stories and pictures

A Full Moon in December

A Full Moon in December

It has been a full week fraught with surprise, worry, and anticipation. We are near the end of our fall ...
Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

We were happy to host family for Thanksgiving dinner, and it ended up being the first year we mixed both ...
Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019

More has gone on here than our trip to England and Wales, so it would be a shame to make ...
The UK with Karin: Day 8

The UK with Karin: Day 8

It was our final full day in the UK, and we wanted to make the most of it. Instead of ...
The UK with Karin: Day 7

The UK with Karin: Day 7

Like I said in the previous post, our AirBNB in Nant-y-Derry was a DELIGHT, even though it didn't have WiFi ...
The UK with Karin: Day 6

The UK with Karin: Day 6

I was still high as a kite the morning after meeting Philippa Gregory at Sudeley Castle, deliriously happy as we ...
Races No. 23 and 24

Races No. 23 and 24

Just when I think I'm done running half marathons, I convince myself to run "just one more." When I learned ...
The UK with Karin: Day 5

The UK with Karin: Day 5

Our fifth day in England was the most special. Not only was it the day that our driver showed up ...
The UK with Karin: Day 4

The UK with Karin: Day 4

To Windsor! We hopped the train again, this time westbound to the tiny town of Windsor. Last year we visited ...
The UK with Karin: Day 3

The UK with Karin: Day 3

When Karin said she wanted to see Hever Castle, I didn't mind one bit. Interestingly, it was on our third ...
The UK with Karin: Day 2

The UK with Karin: Day 2

We both enjoyed every second of sleep we got that first night. It is definitely the trade-off for flying overnight ...
The UK with Karin: Day 1

The UK with Karin: Day 1

When Karin and I met in 2001, we became fast friends. This is actually the same origin story for all ...
16 and a quick trip to West Virginia

16 and a quick trip to West Virginia

I seem to average one post a month these days, so that's a good indication of how busy we've been ...
August 2019

August 2019

We're only halfway through the month, but the momentum of the new school is already giving me whiplash. Is summer ...
My Week Alone

My Week Alone

Earlier in the spring, my sister asked me if Jeremy wanted to join Owen on his summer youth trip, and ...
Family, the 4th, and Starcourt Mall

Family, the 4th, and Starcourt Mall

My Uncle Bob and his wife, Carie, came to visit the week of July 4th, and I was more than ...
Carillon Beach with Karin

Carillon Beach with Karin

I know, I know - we just went on vacation. BUT, Karin and I like to skip out of town ...
2019 European Vacation: Day Eight in London

2019 European Vacation: Day Eight in London

As promised, we made sure the boys set their feet in London before flying back to the States. A quick ...
2019 European Vacation: Days Six and Seven in Milan, Italy

2019 European Vacation: Days Six and Seven in Milan, Italy

The weather was a bit gray when we left Levanto, an indication that the remainder of our Italian experience would ...
2019 European Vacation: Day Five in Levanto and Cinque Terre, Italy

2019 European Vacation: Day Five in Levanto and Cinque Terre, Italy

It was hard to leave France, if I'm honest. We had just found our stride with the neighborhood and language, ...
2019 European Vacation: Day Four in Antibes and Cannes during the Film Festival

2019 European Vacation: Day Four in Antibes and Cannes during the Film Festival

We scheduled a morning to sleep in and take our time, which was necessary for happy moods and getting some ...
2019 European Vacation: Day Three in Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix Practice

2019 European Vacation: Day Three in Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix Practice

If you'd have told me as recently as January that I would want to go to Monaco for a Formula ...
2019 European Vacation: Day Two in Antibes, Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera)

2019 European Vacation: Day Two in Antibes, Côte d’Azur (the French Riviera)

It was a genius move to sleep in the hotel connected to Gatwick Airport because our Easy Jet flight from ...
2019 European Vacation: Day One in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Brighton

2019 European Vacation: Day One in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Brighton

Last year, when Chuck and I flew to the UK, we opted for an overnight flight so we wouldn't lose ...
So we went to Europe.

So we went to Europe.

At some point during winter, Chuck and I started talking about where to take the boys on a summer vacation ...
Mother's Day 2019

Mother’s Day 2019

Several years ago, as a gift to myself, I decided that as long as we are homeschooling our academic year ...
F1: A New Obsession

F1: A New Obsession

I don't know if this is a short-lived phase or the beginning of something, but I've become a Formula 1 ...
Mumford & Sons on their Delta Tour

Mumford & Sons on their Delta Tour

When I became a Mumford & Sons fan, Chuck and I were in the midst of trying to move back ...
Where in the world have I been

Where in the world have I been

In my former life, blogging was an almost-every-other-day thing. I had so much to say, so much to post, so ...
First Snow Day of 2019

First Snow Day of 2019

We don't get a lot of snow around here, but when there's a threat of an inch, schools and businesses ...
Gregory Alan Isakov in concert

Gregory Alan Isakov in concert

I have a short list of artists I want to see in concert. As a fan of not wasting time ...
A perpetual gray cloud

A perpetual gray cloud

January is supposed to be an inspirational month, a time when folks have the most amount of resolve to improve ...
Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018

Honestly, we did our best. It was a tough year, so it's hard to be festive during a time that's ...
Medal No. 22

Medal No. 22

I signed up for the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in the Smokies back in the summer, not yet knowing that ...
Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

My parents are moving back to Tennessee, and since they are already in the process of the move, it made ...
The UK Trip: Day 10 in Amsterdam

The UK Trip: Day 10 in Amsterdam

For a dozen reasons, we didn't want to leave Scotland. How can one look forward to a trip for more ...
The UK Trip: Day 9 in Inverness and Banff

The UK Trip: Day 9 in Inverness and Banff

By Day 9, we were acutely aware of how quickly time was passing us by. It was an impossibility to ...
The UK Trip: Day 8 in the Scottish Highlands

The UK Trip: Day 8 in the Scottish Highlands

Having spent one full day in Edinburgh and one full day in London, I for sure knew I was a ...
The UK Trip: Day 7 in Edinburgh

The UK Trip: Day 7 in Edinburgh

We arrived in Edinburgh Thursday evening just as it was getting dark. We were fortunate to find our Airbnb apartment ...
The UK Trip: Day 6 in Northern England, Alnwick Castle, and Bamburgh Castle by the sea

The UK Trip: Day 6 in Northern England, Alnwick Castle, and Bamburgh Castle by the sea

The night in Horsley near Newcastle was a delight, and the Airbnb apartment where we stayed was in an old, ...
The UK Trip: That one night in Newcastle

The UK Trip: That one night in Newcastle

Of all the unpredictable details of our anniversary trip - the pleasant weather, the ease in which we navigated the ...
The UK Trip: Day 5 in Oxford and the Cotswolds

The UK Trip: Day 5 in Oxford and the Cotswolds

The plan for Wednesday, October 10, was to spend the morning walking in Oxford and driving through the Cotswolds before ...
The moment I thought all was lost

The moment I thought all was lost

Last week I had a near heart attack when this site went blank. A corrupt plugin (or perhaps a plugin ...
The UK Trip: Day 4 in Windsor and Dorset

The UK Trip: Day 4 in Windsor and Dorset

Originally, my plan was to drive to Brighton, then Dorset and up to Oxford, but when I couldn't find room ...
The UK Trip: Day 3 to Rye, Dover, and Canterbury

The UK Trip: Day 3 to Rye, Dover, and Canterbury

Every day we spent in England was meticulously mapped out to make the most of our limited time. Scotland was ...
The UK Trip: Day 3 at Hever Castle

The UK Trip: Day 3 at Hever Castle

We visited more than just Hever Castle on Day 3, but my affection for Queen Anne Boleyn warrants its own ...
The UK Trip: Days 1 and 2

The UK Trip: Days 1 and 2

I've already confessed to the number of photos I took throughout our 12-day trip. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed, but ...
700 photos later...

700 photos later…

In 2006, Chuck and I started talking about taking a trip to the UK. Until last week, it had always ...
When you don't take your own advice

When you don’t take your own advice

Chuck and I are going on a trip, but before we leave I have eleventy billion tasks to complete. I'm ...
The Possum Chronicles

The Possum Chronicles

It began on Tuesday night, September 4, when Major lost his mind. Evenings are typically low-key for our blue tick ...
Summer is in the rearview

Summer is in the rearview

We are fully immersed in the fall schedule - homeschool co-op classes, soccer for Jeremy, another round of equine therapy ...
Brewers vs. Braves: A Victory

Brewers vs. Braves: A Victory

We'd gone out to dinner one night this summer to one of those restaurants with TVs scattered throughout the room ...
Equine therapy and Jackson's first horse show

Equine therapy and Jackson’s first horse show

Last fall, after Jackson finished nearly three months of occupational therapy to help with his spatial awareness, fine motor skills, ...
Santa Fe with Michele

Santa Fe with Michele

Earlier this year, Chuck started asking me what I wanted to do to celebrate turning 40 years old. Figuring that ...
We rented a boat and loved it

We rented a boat and loved it

We've caught a bad bug. Something happened this summer, and I can't necessarily pinpoint when everything shifted. The idea of ...
The week that went by too quickly

The week that went by too quickly

While our lifestyle affords us plenty of family time, Chuck and I don't get a lot of time just the ...
Container Gardening + Plant Collecting

Container Gardening + Plant Collecting

Typically, by mid-June, I'd be nurturing a well-groomed garden and plucking off a zucchini here, a tomato there. In previous ...
Jackson turns 12

Jackson turns 12

The first time Jackson asked to repaint his bedroom, which had been a shade of light blue since buying this ...
Girls Weekend June 2018

Girls Weekend June 2018

The original idea for one our 2018 Girls Weekends was to reunite in New York City where our friendship really ...
Summer break so far

Summer break so far

The moment we finished our last day at the homeschool co-op where the boys attend and I teach, my brain ...
Medal No. 20

Medal No. 20

Eleven years ago I entertained a personal physical challenge: could I run 13.1 miles?  For some, that was a reasonable, ...
Twelve Years Later

Twelve Years Later

There are good things that happen during a time of mourning - favorite stories are told, family members gather to ...
Papaw

Papaw

I don't remember the first time I met my future father-in-law, but it was sometime in the early spring of ...
A Midday Escape

A Midday Escape

Yesterday was a bad day of school. Those days happen. Sometimes it's on account of bad moods, other times it's ...
Medal No. 19

Medal No. 19

Are you ready for the longest race report ever? There are a dozen reasons why I shouldn't have run this ...
Jackson goes to Disney World

Jackson goes to Disney World

After our day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and subsequent day of rest by the pool) it was ...
Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Previous post: Hogsmeade Village After lunch we walked through Universal to reach the discreet entrance to Diagon Alley, which was ...
Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village

We had one full day at Universal, and that limitation required careful planning in regard to arrival time, meal time, ...
A second spring break

A second spring break

As homeschoolers, we do what we want. It's glorious. It's magnificent. Our first spring break was spent at home, and ...
My Least Favorite Question: "How is the writing going?"

My Least Favorite Question: “How is the writing going?”

Five years ago I was accosted by a girl in my head. She showed up uninvited, as if she'd been ...
That time I was questioned by the police

That time I was questioned by the police

A couple of days ago I was on a six-mile run while listening to West Cork, an Audible True Crime ...
Part Three: Don't Waste Time

Part Three: Don’t Waste Time

You can start here if you like. You can also start with Part One where I talk about the importance ...
Part Two: Caring for Others

Part Two: Caring for Others

Read Part One first. The reason to take care of yourself first can be summed up with a simple analogy: ...
Part One: On the Importance of Self-Care

Part One: On the Importance of Self-Care

I've been sitting on this post for a while. Sometimes it's hard for me to know when to share something ...
Skincare staples at almost 40

Skincare staples at almost 40

This post probably feels random for most of you, but bear with me. One of the things I decided to ...
Adios Tonsils and Adenoids

Adios Tonsils and Adenoids

Last week Jeremy got his tonsils and adenoids taken out after we realized that more than 50 percent of his ...
The Killers Concert, Atlanta 2018

The Killers Concert, Atlanta 2018

It all began with "Mr. Brightside" and Hot Fuss in 2004. It was a new sound, something I hadn't heard ...
First Snow of 2018

First Snow of 2018

Parts of Tennessee got its first snow of the year last week, but we weren't that lucky. Yesterday, however, we ...
SensaCalm Weighted Blankets

SensaCalm Weighted Blankets

When I was approached by my friend, Donna, to consider reviewing the weighted blankets she sells, I readily agreed. I'm ...
Christmas in Wisconsin 2017

Christmas in Wisconsin 2017

Since our experience in Hilton Head two Christmases ago was so positive, we decided to do it again. However, instead ...
Favorite Moments of 2017

Favorite Moments of 2017

There are three primary reasons why I have kept this blog active for more than 12 years. First, I created ...
Video of our trip to Iceland

Video of our trip to Iceland

It took the bulk of my day to finish this video, but that's only because iMovie is trial and error ...
Adventure in Iceland - Going home

Adventure in Iceland – Going home

We were all sad on Friday morning. Though we'd done and seen so much in three full days, we were ...
Adventure in Iceland - Day Three

Adventure in Iceland – Day Three

One of the best pieces of advice we got from our AirBNB hosts was to avoid the Blue Lagoon, a ...
Adventure in Iceland - Day Two

Adventure in Iceland – Day Two

When we got back in town Tuesday night, after our excursion to Reynisfjara Beach, we went to a local grocery ...
Adventure in Iceland - Part Two of Day One

Adventure in Iceland – Part Two of Day One

Continued from previous post: Adventure in Iceland - Day One The goal of Tuesday was to get to Reynisfjara Beach ...
Adventure in Iceland - First Part of Day One

Adventure in Iceland – First Part of Day One

So it went something a little like this: Him: What are your thoughts on Iceland? Me: I have no thoughts ...
Photos of late

Photos of late

It has been a busy season for all the hats I wear. Teaching, writing, photography - these things come in ...
Medal No. 18 and it's finally fall in Tennessee

Medal No. 18 and it’s finally fall in Tennessee

I ran a beautiful, dry half marathon Saturday afternoon and earned my 18th medal. My time was totally average, and ...
Medal No. 17, Stranger Things 2, Halloween, NaNoWriMo

Medal No. 17, Stranger Things 2, Halloween, NaNoWriMo

In the interest of time and space, here's a recap of how I ran 13.1 miles in the pouring rain ...
Follow me on the Knoxville Moms Blog

Follow me on the Knoxville Moms Blog

I recently started contributing to the Knoxville Moms Blog, the local sister site of the nationwide network called City Moms Blog. While ...
Nonfiction Piece Published

Nonfiction Piece Published

When my first byline was published, it was in the Chattanooga Times prior to its merging with the Chattanooga Free Press, and ...
Anniversary week and fall break

Anniversary week and fall break

Our anniversary fell on a Saturday this year, and while last year's anniversary celebration was bigger and better, this year ...
That time Jackson got a high five from Peyton Manning

That time Jackson got a high five from Peyton Manning

It was a beautiful day for college football. Jackson and I were on campus to volunteer at the UKirk house ...
Jeremy turns 14

Jeremy turns 14

Welp, I have a 14-year-old. Not sure how that happened, yet here we are. For his birthday, Jeremy wanted to ...
Newborn sessions are my favorite

Newborn sessions are my favorite

I adore taking photos of newborns. They're squishy, sleepy, easy to move around and put in cozy positions. I love ...
BrickUniverse LEGO Convention

BrickUniverse LEGO Convention

When word got out that a LEGO convention was coming to Knoxville, Jeremy insisted we attend. As if there was ...
Answering your [very personal] questions about homeschooling

Answering your [very personal] questions about homeschooling

When we made the decision to homeschool during the summer of 2011, it came at the tail end of a ...
In the path of totality

In the path of totality

We were some of the lucky ones whose house was situated in the path of totality, so a handful of ...