the kids

our disney world trip – part 1 of 2

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hello, friends!

i hope all of you had wonderful holidays, starts to the new year, and hey look – valentine’s day!  time is flying.  and sadly, it’s obviously flying too fast for me to do regular blog updates!  it’s funny, for christmas this year, the big kids’ big gift was a trip to disney world.  it was a surprise revealed on christmas morning, and we left a week later on january 2nd.  for weeks since we’ve been back i’ve been thinking to myself, “man…i really need to find a way to record all of the things i learned during this trip to disney world, so when we go back i can remember them. how can i do that?”  and then i thought, “self — you have a BLOG!  remember?!?!”  so here i am.  hopefully some of these things can help you, too!

first, i want to start with this photo.  this here photo was taken circa 1988 on my ONE day spent at disney world, ever, in my whole life.

disney 88

we drove down, visited the park for one whole day, and then drove back.  there were no books read, no disney planners used, no meal plans, no nothing.  my, how times have changed.  so much to decide now!  so overwhelming!  i decided to call a disney planner my friend betsey had used, named susan, to demystify this most magical place.  she was invaluable, and after i got her to decode the disney lingo she had rolling off her tongue, we got along famously.  her email is should you want to use her too.  i will add that her services are available at no cost to you — but she was able to price out different options, make our meal reservations, hotel reservations, fast passes, save money on package deals she is privy to and basically answer any question you have about disney.

another resource to know about, if you’re heading to disney world, is dixie delights.  amanda knows everything there is to know about disney, and has great insight from visiting so many times.  her blog also has easy to navigate sections for all things mickey, and i pored over all of the tips and recommendations before going!!

so here’s how the scene was set…


we left on january 2nd, and returned january 6th (APS, our school system, had no school jan 4-5).  park days were jan. 3 / 4 / 5.  we did magic kingdom for two days (jan 3 & 5) and hollywood studios (jan 4 — primarily for the star wars feature, since rush is obsessed).  we chose this time because on the crowd meter, january 4 and 5 were supposed to be some of the lowest of the year…  in actuality, it rained on jan. 3 so the crowds were lower.  we didn’t know how good we had it!  jan. 4 / 5 — especially jan. 5 — were PACKED.


we opted to stay at the contemporary resort on disney resort grounds.


we liked that it was on the monorail, you had an option to walk to the resort (which we did one morning and it was lovely) or take the boat.  we also were going to do an early breakfast at chef mickey’s, and hey – it’s in the hotel so how easy is that?!  i thought the contemporary was fine.  not the nicest hotel, but not the worst.  you are obviously paying for convenience, which it is definitely that.  i think when we go back, we will stay at the grand floridian.  it’s nicer, a little calmer atmosphere, i felt like there were more places to lounge (more on that later — and the all-important mizner’s lounge in particular), and hey – if you’re shelling out the big bucks to go to disney, you might as well shell out a bit more and make it a nicer vacay for the adults too.


we did the disney meal plan where you get 1 quick service meal, 1 sit down and 1 snack a day.  oh, and refillable mugs but we really didn’t use those.  i think this plan was fine, and we were able to get most of the character meals we wanted using this plan (even with the 2 sit down credits at cinderella’s castle).  we ended up with a TON of snack credits left over, and on dixie delight’s recommendation, stopped by the confectionery on main street our last day and brought home a bunch of yummy treats.  but all in all — i think this was a good meal option, and we only had to pay out of pocket for 1-2 meals.  we brought breakfast items and ate them in the room while we were getting ready.  i brought things like: granola with almond milk (they had a fridge in the room which i knew, so i loaded it up), yogurt, bananas, cereal bars, granola bars.  rbb and i hit the coffee shop in the lobby (latte = snack credit!) and we were off.  you can also use your refillable mugs for coffee in the quick service restaurant that is in your hotel, but i wasn’t sure if they were BPA free and coffee is really hot ya know. ;) #greenpeopleprobs


we brought one.  just a maclaren umbrella stroller, but i was soooo glad we did.  rinne is 4, and i felt like she really needed it because there was SO much walking.  rush is 6 and he was fine with all of the walking.  DEFINITELY tie a bright / noticeable ribbon on your stroller’s handle though…  you will not even believe how many strollers fill up these stroller areas!!!  and, don’t panic if you come out of a ride and your stroller is gone.  we thought on day 1 that someone stole ours, lol.  no — an employee had just moved it to a designated stroller area.  i kept all kinds of snacks (“healthier” ones, since i knew they would be eating so much junk: squeeze apple sauces, dried fruit strips, granola bars, etc.) in the basket underneath as well as ponchos for each day.


we knew it was going to rain our first park day…  the forecast varied between 80/90/100% chance of rain.  awesome.  we brought cheap dollar store ponchos and wore them, but they were so flimsy, my hood kept blowing off, the kids were tripping all over theirs and they got all kinds of holes in them.  my advice is this:  if you KNOW it’s going to be cats and dogs at all while you’re there, just bring your good raincoat.  you’ll be glad you did.  the ponchos are great to have in case of a pop-up shower though!


my motto was “don’t be a {style} hero.”  i had visions of me wearing these super cute, stylish outfits because i knew we were going to be taking a bunch of pictures, but… this is a case of 100% function, 0% fashion.  i can’t think of any other instance where i would say that.  i went in full athleisure gear, with maybe ONE element of my outfit being somewhat “normal clothes.”  for instance, leggings instead of workout pants with a comfy shirt i would wear to barre class with a sporty patagonia jacket.  or a long chambray tunic to wear on top of workout pants.  but i wore tennis shoes every day — it’s a MUST.  you are walking miles here, people!  layers are important too.  it was always chilly in the morning, then would turn sunny in the afternoon…plus you’re walking so you get warm.  as for the kids, i’m that mom that never lets her kids wear character clothes.  i just loathe them. but, in the “box o’ disney” that appeared from santa because he *knew* the kids were going, i put oodles of star wars tees for rush and minnie / ariel / minions (JUST figured out they are by universal studios, lol!) items for rinne in.  one item in each box was from the hanna andersson pajamas with disney line — darth vader for rush, and ariel for rinne.  gotta be practical, you know :)


we packed the car the night before, and left atlanta bright and early at 6:00 a.m. to beat holiday traffic.  we didn’t hit any!  we pulled into disney around 3:00, checked in and the kids put their bathing suits on right away.  we knew that this would be our only time for them to swim, and even though it was a little chilly, they didn’t care a lick.  rbb and i got poolside cocktails and had fun watching them go down the slide again…and again…and again.  we got changed for dinner and hit the hotel’s roasted marshmallow activity, which lasted all of 2 seconds…

marshmellowswe then hopped on the monorail to go to dinner.  we knew we had to get a quick service meal that night, so we went to the polynesian for their captain cook’s restaurant. i got a salad and it was fine.  not the best, not the worst.  before dinner, we saw the lighting of the torch ceremony and after dinner, we got dole whips — YUM.  i got the float and it was amazing!!!  we went back and crashed to get ready for our big park day the next day…


so… it rained nearly the entire day.  boo.  i’m glad it was our first day though, because we did not let it dampen our spirits!  we arrived ready to roll and immediately grabbed our maps and times guides.  and might i add again, i had NO IDEA that minions were NOT disney characters.  oops.



susan said to head straight for splash mountain and big thunder mountain railroad — so we did.  no lines!  and i was soooo naive about the lines.  they were never all that bad this day, because of the rain…but OMG the sunny days?  insanity — 75-100 mins for the popular ones.  WHAT!  we did happen upon a pop-up sighting with chip and dale…


afterwards, we did some fast pass rides and then hit cinderella’s castle for our big PRINCESS LUNCH.  and it did not disappoint!  first you meet cinderella…


then during lunch four princesses (snow white, aurora, ariel and jasmine) come out, one by one, and come around to every single table where they speak to your children and sign books (we got our books from dixie delights, natch).  rinne loved it, and so did rush — he got a sword right when we got there, and rinne got a wishing star.  it was cute — and the food was GOOD!  every meal on the meal plan comes with dessert, which at first i was like woah.  but then once i got used to it, i was like YEAH.  it’s good stuff!

ariel 1


after all of the princesses, we got more fast passes and trudged through the rain.  we hung out at the park until about 3:00, then took a quick monorail ride back to the hotel because i thought the kids would need to recharge before hitting the park again for more fun and dinner.  um, no.  they didn’t sleep a wink!  i dozed off but they never did.  excellent.  so we just went right back, had dinner at the pinnochio village haus (had to find somewhere that was covered!  a lot of the quick service places have outdoor seating — and btw it was freezing by this point too), and hit more rides.  omg, we hit them ALL and the waits were never more than 10 minutes.  for anything!  i think rush and rbb rode space mountain 3 times in a row.  meanwhile, rinne and i met ariel (again – the mermaid version this time) — bless her little rain jacket loving heart…

ariel 2

…and rode the teacups, magic carpet ride, barnstormer, ariel’s ride (where i had major de je vu because i remembered standing in line there when it was still 10,000 leagues under the sea!) and all of it.  it was awesome!  we left right before the park closed and even had time to meet tinkerbell and mickey on the way out.  even though we were wet and cold, it was so worth it.  here are the kids bouncing with the mouse himself…


then it was off to bed so we could hit hollywood studios right when they opened the next morning.

guys, this post is so long and you know i’m out of practice blogging!  i’ll return with DAY 2 (hollywood studios) and DAY 3 (magic kingdom again).

great to pop in to say hello :)


2014 year in review : hello 2015

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why hello!  happy new year!  i know y’all think i have all but abandoned this blog.  and that is partly true.  life was in a perpetual rush hour for a bit there, what with feeling ENORMOUS and exhausted, having a newborn and working on holiday cards.  i have been taking it majorly easy since the holiday card craziness died down and it’s been fab!  i’ve been thinking about this blog and missing it.  i’m hoping to pop in more in 2015, and definitely make good on some blog promises (um hello, the finished kitchen is a year old and i have yet to photograph it still!  ridiculous!).  but to get caught up…  here’s what went down in 2014.


bask in the glory of what is a newly renovated kitchen – and the departure of the workmen!  not that i didn’t love them.  because we were homies.  lots of meals cooked in, and moving back into our new spaces oh so carefully…  you know, like when you really contemplate how your baking pans should be organized (loaf pan up front?  how about bundt?  nah, that goes at the back since i’ve never used it and all.  but would i use it more if it were up front…?).


positive pregnancy test.  proceed to immediately, if not sooner, feel like death warmed over and “show.”  am instantly wearing maternity pants…and kind of loving it.  oh and here’s how i broke the news to rbb…  on one of our friday night pizzas.  in my head, he comes home hungry and i say “oh!  pizza is reheating in the oven, why don’t you serve it up for everyone.”  in real life, his plane was delayed and i had to feed the kids so there was no resemblance of a 3 by the time he saw it.  #fail


turn 34.  wait a minute, i’m merely one year younger than carrie in that sex and the city episode where she turns 35 and no one shows up for her birthday and she has to pay for her own cake.  how can that be?  the mid-30s sure came up quick.  am working on a lot of small business logos and love it.  i absolutely adore helping other entrepreneur mamas.


amazingly, our first trip to the ER for stitches.  of course, it occurs the night before we leave for a spring break beach trip… isn’t that just the way? (see chin below)


muffins for moms…my favorite day of preschool. i always cry.

IMG_5938dear friend dorothy gets married on daufuskie island (which is gorgeous and completely unspoiled).  will have to feature that soon; we did the save the dates and programs together.


rush turns 5.  what?!  aside from this, we basically live at the pool.


we begin transforming the nursery into a big girl room/nursery for rinne and the new baby… goodbye yellow and chalkboard wall!  nice knowing ya.

IMG_6225and my college girls and i took to lake oconee for a reunion trip.  why have i never been there?  it’s just an hour and some down the road and so pretty!


beach trip to fripp island.  i guess this is our last year going in august since rush starts kindergarten next year!

rush and rinne at beach - august 2014SEPT:

rinne turns 3.  she wants a party, and she wants nemo cupcakes.  buy nemo cupcake toppers from etsy and serve them on cupcakes at a small neighborhood bbq we hosted two weeks before her birthday…call it a day.  4 will have to be legit though.


countdown to baby is on.  i am SO BIG that people everywhere are amazed.  no one thinks i will make it to my scheduled c-section at 39 weeks – which i did, thankyouverymuch.  as i walk out of shake shack (omg the custards) 4 days before my scheduled c, a lady says to me: “you havin’ a BIG OL’ BOY.”  i say you know what?  i think so too.

photo-202 copy 6well well well, we had a big ol’ GIRL!

photo-202 copy 2NOV:

baby snuggles and holiday cards.  that is literally all that happened. (and my mom came to help me, a lot – thanks mom!)


still cranking on holiday cards.  squeal with excitement on the day that i ship off boxes of “cheers” and “merry christmas” tags to all three kayce hughes stores!!!!!  i never could have even dreamed that up.

photo-202 copy 5manage to step away from holiday cards and feeding round the clock to take rinne to the nutcracker at the fox theatre for the first time – which i’ve only been looking forward to since the day she was born.  we had a ball. photo-202 copy 32014 – you were good to us!  i can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.  i hope to keep the blog more updated, but have been a lot more active on instagram (@calliespondence) lately.  i do have some fun parties, weddings and house before/afters to show you…so i’ll be back soon i hope!

best of everything to you and yours in 2015, and thanks for your support in 2014!!


october things wrap-up

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can i still say happy halloween?  we had a great time hanging out with princess jasmine and an astronaut on 10/31.



they got lots of mileage out of their costumes with wearing them at school, a children’s museum party, a party my in-laws took them to, and a spooky playdate.  i thank heavens i have cute friends who do things like spooky playdates, because i sure as heck ain’t going to.

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adorable, right?  she even had a craft for the kids to do!  i feel like i’m doing really good if i find a pair of matching socks.  it was precious and the kids just loved it!

one of my super cute clients asked me to whip up some fall-themed “cheers!” tags that she could tie to pumpkins to deliver to friends.  first of all – what a fabulous and creative idea for a gift!  who wouldn’t love a pretty pumpkin for their doorstep in october?!  just love how the whole package looked – perfectly festive!

sally pumpkins

cheers pumpking

this is not really october-y, but happened in october…  rbb and i casually mentioned getting a new faucet for our hall bathroom.  the one that was in there was just kind of cheap and started acting like it.  i happened to be at home depot and passed a clearance end cap with a bunch of stuff…and i can never pass a clearance rack of any sort and not have my eyeballs zero in on it.  i saw a pretty martha stewart faucet with no price tag.

photo-195 copy 3

there was only one of this kind, but the others around it were all marked down in the neighborhood of $60-$80.  i took it up to the cash register to get them to price check it…they scanned it and it rang up for $0.01.  well, obviously that can’t be right.  the cashier called a manager over to look at it – the manager looked at me and said, “i’m sorry ma’am, we are required to sell you this item at what it rang up for.”  i’m sorry?!  lady, you just made my DAY!  lest the universe think you’re ahead in life for more than 5 minutes, rush spilled iced coffee all over my keyboard the next day.  so i thought the universe and i were even, and went on my merry way after a quick visit to the apple store.

a few days later, rbb set forth to install the new faucet (those tech guys – they’re handy ones) and after toiling over it all day, he found that the pedestal sink had cracked and thought it might topple over at any minute.  cue to immediate ordering of a new pedestal sink from home depot.  universe, you got me on this one.  we had a plumber come over to install the new sink with the faucet and i just had to laugh when he asked if it was supposed to look like this.

photo-195 copy 4

um….no.  that would be a basin and a pedestal from two totally different sinks.  most expensive, annoying penny faucet EVER.

lots has happened since around these parts, but i will have to save that for a post next week.  think: demo crews, studs and all kinds of workmen traipsing around.  back with more when i crawl out from under the construction dust and holiday cards!!


tuesday tidbits

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greetings!  i feel like it’s been awhile…lots to catch up on!  i suppose the biggest news in this house if you ask the littlest member, is that rinne is two.  (“I TWO!”  never get tired of hearing that.)  we commemorated the occasion with cupcakes, just the four of us.  we had never done that and it was really nice to do such a simple celebration.

rinne is twoi also had to whip up some big girl notecards for her to write some thank yous to sweet friends…in love with the hearts!

little girl stationery

they are here in the etsy shop if you love the hearts too.

ok, so we are about to paint our house.  the current state is sort of a warm grey with black shutters and door, which is all fine and good.  but not me.  if you know anything about me, you know i ADORE color. bold colors.  it needs to be punched up.  not in the way of a purple door or lime green shutters, but just a little more pizzazz.  (btw, this was a real estate photo taken circa 2007 when the prior owners bought the house – not present day.  I WISH we had grass like that.)

hr1514423-1i don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but we have shingles…and painting shingles are tough.  white looks kind of odd on shingles, and grey is the next best light color to do.  but the right grey – that’s tough. and then you still need trim, shutters and door colors!  i had started looking for other shingled houses with paint colors i liked and was coming up empty, until i got out of my car at an estate sale one saturday morning (fave thing to do any day of the week!).  i glanced at the house i parked in front of and just fell in love.  such perfect paint colors, and what an adorable home!  i snapped a pic and showed it to rbb – he liked it too.  so then i threw up this photo on instagram

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…and asked on a scale of 1-10, what is the creeper level of leaving a note in a mailbox complimenting the home and asking for paint colors?  i got responses all across the board ranging from “slightly creeper…” to “oh i’ve done that and they were super nice and helpful, do it!”  so i was planning to drop a nice note in the mailbox the next morning, when one of my friends commented that she knows the wife of the couple who lives in the home, do i want her to put us in touch?  um, SO much better and eons lower on the creeper level than a note from a stranger!  within 30 minutes we were facebook messaging and she had already emailed the prior owner of the house for the paint colors.  she is a DOLL, and i had all of the paint colors in my inbox in the matter of a couple of days.  it was amazing.  isn’t life so funny?  even in this great big city we live in, we’re all connected somehow.  i love that.

oh, and NBD, but the house has been in southern living not once, but THREE TIMES.  (of course i used this as leverage with rbb saying that i clearly have excellent, extraordinary even, taste and should win any future design-oriented arguments.)


by the way, i am breaking up with pinterest.  i have come to grips with the fact that i am just not a DIYer  – i really love paying people to do things that they know how to do.  and since i can’t make anything with food dye in it (rinne = allergic), that cancels out like 95% of the cute food items i see there.  and honestly – i just do not have a desire to keep up with all types of social media.  i’m keeping the blog, facebook, and instagram.  that’s it!  no twitter, pinterest, vine, foursquare, whatever the next thing is.  who’s got the time?

but – my blog sometimes has traffic coming in from pinterest, so if a few people have clicked on a photograph, i’ll go and see what it was out of curiosity.  99 times out of 100, it’s this pin:

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 12.08.51 PM

ok, look past the spelling error – but there was absolutely nothing DIY about that balloon arch at rinne and billie’s 1st birthday party, and i can’t think of how disappointed people must be when they come to the blog expecting to see a DIY for an ENORMOUS balloon arch!  no, no, there are balloon professionals for that.  call them.

i will leave you with rush’s new “al pacino snoozing” impression…he’s getting pretty good.



anchors away

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the jig is up.

my well-thought out plan of small, minuscule, basically non-existent parties for rush’s birthday went as far as it could go.  somewhere between 3 and 4 he realized, hey – we’re always going to other peoples’ birthday parties doing something fun…and giving them cool presents…and eating a bunch of cake!  what the HECK?!  so off to the bouncehouse we went for my little man’s 4th birthday party.  my intention with this soiree was to make it SO NOT a big deal.  i planned it for a weekday (don’t want to impede any weekend plans!  no big deal if you can’t make it!) from 4:00 – 6:00 (i am always looking for something to do with the kids between those hours and thought maybe another harried mom would find solace in an activity then too – and have the kids’ dinner taken care of!).  we held it at the sort of ghetto bouncy place around the corner from our house and i bought a ‘package’ full of drinks, tickets and plasticware.  we invited his preschool class and a handful of other kids we see regularly with playdates – i.e., HIS friends.  (this is going to be tough for me because i naturally want to invite all of my friends.)

so this is the plan going in – simple.  ultra simple.  and then i found vintage lighthouse stamps on etsy.  rush LOVES lighthouses.

lighthouse stamps

from then, it was decided.  classic red and navy nautical, with emphasis on lighthouses.  so naturally, an invitation in similar fashion had to follow…


lighthouse invitation

in the etsy shop here.

and we had to have summer floral arrangements, in silver bowls.  i mean how many times do you turn four anyway?


this was actually the simplest floral arrangement ever – hydrangeas from the yard stuck into green floral foam, in two sort of matching silver bowls that i purchased for $5 each at my church’s flea market.  

i found this wooden lighthouse in an antique shop in florida last summer, and it was the perfect centerpiece.  it usually sits in rush’s room.

lighthousefood was easy – annie’s cheddar bunnies, chick-fil-a nuggets and a little fruit kabob.  the skewers, plates and napkins all came from target!

IMG_3459the cake…i LOVE my cake girl.  katie from sweet peeps always does a bang up job!  i sent her the invitation and she created this coordinating beaut.



loved the little sailor’s knot detail.

lighthouse cakei wasn’t going to do favors, but then i found the most adorable red striped bags…

favor 1

inside there were fish stickers, a whale lollipop and some little sea creatures that grow when you put them in water.


i think the birthday boy was a teensy bit excited about his party.

excited muchhis sister was stoked about jumping…


his little friends are all so sweet.


all FOUR (sniff) candles were blown out handily…

blowing out the candles


and just like that, another year ticks by.  i’ve been seeing all of the photos on facebook of back to school cuteness, but really getting hit hard by the kids going off to college.  those kids were little just yesterday, it can’t be time for that yet!  it’s unbelievable how fast this parenting thing goes.  this article made me ugly cry last night just thinking about what’s to come.  our house may be a complete disaster with toys and books strewn every whichway 90% (ok ok, 100%) of the time but i know i’ll miss the mess and noise when it’s gone.

but sometime between now and when rush heads off to college, we have GOT to figure out how to take a decent family photo.

burnette famone of these days…



frippin out

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man – sorry to be such a stranger!  all is well, just a lot going on here.  we went to the beach for a week at the end of july, and there was a lot of busyness leading up to that getting orders out the door…and then tending to the new ones that piled up while i was away.  BUT i did not want to let too much time lapse before i forgot what the heck we did while we were at the beach – so here i am!

i really wanted to title this post “the frippin’ burnettes,” but it just doesn’t have the right ring to it.  the houses in fripp island, SC all have mailboxes with the name of the house on it, or the name of the family who owns it.  a lot of them are boring and straightforward (“jones”), but then a lot of them are clever.  my favorite was “the frippin’ freemans” – i mean, is that perfect or what!  i can tell that the freemans and i would get along famously.

we had a great eventful, and at the same time, lazy week.  we hit the beach every day around 10 with a packed lunch, and then sometimes did double duty at the pool later. the kids were WORN OUT, but loved the water and sand and waves.



there are deer everywhere.  and they are sweet.


what i love about fripp is how quiet it is…  we found a pretty remote beach access and went there every day to set up camp.  it was perfect.

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with it being so quiet, there is still a lot to do!  we found a pier where the kids delighted in watching crabs run around and fisherman catching their bounty.


we also had lazy mornings with coffee on the porch…


and post-dinner treats (dark chocolate covered banana).


we ventured into beaufort (the mainland town where all of the commerce is) twice – once for dinner/g. store run halfway through the week (we ate at wren – i love this place and everything was TDF) and then again on the way out of town.  both times we hit up lowcountry market – such a cool place!  they have a fixed goods takeaway bar (we bought a divine tomato/onion pie, a peach crisp and lots of yummy sugar cookies in the shapes of sealife that the kids adored), lunch service (the burger….OMG) and a produce market (really just a few things – but their tomatoes were the delicious straight-from-the-farm kind).  oh and did i mention THE DECOR.

photo-194 copyit was all awesome, top to bottom, and i highly recommend you stop in if you’re ever in the area!  i also recommend you house-stalk the beautiful antebellum homes in downtown beaufort by the water…what i could do with this boxwood garden.  i mean really.

photo-194i also finished a book on the way down to the beach.  this happens like once a year, so it is to be celebrated.  but the book i finished was so touching and interesting and well-written, i must pass it along.  disclaimer: this review will be much more interesting to you if you are familiar with the real housewives of NYC.  it’s carole radziwill’s memoir that she wrote after her husband (son of the ultra fabulous lee radziwill, jackie o’s sister), JFK jr. and his lovely bride, carolyn (who was her BFF) all passed away the same summer.  it really is an amazing story of carole’s childhood in a blue-collar upstate NY town and how she ended up a princess…  i was about 3/4ths done with it when i got to the really sad part right when we hit macon and stopped for lunch.  i am sure the people dining at fresh air bbq think that rbb is one mean SOB, because my eyes were so so red and puffy.  i wanted to wear my sunglasses but that would have been so odd.  you feel overdressed wearing a t-shirt in this place.

photo-194 copy 3i am hoping to be back tomorrow or monday with a long overdue birthday party post :)

good to be back!



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i have no earthly clue how this day happened four whole years ago.

rush bday

rush newborn1…

rush bday 1

rush 1ish2…

rush 2nd bday party

rush bday 23…

IMG_3049b webres

rush bday 3and today.


he is a wild and willful little man who tries my patience, but it’s all worth hearing his tiny “here i am!” when i ask where my little sweetpea is.  i hope snuggling with your mama never gets to be uncool (who am i kidding – probably any day now) and i would secretly love it if he had to come home from college every time he needed his shoes tied.  he’s the first person i think of when i hear a train whistle and it’s ok that he tells me not to sing when we’re listening to his favorite dinosaur song (and then asks me accusingly if i’m singing when i actually am, in fact, singing).  it’s the most fun to watch him grow into his own person and discover new things.  i can’t wait to see what 4 holds!

happy birthday rush!!


happy birthday, baby girl

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wow.  a year ago today, i was in an operating room having a baby.  i say “baby” because we did not know what we were having, but i was 100% convinced it was a boy.  i mean, even the nail salon ladies told me that so i could basically have bet the farm on it.  i carried the same way i did with rush, had about the same sickness level (although a bit more nausea the 2nd time around, not much) and really – i just felt it in my bones.  i have two brothers and rbb only has boys in his family – not even any aunts!  i really didn’t even let myself think that it could be a girl…why bother?  boys are grand! and wouldn’t mini burnette brother reduxs (rbb has one older brother) be cute!  i thought about all of the seersucker pants and navy birth announcement and soccer cleats and trains and twin beds and all of rush’s sweet outfits and legos and references to “my boys” and on and on.  it was decided – we would be a family of boys, and i would be the queen bee.  i was already thinking about whose chi omega mother-daughter tea i would crash (we would invite my mom’s friend jackie to mine – she only had boys).  for the record, my money was on brin and billie – i mean, she’ll be a legacy after all.  i was sure even if we went for number three, it would be a boy then too.  we were boy people.  yes!  bring it on!  i have the energy for this!  i am prepared with john-johns and polo shirts galore!!!

but then the craziest thing happened…  the baby emerged and no one said anything gender-identifying-pronoun-related, and i looked at rbb for a read…he offered nothing.  he was just staring at the baby.  so i asked what it was…he said, completely surprised and not totally convinced, “it’s a girl?!”  i sort of wanted to strangle him because that had to be THE MEANEST joke anyone had ever played on me.  can you believe him?!  cruel!  but then…the doctor said her.  her?!  you mean…it really IS a girl? of course, i just cried.  it’s kind of inconvenient to cry when your arms are strapped down and you’re wearing a hairnet.  not that the hairnet has anything to do with it, but a little bit of dignity goes out the window in the first place when you’re wearing one.  it’s a girl…i can name her after my mom…i can buy monogrammed bloomers and ballet slippers…we can go see the nutcracker every christmas at the fox…where do you buy hair bows…what previously off-limits envelope liner should i use in her announcement…i’m the mother of a little girl!!!!!

i have tried to let that soak in every last one of these 365 days we’ve had with rinne.  they’ve gone by so quickly, but at the same time, in slow-motion, since i am here to observe every growth and change (which i love, and did not get to do when rush was a baby).  and i am convinced that whoever coined the phrase “thank heaven for little girls” was a new mom that had a wily, out of control 3 year old son at home too…  rinne has been for the most part a heavenly baby, but with episodes of extreme sass and she can be quite a diva if i don’t serve her dinner quickly enough.  girl likes her food, she gets it honestly.

it’s so trite, but this year went by in a blink.  i took to taking detail shots of her sweet clothes so i could remember how fun it was to dress her…i may never get to do this again in my whole life.  (y’all, no offense to boy clothes – but they ain’t got nuthin’ on girl clothes.  i always suspected that, but was unproven.  now proven.)


my friend betsey told me after rinne was born, “i just think everybody needs a girl.”  i couldn’t agree more and still can’t believe i’m lucky enough to have gotten one.  happy 1st birthday, sweet girl.


pickin’ berries

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talk about farm to table…we literally accomplished that last week!  there is something so simple and provincial about picking your own berries, and i’ve been wanting to do it for some time now.  my friend shannon and i drove down to southern belle farms last week on a gorgeous may day and stocked up on the ripe little suckers.

this entire basket (don’t let looks deceive you…it is an overflowing gallon!) was $10, and a whopping $1 for the re-useable plastic bucket.  we had a blast filling it up!

although not all of us picked berries to take home…

some just enjoyed the view.

this sweet little strawberry came dressed and ready for the occasion.

we followed amanda @ dixie delight’s good advice on bringing a blanket and a picnic lunch, which we followed up with $3 cups of homemade strawberry ice cream.  it was delish!

they have farm animals too – this is really not a good picture, but there are baby goats in the back.  OMG they were so cute!

we had to depart soon after this because rush broke into the “oinker’s palace” or something like that…surely meant for a PIG and not for a little boy.  i don’t think there was a hog in that corral but i wasn’t about to stick around to find out.

all in all, a great day trip – only a 45 minute drive from the city.  we’re going back for blueberries and blackberries!  but now…i’m off to have strawberries and yogurt for a snack.  again. 


sweet boy

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rush was so tired yesterday he didn’t even stir when i went into his room to wake him up from his nap.

moments like these make me almost forget that he defaced a stack of already calligraphed wedding invitation envelopes last week…