My Backyard

Cumberland Mountain/by Adam Brimer

Okay, it’s not officially my backyard, but you get the gist. I spent way too long online last night rummaging through the Knoxville News Sentinel and other local publications looking for all the usual things – locally owned boutiques, farmer’s markets, and where to find the best sushi. I stumbled upon a Hike of the Month series through the newspaper and got all giddy thinking about playing outside. (The above photo was from the October 2010 Hike of the Month along the Cumberland Trail. Click on the photo to see the entire gallery.)  Jeremy’s asked me every day since Sunday if we can “go to the mountains.” I’ve explained to him all the reasons why we can’t yet (rainy weather, still unpacking, don’t want to get lost right after moving here), but that hasn’t kept him from asking. He’s a little outdoorsman, which means we’re raising him right.

Jackson, as always, goes along for the ride. He’s just happy to see his toys again.

SIDEBAR on Jack: Thanks to Agnes from Despicable Me, he’s started using her “I accidently closed my eyes” excuse.  (That line comes in around the 3:13-minute mark on this video montage all about Agnes. Gosh darn cute, if you ask me.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm3UIfaQtTo]

Anyway, Lil’ Jack doesn’t say it quite right but any time he drops something, breaks something, says a naughty word, copies his brother, spills his cup, runs into the wall (yes, really) or anything else you can think of, he immediately covers it with, “It was ask-a-dently, Mom! Ask-a-dently!” I need to get video of this.

The good news is that I’m almost entirely unpacked. There are fewer than 10 boxes left in this house and I intend to finish today. Since this house has 400 more square feet than our previous one, the formal living room as no furniture in it. No, strike that. It has an ottoman and a step stool. But other than that, it’s empty. Corey and Alex are coming for a visit this weekend (yay for our first company!) so she and I plan to hit up the local thrift and consignment shops for modest pieces to make the room cozy.

Don’t worry. Pictures are coming.

Good Morning from Maryville

What day is it? I have no idea, but check out this view from the back porch.

 

Behind that line of trees is another property, and behind that property is another line of trees, and behind those trees are the Great Smoky Mountains. You can see the ridge line of the front range, which makes me giddy with anticipation for fall foliage.

Moving across the country was just as you’d expect it to be: exhausting. Driving 1,120 miles in two days with two kids and a pouting cat will make you tired. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, I’m overwhelmingly thankful for a number of things: 1) gas prices didn’t spike, 2) the boys didn’t lose their minds, 3) Salem didn’t poop in the car, and obviously, 4) we arrived safely. We also had great help from family members unloading the truck.

Unpacking began the night we arrived because I can’t control myself. I need order NOW, and I also need a map of this area because even though I’ve spend 14 years of weekends here for family reunions and Christmas parties, I rarely paid attention to my where-abouts. I can get myself to the main road, but beyond that, it’s all guess work and looking for what is familiar.

Jeremy started school this morning and he admitted to me first thing that he was nervous. No doubt. I empathized and told him about moving to Germany in the middle of my third grade year. I explained that it was hard walking into a classroom full of kids who already knew each other, but being friendly helps you make friends. He seemed to like the fact that I knew how he felt, and I was sure to not give him a huge hug and kiss when I left him in the classroom. I gave him a Cool Mom Half Hug with no sentiments. (We save the mushy stuff for home.)

As for Jack, who just told me his name is now Kevin, he’ll join me in unpacking the living room and organizing the play area. In a little while we’ll run errands and enjoy the view along the way.

Salem, by the way, is doing just fine.

Exploring Tennessee in Pictures

Burwell Building, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville/By Corey Seaton
Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park/By Kara Ziler

I’ve spent more time than I should browsing photos of east Tennessee online. It seems ridiculous since I’ve lived more years in Tennessee (between two cities) than anywhere else and have plenty of my own pictures to peruse. What can I say? I’m excited, and it all started on Flickr and carried on to photo contests and other random sites I found online. (I found the above photos on this site.) I’ve been studying maps, finding Greenways and hiking trails, and planning one weekend excursion after another.

One thing is for sure: I doubt we will run out of places to explore.