Well, we got Jack a new kitty. Her name is Poppy. We got her from a family at school who needed to give her up. She is a pretty orange Tabby, and is only about a month older than Midnight. He’s in love with her already. She’s been an inside cat until now, so she’s having to do some adjusting, but I think she’s going to be just fine. πŸ™‚ I hope so, for Jack’s sake!


Last night was Christmas Vespers, our school’s annual Christmas program. It really is lovely, and last night was no exception.

My favorite part (probably my favorite part of the whole school year!) is when the 5th-12th graders sing “All is Well.” It is absolutely beautiful.

Ignore my shoddy videotaping, and just listen :).

Vandy Game

The kiddos go to Vandy basketball games with Nana and Shshr quite often, but I haven’t been in years. Nana couldn’t go tonight, so I went with Shshr and the kiddos. It was fun, and a good game to watch! It was to watch the kids have fun, too. So glad they get to experience this like I did when I was little :). I have so many good memories of going to the ball games with Nana and Pop.

School Pictures

In an effort to catch up, here are our school pictures that we took back in the fall, and got back over a month ago…… πŸ™‚



The school has grown so much since I first started at JECA!

Jack, 3rd grade

I love that the photographer caught him playing basketball….because this is what he does at playtime, every.single.day. In fact, it is probably why his school shoes already bit the dust.

Josie, 6th grade

The photographer caught that little “smirk” of hers…and I would say that pretty much sums up her at this point in life. Sweetness, but a whole lot of attitude going on, too!


And, me…..14th year of teaching.




We do Thanksgiving in two days around here. Thursday we go to Nana’s. Everybody can’t be there all at the same time, but everybody is there at some point in the day. πŸ™‚ It’s just a fun hang out day with excellent food!

Some things to note:

-Josie made strawberry chocolate chip cookies to bring, all by herself (with the help of her friend), and she was SO PROUD OF THEM.

-Sweet potatoes are a must for Jack.

-Yes, Pappy’s beard is braided in that picture. Thanks to Josie. Gross.

-Yes, Casey and Emery are wearing matching dresses. Casey has to be girly now that she has a girl! πŸ™‚

-Yes, my Nana looks young enough to be my mom.

-Yes, my mom look young enough to be my sister.


Today we went to Mama Judy’s for Thanksgiving with Jake’s family. We did our annual family photo shoot. πŸ™‚ And yes, the big girls have more pics than anyone, because they just want to. πŸ™‚


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!


I haven’t blogged as much this year for sure. I’m not really sure why. I’m trying the best not to let “mom guilt” (SUCH A REAL THING) get to me, and just roll with it, and blog when I have a chance, and let that be enough. πŸ™‚

Here’s a few more sprinkling of things I want to remember about October this year:


Jack finished up cross country season like a champ. He was the alternate for the All-Star Race, so he didn’t get to actually run, but we were so proud of him for doing so well as a third grader (that’s the youngest age in his age group) and being on such a competitive team-his team got first overall in the league! And Jack was a great contributor to that. So proud of him for sticking with something challenging.


I hosted a cross country meet in October at Whites Creek. This is how many steps I got:



Right before Fall Break, Jake went on a work trip to the Catskill Mountains in New York. He also got a big promotion. So proud of him! He works so hard to provide so well for us.

We went to pick him up at the airport, and Jack just had to get a look at the construction going on:



These kiddos love their baby cousin:


We celebrated Chad and Pappy’s birthdays. Chad let Jack try on his night vision goggles.


Just another day at Grammy and Pappy’s…





One thing to note about November: Socks, Jack’s cat, disappeared. We are 90% sure she got up under Jake’s truck without us knowing and rode to Springfield (and jumped out at some point). He was sad, but really was a trooper. He handled it really well, and these are important lessons for kiddos to learn. πŸ™ Still no fun, though. Midnight was super sad, too. It was hard to see her “mourning” for her sister. She’s much better now, though.


Jack completely blew out his school shoes. They lasted him 3 months. Boy is rough on some shoes.



My brother made it to the National Dog Trials in Florida!



Josie seriously bruised her foot one day! She was okay, though. It healed up on its own.



Josie went to a fun masquerade party for her friend Elizabeth! She had a blast. πŸ™‚


We had some sweet friends over from church.



We celebrated Thanksgiving with our church….and I didn’t get even one picture.



I love it when I find my kids randomly reading. And that Where’s Waldo book has been Jack’s favorite for FOREVER.


We helped our friends, the Roses, move! I didn’t get one picture of that, either, but we were with them all one Saturday. They are only 10 minutes away from us now. πŸ™‚


These are the kiddos friends from school. They are missionaries in Cambodia, and they have been on furlough to the US for the past few months. They come to JECA when they are on furlough, and our kiddos have gotten to be good friends with the two that are in their classes. We had a half day on Tuesday, so they came over to our house to play, since they will be leaving to go back to Cambodia after Christmas. πŸ™


On Wednesday we went to Green Hills Mall so that Jake could take his computer to the Apple store. I went in the Warby Parker store to look around. Josie tried on some glasses. πŸ˜‰


Wednesday night we went to the Roses’ house for dinner, and the kiddos spent the night. This was Jack’s first time spending the night somewhere other than family. They had a blast! So glad we have such close friends-they are more like family than friends, really.


This morning I got to go to breakfast with Robin. We try to get together, even if it just for an hour or two, whenever she is in town. πŸ™‚ We were actually going to get coffee at Historic Perk, but they were opening LATE for Black Friday….which didn’t really make sense to us, but whatever. We ended up going to Larry’s, which is always a win. πŸ™‚ It was so good to see her. I love good friends that you can pick up with whenever, no matter how long it has been since you’ve talked. That’s a mark of a great friend.



Well. That’s my catch up. Maybe now that I’ve caught up, I can keep up! But I’m not making any promises…..




It was a fun Halloween. This was the first year the kiddos haven’t had a “joint” costume, but I didn’t care at all. They were excited about the things they chose. Josie recycled Kinley’s birthday piΓ±ata and was a frappuccino. It was creative and cute, and all I had to do was buy some tights and glue the top onto a hat. Jack was Black Panther (an Avenger superhero). He already had a mask that Grammy had bought him, so I bought a black sweatsuit and some purple puff paint at Wal-Mart and got to work. Then he insisted he needed the necklace, so I looked up a tutorial online for a DIY Black Panther necklace…and found myself making play dough molds for panther teeth made out of hot glue…..the things we do for our children. Anyways, he was thrilled with his costume, so that’s all that matters!


Sunday night we went to trick-or-trunk at Mee-Maw and Ta’s church, per tradition. It was fun, although I think my kiddos are getting close to outgrowing this tradition.

We stopped by Nana’s afterwards, and Shshr was there and just happened to have this crazy unicorn head in her car. The kids got a kick out of it!

Last night we did our normal trick-or-treating and visited all our favorite people. The only place I forgot to get a picture was Mrs. Cindy’s. Trick or treating for us is basically just a bunch of little social stops with some candy thrown in for good measure. We enjoy it. πŸ™‚ (And the kids have never been door-to-door trick or treating in a neighborhood, so they think this is normal-ha!)

Then we ended up at Mom and Dad’s with the rest of my family for chili, hot dogs, and hanging out. We attempted to get our normal kiddo Halloween picture…and our bar was not set very high. We just wanted all the kids in a picture….screaming, smiling, not looking, just whatever we could get! It was a pretty hilarious process, as usual.

It was Emery’s first Halloween! She was bumble bee.


And Sadie was much happier when she got to wear Shshr’s unicorn head….


It was fun night. πŸ™‚

Fall Break

Yep, I know. Fall Break was awhile ago. Life happens, and I am behind on blogging. But I still want to share our trip, because it was a great one. The first half of fall break we went to Dale Hollow Dam with my family, and then the second half we went to Fall Creek Falls with Jake’s family (this is our usual routine).

Some things I want to remember about Dale Hollow Dam before I give you a picture overload:

-We took CATS camping. Yes, yes we did. The kittens came with us. We don’t normally take cats camping, but they were simply too small still to stay home alone. So what do you do? We borrowed a cage, put them in the back of the truck, and put them under the awning of the camper. The kiddos let them out to play at different times of the day, and they proceeded to climb several trees, once having to be rescued with Pappy’s ladder…..but we all survived, they survived, and it was a successful.

-The kids went squirrel hunting with Jake and Daddy.

-Jack was really into fishing.

-It was cold! The first official fall weather we’ve had yet, and we relished it. Perfect for campfires and snuggling under blankets, even if it was a shock to all of us who had been used to 90+ days for so long!

And now for some (unedited, uncropped, just as they were taken) pics:

65D13B92-610D-4665-B725-83B3E89D00EEWe had a half day of school on Friday, and the kids and I jetted out of there…..because I hadn’t packed even one thing or gone to the grocery. We had picked up Jake from the airport the night before (he’d been on a work retreat for a week), and I had hosted an XC meet on Tuesday, and women’s Bible study on Wednesday….there just hadn’t been a spare moment. So packing happened in a flurry, and then we stopped at Wall-Mart in Lafayette to get groceries on the way there. Which, honestly, is probably the better plan anyways!


This boy was SUPER excited to be on the road.

Cats…CAMPING…..never say never.

It’s fun to camp with all kinds of people you know…friends and family!

Fishing at the creek with Pappy….

When they went squirrel hunting, Josie was paired up with Jake.

On Monday, we took our boat to Willow Grove to get it winterized, and while they were working on it, we got in Pappy and Grammy’s boat and went fishing for a bit. It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be on the water.

It was a great start to our trip! On Tuesday we packed up and headed straight to Fall Creek Falls. Well, we did make our routine stop at Wal-mart for groceries and lunch…but almost straight there.

Some highlights/things I want to remember about the Fall Creek Falls trip:

-There wasn’t much water coming over the waterfalls because of the drought. But we still made the hike to the bottom, and it was great. And so much easier than when were there 7 years ago, since I didn’t have a one year old on my back! MeeMaw hiked down with us, too!

-One day us and Liz and her kiddos drove down to South Cumberland State Park to do some hiking on the Stone Door trail and the Fiery Gizzard trail. It was SO worth the drive down there-South Cumberland is BEAUTIFUL, and the trails were great. We did a lot of hiking the whole trip, but this was our favorite.

-Hide and seek in the dark has become a new tradition.

-We rented Β paddle boats/canoes/kayaks one day to play on the lake.

-There was lots of card playing. We even introduced Abby to Hand and Foot and let her play a few rounds one night.

-4 Square Volleyball made a comeback (a game we have totally just made up and now have started a new tradition).

Now for the picture overload:

Playing around near the nature center in Fall Creek Falls State Park

Card playing shenanigans

Hiking to the bottom of the Falls.

Hiking to a CRAZY high overlook. It was gorgeous.

4 square Volleyball shenanigans

South Cumberland State Park…..we want to go back here for sure! It was some of the most beautiful trails we’ve been on in Tennessee.

On the lake at Fall Creek Falls.


It was a great trip. We were ready to come home, but sad the trip was over, all at the same time. That’s a mark of a good trip, though!

And, just for kicks….a comparison. Because I’m a sucker for comparisons!