Monday, July 28, 2014


...just a little documentation of maddalena's first and very successful bouncy castle experience from over the weekend! and a super high five to our next door neighbors for both fitting that thing in their back yard and also throwing the most adorable and perfect 1st birthday party for their little girl!

it's funny when you're so little and things like this require mustering up so much confidence! at first sight of that bouncy castle, maddalena knew she wanted the whole experience. but no way in heck was she getting in there without mom, and no waaaay would she bounce alongside other children. but! we worked on it the entire evening and by the end, she was jumping and romping and flopping with the best of 'em. we were so proud of her!

watching maddalena in social situations these days i'm often thrown right back to my earlier inner brittany... i've always been the type to kind of stand on the outside of a group that i didn't feel like i was "in," never so much being one to just jump right in super confidently without an invitation, like hey, i'm here guys! i'm gonna be in your group now, okay! awesome! let's hang out! i mean, i've always been an extrovert, craving and thriving on social scenarios... just a bit more held back, maybe waiting first to see if other people liked me, and if not, then hey, that's cool! i'll just be moving right along, then! though i'd actually be walking away with hurt feelings of secretly wishing to be wanted and included.

but oh, then there were the group games and activities... gosh, i didn't like them! the worst of them being the dreaded red rover at our church's VBS in the summer, among kids i did not eeeven go to school with. heaven forbid they call my name to come over and try to break through that absolutely ridiculous arm link wall! like i wanted to make such a fool of myself as to run and hurl my body weight at people i hardly know, only to bounce right off of them because hellooo, little girl here! and so, there it is. that is my tendency. but! from the ending of high school into college, i made a real effort to let go of some of my reservations and started to consider myself a bolder, more jump-on-in kind of person [although, i still hate red rover and anything equaling in ridiculousness!], because you really just have to just jump in when you get to college, i think, and i was pretty up for it! also, the libations don't hurt. well, sometimes they do. go easy on the libations, kids!

anyway, when it comes to sweet mia, she wants to be social, she loves other children, and she adores her little friends! she's also totally already an analyzer, a thinker, and very emotionally in touch. she stands back and watches a situation for a while, and i think she'll likely always feel most outgoing among her closest friends and family members... all totally wonderful qualities, if you ask me! ;) but i do hope that we can teach her to just be confident in herself. to walk into a room or a party and not first wonder if people are going to think she's weird or less pretty than the friend she came with or if she's doing maybe something wrong or missed the memo on something everyone else seems to know. still, not the oblivious type. and not the over-confident type. just confident enough to jump into a situation without too much worry, and to like and love herself, regardless of anyone else's potential opinion. because, you know, girls can be so hard on themselves! and of course, iiiii know how amazing and wonderful and beautiful she is, but who actually listens to their mother when  she says things like that? ;)

we're proud of you always, maddalena! you just keep on jumpin, baby girl!

[you're never too old!]

Friday, July 25, 2014

because some birthday presents are meant to be opened a week early!

here in my life these days, i know with much certainty a few things to be true: 1. maddalena loves horses. specifically casey. 2. i love horses. specifically casey. 3. i love maddalena. 4. when you're the mom, you decide when birthday gifts can be opened. 5. yesss! i love having this kind of power!

so, my little sweet thing talked me into a casey visit on wednesday evening [it doesn't take much, obviously!], and gosh, she did such a great job with him! so so great that she earned herself a birthday present that evening, one whole week early. YAY TWO! i see you, two!!

maddalena is pretty darn careful and cautious by nature, which, as her paranoid mother, i really appreciate. it's quite a handy quality. but! despite her hesitancy around anything or anyone that could potentially pummel her, she's super interested in interacting with the horses and "miamia do it!!" as much as she possibly can. of course i just eat that up! but also, i want her to feel confident and knowledgeable around horses as she grows, whether she actually rides in the long run or not... because i plan to always have horses in my life. so! i feel like arming her with experience is the best thing i can do, and so far that seems to be what she wants, too. :)

anyway, on this particular sunshiney evening she went from brushing casey's tummy just a little, to sitting on top of him ["ride!"] but feeling unsure when he shifted his weight or stomped away a fly, to actually riding on top of him bareback aaall the way from the barn to the pasture [with me spotting/deathgripping her, of course]! oh, she was beaming and squealing and shining with all things sweet and wonderful. and iiii waaaas soooo prooouuuud! i've prayed for years that casey would still be around to teach my babies the things he's taught me. and here he is, being a perfect gentleman for my baby princess as she gazes at him with giant hearts in her eyes! and i mean, really. i was kind of amazed at her performance. she was totally at ease as casey walked, carrying herself with such a natural balance! and she loved it so much. i thought she'd never get off.

when we got back to our house a bit later that evening, a package had arrived in the mail... just a little something i'd ordered last minute for maddalena's birthday next week. i was going to save it for the big day, but she was all "package! miamia's package?" and well, i thought it over for a bit and decided... she'd have plenty of gifts to play with on her actual birthday, right? why not give her one a week early!! especially given what the gift was...

and so! fate had it that one week before her 2nd birthday, maddalena rose received her very first set of the cutest little pink horse brushes i think i've ever seen in my life. just a little kit i found on amazon with everything you need to groom your horsey, all inside of a perfectly maddalena-sized "packpack!" i thought perhaps she could use them to take care of her pink rocking horse at home [named casey, of course] for a while until potentially needing them one day for a real horse... and wouldn't you know it, that baby lady skipped dinner to work on keeping her pink casey all nicely groomed and cared for! she was picking out his hooves, combing his tail, and brushing his fur half the night...

truly dedicated, that girl! she's been working so hard, and it is just plain precious. naturally, horse grooming has officially been filling a lot of our time around here, as she spent all the next morning telling me, "care of horse! care of horse!" and pulling her horse around saying, "come casey! come!" you know what? i just really love her. and man, am i excited to see her enjoy more birthday gifts next week! this is such a fun age.

and ps. here's a little video of her big ride! my mom was capturing what she could, and it's just too happy for me not to squeal over a bit. :) i love when she calls him a "good boy" and then pats him, then turns and pats me. and also, when she drops the leadrope as we're walking and kind of half slides off, but still has no intention of getting down. haha. oh, and additional ps. we're working on the helmet situation! i hear there are a couple of types that will work for toddlers...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

got lost in 18th century scotland again, oooops!

so so so, hi, and welcome to my favorite topic!

want to know kiiinda where i've been spending my free time lately? no? well i'm still going to tell you! i have been totally lost in rereading my very. favorite. book series. of all time. and boy, does it feel good good good. i actually didn't read a single thing aside from pregnancy books the entire time i was pregnant with maddalena [too distracted!], and then still didn't read a single book for the longest time after she was born [really too distracted!]. so finally! here i am!! reading books i've already read. now, if that's not true brittany fashion, i don't know what is. ;) but! i have good reason! reason being... they're amazing.

"that one! but you've read it twice!" 
"well, it's my favorite! far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!" 
[a little beauty & the beast interlude there because, you know, belle is my spirit princess!]

i've mentioned it a few times before, but the outlander series, by diana gabaldon, is my very, very favorite book series. [and ps. i love that every time i mention this tidbit, a few outlander co-obsessors surface, officially finding an extra special place in my heart!!!] but, i mean, let's be honest here, okay... when you spend six years reading seven ginormous books about a love that transcends time. and. SPACE! well, it's more like a relationship, right? a beautiful, blossoming and totally normal relationship, where one might go around casually referencing jamie and claire in every day conversation with people who are pretending that one doesn't sound com-pa-letely ridiculous referring to [who they think are] fictional characters all the time. but that's the thing with books! when you're in them, you're IN them, you know?

anyway. yes! six years ago i started reading outlander while a tiny, black, fluffy bearcub of a baby minnie gnawed on my pink purse handles in my in my college apartment bedroom. i'd never heard of the books before, so i kept my expectations on the low end, but my aunt had sworn they were good... and so! i started reading... and once i made it through the first little bit, i just could not stop. i got to the end of it and dove right into the second book, dragonfly in amber [my aunt had mailed me the first two in the series]. i finished that book and drove straight to the bookstore with fresh and gloooriously dramatic tears still in my eyes to get the third book, and so on and so forth. my roommates thought i was crazy, i'm pretty sure, because i was one thousand percent obsessed. [and okay, right now i can totally picture them going, "brittany, we already thought you were crazy, el-oh-el!" i know, guys, i know! thanks for loving me anyway!], but i really enjoy just being totally all in something, and i was. i was all in. so... over the next couple of years i read all seven of the books. seven. huge. books. of love and war and history and yummy, powerful, bold deliciousness.

so, okay... a brief synopsis! outlander starts like this: war in the 1940s has kept english nurse, claire, separated from her historian husband, frank, for six years of their early marriage. when the two finally reunite, they take a second honeymoon to scotland to, you know, reconnect. it's there, however, that claire stumbles upon some mysterious standing stones and accidentally falls 200 years back through time to the year 1743. woops! initially, claire falls into the less-than-ideal hands of an english soldier who looks confusingly like frank... that is, until a bunch of kilted scotsmen come along, including one smokin' hot highlander named jamie. they take claire with them, as she's obviously extremely lost and vulnerable... and aaah, i'm already getting all tingly! inevitably, she finds herself a bit torn between the time she came from and the husband she had just reunited with, now far, far, far away... and the undeniably passionate chemistry that's unfolding with one tall drink of scottish water named jamie. did i mention he's good with horses? he is. he's good with horses. oh and he's wounded. oh! and she's a nurse. oh! and he's all scottish and "i'll protect you" and stuff. okay. perf.

and oh, hey, here's another summary i've come across, as outlander was recently referenced on the show orange is the new black. i've not seen the show, but apparently the character "'taystee," spots the book and says something like, "outlander!" you ever read this? lady travels back in time to scotland... hooks up with this big sexy outlaw type, and they be getting’ it day in and day out. yo, it’s hot!" i find that to be pretty accurate, as well.

these books are super long, too, filled with details and love and stories and language and history. [the author has a couple of PhDs and a ginormous brain, i can only assume, because how! how does she write so much and so beautifully and so historically accurately and for so many years?!] so, you definitely have to be ready for a committed book relationship. and naturally, as our friend 'taystee has already mentioned [that name is killing me, by the way, what is that name??], and like any good 18th century scottish highland sexy scenario would have it, i'm sure... there are some serious hanky panky scenes in there! so, you know, it might make you blush a little. or giggle. or just be all like "??!!?!!" because some of it's kind of shocking for those of us not used to some of the... ways... of the 18th century. which, i would imagine... is most of us. but hey, a lot of it's hot, too, i'm not complaining.

also! the 8th book has just recently come out in june! and don't you just knooow that big beauty made its way right here into my loving arms via my front door's bff, the UPS man. yay! i have been looking forward to this book coming out for what feels like an eternity... but... after all these years and words and pages, i decided to do what i've wanted to do for some time now, and i have started reading them all from the very beginning! it's been the best decision ever, because i'm currently four books in and totally in love all over again. i have so. many. feelings. very real, very many. and even though book eight is going to be staring a gi-normous hole straight through me until i make it back through books four and five and six and seven once again, i keep reminding myself not to rush through since there'll be a 9th book to come in another few years! whew! and sidenote: i almost cried the other night when i realized that i'd probably be 30 when book nine comes out, so let's just really not think about that too long.

and hey, remember that time our house flooded in that big nashville flood of 2010? well, i do ;) and it's funny because thinking back to that time, i really only got upset enough to shed tears over two specific things: one, my totaled car [rip black pathfinder!] and two, my ruined collection of outlander books. i am so weird sometimes, although i think there was a straw/camel's back aspect there, too. but honestly! i was just so upset to have lost all my books, and though i realized that a silly bunch of books could easily be purchased again, we were pretty much in a place where we had to purchase everything again, so i certainly wasn't going to prioritize book replacement of all things. and i was just sad. so, i guess at some point after that my sweet mommy had herself a fancy little idea, because the following christmas, after an absolutely crazy year, santa claus brought me a whole collection of brand new outlander books all over again... complete with hand signed bookplates for each book signed by the author, diana gabaldon herself! theee diana! birth mother of my beloveds! naturally, i cried. she even sent one for the then unfinished book eight, which amazingly enough, has successfully survived the last four years, and is now officially stuck inside my new, unread eighth book! so, you better believe these books now live on the highest shelf in the house, because they do. they do, indeed.

oh. and OH! it gets even better, o-kaaaay. outlander is coming out as a starz television show starting in august! iiii meeeean to tell you, i am basically not going to survive seeing it all unfold with my own two eyeballs and hearing the accents with my actual ears instead of having to make them up in my head and then reread paragraphs when i don't get them right in my brain. the casting is flawless, and i just can't even deal, this prospect is so hugely huge. so if you are my friend family acquaintance neighbor internet person, just prepare yourself, okay, because i am losing it over this stuff. [i mean what secret jamie & claire pinterest board shared with my best friend and sister?] and you can probably guess that i'm not planning to get aaaaany less enthusiastic... because like i said, i love being all in. :)

anyway, hey! if you're into this sorta thing... read outlander first! at least just the first book. it's so worth it. i really hate to think that some people are going to get to know this glorious story just through television... because reading, you know, it just goes way deeper!

so, it goes without saying, if you decide to pick the book up, let me know!! and if you haaave read outlander... can we talk about this forever please?! seriously, sometimes it's hard for me to pretend like i love talking about things that aren't jamie and claire.

all this to say... welllll, this is pretty much where i'll be for 2014!

and ps. ps. if you're reading the 8th book, don't you spoiler me, please!!!

and bonus ps! for the record, i did not think anything overtly scottish was hot at all before these books. nothing against scottish hotness, i just didn't! but game changer, here, i tell ya.

Monday, July 21, 2014

girls on duty

[a photo by maddalena!! oh, my baby photographer.
i sure know one thing that girl is getting for her birthday in 9 days!]

[she is ob-sessed with driving... iiii know another thing that girl is getting for her birthday in 9 days! ;)]

[handsome huck!! i just counted his years, pretty sure he's 15!]

[gosh i just feel like this trail holds so many secrets... and i want to know them.]

["i'm juuust gonna grab a few..." is what i said out loud to maddalena and minnie. 
but let me tell you, it's not possible to just grab a few.]

among other bunches of life things going on around here lately [some of them being those less photogenic things in life, right? like car maintenance and root canals?! i didn't get a root canal, poor stevey did. i had my car prettied up after someone carved a dirty word into it! still the weirdest thing ever!] my parents had to last-minute scoot out of town for a quick split last week, so maddalena and i were on mid-day farm duty for a few! and you know us... we love farm duty. we always love farm duty!

i also love pretty much everything i get to do with maddalena, which is... well, everything. :) madd and i were totally made for each other that way. although, don't get me wrong, my body physically aches at the end of every day. toddlers are busy! and what you don't realize, sometimes, is that you very quickly become a personal puppet/jester/servant, haha, and it's kind of hilarious. "chase! dance! hold! MESSY! KEAN UP!" and i just, like, do it, you know? still, i love it so much. i don't want to miss a single second of her!

i did mention it to steven recently, though, that i've found myself ready to find a leeettle bitty section of time that's cut out just for brittany... which is something that's super ridiculously hard for me! because given the choice, i pretty much always choose to be brittanymommywifey... but it's like i need just an additional couple of hours added to the day to press pause on life and just do my own thing for a tiny spell! buuut i'm pretty sure pressing pause is only possible in saved by the bell... and since i really prefer my brittany time to be late at night, anyway, that makes it a little bit easier for me to scrounge up. all i have to do is sacrifice a tiny dot of cuddle time and sleep! so, i guess i know i'm really not a mom of an infant anymore when i find myself back to saying "sleep shmeep!" not that i say that. it's more of a silent mantra. a sophisticated mantra, clearly!

anyway, i should probably get my bake on today before those "blueblacks," as madd called them this morning, go bad, huh! and then maybe we'll hit up that nordstrom anniversary sale that the internet's blowing up over, so shhhhh... i've got my eye on a pair of new leggings to live in [is that typical me, or what!], thanks to my girl maggie. :)

and guess what else? the sun is out! yaaay yay yay! let's go jump in it! thought i could make it through a handful of words without discussing the weather? wroooong! i love weather!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

fireflies in the summertime

growing up one of my biggest fears was always... to be honest... growing up.
what i didn't realize, though, is that you don't really have to grow up.
you get old enough to do certain things, sure,
like play house in an actual house, with a real kitchen, and real other people.
[i definitely had a handful of imaginary friends when i was little. never been much for alone time! ]
and then! well, you get to do kid stuff all over again!
i, for one, certainly never grew out of catching lightening bugs,
or at least watching them light up the pretty summer evenings...
but now, watching little eyes excitedly spot them, little [naked!!] bodies chase them,
and little hands catch them...
it's just the best. and it's completely magical.

*but i'm still not really up for getting wrinkles!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

oh, hey, life! hey, it's me, brittany...

[a few thingies here and there from over the last week]

1. fresh flowers all. of. the. time. make me so so happy.

2. as does having a baby girl who's so fancy [you already knooow!] i love when she accessorizes on her own. it's pretty much flawless.

3. i decided to finally see what the saltwater wearing club was all about, after hearing so many rave reviews! madd already has some and i was looking for something cutesier than my rainbows but hardier than my target sandals for when i'm tromping around the farm and such. i know people are all, "they mold to your feet!" but... i guess i'll just have to see, because i'm still working on that part. and really, they aren't anywhere near as comfortable as rainbows, but they are a little snazzier! so, the gold ones are now finding their rightful place in my summer wardrobe. and in maddalena's apparently. :)

4. i cannot believe how much chunkier my casey boy is compared to how skinny he got over the winter. i worried about that boy for months, so i'm certainly thankful he put on weight! but now he and comet are kinda out there chubbin! i'm thiiinking we need to saddle up one evening soon...

5. i seriously wonder what on earth we eat all winter long considering the amount of grilling we do in the summertime! i mean. it totally doesn't hurt to be married to a fabulous griller like steven.

6. finally got around to baking up a little blackberry cobbler using the literal fruit of my labor! wahoo! it was the cobbler that almost didn't happen, though, because i had to rush to the grocery store for some ingredients, only to come home and realize i was out of flour! but thank goodness for sweet neighbors. i felt so perfectly like a real neighbor wife sending steven next door to ask for a cup of flour! isn't that so real? made me want to watch desperate housewives. i loved that show. til it got ridiculous, but shows, they always seem to do that now, don't they?

but hey! anyway! so thankful for these little bitty things lately. it's easy to forget that every happy moment is a gift from the good Lord, and certainly not something to take for granted. life is short, you know! smell the roses. carry two purses. make ya some dessert. then maybe dance it off. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

purple fingers, happy hearts

gosh, i'd been so looking forward to an afternoon of wild blackberry pickin'
on the farm ever since we did it last year!
we finally stumbled upon the perfect afternoon for it last friday.

my little grown up lady was sure into picking them herself,
and she did such a fabulous job. the purpley-er the hands, the better, if you ask me!

the worst is when you find a cluster of beauuutifully plump blackberries
that you just can. not. reach! and then you decide to maybe try...
and then you get a million thorns in your hands and arms.

hey! a visit from mr. chooch! madd loves any and all choochoos,
beacause i mean, who doesn't? but sweaty and worn out,
she was at first worried that it would be too loud to be so up close.
but no, then she loved it, and did what any rationally thinking girl would do...


...she took some photos, of course! gosh, i love her.

my mother's hustle when she gets after those blackberries is kiiind of amazing, ha!
she ain't scared of no thorns. [although she could've worn her gloves and prevented
minor blood loss, but that juuuust would've been too easy. and can we believe
she's probably the least stubborn of our family members?!
waaait, no. maybe christina is. or dad? okay, undecided. although, now i've gone
 and put me and my brother as the top two most stubborn, which is probably accurate. ;)]

miss lady got a little curious about that there train bridge that runs over the harpeth...
and while i'm sure she'll one day find it fascinating that in the civil war,
union solders were on our side, confederates on the other, and everyone was trying
to take control or whatever of the train situation,
by means of fire and bullets and such...
but for now we just stick with, "see! there's water underneath!"

and now, i know it's just dandy to frolic and play the eskimo way,
but i much prefer to romp around a warm, sunny field in the summertime.
summer stay forever, please!

ps. see that!? now we need to nail down how to make some
passion flower tea and use some of that growing passion fruit!

hashtag: nature girl. hashtag: can't help it.
hashtag: heeeeeey blackberry cobbler.