Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Slower Pace

I worked from home three days this week, and it has been some kind of wonderful. Instead of rushing myself and the kids out the door at 6:45, we pull out at a leisurely 7:20. I've cooked breakfast, spent time reading scripture and praying with the kids (as we've done for the last 7 years . . . until 2 months ago when I went back to work, that is). Instead of getting home at 4:00 and rushing in to start supper, manage homework, etc., we've pulled in the driveway at an easy 3:00. On my lunch break, I've thrown laundry in the washer, emptied the dishwasher, etc. Instead of 10 hours on the road, I've spent about 3.5 this week. There was time for cookies after school and walks before dark, chapters in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were read. We finally finished up the last episode of The Great Food Truck Race.

Just in case I'm presenting this as an easy week, let me assure you that it was FULL. But there were moments of peace in the midst of the craziness, and I am just so grateful for that.


I saw both Camden and Rory's teachers yesterday for conferences, and I am just so proud of my kids. Parenting is hard, hard work, but sometimes you get a glimpse of why it's worth all the hard work. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smoky Mountains

After a whirlwind fall break (I use the word break loosely), we packed up Friday morning and headed to the Smokey Mountains for a couple's get away with our church group. Does it really count as a couple's get away when you're traveling with a whole bunch of other people? Just curious. ;)

We unfortunately spent ALOT of time stuck in traffic during the 48 hours we were there. The upside to all that sitting in traffic is that it gave me and Brian plenty of time to catch up, debate, listen, talk.

Brian's parents met us in Pigeon Forge and took in some of the tourist attractions with the kiddos. I hear Rory climbed to the very top of a huge rock-climbing wall and that Camden quickly became a driving expert on very fast go-kart tracks.

My favorite part of the trip was Sunday morning. We drove to Cade's Cove (after a quick stop at Starbucks to fuel up for the day). It may have taken us 90 minutes to arrive and we may have actually missed the church service at the old wooden church, but the mountains are just so beautiful. There were deer and gorgeous horses and curvy one-lane roads, morning mist, old gravestones and wooden cabins. Really peaceful and soul-stirring.

We arrived home Sunday night and then the whole family proceeded to spend hours helping Brian grade papers (report cards go out today, and he was seriously backlogged). I'm working from home the rest of the week, which is an incredible blessing because my mom arrives Saturday to keep the home fires burning while I'm on a work trip all next week. When did our lives get so crazy? I am craving simplicity and trying to carve it out as best as I can. I think you'll see that reflected in the very few pictures I took this weekend.

Sitting in old wooden rocking chairs on an old wooden platform eating free popcorn and drinking a cream soda from a glass bottle while we people watched at Alewine Pottery.

Those bags under my eyes? That would be the result of approximately 2 hours of sleep per night while we were gone.


Because every weekend needs a little ice cream, we stopped for these old fashioned, homemade milkshakes on our way to pick up the kids. I watched them pour 1/2 cup of cream into the mixer. Yes, it was as good as it sounds although I could only manage half of mine. It was a good way to celebrate before the kids joined us and we started the trip home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Taken April 10, 2014.

I want the bangs back in a big way.



I am fully aware this looks like a camera crazy mama made her kids pose on a broken down basketball goal. I PROMISE I didn't - they were amusing themselves all on their own. I just jumped in to snap pictures.




This one is my fav.

I guarantee you his fingernails are typically not (a) this clean or (b) this short.


I have no idea why I thought this was fascinating to photograph.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

I bought a $120 pair of shoes last week for $34. You know they're expensive when they come with a little fabric bag to live in.

Rory came down last night (well after bedtime, of course) and said she really wanted to do something together after her devotions. She walked over, sweetly picked up my hand, and asked if she could pray with me. Well, "OF COURSE," I said as I shed a little tear.

Five minutes later she came back down and said she had something else she'd like to do together. "Let's say something complimentary (she really used the term complimentary) to each other, and then let's tell each other something we can be better at."

And that's when I realized I was being fooled into letting her stay up late.

Also from Rory - "Mommy, did you know that yoga means you can do back flips off a desk without falling off?"

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was a super cute, very family friendly movie. Brian and I laughed a lot. The kids, however, did not find all the family disasters funny. It was hilarious how horrified they were.

My mom, sisters, and I have an ongoing group text. Did you know that the newest IOS update allows you to change the name of those group texts? We have had the best time switching out names. The current name is Storm Watch 2014 after I sent the following picture last night.


After bowling yesterday. One of us didn't bowl (me), one of us bowled multiple strikes (Brian), one of us got very very lucky with some gutter balls and think they're about to go pro (Rory) and one of us got very frustrated at being beaten by his younger sister (you can guess which one).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Weekend

The weekend was crazy, starting with the non-stop rain Friday. Why did I think it was a good idea to run errands . . . with the kids . . . in the rain. Brian didn't make it home until nearly 7:00 (that's a tragedy when it's the start of fall break!). Saturday was full of a church community event, paint shopping for the kid and teen rooms at church. We finished up about 3:00 and Brian dropped me off at home while he took the kids to an early supper at a Chinese buffet. It was a win/win. I don't remember the last time I had some quiet time, and the kids can't remember the last time they had supper at a Chinese buffet.

Rory's cold from the week finally got to a point where I knew she needed to stay home, rest, use inhalers regularly, etc. so we stayed home Sunday while Brian and Camden started out their day with a men's breakfast at 7:30, church, then painted until 8:00 last night.

Needless to say, we're kind of in desperate need of some family time that does not involve church/work/serving others. We all slept in this morning, made waffles, eggs, and sausage for breakfast. Next up is a bowling trip and then I think we're going to go see Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day - it's a favorite book of ours and we saw the play several years ago. Tomorrow it's back to work/school for me and the kids. Brian is on fall break, and I am praying he finishes up the week feeling rested.

A few pictures from the weekend.



Because of the weather, only one photo shoot happened. But it's a good one!

Rory was my assistant.

Bulletproof coffee on a dark dreary afternoon.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Good Reads, take 1

I've been tagged multiple times recently about listing the most memorable 10 books I've read. I finally sat down and put it together, but first how about just some fun articles I've read recently as well as the books currently on my nightstand.

Annie Downs blog. Recently discovered her, and she's kind of amazing. I've just started her new book Let's All Be Brave. I happen to love this particular post: Stop Singing Oceans and I really liked this interview.

From Jen Hatmaker's blog: 10 Year Olds Should Not Be Day Laborers

I came home with this stack of books from D6. I used to be so good at reading parenting books as well as personal spiritual development books. Determined to get back to learning.

And because I'm nice, here's a link for each book.

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby (this one actually came as a recommendation from Becky)
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Your Boys by Dave Thomas and Stephen James (full disclosure: I've had this one a couple of years, but it was re-introduced to me by the author/speaker at D6)
All You Need to Know About Raising Girls by Sissy Goff/Melissa Trevathan
Modern Parents, Vintage Values by Sissy Goff/Melissa Trevathan

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hello, 4-day weekend!

Today starts a 4-day weekend for me and the kiddos, and Brian has a whole week of Fall Break next week - something he hasn't had for several years. Even though he's maybe not feeling less pressure yet, the reality is that things are finally settling down a bit at the new school. Wake-up calls have been more in the 3-4:00 a.m. range instead of 2:00, and he's been getting home closer to 5 than 6:30 for the last 2 weeks. I call that progress.

Our mornings this week have started off chilly and very rainy, but by noon those clouds have transformed into beautiful sunshine and blue skies. I am hopeful that our weekend will be more of the same (especially since I have 3 photo shoots this weekend!).

I snapped these pictures Tuesday night, and they crack me up. So representative of our life right now.

Camden hanging all over Brian - this kid is so all up in your business all the time. We thought this might lessen as he matured, but not yet. I know, I know. He'll be a teenager soon enough and will want nothing to do with us.

Brian looking exhausted, but laughing at the end of a hard day because what else is there left to do?

How can you not smile along with her?

Can I leave you with a verse for your weekend? My thoughts the last several weeks have been consumed with love and concern for friends going through hard seasons in life. I was reminded of this verse just the other day, and it's so simply put but so good.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 09, 2014


So I didn’t really take a long blog break, but I feel like I’m just bursting with things to share and remember so I’m going to just jump back in and then possibly jump back out again with no warning.

Last week was a bit crazy. We left the house at 5:30 a.m. (SO EARLY) Wednesday to head to Louisville for D6. In case I’ve never mentioned it, the company I work for created the D6 curriculum, concept, and conference. The official tagline is “a movement intentional about empowering parents, homes, marriages, leaders, and churches to live out the story of Deuteronomy 6.” Completely up my alley, right? It’s amazing to me that Brian and I attended this conference for the first time last October and now I get to be a part of it.

I knew when I left Wednesday morning that I was getting sick, but I managed to stay on my feet with voice intact. The moment we walked out of the Galt House (our hotel suite was literally larger than the entire downstairs of my house – amazing), however, my voice completely left me. I could do no more than whisper for the next several days.

I spent Wednesday – Friday spreading my germs all over that hotel, from attendees to fellow team members to speakers. Friends, I seriously got to shake hands, meet, high five, and speak with guests like Lysa TerKeurst, Tony Evans, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Kyle Idleman, Dannah Gresh, etc., etc., etc. And, thanks to me, they’ve probably all got colds and no voice right about now.

Once I got over my fear of somehow screwing up the entire conference, it was incredible. Do a social media search using #d62014 for more nuggets of parenting and marriage wisdom than you can handle. Seriously, just reading through the different quotes make me want to weep. They encourage me that I’m doing some things right, motivate me to do better, convict my heart on how much of Camden and Rory’s spiritual development relies on the example that Brian and I put forth.

One final note. Matt Papa was amazing as worship leader (check out his spoken word The Story of God – it is tremendous). There is just nothing quite like experiencing 1,000 believers worshiping together. The comic relief provided by The Skit Guys was pretty awesome as well.

My parents stayed with the kids the 3 days we were gone. I came home to clean laundry, food in the fridge, and happy kids (see pictures from yesterday). It was a blessing to not have to worry about them while we were gone. Trip #1 of 4 is in the books. Next up? Fall break for Brian and the kids and a little weekend getaway. Without kids.

Where I spent most of my time Wednesday - Friday

Grandparents and grandkids
(check out the gold shoes)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


always pulling up his pants