Signs of Life Days Twenty-Four through Twenty-Six

We’ve gotten hawkish with our weekends. Protective, limiting, careful. We’ve skipped church more often than ever because we need sleep, time, a break. I don’t mind it one bit.

This weekend was no exception. I slept, I ran, I read. I prepped for class next week. We went out to dinner on Saturday night, but that was our only public viewing as a family. Otherwise, we laid low and it was wonderful.

My front porch posse:

How is this a Sign of Life? Because there is nothing more life-affirming than rooting down deep with my family and tying heart-strings with my children. We had family dinner every day. We watched The Force Awakens with Jeremy and played basketball with Jackson. Chuck and I went on a walk, just the two of us. We teased and laughed and talked about vacation plans this summer.

These are restorative weekends, the kind of days when our expectations are so low because there’s no reason to think too hard.

Abigail Van Buren, better known as Dear Abby, said, “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” There is truth here, and while I know there are no guarantees about where Jeremy and Jackson will end up in life, or how our efforts will play a role, these efforts in particular won’t be wasted.

Signs of Life is a blog series I’m writing for February 2017. It was born out of desire to replace the negativity and despair that’s been bogging down our friendships, families, and communities after a tumultuous election season. This series won’t solve the world’s problems, but I hope it will create a speck of light and positivity when and where it is needed. 

The 2015 Garden

In the ground this season we have basil, sweet peas, yellow onions, russet and fingerling potatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, and Japanese eggplant. There’s also romaine lettuce, which is an experiment.

2015 garden

basil and peppers

russet and fingerling potatoes

sweet peas

sweet onions

Everything will be delicious, but I’m really looking forward to the Japanese eggplant. Roasted and seasoned, they are amazing. Last summer I ate them almost daily, which is why I got two plants instead of one.

japanese eggplant

planted garden

I’ve been gardening since Jeremy was in diapers, and though I took a hiatus when we lived in Texas, I feel like I’m in a good groove now. I’m confident and generally pleased with each season. This little plot of land is precious to me. Thanks to my sweetheart for tilling the soil last weekend so I could dive in and get dirty.

Hey Spring Break

My sinuses hate everything about right now, but the scenery is gorgeous.

bud pinky purpley white and pink

The boys are working double time on their school work today to ensure their spring break starts tomorrow instead of Monday. We have big plans for the coming week, specifically that Jeremy is going to Disney World. Just Jeremy, you ask? Yes, because Chuck and I are totally uncool and will not take our kids to Disney, so my sister is. They will swing down from Chicago, pick up our 11-year-old, and take him to the happiest place on earth. Two years from now, when Jackson is 11, they’ll do the same with him.

Chuck and I get off scot-free. We don’t have to wade through pools of loud children or stand in line for hours or hear It’s a Small World over and over and over again. We’re totally dancing a jig.

It sounds bad, but the honest part is that we’re a different sort of traveler. We’d rather camp or wander around a new city without a timetable. We prefer places where we’re not outnumbered by stranger kids and food isn’t outrageously over-priced. There is charm and magic at Disney World, but it’s not the kind of charm and magic we’re interested in. We’re very grateful to have family members who will do this great task for us and give our children a wonderful experience.

Meanwhile, we have our own plans to make Jackson’s spring break memorable. He’s pretty excited about being an only child for a week. His first request?

“Can I stay up ’til 10?”

You sure can, buddy. 

TBT March 2007: When Jeremy gave me a weed

Spring had finally arrived in our little corner of North Georgia and Jeremy, my three-and-a-half-year-old outdoorsman, couldn’t wait to pick me a flower.

Even though it was a weed. Bless him.

TBT March 2007

Spring is on the verge right now (or so my sinuses tell me), and we couldn’t be happier. It’s time to go back outside.

Hey Spring!

So glad you showed up.




The garden is nearly prepped, so more goodness will be growing soon. Spring is happiness.


A hint of spring

first flower

I know this is a weed, but it’s also a hint of things to come.  A week ago we were sledding  in a foot of snow. Today, I’m on the verge of turning on the air conditioner. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say we were living in Amarillo again. (Remember the one-day blizzards? Ca-razy.)

I declare spring break.

The six-year-old is projectile vomiting. The nine-year-old has reached an impasse with triple-digit multiplication. The dog won’t stay out of the cat food.

I declare spring break.

Today will be a day of reading, writing, making sure my littlest is comfortable, and giving my oldest yard work to do so he can raise money to buy Skylanders. I might even go for a short run.

Warm weather is coming, and we couldn’t be more ready.


Well Hello Spring.

Though we could technically still get a snow storm, it feels like spring is here, especially since scary tornado weather is visiting. Yesterday we were under a tornado watch (then a warning) until 8 p.m., and the weatherman is saying tomorrow will be much the same. Unlike in Amarillo, I am so very thankful to have a basement here.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the start of Girls Weekend Spring 2012 at Susan’s house in Middle Tennessee, but the weather could throw a nasty wrench in that plan. Lesli’s flight from DC will surely be delayed if last night is any indication of tomorrow night. I need Girls Weekend, but I also need not to be in a car wreck from twisters on the interstate.

The plus side of spring’s arrival is that it brings perfect running weather. With the race just weeks away, I decided to replace my running shoes now (which were nearly a year old and had more than 600 miles on them) so I could break them in before race day. I am definitely a Running Shoe Snob. Having years ago tried New Balance and Mizuno with much dislike, I went back to Asics – specifically to the Gel-Nimbus, which has asymmetrical lacing. LOVE asymmetrical lacing! 

See how the lacing is on a slight diagonal, shifted towards the inside of the foot? This has completely eliminated any and all soreness in the top part of my feet after super long runs.

Or as Asics puts it, “The function of this new lacing system is to align the medial and lateral quarter-panels evenly on either side of the bony topline of the foot. The benefit is an upper that moves more efficiently with the foot, minimizing the potential for irritation.

Sorry for the gushing. In other news that the grandparents will care about, the boys and I are nearly finished with our salt dough formation of the United States. After making Tennessee, they wanted to make 100 other things, so we compromised on the major landforms in the US. Pictures to come.

Spring is here.

This first photo was taken in late March when the grass first started to turn a vibrant green. The trees were still bare enough that you could see the shape of a house on the property behind us. (Ten points to you if you can find Salem in this photo.)

I snapped this photo this morning from the same angle. Newly grown ivy has decorated the base of every tree, most of which are now filled in with foliage. You’d never know there is a house behind us, and I love that.

I didn’t color correct these images. It is naturally this green.

The morning has been so lovely… minus the dead mouse on the back porch.