Wednesday, September 21, 2011


You wouldn't believe the b's, p's, and s's coming out of this girls mouth - and some better vowel sounds too!

Here are two videos I took this week. They are sort of longer than usual, but I at least know my family will enjoy them (along with Mamie and Katie D ;) ).

You might want to skip the last part of the first one when she coughs and spits out her cereal. Not too unusual around here :).


Monday, September 19, 2011

Cuscowilla Weekend

Cusco-who? If you haven’t heard of Cuscowilla Golf Resort, you might want to familiarize yourself! The Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee spent the weekend at Cuscowilla a few weekends ago for our planning meeting. The place is beautiful!

We weren’t there to do any golfing, but that didn’t hamper our weekend a the golf resort in the least. There is plenty to do there for the non-golfer!

Cuscowilla is located in Eatonton, on Lake Oconee. The villas are gorgeous! Ours was on the second floor and right on the lake. The rates for our villa were decent for even a good hotel room, but these villas were much more!

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We had a one bedroom villa with a huge bathroom, den and kitchen. The balcony was also enormous.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (85)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (86)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (87)

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (88)The kitchen was beautifully designed with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

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It didn’t take but one trip with Blair staying in a hotel room without a refrigerator to learn why we always stayed in condos on vacation! Kids + hotel + no refrigerator = not so happy mama. So… we were so thankful to have such a nice place to stay for the weekend that included not only a refrigerator but a full kitchen.

We went out for seafood the first night, and it was delicious. The place was called Moon’s, and it was right down the street from the resort.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (3)Blair playing with Brad’s hat before supper.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (16)Our fearless leader.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (14)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (17)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (18)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (21)A little cleaning to keep herself busy.

Brad and I were shocked when Blair was still eating after everyone else was finished and ready to go. We still don’t know what happened to our picky child, but we’ll be glad keep this one!

After our meeting on Saturday, we had a yummy meal at the resort grill. FB YF lake oconee 0811 (34)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (38)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (43)

Then, we headed down to the kids club and the dock where our rental boat was waiting. We enjoyed a few hours on the lake with our friends – we even got out and did some lake swimming.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (55)FB YF lake oconee 0811 (58)Captain for the day.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (65)Perfect time for a nap.

FB YF lake oconee 0811 (72)Out of all two of the pictures of me – this one is the least awkward. Really.

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That night we enjoyed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom. And yes, Blair now eats pizza too!

We had a great weekend with our Young Farmer friends and look forward to the Farm Bureau Convention in December! And Cuscowilla is definitely on our list for a quick getaway anytime – with or without kids!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The ocean has blue and white in it.

Brad and I finally took our baby to the beach… she’s only been begging to go to the ocean for about three months now. And with watermelons and my new job and no rain (still no rain), you know… vacation gets complicated. But we made it.

The trip was not a letdown either. Blair loved the ocean, the sailboats, the beach, the bubbles, the shells, the birds, the sand, the pool – she had a blast!

labor day at ormond beach 0911 (151)Me and the cheese ball.

She said, “the ocean has blue in it. The ocean has white in it too!”

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Best picture of the week!

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Blair is all about some sunscreen!

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Our condo was right on the beach. We loved it!

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Our paddle ball player!

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We build lots of sand castles. Blair did more destruction than construction!

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She’s into getting “all you sugar.”

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We watched some guys with parachutes motoring above the beach.

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The whole time we were there, we went from beach to pool and back again.

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Some kids caught some fish, and Blair enjoyed looking at and touching them.

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Brad and I both tried to ride waves and decided we were out of shape! Katia brought us some nice ones though!

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Just like the first time she came to the beach, Blair loved the birds!

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We did some good eating, laughing, and playing! And she’s already asking to go back….

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big “B” Breakthrough

We’ve had a breakthrough today. To say I’m ecstatic is an understatement.

Let me back up for a minute. It all started in August 2009 with a bag of B toys….

Just over two years ago we made our first visit for early intervention – at the Atlanta Speech School. It was decided that we would start with B words to see how Blair did. Because of the Auditory Neuropathy, we had no idea about the quality of what she was hearing. So, we were to concentrate on B words to see if we could get some verbalization. It was not long after we started that she could pick out the beads, bear, bat, ball, bird, bell, box, and so on. But she didn’t say them. She learned every toy in that bag receptively, but she never said a B.

The talking came later, but the B never did. Blair’s poor speech therapist did everything she knew to get the child to say a B. It just didn’t happen.

And this morning, it came out of the blue as Blair was saying “bye bye” to my dad as he left for work. “Bye bye!” she said, with a REAL “B” instead of a “G”!!! She’s been saying “guy guy” since she was just over a year old. I just about jumped out of my skin. I looked at my sister, “Lin, she just said a B!” Lin: “She did?!”

And she did it again. And again. And all day. My baby is finally using B!! It comes really consistently with most vowels, but oo and ee are still tough for her. And she still calls herself Gwaya, but it will come. I sure love her name, but it’s not all that easy to say!!

I have watched this video tons of times and have asked her to say a thousand B words today! I’m so proud!

At the end she says “Look Aunt Linnie, I’m putting her hair up” in typical sassyness!

Yay Blair!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Across the Branch on the Farm Monitor

Across the Branch will be featured on the Georgia Farm Bureau Farm Monitor Saturday morning (on WMAZ at 6am if you’re local). For those of you out of state who might want to see it, “like” Georgia Farm Bureau on Facebook to find the link! (You Georgia folks should “like” Georgia Farm Bureau on Facebook too!)

A story will also appear in the next issue of Farm Bureau’s Georgia Neighbors magazine.

I am honored to represent Georgia Ag bloggers – I know there are many who have more experience and do a better job with their Ag voice than I do!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cotton Elementary: Boll Maturity

What the heck is boll maturity and why does that even matter? Well, since I just found all of this out, you’re in luck!

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Brad checks boll maturity by cutting bolls open. Even though they may look similar on the outside, the insides can be quite different. By what the boll looks like on the inside, Brad can tell if he needs to get ready to defoliate or not.

boll maturity (13)These two look very similar on the outside.

Because of the drought, farmers replanted a lot of cotton this year, so we have  a couple of different ages in this one field. All three bolls he cut were in different stages of maturity.

boll maturity (7)The one on the left is mature. It is drier on the inside with cotton fibers. It was difficult to cut (because of the cotton fibers – think sawing a t-shirt in half).

boll maturity (8)It is also a bit darker around the seed – Brad is pointing to the dark with his knife. Plants with bolls like this are ready to be defoliated for harvest. After defoliation, the bolls open on up if they are ready like this one.

boll maturity (10)The one on the right has more moisture on the inside, it was easier to cut open (few to no cotton fibers) and there is no dark ring around the seeds. This boll is not ready.

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Comparison of the two: immature on the left, mature on the right.

The last one he picked was very immature. He squeezed it, and it juiced like a lemon.

boll maturity (15)It’s there on the right. You can tell the differences among the three in this picture.

The different ages in the field are due in part to the drought and having to replant. Brad will have to wait a bit more for the immature bolls to age more before he harvests this field.

Learn more about cotton in other Cotton Elementary posts or see our watermelon operation in Watermelon Elementary.

She’s going on three.

This is a list of things I’ve kept over the summer. Just for my memory and my family’s entertainment! I can’t keep up with all of the stuff now – I just laugh too often!

She likes to talk about “stuff.” “Take this stuff outside?” What are you getting at the grocery store, Blair? “Stuff.”

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Coming into Atlanta… when she saw our shiny gold capitol in the sunshine: “Do you see the light?” (This is funny because it sounds so motherly!)

Buddy, one of our dogs, ran off this week. “He’ll be right back. He went to check on something for a minute.”

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Brad was saying good bye to her after lunch. “Dada’s goin’ to work. Dada’s gon’ spray the cotton.” And Brad told her he was going to water the cotton too. “And the cotton’s gon’ drink it!”

“I’m gon’ skin you ‘bout puttin’ your hair up, Mama.”

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She’s saying “I don’t want…”, “I go get my…”, “I don’t like…” and using different verb tenses – “Mama’s gonna eat a gummy. Mama ate it.”

She wants to watch Old MacDonald every morning – while she does her breathing treatment (which she also tells me).

I tell her she’s my sweet baby, and she pats her chest and says, “No ma’am. That’s Blair!”

She loves all things hiding.

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She’s still dressing herself (emphatically – Blair do it!) and hoarding things.

015She’s not much on baby dolls, but she loves shoes!

She packs a bag to go outside to “check on the baby chickens.”

clothes and hoarding 070911 (2)How ‘bout this getup?!

Obsessed with all things new. “It’s NEW!” New ketchup, new milk, new clothes, new truck (that’s not new), and on.

Baby chickens. Loves them. She says, “Does she smell gooooood?” as her nose is buried in the feathers. Um, probably not so good smelling, baby doll.

loving chickens 070411 (4)She sings. All the time. Old McDonald (complete with an EEEEE IIIIIIII EEEEEE IIIIIIII OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO at the end and a “Yea!”) in Sunday School or during Sunday worship at a weekend Farm Bureau Conference. Oh Christmas Tree, I see the Moon, and the latest is Skip to My Lou – straight from KidSongs, cerca 1987. A flashback to my childhood days – and my attire at the time!

She gets excited about something and holds her fists up to her face and yells whatever she’s excited about: “We have to put the purple sunscreen on to go to the blue pool. It’s gon’ be cooooold!” (said really fast and really loud!)

at the pool with mama and dada 080711 (19)Right now she’s into cleaning. Surprise! That’s not new. But now she cleans things with her toothbrush. She got toothpaste on my bed the other day and brought her toothbrush in to clean it off. She also tries to scrub the mirror and the counter in the bathroom with her toothbrush. And she licks her finger to try to clean something off of her face or clean an object. Like the basketball she found in the neighbor’s garden. She tried to spit clean the stains off!

A nightly ritual is for her to have some water in her bed. It MUST have ice in it. And she sets it up in the corner of her bed when she finishes.

her water

Every day she asks to go to the ocean. And there is a list of 10 or 15 people she asks about over and over. Every time she meets someone new, she adds them to the list. We saw an older sister of one of my students in the mexican restaurant not too long ago. And to this day she still asks, “Miss Whitney?” That was the first and only time she’d ever met Whitney. And since her cousin was here a few months ago, she has asked almost every day about her and her little brother. And she answers her own question: “Caroline at her house. The baby at his house.”

She uses the potty then washes her hands all alone (if I let her!).

pool 060511 (1)Loves goggles.

Blair’s ritual when we are playing something she loves play or do: “Again.” “Again.” Ok, that’s enough. “Oooone more.” We do it again. “Oooone more.” “Laaaaast one.” “Two more.”

After a sneeze, she tells everyone – even the dogs -- “God bless you!” in the cutest high pitched voice.

And the smiles continue….