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!

September…and the beginning of October

I did a bit better in September about blogging than August, but I still missed some things. So here’s a bit of a catch up.

It’s was a busy month, with cross country season, time with friends and family, and harvesting muscadines. It has been HOT…as in, every day over 90! Hottest cross country season I’ve ever had. We hosted a meet at our farm…..which I didn’t get even one picture of. But it went SO well. SO much work…but I think it was worth it. Jack lost his shoe in the first part of the race, and ran almost the entire mile without it! Silly boy.

Here’s what else we’ve been up to…..

Fun night hanging out with friends…



Kinley turned five!


We harvested muscadines and put up more than 20 quarts of juice for making jelly….


The kitties are getting big! The kids are still doing a great job taking care of them, too.


We’ve listened to our audio book on the porch some nights so we can watch the kitties play….


Also: Josie missed a couple of days of school for strep throat…yuck.


We made homemade skillet pizzas one night….they were delicious! We also finished ALL of the Marvel movies, finally! πŸ™‚


Practicing guitar before school….this girl is looking so much older here lately! (Acting older, too! She is for SURE a middle schooler….)



Picnic lunch with our community group after church….



Last weekend Josie had the opportunity to sing with Mrs. Sarah again. On Sunday they had a shorter session, so to kill time we took Jack to the skate park over by the wave pool…He had a blast. He said he like this one better than the indoor skate park!


Jack is doing really well in cross country this year…he got FIFTH in his last race…and he is racing against 5th graders!



Finally got a date night with this gorgeous guy. We found a GREAT new sushi place in Nashville….maybe the best restaurant we’ve eaten at in Nashville, period. Then we went to Milk and Honey for dessert. It’s all about the food. πŸ™‚


In between THREE photo shoots on Saturday, I got to grab lunch with this sweet friend. It’s always a treat to get to hug on Megan!



Now to another SUUPPPEERRR busy week before we get out for FALL BREAK!!

Pirate Day!

Josie has been looking forward to 6th grade “Pirate Day” for ages! We went “shopping” in Grammy’s closet for her costume, and she was delighted with the way it turned out. πŸ™‚ She requested some make up and she wanted her hair “big and messy.”

I think we are getting some glimpses of what teenager Josie is going to look like!


We did something this week……we got two 6 week-old kittens! A girl at my work was giving away some, and it had been so long since we’d had a cat, I decided it was time to have another. And then I thought, well, since we are getting one…we may as well get two, one for each kiddo. πŸ™‚ The kiddos have never had kittens before, we’ve always had older cats…and I kept it a total surprise until we got to the house to pick them up…so they were OVER.THE.MOON. And still are! We are all in love with our tiny new pets. The kids have dubbed them Socks and Midnight. Josie’s is the black one (Midnight), and Jack’s is the striped one (Socks).


So far the kids are doing a great job taking care of them. They get up early in the morning so they can go and get them out of the barn and bring them to the porch to feed them. Then the kittens play around the porch/eat while the kids finish getting ready. Before we leave, they take them back to the barn for the day (they are litter box trained). After we get home, they get them back out of the barn and bring the back up to the porch until bed time, and then they put the kitties to “bed” in the barn. πŸ™‚ Eventually they’ll just get to stay out once the kids let them out in the morning, but they are just too little right now.

It’s been a fun adventure, so far! πŸ™‚

Lake Day

Saturday we had a free day (miraculously), so we decided to go to the lake for the day! We left around 8:00, and were on the water around 11:00. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. Nice cool breeze and gorgeous sunshine.


We had never taken the kids to the cliffs at Wolf River (not when they were old enough to remember, anyways), so we drove up there first.

We figured Jack would jump with no hesitation (which he did), but Jake said he would eat his socks if Josie did, and I totally agreed with him….and then that girl got up there and jumped with almost no hesitation at all!! We were proud of her for being so brave, because that is something she struggles with sometimes. They both jumped off the “big” cliff 3 times-and it doesn’t look that big when you are at the bottom, but it looks a LOT higher from the top! It is about 12 feet, probably. I jumped with them the first time, because it had been years-and because I was so impressed with Josie! But no more than that for me!

After that we went to Iron’s Creek to swim until we were all chilly and ready to ride again.


We rode up to Mitchell Creek, just because, before heading back to Willow Grove and getting some pizza for dinner. We stopped at Sonic on the way home for dessert and listened to Harry Potter. We even had time when we got home to finish watching a movie we’d started. It was a great day with my favorite people :).


I always fall off the blogging train in August. Hazard of school starting back, I guess. So I am just going to do one big blog post to catch up. πŸ™‚ It has been a good month! It has been a lot less stressful than last August, so we have been thankful for that.


One day after school we visited sweet Emery. πŸ™‚


One Sunday we had lunch with our community group! It was fun to hang out with this bunch again. πŸ™‚



We went to Beth’s birthday! She made herself the cutest and most delicious cake!


One Wednesday night the kiddos spent the night with Mom and Dad so Jake and I could go to the Nashville SC soccer game that was the make-up for the one we went to in the summer that got rained out. They lost, but the game was a lot of fun..and we love any excuse for a date night!


We’ve been at the farm a lot, because I’ve had my XC practicing there. It’s going to be a GREAT place to host a meet!



One Saturday Josie was at a birthday party, and Shshr invited Jack to go with her to the fair to watch Lane in the pedal car race. Turns out when they got there, Jack got to do it, too! He got third place. πŸ™‚ Then they got to go the Barn and hang out for a bit. He had such a good day! I was grateful, too, that he got to go by himself, just because it’s not often he gets to do something special by himself (without Jo). It’s good for him, sometimes.


Last Sunday was my yearly triathlon. It used to be at Cedars of Lebanon State Park, but they moved it this year to the Parthenon in Nashville, which was great! This year our friend Lauren joined Lindsey and I, and we had a blast. It was Lauren’s first tri, so we had fun cheering her on to the finish! We grabbed lunch and coffee after, because, well, DUH. πŸ™‚ It was a beautiful day, too.


Always these shenanigans at our house….


We’ve had lots of yummy dinners. And Jack is becoming quite the sous chef!


Last night we had a family date night and hit up The Depot and Golly G’s-yum!!


Today we ended up going to Nana’s for an impromptu lunch party with everyone, which are always the best kind. I got to hold this sweet baby again. πŸ™‚


August was a loooongg but good month….but now-come on Fall!!!