headed to enjoy nature to the 'natural' state..

What lovely timing… [1 planned & cleverly orchestrated, and one not-so planned, by assumption.]
To have a Birthday & a Wedding Anniversary that fall on national holidays...
August 31st over labor day, and May 27th over memorial day.
A 3-day weekend with a little getaway is always a welcomed way to celebrate!
So, I’ll be turning over into my 25th year…and we’ll spending the long holiday at the L-A-K-E in a cabin @ Hot Springs, Arkansas. That’s pretty much the ‘mid-point’ for my family and I between Oklahoma & Tennessee… brilliant, I know! We’re getting all geared up and strapping down an early birthday gift that’s just my size…

…with ambitious plans to keep up with Aaron on his! Hopefully I’ll do much better, now that I’m not steering with my fingertips on a Men’s XL. We’re practically a Specialized commercial!

Hope you have a safe & happy holiday weekend. No laboring. Take it easy…


small town saturday night.

When you're from a small town, you can appreciate the anticipation that comes this time of year when the "fair rolls around...". [you have to describe it just like that.] It's pretty much the highlight of the summer.... just as school begins and everyone's clinging to the daylight and carefree nights that summer provided. Actually, unless you got a pretty hip 'regional' celebrity to grand marshall your town's Christmas parade, or say, the high school football team went to 'state'... it might even be the highlight of the whole year. I can even remember rehearsing my answers to the 'on-stage interview' for the Benton County Fairest of the Fair...
"Contestant number 5, What do you like most about the Benton County Fair?" ...something about not just another thing to do, but an town event that truly brings the whole community together! A sense of 'small-town' friendliness, that your 'big cities' lacked. The memories, the entertainment, visiting with friends & neighbors, something for all ages!... [and throw in that 'community' word again at the end, that's good. double points if you can some how mention 'church'.]

May have been quite canned and cliche, but still true. I definitely have a lot of fond memories from that 3rd or 4th week in August. Trae & I had a whole aquarium full of little pet fish we'd won, all named after American Gladiators. I remember in junior high how much we all collected those 'paper-framed' graphics of things like Saved by the Bell and the Taco Bell dog. I actually remember getting into lots of trouble for bringing home one with Beavis & Butthead. I remember riding rides every night out on the Midway with those little orange bracelets thanks to Bevin, and screaming our heads off riding that fateful 'Zipper'. I remember elementary school, stocking up with probably a years-worth of candy cigarettes my friend Amy. [they even puffed some kind of 'powder'.] That giant pole that they greased down and then tempted people to climb with a 100$ bill at the top...Tractor pulls, diaper derbys, funnel cakes, those smelly animals, all the booths...and bringing home trophies and ribbons for everything from coloring contests & beauty pageants to homemade german chocolate cakes. Say what you want, good times. great oldies.

So, my pleasure, I got to travel to Aaron's hometown, a little place even smaller than my own, for his hometown fair. Theirs is so unique - their rides and games are not run by 'questionable carnival-folk'...no, each ride has been owned by someone or a business in the town for years and years. Some homemade, some handed down. They're all operated and 'built' by members of the community. [+2 pts] Yes, this town with a population of 2,000(?) owns its own ferris wheel. Aaron's mom worked an hour at the kiddie boats, and his dad at the Swings. Every face is familiar. It's quite endearing.

The view from the top. So very Stars Hollow.

Cody & Sarah on the ferris wheel.

Trying our luck @ Bingo. You can just imagine all the awesome prizes we had our eye on! ;)

But, we weren't finished with our trip outside of the 'city'. On Saturday, We headed out for a leisurely evening of fishing with Aaron's dad. Check out this guy, we were in the fence with him. Which apparently isn't even remotely a big deal. But, those horns looked quite pointy to me.

scaring away all our fish in the paddleboat.It's quite relaxing...especially near sundown. The casting and reeling...the water so still and peaceful, and the evening so quiet [until a 'fish' got loose in the paddleboat, then I disturbed the harmony.]

Michael was our MVP, catching six bass on this trip. He definitely knows what he's doing.

Michael = 6. Aaron =2. Jae =2.
I got my first bite & started reeling it in...I was just happy to catch anything. When I saw Aaron's eyes when he saw my fish, that's when I really got excited, apparently I had caught a pretty good size Bass.
From Michael and Aaron, I learned all about lures, and lines, different reeling & casting for different kinds of fish. Call me a fisherwoman.

oh...and church. [+4]


another obligatory snapshot.

First day of the Second year. Four more years until we get our Dr. Chaloner.

just as excited as he was at 8 years old to be going 'back-to-school'.


everybody in the whole cell block...

So, not only was last weekend Trae & Coi's wedding, [see below] it turned out to be quite the eventful trip. We were gone for a mere 3 1/2 days, but, as always, we can pack it in. Aaron's visits in Tennessee have always been short-lived and usually just in the bustling metropolis that is Camden, my hometown. So, this time we could be tourists in nearby Memphis.

We rolled into town just in time to check in to our fabulous hotel [thank you Dad!] at the Hyatt Place [if you're headed out of town, check out the HP chains - a very 'posh'-stay for a great value!] ...and head over to the rehearsal at the zoo.
Me & my fréres.
Just nearby was Overton Park, so we had a rehearsal 'picnic' catered with Trae & Coi's favorite - Moe's.

The first night, I'd promised my mom we were 'taking her out on the town'. We headed down to Beale Street, now a popular day & night-spot, but with a lot of history for being the 'home of the blues...and birthplace of rock-and-roll.'

So naturally, Aaron wanted to check out B.B. King's blues club. [Aaron & I saw B.B. himself live in Dallas last year] The house band this night was definitely talented, but unbelievably 'explicit' ...and, I'll just have to leave it at that. Somehow my mom & I get in lots of situations like that!

No thanks to mom and Aaron, I can claim that I still have my dignity having chosen not to 'dance like I was on BET' in front of a hundred drunken strangers.

But, the night was young... we ran into dear friends, Marilyn & Angela, from back home for a bit. Then, we headed over to the Peabody Hotel - quite the historic legend in southern hospitality.

We went on a search to show Aaron the Peabody's famed ambassadors, the ducks. These guys get the royal treatment - a red carpet, a palace on the roof, they even swim in this fountain behind us during the day...but, their 'palace' was locked and we ended up finding the 1970s instead...

Being goof balls. and scaring mom at the thought of being caught snooping on the penthouse floor....

And, for a moment, that I don't have captured on film. Later that night, to fulfill out eventful stay in Memphis... my car was broken into downtown. It's a long and quite humorous tale... remind us to share the story with you sometime. It involves a crazy gold-toothed criminal waiting on us, his 'celebrity' friends, and my 'frugal' mistake of do-it-yourself car maintenance. The happy ending is that they caught the guy & nothing was damaged or stolen. If you're car gets broken into, that's pretty much the best-case scenario, right? Pretty much the only thing it cost us was the inconvenience of standing around a parking lot with Memphis police dept. until 3 a.m. Nonetheless, a few valuable lessons learned.

The next day we headed out to meet Dad & assorted Dedmons for lunch in downtown memphis. Logan, Aaron, & I decided to mosey on over for a tour of Sun Studios, also a mark on the map as the 'birthplace of rock and roll'. We really enjoyed this little part of our trip - the recording studio is still in use today. It was the record company that launched Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis....It's pretty amazing to stand in the same place where so many musicians then and since [pretty much everyone] then have come to record.
This is Elvis's actual mike. I can't believe they actually let you touch it. Aaron performed three verses of 'Hound Dog' before we were asked to leave...ok, maybe he just humored me for a picture. Just a random shot of Uncle Aaron, caught her looking at the camera. :)
Alright, as previewed... we also visited Graceland on our way out of town on Sunday. I won't post a thousand pictures of Elvis's decorating taste, but I will give you this one - the legendary 'jungle room'. The whole place was fun and 'shiny' as you'd expect, but c'mon, it's Elvis - you've seen the jumpsuits, right? We'd expect nothing less. the whole gang.

digital headsets... for your walking tour of the whole estate! way to step up the technology, graceland.

Baby milestones - 3 months: flying. check.

looking the part... Emma didn't want to curl her lip, though.

and lastly, I leave you with this. ...an art form, perhaps?


obligatory first-day-of- photo.

I think the posts are going to drop off for a while, you know... since I've got a job and all.
[she says casually]... !!
Got a career, I guess I should say.
First day on the job as a genetic counselor. Mom, you can put this photo with the rest. All the way down back with the one of a snaggle-toothed little Kindergardener with a blonde side ponytail, denim dress, and my awesome little white and red lunchbox.
Had I looked back that day, I'd have seen that little girl through the peephole. Once and for all, closing the door on my childhood. I think I said that when I started grad school, because it didn't feel very fun-and-games-ish any longer. But, now, I mean business. ::sticks tongue out:: yuh-huh. ok, so we never really grow up, do we? I think aaron & I have always unashamedly hung on to the joys of youth. It's a good day when you realize maturity doesn't come at the expense of your personality, your sense of humor... when you find that childlike is a very different word from childish, embrace the innocence, the energy, and the fun.

I sure am liking this, though. I feel very proud, a definite 'finish line'... and sense of accomplishment. not quite Nastia Liukin-caliber, mind you. But, it's all relative. I could never say I did this myself, for I've had amazing encouragement , love, and help along the way. But, at times, I felt very self-sufficient, and definitely felt the burden all upon my shoulders. I'm proud to have taken on [just barely a smidgen away from] financial independence when starting grad school, taken on responsibilities, and in the words of Tim Gunn..."made it work". It makes the end-result that much more rewarding.

I'm loving the job thus far. I'm not able to see patients until my license comes through, just days away. Then, I'll be Jae Lindsay Chaloner, MS, LGC...and next August, hopefully, CGC. But, they've kept me quite busy, nonetheless. For the most part, my job will have me seeing families down in clinic. But, for now I'm working on patient preps and now two manuscripts to be published in 'esteemed' genetics academic journals. I'm pretty excited, can you tell? ...and I find absolute joy in organizing my new office... I'm sure I'll post a photo when I'm all set up. I love seeing where other people spend the majority of their days, feel free to indulge me, helps me feel connected. & I tried to mask my utter excitement when given unlimted access to 'office supplies'. I'm ridiculous at an Office Max. Please don't laugh, it's a very guilty pleasure. It'll lead to my book deal one day "Maximizing Productivity through an Organized Workspace"...

This is our first weekend all summer without 'big' plans. & we decided, it's kinda nice. You definitely don't have to jet off to Bali every weekend. sometimes, you need to veg. should you have a similar veg-fest this weekend, I give you this website ...we've found that their recommendations are very 'on'. [combined with amazon unbox, it's incredibly effortless.] Aaron starts back to classes next week, which means I'll be an official PhD widow. [and he might have to take an obligatory first-day back photo as well...] So, you might see more of me then. Until then, I'm off to enjoy grilling some 'Olympics-inspired' Asian steaks & enjoying my husband with free-time...


arts + crafts hour.

Ok, I've been promising this post to a few of you for a while now. [and some of you have yet to receive your little homemade magnet bundle... don't worry, it's on its way. ok, not literally, but soon.] Secondly, I can't take credit for this delightful little craft. I'm a third generation magnet-er, but thanks to Kara for passing along her creativity. They're so fun to make & so fun to share....

First off, here is your 'cast of characters': Scissors, exacto knife [optional], round small magnets and E6000 industrial strength glue [both found @ your local Michael's], and plant pebbles... very specifically, they have to be the clear kind. most of the ones you'll find will be pearly or sparkly - those won't do. These clear ones can be found in these big bags at Target. You don't have to use the larger ones like I have, you can try the smaller pebbles also...they turn out cute too. And if your feeling really bold, you can make little rings or necklaces out of the little ones. But, hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What woman doesn't have piles of magazines lying around? Nothing is off limits, so don't leave out your Fox and Hound. Every magazine has unique patterns. Collect all your favorites or request new ones from stores online...Then, get busy. Just flip through and cut out any pattern, shape, picture, letter that catches your eye. [sometimes I have a little pebble there with me to just try it out over different images...obviously, my imagination doesn't like to work very hard.]
So, now we have our scraps. Take a little dollop of the glue and squeeze it on the flat side of the plant bead...Then, press it where you want it on your image. If I'm doing 20 or so magnets, I usually do each step all at once. At this point, leave your little project alone for a while... overnight works well. 2 hours would do I suppose. Otherwise, the pebble will slide around and you won't keep the same image you framed out.
Now, cut off the excess. you can always trim it up later [it doesn't have to be perfect...but I have been pining for the 1"-circle cutter in the Michael's scrapbook section]. Don't worry about using too much glue, because it cuts right off. Use too little, though, and it doesn't look great because the paper can bend away from the plant pebble.
Do a dollop. of more glue on the magnet this time.
Let sit to dry for a while... And, voila! I mean, c'mon, how cute are these?
They wrap up as great little gifts in little magnetic tins [think Altoid box size]...
I've seen similar magnets on sale at stores for quite a bit of $$ considering how easy & inexpensive they are to make. I think we're onto something here.
well, maybe if I had that circle cutter...


Trae + Coi = Troi's wedding.

What a whirlwind wedding weekend! [see if you can say that five times fast]

...okay, who actually did? Well, we're back. from you guessed it, Trae & Coi's wedding weekend in Memphis. I have plenty of pictures from all the events up here. We had such a nice time, and as all weekend trips & wedding celebrations go, it went by incredibly fast. The bride & groom were both beaming the whole time, a little family is now complete. It was such a unique setting, there in the Chinese Panda exhibit. They had the ceremony near Ya-Ya & Le Le's habitat [we had to keep it down, because they were trying for some panda babies.] They wrote their own touching vows, and then danced the night away over in the Chinese courtyard. The bride wore a.... ok, i'm just kidding, I was beginning to sound like a journalist for Modern Bride...
here are a few of the highlights:

just before the 'I do'. what a sweet smile. Marrying them is Brother Doyle, Trae & I's youth pastor, who also married us.

sharing their vows. I never once even wondered about the pandas behind the curtain.

I thought this one turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

me and two handsome tuxedos, luckily the weather definitely wasn't classic-August, it was such a pleasant evening.

I gotta say, with you two, I kind of anticipated a little cake-face-smashing. Maybe that was the point, this was unexpected!

Listening to the toasts of the Maid-of-Honor & the Best Man.

First dance as husband & wife... there at the end, the music picked up & Coi definitely rocked it.

Remember that last post, about Trae & I's Cotillion upbringing? Well, here's our fancy footwork in motion.

So happy for my brother and my new sister-in-law. Best wishes!

& my two men are home [we have Mr. Bo Jangles right now], so you'll just have to wait. The rest of the weekend is yet to come...