Time flies when you’re  having fun!  Let me be as short and sweet as possible to get you caught up on everything:

1.  Halloween – its really a bummer when its on a school night – the kids think the next day should be a  no-school sort of holiday.  We had fun anyway – a little pre-party at our house with chili, cornbread and lots of treats.  Then off on our gaggle of golf carts to trick-or-treat.  Son was, as usual, a football player.  Today he announced he is not going to be a dentist/orthodontist when he grows up because he is going to play football until he’s 80!  I like a man with a plan.  No photos of him – because, he’s him and doesn’t care to stop to be photographed.  Daughter was a witch that collided with Lada Gaga.

Remember Chuckie from last year?  Well that house was even scarier than ever.  They had monsters and even a clown jumping out of the bushes and “Chuckie” had a dead body with guts that she was throwing on people.  I can’t make this stuff up!  The kids love it and hate it all at the same time.

2.  Son’s Birthday – We had a fun outdoor party and had a flag football game with kicking and throwing contests.  I got all the kids team shirts with their names and numbers on the back and a team logo on the front.

3.  Football – the season is now over.  I’m kind of like the kids with the dead body and guts about football – I love it and hate it all at the same time.  Its harder than hard to watch your baby boy get tackled.

4.  House Hunters – I have been shooting an Emerald Coast episode of HGTV’s House Hunters!  My clients had submitted to be on the show long before they even met me.  I was wary about doing it – I’m not a big “do things in front of others” kind of person – I’m the anti-Leo.  I convinced myself I could do it and that the Realtor doesn’t have that big of a role anyway.  It was fun – the crew was so nice and interesting.  I loved hearing about their travels and the other shows they have worked on –  like our cameraman did a 3 year stint on “Cops” and told us stories about running around alleys and railroad tracks chasing after criminals!  I shot 2 consecutive almost 12 hours days and have one more day this weekend of shooting.  The buyers have to shoot 5 days!  All this for a 30 minute show.   It was very unnatural to have a camera in your face and a sound pack in your back – I know I did not act like myself and am worried about what I will look like on tv.  I felt a little bit like a bobble head, nodding my head in agreement too often during the buyers commentary.  So if you catch the episode in 2013, go easy on me – its much harder than you think!  Here are a few iPhone photos of the experience:

 This is me doing the “confessional” – this was the hardest part for me!  How does everyone else make it look so easy?  I was bright red like a tomato and probably talking about 100 mph which is what I do when I’m nervous.  I begged them for white balance…

This is me with the buyers and the crew after our 2nd long day of shooting.

We were shooting right as Hurricane Sandy was hitting the East Coast which brought a freakishly unseasonable cold front – yep, it was 46 degrees with a 39 degree wind chill and I was in summer clothes determined that it would not look cold in our episode!

 During breaks I put yoga pants under my dress and bundled up in a North Face.  For real I went to lunch dressed like this! 

     Please check back tomorrow – I am putting together a humbling and heart breaking post about the family I would like ALL of us to help and bless this year for Christmas.  



The Finish Line

     Last week the Cambria countertops were installed in the Beach House kitchen – these counters were MADE for this kitchen – the perfect color and a gorgeous amount of silvery sparkle that makes me smile every time I see them.  Right now they are covered in plastic and construction debris, but trust me, they are gorg!  The lights were also installed the other day and they are perfect.   You might remember these from my post about a Before and After Beach Condo – yes, I “borrowed” the inspiration from this condo and bought the same lights with a larger matching one above the sink.

     The last two weeks have been the “down and dirty” work.  All the little details in the house are being worked on and outside we are seeing progress, people!  We have trenches dug for sprinklers, a well is being dug today (around here we have wells to water our grass instead of city water), and we have a shiny new gravel driveway and sidewalk!  We have an existing driveway at the front of the house than can park two cars.  But the TRUE front of the house (the one where the address and mailbox go) was sorely neglected.  The whole front entry is being revitalized – it is pretty ugly right now.  We do have a new door, the harvest gold Brady Bunch sidelights have been replaced with clear glass and there will be a new column and overhang soon.  With the new driveway, the home can easily park 4-5 cars which will be great when it becomes a short term rental property.

Here is Daughter, about to explore the gravel delivery: 

And here is the new driveway and sidewalk:

Here are the new side lights – a huge improvement, despite the fact that I photographed this like the house is lopsided (it isn’t) – but if I took the time to edit, edit, edit all these photos, I would never have time to post!

Yesterday they were cutting through the concrete block to add the new french doors – hopefully these will lead to a pool next summer!

The Master Bedroom is getting a door also which will lead to a brick paver patio.  Check out the blood red paint we found when we removed the trim!  The ceiling fan was also replaced – I picked out plain jane white ceiling fans that would just blend into the ceiling:

I’m probably going to gross you out with this one, but what an improvement the new white ceiling fan is compared to the original:

Remember when I told you the floors looked like they had poured Elmers Glue into some weird Aztec design?  Well, they didn’t stop at the floors. Every door has the same crazy design.  The painters are not excited to have to sand down all of these doors but fingers crossed it works and we don’t have to buy all new doors!  Ok, can you imagine this door in a room with blood red paint?  Scary Larry!


The Master Bedroom closet used to be Pepto-Bismol pink – a really nice accent to the blood red walls, don’t you think?  The closet is now white and will have new shelving and hanging bars.  The Master actually has 2 closets.

A peek of the interior:

The stainless steel appliances were delivered yesterday!  The contractor is installing them all today so I will get a great shot of the kitchen next week.

     And last, but not least, the landscaping.  The sod and plants are being installed on Monday.  This will be the most dramatic part of the renovation yet!  I told you I put a “For Rent” sign in the yard last week.  Well, I pulled the sign the next day and decided to wait until the yard is done – the house just didn’t command the price I wanted when it was surrounded by the weeds and brownscape!

     And on a personal note…


…we have been in the dog days of summer, still playing baseball and softball.  Both kids made their Little League All-Star teams and competed in a tournament that just finished up on Tuesday night.  It was a very exciting time – here in Destin, no team has ever made it to the Championship, much less won.  Ever.  It was a lot of pressure, a ton of practices which meant zero summer play dates,  but the boys and the girls both made it to the Championship!  The hardest part of the tournament, for me, was that the kids played on the same days, at the same time, but in cities 1 hour apart!  So we had to rotate parents.  In the end, the boys won it all (woot woot) and the girls came in 2nd (woot woot)!  Now I feel like I want to stay in my pj’s for at least a week and not leave the house…

Have a great weekend!


The Days Are So Long, The Years So Short

     Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  That about sums up my life these days.  The kids either have a practice, game or tournament every day of the week.  Today I thought was our first day off in 15 days and then daughter’s team called a practice and son’s coach signed him up for a hitting camp.  Rewind to February.  I am sitting in the cold rain at son’s first travel ball tournament.  It was miserable and I confess I complained all morning that the tournament wasn’t canceled – bad weather was looming – and I just knew we’d get all the way there and it would get rained out.  But it didn’t.  As I’m sitting on the bleachers – cold  and wet – my phone rings with a real estate related call.  Another agent wanting an appointment to show one of my listings.  I told her I was sitting outside in the rain at son’s baseball tournament and she got real excited and said “Honey you are SO LUCKY.  I would give ANYTHING to have those days back with my children.  Now they are grown up and moved away.”  Wow.  It took that one silly phone call to give me some perspective.  Enjoy life while you are living it.  Pretty soon these kids are not going to need me or even want me to be around.  They aren’t going to snuggle at night or give me kisses goodbye at school.  I won’t have any rainy travel ball tournaments to go to and cheer on my kids.  Cherish the moment – in the moment.

     Brother, sister-in-law and their 3 little nuggets came to visit for a week during Easter.  We had glorious weather.  But my kids had that pesky thing called school.  We soaked in as much time as we could with the cousins and cried lots of tears when they left.  Daughter actually locked herself in her bathroom when we were saying good-byes.  She was crying so hard that sister-in-law had to knock on the door holding the “Bug” coaxing her out for a hug and a goodbye.   I wish we lived closer.  Actually, I wished THEY lived closer because I don’t do snow.  Here is a picture I snapped of the Bug on the beach in her cute little Janie N Jack swimsuit ensemble.  She is the cutest, smartest 2 year old I have ever met – we have holes the size of Texas in our hearts when they leave.

     We got the new swingset installed!  Its pretty great.  I told the builder I wanted it sized for my tall kids.  Well, he took me to my word and it was so tall that Husband actually had him lop off 3 feet.  Can you imagine this 3 feet taller?  We had to go buy extra chain so the kids wouldn’t need ladders to get on the swings.  Some day if I ever have some free time I need to stain or seal it.  The posts were dug 3 feet deep in the ground – would have gone deeper but we hit water.  Darn sea level.  The swings and hardware are all from Home Depot…the swings can support up to 350 pounds.  Before extra chain:

And the “after”:


 Things are moving slower than I’d like at the Beach House.  Just like everything there, the walls are schitzophrenic.   Some have beachy wood paneling (not your Grandma’s 1970’s paneling) and some have an almost stucco finish.  So we decided to panel all the walls in the living room and kitchen.  Well, one batch of wood was bad and had to be re-ordered, bringing the work to a halt.  My contractor said the Kitchen might arrive this week – that would be great news.  We are getting close.  Picture it painted the perfect shade of white.

     Yesterday I stopped by Home Depot to pick up some flowers and herbs to plant.  Son is making his First Communion on May 5, so we are having our family and a few of his friends over for dinner after.  Well turns out that day is also Cinco de Mayo so the party is going to be just that.  Mexican food, mojitos, sangria and some fun decorations I ordered from Etsy and an authentic Mexican Fiesta store!  I am planting my own basil and mint, using Miracle Gro soil and fingers crossed it will grow enough to use in time for the party.  Herbs grow so well in pots by my pool – it has a screen so they are protected from bugs and creatures.  The herbs must love humidity because they grow the size of a small tree by July.  I also bought some new cobalt blue pots at WalMart – less than $30 for the largest size.  They look JUST like pottery and then you touch it and its lightweight plastic.  I carried them to my car and I got more than a few stares of wow, that girl is STRONG to be carrying those huge pots to her car. 

And some photos of my Cinco de Mayo Party inspiration, from my Pinterest Parties board:       

 The sangria filled with chopped up fresh fruit like strawberries and apples and yes, basil from my garden.  Grow basil, grow!

I know a margarita would be more fitting, but my fav drink is a mojito.  For the two times a year I actually drink!  I am trying this recipe from the Food Network because it makes an entire pitcher and it gets great reviews.  Grow mint, grow!


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A “constant state of relaxation” in the Bahamas

     We took the kids (and 34 of our closest friend came too!) on a cruise to the Bahamas for spring break!  Yes, we are living the life of Riley over here.   Back when I was a kid, we got 2 days off for spring break – we prayed it wouldn’t blizzard – and we drove to the state high school hockey tournaments for the weekend.  Pretty much the same thing, right?  Yep, the kids are spoiled.  But jeez – 2nd and 4th grade are NO joke.  Their homework rivals a lot of what I did in high school.  4th grade math scares me.  I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader –  at least not a 2012 5th grader!  So the kids really deserved a break.  And I deserved a break.  Nothing like all-you-can-eat food 24 hours a day for 5 days – I just wanted a break from packing lunches and cooking dinner.  I mean really…do these kids need to eat 3 times a day EVERY day?  We returned home with the kids in full detox of 24-hour “free” ice cream.  And don’t get me started on the warm chocolate melting cake.  That alone is worth the price of the cruise.

     We stopped in 2 ports – Freeport and Nassau.  When you live somewhere as beautiful as I do – who really needs to take a vacation?  The Bahamas is beautiful, but their beaches were not as pretty as ours.  We are spoiled by our sugar white sand and emerald green Gulf waters.  We were in Nassau for a full 24 hours – so it was nice to not have to feel pressured to get back to the boat – I have an irrational fear of being stranded in a port waving goodbye to my ship.  We did all the usual tourist things – we bought rum cakes, drank rum drinks, sent the kids on a banana boat ride, snorkeled (those brave enough to enter that cold water) and relaxed on the beach (with above mentioned rum drinks.)

     In Nassau we saw this yacht.  Pretty nice.  We guessed it belongs to Michael Jordan, based on the “air” written on the side.  Notice the helicopter and pad at the rear of the ship.  (Our friends who went snorkeling said their boat captain pointed out mansions saying they belonged to Oprah, Tiger, MJ, etc…)


     I don’t think I would enjoy a cruise as much with just with our little family – definitely more fun with a group.  And if your group is 38 people – well, the more the merrier!  Everyone got along great and all of the kids rated our trip a 10 and asked to book again for next year!  If you asked my kids the highlight of their trip, they would most likely tell you the “towel animals”.  If you haven’t cruised before – your porter makes a towel animal each night when they turn down your bed and the kids get SO excited to see what animal is waiting. 

     All six of us girls/moms got massages one night on the ship.  Our attendants told us to “remain in a constant state of relaxation”.  Pretty funny/ironic thing to say to a mom, right?  Ah ma’am, can you please tell our husbands about this constant state of relaxation?  And of course tell the kids too. Yes, definitely tell the kids.

Two of my favorite/funny cruise memories:

1.  If you’ve been on a cruise you know they have a staff of photogs trying to take some cheesy backdrop photos of you to later sell you a 4×6 for 20 bucks.  One night at dinner, I let daughter go to the bathroom with 2 of her friends. They returned without her. She came back and said “mom, everyone wants to take my photo!!!” Her 8 year old friend said in all seriousness “well she does have the face of a model.”   Note to self….praise daughter less for beauty and more for brains – and a refresher course on stranger danger.

2.  Daughter and her friends are forever putting on shows for us. It usually involves some bad dancing and confusion and even requests for money before these performances. Well daughter’s friend walked up to her mother during dinner to let her know the girls had a show ready and to please alert the Captain so he could make an announcement their show was after dinner!  Note to self…always remember your children’s innocence before it gets mucked up by the world.

     We got back home with enough time to suffer from the “sways” and attempt to do 18 loads of laundry and then pack again because son had a travel baseball tournament in Alabama the next day!  So back on the road we went.  And wouldn’t you know those boys kept winning and went all the way to the Championship game and ended up in 2nd place for the tournament!  We were shocked.  Not that our boys aren’t great – but sports are very serious in the South.  We play full-pads tackle football in Kindergarten. Some of these 8U travel balls teams have kids from 3 states – only the best of the best. I would say most of our boys are average to above-average in size…. UNTIL you compare them to these other teams.  I would like to find these kids wandering around the concession stand and ask them how old they are.  There is almost no way they are 7 or 8 years old!  These kids practically have facial hair and look like they are in middle school.  So 2nd place was great – better than great!  I almost felt bad sending my kids back to school Monday morning after not getting back until late Sunday night.  Son played catcher for almost 5 games this weekend – I can’t imagine how sore his little legs were after being in catcher position for so long.  I would need a wheelchair for at least a week.  My husband mentioned to his real estate coach something about the tournament and his coach said ” the thing about kids this age – the only thing they care about is parental recognition and a snack.”  Point taken.

     Can my little ball player be any cuter?  He is a sweet chunk of boy…I want to eat his dimples with a spoon.  He is an old soul, smart as a whip, fiercely competitive, a perfectionist in many ways (except when it comes to keeping his white basbeall pants clean)…and he is the sweetest, most loving boy a mom could ask for.  He falls asleep at night after telling me I’m the best mom in the world.  I tell him he’s the best son in the world and he says “NO, you are the best momma”.  Swoon…

Now lets get back back to that state of constant relaxation… I highly recommend it…