All posts by Amy

Dauphin Island Estuarium


We spent our second morning on the island at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium.  This was sort of spur-of-the-moment because where we really wanted to go was the beach, but the skies looked pretty ominous, so we opted for the indoor activity instead.  I didn’t take many pictures because I had other things to do, like trying to keep Benny awake in the rented umbrella stroller with the wonky wheels (fail!) and trying to keep up with the DLM who only wanted to do exactly everything his hero, my fourteen year old nephew, did.  Whew.




The DISL Estuarium really is a must-visit on the island.  See more pictures and details from our last trip here.

Dauphin Island family getaway

Dauphin Island Parkway--the bridge to the island
Dauphin Island Parkway–the bridge to the island

We spent the past week–Monday to Monday–on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama.  Steady Eddie had a work conference in Mobile, so we finagled our schedule and budget to accommodate a family vacation, too.  My parents, my sister, and my two nephews went along, and we had our first ever extended family vacation.  This wasn’t our first trip to Dauphin Island; we spent almost a week there with friends last November, and we had been at least twice before that.  It’s the perfect spot for a low-key, fun-in-the-sun getaway if you don’t mind very few tourist traps or conveniences.  (For example, there are no fast food restaurants on the island and very few restaurants, periods.  There isn’t even a regular grocery store!)



We rented a house just off Mobile Bay on the central/east end of the island.  The Heron’s Nest was such a lovely place to spend the week!

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The house is aptly named.  This fellow visited the pine tree beside the house not long after we arrived:

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We couldn’t have been happier with our rental.  It was roomy enough for all eleven of us–with a bedroom to spare since my teen nephews opted to sleep in the living room.  ;-)  What made the house extra special, though, was the view from the sun room of Mobile Bay.

Not the Bay, exactly, but a big, huge house that sits on the Bay

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The (climate controlled!) sun room was the morning gathering place.  Benny loved to look out the windows for the “big boats” with Papaw.  Mamaw sat there every morning reading Great Expectations (she’s in my IRL bookclub, too).   The girls found it to be the perfect place for lounging and reading.  The nephews and the girls (with the DLM tagging along) spent hours at the table playing Rook and Settlers of Catan.

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I’ll be sharing some of the sites we saw and fun things we did on Dauphin Island over the next few days.  Click on the Dauphin Island tag if you’re interested in reading more from past trips.


July 2014 Nightstand

What's On Your NightstandThis might just be my shortest Nightstand post to date.  My entire month has been consumed with reading Great Expectations (when I haven’t been reading here and there on the internet).   And guess what?  I’m still not through.  I’m within one hundred pages of the end, though, so there’s hope.  :-)

(I’ve shared quotes here, here, and here.)

Next up after Great Expectations are the following:

The first two, I Capture the Castle and Deconstructing Penguins, I’m reading for Annette’s Summer Reading Challenge.   I’m reading Teaching from Rest in preparation for our upcoming sixth (!!!) year of homeschooling.  The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm is a pre-pub ebook I’ve gotten through NetGalley to read in anticipation of its August publication date.   That’s a lot–possibly more than I can read in a very busy month.

Of course, I’ve been reading aloud, too.  Come back next Thursday, July 31, for this month’s Read Aloud Thursday.

What’s on Your Nightstand?

Things to accomplish before the new school year starts


Y’all, this summer is trickling through my fingers like the sand that is ground into the carpet of our van thanks to our recent beach trip.  We made a summer “bucket” list way back when the days stretched before us in blissful, endless possibility.  Then I lost the list.  Then Lulu developed bronchitis, followed swiftly and relentlessly by pneumonia.  Then the DLM broke his arm.  And it rained.  And rained.  And rained some more.

So–summer–that brief interlude of time in which I plan to accomplish every thing I can’t (or don’t) do during our regular homeschool year (all the while providing my children with nonstop fun and enjoyment ;-) ) is quickly coming to a close.  Both CBS and our homeschool co-op will resume meeting mid August, so I’m looking at about 3 1/2 weeks to do the following:

  • Take the children swimming 2-3 times a week, minimum.  Summer means swimming to me, and my girls love it.  We have relatives with pools who are more than willing for us to use theirs at will, so it’s just up to me to get us there.
  • Make some sort of window treatments for our freshly-painted dining room.  I’m leaning toward this window “mis”treatment or this faux Roman shade.
  • Finish what can be finished of the dining room:  coming up with some sort of mantle decor, finish hanging pictures, etc.
  • Order Benny’s panel (3, 6, 9, 12 month portraits, all in one big frame–maybe this is a Southern thing? ;-) ) so all the kids’ panels can finally be hung in the freshly-painted hallway.
  • Plan a time to visit a few friends.  You’d think getting together with a couple of my oldest friends who live less than an hour from me would be easy, but apparently it’s not.
  • Prep clothing for consignment.
  • Make two sets of busy bags for a busy bag swap that I am coordinating.
  • Get all the busy bags distributed.
  • Get a handle on my new position as assistant teaching director at CBS this year.  (!!!!!)
  • Plan our school year.  Yeah.  This deserves a post of its own.

Did I say I have 3 1/2 weeks to do all this?  Wow.