Summertime Instagram-O-Rama

My last Instagram-o-rama post was on April 17th. If I wait another two months until the next, there’s a good chance it’ll be dominated by baby shower photos and shots of baby toes, lips, and eyelashes. Fair warning.


A family photo for the Fourth of July


And another showing how large our boy is getting.


Since my thesis is on hiatus, I’ve been working a little. Hoping this here six year old Toshiba lasts just a little longer.


Twenty weeks at Dry Tortugas on the left.  Thirty weeks on the right.


Precious, sleepy Geoff


Not a great deal of concern about energy conservation at this point. Seventy-two during the day and sixty-nine at night with all fans on helicopter speed.

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Lovely rainbow beans that have done marvelously. I’ve frozen around twenty quarts.

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First batch of homemade dill pickles.

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Fresh-baked zucchini bread for snacking and freezing. For this batch I used mostly molasses instead of sugar and it was wonderful.

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The garden goodness I experience every day.

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Sweet bird house my dad got me for my birthday that looks like a miniature version of our house.

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I’m 24!

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Every pregnant woman should purchase an exercise ball as soon as she gets a pink plus sign. 

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On my last trip to Chattanooga for a prenatal appointment, I stopped at a rest area and ill-advisedly got a Cherry Coke. Subconsciously, I knew I shouldn’t be drinking it and dropped the entire can all over myself and my car.


Summertime toes that, so far, haven’t become swollen.


Dry Tortugas Trip the Third


Picturesque Truman Annex district in Key West


Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West, the perfect precursor to the beauty to come


Michael Ryan’s first trip to his parents’ beloved Dry Tortugas State Park


Cody and his friend Matt who joined us this year, along with my in-laws


We had a pelican problem this year. Every time they guys hooked a fish, one of these goofy birds would swoop in and swallow it, hook and all, before they could get it reeled in. 


Pretty perfect palm tree


Impromptu maternity pics at twenty weeks.



Not looking too bad for a pregnant lady camping close to the equator.


My darling husband


Huge hermit crabs that came in hoards as soon as we fired up the grill.


That’s the moon, y’all.


Nice silhouette shot


It takes a pretty big fish to bend a rod like that. In this case, it was a 70-ish pound Goliath Grouper that easily won the battle. Go here to view a webcam placed underneath the dock we were fishing on.


Neighboring Loggerhead Key


Sweet baby boy hung in there through all my hotdog eating, fort climbing, snorkeling, and tent sleeping.





After two nights on a Thermarest and no hot shower, I was looking a lot rougher (and rounder) than I actually felt.


Lighthouse atop Fort Jefferson


Free bird photo-op back in Key West



Cody and his dad are already planning an all-boys trip next spring. Although I would love to go again myself and take Michael Ryan, I sincerely want my husband and several of his male family members to experience some serious sub-tropical male bonding on this beautiful island. Right now, the only big family adventure in the works is Michael Ryan’s birth in September. I’m hoping to squeeze in our annual New Years trip for our fourth anniversary at the end of December (with our baby boy, of course), maybe to close-by Smokey Mountains NP. After the guys’ trip in the spring, we’re thinking about heading west in late Summer 2014 to either Yellowstone, Glacier, or California (Yosemite/ Redwoods/ Channel Islands).

The only big adventure that consumes my thoughts at the moment is the squirming little person in my belly and our big plans for bringing him into the world.

Instagram-o-rama springtime edition + others



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Easter Sunday


Seventeen Weeks


Sticky niece and nephew on a sunshiny day


Now that I’m in my second trimester, my midwife recommends that I consume 100 grams of protein per day (protein-rich diets during pregnancy are linked with lower occurences of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight). That’s a lot of meat and milk, y’all. This was my record a few weeks ago. I’ve since hit 104.

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What would a picture post be without at least one of our Geoff?

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Michael Ryan’s closet is filling up.


Finally, we’re getting our mud hole pond somewhere close to presentable. The hollyhock and hostas I dug from our ditch.

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“Hey Cody. I think there’s a crawfish in the pond.” I poke a stick into a hole in the rocks. “I see whiskers!” Giant catfish darts out from hole. Cody stands in awe of his super-duper wife who found a mystery catfish in his koi pond.

Seriously though. We have no idea how this got in. The only people who might have tossed it in as a joke were just as surprised as we were (and probably wouldn’t have done it anyways for fear that it would eat our expensive koi). The other possibility is that a catfish egg got transplanted via bird back in the fall and grew to enormous proportions over the winter.  Nevertheless, he got relocated to a nearby pond and no koi or goldfish were lost. Any ideas?


Crabapple blossom


This is what my precious husband has been doing every evening this week. Notice the taped-up, blistered hands.


We’ve planted: nine tomato plants, fourteen pepper plants, six mounds of squashes, five rows of beans, five mounds of cucumbers, one row of sunflowers, one row of marigolds (supposedly they dispel pests), and two rows of okra. Another row of okra and five rows of corn and we will be finished with planting for now.

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Heirloom Beefsteak, Early Girl, Better Boy

Sweet Banana, Cayenne, Green Bell, Red Bell


So far, it looks quite neat and very Martha Stewart-ish



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Yesterday, our sweet neighbor brought over her “leftovers,” which was basically Thanksgiving dinner. With peach cobbler.


The McNuggets have moved up to the big pen. Thirty-two remain, with one perpetually injured because of his lack of social skills and so confined to a box on the deck where he has forgotten that he is a chicken. They’re now about nine weeks old and really putting down the feed. The White Leghorns have outgrown all of the assorted heavies and will likely be ready for butchering much sooner.

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Instagram-o-rama the third




Geoff knows his days in our bed are numbered


Rocky preventing reading 


So far, my favorite place in the entire world. Makarios in Birmingham, Alabama. Fatoosh Feta and Hummus with Pita. 


 Us, before marriage. Circa 2008-ish.


Generative Grammar  i6

Wee clothes for the babe and larger ones for me


A silly nephew


Chi-weenie in a sweater


An unusually warm winter night on the deck. Also, the day we told Cody’s family our grand news.  i11

Flowers from a Paris market and Notre Dame’s exterior carvingsphoto (6)

Also tonight. Ten weeks and a tiny bump.  photo (8)

An upside down niece 

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Notre Dame’s insides

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Trip To-Dos

In two weeks we will be enjoying Christmas Eve parties with our families, albeit a little differently this year. We’ll also be trying to maintain our composure and control our excitement about our next big trip. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s snuck up on me this quickly. The anticipation of packing is one of my favorite things about travelling, but I’ve had very little time to prepare for this one.


Needless to say, I’ve got a super-long to-do list to accomplish during the next fourteen days.

  • Finish a Dickens research paper today, Research and Bibliography final Wednesday, and Prospectus sometime this week
  • Complete Christmas shopping
  • Meet my deadline on Friday
  • Contact airlines to confirm flights and select seats (if possible this late)
  • Contact frequent flier programs to confirm hotel reservations
  • Scan and email passports
  • Pre-purchase Louvre, Vatican, and Versailles tickets
  • Find Cody comfortable, leather, semi-warm shoes (and good socks)
  • Finalize packing list and pack backpacks
  • Purchase batteries and SD cards
  • Figure out which purse/ bag will work best and pack
  • Buy airport snacks (jerky, candy, drink mixes, dried fruit, etc.)
  • Buy a water bottle
  • Call credit/ debit cards to inform them of overseas purchases
  • Get oil changed in my car for drive to ATL
  • Research and print public transport directions for each city
  • Make list of contact info for all parents
  • Pay all bills that will be due while we are gone


I’m sure this list will grow, not shrink, as we near our departure date. More than anything, I’m looking forward to spending ten days with my husband, away from all the messes that we’ve been dealing with during the past months. I want to sleep late in our cheap hotel rooms, take lots of pictures, eat yummy food, and, most importantly, take our time. No rushing around to see everything. We need rest, relaxation, and spectacular views.

Travel Wish List

Channel Islands Nation Park, California

Washington, D.C.

Banff Springs Hotel, Canada

Glacier NP (again with Cody)

United Kingdom by car

Cairo, Eqypt

Biltmore House, Ashville, North Carolina

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Hawaii camping

New Orleans, Louisiana

Any tips?

European Trip Update

I successfully booked our hotel rooms for Rome and Paris this weekend. Using a combination of Delta Skymiles from my and Cody’s accounts and leftover United miles, I booked eight nights for….$0.00! Nothing special, but better than a hostel and FREE! Here’s where we will be staying:

Rome- Domus Pacis Torre Rosse Park

Paris- Comfort Inn Saint Pierre

The only remaining major expense is our flight from Rome to Paris which I hope to purchase in a few days. I also plan to purchase as many passes, tickets, etc. beforehand. Less than four months away!

Gulf Shores

Lovely coast of our lovely state of Alabama

I just have to show off these beautiful babies I got to play in the waves with.

Spending three days with a four year old and one year old was not nearly as nerve-wracking as I expected. In fact, I quite enjoyed watching little Abby see the sea for the first time and Caden brave the waves like a big boy. It melted me and I spent several afternoons soaking in the sun and thinking about how fulfilling it must be to take your own children on vacation and give them a brand new experience. I felt an unexpected shift during this short family trip. Oh, how thankful I am for the opportunity to be an aunt.