enough to touch!

The kids (and the adults!) had a lot of fun watching the dolphins play. It was a highlight! Of course, now, every time we go out on the water, the girls don't understand why this does not happen every single time. It's still fun to look for them, though! Here are a couple of other shots from our boating adventures.
Dolphin spotting

Captain and First Mate

Silly Em



Me and my girls

Silly Em again!

All the girls

All the grandbabies
 "Though pleas'd to see the dolphins play, I mind my compass and my way." ~ Matthew Green