Monday, December 1

Riding Horses and A New Roof for SawGrass

Our after Thanksgiving trip to SawGrass was a chilly one! Thank goodness the clouds held the rain in until we were super close to the lodge!

Papa rode his new favorite horse Red (he also calls him Blaze).

Jared riding Comet over Snake Pass! I love this pic... it's a framer!

Beau riding Dapple Grey. He was in front of us most of the ride so the best pics I have of him are him looking back at me.

Here is Beau's right profile shot! :)

Jared at least had a hood on for when it started to sprinkle. See his hands are covered up... I told him to wear gloves. :)

Time to feed!
Meow taunting Miami who was waiting impatiently for us to come back and let her out so she could sneak over and roll in the horse poop! She did NOT smell good for the ride home!

SawGrass's new roof Papa built recently! Nice!

Jared, Beau, and Papa after a fun ride at SawGrass plantation!

I talked Jared into stopping at Taco Casa so I could get my combination burrito, small messy nachos and a medium Mt. Dew, YUM! :)

Wednesday, October 29

What a Beautiful Morning (Continues)

Jared and I had a TiVo in 2002, which was before rewinding live tv, scheduling recordings, and recording one show while watching another live was considered a common home gadget necessity. This morning I thought to myself how nice it would be if I could just this one time rewind my life to the night before to SHUT MY GARAGE DOOR!!!
Rewind... After filling my University of Alabama tervis tumbler full of cran-grape juice as usual and grabbing a light and fit yogurt out of the fridge, peach again… I really need to go to the grocery store… I was relieved that Jared was still upstairs getting ready so he would take Miami outside to do her business and I could head to work, stop to get gas and time would still be on my side. The wind hit my face as I opened our back door thinking I sure do love that the weather is now cold enough for me to wear my super cute long twilled black, pink, and cream coat on this beautiful fall morning... Looking up and walking out to my car I wondered did I close the garage door last night or did Jared open it this morning??
Fast-forward… I was almost to work when Jared calls me, FUMING, telling me that his brand new iTouch that he got from work a week ago today for passing his CPA exams was not in his car. Flipping out, I apologized about a hundred times for not thinking about checking to see if the garage door was down last night, as I habitually do. Then he called again to ask if I had taken my beloved Jane, my GPS system, out of his car... he had barrowed her Monday b/c he was going on a business trip… “Nope” I said, a little teary eyed.
I sure am lost without Jane. :(
So, following my terrible Tuesday morning two weeks ago is today, knowing that Wednesday’s Wisteria Thief is still at large.

…what a beautiful morning! :)

Tuesday, October 14

What a Beautiful Morning

I took my time getting ready this morning. I was having a terrific straight hair day and had a cute outfit picked out for my work team photo at 2pm this afternoon. Looked in the mirror for a last second do these pants fit me alright confirmation thought then headed downstairs. I let Miami out to do her business which she did in record time. I fixed myself my usual cran-grape juice in my Alabama tervis tumbler cup and grabbed a light and fit yogurt out of the fridge, peach b/c I’m out of the better flavors, said bye to Miami and was out the door. Yesterday I had forgotten to shut our garage door so after walking to my car and setting my stuff down I fished for my garage door opener which was at the bottom of my purse, shut the door to my car and cranked her up. I then proceeded to roll down my window as I often do on a beautiful morning like today, stuck my head out and guided my way out of the driveway when BAM…SPLASH, I just realized I left my Alabama tervis tumbler cup full of cran-grape juice on the roof of my car when I went digging through my purse. The cup hit and poured from the top of my head down my cute black top into the back of my stylish red BeBe pants and onto the back seat of my car. Pausing for a moment to think how on earth I had managed to have such a Terry Hatcher from Desperate Housewives moment... I got out to access the damage to the car. I then ran upstairs to see if there was any way to avoid taking a shower; nope I could feel the ice cold cran-grape juice on my scalp. So, I took the fastest shower of my life, scrunched dried my hair so I wouldn’t have to dry it all the way, threw on an outfit and got to my car with fabric cleaner and a beach towel. Ten minutes later I was backing out of the driveway yet again, now realizing I had not reapplied make-up but kept going, this is just how I’m going to have to look for my picture.
I called Joyce, my boss, and left her a message saying "I’m late this morning it involves cran-grape juice, my hair and my car, something to look forward to; I’ll see you in 20."

Bet your morning is looking much brighter! :)

Wednesday, August 27

My Next 25 Years

Today is my Birthday. I’ve had this Tim McGraw song stuck in my head this entire week while thinking of my 25th Birthday. I’m planning to have a list of 25 things for me to check off in my next 25 years but here are the top 5 on my list for my readers that have been so patient in waiting for my next post since my long absence from blogland. :)

  1. Read the bible cover to cover: I read the Old Testaments my freshman year of college but then skipped around when I got to the New Testaments. So reading from Genesis to Revelation is going to be an important goal for me.

  2. Sky Diving: I’ve wanted to go sky diving for a long time and always said I would go before I turn 25, now I guess it will have to move to before I have kids. My sis and cousin Codie have beat me to it so anyone out there who wants to go with me, please let me know.

  3. Run: I use to love to run but then I got married, which means I got happy and lazy. I’d like to stay happy but start running again too.

  4. Meditate: My dad has meditated every evening since he was in college and loves it; I want to learn an effective way for me to meditate.

  5. Travel: So many places to go so little time (and money), the state I want to visit most is Alaska and the top two countries on my list are England and China.

Now I know this song is called My Next 30 Years but it’s my birthday blog and I can change it if I want to.

I wasn’t the cutest baby so here is a picture of me 20 years ago; I was usually found outside and dirty.

(L to R) me, Ashley (my cousin), and Jessie Dean (my big sis) playing in the pond behind the house we grew up in, Loganwood Drive, Northport, Alabama

Monday, July 21

Extreme White Water Rafting

Five fabulous couples went white water rafting this weekend down the Eccoe River.

It began on Friday afternoon when everyone met at our house to load up, girls in the Woodwards’ Envo and Guys in the Cosbys’ Pathfinder. Trip began with chatting and laughs and a half way stop at Arby’s for an early dinner. We got to our hotel, the River Suites, and separated into our two reserved rooms, 3 couples in one room and 2 couples in the other. We then all gathered in one room to play Mexican Train Dominos and Skipbo until midnightish… Jamie was the ultimate champion! Besides trying to block out the endless motorcycle noise outside our room, we got a decent nights sleep. We checked out of the hotel and had a late breakfast at the Cracker Barrel which was directly behind our hotel. Some had a much later breakfast then others. The Grizzles’ and our table got stuck with a waitress who must have forgotten to put in our order b/c the other table of 3 couples were finished and had their receipt in hand before we even got our food… Brett did give us some of their left over biscuits to hold us over. We then had about 45 minutes to waist rocking on the Cracker Barrel porch before heading to the OCC where we checked in, geared up, and were seated on a bus to head to our casting off spot on the Eccoe River.

At our cast off spot we meet Jody, he looked about 21 years old and came to the Eccoe in April from Georgia, after a 6 week training period he qualified to be a river rafting guide, and did a great job! The Hovaters were our fearless leaders and took their positions at the front of the raft. Jamie and I were protected in the middle section and the strong back seaters were Ben and Jared.

Around the 3rd rapid was where Ben flew off the back… Jody tried to grab him as soon as he hit the water but was unsuccessful. Ben had to bounce off a few rocks before we were able to bring him back in the raft. Wow, that was intense!

Jody was very entertaining as he told us the names of all the rapids and the stories behind them… I still think he made every one of them up. He also told us of the ravels between all the rafting companies around there and would make comments about how bad they are and how they always get stuck;) WE even purposely shoved one raft, from another rafting company, hard onto rocks so their guide had to get out of the raft to get his group back on course. Jody was a trip!

Half way through the rafting adventure we were able to “park” and jump off a big rock called “Jump Rock.” It was a fun breather. Jared and I jumped off three times and had to swim against the current to get back to the rock. :)

We had so much fun and I can’t wait until next year when we go for the all day rafting trip, camp in a tent and go on the five mile hike our guide was telling us about :)

Monday, July 14

A Family Beach Trip

The beach trip planning began when the Odom family invited the Bradfords to their condos in Gulf Shores. Jared wasn’t able to drive with us on Saturday so he left Saturday morning to head home to study, he had to work Monday and Tuesday. :(

Saturday morning we loaded up the cars and headed to the beach, I drove Nonnie in her car following my parents and 2 youngest brothers. We got to the Odom’s condo and found it super nice and in a great location. After unloaded the cars, Mom and I set out to stock up for a week supply of food, it took a good three hours and we still forgot stuff.

Our days at the beach were full of sun bathing and fun in the ocean, and each night I played a lot of cards (mostly STOP) with Mom, Nonnie, Colton, Clint, Jordan (Alex’s brother) and Emily (Alex’s sister). The cooking was superb; Papa and Nonnie made breakfast every morning and a mixture of all the adults would make dinner.

On an eventful Monday a baby shark swam between Clint and my legs as we awaited a wave to ride into shore. I thought it looked like a shark but didn’t want to say it out load then an older man who was standing near us saw it too… he said “did you see that shark.” Later on that day someone spotted a much larger shark and even later that day we heard of a shark attack that happened right down the beach from us, scary! -but I love the ocean so it's worth the risk:)
Jared arrived on Tuesday night, I was so happy to see him!! Wednesday Jared and I set out to the beach early, he road waves in with me and then we relaxed and just enjoyed being together. Poor Papa was laid up all week with a hurt knee so he came out to the beach and sat with us for a couple of hours but it was the only day he saw the ocean. :(

Thursday Jared went golfing with Alex while I took Colton and Clint to Waterville, a water park about 15 minutes away from our condo. The boys and I had a lot of fun. While I was checking our stuff in at the Waterville entrance Colton and Clint went ahead to the slides. When they got back I was ready to join them. I asked if they went down the blue one which of course was the one that shot straight down like a bullet. Clint avoided eye contact and an aggravated Colton said, “NO, Clint wouldn’t let me, we went down the pink one.” Defensively, Clint proceeded to tell me that Mom would not let him go down the bullet the last time they went to a water park and he didn’t know if they were “allowed to”. So we went back up the line, Clint went down the pink one again and Colton and I went down the blue one… it was SO FUN! Our next time up the stairs to get to the slides we met a nice man and his five year old son. I asked the little boy which slide he was going down and he confidently said the blue one. Colton and I looked at Clint who had turned a dark pink shade and we giggled a little, I said, “no pressure Clint you can keep going down the pink one.” At the top he gathered up the courage and went down the blue one and had a BLAST! :) He got me back on the ride home for laughing at him- Being 15 years old Clint is now an “expert” driver and purposefully got on my ever lovin’ nerves by warning me about red lights coming up half a mile away, told me what the speed limit was over and over, and acted like he was going to die the entire trip back to the condo whenever a car would change lanes in front of us… I should have made him WALK… I’m getting a little red faced just thinking about that awful drive.

Jared and I went out to eat that night to celebrate our anniversary then Friday morning we headed home to Trussville, AL. What a fun relaxing trip!

Jessica and Alex
Quick pose from the boys after playing tennis
(L to R) Jared, Jordan, Colton and Clint

Me and Jared taking a time out from the sun, it was beautiful but HOT!

Papa sitting with Clint, Papa's one look at the ocean

Emily, Jess, Jerry and Nonnie

Jess watching Jerry as she plays in the sand.

The boys and me riding the waves although it looks calm in this pic there was an undertow:)

Jared's all smiles:)

Picking up Nonnie and the boys for the Family Beach Trip

The trip began Thursday night when Jared and I offered to help Mom out by picking up Nonnie and the boys from North Alabama in order for us to leave for the beach on Satuday.

Jared and I got to Nonnie’s house in Muscle Shoals, AL around 10 pm on Thursday and spent the night with her. The next morning Nonnie had a delicious breakfast ready for us when we got up then we packed up her stuff and headed to Russellville, AL to visit my Mom’s side of the family before picking up my brothers at Rustic Youth Camp.

During our visit with my Grandparents I get 4 urgent calls from Colton, my youngest brother, within an hour asking “When are you going to be here?” “I’m ready to go?” “Where are you?” “Are you here yet, it’s raining?” So, Jared and I rushed our visit with my Grandmother, Granddaddy and Great Grandmother to come pick up the boys who we thought were dying to leave. We pull up to Rustic Youth Camp and Colton runs down the hill and said Clint, my second youngest brother, isn’t ready to leave yet… my face gets a little heated… then Colton proceeds to tell me that Clint is in the final championship game for their camp ping pong tournament. So, Clint comes down to the car (it’s still raining) and says “I’m sorry I’m in the final game I can’t leave.” So, I look over at Colton with steam blowing out my ears and asked him why on earth he rushed us to get here when Clint wasn’t ready to leave and hasn’t even started the game he has to play in. So, Jared stayed in the car with Nonnie and Miami, our dog, b/c it was raining really hard and you either had to go up or down a hill to get to where the tournament was being held. It turned out ok, I am glad I got to see Clint play he did really well but ended up coming in second place.

Colton also placed second in his ages' ping pong tournament. This picture is of Colton and his friend who was the winner:)

Below are pictures of Clint and his friends from Rustic Youth Camp

A picture of Clint's mad skills in the final ping pong match

Friday, July 4

Happy Independence Day!

Amidst all the fireworks and hot dogs, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate this day. Independence Day, the 4th of July, celebrates the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. As part of your celebration, please take a moment to remember all the men and women who are serving our country around the world to preserve our founding principles of freedom and equality.

Have a Happy and Safe July 4th!

Monday, June 30

Weekend with the Pensacola Woodwards and Disney Princesses

We arrived at the Pensacola Woodward home Thursday night around 10 PM. A tired Doug and a glowing pregnant Tiffany welcomed us at their door… the kids, Mackenzie, 5, and Will, almost 2, were asleep. We stayed up for a while catching up and talking about the weekend plans.

Friday morning, planning to go to the beach, Jared and I woke up to the pitter patter of Mackenzie trying in a mischievous way to wake us up so we could play. Around late morning, Jared and I decided to set aside our beach plans so we could spend more time with our niece and nephew. After an intense game of Disney Princess checkers (I won but Mackenzie is very good), Jared joined us in an attempt to play Disney Princess Go Fish (we later found out that we didn’t play it the right way), 2 games of Disney Princess Old Maid, and 2 games of Disney Princess Crazy 8. The morning full of games was a great learning opportunity for Jared, he now knows every Disney Princess character by name:). Soon after lunch, Jared joined Doug at the golf course while Mackenzie and I put in a DVD that instructed us on how to draw Disney Princess characters… we drew and colored Arial, it was tuff stuff but Mackenzie was satisfied, so I counted it as a success. For dinner the adults went to a delicious restaurant called the Atlantis at the Dockside Restaurant then went to the movie Wanted, which was fabulous (but beware of the goriness and language)!

Saturday morning Jared woke up early to play golf with Doug and some of Doug’s golfing buddies at their club. I began my morning playing Twister, the only non-princess game; this is the first interest Will had in joining our fun. Mackenzie and I then played one more game of Disney Princess checkers before getting ready for the beach. After picking up lunch we arrived at the parking lot near the beach at 12:30ish and lathered up the kids with spf 50. Then we hiked through the sand finding our spot in front of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Missing my feet, I then lathered myself with spf 50 before beginning the search for seashells that lasted the rest of the afternoon with Mackenzie and Tiffany… In between time Tiffany and I took turns filling Will’s bucket with water so he could pour it in his face, he is so cute! Tiffany’s dad, Luther, joined us around 2ish, with freshly cut watermelon, yum!… shortly after coming on the scene Luther took the kids up to their condo’s pool because the purple flag was up at the beach- meaning, there were many jellyfish in the ocean. Tiffany and I enjoyed the sun for a little longer then joined the kids at the pool where we were met by Doug and Jared. Following the relaxing pool time, we all went up to talk and spend time with Kathy, Tiffany’s mom, and Luther, who are the sweetest people! The men took the kids home so Tiffany and I could catch up while waiting for pizza to take home to the crew. Will finally warmed up to me and wanted me to sit by him while we ate dinner, yay! Our final game with Mackenzie took place after dinner. We played Disney Princes Monopoly, Jared’s pawn was Mulan, Mackenzie pawn was Aurora and my pawn was Bell... it was a quick version of the real monopoly game but after an hour of play it was past Mackenzie’s bedtime, for a 5 yr old her unwavering concentration is amazing!... I must confess I slipped about $20 into the bank leaving me with $3 so that I would lose and the game would end. The results of this game - Jared won by A LOT, Mackenzie came in second, and I lost. Before Mackenzie went to bed she asked her mom if Aunt Rachel was going to be here tomorrow to play, Tiffany told her no, b/c I had a baby shower to be at the next day, Mackenzie then said “Well, can uncle Jared just stay?” :)

Both Jared and I enjoyed our weekend at the Pensacola Woodward home. I loved catching up with Tiffany and playing with Mackenzie and Will. – Sorry there are no pictures from the weekend, I left my camera in my sister’s car from the previous weekend travels... oops!!

Friday, June 27

4 year Anniversary

The celebration of mine and Jared’s 4 year anniversary began early in the week when I received a beautiful yellow rose & Peruvian lily Bouquet at my office on Tuesday morning. My sweet husband’s note said that he knew they were early but he wanted me to be able to enjoy them since we were leaving for the beach Thursday, June 26th, the date of our anniversary.

Long story short…Jared and I grew up in church together at the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Katie, my mother-in-law, and my mother played match makers during a church ladies night out... shortly after that night our first date took place on October 24, 2001. 2 ½ years after our first date we were engaged, 14 months and 2 days after that we were married at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tuscaloosa. Now 4 years married we are more in love then ever enjoying our life in Birmingham, Alabama.

Friday, June 20


Jared and I are avid American Idol fans. I have to say that Idol 7 is the best season so far. I love that the right David won. Jared picked out David Cook to win at the very beginning of the competition but Cook wasn't my number one until the top 6 night. I know American Idol hype is so 4 weeks ago but I have been looking for the top 6 night when David Cook sang Music of the Night by Andrew Llyod Webber on iTunes for a while... so until I can find it to buy the YouTube video has had to fill my void.

This vocal performance by Cook gave me chill bumps I listened to it over and over on my DVR and wanted to share it with you.

Jared’s favorite performance from Cook was the night he performed Billy Jean, a modified arrangement of Chris Cornell. Please enjoy below.

Friday, June 13

The Giving Hand

This week was the anniversary of my Aunt Barbara’s death. Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer the summer of 2003. She was cancer free for almost a year. In December 2005 we found out that it had spread to her brain. Christmas 2005 the Bradford family spent in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at UAB. She was a fighter and went through treatments again. 6 months later, June 7, 2006, Barbra passed away at Hospice in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Barbara taught P.E. at Vestavia Elementary in Northport, AL she loved wearing fancy hats, strawberries in her wine, children, running, being girly with her fabulous nieces, but mostly hanging out with her 3 boys. Her husband, Brad, and 2 sons, Jake and Joe Claude were her world! She always had a smile on her face and more contagious energy than a high school cheerleader at a Friday night game… throw in 7 cans of red bull and that gives you a glimpse of a night with Barbara’s personality.

Below is a quote from the book September by Rosemound Pilcher that Nonnie, my Grandmother, read to me the day of Barbara's funeral. It was good for me to read again in remembrance of my loving aunt.
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that is always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that is ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is an absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.”

Below is the poem called The Giving Hand wrote in honor of Barbara and read at her funeral by my sister Jessica Bradford.

The Giving Hand

She’s the “hello” you love to hear
Because her voice is full of delight
Even when cheering in the fall
For the Tide on Saturday night

She’s the giver I wish I could be
The most thoughtful person I know
She wrapped presents all by-herself
Finished off perfectly with a hand-made bow

She’s got her own language,
Barbara-isms you might say
Yepper and Ugger to name a few
There was a new one from day to day

She’s always in the cutest clothes
Pink is her favorite color
She loved polka dots too,
Especially with fur on a hugger.

She’s the Mama to the college boys
Those Sigma Chi’s so far from home
Dinner at the Bradford’s in Northport
They didn’t have far to roam

She’s the first smile you see
When you walk through the door
Entertaining family and friends
There is nothing she loved more

Than to throw a party at her house
No matter the occasion
Christmas, Graduation, and Birthdays
Going to Aunt Barbara’s took little persuasion.

She always outdid herself
And made the parties grand
So thoughtful and humble
She has the giving hand

Proverbs 21:26 says
that some people always want more,
but the godly love to give.
Aunt Barbara was godly to the core.

Her giving hand is rare
But comes easily to those chosen few
Aunt Barbara had that gift
A role model for me and you.

But what gave her the most pride
What gave her the most joy
Was just to be in the presence
Of her three favorite boys

Aunt Barbara, Thank you for every memory
We will miss your energy and your love
Your humility and your smile
We’ll see you again in heaven above.

CORE Group SawGrass Weekend 2008 Extravaganza

Our CORE group went for the 3rd Annual CORE Group SawGrass Weekend Extravaganza. Filled with food catch phrase, Mexican train dominos, a numbers game, more food, four-wheeler riding, sidekick riding, horse riding, more food, fishing, tanning, more food, blog talking, teasing, even more food, late night laughter and uplifting devotionals this year’s trip was an exhilarating success!
Just about all the ladies that went are bloggers and posted something about SawGrass so please check them out and excuse my late post.Since Martina is now Prego, check out her blog and see her prego-ness, she wasn’t able to ride horses this year:( I know Cisco (AKA.. Sylvester) missed her terribly.All who came had been previous years except the Cosby’s. Ashley and Shawn Cosby joined our group last year soon after our 2007 trip to SawGrass. It was unknown to me that Shawn knew how to handle a horse until we were saddling them up… he was a huge help in taking out two groups so I could get out of the 98 degree weather. I just wanted to post a big THANK YOU to Shawn for the break;)

Thursday, June 5

The Graduate

My fabulous cousin Calli Jean graduated from Russellville High this past Friday night, which I wouldn’t have missed for SawGrass… this is saying a lot and can be taken literately:) Calli and I share many bonds but only she is the friend I can share my Gilmore-isms with and we can reminisce all that is Gilmore Girl... I’m so proud of my Calli Jean for graduating!!
Below is a video clip of Calli and her classmates throwing their hats along with pics of important viewers - without whom the ceremony would not have been the same.

Yay for the Graduate!!

Great Grandma, Grandmother and Granddaddy patiently waiting for the ceremony to begin

Codie impatiently waiting for the ceremony to begin

Codie and Rachel

Rachel, Calli and Jessica

Rachel and Calli


For you avid readers it is important to know about SawGrass b/c it will be a constant topic. It is my family's hunting lodge on 2,000 + acres of beautiful Gainesville, Alabama countryside with eight ponds throughout the property. At SawGrass I enjoy doing just about anything outdoors but riding horses is how I spend most of my time. While I do enjoy many travel spots SawGrass is my favorite place to be so naturally I reference it frequently while talking to friends and co-workers- which leads me to my next story... A fellow co-worker had learned of my love for horses and after sitting down for lunch on my second day of work at WMU she knavishly brought up that she loves horses and takes riding lessons. I immediately told her that I frequently go to my parent's lodge to ride and am always looking for people to go with me. She and others with us got excited about this so we made plans for that Saturday to drive to SawGrass for the day. Below are pics of our perfect day at SawGrass.

Leah riding Comet

Melody riding Whiskey

Sarah giving Cisco a kiss for the fabulous ride

Starting our ride toward the Southwest end of the property

We are almost across the Snake Pass, where we heard several snakes falling from the trees into the ponds

Time to feed all the horses

Below are SawGrass scenery pics

Snake Pass

Look closely and you can see a snake laying across the branches

An unforgettable beginning and ending of our day.... On the way there and back I did introduce them all to Tuscaloosa's Taco Casa - the best food ever and under the biggest cactus in town.