Welcome to the Blog Plantation Y'all

Our family welcomes you and thanks you for stopping by to visit. We are delighted you have taken a few minutes out of your day to spend with us. We are Joe and Jessica. We have two children and one very regal beagle! We post often and it usually includes details of our Christian faith; life here in the South; entertaining our family and friends; tales of our travels; as well as the daily adventures of having two children. Oh, and our passion for Alabama Crimson Tide Football!
Grab a mint julep, relax, and enjoy the site. Don't forget to leave us a message. You can click under any blog entry to do so. We love to hear from our guests.
(Also, please remember that all writings and pictures are the sole property of the blog plantation and it's authors and may not be duplicated, unless otherwise noted. )

Thanks for dropping by Y'all!

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What time I am afraid I will trust in thee
Psalm 56:3

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Hump Day!

* you see him? That's my Chief!

Well, guess who had his first "real" meal tonight. Orren ate a little shredded turkey some chopped carrots, apple wagon wheels and sliced cheese. He fed himself the entire meal and ate almost every bite. He washed it down with a little concord grape juice from a sippy cup he sat up to drink! Which as ya'll know has been an issue. he has reused to drink sitting up. He gave up the bottle months ago but would not drink unless he was lying down. But, tonight he sat in his booster seat at the table. So tonight was full of milestones!

Olivia spent the day with language and spelling. Fun times. HAHAHA She is piled up with her Daddy watching abc family's Princess right now. He is enjoying it so! (he is such a good sport!)

We got our pre-op phone call today and we were given all of our instructions

and list of what to bring. I will be ready to have family here soon to hold our hands. I am really lucky to be involved in some great organizations that in turn have given us GREAT support.

For those of you who do not know I serve on the board of directors for our homeowners association as President. That board has been so supportive and concerned that it has just blown me a way. The children's C.A.R Chapter members have all expressed their concern and support, Our Civitan group, several members have called. I Chair the Helena Civic association and they have all been so supportive. I cannot thank all of you enough for the phone call, meals, offers to do anything from mow our yard to sit at the hospital and of course include us in your prayers. You are all the best! So THANK YOU!

Our family and friends you are our rock and if we did not have you we would be lost & we love you.

We are ready to get this done and move forward.

Tomorrow the children and I have some errands to run and groceries to buy. So we will be out and about in the big city. We are missing and loving all of you tonight very much.

May God watch over you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Tuesday

We have closed out another day. It was lots of fun and creative around here today. Olivia painted some absolutely stunning pictures. I cannot wait to frame them. Olivia and I baked cookies and Orren supervised.

We had a playmate this afternoon, Joey. They played the Wii and ate popcorn until Joey's mother got home from work. Then they both went their separate ways, got ready for soccer and headed to practice.

We are having Chinese takeout tonight so I get the night off from the kitchen. I NEED IT! WHEW

I am so very excite that Chief and GrandMaMA will be here in a few days. It seems like forever since we saw them last. It has been 1 month exactly today! We will all be so thrilled to get them here. GrandMaMa is still ill and that concerns us all. I hope some love from the grandchildren will bring her around!

We are missing Uncle Jarrod and Aunt Katy tremendously and hope to hear from them soon! Until we do just know we love you so much!!!

Tomorrow morning I am taking the children to the symphony

It is Neil Diamond night on American Idol. I am so excited! So gotta go!

Love to all

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just another Manic Monday!

I am so happy to have started teaching both children French today. Olivia is very excited to learn a new language and I am looking for a really good kid friendly curriculum. I am just using and online thing right now and we are going to need something more tangible. We are planning a trip to Europe next summer. We hope to spend a little time in England, France and a lot of time in Scotland. So I thought they should be able to speak a little french & I am trying to start getting everything done now. Everyone's passport information, pictures, etc. If this next year goes by as fast as this past year I should have started 3 months ago!

We have had a fun day after our school work of play dough and water color. Olivia is ready to do any type of art project and any type of craft. Orren is happy doing anything with us. Then we played outside in the sand box and on the swing set. Orren loves his big boy swing. Now the children have taken over the floor in our bedroom and built a fort. I hear them both giggling loudly and frequently. They have their little lanterns out and are "camping" Olivia even turned on the nature cd so they have croaking crickets!

I have enrolled her in three Vacation Bible Schools, just like last summer. So she should get her fill of crafts. She has decided not to do swim team this summer. She wants to play and enjoy summer, not be tied down to such a rigid schedule. She is going to start back year round swim in the fall though.

Olivia has parents night out on Friday night at the Presbyterian Church. She looks forward to that every first Friday of the month. They feed them dinner, do Christian based crafts, learn a Bible story and wtch a movie with popcorn and nachos. It is such a great ministry! It gives Moms and Dads a little break to. Orren can't go until he is 3.

We have been looking at the calendar and can't believe how much we have coming up. IT IS MAY!!! We have the crawfish boil this weekend. Orren's surgery on Tuesday and the Buck Creek festival next weekend.
I have been interviewing new housekeepers. I have been without one for quite sometime now and I just HAVE to find a new one soon! I am looking for one that will do light cooking from time to time as well, so it is a little more idfficult. I am excited that I have hired the new nanny for the summer though . My children love her and she is CPR certified and a certified lifeguard. Plus, she has agreed to travel with us and everything. I am thrilled. Check one more thing off the list!

Tomorrow is soccer practice so I will check in when we get home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a Day!!!!

*Just a side note we are missing two rhinos. Anyone seen Orren and Ameer?

We had an awesome day at the zoo (again)with the children! Oh my goodness we are so tired. We were there almost the moment it opened and we left 10 minutes before they closed.

Olivia rode a Camel and watched a baby camel take a bottle. We watched the sea lion show and the children were giggling the entire time we were in the aviary. The birds were very active and flying all over us! As the birds hummed by his head, Orren would try to catch them. Orren had his first cotton candy & Hi C fruit punch today and loved it. In fact, he wasn't happy when we wouldn't give him any more. Olivia spent the afternoon playing in the fountain at the children's zoo.

We had a wonderful pic nic under a huge tree. I wish we could have stayed forever. How fast the children are growing and changing. We talked and let the world pass by as we laughed and enjoyed our precious time together.

Then, we got a huge treat! Uncle Salah and Aunt Michelle showed up, with the boys of course! Instant playmates for all. It was great to be with our friend family as Olivia calls them. We all love every Sunday afternoon we get to spend with them. If we did not have them, we would have no family in Birmingham.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good afternoon!


We have had a leisure morning. Started off with both children piled up in our bed to watch cartoons. My favorite thing about Saturday mornings. I can remember doing this to my parents as a child. It was so much fun then, but it is even better now. I know how they used to feel.

After a big breakfast we were off to soccer. Olivia scored a goal and played goalie today. Normally she plays goalie the most. She did fantastic. She was awarded best effort today, she has to date received most Christ like, best defense and best leadership awards.

She has been in the pool all day. She took a brief break to have lunch and then was right back to it. Joe and I are going to join her and take Orren for a dip later. I think we need to look into a heater for the pool though cause it is cold!

Orren has been saying Uh-oh for a couple of days now and says it every time anyone drops anything. So Mommy has been trying to broaden his vocabulary today. Joe is mowing the lawn and I need to take him some lemonade.

We are setting up for the "star gazing " tonight. Olivia is hoping to see some falling stars. Telescope is ready and the pallet I have fruit chopped up and snacks ready to go. I am frying grouper fingers, making new potatoes with cream sauce and corn on the cob for dinner.

Tomorrow after church we are going to spend the day at the zoo. We are packing the pic-nic basket and lots of drinks for a big day. The new sea lion show is awesome and we can't wait to show it to Daddy! Then it will be home again to start another week!

We want to congratulate Chief and GrandMaMa on their new house! They closed yesterday. They still have the condo right on the beach as well. There might have been a small riot from their children and grandchildren if they had gotten rid of it.
We are so excited for ya'll and we can't wait to come and "mess" it up HAHAHA! It is gorgeous and we are very happy for you. We love you both and can't wait for you to get here in a few days!
Joe was watching some fishing earlier and he is dying to go deep sea fishing. He just knows he is going to catch a blue Marlin. I just know we won't be hanging it anywhere in our house.

Hope all of you have a great one! God Bless

Friday, April 25, 2008

Peter Pan, kangaroo Country

Hello Everyone!

We had a Fantastic day! We started it off with the Peter Pan Ballet. We all loved it from start to finish! The costumes were so whimsical and beautiful. The set was amazing. The music and dancing were perfect. Olivia and Orren both were mesmerized and completely transfixed. Orren clapped and danced as did Olivia. Even though she knew the story when Tink died she almost cried. They were so caught up in the story. So many people complimented me on the children and how well behaved they both were, but were dumbfounded at Orren. This one mother actually thought I was not telling her the truth about his age. Can you imagine? She thought he had to be at least 1 1/2. That no 10 month old would sit through something like that.

THEN, we went to the zoo and we got to pet a five month old kangaroo! His name is Skippy and now resides in the new interactive Kangaroo Country exhibit. This was a members only event and we almost did not go, but we are glad we did.

Once home Olivia made a b-line for the backyard to swim and cool off! Orren went to sleep and I got to have two wonderful uninterrupted phone conversations with my precious friends: Michelle and Shana

I squeezed my cousin Clancy in there to on the cell while driving home!

So I feel like a grown up again, and ready to start dinner! We will check in soon!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Morning after, a growing experience, and the boys night.

Good Morning,

I must admit that I have not felt this poorly since my last all-niter in college! Just Kidding!

Olivia and I had the best time last night. She got tons of souvenirs..... The program that sings, a stuffed wildcat with the jersey on, a pink glitter Sharpay FABULOUS t-shirt (Sharpay is her fav, secretly mine to) a sports bottle, a koozie, a huge lollipop, and a light up stick pom pom thing.

Disney as always put on a fantastic show. Thanks to Aunt Michelle and the boys for going with us! It was wonderful.

It was so cute to see the little girls go crazy and screaming when "Troy" took the ice. Oh my goodness, I thought I might loose my hearing. I am still not sure about the part where they ripped off his shirt to dress him in a sport coat and all. Those little girls were screaming again! EVEN OLIVIA had a reaction that startled me. Then I realized that she is a tween and this is going to happen! I hope we can guide it and channel it in a positive christian way. So that nothing is rushed and every moment and stage of growing up can be savored. Her Daddy, doesn't know yet.

I guess things changing and little girls growing up is on the fore front of my mind these days. Kayla, our little Kayla who is now a college student, but is still our little Kayla is due Dec 18.

While exciting it is sad because just yesterday (in my mind) she was rough housing on our bed with Uncle Joe and TJ as they spent the weekend with us. I lived for those days and love those children so much. They were so little and now TJ is over 6 ft tall and Kayla is going to become a Mom. Please keep her in your prayers. I am so excited for them and all that life has before them, but I miss those sweet little footsteps and voices. Christy is in my prayers, if I am this mixed up emotionally over it, I can only imagine as their Mother what it must be like. I am NOT excited that our children will GROW UP one day and move on. Yet, I can't wait to have long discussions and confided secrets. To set them out to take on the world. To see what they will become. I just wish it took a little longer. Thus is the plight of every Mother I guess. I LOVE YOU MOM.

Orren and Joe had a big night last night to. I came home and could tell things, were at some point, in disarray. PUT BACK mind you, but in my OCD I notice everything. (Heaven help my children if they ever think they could throw a party here and get away with it. HAHAHAHA)

I asked Joe what they did he said, nothing we sat around in our diapers and watched TV ! I am still on the floor laughing!

I think that will do it for today, tonight is Survivor so family TV night! YEAHHHHHH!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Guess who is standing?

On his 10 month birthday (today) Orren learned to stand. He just stood up on his own all of a sudden. We were all so excited and cheered so loudly he got so excited he fell down. He quickly got back up and we anticipate we will be walking anytime. We will keep you posted!

Joe and the children and I had a pic nic outside under the willow tree. It was a beautiful afternoon!

Only 3 days until High School Musical!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fishing report!

We are happy to report that Joe and Olivia came in fourth place in the fishing frenzy. Olivia's prize was an inflatable trampoline & t - shirt. She was so excited. They had the best time. They ate hot dogs for lunch and talked a lot. I am so happy they had this time together. I hope to have the pictures transferred to this computer soon, then we will share. Olivia named her fish that she caught "Jimmy" . You got it, for Jimmy Houston. She met him 2 weeks ago and they talked about Chief ( he fished with Jimmy on his show a while back and they still talk from time to time) So, Olivia thinks Jimmy is the end all be all of the fishing world.

Orren and I spent our time piled in Mommy and Daddy' bed reading stories. It was wonderful to.

Orren got some spider man sippy cups today and Olivia got the legend of the water horse. CUTE movie and full of beautiful Scotland. We highly recommend it.

We have Orren's baby dedication/ recognition in the morning. Then we have a luncheon so I will post when we get home!

Well, I have cookies baking and some baby food cooling that needs to be put up. I better check out for the day.

Love to all, Jess

Friday, April 18, 2008

We had a great day today. Olivia spent the day with the precious Hayes boys and their Mom. They had lunch at every child's favorite place... Chick Fil A and then went to the picture show to see Nim's Island. Olivia loved it and had a fantastic day!

Orren and I spent the day playing and "talking" I put some canteloupe in the blender and added some yogurt and Oh my goodness, he ate so much! I hope it doesn't upset things tonight.

Joe and Olivia will be waking up at 5:30 in the morning for their FISHING. We decided to cut family game night short, they have fishing preparations to make. Say a prayer for them tonight that they catch the big one. Orren and I will just have to make do cuddled back up in the bed after we get them off.

Then let's hope we are still functioning for soccer at 11:30. Then we have the Health and Wellness festival, then we will be crashing. To get ready for Sunday. Orren's big day.

Well, gotta go finish baths and palettes. Big storms tonight and the children will be down here anyway so we might as well start them off and save the sleeplessness. Fill ya'll in tomorrow on the fishing!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Favorite Survivor Out!

Well, it is Survivor night and we are just crushed! OZZY was sent home. Maybe we can regroup and find another one to root for. James is still there.
I am in love with my new bar stools (part of the anniversary gifts. LOL Joe says one is mine and one is his) He has such great taste! (when I show him what to buy HAHAHAHAHA) Seriously, they are gorgeous and I love them.
Orren spent the day perfecting his Pterodactyl sounds. He loves playing with his dinosaurs. I thought those Imaginex dinos that roar and move would scare him, but what do I know. He LOVES them! The more fierce the better. One point Dad!
Orren is also very fond of the FREE CREDIT REPORT.com commercial the one where he is a pirate, he got very upset when Mommy couldn't get it back on today. So, I have now set the DVR and we can watch it whenever we NEED to. Yes, I had to sing it to him in the car this afternoon to keep him happy. Scary part.... I knew every word. hmmm yeah.
Orren is still the Wonder Pets biggest, we have to have them on at least once a day. How did I of all people end up with a 10 month old television junkie? Not really, but he could be headed that way. I have always had such strict TV limits for the ENTIRE family. What is happening here? Please do not even get me started on what happens when Alabama, Roll Tide!, Football comes on. His Daddy is so proud!
Olivia spent the day on school and playing littlest pet shop. She is looking forward to her trip to the Picture Show tomorrow with the Hayes family. They are going to see Nims Island. We will let you know her review tomorrow. I will post after family game night wraps up.
Saturday is mega busy: the fishing frenzy registration is at 6:30 AM weigh in is at 10:30AM then to soccer at 11:30AM then the Health and Wellness Festival for the afternoon.
Sunday is Baby dedication and recognition day at our church. Then we have a luncheon to celebrate. We are excited. Alabama Adventure opens this weekend and I think our family day with the El-Fallahs is going to be there.
Olivia has decided to cut her hair again for LOCKS OF LOVE. We are so thrilled and will post pictures of her new do when we get it done. We are going to try and work it in this weekend.
High School Musical is 6 days away! Olivia is so excited! She might pop before we get there!
Love to all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

snow and sleet in April?

These are pictures are from a couple of weeks ago. They are of the children at the plantation of Mrs. Connie Grund. It was a wonderful day and the children enjoyed this C A R meeting very much. Olivia was installed into the office of Chaplain and Orren got to vote for the first time!

We had funky weather today, a little snow, a little sleet, a little rain. The children and I made home made orange juice aka FRESH OJ. Olivia thought this was so cool and tasted better than the kind we buy. I told her not to get too attached Mommy doesn't have time to make it everyday. And we played with the play dough a lot and of course home school.

I am back into making all of Orren's baby food (for the most part) It is actually making me feel better about what he eats b/c I know for a fact it is gluten free. (It is so hard when it is store bought. ) So we spent a good deal of the day cooking and we had some disasters as Mommy got distracted and forgot about Dinner that was cooking on the stove. So our cream sauce turned black and smelly! Somebody call Fraydo's Pizza!

Olivia is counting the days to High School Musical on Ice. 8 days to go.

Saturday, she and Joe are entering the Fishing Frenzy tournament. Wish them luck! There are three places and top prize is a Bike! They are so psyched! Chief gave her a new pole an it is sure to bring good luck. It is bright pink and lights up!!! How could it not catch the biggest fish in Helena?

Orren is crawling all over the place and we are quickly learning he is quite the explorer and he doesn't like to stop. He has two speeds go and stop. He doesn't like stop. HAHAHAHA

I more than likely will not post tomorrow we have soccer practice and as team Mom I have some work to do for the team afterwards and Wed. I most likely won't post as I have a Board Meeting. So I guess I will see all of you Thursday!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Anniversay to us!

Yep, we have been married 10 years today! We are so happy and feel so blessed to have had these 10 and cannot wait for many more. I got candy and roses. We had a FUN night with our friends Salah and Michelle, it went way too late and there were way too many martinies served. But, they were oh so good!

I have included some pictures from the ST. ELIAS Lebanese food festival. I hope ya'll enjoy! Maybe they should make grape leaves ilegal! They are way too good. Joe discovered lamb kabobs and lamb chops this weekend and is now hooked! Olivia still thinks kibbe is the best. She always has and I think she always will. Orren's favorite is rice pilaf.
Well, this post is short and sweet so that I can be with the love of my life! See ya'll tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ready for the weekend

Well, quick update we were without power for a little while this afternoon, but other than that we did great.

We had to put the Lebanese food festival on hold until tomorrow. So after soccer we will meet Salah and Michelle and the boys for lunch and take in all that the festival has to offer. Then we will get all set up for the big campout. Wish you were all here to have a s'more with us!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's SURVIVOR Thursday

Good Afternoon Everyone!

We have spent the day homeschooling. Olivia is learning contractions, well reviewing them and she isn't (hahaha) so sure about them. "Why don't we just use the REAL words?" Good question far as I am concerned! Writing and speaking with eloquence is a dying art.

Anyway, we are very breezy and overcast today as we prepare for another round of severe weather tomorrow.

Tonight is SURVIVOR!!! This is our big family TV night. Spaghetti, corn on the cob, asiago bread and trifle, plus all the Brelands piled up together rooting for their favorite contestant. This is my FAVORITE night of the week.

The weekend is full as always, Friday we are attending the Lebanese Food Festival and a birthday party. Soccer and a camp out in the backyard are on the agenda for Saturday. We will be roasting hotdogs and marshmellows for s'mores. Olivia loves this. AND THEN SIX FLAGS on Sunday!
We will post pictures of the activities on Sunday. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Orren's BIG Surgery

Hi Everyone,
I am sorry it took a little time to get this out today. We have been dealing with all we learned this morning as a family. But here is the break down from our appointment at the airway clinic:
Orren will have surgery on May 6, 2008 @ 6:00 AM this will include a biopsy, a scope, and a camera that will go all the way down his airway. He will be staying over night. We will be looking for four possible causes "obstruction" These are listed in order of severity. Least and most hoped to most severe and dreaded.
~One~ and what we hope nothing more than reflux that we will out grow medicine and steroid treatment. We won't know if this is the cause until they can see past his vocal chords. This has to be surgically done.
~Two ~ if we can't have #1 we would hope for #2 that is what is called a floppy esophagus. This would require extreme caution with illnesses and steroid treatment. No exposure to nurseries or day cares for a LONG time. And all of the above. A little inconvenient but we will be more than willing to work with this scenario.
~Three~ obstruction of some kind, cysts, polyps, etc. These would require surgical removal and correction and all of the above.
~Four~ Our worst fear a narrowing of his airway, depending on severity could require EXTREME reconstructive surgery to widen his airway at it's mildest would require extreme precautions to avoid illness and inflammations of airway, steroid treatments, and removal of any irritant from his environment and all of the above. Needless to say we will certainly need all of your prayers and support over the next few weeks. I have had my emotional breakdown this morning and I think I am ready to tackle this. Thanks to all those shoulders I cried on this morning, Mother... Daddy...Michelle... Lori ... our Church and my precious hubby! I couldn't do anything without ya'll you are truly my rocks!!! I love you I will be keeping all of you posted as we progress. All of you are so very special to us and we could not go through this without you. We will be lifting him up to our Holy father, the great physician and trust in him. We ask that you please add him to your personal prayer list as well as any list you are affiliated with. Thank You so much!
We will all be holding close to Olivia's favorite verse .....
What time I am afraid I will trust in thee
Psalm 56:3

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stormy Spring Day in the South

Good afternoon Everyone

Well, the family and I survived the storm. I wasn't sure we were going to, but we did. It rained a lot & hailed for about 5 minutes and came down in sheets. I don't think Helena suffered more than some downed trees, but it was scary.

The children both seem to be feeling better. They are rolling on the floor with Huckleberry as we speak and some carnival music is blasting from a new toy they got that shoots these little balls up and around.

We have an appintment for Orren on the 9th. Maybe we will get answers that morning as well.

I will most likely not post tomorrow as I will be attending a funeral. As most of you know, my friend lost her baby just 6 days before she was to give birth. Now, instead of bringing home her little bundle of joy, we are celebrating a life too short now with our Holy Father. We are certain he has not forgotten us, but it is difficult to get through such trying times. Please keep her in your prayers. And pray for the little boy who will never know life on this earth.
Joe will be on DADDY DUTY Maybe all will have all of their limbs and digits when I return.
Olivia does have soccer in the morning and we will be taking team photos! I hope they turn out as fabulous as her cheerleading ones! For those of you who did not get one of those, we will try to get you one if you want.
The children and I will be going to the beach soon and we are very excited to be going to see Chief and GrandMaMa. I am eager to see the children playing in the sand and sunshine.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Olivia's soccer game

Well, it's official we now spend every Saturday morning at the soccer field. Here are some shots of Olivia in action

Now a Blogger

I never thought I would start my own blog. Now it seems like the most natural thing ever. I am a stay at home Mom with two beautiful children and the perfect husband. I find that when I can't sleep I like to write, it's just these days I can only write about the general goings on in our busy lives. I don't think I have room for anything else. Today has been especially tough as both children are now sick, Olivia just begining and Orren wrapping it up.

I think that this will be easier for me to manage all our family and friends to check up on us here instead of everyone having their own pages everywhere! I will add pictures and the blog will grow just as anything that is given love and attention will. Hope you all will enjoy and come often to see what the Breland clan has been up to.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Favorite Blogs

My Favorite Blogs and Posts

Leigh at Tales from Bloggerittaville

Don't miss her Thrifty Thursday

Laura Beth and Ruminations of a working Mom

Gracious Southern Living

Hewy isn't sleeping over at

No Sleep in Helena

Charnita's Expressions

The Dust Bunny Hostage

Libby at Twirl and Taste

Gollum is cooking on Foodie Friday

Susan is napping on

Between Naps on the Porch AND her Table Scape Thursday

Candles and fun things are waiting at
Follow Abbey's Road