Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame

We spent Halloween weekend in Atlanta with Corey, Gwen, and Alex so we could spend time together and I could do a few photo sessions.





Look at this precious face I was happy to photograph:

jem_4838-low-resjem_4928-low-resOn Friday we ate dinner at a hibachi place, which was a first for Jackson and only the second time for Jeremy.




On Sunday we went to the College Football Hall of Fame, which Jackson has been asking to go to since it opened. Yes, we wore our Packers gear, but that’s only because they were playing the Falcons and it was mandatory to represent. I loved, loved, loved seeing so many Packers fans in downtown Atlanta! Can’t imagine what game day looks like in Green Bay.

The College Football Hall of Fame was every bit as fun and interesting as I’d hoped. Lots of interactive activities, lots to read and see, and there was a partial field on the lower level for folks to try out their field goal abilities and passing game. My three boys loved it.










To see my favorite video from the weekend, click here. 

The Last Week of Summer (plus new headshots)

Corey and Alex joined us for my birthday week, which meant I had the best company for a hair appointment, a little shopping, and seeing Suicide Squad on opening night.

Jeremy and Alex August 2016

Shoulda used a flash in the theater…

Suicide Squad with Corey

I also had someone to help me take new head shots (thanks, Corey!).

JEM_3210 bw


You can see a bit of purple on the ends of my hair. I originally went in for a touch-up on the ombre but was convinced to go a little lavender instead.


Life is short, and it washes out after a while. You can really see it here:


One more photo – big thanks to my sister for the Federalist t-shirt! Woo-hoo!

New Federalist shirt

It was a wonderful birthday week overall, made even more special by all the warm wishes and love sent my way. THANK YOU ALL! Year 38 is off to a lovely start.

Today starts the last week of our summer break, and that means it’s time to rearrange the library for doing school work, sort through curriculum one last time, and mentally prepare for the semester. I’m teaching at the co-op this year and the nerves are starting to set in. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly.

And if it doesn’t go smoothly, fingers crossed I can fake it ’til I make it.

The last thing on my checklist is to edit the second book per Corey’s corrections, send it off to a third person to read it, and begin the hard labor of writing query letters. I’m crossing all the fingers for that one.

Besties in Atlanta

Our Atlanta weekend getaway was long overdue. In fact, we were supposed to go in January, but Salem’s last hospitalization nixed that. Instead, we capped off our spring break with a few days with some of our best friends.

Corey and me March 2016

We ate good food, went bowling, and hung around the condo. Corey and I escaped to Ulta and Nordstrom Rack, and some of us napped. The boys played Nerf and video games, goofing off and not showering. We went to IKEA, where the boys nearly died of boredom. It was a close one.

Waiting around IKEA

As usual, I love how the boys reconnect so easily after so much time apart. We don’t force their friendship but rather facilitate it. Eventually their relationship will look and function differently, but for now, it works.

A word about Jeremy’s face in the photo below: He’s being a goofball. This is what happens when your mother is a photographer and says, “Smile” way too often. I think he looks like a Muppet (and promptly told him so).

Jeremy Alex and Jackson 2016

My favorite photo from the weekend, however, is this last one. Rarely does my husband let me take his picture, but when he does, it’s always a good one:

Chuck is awesome

Fall Break Guests No. 2 and 3

Corey and Alex showed up Friday night to round out our fall break. Per usual, Alex and Jeremy got right to playing as if they see each other all the time. Like Jeremy and Ethan, these two seem to forget that they live in separate cities.

The long weekend was busy with Minecraft, playing outside, and goofing off. We took the older boys to see The Martian and sat fireside Sunday night to make s’mores. We cooked and colored and kept things casual.

Jeremy and Alex 2015

Blowing hot air

Smores on a Sunday
Basketball at night
One thing that cannot go unmentioned is that Corey and I spent a chunk of Saturday on UT’s campus prior to the Tennessee-Georgia game.

The Rock TN GA game

I had to work the parking lot at the Presbyterian Campus Ministry house (UKirk at UTK) where I serve on the board. After hanging out around the tailgaters, we stole a few minutes to watch The Pride of the Southland Band play Rocky Top as it marched to the stadium.

Me and Corey at UT 2015

Along the way we ran into Jeb Bush. Not my favorite presidential candidate, but neat nonetheless. We shook hands.

Meeting Jeb Bush

We probably won’t see Corey and Alex again until after the holidays, but that’s fine. Whenever we get together again it will be as if no time has passed. That’s what friendship is all about. When you keep one another in the fold, the distance doesn’t really matter.

No time to blog!

I’m too busy this week wrangling three boys and a four-month-old puppy to spend five seconds on the internet. (For the record, the puppy is harder to manage than the three boys combined. The cat is by far my favorite today.) Sincerest apologies to my Words with Friends opponents. I will get to all of you later tonight.

Corey, Gwen, and Alex arrived yesterday and the house went into complete chaos because the dog lost his mind and the boys were overjoyed to see each other. The noise was unreal. BUT, once the sun set, all boys calmed down – including Major – and the three adults were able to enjoy uninterrupted conversation. It was fantastic. I love this family. There is nothing like having your oldest, dearest friend in the same room even if it’s just for a few hours.

Corey and Gwen ran off to the mountains today and will head home to Atlanta this evening, leaving Alex to spend his spring break with us. It’s a very special treat for Jeremy to spend this much time with a long-distance friend, so there’s been non-stop action among the boys since yesterday afternoon. It is additionally difficult for them to stop chatting long enough to fall asleep. Benadryl, anyone?

Corey, Gwen, and me

Three boys


The only problem with having plans every weekend in December is that they cause the month to go by too quickly.

We spent this weekend in Atlanta with my bestie and her family. I came home with more than 300 photos on my camera, which is insane on my part. After dedicating some storage space to engagement photos (see one example at the end), I blew the rest on Chato and the three boys. We took them to Legoland and then the Varsity for heart-stopping greasy food.

Miniature Atlanta: The Fox Theater in Legos

Miniature Falcons game:Falcons game in Legos

Chuck liked Legoland, too! Daddy builds

New Legos for two sweaty, happy boys: Lego Christmas

Post-Legoland:The three boys

The Varsity for lunch:Signage

With hats:The Varsity

The Amazing Chato:Sleeping Chato

The old men nap:the old men

I rarely take staged photos of anyone but my kiddos, so this was a real treat. This engagement shot is one of my favorites:
photo 7On our way back home from Atlanta yesterday we stopped at our favorite Christmas tree farm to chop down a tree. The thing is huge, and by huge I mean that I can’t reach the top of the tree even with a six-foot ladder. But more on that tomorrow. Right now there’s an episode of Homeland on the DVR and a treadmill waiting for me.

Weekend Visitors

Corey and Alex drove up from Atlanta for the weekend so the boys could play and the adults could relax. We spent Saturday afternoon at the campground to swim and participate in some of the extended July 4th celebrations.

It was SO HOT but at least we suffered in good company.

I am officially done with summer. Pretty please, Mother Earth, make autumn come early.

Another boy in the house

For the first part of our spring break we invited Alex from Atlanta to spend a few days with us. (Ethan from Chattanooga will be here for the second half.) And while they’ve had their fair share of Xbox time, they’ve also spent plenty of time outside in the sun.

They originally took their arsenal of Nerf guns outside to defend the house but were obviously distracted by the family of bugs living in the puddle of water on the slide.

Then they got out the water hose.

And little brother took them down.

As the only girl in the house, I am entirely outnumbered.

Twenty Years

Over the weekend we made another quick trip to Chattanooga to meet up with Corey and Alex, whom we haven’t seen in months. They drove up from Atlanta and we met for the afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch on Signal Mountain.

Corey and I have been friends for nearly 20 years, and it’s a blessing to us that our boys like each other. Despite the time and distance apart, Jeremy and Alex always play like they’re best friends. They must get that from their mothers.

More under the cut…

Continue reading “Twenty Years”

Corey and Alex

My friendship with Corey dates back to 1991. We were barely teenagers and completely ridiculous. My family had just moved from Germany to Atlanta, a city Corey has always called home, and she was instantly my best friend. And though I lived in Atlanta only three years, we kept our friendship going regardless of where I moved. Jeremy and her son, Alex, are just months apart and have played fabulously together since they met.

Such was the case this weekend. Alex and Jeremy haven’t seen each other in two years, but you really wouldn’t know it. It’s as if no time has passed. I guess they get that from their mothers.

Since the weather was beautiful, the boys played mostly outside. Corey and I ran around town on Saturday looking for living room furniture and we had great success. (Never in my life did I think I’d have an orange couch, but… Pictures to come.) For dinner we brought Corey and Alex along with us to our Welcome to Tennessee party with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a night of real southern food with the kind of hospitality that makes you feel like you’ve indeed come home. My list of babysitters is growing by the day.

Sunday was spent in the mountains and it couldn’t have been more beautiful. I wanted to pitch my tent and sleep next to the rushing water. I can see the mountains from my back deck and can be running around in them within a half hour. That is some good geography.

Sprinkled within the weekend were moments of wide awareness regarding Japan. Every few hours we’d check online to learn the country’s status. Yesterday I read the headline “Tidal Wave of Bodies…” and my stomach sank. I simply cannot imagine. Last night I laid awake thinking about how much I enjoyed the weekend and how my blessings need to be passed on to others. I’ve never felt comfortable with the “text your donation to such-and-such number,” and you never know about other quick-start charity organizations, but this article helped me a great deal in figuring out where to send money. It looks like the American Red Cross is the best place to start.