Friday, December 26, 2008


This Christmas figured to be the one where Rowan would really begin to "get it". He can identify Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, and he can say "Merry Christmas". He knows what Christmas trees are, so we decided to go out and get a real one for the first time.

As always, Tupelo featured their annual Christmas parade the first weekend in December.

And as always, Rowan loved it!

He loved it even though he had to bundle up in hat and mittens to brave the freezing cold temperatures.

Like most kids, he really likes Christmas lights, and we all enjoyed this over-the-top display in the tiny town of Cotton Plant, about half an hour from Tupelo.

The Cotton Plant Christmas display is a relatively recent phenomenom, started a couple of years ago by Steven and Christy Paul, a mid-30s couple with a couple of kids. Now it has grown to be the biggest display in northern Mississippi, with over 300 inflatable decorations. Plus they've opened up their property to the public so that gawkers can walk or drive through the labyrinth of Christmas craziness.

Of course around these parts, college football is celebrated almost as reverently as Christmas itself, especially when it comes to the rival Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Christmas is also party season for us, and we got things started in Ripley with the Elliott clan, featuring Carley's mom's brother Charlie (left), sister Betty (center, sitting next to her husband Gary), and brother Bobby (center, standing).

Carley's mom with sister Betty and sister-in-law Anne.

Rowan especially loved playing with all his cousins.

They seemed to enjoy Rowan just as much as he enjoyed them!

A few days later we got together with some Lovorn family friends for their annual solstice party. This party was a big event with at least 50 people and a huge bonfire more than 10 feet tall. Here we caught up with Carley's brother Barrett and his wife Molly, whom we rarely see now that they live in Gainesville, Florida.

We wrapped up the party circuit with the annual "How Come Christmas?" party with more Lovorn family friends.

Here at the Warriners' house, the kids and grown-ups all gathered together in the living room for the annual reading of the long-lost Christmas story after which the party is named.

Thanks to Mr. Warriner and his family for the turkey gumbo and holiday cheer!

Finally it was Christmas Eve, and we got to open all those presents that were under the tree at MeMe and Papa's house! At this point Rowan had already gotten a new pair of rain boots from his Papa, and he insisted on wearing them at all times over the next couple of days.

On Christmas morning, Carley's parents, Barrett and Molly all came to our house bright and early to see what Santa had brought for Rowan.

In addition to a big talking Elmo and a toy vacuum cleaner, he got lots of puzzles, books, and toy cars and trucks, plus some cool new clothes and even some Tennessee Titans NFL gear.

Later that day we went back to MeMe and Papa's house for Christmas "dinner" (actually lunch) - turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes and more. Here Rowan got to play with his buddy Vince.

Looking over the presents at the end of a long Christmas Day...

...and the next day...and the next...

Merry Christmas!

Go back to the Main Page.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Wednesday, November 26, 2008 to
Saturday, November 29, 2008

Once again, Carley's parents treated us to a holiday respite at their favorite beach spot on the Florida panhandle, Santa Rosa Beach. Since moving to Mississippi a couple years ago, we've been lucky enough to spend several holiday breaks at this vacation getaway near Destin, about an hour east of Pensacola, including last Thanksgiving, as well as Fourth of July 2007 and Spring Break 2007.

With both Rob and Carley's mom working as teachers in the public school system, and Carley and her dad being their own bosses at work, it's relatively easy for us all to get away a few times a year for some relaxing vacation time together. We definitely give thanks for that!

Like last year, Thanksgiving Dinner was once again at the fantastic Cafe Thirty-A. Rowan enjoyed his "kid-size" turkey dinner, which was far more than he could finish. You can imagine what the regular turkey dinner plate looked like!

He especially loved his dessert - ice cream!

We enjoyed decent weather with high temperatures in the low 70s, so there was plenty of fun to be had on the beach!






Yes, life is good.


Back to Main Page

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Lyric Theatre
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The night after the election, Rob rode over to nearby Oxford with a crew of friends for our favorite band, STS9. A fusion of electronica, jazz, and industrial rock, this all instrumental band originally from Georgia has been a constant theme in our lives ever since we met each other at one of their concerts 5 years ago. Unfortunately, Carley couldn't make it to this show because she had a stomach virus when she got back home from St. Louis. :-(

Like most STS9 shows these days, they played a lot of their newer material, as well as a handful of classics such as What Is Love, And Some Are Angels and Moonsocket. The trend lately has been a deep, dark, dirty style of improvisation, and tonight was no exception. Bring on the DIRTY NINE!

Moon Socket
...And Some Are Angels
Lo Swaga
Dem Be
The New Soma
Open E >
(ambient interlude)
Crystal Instrument
Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist

What Is Love?

The show took place at the brand new Lyric Theatre, which just opened a few months ago. A medium-sized venue with a nice balcony, The Lyric was a great place for an STS9 show, with excellent sound and plenty of room for people to get down to the nasty grooves. It seemed like at least 1000 people were in attendance, and the crowd was fired up and enthusiastic from the start. After the show, there was an exuberant buzz in the air as the crowd spilled into the street, and the police had a bit of a time clearing things out so that traffic could flow. What a wonderful Wednesday night!

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

As the election got closer and closer, we thought often about our friend Peachy (Carley's best friend from college and Rowan's godmomma), who has spent the past year working on Barack Obama's presidential campaign. When we last saw her in early January, she was running a regional campaign office in Greenville, South Carolina. However, since the summer, she's been in St. Louis serving as Obama's state field director for her home-state of Missouri.

Carley and her dad heeded the call for "all hands on deck" on election day, and they made the 6-hour drive to St. Louis on Monday afternoon. Rob stayed home with Rowan and anxiously watched the news until that glorious moment at 10pm CST on Tuesday evening.

Carley didn't actually get to see Peachy, but that was alright since they were there to work. Peachy was in an undisclosed location with the rest of the campaign's top brass, but they did get to check out her operation and work the phone banks on Monday night.

This guy, Sam, was from Australia and had been in the U.S. for three months volunteering for the Obama campaign. I guess the rest of the world was fed up with us making poor decisions!

Carley and her dad were at their staging location by 5:00am and at the polls by 5:30. This is the line at 5:30 in the morning that wrapped around the building and down the block.

Jean, our polling place captain, was part of the Ward 18 crew along with her daughter Yolanda, the spunky Sharese, our legal observer Iliana and Vera, founder of Justice Watch/Color of Justice-St. Louis ( - go sign the petition!)

Carley talks to a voter about his rights.

Inside our polling place.

Our polling place was a high school. The students above couldn't vote but they made their opinions known.

The lady above doing curbside voting was 100 years old. This was probably the biggest tearjerker of Carley's day. Just think, she couldn't even vote until she was nearly 60, and she got to vote for a black man - and he WON!!!

Carley and Ward 18 Democratic chairwoman Carla at 7:30pm, after a long day at the polls.

Carley and Rob shared happy tears over the phone later that night when the results came in. We are so excited that the majority of our compatriots recognized a great leader in Barack Obama, and we are ready to work for change over the next 4 (and hopefully 8) years!! YES WE DID!!!!

Back to Main Page

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee Titans
Sunday, November 2, 2008

A couple days after Halloween, we made the 3-1/2 hour drive to Nashville for some more football.

This time it was the Green Bay Packers (and their distinctively clad fans, with cheeseheads and all things yellow) in town for a matchup with the undefeated Tennessee Titans.

The Titans won the game in overtime, 19-16.

We made the trip with Carley's good friend from high school, Nikki, and her husband Jonathan. They have a daughter about 6 months younger than Rowan, and they live just up the street from us now, so we look forward to spending more time with them.

Big thanks to Carley's dad, who hooked us up with excellent seats in the Club section!!

Back to Main Page.