Two Thirds

66.667% of the subjects in this photo have their eyes closed.

kids on the porch

One of my favorite things about our house is the big front porch.  

Jo likes to sit and chat with her dad.

Navy likes to snuggle her dad too.

And Baylor? Well he likes to crawl through the windows naked.


What I've Learned From My Mom

In honor of my mom's recent birthday, I thought I'd show my affection for her in the Stephens family love language: by flattering her.  So here are all the things I've learned from my Mom.

Take risks. Like holding a toddler while wearing a tube top.

Colorblock like nobody's business.

Show off your domestic talent by MAKING CLOTHES for your kids.  Case in point? My floral MC Hammer pants.

Don't let people give you crap for a little show-boating.  Every photo needs a focal point, so why not be it?

Enjoy all of your walks down the aisle.

If you're having an adorable hair day, accentuate with a headband.

And if you're having a horrid hair day? Hide it with a kerchief.

Oh and if you have a perm...

Coordinate it with your husband's

(because I KNOW this will be brought up, I will clarify for the record that my father never, not once, permed his hair. It really was that curly. My mom copied HIM.)

Glamour shots don't have to look cheap.  But they do have to look dated.

Lounge when you can

and fight like hell when you have to.

Learn all your mom's cooking secrets.

If you want a picture of your flowers, make the kids stand in the yard and pretend you're photographing them.

Cultivating a healthy level of fear in your kids will allow you to guide and direct them with so little as a single menacing look.

Pearls are timeless.

A modest robe is appropriate for Christmas morning photos.  Also, it is ok to style your youngest child's hair in a mullet for your own amusement.

It is perfectly acceptable to go camping and: a) pack and use a broom b)drive into town to use the laundromat and c) insist on hot showers.

Stand by your man.

When opening gifts, affecting a little shock & awe is appropriate.  Here I am practicing what my mom taught me.  You can see I have a lot to learn - her shock & awe over the baby monitor is more subtle and believable.

It takes crazy skills to photobomb yourself in your OWN PICTURE


You simply cannot go wrong with a poofy-frilly-lacey white blouse.



Point proven.

Master a craft and make your self something amazing.

Then make something for someone else.

Choose a man for the lasting qualities of is character, not his hair.

Jazz it up with sequins.

Love and care for your elders.

Be proud of your children.

Savor your grandchildren

And don't let them tell you that young love

doesn't last.


"Funny Things" courtesy of Karen Stephens

In honor of my mom's recent birthday, I thought I'd show my affection for her in the Stephens family love language: by making fun of her. So here goes.

Every time I see my mom, ESPECIALLY at large family gatherings, I am on watch.  I like to linger near her as she converses with others, or sit attentive if she decides to tell a story.  If she starts to offer advice or make demands I will drop everything and circle round to bear witness because it will almost assuredly happen then: Karen Ann Ellis Stephens will say something incredibly funny, shocking, outrageous, inaccurate, and/or offensive-without-meaning-to-be.

Disclaimer: Before you think I am cruel and heartless to rat out my mom like this, you need to understand one thing: no one finds her ridiculous comments as hilarious as SHE DOES.  That's right folks, she laughs harder at herself than we do.

1. Never far from trendy vernacular, my mom told me one day, "Your butt called me yesterday."  (I sincerely hope this doesn't need explanation, but I think what she meant was, "you butt dialed me yesterday.")

2. While visiting one day she said of Navy, "are you sure she isn't a little person?"  I asked for clarification and she said in a concerned, hushed tone, "you know....a midget?"

3. While being made fun of by her favorite child (Jack) she was exasperated and declared, "JACK! Stop putting jokes on me!"

4. During a phone conversation recently she interrupted me and said, "I have to go now. My ear is sore."

5. Recently my parent's car died because the dome light was left on & drained the battery. While Luke & my Dad were getting ready to jump it my mom started yelling for their attention from inside the car.  My dad opened the door and she said, "CASEY! I can't breathe in here.  Can you leave the door open?"  He explained that he couldn't because the dome light would be left on, draining the battery.  Then she asked if he could perhaps just start the car (!) and roll down the window.  Sigh.

6. She told Jack that his son was the most beautiful of her grandchildren.  He immediately told me & Ash.  When we confronted Mom she didn't have the wherewithal to maintain a straight face or lie.  Instead she defaulted to her standby move: put your hand over your eyes, look down, and giggle.

7. Of the Bible she once advised, "Well you can't believe everything you read."

8. She recently told me fond childhood stories of a pink piggy bank she has had since third grade that she wanted to pass on to Navy.  When I got to her house she reverently handed me the piggy bank.  I turned it over.  On the bottom it says, "A.S."  Because it is the piggy bank my sister painted in 2008, Mom's nostalgia notwithstanding.

That's all I can think of for now.  Next up will be a more respectable "What I've Learned From My Mom" post.  Then after that maybe I'll try to compile her endless volumes of parenting advice (which includes "give them water" and "brush and braid her hair every night" and other such obvious and implausible guidelines for raising children.)

I love you mom!