Friday, May 24, 2013

Dirty Boys and Chickens! Life in Birmingham.


I miss you all when I am away and WOW have I been away a long time or what! I didn't realize that part of moving to the woods/mountains is not having INTERNET or cell service really. We moved out here to be "in touch" with nature but I wanted to still be "in touch" with the rest of the friggin' world too.

Life is definitely different since moving out here and I am loving it! (I think you can tell this is an EXCLAMATION type of post. I'm just so family knows that's a fairly common thing!!) I spent about three months at home when we moved here and it was an amazing time. I got to spend a ton of time outside working in the garden, planting veggies and we even have chickens now! I will tell you all about the chickens in a bit.

We are really happy that we took this big step and made this change. So far it has turned out to be a blessing in so many different ways. I can't list them all and the list keeps growing but here is the readers digest version. We have been so blessed by all of the wonderful people up here, our family has grown by many with the addition of plenty of loving aunts, uncles, cousins, psuedo nieces and nephews, and Chris' lovely grandmother. We have been so lucky to have found a new faith family at our new church and that alone has been a whole basket of blessings, we have an awesome small group Sunday school class with other young families figuring it out (AND they are all just as crazy as us it turns out!), our kids absolutely love it there and we have made many new friends.  I just started a new job here selling radio advertising for the same company I worked for in Dallas and it has been a blast so far. We are growing veggies, raising boys and chickens, and just enjoying life here.

I have a ton of great stuff lined up for the blog as far as cool parenting topics that I'm loving right now, outdoorsy stuff, and plenty more. Today is an update on my life and where I am at so that as this blog goes forward everyone will know who I am and where I am coming from. I absolutely love this blog even if nobody ever read it because it feels good to get stuff out, it's like free therapy! I should start paying you guys for the counseling :) I have been writing a few books for a few years now and they turned into the never ending books because I wasn't getting anywhere with them. So, in addition to wanting to keep the blog updated I have also set a goal for myself to write one chapter a month and finish a dang book. "Expecting a Litter" will be a completed book BY GOL if it takes me 6 years!

So here we go....(Warning, this is a very picture heavy post so if you hate seeing pictures of adorable kids, historic sights, and cute farm animals then now is the time to leave)

Where We Are:
Blount Springs, AL

We live on what I love to call the "Holmes Compound" with my husband's Aunt, Uncle, their daughter, and his Grandmother. We have about a billion acres (more like 25) to roam around on so we have spent a lot of time exploring the surroundings. We are really in the woods in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The area that we live in has natural mineral springs and back in it heyday in the late 1800's early 1900's it was a booming resort town with plenty of wealthy and famous visitors. We have had a ton of fun exploring old homesites, stone foundations, checking out the sulfur springs, and collecting old bits and pieces of history. I have always had an affinity for history and now I am totally immersed in it. There used to be a bottling plant where they bottled and sold the mineral water as tonics and treatments for a variety of ailments and the property is littered with cool remnants of that. I have been collecting tons of blue glass from the bottling plant and one big piece says "Blount Springs Natural Mineral Water". I have become a glass bottle geek and have already found six or seven whole bottles including my pride and joy, a Coke bottle with straight sides from the early 1900's before 1910.

So needless to say, I'm on a bit of a history kick right now and one of the things on my seemingly endless list of things I want to do is to really dig down and research the area and put together a cool book or blog post or something like that. One thing is for sure though, Blount Springs, Alabama history has just been added to the list of things that this blog is about :)


One of my absolute favorite things that we have done since we got here has been playing in the yard. Chris' aunt is a fellow gardening freak so we have done some serious damage since I have been here. In addition to clearing and planting plenty of flower gardens we have planted an awesome garden with tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuces, and more. It has been a blast watching this stuff grow and having something to dirty my hands on whenever I want plus the boys get to learn about how stuff grows, healthy eating, responsibility and all that other stuff that awesome parents teach their kids!

Aidan helping us plant the garden

My awesome Dahlias
I have always loved these but I couldn't grow them in the Texas heat
The Chickens!
Ok, so I have considered myself a nature person, animal person, wannabe pioneer woman for awhile but I never had the pioneer part...just a small, sunsoaked, suburban backyard. NOW we have all kinds of room for lots of cool homesteading, pioneer woman, doomsday prepper activities. One of my pioneer woman aspirations has always been to have chickens and be able to go out in my gingham apron to fetch eggs in the morning. Well now I have the chicken part...not the eggs yet. I don't even really have chickens....technically they are my husband's aunt's BUT they are the result of much begging, researching, cohersing, and then finally promising to take care of them and not let them all die just like a 10 year old in the pet store. So you could say I have a sponsor for my chicken dream :)
Chicken Momma

Crazy Chicken Lady

This is the chickies when we first got them.

Aidan and Palin...our favorite so far.

This is Giselle...our model. In our beautiful tomato plants pecking around.
Anyway, we have only had them for just over a month and I'm already in love...we got them when they were a few weeks old and have been keeping them in  the greenhouse and taking them out to hang out in the garden. We just got a sure enough coop and run built for our growing chickens and it will be here this weekend! Yay! In a few months we will have more eggs than we will know what to do with and I will be one step closer to homesteading fullfilment!
The Bama Boys!
There isn't too much explanation needed here...the boys have full access TONS of space outside and now they have a huge playset right in front of the house to play on. They can play outside with fairly limited supervision which makes them feel pretty awesome and grown up. They love going to school and they love their church and life is all unicorns and rainbows for them right now. They are successfully driving their parents crazy though, because they have all reached an age TOGETHER that causes them to become unreasonable, little crazy people....but they are cute and I have wine so we will get through it!

Until next time, enjoy what you have, your kids, nature, family, and friends because if there is one thing that I have learned after moving here it is that whatever your situation is and no matter how stuck you feel there is always a silver lining and God has a plan for you even if you don't know what it is yet. As always, thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to peak into our life. I hope it brings you some joy or happiness or whatever you are looking for.
Thanks for Visiting,
Alexandra Holmes
Junior Pioneer Woman ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quote for the day: Go forward with Hope and Confidence

Finally a quote for the day!

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without Hope and Confidence."

--Helen Keller

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reality Show Life!

By: Alexandra Holmes

Oh man, does this ever feel good!

I have missed getting to come on here and write, I think of stuff I want to write about all the time and after awhile it builds up inside and makes me crazy...but that's not a huge leap.

I have been SO busy the last few months. I started a new job in September, my dream job actually, but after only a few months it began to weigh heavily on me and my family. I had no time to do anything and everything was falling behind and I was never seeing my boys.

After a lot of thinking, talking, crying, laughing, and drinking we decided to make a change...a BIG CHANGE!

We are packing up our horse and buggy and moving our crew to Alabama! My husband has some great family up there and it is an opportunity to make a whole new life for our family. We are starting off up in the woods and will hopefully settle down near there. I can't hardly wait to see the boys explore the woods and play with so much room to roam.

It will definitely be an adventure... Finding new jobs, new school, a house, and getting settled in a totally new place. I am filled with joy, hope, and a hefty dose of trepidation. This is one of the first times in a long time that I have been very hopeful, and positive about our path but I am also nervous about being away from my side of the family. I have always been either down the street or at least an easy drives distance from my parents and siblings but like I said this is an adventure and all adventures have some difficult spots.

This morning as I was laying in bed surrounded by all four of my boys I realized that we have the makings of a pretty darn good reality TV show. A young family with four small boys leaves the big city in search of a new life in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. Tune in to TLC Tuesday night for the premier of "Holmes in the Hills". Sounds good right....we definitely have the antics for it :)

Well stay tuned...this adventure is just beginning and I plan on writing down the whole darn thing...except anything that is unflattering about me of course!

Thanks for reading!

--Alex Holmes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Google Doodles, Music, and Manners

By: Alexandra Holmes
Good Morning,

I have been away from the computer for awhile. We just moved and....GASP....didn't have Internet for over a week!! I was terrible...we had to talk to each other and play outside. Anyway, I'm connected to the real world again and have many things to catch up on here.

I am only stopping in today though and I will leave you with something to ponder as you go about your day.

In honor of the Google doodle today which depicts Clara Schumann, a very influential German composer, I am giving you a quote from her today on her birthday and some food for thought. Enjoy.

"There is nothing greater than the joy of composing something oneself and then listening to it." --Clara Schumann  

Clara, of course, was referring to the music that she spent her life composing but I can apply it in a different way. To me there is nothing better then seeing the result of my life's most important work. When I see my children do something kind or selfless I think..."Well, I must have done something right." or when I hear one of the boys tell his brother to chew with their mouth closed or when Wyatt the other day was caressing his new baby cousin so gently saying "Gentle baby". Those are the times when I sit back and enjoy the sweet music that my husband and I spend so much time trying to compose.

Maybe today take time to appreciate the things that you have worked to create, whether it is a sweet comment from your child or a project at work. Whatever it may be, make sure you acknowledge yourself for the good things that you do so that you continue to have the drive and inspiration to do more.

Have a great day. Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

To Live and Parent like Erma Bombeck

By: Alexandra Holmes

Before I start, today is my mother's birthday! Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and I hope you know that you are who helped mold me into the person that I am today and I appreciate everything that you have done for me and my family.

In honor of my mother's birthday I wanted to talk about another mother who has had a lot of impact on me. Erma Bombeck.

Erma Bombeck was a well known writer, journalist, and humorist in the 60's and 70's who really broke ground for women in many ways. She gave voice to many suburban housewives with her wit and fearless observations of family life and parenting.

I have looked up to her as a writer from before I had any children and since having a family I have looked to her as a mentor on how to look at life and being a mother. She was never afraid to make honest observations on the accurate, laughable, and often ridiculous parts of parenting, marriage, and life. Many of the topics that she wrote about in her columns and books transcend time and can still apply to most mothers and are still just as humorous today at they were when she first penned them.

She has played a large role in molding me into the type of parent that I am, I try to have boundaries and rules but I make sure to not  take myself or the endless list of mommy dos and don'ts too seriously.

One of her more famous quotes and also one of my favorites is "Housework, if you do it right, can kill you."

Some other great quips from her are:

"All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with white carpet is one of them."

"Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you."

"Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving."

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.”

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.”

My greatest dream as a writer would be to have at least a small amount of the type of impact that she had, she brought humor and wit back into the lives of women and also showed men a thing or two about comedy. She was very involved in the women's equal rights movement and continuously broke through glass ceilings and helped make many options more available to women in journalism as well as many other areas.

If you don't know much about her or just need a good dose of humor in your life then I suggest you look her up and read some of her work. She has taught me that motherhood is so much more fun when you can actually enjoy it!

The site below has some great information about her life and her work, I enjoy reading about her life as much as I do her work so you might too. 

Erma's Life

*BONUS: See Below for a great short story from Erma Bombeck on the creation of mothers.

Thanks for Visiting!

-- Alex


When God Created Mothers
By: Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

“I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

“There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

“You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”


I hope you enjoyed! Please take time to look around and you can join my page as a follower or sign up to follow by email. I appreciate you visiting and hope you come back soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Funny Boy

I had to share this video. This is Aidan, my 3 year old, "reading" us a book. We have read this book many times so he is going from memory but it just cracks me up how he makes his own version of it.

It is also a little glimpse into the constant chaos in our house.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Money Saving Mom: Free Printable Lunchbox Notes

These are so cute! I can't wait to get to pack my little guys' lunches and write them notes while they are still young enough to like them and not be embarrassed.