Friday, January 31, 2014

Birmingham Snow Shuts Down the City

Hansel and Gretel Courtyard

Tuesday morning I woke up with a smile on my face. One of my best friends, Ashlee came to Birmingham for my birthday party at Bottle Tree the night before and we were going to have a fun day playing. The kids went to school and we sat and drank coffee enjoying the view of Hansel and Gretel and reminiscing about the songs my new favorite singer, Davin McCoy, sang the night before. I heard him at the Songwriter's Fest the weekend before and fell head over heals. Connor surprised me on Friday saying he was coming on Monday! So incredibly blessed with that guy. Connor not Davin. (wink)

I was on the phone with another friend laughing about the events from the night before and I saw a few snow flakes. It was that whole, "Oh, look! It's snowing!" Ashlee asked how I could even see those flakes they were so small. She declared, "It's just flurries.". She had an appointment with TMB Skin Clinic at 11:00, I was going to go with her and then it was lunch, shopping and playing for a few hours. OH, I forgot Connor's car battery was dead and he had to jump it off before he left for work. I'm thinking that was around 9:00. Ashlee and I decided we should get up and get going, so we started getting ready. As we were finishing up, Connor called and asked if the I thought school would get out early. Why in the world would they? I looked outside, the ground was covered and snow was falling as fast as it could! How wonderful! 5 minutes later, I got the phone call, school would be out at 11:30. Ashlee's car was still at Bottle Tree, we needed to pick that up, go to her appointment and get back before the kids got out. We had an hour. Still just taking our sweet little time and trying to look cute for the day, we finally got upstairs and realized there was no time to get her car, that could wait. MY CAR HAD BEEN RUNNING SINCE CONNOR LEFT! #seriously

My driveway!

We start out of my neighborhood toward TMB, there's a hill to climb. It's covered in snow. There are cars going up…slowly. Ok, no biggie, let's get her to her appointment, I will drop her off, go pick up kids and head back to pick her up. We make it up the hill. People are turning around. I freak out a little. These people are panicking. They are worried about not making it over that hill and back. My kid's school is on this side of the hill. I look at Ashlee and say, "We have to go get the kids!". 30 minutes before they are letting them out. I get gas since the light is on….just in case. I tell Ashlee to get some snacks inside the gas station. I go in to help her, she has nothing. She's looking at Vienna sausages and mac n cheese single servings. No, Ashlee, we need chips and salsa, doritos and junk food! It's a snow day!

We jump on Hwy. 119 and this is what we see.

Not a lot of cars, but a lot of snow. I pull in the parking lot and decide to go ahead and go inside. I've since talked to two different parents and need to pick up 3 extra kids. The check out desk was diligent with her "rules" and I had to tell her each kids name one at a time and she had to double check that I was on each ones list. The last two? I was not on their list. She wouldn't let me have them. I told her I would just grab them in the parking lot. Abduct much? I stood in the hall as John Connor walked around the corner in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. All the parents just stared at him, shook their heads and then found me. Yes, he's mine, he only wears shorts. If he's comfortable, I'm comfortable, ok? Sophie walked up next, then Emma with Caelis, "Can Caelis go home with us?", sure. Bryson, one of the kids I'm abducting and we set out to find her brother. I just tell them where the car is and we head out. Guess what? I have 2 seats. 6 kids and 2 seats. Pile in the back, kids. I know it's snowing, the roads are slick, but I was not prepared!! We pull out of the parking lot, to the left 119 is backed up, we can go the other way to pick up Conor from the high school. I'm crossing my fingers we make it the 3/4 of a mile home. As we turn the corner to the high school, it's pretty backed up but moving. We are trying to call Conor and get him to walk down the hill. There are high school kids walking around everywhere. The signal is horrible…has been for the last hour. We finally get him and he's already started walking. We pick him up at our road and he jumps in…that makes 7 kids, 9 people with 4 seat belts. We are on the home stretch, though! Our house is a winter wonderland!! We all pile out and snowballs start to form and be thrown. They can't wait to get on the trampoline and bounce all that snow off!

In the meantime, Ashlee is a little worried about her car, oh and getting home!! She's from Florence, Alabama where it isn't snowing at all. Our first priority is feeding all these kids. If you know me…I do not cook. Seriously, never. My husband cooks and buys groceries on the day that he decides to cook because we eat out 5 nights a week. I'm not kidding, at all. I know we have frozen PBJ and maybe some eggs. We did buy a loaf of bread. Toast? Emma starts making cheese quesadillas for everyone. She's 14. She's so smart. I thaw out some deer meat and find a chili seasoning packet in the pantry. We put on a pot of chili. (I know how to cook some things, I just choose not to) We feel pretty good about the situation. Then we start watching the news and I start getting text and phone calls from friends that are stranded or their kids are still at school. The buses in our district never even left. The next area over sent their buses out and had to turn around or leave their bus. My MIL had to be rescued with her bus full of kids. They were coming home from a field trip. There were teachers on the bus, but she was stuck on the interstate for 2 1/2 hours!!! She said there were so many people helping move cars out of the way. They got a police escort, meaning she still had to drive her bus full of kids through the mess! Thankfully, she delivered them all safely. I felt so much panic for all of those mothers. One of the mothers of the kids I had had to abandon cars and walk home. One was on an airplane and was rerouted to Memphis. She wasn't going to be home until Wednesday. That hill I mentioned earlier, well…those panicky people? They panicked, slid, got slammed by other cars, and realizing they weren't going anywhere anytime soon, abandoned their cars. Panick. I was safe at home, with my kids, my friend and I were panicking for them. Connor was in a meeting, remember? He was in Vestavia, which is not too close to home when there's a blizzard and cars are stuck ALL OVER THE INTERSTATE! He has 4WD and believe me, he was going to take advantage. He is not a patient-sit-in-traffic kind of guy. He was off-roading and taking the "back way" all the way home. Remember the panic? People needed to call people, the phone lines were jammed and not a lot of talking was going on. We were just texting to find out where he was and how bad it was. He was updating and it only took him a few hours to get home. On the way, he was picking up old ladies that had abandoned their cars and taking them up the hill to the church. One told him her car was sliding and she just opened the door and rolled out, letting her car slide away. STOP.THE.MADNESS! I was so glad when he made it, but we still had friends that were stranded. My other friend, Ashlee, really how many people have two besties named Ashlee with 2 EE's? Me. So, she and her mom were on their way to UAB to see her Mom's hubby that had been admitted the day before, when they realized they couldn't make it. Heading down 119 from HWY 280, toward home, they made the 5 mile trek in 3 1/2 hours!! Sliding, blocking traffic, creeping home. Her mom is in a wheelchair…no chance of walking home! They made it to the entrance of her neighborhood about the time Connor with the 4WD got home. He went to help and some other sweet samaritan had already come to the rescue. When he got home, he said it was terrible with all of the cars all over the roads, abandoned. What is going to happen to those people that got out of their cars in the snow and less than 20 degree weather?

We just sat and watched it all unfold on Facebook and the news. The kids were happy and warm and fed, so all we could do was wait. If there was someone in need that we could help, we were ready.

It took my brother 6 hours to get to his kids. Speaking of kids stranded at the schools, there were 1,000's, seriously THOUSANDS, that had to spend the night at school. Not just middle schoolers who were glad to hang out with their friends all night, but preschoolers, kindergarteners, teachers who rocked them to sleep that night.

So many were on the highway over night, in their cars, with limited gas and some without chargers for their phones. A friend's sister was on the highway overnight and sent a picture of around midnight when they were standing on the side of the road by a fire. Gas was limited and it was the only way to keep warm. One friend was sliding down a hill uncontrollably in her car and was hit multiple times. She got out of the car and walked to the hospital nearby. Thankfully, a friend picked her up so that she would have a bed to sleep in. Her husband stayed at work all night trying to get trucks in and her boys were safe with family or in college within walking distance of all that he needed. Another friend also slid down a hill, had a wreck and ended up in a hotel room with a stranger as a roommate. She gave a blanket to a fellow stranded driver that was sleeping in the hallway of the hotel!! There are so many more stories just like these, some a lot worse and some not near as bad. Never the less, we all have a story about this Snowopacalypse of 2014. We were supposed to get a dusting. Our friends on the coast cancelled school this day and the next because they were supposed to get snow. I think they did, but nothing like what we got. Our weather people got it wrong, but man, I don't envy that job. I know they do their best and we have some of the best in the country in our area. I sure don't blame them or anyone for what happened. We get made fun of when there is a chance of flurries around here. The grocery stores have bare shelves of milk and bread and some of my snarky friends make snarky comments laughing at themselves, us southerners. We just aren't equipped, we don't have to deal with it like those northerners do. Remember at the beginning when I said my son was in shorts and tshirt? He has one pair of pants and one small under armor lightweight jacket that I BEG him to wear when it's below 20 degrees. I had on a shirt, jeans and boots that day….with a scarf. No coat, no socks, one layer. We play in the sunshine 9 months out of the year. If it gets cold, it's usually in the 40's. Our city was shutdown on Tuesday and finally made it's way out yesterday, for the most part. My kids are home again today and yes, my son is sitting next to me dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He's heading to Arkansas with his best friend to go duck hunting. He has his camo….he'll be outside for a long time in the cold. He can handle it!

My friend, Ashlee finally got to go home yesterday, we ate chili and soup and chips and crackers, made cookies and ate the dough. I enjoyed having her here so much and can't believe she's not sitting on the couch with me again today.

Happy Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, brrrrrrmingham snow 2014!!!

Hansel and Gretel Barn

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Atlanta's America's Mart Gift Market

That's a tongue twister! I just got home from market and as usual was clearly inspired! There were several fun trends I picked up on. It's funny how the trends sneak in and then, with our web-based lives, they take over!! I think we are all tired of chevron (I've never been a fan of it everywhere), antlers, they didn't really last long. They went from I don't want a dead animal on my wall to fake dead animals on every wall! ugh.

This market had a few of those left overs, but the brands have to find the trend almost a year in advance! They are already in China sourcing what we will love in 2015!! woah. that sounds crazy! We enjoy going to Creative Co-op. They do a great job of sourcing and making those reproductions look real. We love their lighting and furniture, but The Spotted Zebra is more of a gift shop. In January, we jump right into Christmas. yes, I haven't even gotten all of mine out of my house from December and I'm picking out new for 2014! It's a little unnerving. Let me tell you there will be woodland holidays everywhere! Hansel and Gretel will have fake critters on every mantel if I'm not careful! Owls, squirrels, foxes, did I say fox? Yes, there was a fox in EVERY showroom. I sang that song, you know the one, all day everyday! Honestly, we didn't buy a lot of it. It seemed a bit over done. I think we will be tired of the fox. Won't we? Please say yes.

We got to see old friends, like Thom, at Creative Co-Op.

We also met new friends, well, we've been friends on Instagram for like EVER, but I met Brian Patrick Flynn in one of my favorite showrooms, Blue Ocean Traders. He is a designer and producer at Flynnside Out Productions that lives bi-coastal and I love his style. The fact that he knew who I was and said I was pretty was just icing on the cake! I shared some of my "market tips" with him. He's not used to the mart. Oh, BPF, let me show you the way!

We weren't just there for The Spotted Zebra, Lucy Lockets got some new trinkets and chain for Spring! I have several stores waiting on jewelry. Hopefully, it's in a store near you! If not, let me know and I can contact them!

I found several light fixtures that will be great for Moon Glow. Do you buy lighting just because you love it? Or do you find a spot for it first? These will have a place, just not sure where, yet!!

I love these! I already have a pair of AMAZING pendants for the kitchen at Moon Glow….oh, maybe these can go to the cabin on Lake Martin! That's a new project I picked up yesterday! I'm so excited about it. It's being completely gutted, so it's like starting fresh!

 Gorgeous mirrors at Blue Ocean Traders. I could fill a crate at this place!

Textured wall paper, covered books and dachshund dogs were everywhere! This was in the Creative Co-Op showroom. 

One of my favorite showrooms for their displays is Demdaco. This wall made into a flag with mason jars. Yes, please.

  Another display at Demdaco. It reminds me of the gym flooring Layla used from Southern Accents several years ago. I love the way they spaced it. I'm thinking we can do something like this at Southern Makers this year!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Little Word for 2014 - Mindful

Resolutions, Goals, Intentions, One Little Word

Some call them different things, in the end, they are all the same. Resolutions can be broken, goals not reached, intentions forgotten, that one little word lost in the shuffle. 

I think I will put down on paper all of them. Just set myself up with things I know I need to do and hope that I can follow through!! 

My word for 2014 is Mindful. It came to me in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. I do so much and I want to be mindful in each moment. Sometimes, I can't remember the moments because I've already moved on to the next thing. I want to slow down enough to be thoughtful about what I'm doing. 

Living our lives to better ourselves and those around us. Become a better you and reflect that light on others. It will shine from you and reflect on those around you.  We can make the world a better place. Believe it can be done and it will be. Here's to 2014. My 42 year on this earth, the 18th year of my marriage, 14th year with my daughter and 12th year with my son. I can't wait to see what God has planned for us!