First of all, I have to say that I can't believe that I'm awake right now. The last day of school begins in 5 hours and I cannot sleep. Lord, give me strength and energy (and plenty of caffeine) to make it through the day. I am kind of like a kid when it comes to big events like the last day of school. I still cannot sleep the night before Christmas, and sometimes the night before my birthday, or Easter, or even right before vacation. I still get excited : ).

It has been a busy week and God is continuing to bless our family so much. Last week I had the opportunity to share this video with some kind and generous businessmen (and women). I would love to share their company name, but I will wait until I have permission. After seeing the video and hearing our story, they bought an entire batch of my soap and then some.

I was also asked to create another custom nursery painting! This time, I will be painting for Jennifer's sister-in-law who is expecting a baby girl. I can't wait to get started. 

I've also been making soap like crazy. I made a batch of Grapefruit soap and decided to try something new. I don't get very creative with my soap making because, well, it's hard. And the few times I have tried to experiment something always goes wrong. Always. I tried to pour it into individual molds (tiny tupperware containers) but the soap cooled too quickly and separated and I ended up with an oily mess on top and a thick layer of chalk on the bottom (known as "separation"--clever, huh?). Then I discovered the process of rebatching, and I heated up my soap-gone-wrong in the crockpot and now it is a beautiful (slightly less pretty) batch of soap.

Well, enough about me. I am sure you are really wanting to hear about the latest Jude news. Where do I start? There is something new everyday. Yesterday he asked for cake. We never have cake, so it was pretty funny. I said, "We don't have any cake." He looked at me, and without missing a beat, said, "Ma's house." I laughed so hard because I can't remember a time we've visited my mom and haven't had cake. We are always celebrating something. I love my family. Mom, I think it's time for a visit : ).

He is also turning into a little fish lately and has been jumping off the diving board at Richard's aunt's house. I have yet to see it, but I can't wait. Although I'm a little scared. I'm admittedly overprotective. He is starting to put so many words together. Richard and I laugh that we understand him less these days because he has so many new words. It is taking us a little while to catch up. He's patient with us, though, and will usually repeat himself a few times before giving up on our comprehension skills.

Well, I am going to attempt to get in at least some sleep before I begin my day with students. Wish me luck!


Mother's Day Retreat 2011

First, I have to apologize for anyone who reads this blog solely for the "creations," because this post will have absolutely nothing to do with my artwork. This post is about my husband forcing me to take time for myself and relax with a road trip to my best friend Gentry's family beach house in St. George Island, Florida. It was probably the best Mother's Day gift anyone could ask for, and I am so thankful I have a husband that loves me enough to recognize I need time for myself--even when I don't realize it myself. It was really hard for me to leave, and even though I knew it would be fun, I would cry every time I talked about going. I have never been away from Jude for more than one night.

Gentry and I used to spend our college Spring Break in this house with her late beloved grandmother, Granny Tucker. We haven't taken a "girls" trip to the house in 10 years, so it was long overdue and incredibly nostalgic. 

While Gentry and I were in college, we were volunteers with a ministry called YoungLife (where we met both of our husbands) and we worked with high school kids. Two of these students (now no longer kids, but 26 years old!) joined us for the trip. They were our comic relief and kept us from getting too homesick or taking ourselves too seriously : ). They are amazing girls--Jenna (2nd from the left) is now a pharmacist, and Brooke (next to me) is actually in the middle of the adoption process herself! Brooke has also started an incredible foundation for special needs children called InRhythm and you can check out her blog here.

Anyway, the beach trip was amazing. In St. George, you pretty much have the beach to yourself. No one was around for miles, and it was just us girls, so we found ourselves doing things like this...

 and this...

and this...

Richard called this one my Matrix move

It was a great long weekend of sleeping in, digging my toes in the sand, eating when and whatever I wanted (I was on a diet of Diet Coke, roast beef & swiss sandwiches and Ranch Doritos--just a few of my favorite unhealthy things), watching chick flicks and staying up late talking about any and everything. When it was time to go, we were ready and rested and couldn't wait to see our babies (okay, we almost broke down and left a day early because we missed them so badly : ). But we knew we'd be back to reality soon enough, and the trip almost seemed like a blur once we got home. We are lucky girls, lucky mommies. I hope all the mothers reading this had a wonderful Mother's Day this year!


we are family.

We celebrated Easter with our first annual family Easter egg hunt. All of the grandkids are officially mobile now, and it was so much fun to watch them toddle (and some of them run) to fill their baskets with those bright plastic treasures.

this was Jude's signature egg-hunting move: 
grab the egg & open immediately!

our super-cute egg hunting competition, little H

but I think cousin R was unofficially the egg-hunting champ

and little B started walking just in time
to join in the egg-hunting fun

Jude was fast on his feet, but I did manage to snap a few priceless pics amidst all the action...

And, now for the pics of our finished garden! You may remember our "before" picture...

and now, our after pic...

and things are really starting to grow!

and when was the last time you blew on one of these?

it was fun to watch Jude experience the magic of blowing on one of these,
but he had his own, quicker method of making the little fuzzy things fly...

he is ALL boy : )