Welcome to Kelly Martin's Blog! Here I share my stories from my blessed life as a wife to a super-talented man, Jason, mom to my precious kids, Lucy, Jack, and Connor, and friend to my amazing girlfriends who inspire me every day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

How blessed we are to have such a wonderful Christmas!

Santa brought Jack a superman costume, Transformers talking helmet, and a Buzz Lightyear talking action figure.

I love this gift Lucy received from Lady and Uncle Brendan...She loves Gummy Bears!

This was a hat given to my brothers... hehe

and my favorite gift of the day - the one from me to my husband. I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing Jeeps for several weeks, scouring autotrader and Craigslist all over the Southeast looking for the perfect Jeep. He loved it!

Be sure to check out the video if him finding it:

As soon as he got it, he was off to find some mud pools to play in!

I said, "YOu've already gotten it all dirty!!!" Which, I know, is the point. :) He even washed it off once we got back from a little off-roading!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lucy's new dresser

Lucy's two small drawers weren't cutting it anymore to store her clothes, so a few weeks ago I took on a project to find a great piece of furniture on Craigslist for a great price and then have Brooke Rawlins paint and distress it.

I loved the lines of this and the grooves and details. I thought it would look great refinished...

So, here's the before (bought the piece for $150)

and the after!
(It was $150 to have it repainted, distressed, etc. and that included delivery. Very reasonable I think!)

I'm going to find new knobs for the second row since it was missing one bracket when I bought it. Lucy loves the two little cubbies on top. Not sure if you can tell in the photo, but there's that etched /frosty pattern on the mirror around the perimeter- very girly :)

Anyways, it's just what I wanted and pictured in my mind, so yea for things going as I'd hoped!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jack is THREE!

Due to Jack's birthday falling on Dec. 2nd, he gets to enjoy several celebrations. First this year, we celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving while spending the holiday with Jason's family in Oxford, AL:

He LOVED his Spiderman cake, and was showered with lots of spiderman toys.

On his actual birthday, Dec. 2nd, we celebrated before school with special birthday doughnuts for breakfast! :)

Later that night, Jack opened his present from Papa and Lady. TRANSFORMERS! Lady gave Jack "Optimus Prime" because my dad wouldn't give Jack a toy that had a saw for a hand - too violent he thought. I think that's hilariously adorable! So he gave Jack "Bumbleebee". Jack and Lucy immediately began fighting with them :)

And today, we celebrated for the final time with Jack's party at home:

This pic above is my favorite; sweet boy!

Here is the Monster Truck moonbounce we had!

And Jack wanted a "Batman" cake this time!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A new use for an old tree

Sunday night after Thanksgiving, Jason scooted around in the attic, got our artificial tree, hauled it downstairs, and spent a substantial amount of time fluffing all the branches and getting it "pretty." And then we plugged it in, and none of the prestrung lights on the tree lit up. Bahumbug!

So, rather than kick the tree to the curb, I decided to take advantage of all the plants and trees in our new yard being so little and make this an "outdoor" centerpiece tree. I bought the old fashioned, big bulbs and let the kids go to town. Our own little "Charlie Brown" Christmas Tree.

Jack's running away because someone upset him (he was seriously having one of those days..."

and therefore, he's not in this picture. He was pouting... (How adorable are the kids?!? A's little stance is priceless!)

I finally managed to motivate Jack to join the group...only for him to run away again...

but finally...
Christmas is on the way!!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Writing on the...table

Upon seeing this in the kids' playroom:

1. Wow, Lucy is doing well with her numbers...look how cute that 8 is, and wow, her 4 is pretty accurate...

then, 2. Wait, holy crap, she's done this on the table. Oh well, at least she thinks it's fun cleaning up her messes with the Magic Eraser :)

and finally, 3. Imagine if this was the code on LOST :P

Seriously, though, I think this is pretty darn cute! And though I was hardly upset about the mess to begin with, it's still good to remind myself that someday I'll be wishing my kids were still writing things on furniture :) I just LOVE this age!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jack and Thanksgiving...

Here are some cute "funnies" from Jack:

One day, this note was sent home by Jack's teacher:

and his turkey from school...super cute what two-year-olds are thankful for:

Hope everyone had a WONDERFUL thanksgiving! pics to come from our t'giving in Oxford, AL with Jason's family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Helpful Turkey Tip

So, as I was wasting away in bed all weekend (thanks to a yucky stomach bug that hit Lucy and me), I watched plenty of Food Network. Yesterday afternoon, they had a special live show that was all about Thanksgiving. People could call in, tweet, skype, whatever, and many of the FN chefs fielded the calls and provided helpful - usually - answers.

I could personally identify very well with one of the questions, as it is a pet peeve of mine (and my worst hostess dinners have been due to this beast! :) OVERCOOKING your meat.

A caller wanted to know how you know when your turkey is done. Alton Brown took this question, and everyone should take note of his answer. He explained how most turkeys these days come with that little popper thing that "pops" up when your turkey is done. According to the package directions, when your popper pops, that's when it's time to take out your turkey. WRONG!

Alton explained that because of the resin that those mechanisms are kept in, it won't pop out until your turkey has reached 179 degrees. And if you know the correct temperature to cook your turkey to (Dad are you listening!?! :) - which is 165 - then you'd know that relying on that thing will give you an overcooked turkey - very overcooked at that (because don't forget your turkey will continue to cook as it rests (so important to let it rest, don't forget! 20 min or so for a large bird!)- every time.

I never knew the science behind those popper things, but because every time I've eaten a turkey that cooked using that popper, it's been drier than a baby's new diaper, I figured those things aren't worth their weight in gold :)

So, ditch that thing, and check your turkey often as you cook it. Pull it out just a bit shy of 165, cover it with foil, pour yourself a glass of wine, enjoy it, and THEN carve your turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Soldiers Are Mean"

I love holidays, but when it comes to Halloween, what I don't love is the excessive amount of candy that is always lying around the house, tempting me all day! And what I REALLY don't love is how my children spend every waking moment for days upon days after Halloween begging for, crying about, fighting over said enemy :)

Sweet CeCe's - our favorite new ice cream shoppe - saved me from weeks upon weeks of misbehaving children due to candy obsession by participating in a "candy drive" for the soldiers. For every pound of candy brought in, you received a punch on your punch card; they're shipping the candy overseas. Wonderful idea!

So, I talked up how we were going to take our candy and send it to the soldiers, and best of all, how we were "trading" candy for ice cream! The kids were super pumped about it (Phew!).

On our way to Sweet CeCe's, we were all having a conversation about the soldiers. Jack piped up, "I don't like soldiers. Soldiers are mean!"

This was a good opportunity to talk about how the soldiers were only mean to the enemy and how they keep us safe, fight for our freedom, etc. Bit heavy for a two-year-old, but he seemed to follow. But, he still kept insisting that soldiers were mean. We arrived, chuckled about Jack, and headed in to partake of some yumminess.

Five punches (yes, over 5 pounds of candy!) later, we were each stuffing our mouths with our own concoction of flavors and toppings when - I kid you not - a big soldier walked in the door. Decked out in army camo gear...black boots, black hat, the whole sh'bang! How perfect!

Now, this place is not a big place, and being that it was a Tuesday night, it wasn't very crowded. There were about five other people in the place. So, after I excitedly told Jack about who had walked in, of course everyone heard when Jack retorted that no, he didn't want to look at the soldier because soldiers are mean! Smiling, I continued to point out all the cool things about the soldier; I could see him grinning as he made his ice cream treat. Jack remained unimpressed.

As the soldier approaches the register, near where we are sitting, I suggested that Jack introduce himself to the soldier so he could talk to him and see that he's very nice. Jack thought that was a terrible idea. So I held out my hand and introduced myself to "soldier Tyrone." Jack just eyed him up and down, eyebrows furled.

We chatted briefly and then Tyrone went to pay for his ice cream. But before he left the shop, he turned around and approached us. He reached one arm to the other, peeled off his army patch and held it out to Jack. "Here," he said, "I want you to have this."

My heart melted.

And then my son rejected the sweet offering. (How lovely...)

Jason: "Jack, this is so awesome; he wants you to have his army patch."

Jack: "No." (Seriously, child of mine...)

I graciously accepted the patch, and the soldier and I exchanged a chuckle before he left.

I hope this soldier has children -and my hunch is that he does - because then he'll understand that Jack was likely to warm up to the idea of soldiers, and specifically the very cool patch he gave Jack. And that's exactly what happened.

In fact, while we continued to talk about the soldier and how cool his present was, Jack began to ask to wear it and inquire about soldiers. By the time we had eaten our ice cream and were leaving, Jack was clutching his patch protectively and insisting that he get to wear it on his pajamas.

And the next day, we pinned it on his shirt to he could wear it to school and tell everyone his story about meeting Soldier Tyrone! Very cool story! I love it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" -Maya Angelou

Great day today! Kids had a nice time at the parade; Jack was just mesmerized by the large army tanks, and Lucy loved the infantry marching down the street. She kept asking me, "What are they saying!" and I couldn't always tell myself. But it sure sounded cool.

We are fortunate to live next door to some awesome people, Tony and Joann, and they happen to both be veterans. W e had a nice time making them some special treats to celebrate and thank them!

"I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot." -Gary Hart

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Pictures

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard of Groupon and Living Social. A few months ago, a Huntsville photographer, Lauren Tomasilla, was featured with a killer deal for a great price. I hadn't heard of her - turns out she's new to town from Ohio - but I checked out her portfolio. I LOVED her work, and figured it was a pretty safe bet to purchase the deal.

She was a pleasure to work with, very professional (sent out a "get-to-know-your-family" questionnaire before the session), and super with the kids. But the best part was the beautiful pictures she took. It was super challenging to choose just 35 from over 100 proofs, but we were able to finally narrow it down.

One neat thing she sent us was a slideshow of her favorite images set to a cute little song. Many of her favs were also my favs. Check this out - and if you are looking for a great photo experience getting family shots, try her out!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Long Lost Journal

Guess what I found?!? My journal from June 1991. That puts me at eleven years old. I dove into my journal entries, and-to steal a line from my friend, Ashley - Oh my soul! Y'all...it's a good thing my Masters thesis was about Writing, because apparently at age eleven, my writing was about as interesting as a doctor's waiting room.

Allow me to share some of my favorite excerpts :)

Referring to the Hilton Head vacation we were on...

"Well, we're finally here! We got here about 4:30. Elizabeth didn't (although I spelled it "did'nt" geez!) come for a long time, so I was worried, but she finally came. We went swimming in the pool, but then we were tired of the pool, so we went to the beach. (wich (some people still can't spell 'which' properly) is just behind our house. it's on the beach.)"

Wow, sounds like we started our vacation with more fun than we could handle! :p So glad I clarified that if the beach is behind our house, then our house must be on the beach...)

Apparently I wrote about things involving my mom a lot. Here's one:

"I asked mom if we could go rent bikes, but she said they would be delivered 'later tonight,' so I asked her if she had ordered them...she said no. I was confused..."

Now that I'm a mom, I realize my mom was probably just saying whatever would shut me up; never mind if it made any sense... :)

A redeeming post:

"Well, I woke up slightly early. My mom made the best breakfast. bacon, eggs, and toast. It was great!"

aw, thanks mom for a nice, hot breakfast!

But the next day, not so many thanks...

"At the tennis shop Elizabeth and I found shirts we liked (seems we liked to dress as twins as much as possible. Yes, Brendan and Ryan, I know I really am a nerd.) We came home and ate lunch. It was good! (My goodness, do I ever write about anything interesting?!?) Then my mom made me make up all the beds in the house! I got extremely mad!"

Making beds on VACATION, mom?!? and the WHOLE house?!? whatev...major boo! :)

Despite it's elementary level of writing and complete lack of topics, I'm having a blast reading this. Fun to look back...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's Carve Some Pumpkins!

On Sunday afternoon, our friends Christy and Michael hosted a Carving Pumpkins Party. Lots of neighborhood friends gathered together to enjoy warm soup, drinks, and of course, get busy on the project at hand - carving our pumpkins!

As we were loading up the stroller to leave, I noticed Jason was bringing his entire stash of dremmel tools, so I was super excited to have a reason to tell him those wouldn't be necessary this year :) (Last year, I think Jason was the only one who had any fun carving (or I should say, 'dremmeling') our pumpkins. Jack and Lucy didn't get to help much due to the nature of the power tool, and I got to clean up lots of sprayed, dried pumpkin bits from outside and all the toys it sprayed on! :)

Lucy picked some fun shapes for the face; and she decided to use the pumpkin guts as hair. That girl LOVED digging out the pumpkin guts. She went around to more than one other kid's pumpkin to take out the filling! :)

Here are the final results!

Thanks, Camp, for taking our picture!

Some people got really creative! I think this Spongebob is Camp's pumpkin...


Connor says, "You can take me anywhere, and I'll just chill. ":)

Yesterday, I enjoyed some alone time with my little man. He seemed particularly adorable, so I got out the camera. LOVE these pics! There are so many from this setting, it'd take a long time to load here, so click here and check out Shutterfly if you want to see the entirety of them.

New fave pic, below! Melts my heart!

Today, the kids got to enjoy trick-or-treating at school. They cooperated enough this morning for me to snap a few:

*that mean turtle ninja would be cameron :)

I think Lucy is in love! ;p

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Borders, Baths, & Beyond

We've been busy around here! Our stacked stone border and new garden/landscape is now finished, and we love it! Huge improvement from the barren, dried-out-and-filled-with-dead plants-garden that we inherited upon moving in. Our original plan was to have a stamped concrete border placed around the garden, but ultimately I decided that I really wanted to mimic the stacked stone front wall and stone base of the columns that line the front porch. It was a more expensive route to take, but I think it was well worth it. One huge problem this house had - and the main reason I think the traffic was low when it was on the market - was the lack of curb appeal. The landscape area is so large and has such a presence because of its size. It really needed some TLC. I love the outcome!

Here's a look at the awful mess we inherited in July when we moved in:

and now... :)

not a great view, but here is a long shot from across the street.

better, up close view.

On the right, you'll see the large wall that comes from the garage that juts out. I had a fun idea to make a trellis out of something unexpected for the carolina jasmine to climb. My friend Molly told me about this awesome "mess of a place" called Habitat ReStore. It's where odds and ends that are left over from a house reno can be donated. The dark brown trellis Jason installed on the wall is actually an old bedframe, headboard and footboard, that had horizontal slats as the design. Perfect! And I love how it matches the front door wood color perfectly! Brings it together nicely!

I loved planting new annuals in a healthy plot of new soil and mulch. Hopefully, this year, I'll actually have annuals that grow for the first time! :)

the stacked stone base of the column is the stone that has always been here. You can see how well the stacked stone wall and colors I picked worked out!

And who doesn't love bathtime!?!

And Connor got to swing in his new swingset!

So grown up this one! Sweetest, most content kid, I tell ya' :)

My kids have a real thing for sticking their tongues out :)

twisting it up and letting it go - she loves that!

oh, the 'tude! love the 'tude! that scowl will pierce my heart someday, I know, but right now, I just love it!

Yes, dad, I see how she's drawn all over her hand. I don't think the ink will soak into her skin and poison her or anything :)

Got the walking toy out for Connor...I don't think it will be long. Jack walked at 9 and a half months...my money is going that this guy may do it even sooner... we shall see :)

TGIF Thank Goodness It's FALL! Love this season!