• Dress Up

    While Gress and I were out exploring after the rain, our sweet neighbors invited Gress in to play. The older boys are so very sweet with him and when I asked them what they were going to do, one of the boys said, “whatever Gress wants to do.” Gress came home with a parting gift….a confederate hat and sword. Mcree now knows how to put hats on his head and loves to try things on himself and you.

    On another dress up note, I found a shirt for Gress that has a deer on it and it says “The Buck Stops Here.” Gress proudly wore it today with his “cowboy jeans” and his cowboy boots. And yes, Mcree was wearing his bandana around his neck. A lady looked at us and said, oh the cowboy. I am SURE she thought they were in costume. I asked Gress if he wanted to dress as a confederate solider for Halloween and he said he wanted to wear his deer shirt and then take a red marker and draw all over his arms like it is blood from the deer. WOW! I wasn’t expecting that. Not sure either of those costumes would go over well in Savannah…so perhaps we will stick with a cowboy for the 15th time.

  • Cooped Up

    Things have been very low key lately at the Harrell household. Mcree got a nasty cough and congestion followed by Rad not feeling well (general aches and sore throat stuff). Mcree started pulling his ear and crying Friday so we ended up at the doctor on Saturday which ended in no ear infection but wheezing and breathing treatments 3 times a day through the weekend. I think I got 20 minutes of sleep Saturday night after the side effects of the breathing treatment left Mcree with insomnia. Let’s just say, when you are cooped in the house for days with 2 sick people and a bouncing off the wall 4 year old, it is enough to make you twitchy.

    Luckily, I think the 2 sick people are on the mend and life is getting a little more back to normal. Mcree can actually sleep through the night without coughing all night. Tonight I put the boys down at the same time (which Mcree is usually asleep before Gress goes to bed). It probably wasn’t a good idea to feed the boys girl scout cookies before bed. Nor was it a good idea to put them to bed at the same time. Gress rocked Mcree to sleep and sang him one of his made up songs. Oh how my heart melted. After they were both in bed, I turned on the baby monitor and listened to the chatter. I heard Mcree jumping in his crib while making squeals to get Gress’ attention. At first I heard Gress giggling and then I heard him saying, “quiet Mcree” over and over. By the time I went back in to lay Mcree back down, Mcree had thrown every last blanket, pillow and stuffed animal out of his crib. Gress was hiding his face trying not to smile. I love getting to see their brotherly interactions, even in the midst of breaking bedtime rules.

    I think today, Gress made up for all the bike riding he hasn’t been able to do since being stuck inside. And you better believe that EVERY puddle he found, his wheels went right through it. He even got off his bike to find a puddle in the trunk of a tree. Boys will be boys.

  • Ride On…

    I love having a front row seat to seeing how my kids learn. Ever since Gress was little, he was the type that had to make up his mind before he was willing to try something. There was no amount of convincing, or bribing, or comparing others, or shaming that would work. He pretty much had to decide to do it, then he would. We have learned to encourage but not push him to do things.

    For A LONG time, Gress only wanted to ride the tricycle. He would ride as fast as his legs would let him, but he couldn’t quite keep up with the big kids on their big kid bikes. Our sweet neighbors (who have 5 kids and just love ours) gave Gress 2 bikes, one a little bigger than the other. We put training wheels on the smaller of the two and for months, tried to encourage Gress to try it out. I finally convinced him once but he quickly gave up. THEN, one day on his own accord, he decided it was time to ride the bike. And since then there has been no going back to the little bikes. Every day Gress gets out on his bike and each time he gets faster and faster. It helps that we have bigger kids that love to ride bikes too so it challenges him. He is now “off-roading” onto the grass and dirt and is so proud of himself. ┬áHe asked me the other day if we could get out the other bike (without training wheels) and so soon, we will hopefully be riding without training wheels, but not before the “learn how to fall off your bike” training lesson. (I had to take that course with professional “bike collisioner” Rad Harrell when I got my mountain bike). You basically sit on your bike and then he gently knocks you over and teaches you how to fall. I was scared at first but it really did convince me not to be fearful of falling. We can only hope that is the outcome for Gress! ­čÖé

  • He is…

    He is a born teacher, a mentor, forgiving, loving, humorous, overly generous, adventurous and curious. He is my Dad and my kids Pop. We are so lucky to have him in our lives. For years my dad wondered if he would make to this age. I feel so thankful to still have my dad who is engaged in our lives. THANKS Dad for coming to love on us!

  • Sick Baby…

    I do not like my babies being sick.

    But I do like when they linger a little longer in my lap to cuddle.

    I do not like the pick me up, put me down over and over again.

    But I do like the arms reached high for me to rescue them.

    I do not like the river of snot and the wet filled bandana, (and people wondering why I dressed my child as a cowboy).

    But I do like the smiles that come in between the whines.

    Mcree isn’t feeling so well but he still managed to smile many times today.


  • My little bees…

    Honey is the new medicine over here at the Harrell house…mostly because of our personal connection to a bee keeper, aka “the farmer.” The second someone looks like they are getting sick, a spoonful of honey is immediately taken. Not only is the honey amazing for you, it also tastes incredible and luckily the farmers like us so much that our cabinet is never empty of the golden goodness. For Christmas the Farmer gave Rad a tincture of some of the anti fungal/bacteria grey stuff that the bees cover the hive in. Apparently it tastes horrible but a few drops and you are guaranteed to stay sick free, or so the farmer says. It has worked so far!

    So, needless to say, we have no need to ever buy honey elsewhere. And why would we when Andy’s honey is incredible. But today, while walking along the river in downtown Savannah, my dad wanted to buy some Savannah Bee Honey. I told him he was crazy and that I would give him some of mine. He refused and went in for a taste test,┬áconvincing Gress to taste alongside him.

    I couldn’t even bring myself to go in the store, that was until my dad was NOT┬ácoming out and I had to go in to retrieve the taste┬átesters. Luckily there was a beehive corner that would contain Mcree while my dad was educating himself on the various honey flavors. So here are my little bees….. (Gress is taste testing the honey in one of the photos).

    On a side note, my dad did pull out his beehive wax lip balm that the farmer gave him and proceeded to brag about where it came from in front of the ladies in the store.

    And another side note, we originally met the farmers because we heard there was this couple at our church that had lots of bees and lots of honey.  That makes me smile at how far we have come!

  • Sweet Surrender

    I am not perfect…..in fact far from it. I am often tired, broken, and in need of a savior. Jesus died so that I may live. He doesn’t promise an easy life. In fact he assures that there will be trials. Even though my prayers might be for something different, I have to remember that He knows best. He surely knows what is ahead and and is growing me into who He wants me to become. I want to face each day with what He gives and know that no matter what he hands me, I have assurance that He has prepared me for whatever may come. That is so easy to say now in the easy moments. But I have seen that out of pain, and suffering, and wait, comes something beautiful.

    I remember many years ago when Rad and I were first married and in a small group, that a question was posed that was hard to answer. They asked us what was something BIG we were praying for. There have been so many challenging moments throughout our marriage that made us really have to face God and praise Him in the storm. It was painful, and scary, and really REALLY hard. But God was molding us and growing us into who He wanted us to become.

    I am by no means saying I have arrived into who He wants me to be (I have a long way to go I am sure)…but I see the purpose of my suffering so much more now. I see the gifts he has given me to use for HIS glory. I see my past pain and why He walked me down those windy roads so that I may hold someone else’s hand as they do the same. I see His provision as something that is meant to be shared, and not kept for myself. I see the walls, and the insecurities that he is tearing down in me. If anything, I think I am more dependent on Him now because of it all.

    I have so much to be thankful for in this moment and I am LOVED by a God who created me for so much more than I know.

    Starting in the fall I will start homeschooling. If you would have asked me several years ago if I thought I would have ever done this, I would have told you no…it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I love the thought that God knew all along that I would arrive at this moment and He placed so many things in my path to prepare me for this time. Without even asking,┬áHe has placed so many mentors around me here in Savannah.┬áI know it won’t be easy, and I know I will face criticism from many angles but all God asks of me is to trust Him and follow His lead. I NEED Him so that I may shepherd the flock he has placed in my care. What a HUGE responsibly and one I am so thankful He has placed on my heart.

    Thank you God for growing me, for pushing me and for pursuing me.

  • President’s Day

    What did we do on President’s Day..OF COURSE we went to the farm! Tradition has it that you plant potatoes on President’s Day so we did just that….and a whole lot more. The farmer had 200 lbs of potatoes to plant and apparently word spread quickly so a few families came out to help. What would have taken the farmer a day took a group of us a few hours. Did you know that the way to plant potatoes is to cut up sprouted potatoes, plant those and from those potatoes grows more potatoes. Who knew? It was fun working in teams to get it all done. On the car ride home, both Rad and I agreed that it was so amazing to see so many people working to plant on the farm today.┬áI am sure it was hard for the farmer to let a bunch of novice’s plant his harvest so THANKS Andy for teaching and trusting us!














    Another big event today (before everyone arrived) was to kill some roosters. Apparently the rooster population was growing too big at Urbanna Farm and those birds were getting too feisty with the hens so some had to go. Honestly I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to watch that event but found myself curiously enthralled by the end. My dad was even in there helping out which shocked me. We asked Gress if he wanted to see how they were going to kill the roosters and he did. It was a pure education about the appropriate situations in which you kill animals. I do wonder how his brain processes all of this. Gress loved collecting the feathers and carried them around everywhere he went.









    And then there were the baby goats….oh the baby goats. Miquel and Raquel are so stinking cute. Gress ran in the house first thing to see them and then got to feed them with a bottle. When they make their LOUD baaing, it really does sound like a baby crying. Later in the day we brought them outside to walk around. OH, they make your heart melt.


















    And you guessed it, because there are baby goats, there is also a mama goat who┬áhas to be milked. Gress wanted to try out milking Brooke. I have to say, watching the farmer teach Gress all about milking was such a sweet moment. Andy truly has the heart of a teacher and is so patient and gentle with Gress’ constant questioning and lack of attention to one thing. THANKS ANDY for sharing your gift of teaching with us all!




    Today Gress shot his first 22 riffle…he was a bit indifferent and really preferred playing with his old tractor Pop found.

    It was fun having so many people at the farm today. While the babies were eating or sleeping, the kids were all into something on the farm…. and the farmer (who I am SURE had a million other things to do today), took time to teach us all about where our food really comes from. And thanks Dad, for stepping in, getting dirty and loving the farm as much as we do!

    Ahhh, I am tired but my heart is full and happy! Oh how I love the farm and the farmers!!

  • Our Weekend

    We have 2 new pets at our house thanks to Gress’ friend Caroline. We acquired them at her birthday party as a party favor for attending the mermaid party. We were planning to depart before they were given out but that didn’t work so well as Gress was at the front of the line jumping for joy. Don’t worry, we have prepared Gress that these fish will die soon. He has named his new friends “Short Tail” and “Long Tail”. He thinks they come when you call them however just today he asked me if fish can hear. I think he is beginning to realize that fish don’t really do much.

    We are lucky enough to have loads of creative talent in this fine city thanks to Savannah College of Art and Design being located here. We usually see students around town however rarely do we see them in our neighbors yard filming a short film while lighting up our street and running a generator until late in the night. Gress must have felt Rad and I being annoyed at the oblivion of this group that he voiced his annoyance that he was mad at them for blocking the sidewalk which he was planning on riding his bike down. So we went to our favorite afternoon spot just down the street to get some energy out. While Gress rode his bike, Mcree explored in the dirt (which is covering his mouth in the photos).

    We have a special visitor in town and the boys just love hanging out with him. Pop (my dad) has come to visit us and of┬ácourse within the first few hours of his arrival, we are already headed to the beach. We decided to go for a walk along the pier (in the boys church clothes) and of course once we got there, I knew we also had to walk along the shore. Rad decided to stay on the pier and watch us from above. I was SURE that the boys wouldn’t get wet and even told Gress to stay out of the water. Next thing I knew, Gress was frolicking in the surf and was soaked. I looked at him and told him he had lost his mind. Of course, whatever the big brother does, Mcree has to follow…and at full speed he did. Next thing I knew both boys were wet and sandy and Pop was right there in the surf with them. Boys will be boys and I have to say, I loved every minute of it. I looked up and Rad and wondered if that was why he chose to stay on the pier….knowing it would come to this. At the end of the night I found Gress sitting on Pop’s shoulders hiding toys in his hair and sticking tiny stickers all over his neck and head, and Mcree messing with what my dad was working on. It was too cute to see them interact.

  • Daily Happenings

    It took a minute to get this post started because I had to go search for my (computer) mouse. I think just about daily I have to ask Rad if he has seen my mouse. Luckily, Mcree steals it and brings it to Rad so it is usually safe and sound.

    On to more exciting things.

    You guessed it, we went to the farm this last week. I was a little bummed when I heard it might be raining all day. Selfishly bummed for me but excited for all the plants at Urbanna Farm. And somehow I forgot that 4 year old boys LOVE to play in the rain. Gress and the farmer were both dressed in their coveralls and the farmer put Gress to work. The farmer truly shepherds Gress…so very thankful for him! Surprisingly, rain at the farm was fun and by mid day the sun was shining. Sweet Elijah is getting faster with his army crawl and I love to see Gress make him laugh. They have a sweet little friendship.┬áWe were hoping the mama goat would have had her babies but no such luck. Melissa and I let the goats out to walk around and one of the goats is a little crazy running and looking like she will head butt you at full speed. Let’s just say that the farmer’s wife is much braver than me! We found out that the rabbits, that Gress now calls “meat rabbits”, are about to have more babies. The chickens are always fun to see roaming the farm. As we were on one of our walks, Gress asked the farmer’s wife, “why does one chicken get on top of the other?” and she gave me a smirk and said. “because they are getting married.” Glad she answered that one. I am SURE there will be many more questions about that later on!┬áMelissa and I found ourselves laughing at the many adventures that happen on the farm. Gress was so tired when we finally made it home at 7pm that he was crying with exhaustion. In an effort to toughen Gress up, I asked Gress if he thought the farmer cried from exhaustion, and he just looked at me with a blank stare. Guess that tactic didn’t work! ­čÖé No doubt the farmer is that exhausted every night!

    (Notice the car ride photo with Gress in his coveralls and coonskin hat…and he purposely smiled like that.) When we show up at the farm, no wonder Andy and Melissa just look at us and chuckle!



























    Mcree just turned 15 months and that meant a visit to the doctor for his checkup. When the doctor walked in the room, Mcree started laughing (he has this fake LOUD belly laugh that he has just started doing). He is a healthy and happy baby. He had to get a shot and I wasn’t sure how he would do since he hasn’t had shots yet, and often he is quite dramatic when he hurts himself. I decided to give him a lollipop just before the shot happened. He was overly enjoying the sucker that when the nurse squeezed his leg, he chuckled looked at her and then went back to enjoying his treat. AMAZING!

    He weighs: 25.12 lbs, 65%

    He is 32 inches tall: 75%

    And his head is 19 1/4

    (and yes, Mcree still has his paci, usually just a nap time…not sure when this will be weaned..kind of a good thing to have when they share a room! ­čÖé











    I love our family time, and getting to share meals out together. Although I have to admit going out to eat with one kid was a bit more enjoyable as there was 2 people to help out. Now it is one to one man defense and often we are busy making sure food isn’t being thrown or Mcree is well fed. Rad and I want our boys to know how to behave in a restaurant so we work on manners and proper behavior when we are out. There will come a day that I will be able to eat my full meal without feeding someone else in between each bite, but in the meantime, I will savor this craziness. (I love the little “kids cup” they gave Mcree and he was so happy to have his own with a straw and all).

    In between the post office, the grocery store runs, jumping at the jumpy place, visiting with friends, and playing at various parks…it has been a packed week. Gress came in our room this morning at 6:45am and said, is it morning time yet. I looked at him and said, in 15 minutes it will be. I asked Rad when boys start sleeping in and we guessed around 12 years of age. NOT wishing away this time, just wishing for a bit more sleep! ­čÖé

    Hope you have a great weekend!