Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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Thanksgiving in Action

W. J. Cameron once said, “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” What poignant thoughts, and this week, I fully intend on sharing with you all what I’m most thankful for. 


Last weekend was the last weekend that we will have free until the new year. Adam and I made sure the boys were busy and completely unaware of what we were doing. He and I set up our tent in the backyard. He built a fire in the firepit while I made sure everyone had an air mattress made up nice and warm since it was so cold outside. We told the boys to dress warmly, and we surprised them with a backyard camp out. It was so much fun!

Saturday, we continued the family fun with a real treat….a trip to the movies. Weston is completely obsessed with Charlie Brown, and since we own the Charlie Brown movie collection, we saw The Peanuts Movie. It was fantastic! It, of course, had a wonderful message of what true character is, and it was delightful as well as funny. We all loved it.

We enjoyed worshipping together Sunday morning at church. Although Adam had to work Sunday night, the boys and I enjoyed our church’s annual baked goods auction to benefit the youth group. It’s always a blessing to see people of all ages come together to support our teenagers.

Monday morning, my fine husband left for work with his head held a bit higher, and looking dang good if I do say so. His first day as the Assistant General Manager went very well, and the boys and I are so incredibly proud of him! 

Monday afternoon, I helped my dear friend Brittney prepare food at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine for all of the medical students that wouldn’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving, and while we were serving, she asked me to bless the food. What an honor! I barely held back the tears as I thanked my God for these dedicated individuals, their sacrifices, and it made me so extremely thankful for my manclan and that I get to spend everyday, especially Thanksgiving Day, with them.

When you are thankful for someone or something, you show it. I know Adam’s love language is acts of service, and I strive each and every day to show him how thankful I am for him, and he does the same for me. We show our children that we love them by providing for them, supporting them, whether it be in school, athletics, their future, or even camping in the backyard followed by a movie. My husband and children will never question whether they are loved or if I’m thankful for them. That is how Thanksgiving is “an action word.” So, as we begin this week of Thanksgiving, let us not take for granted those that we treasure the most. 

To my amazing husband, I love you with everything I am. You are my best friend, my helpmate, my encourager, the father of my children, my back rubber, my pride, my joy, my lover, and the love of my life. I’m blessed to be your wife. I am thankful for you! 

To my Banks and my Weston, you are my miracles, my precious boys, representations of the good in me, my comedy, and you are the only ones that know what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside. I’m blessed to be your mom. I’m thankful for you both!

To all of my readers….Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to put Thanksgiving into action this week.



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Awards, Promotions, Hospitals, and a Parade

WOW!!!! What a week! Last week was so extremely busy, which is why I’m just now finding the time to sit and write. Although I wasn’t sure whether I was coming or going last week due to number of commitments we had, it was a week full of blessings!!!!

Banks had his Junior Varsity Football Banquet, which was catered by our friends at Full Moon Barbecue. The food was delicious, and the decorations were perfect. The company of our HA Raiders family was lovely, but my favorite part was hearing Banks’ coach give the play-by-play from each game of the season and hearing him mention my baby’s open field tackle in the game against Houston County as well as his 35 yard reception to convert to a first down in the final game of the season against Cottonwood. Adam and I are so extremely proud of Banks for maintaining the self-discipline of keeping his grades up, attending practice until 7pm, and attending practice every morning throughout the summer. God’s given him some awesome abilities, and we will always be his number one fans!

Weston got his first trip to the emergency room last week. Tuesday morning before 6:30 am, he decided to try and climb our extension ladder. Adam was already at work, Banks was in the shower, and I was using the restroom. I heard him scream, so I ran to see what was the matter, and I found him underneath our 100 lb extension ladder. At first I was in mommy mode (crying, frantic), but quickly told myself to snap out of it and enter nurse mode. I made sure he was aware and alert. There was clearly no head or neck injury, and he was moving his hands and feet, so I concluded that he wasn’t paralyzed. After holding him for a few minutes, I knew I needed him to stand up/walk. After multiple attempts, it was clear that he could not do either. I quickly threw on some clothes, told Banks to get it into high gear, packed him a lunch really quickly, and sped to the hospital after dropping Banks off at school. After multiple x-rays of his spine, pelvis, chest, abdomen, and femur, we were extremely grateful to hear the news of no internal injuries or broken bones! Weston lied on the couch for three solid days, which is not the normal behavior of a three year old. At the end of the first day, he finally walked a few steps. I got him up every hour for the following two days to ensure that he didn’t get stiff as well as to help fight through the soreness. By Saturday, he was running and playing like his old self. Bless his little heart!

We cooked hotdogs over the firepit to celebrate my fabulous husband and the promotion he received at work. He is now the Assistant General Manager at the Courtyard by Marriott. He has been their Food and Beverage Manager for the last ten months. He’s amazing, brilliant, and we are continually so amazed at how God continues to bless us for doing what is right and trusting Him. Personally, there is nothing sexier than a man that loves God and his family and is willing to work hard to provide for them. Work ethic is part of a person’s character, and I’m so thankful that Adam’s bosses see and believe in his character, potential, and ability to make their company great! Have I mentioned that he’s amazing????

We ended the week by attending the 75th annual National Peanut Festival Parade in beautiful downtown Dothan. Our church youth group sold 200+ chairs at the parade, and I had to have Banks there to help set up by 6am Saturday morning. They also sold coffee, hot cocoa, baked goods, and popcorn. Banks and his friends worked hard, but they also passed out plans of salvation to onlookers at the parade. I’m so thankful that he loves Jesus, and that he is involved with such a fantastic youth group! 

So, despite the hectic week and all of the back and forth that it involved as well as surprise emergency room trips, it was really a week of wonderful blessings, and for that, I am thankful. This week has started off just as busy with play practice at church and throwing a birthday party for my sister tonight, but I’m very excited for a weekend of family, football, and relaxing. I hope you all have a wonderful week and find something to be thankful for amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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He Equips the Called

There’s a beautiful area North of Nashville called Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee. This was where my grandfather grew up and where his body is now buried. One of the most important things to him was education, and both he and Cumberland Furnace serve as inspiration for my newest journey.

As many of you know, Banks attends an amazing school, but amazing schools are generally associated with amazingly expensive tuitions. When Adam and I realized that we wouldn’t be able to afford tuition for two children, I began praying about where to send Weston to school until Banks graduates in 2020. After negating every other private school in town and not even considering the public schools we are zoned for, God started putting moms that homeschool in my path, and I fought it every step of the way, until it was clear that this is what He has been preparing me for these last two and a half years as a stay at home mom. I’m also so thankful that He chose to answer my prayer to teach again in this most incredible way! So without further adieu, Weston will attend 3 year old kindergarten through first grade at Cumberland Furnace School.

I knew I didn’t want a room in my house to be our schoolroom, because we will both get up, get dressed, pack a lunch, take Bubba to school, then come home and go through the gate to the schoolhouse in the backyard. I want him to be prepared for the life lesson of waking up at a certain time, getting dressed, and the responsibility of being at school on time. My precious husband came up with the idea of converting a shed into a schoolhouse, and I fell in love with idea. The one pictured above may not look like much right now, but once we add window boxes, a school bell, run electrical, add insulation, Wainscoting for wall cover, and some furniture and lighting, the Cumberland Furnace School will be absolutely adorable! 

I’m extremely excited to share this renovation and homeschooling journey with you all. This week I began exploring different curriculum options as well as the different homeschool groups here in town. I love how the answer to every question we’ve had along the way has appeared directly in front of us. I’m so grateful for the support of my family and friends, and Weston is extremely excited to go to his new school. I know my grandfather would be so proud of our family, and he would have loved having another brilliant great grandson. Thank you for reading and come back next week for another exciting post!

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More Treats than Tricks

October was an extremely busy month!!!! Halloween weekend was the only weekend that we didn’t have prior commitments, and it was so incredibly enjoyable, from beginning to end. Friday night we spent time at our dearest friend’s home with the most amazing group of friends from our Sunday School Class! In all seriousness, we all have a blast together. We sat by the fire until our eyelids grew heavy, which is no later than 10:30pm these days! The conversations that have been had around this fire pit could compile a best seller! Our friend, Chuck, is moving to a new home, and Adam and I feel so incredibly blessed to know that this fire pit will find it’s new home in our backyard, and we can’t wait to add to the stories to be included in the best seller.

fireSaturday was Halloween, and I have wonderful memories of Halloween as a child! We lived in the greatest neighborhood, filled with kids! We went up and down Glenhaven Drive until we had to put one hand on top of all of our candy to ensure that the bucket didn’t overflow. Because my ‘Ol Dad worked with Colonial Bakery, we didn’t pass out candy at our house. We gave away mini loaves of Colonial Honey Wheat Bread. It was the hit of the neighborhood! His bakery only baked them on Halloween. Here’s an amazing photo that I found of my sister, brother, and myself on this magical night in 1986.

1980 halloweenI started off the morning by making a batch of Pumpkin Spice pancakes and homemade Cinnamon Nutmeg Syrup to make the day a bit more magical for the boys. The recipe was somewhat of an experiment. I added 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin and a little cinnamon and nutmeg to my regular pancake mix, and I added a couple of drops of yellow and red food coloring to make the batter the desired orange color. To make the syrup, I used a regular simple syrup recipe, but instead of granulated sugar, I used brown sugar and added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the mixture. The brown sugar just makes it a dark brown color, and I added blue and red food coloring a little at a time until the syrup appeared black. It wasn’t anything major, just something fun for my man clan!

halloween cakes

Weston spent the entire day asking if it was time to go trick-or-treating! Seriously, at least once every hour, we would answer, “No, not yet,” which was promptly followed by, “UH, why not?????” Well, when it was finally 5pm, he was so excited to put on his costume and hit the streets! He said, “Trick-or-treat” at each and every house with their porch light glowing, and by the time we got back home, he was ready to inspect and eat each and every piece of candy! He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to eat every piece that very night! Nonetheless, I’m so thankful that he was able to experience the same magic I did as a child, and might I just say, he was the cutest Charlie Brown I’ve ever seen! Although Banks declared himself too old to dress up this year, we were able to get Chrissy into the Halloween fun by putting her in a fairy princess costume, and she was, by far, the prettiest Beagle in Dothan! We walked, as a family, through our neighborhood, and these are the memories that I cherish!

halloween 15.1 halloween 15

Following our family trick-or-treating, we returned home, allowed Weston to have 3 pieces of candy, and tended to the trick-or-treaters at our own door. Once the sugar high was over and the porch light was turned off, Banks took his turn babysitting his little brother to earn a little bit of money while my honey and me went on a date! It was so wonderful to have time alone for the first time in I’m not sure how long!!!! We both wanted to see the movie Burnt with Bradley Cooper. The movie was fantastic, if you enjoy cooking, 5 star restaurants, and that type of thing. It made Adam and myself eager to cook a nice meal together, so we are beginning to plan something for next month. We will see how quickly the calendar fills up and what his work schedule will allow. Two of my favorite things in life are Cherry Coke from the movie theatre and a pack of Twizzlers. Neither of the two items taste the same from a convenient store or the grocery store, and I had both Saturday night! It was divine! No matter how much I love movie theatre Cherry Coke and Twizzlers, one thing is for certain, I love my husband more than both of them! He’s amazing, and I can’t wait to grow old with him! Life with this man clan of mine is absolutely better than anything I could have imagined!

date nightNext week’s blog will be about a new endeavor in which I’m taking on. It’s extremely exciting and not at all what I ever planned for myself, but I serve The One who has far greater plans for us than anything we could ever imagine. So come back next week to see what big things I’m working on.