The Life of A Southern Belle

I found this charming article on a friend's Facebook page. It originated from As I read it I thought, oh how true and it really related to my sweet, spoiled, southern belle life. Most of it, anyway. That part about College Football, not true, not for me. I can't care less about football. Sweet Tea, yeah, that part is 110% true. It's a staple in our fridge. If you ask if I have sweet tea I'll laugh and say "but of course". The south is a dream place to live, at least in my opinion. I've never lived anywhere else and can't imagine it. I'm a Georgia Peach through and through. The only thing I can add to this, well two things, really, are we believe in Monograming everything and we love being outdoors.

There are many good and bad stereotypes surrounding the South. If you’ve never befriended a southerner, or your only experience with one was an interaction with a closed-minded, redneck type, I apologize. We are not all terrible, we are not all racist and we are not all conservative Republicans. If you are from the South, you know there’s nothing better than a Georgia Peach, an Alabama Belle or a Carolina Lady. There are some things that only us GRITS (Girls Raised in The South) will understand:

College Football Every southern woman LOVES her college team. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she even attended the college, but someone in her family did, or it’s just in close proximity to the college that she did attend. Even if southern women don’t like sports, they love their SEC football… usually more so than their pro team.

❤ Sweet Tea I thought this was a normal thing until I lived outside the South and was served tea that wasn’t sweet. All tea in the South is sweet, unless you specifically ask for it unsweetened. In other parts of the country, you have to specify that you want sugar and lemon with your tea, and I find it very weird.

❤ Grits This is another southern staple. Grits with breakfast, grits with dinner (i.e. shrimp and grits), cheesy grits, smooth grits, lumpy grits, etc. You get the point. Grits seem to be a foreign concept to those outside of the South, but once you’ve tasted them, you’ll understand.

❤ Greens We love our collard greens, green beans, turnips greens, etc. We boil and season the heck out of our vegetables, to the point where they no longer taste like vegetables, but at least they are delicious. You’ve never had real green beans unless you’ve had them southern style, boiled until tender, with a ham hock and chicken bouillon.

❤ Taters, Mashed Taters and Sweet Taters And don’t you ever correct us and call them “potatoes.”

❤ BBQ There are HUGE differences in North Carolina BBQ, South Carolina BBQ and Georgia BBQ. Not all BBQ is the same.

❤ Cookin’ Yes, the last few paragraphs have involved food, but food is important to us! We like to fry everything: fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried green tomatoes, etc. RIP cholesterol. With our cooking, comes quantity. Southern women do not know how to cook small portions because most of us grew up in a large family. I used to joke and tell my grandma that she was cooking for an army. Now, I live alone and am cooking for one, yet somehow always end up cooking for at least four.

❤ Light’nin Bugs Some of y’all would refer to them as “fireflies.” Others would have no reference at all because, apparently, some parts of the country don’t get to see these amazing bugs. Every southern girl has memories of catching these light-up creatures in glass mason jars, and waking up to see them dead the next morning. Sorry, we didn’t know any better, but they are still the ultimate sign of summer in the South.

❤ Mason Jars Speaking of mason jars, most of us know these as the jars our grandmas put their fruit preserves in. We would later use them as drinking glasses.

❤ Beauty Pageants The majority of southern women have participated in beauty pageants growing up — some by choice and some by force. Some of us even continue these beauty pageants into adulthood for scholarships and such. It’s just a part of the lifestyle in the South.

❤ Whiskey and Bourbon You know the Carrie Underwood line: “Right now, he’s probably buying her some fruity little drink cause she can’t shoot whiskey.” We take our brown liquor seriously and can probably drink you under the table. But, we are still expected to hold our liquor, because one must always be a lady.

❤ Dressing Up We never leave the house looking a mess. Hair must be done, makeup must be on and we must look presentable. Appearance is important in the South, both fortunately and unfortunately. As someone once said, “You must always leave the house like you’re about to meet the love of your life.”

❤ Words and Manners Please do not judge us for using the word “y’all.” It is proper grammar, actually. It’s a contraction of “you all.” “Finna” is the shorter version of, “fixin’ to.” As in, “I’m fixin’ to go the store.” Or, “ I’m about to go to the store.” Don’t ask me why or how it started; it just did and it stuck. “Bless her heart” is not a sweet sentiment; it’s our nice way of insulting someone. Because, you know, we have southern hospitality and all. I never heard my grandma utter one ill word about anyone my entire life, and if my temper started to flare up, she would look at me and say, “Don’t be ugly, Jess,” which was her way of telling me not to be rude.

❤ Directions “Over yonder,” denotes that you are really really southern, but “down the street” is perfectly normal. Usually it doesn’t actually mean something is just down the street. Even in cities, we don’t use a GPS or directions much, we just know where to turn and where not to.

There are many things that, us southern women are proud of, and many things that we are not proud of. But I would definitely like to unhinge the stereotype that southern women are domestic, submissive and uneducated. Not all of us go to college to get an MRS degree, and some of us do have goals and ambitions outside of making a family. Sure, we may swap new recipes when we first see each other, but stick around a few more minutes, and y’all will see us get into political debates and issues facing the world, not just the South.

Lessons in Relationships

Last week I was sitting on the front porch of my parent's house having a conversation with my mom about how taking the time to fix yourself up by doing your hair and make up and putting on decent clothes can make you feel so great, even if you aren't going out of the house. I've been a slacker as a stay at home mom for the last 11 years, only getting dressed nice if I was leaving the house and for me that might have been just running to the grocery store. Since getting engaged and pretty much living with my fiancé little changed. We'd go out somewhere and the minute I came home I was upstairs changing into my most comfy house clothes, which usually is a pair of PJ pants or cotton shorts and one of his tee shirts {big on me but so comfy}, hair up, bra off, make up off, jewelry off.

It wasn't until this conversation with my mom that it occurred to me the importance of staying looking nice for him long after we're home for the day. Oddly enough the next day my fiancée says to me "I like it when you stay dressed nice at home." He tells me I'm beautiful all the time, any way I look but this seemed to really mean something to him. Since then I'm putting more effort into looking nice more often. It makes him happy and honestly I feel better about myself. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely days when I still look like a rag-a-muffin, especially since it's summer and we'll be spending lots of time at my parent's pool but I believe in putting in a little more effort now to see my honey's eyes light up with love for me.

Goodbye SDES.

Time sure did fly by. It seems like yesterday I was sending my sweet, tiny boy off to school for the first time. I remember that we had missed kindergarten orientation because we were in Disney World so I was super nervous as I walked him into the school to meet his teacher and show him his classroom. He had never been away from me all day before and it was a pretty big deal to both of us. I didn't let him see me cry, in fact, I held back my tears until I was out of the building. I knew it would be a hard adjustment for both of us. There were many tears from him during the first couple weeks of school. His teacher said he'd be silently crying while doing work but both of his teachers were wonderful and helped him through that. They didn't just distract him, they would talk to him and listen when he was upset. He came home almost daily saying he cried because he missed me and he handed me a picture he had drawn while he was sad. One day it happened though, he came home and said he missed me but he hadn't cried. It was then that I knew he was in the best hands possible for those 6 and a 1/2 hours he was away from me. His teachers took this shy, scared, quiet little boy and transformed him into a social, confident, outgoing boy at school.

The last 5 years at SDES were no different. Each year he had wonderful teachers who brought out the best in him and with each one he became a little more outgoing and confident. I'll never forget sitting on the playground with his First and Second grade teachers, they were talking about how hilarious he was (he's always been our little comedian) and one said to the other "He's my gift to you". I smiled and told them he was my gift to them both. Since then he's not stopped making people smile and being kind to others. There was one year, second or third grade, when he would ask to stay in at recess to help his friend with his work. And he was always so kind to the little boy in the wheelchair. That's my Dylan, he treats everyone the same and has always been friends with anyone. Every year though, there's always one kid who is the trouble maker. Every year Dylan comes home the first week of school and would tell me "so and so is always in trouble, he/she's bad but I'll still be nice to them" and he has. This year there was a kid whom he had some trouble with, nothing major, just the kid was annoying and wouldn't let Dylan focus so Dylan asked to be moved away from this boy several times. I'm proud of him for being so confident and in control of his own life that he feels comfortable enough to talk to the teacher and find a solution to the problem. I hope he continues this for the rest of his life.

I love this boy more than life itself and I'm proud of him, not just for the excellent grades he made but for the choices he's made. He's incredibly smart, kind, friendly and talented. I'd like to think it's all because of me but it's not. It's because of his time at SDES, too and the teachers, parents, staff, principals and friends along the way. I'm sad that he's growing up but more so because it means his time at SDES is over. I never imagined the kind of love and support a school can have but this one out shines them all. I wish he could stay here for the rest of his school days but it's because of these people I know he's ready for the next chapter of his life. As we walked down those halls for the very last time I cried. I cried a lot. I'll miss every person at that school. It's the kind of school where the principals, staff and teachers who've never had your kids take time to get to know them, not just because they get in trouble. A lot.

nThis year Dylan got several awards. I'm very proud. Here they are. {citizenship, 4-H, B.L.A.S.T., flag patrol, platinum award for exceeding all subjects on CRCT, president's Education Award and two pins.} I'm one super proud mom.

It's Okay.

Sometimes I need down time. I need me time. Time to do whatever I want, or nothing at all. Sometimes it's okay to say no and allow yourself that time. Today is one of those days. It's only Wednesday and it's not been a bad week, I just feel like I need that down time. I need time to quiet the noise in my head and heart. I need time to breathe and re-focus. No laundry today, no running around, not answering my phone, just enjoying catching up on tv shows, listening to music and blogging. It's not personal, it's just that often we get so caught up in all we have to do that we lose ourselves and kinda get into a funk. So sometimes it's okay to say no to commitments, to responsibilities, to phone calls and enjoy you! Celebrate you! Make yourself happy because, after all, a happy mommy/wifey makes a happy family.

Hello Monday.

Hello extra 2 hours of sleep this morning.

Hello clean laundry.

Hello freshly mopped kitchen floors.

Hello air conditioning on a hot spring day.

Hello purple converse.

Hello iTunes gift card.

Hello Starbucks card calling my name from my purse.

Hello honey getting off work early.

Hello Mother's Day pictures.

Hello happiness.

Mother's Day

I'm so blessed to have such a huge group of inspiring mothers in my life, there's no shortage really but mine is the best. She's always been the kind who sees the bright side of things and chooses to see and believe the best in people. She'll give you anything in the world and not think twice about it. She's everyone's rock and often times forgets to put herself first. She's the glue that holds our family together. She's the kind of strong and grace, put together, that I want to be.

This Mother's Day was wonderful. My honey learned how to cook my daddy's biscuits and gravy so he made breakfast for me. Then he and Dylan gave me one of my Mother's Day gifts {my owl picture frame}. We went to see my soon to be in laws for a little while and gave my soon to be mother in law her gift. They gave me a hammock and $30 worth of iTunes gift cards. After that we went to my mom and dad's and hung out with my parents, my brother, my aunt and uncle and cousins and our grandma. Dad made BBQ and my honey grilled some delicious corn. Someone made potato salad and my Grandma made a peach dump cake. My brother really made my day by giving me the sweetest card with a truly special message he wrote inside and a $15 Starbucks gift card {he knows what mommas need}, my sweet cousin Emily gave me the cutest owl shirt and gave each of us home made pictures. When we got home my loves gave me a pillow for my hammock. It was a truly blessed and wonderful day. I hope everyone else had as great of a day as I did.

Oh, The Places You'll Go

From the moment I woke up this morning I've been over today. I couldn't figure out why. Or maybe it's that I knew the reason all along I just chose not to accept it. I've been trying to be strong and remind myself that this is another step in life. I went through it and survived so have millions of other kids and I know mine will, too. It's just so scary sending him out into the world of middle school. He's pretty stoked about it so far. He met some of the middle school teachers not long ago and he wants to join band. I'm keeping him at the same school all his friends from elementary school are going to so I know he'll be fine but this seems so much harder than sending him off to elementary school did. He's had the most wonderful teachers ever at SDES as well as staff members, room moms, PTO members. We've been blessed with people who care about each individual child and love them the same as they would their own. We've made a lot of friendships over the years.

Tonight is middle school orientation. He's ready. The question is am I? And I can certainly tell you, no I am not. I'm worried will he know where his classes are? Will he be able to use a locker? Will he get picked on for being the under class man on campus? Will he still be stand up for himself? Will he be assertive enough to say when something is bothering him? This year he had no problem telling his teacher when he was having a hard time. I want him to still feel confident enough to do that. To speak his mind. I want him to form the same kind of bonds with his middle school teachers as he always has with this elementary school teachers. I want him to know the good kids from the bad kids, as he always has, and choose not to associate with them. I want him to stand up for, not only his friends, but other kids, too.

Nobody tells you how hard the pre-teen years are but to those friends of mine who have children younger cherish each and every moment because they do fly by. I just hope that I've instilled a good sense of self esteem and values in this kid and that he can fly as effortlessly through middle school as he did in elementary school. He's come a long way from kindergarten to now. From a little boy who spent the first few weeks of kindergarten crying because he missed me but being strong enough to keep pushing through to being the kind of young man who is friends with everyone and has no problem asking his teacher to be moved because the kid he sat next to bothered him. He knows what he needs and isn't afraid to ask. He's nothing like me at this age and that's a great thing. He makes me proud of the guy he's becoming and he makes me proud to be his mom. {Now, it's time for me to invest in some water proff mascara.} Here we go Class of 2021.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Weekend Wonderful.

This weekend was wonderful. One of the bet I've had in a while. We didn't have anywhere to go, nothing pressing to do. Our boy spent the night with his Mimi and Pa Friday night and his best friend Saturday so we didn't even have our kid. We got two days/nights to ourselves.

Friday afternoon we were at Mom and Dad's house hanging out with Uncle Scott, Aunt Melody and Emily. Aunt Melody and I got to sneak away for a couple (3) hours and go to Hobby Lobby and Five Below. It was so nice to be able to talk to my aunt and just hang out together. We really never do that and I'm not sure why, all I know is that it is a must! We'll be doing more of that! Friday night we stayed at mom and dad's so late playing Heads Up. We got home after 11 {Party animals}.

Saturday morning we got up and enjoyed coffee on the back porch, then we went and got lunch @ Chick-fil-A {in our pajamas}. It was a nice, slow morning. We finally got showers and went to Target and Hobby Lobby (yes, again!) We went and picked up our boy and took him to his friend's house. We drove around town with the tops off the Jeep for a while after that, then decided we were hungry and went to our favorite hole in the wall Chinese restaurant, Schezuan Village. The owner has known my fiancé since he was 3 weeks old and still remembers him so we like to go visit every now and then.

Sunday was a nice lazy day. {Maybe this was the day we went to Target} it was such a relaxing weekend I forget. Anyway after we picked our boy up from his friend's house we came home and Alex and I sat on the back porch for hours just listening to music, talking and I gave myself a mani/pedi. It was amazing. Sunday night Dylan came and sat on the back porch with us for about an hour and we talked. It was by far, the best.

Currently I am....

❥Making: sure the laundry gets done. It never really ends though.

❥Cooking: nothing. I really need to find a recipe for dinner. Pinterest to the rescue!

❥Drinking: Sweet tea because that's how we do it in the south, y'all.

❥Reading: Fizz and Frosting's Blog. I just found her blog, she's pretty much awesome.

❥Wanting: to stick my toes in the water and @$$ in the sand. Yeah, you guessed it! The beach. Can we go now please?

❥Looking: at Pinterest and Fizz and Frosting's blog. 3 tabs open. My computer tabs are pretty much like my mind. So much open and going on at once. No wonder I can't concentrate. Can't say I'm ever bored.

❥Playing: nothing right now but that reminds me I need to play Tetris Blitz and beat my bestie. Watch out, I'm coming for you. (Just kidding, you always win).

❥Wasting: time. Lots of time. It's Friday. Who cares?

❥Watching: Saved By The Bell.

❥Wishing: life wasn't so complicated and that everyone got along. We don't have to hold hands and sing Kumbaya but just to be together and enjoying it. Laughing, loving and making memories.

❥Enjoying: peace and quiet. It gives me time to think, to clear my head, to focus on what makes me happy. As Audrey Hepburn said, or maybe it was Marilyn Monroe, it doesn't matter, I love them both. Anyway what one of them said was "I restore myself when I'm alone."

✯That's settled, it was Marilyn.

❥Waiting: for the weekend to start. I love being home with my guys and sleeping in. Yeah, sleeping in! It's my fave!! and then coffee.

❥Liking: my pretty, cozy house. It's more than a house really because we've made it a home. Our home.

❥Wondering: If a bird could possibly be stuck in the chimney? How would I check that anyway?

❥Loving: The warm Georgia sunshine!!

❥Hoping: for that beach trip soon! I'm not joking about this, y'all.

❥Marveling: At the beauty of spring. I love the warm sunshine, the rain storms, the bright sun that I can sit out in and feel so refreshed. It's perfection after being cooped up so much this winter.

❥Needing: to get my tail feathers in gear and register for college in the fall and plan a wedding. Nope, not much going on around here. Just kidding!!

❥Smelling: my new Sugar Blossoms candle from Target.

❥Wearing: pink cotton shorts, pink tank, white and tan striped shirt...pretty comfy but I still feel cute.

❥Following: my heart. It doesn't lie.

❥Noticing: the beauty in every day things. Beauty is everywhere if only you believe. I believe.

❥Knowing: that I'm finally where I always wanted to be. Let's get married and get my degree and life will be the best it's ever been.

❥Thinking: How lucky/blessed I am to have all the people and things that I do in my life. It's more than I deserve but God thinks I deserve it so I must.

❥Feeling: content with life.

❥Bookmarking: blogs that I'm obsessed with.

❥Opening: my life up to more happiness than I ever thought possible. New family, new friends, new possibilities.

❥Giggling: at Saved by the Bell. It never gets old.

❥Feeling: Joyful and Content. No one can steal my happiness and even if they do, the moment I'm at our home in my honey's arms I'm happy again. Some people will never be happy with themselves or life, those people are toxic to us yet sometimes we can't let them go. People like that I try not to let them affect me but sometimes, honestly they do. Maybe it's because everything I do I do with passion. I feel my emotions so passionately or maybe it's that I care too much but honestly I can't change people. I can only be a little bit of sunshine in their life and not let them be the storm in mine.

Hello May.

Hello Spring.

Hello opening the pool.

Hello flowers blooming.

Hello to my son's last days in elementary school.

Hello to a month slam packed full of activities.

Hello beginning of summer break.

Hello college applications.

Hello wedding planning.

Hello eating healthier {again.}

Hello blessed life.