Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Since this is TEAM Southards and not ERIN Southards, I am here to share news about our Team Captain, Mr. Southards. For those of you who don't have hunters in your life, you might not completely get it, but if you are a hunting widow like myself, you will understand how excited I am that Steve killed his buck early in the season.  More family time. I am just so excited that he got this deer, read his story below.

I love it when a plan comes together.  This is exactly what happened last night.  Since July I had been seeing a deer I lovingly refer to as “Hollywood.”  He earned his name because of the several camera appearance he made from four different locations.   His tine length, split G2 and kicker on G3 made him the deer I was hoping to catch up with at some point this fall.  It happened last night at 7:30.  I was hunting a new stand on the far side of a soybean field.  I walked in a different path last night thinking a deer might come from my west.  Turns out “Hollywood” did just that.  He came to the field toward final shooting light and grazed his way to me, presenting a shot around 100 yards.  Although I knew he was a shooter, I wasn’t sure at the time it was “Hollywood.”  Realizing I was shaking like a leaf, I decided to take my eyes off of the antlers and focus on the shot.  Aiming through the nerves, the 50 cal powerbelt was sent, providing the glorious sounding “thud” of a hard hit.  As the smoked from my muzzleloader cleared, I could see him running a hard circle in the field and then crashing 60 yards from the field’s edge.  I gave him 15 minutes, but couldn’t wait to get my hands on the antlers that I had been looking at since July.  Turns out finding deer in soy beans is harder than it looks but it wasn’t long and the months of watching and waiting paid off in the moment my flashlight came across his white belly.  

For those interested, the rough score brought him in at 153 inches. 

Hard to describe the satisfying feeling when a plan comes together.  As we all know, sometimes it happens like that but truthfully, most of the time it doesn’ least for me.  But I guess that is what keeps me hungry for the hunt.

Here is to a great fall, moments with God in the woods, and stories that we will tell for years to come!


These are the pictures he got from his Trail camera - you can say he has been stalking this guy for awhile

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this bad boy will soon be hanging on our walls (in the man cave). Never did I think I would marry a hunter. I thought my husband would be toting his golf clubs, sporting his khaki's and a bring pink polo, instead I have a husband who has guns and makes camo look very hot! God's got jokes!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Loving Fall

We have been eating up this weather, spending as much time outside as we can. I understand better why when we lived in Florida, Steve missed fall.  This past weekend was so nice to be home.

We went and hiked, had a date night,  I had a girls breakfast out, such a pleasant weekend.

Sister wanted to be carried, we laughed because we can imagine Buster running away from us, not wanting to be held back, while sister wants to be nice and close.

Oh my first Pumpkin Spice Latte! I was giddy over the weather, time with family and my fall drink!

Our terrible attempt at a family pic :)

For date night, our sweet friends Dave and Amber watched the kiddos. Steve and I haven't had a date night in about 6 weeks (a really long time for us), since we have been traveling so much. We had a coupon ( where you had to spend a certain amount of money for your coupon to work. Needless to say, it was a lot more food than we needed, it was the family feast for 4-6 people.  I am still eating off some of the leftovers!

My girlfriend Brandie turned 30 last week, so we had a girl date out Saturday morning. We had breakfast and watched a movie. She is ready to have her #2 (a little boy) any day, so we so enjoyed the time away from our kiddos and before little man enters the world. 

Such a restful, family filled weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


So yesterday afternoon during my non-motivated day, the kids and I painted. Just some good old finger painting. 

Buster painted with pudding

The following pictures represent a biased mother who thinks her son is so stinkin cute that she couldn't decide which 1 picture to post, so they are all included :)

That is a face he must have learned from his sister

Speaking of sister, here I was running around the house chasing her as she told me NO she didn't want her picture taken

Happy Thursday all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No motivation Day

Today is a day that I have no motivation. Sunday the kids I returned from traveling for the 4th weekend in a row. 3 out of 4 of the weekends were trips more than 4 hours long one way. I drove them myself this weekend to St. Louis to see "My Big Benny" (as sister refers to him as) watch football. We had a great weekend, all the traveling we had was wonderful. I knew that it would be a whirlwind month and it was. (Steve was in Nashville before the weekend and Florida for the 2nd half of the weekend, so he flew in and out of St. Louis, we were glad we got to see him in the week he was away).

Buster fell asleep and was warm under blankets in the stroller. It was a rainy, cool night for football and they won 49-6!

My in-laws :)

I am thankful to be home. I love coming home. I really love our house, our neighborhood, our friends, our church, our city. Since traveling so much everyone has been thrown off on sleep, and it has taken it's toll the most on little man. While traveling I was quick to jump to his cries in the night, and he often got the boob to keep him quiet and got to lay with me in my bed, since I didn't want to wake the whole house and we often all 4 slept in the same room so I didn't want to wake sister either. His sleep the last month has been terrible, and now that we are back home, my once great self-soother, has been screaming to go down for naps and night time. I do everything I know, and as soon as he is laid in that bed, he screams. Most nights he is up screaming multiple times as well.  I really think it is just readjusting to having to self soothe again or the fact that he has learned to stand in his crib and stands screaming, as soon as I put in down, he is up again. Boy am I tired. 

Back to my lack of motivation today, I have laundry piled up, mail piled up, emails piled up,  suitcases that still need to be unpacked, piles of all sorts of other things as well. Dirty bathrooms, dirty floors, dust covering my home, projects piled up that I want to finish, but I sit here with no motivation. 

Old picture I never shared. One of their first baths, now it is a regular thing.
Just one of those days, I know everything will get done eventually, it probably definitely won't be today. That is ok, I don't have it all together all the time, I am human. At least these 2 kids are fed and alive. Kinda fed, sister fought lunch (it was her dinner left over from last night she refused to eat), so really she might not be fed well, her choice though.

So to my husband who reads this blog and asked about clean underwear this morning, the house will be clean again, our life will be organized soon enough, and the good news is I used our Kohl's cash to buy your more underwear this morning :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Buster @ 9 months

Buster Brown is 9 months old! 

Not only are we crawling, but we explore everywhere and everything

Like stairs, we worked on going down them on his belly, he just thought it was a fun game where he crawled up and I slid him down

He has 4 teeth right now, but I feel another one breaking through. He smiles all the time. He is very social and loves being around people. His crankiest times are when he is not getting attention.

Everything goes in the mouth. Luckily Payton doesn't have any toys that have small pieces, so I don't have to worry about that. I might put a ban on small pieced toys from entering our house.

He loves to eat all by himself. We are over baby food, little man likes his peas, avocados, black beans, peaches, bananas, cheerios, graham crackers, kidney beans, and bread.

He stands all the time, and is a determined little guy.

He has been waking again at night. I am not sure if it teeth or since we have traveled 4 weekends in a row I have had to go to him for every cry so he doesn't wake the house, I think he is getting used to the attention. We will have to work on that :) I love cuddling but not all night long, momma loves her sleep. He is still right under 20 pounds, average for the growth chart. 
Here is a picture of sister at 9 months (she did her nose wrinkle then too), I am bummed because I don't think Buster's hair is going to curl like sisters, you can tell the difference in texture.

Also, for you observant folks, you can see in the pictures above that I am in the middle of transforming our front formal dining/formal sitting area into a playroom for the kiddos. I have a few things to finish up and I will share once it is done. I am thinking about painting a jute rug, anyone done that before and have advice?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Look who is crawling

Buster is on the move. He has been crawling for about 2.5 weeks (at about 8.5 months, same as Sister) and he is in to everything. 

By the way, the mullet has been cut :)

One of his favorite toys
Life just got busier.

The good news is this stinker keeps an eye on him and reports everything he does

I often find them in her fort together
Back to baby-proofing the house again :)

Also, Happy Birthday to my momma! I am blessed beyond words to have you as a mother and role model. Thanks for not only being my mom, but my best friend in life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review

I have been picking up some books from the library recently and this was my latest read.  I really connected with this book. I am trying to live the "less is more" philosophy and this book was a great encouragement to keep down that path. Here are my random notes/thoughts on the book.

      • The benefits of living with less, you get more:
              • Availability
              • Peace
              • Patience
              • Kindness
              • Joy
              • Health
              • Organization
              • Energy & Intentionality (in marriage and parenting)
              • Attentiveness
              • Time
              • Margin

Living in the instant gratification culture and "keeping up with the jones's" mentality, we need to stop making comparison
      • Develop thankful attitudes
      • Establish reasonable standard of living
      • Discern between needs and wants
      • Recognize appearances are not necessarily accurate
      • Ask God for help
Contentment isn't having what you want, it's wanting nothing more than what you already have. The comparison game starts with toddlers, they want the toy the other child has.

There are 2 types of sacrifice
  1. Constructive Sacrifice (necessary, helpful, beneficial to the family during seasons of life)
      • Comfort
      • Sleep
      • Hobbies
      • Entertainment/recreational activities
      • Career
  2. Destructive Sacrifice
      • Relationship with God
      • Marriage
      • Identity (Identity is based on how God sees us, not external - kids behavior is not tied to us)

The book is broken down into 3 Parts (Vision, Attitudes, Actions).

Part 1 Vision
Chapter 1 Less Is Really More
Chapter 2 Redefining More

Part 2 Attitudes
Chapter 3 Countercultural Mindset: It's an Out-of-This-World Experience
Chapter 4 Contentment: Living with Less and Liking It
Chapter 5 Sacrifice: Forfeit to Win!
Chapter 6 Simplicity: Sometimes Less Really Is More
Chapter 7 Frugality: Living with More Time and Less Money
Chapter 8 Faith: Ordinary People Trusting in an Extraordinary God
Chapter 9 Community: You Can't Do This Alone

Part 3 Actions
Chapter 10 Finances: Budget Is Not a Bad Word and Cash Really Is in Vogue
Chapter 11 Savings, Investments and Insurance: It's All about the Risk
Chapter 12 Food and Clothing: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Chapter 13 Housing: There's No Place Like Home
Chapter 14 Transportation: You're driving Me Crazy
Chapter 15 Holidays: Santa's on a Budget and Vacation is a Nonnegotiable
Chapter 16 College: Higher Education at Lower Cost
Chapter 17 Income: Make Money Doing What You Love
Chapter 18 Are You a Less-Is-More Family?

For me the book didn't have earth shattering new information, but was a great encouragement, supporting choices we have made as a family.

A few decisions we have made as a family to live with less, is to first off say NO to many good things. We could have our kids a part of many more activities, we could be on different adult sport teams, we could fill up our calendar with more social things, but as a family we have decided to protect our time for ourselves. It seems life is already so busy with the things we do allow on the calendar, that we really want to make sure we have down, fun, playtime as a family.

We have decided to sacrifice finances for time, availability, peace, joy, margin, energy. By me staying home we have have given up freedom to spend money for freedom that does not have a price tag. We are very aware of our money and how it is spent. We have a budget, and we live by it. We give, we invest, we save and then we spend. Money used to be a huge area of arguments for Steve and me. Through many tough conversations, we have gotten to a point where we most often live with financial peace. We don't buy things we can't afford. We don't have debt except a home. Our van we recently bought, we skimped and saved for a few years, and paid cash. There was so much freedom to not owe anyone. I have a very limited "slush" fund each month to spend on anything nonessential (decorating, crafts, clothes, accessories, etc). The limited amount has actually worked well at allowing me freedom to splurge on what I want (without worrying what Steve will say) and has caused me to consider every purchase carefully, often preventing "excess" from entering our lives.

I don't say these things to ask for a pat on the back. I really don't need that, I know how we live is so counter-culture to many people. I am ok with that. I have so much contentment in my life, I am so blessed in many ways. I appreciate the people in my life and I want to give them one of the greatest gifts, TIME.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lake with friends

We went to the lake with some friends this past weekend and had an absolute blast. The weather was about as perfect as we could have asked for. 70's in the day, so pleasant that we pretty much spent our whole time outside. We played hard with the kids during the day, took naps while they napped, ate yummy food the whole time, and stayed up late (well late for us) by the campfire. We had deep authentic conversations, and laughed at each other so much I had tears in my eyes. We are blessed to have such great friends. We might just have to make this an annual trip with friends.

E-man and Sister

The Zimmers

Paddle boat with daddy and Matt

Mindy, myself and Candice (I think this is the only picture I am in, proof that I was there)

I think every meal was outside, it was that beautiful!

Lot's of swinging

Hanging in the hammock

Lot's of ladderball

Lot's of taunting when you win ladderball

More swinging

Lot's of roasting marshmallows

Sister said marshmallow's were her favorite part

These 2 goonballs used dryer sheets to keep the bugs away since we didn't have any spray

The men with their fish

cleaning the catch

E-man has a great smile

Sister wrinkling that nose

Matt and Mindy