Alabama History, in Clumps.

School is officially out. I mean it has been for a while, but if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been having trouble with the writing lately. Noah made our last day of school signs this year, hence his extra-proud self: Wait no. That’s just his first-and-last day of school expression. And yes, 8th grade is done […]

The Dark Side of the Island.

Chris and I are on our 20th anniversary trip. We are at Jekyll Island, Georgia, an island with a dark and mysterious past, many dark and mysterious rainforest-like trails, and going with the theme, everything seems to have a delightful dark side. This island was owned in its entirety in the early 1900’s by a […]

Strange Encounters of the Documentable Kind.

Noah had a doctor’s appointment. A smiling nurse, about my age or maybe a little older, called him back for vitals. She weighed him, then stood him up against the wall ruler to measure his height.  She put her finger above his head. “He’s…right here. What is that? It’s…right between 4’10” and 4’11”.” Noah and […]

Zero Optional Equipment.

Hello…so I’ve been gone for a minute. Probably the longest minute I’ve been gone in the 13 years I’ve been writing here (an anniversary that passed during my absence. Happy anniversary, self!) So you remember last fall when I introduced you to Karen Walker… She was my special friend, that lovely ovarian cyst that was […]

A Snake’s Official Response.

Sometimes, after listening to your pastor’s sermon, you feel a need to respond. Other times, your beloved family pet feels that need.

Carving Out Time in December

From a distance, December always looks like this euphoria of slow, quiet days and a relaxing break from school. In reality, December becomes a crazed sprint of shopping, planning, gathering, familying, Christmasing, and Birthdaying. With two children’s birthdays sandwiching Christmas, there’s never a lull in my to-do list. And then I end up in mid-January, […]

Birdlet, The Overly Friendly Woodland Animal.

Yesterday as we were leaving a hike at Ross Bridge, there was an extraordinarily tiny bird hopping after Luke, one of my kid’s friends, as he got in the car to leave. I found the bird’s actions strange, and Ross Bridge Parkway is a busy place for a strange bird, so we got out of […]

The Conclusion of Maine – Days Six and Seven.

We have arrived – at last – to my final post about Maine. So that means I may leave immediately to go back to Maine, right? Saturday was our longest road trip day – there were a couple of high priority tourist destinations that I wanted to experience that were an hour and a half […]

Maine Days Four and Five: Adding a Second to the Trip.

Day four was to be my last day alone – that evening I would be picking Chris up from the airport to join me! I loved every minute of my silence and solitude, but I was more excited to show Chris the wonderland that was Maine – I felt like I’d discovered a New World, […]

Moose Tracks, Signs, Gales, and Heaven: Maine Day Three.

The day started with my phone alerting me with a gale warning, so I decided to scrap the itenirary for the day, which had included a 1.5 hour drive inland, and limit my adventures to one peninsula over, Georgetown Island. That way I wouldn’t be more than 40 minutes away from my room if I […]

The Maine Diaries: Days One and Two.

I did a lot of research before going to Maine, because every time I thought I’d found the end to the goodness of the state, I’d come upon something else and be like “WHAT?! There’s a mile long granite walkway into the ocean that ends at a LIGHTHOUSE?! And I’m just finding this now??” and […]

Mainely Alone: Silence and Beauty.

“This is your fall. You should maximize it.” Chris said those words to me because this would be the first fall in 22 years that we haven’t spent most of our fall Saturdays going to Alabama Football games. (More falls than that for him – since he was 13 – but that’s just my fall […]

Karen, The Unwelcome Ovarian Tenant.

Note to fellow men, from Chris The Husband: Fair warning, this post is about lady things. Lady parts, lady problems, lady doctors, lady procedures, and lady fluids. If you are squeamish about such things, reading this post will be a great help in your desensitization process so you will no longer be squeamish about the magical [...]

The First Day of School and the Unclaimed Tooth.

Monday was our first day of school. Except that it wasn’t actually our first day of school because Friday was our first day of school. But we started school with a field trip day, as one does, therefore making Monday the first day we sat down with textbooks. So we’ll go with Monday. As with […]

2020 Needs A Dance Break.

“I don’t remember SENDING that to you…” “You didn’t. I found it when I opened my computer, since you sent it to AJ and I get all your texts.” Just another normal conversation between a teenager and a parent, I’m sure. It’s the one that Ali and I had after I told her that I […]

The COVID Diaries Part One: The Lockdown Months.

We’ve now been in this new state of reality for circa 150 days. Remember when we thought it would be two weeks? How we reassured ourselves it wouldn’t affect the fall?? How your husband planned to celebrate all the holidays we missed (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, birthdays, etc.) with a big cookout on the […]

Break to the Future.

It’s 1985. Doc Brown has just arrived back from the future, steps out of his DeLorean, and tells me, “Great Scott! Whatever you do, DO NOT go to 2020!” Why not, Doc? “There’s a global pandemic! The world gets shut down, you won’t go into a store for 53 days, you’ll have 3 trips cancelled, you’ll forget […]

If Not In Quarantine, Then When?

It has become my theme statement. It applies to all things. …If I can’t sit in my front yard and read for two hours without feeling a shred of guilt during quarantine, then when? …If I can’t clean out my office closet, paint my office (no more poop beige!), the front door, and the bathroom […]

Trust Nothing But Numbers. And Maybe Don’t Trust Numbers.

Before I begin, let me say that Coronavirus is a very serious situation. We as a family are doing all we can to socially distance and shelter in place, and my heart has been broken for friends whose relatives have passed away. This post is about numbers and projections and objectively analyzing them, and about […]

The 55 Stages of COVID Grief.

1. When you first hear of other countries’ lockdowns. 2. Reading the new rules that apply to you. Every day. 3. What you think of the rules when you first hear them. 4. Arguing with the new rules. 5. Realizing the rules are happening with or without you. 6. When you find out you’re non-essential. […]

A Social Distancing Fail of the Most Fascinating Variety.

Spring has sprung here in Birmingham. Flowers are blooming and trees are filled with pinks and whites and greens. It makes me wistful when we walk around our neighborhood, as seeing the trees around us makes me remember all the trees I can’t see right now at the Botanical Gardens, and Aldridge Gardens, and pretty […]

Homeschooling Tips for the Quarantined.

I’ve had some readers ask me to write a tips post on homeschooling for those of you who very suddenly found yourselves involuntarily in such a situation, thanks to COVID-19, who is apparently homeschooling’s hardest lobbyist. There are a ton of resources already floating around about that, though, so I’m not going to retread a […]

Grasping for Objectivity in Probiotic Social Distancing.

I’ve spent half the week trying to understand the coronavirus. All of the conflicting reports and graphs have just confused me and forced me to keep digging to find some objectivity in all the mess of opinions and prophecies and, of course, legit funny memes. After words left me boggled, I finally went to my most trusted friend, numbers. I […]

Books For a Time of Personal Distancing.

I mean, they’re not books about personal distancing, because what we all need right now is the feeling of community, even while we’re preparing to avoid community. But I’ve read a bunch of books since my last book report, and for such a time as this, thankyouverymuchcoronavirus, we all need a healthy stack of books (or five) for our […]

Diary of a Tired Mom – The Please No More Words Edition

It’s been a weird month for me. My subconscious wants to write very badly – I have dreamed about writing blog posts multiple times in the past month. And those dreams have not been limited to when I was asleep. When I got my first dose ever of “the gas” at the dentist, I was […]

A Proper Fear of Snow.

The thing about living in the south is that we’re kind of…afraid of snow. We don’t handle it well, as I’ve told you many times, and so it’s hard for us to imagine it as a risk-free endeavor. I mean, we LOVE snow, but if we have snow, it’s a “sit at home and enjoy […]

The Calamity of Educational Gaps.

Sometimes people ask me how I know what all my kids need to learn in their homeschool education. “How do you make sure there’s not a gap in their learning, or be assured that you didn’t forget anything?” Since I was homeschooled, and know very little about the pre-college group education scene myself, I suppose I could […]

Meant for Making.

A mind meant for making things never finds peace for long. The ache always comes back. But that’s nothing to worry about. The worry is that one day it will go for good. – “The Left-Handed Fate”, Kate Milford 2019 was a creatively quiet year for me. I started the year still mourning my Dad’s death, finding […]

Introducing: Buddy The Snake.

We are a little over a month into being A Pet Family. Meet Buddy the Snake, Noah’s much awaited ninth birthday present, a tiny baby Ball Python.    Buddy is an extrovert, always doing crazy things like hanging upside down to drink his water (show off), Fixing my hair in new and creative ways, Curling up […]

The Education of Anaphylaxis.

Last week, the kids and I went to Greenville to visit Not-Crazy-Renee. We make it there a couple times a year to see our former neighbors, and to take their Christmas card pictures. My kids love going up there, but Noah especially was excited about this year because he was really looking forward to visiting […]

On Running To and From Dismal.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the strong urge to leave town. It had been a rough summer, and it was the week before the first anniversary of my Dad’s death, and all the blech and sadness and ick was making me quite dismal. I haven’t felt like writing, photographing, staging roadkill, or even […]

On The Consideration of Being a Pet Owner.

You know how kids go through that stubborn phase where they will absolutely not try anything you want them to, for no other reason than because you want them to? “Seriously, son. You will LOVE this dessert, made with all the things you love – chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, and more chocolate.” “NO. I WILL […]

Red Light Therapy: Insights and Updates After Nine Months of Daily Use.

I have now been using my Red Light Therapy panels for nine months, so I wanted to share an update, answer some of the questions I’ve received, and share some stories from friends. Because I’ve gotten so many questions about my lights and how they’ve been performing long term, this post is going to be a little […]

Let’s Curl Up With A Good Book.

So I’ve been reading a lot in the past few years. But the last time I told y’all about my favorite books was February of 2018. Since that post, I’ve read 131 books. Ergo, I clearly have a backlog of amazing books (and also a few awful ones. Should I list the books I didn’t enjoy? […]

The Right Time for Words.

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 67. Way too young to not be here anymore. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, as I just had my second experience with the agony, exhaustion, and honor of end of life care…my second experience with a beloved man dying all too young…my second […]

Too Much Candi In the Pool

We arrived on our vacation three hours before check-in. The reason we’d chosen this particular neighborhood was for the fantastic pool – it was large and decked out like a resort, with rock features and waterfalls in the center of the pool and around the edges, a gorgeous covered area with legit outdoor couches comfortable […]

Summer Reading For Rebels.

Guilty Confession: I don’t hate the library, per se, but I might believe that the library hates me. Our branch is always crowded and loud and I struggle mightily to find the books we’re looking for. I used to try and do the right, the expected, the moral thing, and take my children to the library […]

How to Race Like a Jerk.

1. Give Pro Tips to Random Runners. They LOVE it. Chris and I discovered several races ago that, although I like running with him quite a bit on normal days, I like running quite alone for half marathons. Besides the fact that I run more positively when alone (I always feel like I’m trying to […]

The Definition of Mild Soreness.

“You might feel some mild soreness for the rest of the day. Resume your normal activities tomorrow.” That’s what I was told on Wednesday, after having my Endoscopy with multiple biopsies and double dilation of my throat. Before the procedure, I wasn’t told anything – I just assumed that surely such a procedure would make […]

The Problem With Paris.

Last week, I was in Eastern Europe. I’m still mentally unpacking all of the beauty I saw and all of the beautiful people I met there.  But getting there…was not so pretty. Specifically, Paris. When I saw our flight itinerary and realized we were going to be flying through Paris both coming and going, I […]

Hashtag, Thunderhike.

I gave a speech this weekend to the AHTS (Alabama Hiking and Trail Society) about nurturing and encouraging children’s love of hiking. It’s way too long in its current format to share here (it was 45 minutes – perhaps the longest I’ve ever talked at one time ever), but in the process of writing it, and […]

It’s a Dream, Not a Race.

Guest Post by Chris the Husband Lake Martin was my first 27 mile race in 2016. My first 50 in 2017. My first 27 with Rachel in 2018. I wanted it to be my first trail 100. I planned it for over a year. Before Rachel and I did the 27 together last year, I […]

12, going on 27.1.

Guest Post by my daughter, Ali Callahan. So I decided to become an ultra marathoner. An ultra marathon is anything over 26.2 miles. I don’t remember why I wanted to do it originally, but I have been training for a year. The first race I wanted to do was the Lake Martin 27.1 mile “fun […]

On Becoming a Spelling Bee Drama Queen.

We Callahans like Spelling Bees. There’s something so…objective about spelling, and yet so very challenging as well, because English is stupid. Every year at the beginning of the school year, I check the Scripps site daily for the release of the year’s list of 450 words. Because you can never be too early in starting […]

Things You Don’t Want to See In The Woods.

“Because you don’t want to be alone in the woods and run into some random guy with an axe….” These are the things girls say jokingly to each other when setting out for a trail run together. However, I run in the woods alone fairly regularly, and when I do, my mantra is more like […]

The Ballad of Nearly Headless Noah, or How to Give a Kid Hair Stitches.

I have paranoid, careful children. They get it from their father. I mean, while growing up my family made fun of me for being too paranoid, but next to Chris, I’m basically tightroping across Niagara Falls every dang day. Having such a careful family does much to mitigate our injuries. (Other than mine, as I […]

Spit and Polish.

My Mom has chickens. And as such, I know way too much about chickens. I know that the rooster shows his love by plucking a ring of feathers off of his favorite hen’s backs while he’s also…on their back. I know that you can buy aprons for favorite hens to protect their poor feathers from being brutally […]

Backwards Blessings.

My 92 year old grandmother, my Mother’s mom, moved in with my parents in Mid-April, five months before my dad passed away. I remember the week she moved in – it was an extraordinarily chaotic week for our entire family. Mammaw had had a bad day at her house, which was the impetus for getting […]

My Experiment With Red Light Therapy.

Two months ago I had chronic and continuous back pain (caused by dozens of recurring muscle knots) - I was seeing a Physical Therapist regularly, taking a muscle relaxer at night, 1-2 doses of ibuprofen a day, and having to take 1-2 heating pad breaks every day.  I also had sharp hip flexor pain when I [...]

The Incident at Walgreen’s.

We were on our way home from dinner. The weather was abhorrent, but we needed two things from Walgreen’s. I went in on behalf of the whole family, because I’m sacrificial like that and also because one cannot trust one’s husband to pick out an eyebrow filling pencil. He probably doesn’t even know I fill […]

Cognitively Speaking…

Noah turns eight on Wednesday. His overachieving (and awesome) summer camp (Camp Straight Street) sent him a birthday card last week. Which is great and kind and made him feel special and….when mixed in with the 4-5 Christmas cards we receive every day, also made him feel rather inferior and needy of more, CONSTANT birthday cards. […]

The Difference Between Girls and Boys.

My birthday was last week. As always, I woke up to an array of handmade cards from the children. Every year, they’re getting more detailed in expressing their feelings. Ali created this lovely card, With these even lovelier sentiments. And even drew me a bonus picture. See Mom, that’s Dad away from the nest working and […]

When The Intersection Rule Failed Us.

In our hiking club, we really only have one rule. (Aside from the obvious rules like don’t pick up snakes but CERTAINLY don’t scare them away because Miss Rachel will definitely want to see them and photograph them and maybe pick them up if she’s mostly sure they’re not venomous.) The one rule is this: […]

Die Like You’re Living.

I wrote this on September 4, two weeks before my dad passed away.  “Live Like you’re dying.” We’ve all heard it and nodded thoughtfully at the platitude. Yes, yes yes, we should do all the things you would do if you were dying. Like appreciate life more, even if the garbage disposal just vomited in […]

In Remembrance.

Chris wrote this beautiful eulogy for my dad, and I wanted it to be forever here on my blog. Peter James Victor “Vic” Zannis went to be with his Lord on September 17, 2018. He lived a life of passionate adventure, dedicated skill, and serving love. He attended the University of Montevallo, graduated from Samford […]

The Best Dad.

My precious dad passed away early Monday morning. He adored his wife, kids, and grandkids more than anything else in his fascinating and adventurous life. He always prioritized making memories, imparting wisdom, and causing smiles and giggles. He had a spectacularly infinite range of talents. He was an expert on antique automobiles and their engines (and […]

An Update on The Pause.

I have written more in the past week than I have written in months. But first, let me tell you how I got there. This process of pausing has been very bizarre and not at all what I expected. Last week’s post was something I’ve dreaded publishing for quite some time because I feared that […]

Hitting Pause.

I’ve been struggling through my relationship with this blog for the last three years, for a myriad of reasons. …Writing is so much harder for me than it used to be (I’ll get back to that.) …Blogging is a “dead art.” …My kids are growing up and not as entertaining/deserve their privacy. …School and life take more time […]

Random Analogies of Life.

I had a groundbreaking realization the other day while running – which makes sense, since that’s when my brain is most oxygenated. (Too bad I can’t write while running or I might write as often as I used to.) But seriously – this breakthrough could change the economic direction of the American public – are you […]

Here’s a Little Ditty, about Willard and Eugene.

You may remember dear, kind former neighbor, Not-Crazy-Renee. Or  maybe you don’t. If you don’t, I demand that you immediately go do your homework and read everything in this category. You won’t regret it. Snakey Butters Buttercup made appearances in at least two of those stories. We’ll refer to her as SBB, out of mercy for my […]

Two Sprinkles of Life.

I got a much needed haircut last Friday. It’s been at least a year since I got a trim and the ends of my mistreated hair felt like Rumplestiltskin’s Straw (before turning to gold). I had to find a new hairdresser because mine moved out of state, so that’s something I can put off for forever. But […]

That Time That Butterflies Explained it All.

I was walking along, minding my own business, enjoying the sweltering humidity that is a June-Day-Between-Thunderstorms, when I all of a sudden found myself in a deeply philosophical place. There was a flutter of activity, and I looked about. Butterflies. Blue butterflies. Green Butterflies. Orange Butterflies. Busily flapping about and clearly engaged in an important task. Then I noticed […]

The Snakiest of Springs.

****TRIGGER WARNING**** This post contains pictures of actual snakes. And of me holding one of those actual snakes. If you have a fear of snake photos, this post isn’t for you. Here’s a beautiful Luna Moth for you to look at and then just go ahead and click off of this page. It’s really bizarre […]

The Perfect Puddle Fail.

I’ve been a bit obsessed with puddles lately. Which is convenient, since we just had a Tropical Storm come all the way up the middle of our state. (Granted it wasn’t a Tropical Storm when it reached me, but it was still pretty dang wet.) I don’t usually get hung up on getting a specific […]

A Letter: From the Cat, To The UPS Man.

Dear Bringer of Brown Squares, Hi. I am the cat that calls the porch of the blue house my own. They call me Thomas, but others call me Midnight, Snape, Voldemort, and That $%*#& Stray Cat. You brought a couple brown squares and left them on the porch today, as you usually do. I always […]

The Varied Impressions of California, as seen by Alabamians.

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I went on our seventeenth anniversary trip to Newport Beach, California. It was a completely random destination, chosen not by desire but by necessity, as we had reservations in St. Thomas, then St. Thomas went and got hit by two hurricanes. They cancelled our reservation and gave us […]

Meandering Along the Continuum of Maturity.

On the continuum of maturity, I’m somewhere in the middle of my two children. This is a very strange place to be, and it leads to all sorts of awkward situations, along with starkly opposite parenting strategies. The following conversation happened with my eleven-year-old about a pair of “distressed” blue jeans… “WHY would you buy […]

On Break

I’m taking a bit of a writing break to reboot my brain. Be back in a couple weeks…

The Long Haul. With Kids.

This past weekend, while on a hike, Ali and I were talking about our Hiking Club Summer Bucket List. I told her I’d asked the other moms what they’d wanted to do this summer, and asked her what she wanted to do. She lit up. “I want to hike farther than I’ve ever hiked. I […]

The Laundry Basket From Above.

I live near a lot of fancy suburbs. I do not live *in* any of them. In fitting with my renegade style of life, I live in the unincorporated county, where no one can tell me what to do and I am endlessly confused as to what should technically go on the third line of […]

Why Me.

Dear Instagram, I know you listen to my conversations and feed me ads accordingly. I can even tell that you’re having Google read my emails and feed me ads that fit into that. But whatever you read or heard that made you think I am the type of person to buy leggings based on how […]

Your Personal Shopper In Waiting.

Have you been itching to house a collection of multicolored Furbys around your neck? Or are you looking for the perfect sports bra to give you coverage and support you crave as you run your next race? Looking for clarity in the many, many boot choices out there? Or are you done with boot season […]

Orr Park Scavenger Hunt.

You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of an outdoors binge for a half a decade or so. (Which, by the way, is the most insulting word in the English language. “Outdoors.” AS IF doors had been there first, then nature cropped up all around them and so we had to call it […]

A Day in the Woods.

I started running four years ago. Well, I actually ran for a short time 15 years ago when Chris started running, and I hated it. A couple years in, unrelated to running (maybe), I had to have two foot surgeries, and my surgeon told me I’d never be able to run again, and I totally […]

What’s That Sound, The Lucky Episode 13

Seven is an age of deep thoughts, misheard phrases, paranoia, and brute honesty. Ali: “How long until dinner?” Me: “Not too long. Maybe twenty minutes.” Ali: “Oh good. I just wanted to know if I had time to go upstairs and dilly dally for a bit.” Noah: “DELETE ALI?? What does that even mean??” I’m […]

For the Mamas Thinking About Homeschooling.

Every year about this time, I have a fresh crop of preschool moms who ask me about homeschooling. I’ve never considered myself an expert at homeschooling – I don’t read all the books, attend all the conferences, or lobby for laws. But having homeschooled as a child for 12 years, and now having made it […]

Boom. A Decade.

Last week was my ten year anniversary of writing on this blog. As in, a decade of my life has been lived, and is recorded, on this website. Photo by Jake Marvin It’s really quite mind-blowing – to me, and probably only to me. My first feeling about all that is that I am so […]

Pokemon Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.

My exhaustion of hearing about the HP of every Pokemon ever created can be a heavy burden. And I grow weary of hearing the difference between GX and EX and Ultra and Mega and X. I languish from my child asking me for eBay searches and Amazon browsing for more and more and more Pokemon […]

An Education of the Wild Yeasts.

In my thirty-six years on this planet, two things have completely eluded me: Jury Duty and Sourdough Starters. Although not even being considered to sit on a John-Grisham-worthy international espionage trial did bother me, being left out of the sourdough club disturbed me at a more intrinsic level. I was beginning to think that all […]

Stop the Barbarians and Their Toxins.

If there’s any modern truism, it is that we cannot have nice things. Any new good thing is immediately picked apart and ruthlessly demonized for its harmful effects on some segment of Earth-dwellers, be they human, animal, or plant. My dear fellow Earth-dwelling humans, it is time for me to discuss how we have all […]

’tis The Season to Curl Up With a Good Book.

I did a LOT of reading while I was recovering from my surgery, and since then, on sub-freezing days, I’ve done a LOT of reading to self-medicate myself through the evil ailment of winter. So it’s clearly time again to share my favorite reads (the last two versions can be found here and here, and […]

Helpful Tips for an Extreme Time.

So our lives have come to this. All that we care about, all day, every day, is not catching The Flu. Am I right? So I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for all of us to keep fighting the good fight. Wear a Camelbak filled with Purell at all times. Perfect for squeezing onto […]

Rage against the Feline.

Thomas The Porch Cat. I despise him with all of my physical and metaphysical being. When he first started hanging around full-time, he (our assumed pronoun – we’ve never checked) was shy, thoughtful, and timid. He was grateful for the food we gave him and was never demanding or rude in any way. That was […]

The Prodigal Fitbit Daughter.

I had been a happy FitBit wearer for three years. It motivated me, gave me beautifully geeky tracking tools, created new friendships, and fed my obsession with statistics. Yet, at the beginning of October, I replaced my FitBit with an Apple Watch. And then, on December 22, I found myself 126% overjoyed because I convinced […]

How to Make Glow in the Dark Frozen Bubbles.

I discovered this just in time. I was about to completely lose my mind over the fact that it was COLD. And we didn’t get snow. And what was supposed to be a nice, iced-in, mid-week weekend compliments of the snow that visited everyone but us had turned into just another COLD day. And then […]

Diary of a Tired Mom: Dead of Winter Edition

I’m afraid that all of my motivation and Type A-Ness was housed in my uterus. It’s been nearly six weeks since its removal, and I don’t feel like running, eating vegetables, eating less Christmas chocolate, writing, cleaning, educating my children (which I am managing to do anyway – whether quality education or not), or really […]

A Journalled Year.

This delightful kid turned eleven yesterday. Ali recorded her year much better than I did, so I thought we’d tell the story together. January 2017: her tenth birthday, and when she finally allowed me to start calling her a tween. Also, she made sure to record her little brother’s fairly impressive abilities. February: She’s always […]

The Highs and Lows of Winter.

When you live in the south, you really don’t expect the freezing point to actually mean something. To me, it’s always felt more like a guideline. “Water could start freezing at 32 degrees.” But no. I really actually means that water freezes. And as such, it’s been freezing around here, so we’ve been experiencing the […]

On Proving that The Mayflower > The USPS

November First. That’s where this story begins. It was the day I received an order from England for one of my Roadkill Calendars*. I have shipped plenty of things overseas. I’ve shipped to China – with the endless label written in Chinese. I’ve shipped to Africa. I’ve shipped to England. I’ve shipped to many random […]

Finding Color in the Gray.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve already read part of this, but I felt like sharing it with a little more detail here. This week, I finally started venturing out of the house again. I know, I know – I got out the day after surgery to take snow pictures. But then I […]

The Seven-Year-Old Silver Screen Star.

Noah turned seven today. And it’s been a long, arduous, lifetime of work for him to achieve his (not-so-much) dream of being a television star, which also happened this week. All because being a blogger has weird side effects. Such as your images being super searchable, and sometimes your most random image can be the […]

Surgery, Snow, Smoothies, and The Senate.

All The Laws of Physics were contradicted this past week. 1. It snowed, in Alabama, in early December. Significantly (for Alabama) – 4-12 inches. 2. Said snow stuck, stayed around an extra day, and some snow is still on my yard as I type. 3. I had my uterus removed yet came home looking four […]

Give me a T… Give Me an M… Give me an I!

Disclaimer: This post is graphic and most likely not for people of the male persuasion. Unless they’re the overly-curious type. But I recommend they close this window and run screaming like a boy. Secondary Husband Disclaimer: I let Rachel blog about my vasectomy, and this post is sort of similar, but girly. Seriously, this blog […]

On Building Ones Own Race Car.

Noah is six years old, and this year was his fifth year to attend the Petit Le Mans race. My dad is a Tech Inspector for the Le Mans series, and the importance of being related to such a cool guy might have gone to Noah’s head. Granted, I don’t think most kids would blame […]

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This Book.

So the kids and I took a road trip recently to South Carolina. I haven’t shared this news here because it’s just too tragic to talk about, but Not-Crazy-Renee, best neighbor ever given to a blogger and star of the Package Thief saga, and the holiday houseguest scarer; the owner of a snake and the […]

Oops, Alabama Did It Again…

Hi y’all. It’s time for your straight-from-the-state-where-it-happened political commentary on Judge Roy Moore. Because I’m here to make sure that you’re informed. I know, I know – you’re all like, You’re welcome. But by the end of this post, you may feel more like this. So this all picks up where our dear old Luv […]

A Week In The Woods

From Monday to Thursday evening of last week, I was in the woods. No wi-fi, perilously spotty cell service, and all the fallishness I could ask for. (And Ali didn’t mind it, either.) We rented a cabin at Oak Mountain State Park, which is close enough for Chris to commute to work, and the children […]

Adult Smash Cakes are the New Promposal.

It’s hard to identify what a decade is about when you’re in the midst of it, but oh-so-easy after they’re over. The ‘70s didn’t know they’d be remembered for their Disco and groovy polyesters. The ‘80s didn’t imagine we’d mostly recall their patchy vests and Duck Head shorts. And the ‘90s had no idea we […]

A Tale of Two Muses.

I tend to be a dichotomous person. I sometimes exhibit characteristics that seem diametrically opposed, such as having purple hair and being a homeschool mom. And writing extensively on the internet but never mentioning politics (in a serious manner, anyway.) Opposites make me extraordinarily balanced. Right? Because of that extreme personality balance, I take photos […]

It Doesn’t Take a Village [Of Strangers.]

Most of the time, I am highly amused at the odd antics of strangers – especially since I seem to attract so many of the especially bizarre. However, there is one stranger behavior that irritates me like no other – the “volunteering” to parent my children. I need my friend’s and family’s help in parenting […]

The Secret Life of a Happy Hiking Heart.

My children, particularly the youngest, have a propensity to whine when I tell them we’re going on a hike, which is a once or twice a week occurrence, especially in the fall. But forced hiking is the mother of invention, and my children are never as brilliant as they are when the mood hits them […]

Blogging: May Cause International Friendship.

I regularly struggle about this blog. Besides the fact that blogging is a dead art, I have less to write about than when my kids were tiny, I have less time (thanks, kids, for not napping anymore), I have more varied interests that take up my time (running, hiking, photography, reading), and it’s harder for […]

36 for 36.

I have always loved to read, but it has been a pastime, like many, that comes and goes based on my stage of life and ability to concentrate. As a kid I read constantly. As an adult, I’ve had short spurts of reading often, followed by long breaks of zero literary pursuit. 2017 has been […]

What’s That Sound, The Dozenth Volume.

These are Noah’s new “drinking glasses.” Hopefully this isn’t his idea of preparing for college. Ali and Noah were discussing the pros and cons of their various babysitters with my friend Kelly. Noah explained that they have a system of points. Ali insisted the point system is based on a ten point scale, but Noah […]

When Being an Early Adopter Spins Out.

I am aware and annoyed that the world tends to hate on new things as they come along, picking apart all of the potential dangers and drawbacks before anyone has had a chance to even try them. Remember when Pokemon Go came out? All the news stories were about people walking over cliffs or wrecking […]

The Death of a Grasshopper.

“Hey Mom! There’s a hurt Grasshopper out here!” Noah had gone to the front porch to feed the neighborhood cat that is known at our address as Thomas. (Thomas has many names – many more than we probably even know. He works the feline benefits system well, just as his predecessor Fred, ingratiating himself to […]

On Discovering That I’m a Prodigy.

The year of 2017 will be forever remembered as the era where I made a monumental breakthrough on my journey of self-realization. If I were given one of those standard employee reviews where they asked me what my strengths and weaknesses were, before 2017 would be lacking a vital component of who I am. Because […]

On Needing More Chill.

If we were playing the “I Have Never” game, until last week I could easily say “I have never bought a refrigerator.” I am nearly 36 years old. Chris and I have been married for 16.5 years and have lived in three different dwellings. And we have never bought a refrigerator. Each house came with […]

On Finding Swagger.

I cannot communicate in barber language. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to style Noah’s hair differently for pretty much his whole life. His hair refuses to do anything except exactly what it does. Which is to hang. In a straight line. No part. No body. No nothing. I’ve felt as if he […]

When We Get Around To It…

…That’s when we’ll start school. (I answer that question a lot.) We do enough educational tasks during the summer (all of which I track on my templates, which you can download here) that we can afford to start school when God intended: In the glorious month of September. But this year, we actually started on […]

Congratulations on Your Simple Existence.

Last week, I had a male nurse tell me all about how he has no health problems and takes no medications. He told me a hilarious story about him going to the doctor for the first time in years just so that he had a primary doctor if he ever needed one, but he probably […]

The Time Has Come.

It will be here in just a few days… To be quite honest, after every single ArtWalk, I tell myself “I am NOT doing this again.” It is most likely the most exhausting thing an introvert can do to herself. But I always do it again anyway. Because I have a year to recover. Because […]

The Weird and The Wonderful.

If you’re ever bored waiting for your kids to pick out books at the library (or play endless games on the library computers), here’s my library entertainment secret. Go to the children’s biography section and imagine it as a dinner party. Each book is a person sitting around the table, making small talk with those […]

On Keeping A Relationship Fresh.

Sometimes you can live with someone your whole life and still not really know them. You might think you have them pegged – especially if they share DNA – and know exactly what decisions they’ll make in each scenario. But then some random recessive gene will pop up and shock your socks off. Such has […]

The Last (Beach) Stand.

It was our last trip of the summer, and our twelfth(ish) annual family vacation – the one we take with my family instead of buying each other presents. Not having to buy presents AND a “free” vacation? It’s such a win. We started this tradition when there were no kids, then eventually began adding one […]

On Being Absolutely Delicious.

Our family has two distinct branches. There’s the Chris Branch. Chris does not recall a time when he had a run-in with any poisonous-plant-caused rash, and does not have the pleasure of experiencing bug bites of any kind. Sometimes he feels a bug on him and is annoyed by the biting sensation, but does not […]

Diary of a Tired Mom: Beliefs and Dreams.

Every time I need Triple Antibiotic cream, I can only find Hydrocortisone – and not just one tube, multiple tubes. Every time I need Hydrocortisone, I can only find Triple Antibiotic cream  – and not just one tube, multiple tubes. I no longer believe that these two creams are separate entities. They cannot exist at […]

The Five Second Journey.

Guest Post by Chris The Husband. There are times in life when things happen in real time very quickly, but in your mind, time slows to a crawl, as your brain seizes onto reality and attempts to grapple with it. Such was Saturday, at the pool. It was a standard late poolside July afternoon. Hot, […]

On The Killing Of The Rodent.

When your friend that spent 90% of her life living in Central America invites you over for Taco Night, you go. No matter what. Last night our small group had the privilege of just such an occasion. And besides the best tacos we’ve ever eaten (including the magical pork-and-pineapple mixture that I’m now kinda craving […]

Mom’s Worst Adventure Ever.

Sometimes Moms make mistakes. Sometimes Moms have inadvertently terrible timing. These things could both be said of me on Wednesday, but I’m going to choose to blame Noah instead. You see, we had to do an errand. And he decided to wear his extraordinarily dapper hat that Chris and I bought him last year when we […]

What’s That Sound: Volume Eleven(ish)

Having a boy child is often a confounding situation. Like, how does this happen? And more importantly, after it happens, how does one hang up their coat, look at a sucker stuck solidly to the hoodie, and say “eh, I’m good.”?! This kid. So let’s document the inner workings of such a powerful mind. On […]

Origin Stories.

Every year about this time, I write a post similar to this one. Then I don’t publish it, out of concern that my words would be misread or misunderstood. This year I decided to go ahead and hit that publish button. For the past ten years, the constants of my life have been that I am a writer, a mom, […]

Theories on a Grand Target Adventure.

As I was driving down Highway 280 on Saturday afternoon, lost in thought about all I had to accomplish in the next day and week and year and lifetime, I approached a set of flashing police lights in the median. I slowed down, as one does, out of caution and to ensure that it wasn’t […]

On Discovering Michigan.

On the First of July, I and my six fellow small group ladies found ourselves in the great state of Michigan. We take a girl’s trip once a year, and whether it is hosted by an Irishman in Bugtussle, includes a contest to find the highest heels in Unclaimed Baggage, or involves the breaking of […]

Let Freedom Spew.

It was the Fourth of July. I had woken up at some crazy early hour to check out of our Girl’s Weekend rental house (more on that later), drive to the Detroit airport, and fly home. That night, we had our annual fireworks watching “party” planned, for which thankfully Chris had made the preparations and […]

When a Tropical Storm Comes Knocking.

Continued from here… So the Tropical Storm. Let’s first be clear: the Actual Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall on Thursday in Louisiana. She may have been weak, but the woman could cover some land mass. As such, her torrential rains started Monday night in Florida. That was when I discovered the downside of an extremely […]

The Longest Vacation And How To Do It.

Nine Days. I have literally not been away from home that long since I was 16 years old. Well over half my life ago. I accomplished this feat by Magical Vacation Stretching (MVS.) How does MVS work? I shall teach you. Are you ready? This is some extra VIP information. 1. Prove to your husband […]

Moments of Vacation.

We’ve been on our annual double-family vacation, during which I took a writing hiatus. I’m still gathering and editing my photos from the trip, but here are a couple of stories from my favorite moments. The Ghosterhood of the Traveling Skirt. All four kids shared a bunk room for the first time this year. It […]

What You Hear While Getting Needled.

I don’t talk about Dysautonomia at length here very often, because frankly, I find it annoying. Same for running – I run nearly every day, but I just don’t find running a very interesting subject to talk about. I like running a huge deal. It makes me feel better. I put one foot in front […]

The Summer Ticket.

Summer began this year before I completely realized what was happening. Usually the first day of summer is a day of huge fanfare and excitement (me celebrating raucously because I don’t have to teach my children anything of great import for a couple months), but this year it was sandwiched between mine and Chris’ anniversary trip, our […]

Stepping Into The Light.

Trigger Warning: Dear Mom, don’t read this post. (I made the mistake of telling my Mom the some of the details of this adventure on Sunday. She asked me to please never ever tell her if I did this or anything like it again.) Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve (no relation to any Callahans or […]

A Visit to Hilton Head.

It’s been over a month since mine and Chris’ annual anniversary trip, and I still haven’t finished this blog post about it. Because every time I try to write, I find myself in this situation…. I’m supposed to be blogging right now. But instead, I’m browsing online, trying to figure out the best way to […]

Revisiting The Past.

I know that the trendiness of photo re-creation was at its peak a couple of years ago, but for some reason, it peaked with me over the last couple of weeks. First, there was a soccer picture of my brother and I. We were more of a baseball/softball family, and we only played one season […]

Motherhood: The Ghost Story.

Quiet time is for Mommies. My kids have a set time period each day where they can play on their iPads and watch two television shows. The purpose of this is not for my children’s electronic pleasure. It’s 100% for me. It’s so that I can get computer work done, edit photos, blog, or in […]

Hands-On Alabama History: The Conclusion.

From the beginning… I promise this was from the beginning of this school year. Ignore the wrong dates. I’m a qualified teacher really I am. To the end. It was an absolute adventure. And my most ambitious and longest school year yet is finally over. Although we’d finished most subjects, we officially ended it all […]

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Extra Special Trends for Summer.

I walked into Nordstrom Rack on Wednesday, realizing as I walked that I was literally a walking Rack. I was currently wearing the following that had been bought at Nordstrom Rack or HauteLook: – Shirt – Shoes – Sports Bra – Pants – Sunglasses – Purse Literally the only things I had on or with […]

Temporarily Closed for Battle.

I haven’t disappeared or thrown away the merits of blogging in exchange for being in the woods all day every day (although we have been having a exquisitely lovely Spring and most recently a divine three day weekend, so that possibility is most definitely always there) (and also might I add, we’ve been watching Anne with an […]

The Resurrection of Long Butt: Finding a Better Swimsuit.

When a fashion trend troubles me, I find myself studying it intensely, attempting to mentally work out a solution. How could we keep this look but ditch everything that makes it absolutely horrendous? These questions plague my mind in dark, subconscious corners until I concoct a solution. That’s how, in 2009, I found myself publishing […]

The Alabama Skimm

I’ve mentioned before how much I like The Skimm, and there’s been a lot going on here lately, so I decided to give you guys a bit of my own homestate Skimm. Alabama’s been talked about a lot lately. First, our Governor had a, well, a situation that ended up giving us a new Governor […]

The Romper’s Creepy Uncle Has Arrived.

I tend to be a late adopter of new fashion trends. I like to justify that this is with good reason – as trends take hold, they get tweaked and redesigned, and if said trend withstands the test of time, the end result is much more flattering than where it started. Skinny Jeans are a perfect example of […]

The Hero We’ve Been Waiting For. The Hero We Deserve.

OhMyGoodness Guys. I have SUCH GOOD NEWS. For the past two years, nearly everyone, on all quadrants of the political spectrum, have been living in existential dread. Overwhelming percentages of people have expressed a grave distrust in our political situation, and the entire world seems to have the same problems: political systems are hopelessly corrupt […]

Please Sell Me Beachfront Property in Wyoming.

Something about the marketers that have been trying to reach me lately has seemed a bit…off. So I saved their ads. For us to discuss. Do I wear a hair tie around my wrist most days? Yes. Is Facebook secretly videotaping me so that they are aware of this behavior? Probably. Are we seriously to […]

The Robin Hood of Animal Memorialization.

There’s been a serious dearth of opportunities for roadkill kit utilization lately. And it wasn’t for my lack of looking for those to memorialize eternally – I had been keeping my eyes especially alert for a rabbit all through March and April, as I had a set of tiny Easter Eggs that really needed a job. […]

Revisiting The Black Spot

The Year was 2013. I was experiencing, for the first time in my life, the harrowing realities of having a two and a half year old male creature. He was fantastically adorable. Which did not make up for the fact that he was two and a half and therefore made me fear for his life […]

Pour Some Sugar on Me! No Wait – Don’t.

As mentioned previously, I’m doing monthly goals and challenges this year. On my list of potential experiments, I’ve had two in particular that I simultaneously dreaded and really wanted to try. Giving up sugar, and giving up gluten. It took 90 days to work up the courage to try one or the other, and I […]

Just The Four Of Us.

This past weekend we tried something new. We prefer doing what we know works – we’re not the type to be like “hey let’s try this new big thing with our kids! I bet they’re old enough to not make it miserable!” No. We wait until we are solidly sure that they are absolutely more […]

An Alabama Fairytale.

For those of you who live in Alabama, you may have had enough already of this story. Or maybe you’ve been avoiding it and waiting for the overview. But I’ve had a lot of people – locally and not – ask me “what exactly happened down there?”, so I felt it my duty, since I […]

It’s Hard Work Being His Favorite.

  “Mommy, You’re the Best.” “Hey Mommy………..I love you.” I hear each of those phrases at least forty-eight times a day. Noah likes me. A lot. And by a lot I mean he really prefers to be with me at all moments. It’s utterly precious until it’s not. All the honest Moms out there say […]

The Super Bowl of Homeschooling.

To a homeschooler, there is nothing more thrilling than standardized achievement tests. …Okay actually this is way too blanket a statement and is vastly over-applied. To myself and my daughter and perhaps a few other homeschoolers, there is nothing more thrilling than standardized achievement tests. I adored them every year when I was a kid. […]

The Opposite of StormChasing.

The Alabama Weather Scene has changed since I was a kid. Not in content so much – I remember tornadoes and warnings and staying indoors as things were flying about Wizard-Of-Oz style from my youth. My mom claims to have sat in a rocking chair on the front porch with me in her arms while […]

Hands-On History: Sloss Furnaces

Sloss Furnaces, part of the reason for Birmingham’s existence, has always fascinated me – especially photographically. I’ve taken pictures of it for years, but have never truly explored it. I have left it so unexplored that I didn’t even realize they had a gorgeous visitor’s center, gift shop, and museum. But naturally it was on […]

Things I’ve been Enjoying.

I have not cared to blog AT ALL the last couple of weeks because I have just finished my first re-read of all seven Harry Potter books. One of my favorite book series, I’ve wanted to do this but never felt like I had “the time” to dive in. But Ali finished book 4 (Goblet […]

Trading Professional Snacking for Soccer.

Last year when Ali started back in gymnastics, I asked Noah what he might be interested in doing. We had not gotten him involved in any organized sports yet, and even though I didn’t at all want more commitments in my life, Mommy Guilt was getting the best of me. But he quickly said, “I’d […]

The Genesis of A Palette.

An update to my last post, about the discovery of my children’s Grapheme-Color Synesthesia…it probably won’t make much sense if you haven’t read that post first. A couple of nights ago as I was lying in bed, I finally remembered what app Noah had played most when he was learning his letters – Starfall. I […]

Unearthing a More Colorful Brain.

“1 is red – right, mom?” This matter-of-fact question Noah asked Monday morning while doing his math (in my dirty dressing room floor as I hung up clothes) turned his school day on end. What followed was a fascinating day of me interrogating him while becoming more and more intrigued with his brain as he […]

A Perfectly Romantic Roadkill Date.

We first saw him on the way to church Sunday morning. I squeeeeed with happiness. He was lovely. His hands were up in the air as if grasping for the light. He wasn’t gory – just looked like he’d been keeled over in shock. I’d been keeping my eye out for a raccoon for months. […]

Two Quick Notes…

If you’re into basketball or not into basketball and just into making brackets or letting your kids make brackets (as we have been since our oldest was two, because we like to teach important life skills), if you’re quick (I know – I really meant to get this out earlier this week but THIS WEEK […]

Hands-On Alabama History: DeSoto Caverns

DeSoto Caverns was not on my all-encompassing spreadsheet of Alabama History. In fact, after studying Alabama History and reading one very detailed story about how Hernando De Soto came to Alabama with the sole purpose of stealing from and brutally slaughtering as many Native Americans as possible, I felt a bit queasy from the happy […]

Hands-On Alabama History: Helen Keller

So I think I missed a couple things in my own Alabama education. I missed that Helen Keller was an international superstar, and I missed that she lived until the late 1960s – she died only 13 years before I was born. The first fact I believe I missed precisely because I’m from Alabama. Sure, […]

Charting New Territory.

In the world of baby-having, things have changed a lot since I partook – largely due to social media. And, much like all that’s changed in the world of wedding-having, I am not sad that I missed it. Any of it. I’m not sad that Pinterest Pressure was an unknown substance 16 years ago, and […]

Death By Leggings.

Leggings make me feel dead inside. Yet I still have exactly 8 pairs. It’s true – even the sequins don’t make them better. As I sit back and ruminate on where I went wrong in life, I must surmise that I fell into this slippery slope because of running. Running leggings are amazing. Compressing in […]

Love Me With Your Whole Emoji.

Of my 1,171 Facebook friends, approximately 1,500 of them currently sell something that involves a product, a downline, and a requirement of a plethora of Facebook posts. My Facebook feed covers them all. Multiple times over. I will never be without the ability to buy Matilda Jane or Advocare or Avon or Young Living or […]

Desperado.

I live for spelling bees. I only participated in one when I was a kid, but I remember relishing the thrill of competition. I’m also a fairly good speller (except for the word dilemma) and would greatly appreciate it if my children would join me in that vital pursuit. Last year was Ali’s first round […]

The Best New Crafting Bling: Fimo Slices.

It’s been way too long since I’ve made a craft project worthy of sharing. Today’s is brought to you by purchasing the wrong product, because sometimes you discover something fabulous by screwing up. Such was the case with Fimo barrels. I loved making Fimo beads when I was a kid – the rolling into a […]

A Valentine To Remember.

I have strong personal convictions about Valentine’s Day. I think it is inanely stupid. It’s contrived, it’s expected, and it’s downright annoying. It forces single people to feel sad, it obligates non-single people to feel pressured to write something disgustingly mushy on Facebook, AND it’s the single worst night in the year to attempt to […]

The Inner Poet.

My daughter is the epitome of a cheerful optimist. She is nearly always happy, always pointing out the beautiful and amazing things around her, and is constantly looking to thank me for something or state how much she enjoys whatever it is we’re doing right then. “Thanks for taking us on this run, Mom. I […]

Tinglewood at Orr Park – Faces in the Trees.

A study pops up in my orbit semi-regularly that makes the case that neurotic people are more likely to see faces in random objects. If this idea scares you with regards to your own mental health, do not – I repeat DO NOT go to Orr Park in Montevallo. If it doesn’t, though, you need […]

Hands-On History: Brierfield Ironworks

After a few false starts, we finally got back into the groove of history field trips after the holidays. It’s harder now, because our dear friend and adventure comrade Carla Jean has moved to Colorado, and nothing is as much fun when you lose your buddy. We set out to Brierfield Ironworks, a furnace built in 1862, […]

Diary of a Tired Mom: New Year, New Rambles.

Musings, stories, and random observations of a tired mother don’t always promise to make sense. Saturday morning, as I was driving to my favorite place to run, which happens to be in the middle of Birmingham’s fanciest suburb, I saw a fully grown man, with a salt and pepper beard, skateboarding down the road, in […]

The Politics of Poop.

Noah has decided, with certainty, that he is a once-a-week pooper. He informs people this at random, and they are more educated for it. But when that once a week time slot comes along, he’s as dramatic as 100 senators complaining about each other. “I’m gonna need twenty minutes. Do we have twenty minutes?” “No […]

A Round-Up of the Random.

Let’s have a round of not-at-all-important distraction, shall we? As I’m sure you can tell by the way I live my life, designer copy paper is an absolute requirement. So thank goodness Staples had this deal on Cynthia Rowley’s designer case of plain white copy paper. …Because my paper deserves better than to come in […]

Hands-On History: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.

Birmingham was founded on the iron industry, and the iron industry required some heavy transportation to succeed. Therefore, trains are a vital part of our history, too. The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is our favorite place to experience that piece of our past. The HODRRM can be found in Calera, about 45 minutes outside […]

On Creating a Roadkill Kit.

The cliché “You Snooze, You Lose” has never been truer than it is with regards to roadkill. I sadly lost both a raccoon (would’ve been my first!!) and a beautiful armadillo last week because I put off for tomorrow what I could have done today. These two sad misses occurred for two reasons: 1. Both […]

The Reset Button.

It should be mandatory that all mothers get a day to themselves after the holidays are over, and perhaps two days if their children’s birthdays sandwich the holidays. There is a significant amount of damage done to the maternal figure’s inner wiring that can only be repaired by complete isolation and a significant break from […]

Qixels are for Mommies.

There are certain things we buy our children for Christmas only because we love them. With dread and self-loathing, we purchase those sets that we know will lose two pieces on the first day and never work again, those million-tiny-parts that we are quite confident will be scattered throughout our house in 23 minutes flat, […]

What a Homeschool Mom’s Therapy Looks Like.

It was the first day back to school after the holidays. Not only after the holidays, which included two 3.5 day weekends with Daddy at home, but also after a “snow” weekend, full of frolic and laziness. There was no way this would go well. And indeed it did not. No one was prepared for […]

Red Legos & Hamm

Guest Post by Chief Husband and Editor Chris It’s Championship Eve. The last holiday cometh. Tomorrow, my team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will rematch Clemson to defend their national title and try to go 15-0 for the first time. It just so happens that most of this weekend was spent iced in at home. Everything […]

A Life of Adventure.

Yesterday, Ali turned 10 years old. Double digits. Officially a Tween. (I’ve been calling her a tween since she turned 9 but she is very insistent that tween only refers to double digits that don’t end in a teen. So at least we can put that argument behind us.) When I started this blog, she […]

The Greatest Snowstorm of All Time.

I believed in my heart. I waited with anticipation. I followed the forecast, minute by minute, keeping three radar apps, a weather blog, and a constantly updating Twitter feed up on my phone. This one – this is the one that would happen. The Winter Wonderland my kids deserved. The Winter Wonderland I deserved. Finally, […]

Hands-On History: Tannehill

We go to Tannehill Ironworks Historic State Park fairly often. It’s not close to our end of Birmingham, but it’s a beautiful place to hike, get outdoors, explore pretty places, and to photograph. Plus, my family camped there often when I was a kid, so I have very fond memories. I do not, however, remember […]

The Tale of Buck Skywalker.

Noah’s most prized gift that came out of Christmas was his very own Noah-Sized Darth Vader. Darth wasn’t from us or from Santa, but from Tanya, who knew JUST what Noah was missing in his life. Noah, who has been wearing a Stormtrooper costume daily since his birthday. Noah, who told me pre-Christmas as I […]

What are You Wearing, New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve is a fashion must, especially when you’re a mom who has no plans because her husband is attending a College Football Playoff Game. You better look good for those kids covered in Christmas Candy Dust, ya know? (For the record I could have absolutely flaunted my fashion fantasticness at said College Football […]

Hands-On Alabama: Archives and History Museum

One of the dozens of benefits of Carla Jean joining us on our project (aside from her fabulous research, entertainment of and by my children, having another adult along for long car trips, and her spectacular articulation of our journeys) is that people have read her articles and emailed her, inviting us to places we […]

Hate-Fueled, Lovingly Crafted Christmas Cards.

A couple of weeks ago I got served some sponsored posts that made me very angry. It was an illogical anger – holiday-induced-insanity even – but it happened. The first one occurred on Instagram. First let me say that I do not follow Melissa Joan Hart. I do not follow any celebrities (with the exception […]

The Reasonable Quest.

Guest Post by Husband and Chief Editor, Chris. Hi. My name is Chris. I’m low-key obsessed with buying an NES Classic Edition. It’s a tiny box that contains 30 classic Nintendo games, all in the tiny box, no cartridges required. But low-key will not get it done. There are too few of them trickling into […]

What’s That Sound: Birthday Edition.

Today, this kid is turning six. He’s become quite an adventurer this year, always willing to take on a challenge. And ask questions. And ask more questions. And also more. Questions. Here are a few things he’s said or asked recently… “These mints are too spicy. I’m going to save them for when I’m older. […]

To Bake or Not To Bake.

In my B.K. era (Before Kids, or Before Kaos, or Before Konstant Losing Of My Mind, but that, I suppose, would be B.K.L.O.M.M.), I enjoyed taking on Extreme Holiday Baking. I reveled in making lists of the various homemade treats I would create, then keeping a tally of the number of each I created (often doing double […]

Everything is Awesome…in the Nativity.

For those of you who have been around for a while, you might remember Chris’ Lego Nativities. They started out rather normal, then grew into something more grand, then took a plot twist, then added wheels. My mantel has still hosted Lego Nativities the last couple of years, but I’ve been on a break from […]

Drought Updates from Lake Purdy.

On November 4th, right before it was announced that we were in a Stage Four Drought Emergency, I took a trip to our water supply, Lake Purdy, to see what it was looking like. November 4: A few days later, I went back to take sunset pictures. November 11: For more of the sunset pictures, […]

Alabama History…Err, Geography: Horse Pens 40

All I knew about Horse Pens 40 was that it was one of the places that will live in infamy of the “embarrassing” stories my parents tell about me. (I’m not really embarrassed but I assume they keep telling the same stories over and over in hopes that I will become so – revenge or […]

Cheer Amidst Chaos.

November and December are the busiest, are they not? I’ve barely been able to put coherent thoughts together to talk to my children, let alone write. But I have been taking pictures and screen shots. So I’ll share those with you to buy myself some time. Audible has decided to really hedge their bets on […]

Not-Crazy-Renee and the Big, Big Favor.

As all good adventures do, it all started out with a text. A text from Not-Crazy-Renee, specifically…right before she headed out of town for the holidays. Explanatory Footnotes for this text: 1. SBB refers to Snaky Butters Buttercup, Renee’s five-year-old’s pet Ball Python, who has grown a good deal since I last shared photographs of […]

Hands On History: Alabama’s Origin Battle.

First of all. If you’re following our history journey to either emulate it now or later, I have recently discovered a complete game-changer: the dream series of books about Alabama history. I happened upon them at the Vestavia library, thought they looked interesting, and grabbed them to look at later. When I finally pulled them […]

Not-Crazy-Renee and the Creepy Middle Child.

“How’s Not-Crazy-Renee doing?” I’m sure you’re asking that right now, since that’s what all blog readers want to know when they see me. She is, after all, the all-time favorite blog character. With good reason. To answer your question, she’s doing fine. She still feeds Snakey Butters Buttercup, her five year old’s pet python, every […]

CDC Warning: New FTD, Lularoe, Now Classified as Pandemic.

  FTDs, or Facebookually Transmitted Diseases, are now at an all-time high. Please be aware of the latest FTD, know if you are at risk, and prevent further transmission. Lularoe. Any woman who is Facebookually active can get Lularoe. Lularoe can cause very serious complications if not treated, and is extremely easy to transmit to […]

These are Two Pieces of Important Information.

First piece of important information: I want to personally invite any local (or non-local, if you really love me) people to come see me next Saturday, November 19. I teamed up with the fantastically talented Sarah and Allen Woodall to present a pop-up shop at West Elm (at the Summit.) We’ll be there from 10-4 […]

November 10: National Day of Rainbows and Unicorns.

“You know what the world needs more of today? Rainbows and Unicorns.” These were my thoughts when I opened up Facebook. Two minutes into my feed… “Unicorns. Rainbows. Stat.” Five minutes in… “I NEED A UNICORN CRAPPING A RAINBOW THIS INSTANT.” I opened up my Bitmoji app to try and find the picture of my […]

Ali Had a Little Lamb.

It’s been a while since we discussed my One Hit Wonder Modeling Career, but yes – when I was 10, I sat for a painting by William Hallmark. It was popular in Christian bookstores in the 90s, but now it can be found largely in antique shops (yes my Mom found me in an antique […]

Drought Explorations.

This afternoon, I thought I had a hair appointment. But I apparently did not – it wasn’t until the next Friday. And so, I found myself with no kids and an entire afternoon to fill. (The misery.) (I’m sure all moms would agree.) On the way to my nonexistent appointment, I had rolled by our city’s main […]

The Discovery of Trick or Treating.

This is the first year we haven’t participated in our Church’s Trunk or Treat, pouring oodles of hours into creating a family theme (or, in the case of last year, throwing it together at the absolute last minute three days after what would be a half-a-year-changing wreck.) It’s not that we quit – our church […]

High Ponytails and Parental Grievances.

You know how we all have those random childhood memories where our parents let us down in some miniscule way, but for some reason we still remember it clearly 25 years later? I’m sure I’ve already given my kids libraries full of these, and their childhoods are only 1/2 and 1/3 complete. Obviously I hardly […]

Hands-On Alabama History: The Native American Trips.

We’ve still been keeping busy with our Alabama History project and field trips, but I’ve been waiting to catch up on posting about them until I could share some fun news: a dear friend, Carla Jean Whitley, jumped onto our Alabama History bandwagon a couple of weeks after we started. She is an author of […]

The Day The Tide Turned Brown.

The history of Alabama Football is nuanced and deep in its tradition. Why, for instance, would our mascot be an elephant, yet we’re called The Crimson Tide? It came from a simple phrase used by a journalist. In 1907, there was a particularly momentous game – the Iron Bowl, in fact – that was played […]

40 Spectacular Spots for Birmingham Photo Shoots

It’s getting to be the season for family photos, and I often have photographers message me for new ideas on Birmingham backdrops for family or commercial photo shoots. We all know that the Botanical Gardens and Morris Avenue and Railroad Park are great, but people want new ideas. And I like to give the people […]

On My Whirlwind Relationship with a Spammer.

I came across this post in the course of conversation recently, and the memory made me giggle. So I decided it was worth re-sharing. Originally posted September 23, 2014 As a blogger, I get hundreds of emails a day. Of those, approximately one is a real person emailing me to genuinely correspond. If I’m lucky. […]

From my Brain Straight to Your Eyes.

Darn life. It gets in the way of all that is fun and right in the world. No really. I seem to have lost the time to write. I’m rarely home in the afternoons anymore, and when I am, my children have already fried my brain into oblivion. Which means that I either a) need […]

Because We Need an Unexpected Presidential Gift.

GUYS. The weekend. AmIRight? It was my birthday weekend and the world had to fall apart. HOW DARE IT. Anyway. Y’all don’t come to me to hear my political views (I do have them, believe it or not) – y’all come to me for escapism. I was saddened last night, on my birthday, that I […]

A Meandering Tale of Aliens, Lizards, and Art Appreciation.

Ali drew a picture of an alien. It was a quite nice alien – friendly, geometric, and with wildly fascinating fingers. Yes, a perfectly fine alien. She showed it to me that morning. I praised her delightful drawing and we moved on. It became a long day, much in thanks to her little brother. Whining, […]

The Scandalous Side of Botany.

Parental Guidance Suggested. I love our Botany book. I struggle with finding history and science books that I like, but this one – it’s just perfect. The organization of the chapters is clear and succinct, the writing is beautiful, and the experiments are easy enough that even this severely un-experimenty mom can make them happen. […]

I Still Hate Dogs.

I love ALL of God’s endlessly imaginative creatures. In fact, I’ve been on an animal finding bender lately. (And not just dead ones.) I stalked a giant, pizza-pan-sized snapping turtle down a creek near my house, (He even had spikes on his tail! I now understand Super Mario. BOWSER WAS A SNAPPING TURTLE.) I’ve been […]

7 Things Better Than a Debate.

Tonight is the first presidential debate. I know, right. Approximately 55% of the country moans in desperation, crying out to God, asking “Is this the judgment we’ve read about in Revelation??” Apocalyptic or not, a debate between Trump and Clinton is perhaps the last thing I want to watch, especially since they’re not even letting […]

The Stranger Stuff of Life.

Facebook has suggested that I find a new way to tell my stories. That’s right, it’s time to quit blogging. It’s time I started sending you a message on a potato instead. I had to go to potatoparcel.com and figure out what was up. I mean, this could be the next wave of communication, guys! […]

The Ghost of Fort Morgan.

It was a dark and stormy morning. No really – it actually was. We went down to the beach last weekend to visit the Chris’ Aunt Kitty and Uncle Leo (famous around here for many things, such as Toenail Art and Crochet Shorts.) It was actually a month after our planned trip to visit them, […]

Hands-On Alabama History: Weeks Two and Four.

We’re doing a year’s worth of Alabama field trips to study our history in a hands-on fashion. For an introduction to what and why we’re studying Alabama History, click here. We haven’t moved on from dinosaurs just yet, because I wanted to take my kids to experience The McWane Collection. Housed inside The McWane Center, […]

Into the Mountains We Go.

As a refresher, my family – parents, brothers, sister-in-law, nephew and nieces take a family trip every year rather than giving each other gifts. 2016 was our twelfth trip. As I mentioned earlier, we stayed in a “resort neighborhood” in the mountains for this year’s family vacation. It was in the mountains in North Georgia, […]

30A: 2015 Oops Edition.

We were getting ready to go on our annual family vacation when I remembered that I never ever finished LAST YEAR’S annual vacation blog post. We’ve even been to 30A again since this unpublished post occurred, but no matter. I dug it out of drafts to publish as a comparison to this year’s trip. Because […]

Planning Your Weekend For You!

I know, I know – I usually give you more notice about Birmingham Artwalk. But not this year! It’s today and tomorrow, and I would love to see YOU! Here are the facts: What: The best art show in the Birmingham area – over a hundred artists in a fantastically fun atmosphere downtown. There are […]

Three Ingredients For Adventure: Ford, Hilton, and Twitter.

We left a night early for our annual family vacation so as to detour for an Alabama History field trip on the way. We planned to stay near the field trip destination, a couple hours north of Birmingham. Except that, 45 minutes out of town, my car beeped, presented a message telling us we needed […]

The Varying Degrees of Tubing.

For family vacation this year, we went to a mountain “resort neighborhood” that might have been the most confusing place we’ve ever visited. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about yet. While we there, my mom, Ali, and I decided to take a tubing trip down the river that ran through the resort. […]

Encouragement for the Sick(o) at Heart.

Although I haven’t mentioned it here recently, mine and my dear friend Tanya’s foray into Fun With Roadkill has not stopped. To recap quickly, there was Sloppy the Squirrel, who held a brief life as a marketing squirrel, and then I gifted him to Tanya in coffee mug form as a celebration of Christ’s birth. […]

On the Growth of a Man.

Noah has been busy lately, growing up and stuff. He’s become a puzzlingly model student (he has for his entire life held a staunch non-education policy), his imagination is running wild with ideas of commerce, and he got his first loose tooth. He tried to play the tooth thing cool, just slipping it into conversation […]

On Learning the Art of Theme Parking.

On Friday morning of our two mom/five kid adventure, we sat out for our first true undertaking – to Dollywood, the theme park. I am quite inexperienced at the whole theme park thing – remember Disney? Yeah – they didn’t even let me in the front gate. So I was beyond thankful to discover that […]

Not-Crazy-Renee And The Dollywood Adventure.

A couple of weeks ago when we were on our way home from our beach trip, during the window of “Last Hour of the Road Trip Home” which has a very strict rule of “No serious conversations because we WILL get snippy with each other”, I got a text from my dear friend and neighbor, […]

Hands-On Alabama History: Week One.

As we approached 4th grade, I felt my rule-following self and rebellious self fighting each other (which is a pretty much daily battle anyway.) I know that it’s “expected” to study state history in 4th grade, but I still remember my textbook. It was awful. And with a little research, I found out that Alabama […]

The Nuts and Bolts of Education.

So. Yesterday in my tiny moment of impressedness with myself for a change, I had a fantastic fail – caught by the first commenter (and then everyone else all day long.) I snickered about it over and over. Did you catch it? Yeah. It’s 2016-2017, Rachel. Clearly I’m qualified to teach children. So on that note, shall […]

A Rare Motivation.

Last week, we did something I have constantly said I’d never do. We started school in early August. I’m just as shocked as you are. First of all, why would we do that? We homeschool so we should start school when God designed for school to start – after Labor Day. But more importantly, even […]

The Tale of Bugtussle.

This Giant Tabby Cat is the only photo I have from that rental house. It was the only photo I dared take. But I do have the memories. It was a Girl’s Trip last year – myself and three other moms. I drove up first, along with one of my friends, who was quite pregnant […]

Crown Jewels of the Rental World.

Typically when we travel, we: – Do NOT want to be in a one-room hotel room with our children, and – Often travel with other people. As such, we usually find rental houses or condos using VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner – also known as HomeAway.) I’m a pro and sifting through their not-so-easy-to-navigate website, but […]

Kidtopia.

We spent most of last week making our children’s dreams come true, as we attempt to do every year. Okay we attempt it every day but at least once a year we actually succeed – and more often than not, it’s on this trip. The time had come for our formerly-semi-annual-but-now-annual beach trip with their […]

The 2016 Shoe Election Crisis

After having loved and lost my perfect running shoe when it was discontinued, the experimental replacements I have attempted have slowly damaged me in different ways, much like that new friend that you thought was normal but then turned out to be just a tiny bit psycho. One gave me blood blisters on the bottom of my feet. Another […]

It Gets Easier. No Really.

There’s a universal set of lies that mothers of adult children tell mothers of small children. 1. Enjoy every second – I sure did! 2. You’ll blink and they’ll be graduating high school! 3. Oh honey, keep your chin up – because it only gets harder. I’ve spent the last nine and a half years […]

How Hamilton is Actually a Parenting Self-Help Guide.

Haven’t you always assumed that life would be more fun if it were a musical? Me neither. I never did understand how people could sing their lives in perfect rhythm and rhyme in real time – not to mention in harmony with their fellow life-livers. However. Hamilton has changed my mind. Due to the constant […]

The Highs and Lows of Camp.

In June, I planned my first ever Week Off Since Becoming a Mom. Or at least, five days straight of 9am-4pm Vacation. Noah is finally old enough to go to our church’s fantabulous multiple award-winning summer day camp (where every week has a different theme and it’s complete kid wonderland and I’m a little jealous […]

The Story of Hosting Woes: A Cautionary Tale.

So two weeks ago was…stressful. It wasn’t planned to be, insomuch as one ever plans a stressful week. It all started at the end of June, when my blog / Picture Birmingham’s hosting company, HostGator, billed me for my annual renewal. I’d managed to talk them down last year to 40% of the list price, […]

What I’ve Been Up To: An Update on Picture Birmingham.

If I’ve seemed not quite as present this summer, it’s because I’ve been working quite feverishly on restarting my other project, Picture Birmingham. It’s not that I ever quit, really – or at least I didn’t quit taking pictures. But since the wreck (I know – like ancient history, right??) and resulting 5.5 months of recovery and Physical […]

What was Said at Arby’s.

WHY ARE CRAZY PEOPLE ATTRACTED TO ME. Like, for reals. If I had to rate myself on a scale of Super Approachable to “Hazardous Area – Stay Away”, I’d be on the “Nuclear Waste – Clear the Area” end of things. Not by choice or plan – I just think my resting unapproachable face scares […]

How PokemonGo Will Make Your Momming Better.

As I purposefully shy away from trends and adamantly avoid hopping on bandwagons, I was ripe to avoid PokemonGo completely. But I saw potential. Potential for entertained kids and interesting hikes. I mean, I’m pretty dang good at making hikes interesting. Sometimes we even find abandoned boobs! But despite how AMAZING I am, and despite […]

The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club: Corporate Edition.

The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club used to be my favorite bizarre occurrence to report on, garnering itself its own category on my blog. But now that my kids are older (the AIBC tends to be more magnetized to babies), it’s been a while since I’ve had a stranger tell me what I ought to do as […]

What’s That Sound: Volume Seven

I’m kinda sorta taking the week off from writing because much is going on and it’s a holiday week and I feel like a vacation. But I figured I’d let Noah do the writing instead. So here’s a collection of his recent musings… We were playing restaurant. Noah asked, “What would you like?” “Chocolate Cheesecake.” “We don’t […]

Printables for Your Summer Sanity

Summer is in full force. Even for those weird people who don’t get out of school until the middle of June. And it’s no Summer Break for Moms. I get it. I really do. Even though I homeschool and therefore am home with my kids all year long, summer adds its own set of painful complications. […]

The Trouble With Elbows.

I have a doctor. I really love him. He listens to me, he remembers me and all my particular anomalies visit to visit, he diagnoses me properly and treats me accordingly, and he’s off on Thursdays and the weekends. I always get sick or injured on Thursdays or the weekends. Chris does not have a […]

Diary of A Tired Mom: Uncomfortable Truths.

This post felt like I’d taken two familiar genres and thrown them into a smoothie together: my Diary of a Tired Mom posts, and my friend Katherine’s madly fantastic Uncomfortable Truths, which has  66 volumes (and counting.) Be sure to read hers, because they’re delightfully more uncomfortable than mine. 1. Although my elbow and shoulder (and finger) are […]

Making a Roadkiller

A Guest Post by Chief Editor and Husband, Chris. Roadkill is a 2016 thing for us. Rachel and I look for it. We photograph it. We share it. We analyze it. We grade it qualitatively. In some instances, we decorate it. Runs are always good opportunities to find it. Recently, I was out for a […]

Short Stories From A Busy Week.

On Saturday, we went on the newish-annual Road Rally. This isn’t new for my family, as my Dad has driven in epic road rallies (like, China-to-Paris epic) and has created many slightly-less-epic road rallies for different groups pretty much our entire life. But last year was the first year he revived the practice to share […]

The Awesomenesses of Life.

I saw this car at the playground the other day and couldn’t help reading it as one long sentence. AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE READ. I love Zombies. Save the tiny red dog ta-tas, Mom. _____ I get weird trends. I used to be a teen, a youngster, hip and all that. You do […]

It’s Not Summer Until Somebody Cries at Swim Lessons.

I have a stubborn, finicky five-year-old. Who tries to convince me and everyone else otherwise with his charming blue eyes. No really. He’s stubborn and finicky. It is for this reason that, when he began swimming on his own two weeks before his first round of swimming lessons, I texted his father and said “Swim […]

Alabama, The Hunger Games Arena.

For the first time in my life, it has recently been pointed out to me that Alabama is an unsafe place to live. And also for the second time in my life, less than a month later. I really had no idea. I was in denial. It’s so beautiful…It has to be perfect! All places […]

The Best Worst Comments: Volume IV

It’s a good year when I get to have two Best Worst Comments posts before summer even begins. It’s a good year because people are really getting passionate about the important things – like sherbet. And….bass turds? I don’t even understand what that has to do with sherbet but I’m pretty sure it’s not an […]

The Lilies, the Snakes, and the Misplaced Boob.

It was time for a new adventure. And I wanted to see firsthand, for the first time in my life, The Cahaba Lily. It’s a famed flower in our area, being very rare, quite endangered, and living in sparse, hard-to-access clumps along the Cahaba River, which is a relatively tiny waterway that winds itself through […]

How Mommy Nobel Peace Prizes are Won.

“I’m having a bad day.” “I’m having a bad day too.” “Wanna join forces and do something really difficult together?” “Sure! Let’s be sure to take on something so challenging that it will surely be physically impossible for us to accomplish it with the quantity and ages of children that will be accompanying us.” “Perfect! I’ll pick […]

Marketing 101: A Crucial Skill For Parents.

Last Wednesday night, Ali had her Awanas awards ceremony. Noah had his Cubbies banquet the week before, and I remembered the agony of trying to get him to sit still through Ali’s ceremony last year. It negated any ability I had to celebrate my oldest child, and I had no desire for a repeat. So […]

Very Short Stories from Mexico.

“Not at all creepy.” Our resort had a spa. The upcoming sign is not from our resort. In fact, it was in front of a roadside tent shrouded in bedsheets. As in, park your moped here on the sidewalk for a moment and follow me into my dark hole between the sheets for a …. Yes, they […]

The Squirrel of the Caribbean.

As our plane was coming down in Cancun and I saw all of the scrubby, foreign trees lining the city, I immediately began dreaming of all of the exotic, wildly colorful snakes that must be in those trees. I was so excited over the prospect of spotting one because I absolutely adore reptiles and amphibians. It’s not […]

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Vacation Paralysis.

My suitcase is still sitting in my floor, virtually untouched, except to retrieve my makeup and my razor. (I need a couple other things but I’m having trouble finding them. I could probably discover them if I unpacked, but no.) I finally finished downloading and editing all my photos, but now they’re laying in my computer in a […]

For my Wistful Future Self.

A few weeks ago, I shared this video on Instagram. This is Noah’s current favorite phrase to me, thanks much to Farkle from “Girl Meets World.” When your five year old watches every episode of Girl Meets World 20 times with his nine year old sister…and he picks Farkle as his role model. It works […]

The Road to Purple Hair.

Since I’m having a rare introspective + selfie posting week….. So I finally got the purple highlights that I always wanted. Okay maybe not always because there was that one time I attempted to get pink hair but that was just a misguided desire for purple I’M SURE OF IT. But OF COURSE, Prince had to die […]

Self-Esteem Lessons From the Petting Zoo.

So. Not-Crazy-Renee and I took our kids to Oak Mountain State Park on Friday. We went on a hike, and then to the petting zoo. The goats, peacocks, donkey, and pony were as much fun as usual, and the mixture of animals and children made for delightful photographic opportunities. At one point, I took a […]

Rachel, Mommy Matchmaker.

One of my good friends is moving away. I’m not happy. Her moving date is over a year away, granted, but I’m still not happy. However, luckily for her, and thanks to all of you random people who befriend me in other cities, I happen to know someone in the city/state she’s moving to. A blog reader – […]

A Bathroom Conundrum Worth Discussing.

Saturday afternoon, Chris took me out on a date. He arranged babysitting, made reservations, gave me specific instructions (put your hair up and bring your camera), and that’s all the information I got. I had no idea where we were going or what our date entailed. I WAS surprised when I was still in the […]

Finishing by the Skin of my Teeth.

We. Have finished. Like the Loaves and the Fishes, God somehow multiplied our days and we got in not the 165 required minimum, and not the 175 recommended, but 176 school days. One hundred seventy-six days of school since I took this picture. Despite the wreck. Despite spending a full week and the better part […]

Not ANOTHER Outdoorsy Post.

  So I took 2,457 pictures this past weekend while we were at Oak Mountain, and edited and kept 265. It took me approximately 16 hours to go through them all and save and edit, so I decided that I would subject you to more of them. Because I deserve your attention, guys. And also […]

On Running Away While Staying in Town.

Starting Friday afternoon, I took an unexpected four day/three night vacation. …Something about that sounds like I went to prison, but no. We, as a family, discovered the pure joy in taking a completely unplanned weekend getaway. It all started at noon on Friday. Chris had told me he was going to be trail running […]

Exploring Secrets in Birmingham.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared 30 really cool places that the kids and I like to visit on hikes. But, regardless of the destination’s level of “knownness”, pretty much all of them are on the grid. They can be found on hiking maps, they’re not hidden, and they’re available for public use. But since I published that […]

A Spring Wardrobe Reassessment.

It’s beautiful outside (at least if you live in Alabama) and definitely the season to start thinking about new wardrobes and shorts and tank tops and all the summer things! (Except bathing suits. They are never to be thought about. Or tried on in dressing rooms with rigged mirrors that make one look 100 pounds […]

Minecraft, Soap Opera Mod.

“You know, I bet you and the kids would really love Minecraft, as much as y’all are into Lego.” This sentence, spoken by a very naïve version of myself sometime last year, solely goes to prove that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a LIE. Since that […]

The Grand Bug Hunt.

“Do you need me to babysit this week? I need your kid’s help catching insects.” “Ummm, no…but you’re welcome to come over and we’ll help you catch bugs.” This conversation took place with my least in-tune-with-nature babysitter, Giann. Her idea of “outdoors” is going to an outlet mall, or perhaps eating outside – if the […]

It’s Not About the Journey: 30 Hiking Destinations around Birmingham

In the past seven days, my nine and five year old have hiked 15 miles with me – and this isn’t unusual for us. There were tears once, whining a few times, and EMERGENCY NEEDS TO PEE twice, but overall, they were excited, running ahead of me, and looking for adventure. The secret to this […]

The Dangers of Avocado.

There are certain foods that God created for the purpose of letting us eat toppings. Because toppings are a life blessing. Potatoes, for instance. On their own, they’re not that exciting. But when you add butter and sour cream and cheese and bacon and maybe some bar-b-que while you’re at it, they’re the sparkling unicorn […]

The Fight Against Clutter.

Editor’s Note: I acknowledge that this post is way too long. I apologize profusely for my inability to break it into smaller posts. However, as a token of my sorrow, I offer you loads of pictures of the mess that my life was/is. May you take comfort in that. I could never put “Homemaker” on […]

Redefining Hard.

A Guest Post by Chief Editor and Baby Daddy, Chris. I’ve written about running before, several times. Running tourism, my first half, my first marathon, my second marathon. A central theme in all my running blogs is accessibility. As in, you can do this. You, the reader, if you are in reasonably decent health, can […]

You Can’t Go Back.

Chris and I started dating in 1999. It was a previous century – quite literally. I was 17 and he was 23 and neither of us had much money or culture. As such, our most elaborate dates happened at The Olive Garden. There was only one Garden Of Olives in town at the time, and […]

Just a Tiny Note…

This week has been all about stuff. Exciting stuff is happening, but all that stuff is taking up ALL my time. For instance, I spent 10 hours Monday BUILDING SHELVES. WITH MY HANDS. I didn’t even know I was capable. On Tuesday, I walked five miles within the walls of my house CLEANING OUT STUFF. WITH […]

On Visiting The Knife-Happy.

I’ve noticed that there are two types of 30-somethings. Those that have a regular visit to the Dermatologist to get every millimeter of their skin scanned for abnormalities and are constantly mentioning what they’ve recently had removed, And those that have never visited a Dermatologist. I’ve always been in the second group. Not because I […]

Living Two-Sun-Sixteen To the Fullest.

As I demanded and expected after surviving last year, 2016 has been going my way. Or rather, Two-Sun-Sixteen. So much so that, every now and then, I wonder if the whole “Power of Words” thing has something to it. The fact that I named Two-Turd-Fifteen before the flood, before the tornado, before the hospitalization due […]

Like Five-Year-Olds Dating.

Noah and Loulie have been close since they met. She’s the Girl One Street Up, he’s the dashing gentleman with the giant blue eyes. (She’s got some pretty fantastic blue eyes herself, so my grandkids are going to look AMAZING.) Noah often makes plans for their future, as in this conversation: “I am a boy […]

On Oldies and Parenthood.

As a kid, I remember my parents singing us the oldies. My mother had goofy taste – her favorite lullabies included She wore an itsy bitsy teeny tiny yellow polka dot bikini and Yellow Submarine and Puff the Magic Dragon. (Not sure what my Mom was doing during the sixties and seventies but really it’s […]

The Perils of Standing Up.

It took weeks of parental foot-putting-down for us to convince Noah to stand up to pee. He liked sitting down just fine and saw no reason to stand, thank you very much. Lazy peeing is good peeing. And finally, when out of sheer obedience he would stand, he would inch closer and closer to the […]

From Where All Knowledge Gurgles Forth.

While I was helping Ali find a haul of reading material at our local library earlier this week, I happened upon this instant classic. Right?! Surely the authors were just trolling parents of tweens. Surely they realized what they were doing. Right?? Then again, maybe they’re of that new generation – the cross-section of humankind […]

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Eight Years in a Nutshell or Two.

This month is my blog’s eight year old birthday. I don’t usually even think about my blogging anniversary, let alone mention it, because it happens every year. So what. But this year I’ve been pondering it more – I think possibly because this past year is the first time I’ve ever seriously thought about quitting […]

Questionably The Most Intelligent Creature.

A giraffe calf can stand up and walk within an hour of its birth. …Yet we’re wiping butts for at least four years. Baby dolphins have spines on the sides of their tongue that zip up to make a straw so that they can drink milk without getting salt water in it. …Yet we’re cleaning […]

On Parenting The Male Variety.

“That bad smell you’re sniffin’ is my feet.” Because that’s what a little boy tells his sister, who is across the room, when she happens to have the sniffles. He was sitting in my lap, though, so I should know – he wasn’t wrong. His shoes have smelled so dead-rotted-carcass lately that one night I […]

Second Time’s a Charm

Guest Post by Chris the Husband. Last year about this time, I ran a full marathon for the first time – with a disgusting sinus infection in a light rain – and called it a win. I finished without being miserable. This, boys and girls, is why we train – not only so we survive […]

Running The Weekend Away.

Running. I know. It’s an obnoxious subject. I have a friend who is a serious frenemy of my running habits, and she has informed me that I was really close to getting an intervention after I posted this photo of Chris and I a couple weeks ago: So I do understand that I am pushing […]

The Simple Joys of Being Observant.

I get it, Hot Wheels. You want in on the hype, too. But a white car with extra large rear hubcaps does not a Princess Leia make. Speaking of female role models with buns (the hair kind…and also the other kind now that I think about it), watching American Idol this year made me realize […]

Let Siri Do The Talking

So I’m sick, and do not feel a tiny bit like writing. I was not sick all weekend but also did not feel like writing. (I actually don’t think I opened my computer from Friday through Sunday. It’s probably going through withdrawals. It appreciates your thoughts and prayers.) But thankfully, I don’t have to think […]

Crack Muffin.

Our family’s introduction to Crack Muffin came about in a bizarrely serendipitous way. It all started last summer. We were at our usual grocery store one day, casually shopping for our usual groceries, which did not include any boxed baked goods. As I surveyed the cracker aisle for the cracker option that was on sale […]

Preparing for That Special Night.

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I adore my husband, have plenty of romantic feelings toward him, and love to celebrate anything with a date or weekend away whenever we get the chance. But I would prefer to not fight the entire world for a table on those occasions. And Valentine’s just feels […]

Not-Crazy-Renee and the Family Pet.

Not-Crazy-Renee is a homeschool Mom like myself. That somehow puts one in a different category of willingness to do bizarre things for educational purposes. Couple that with Not-Crazy-Renee being not-crazy and…well… So Loulie wanted a pet snake. Loulie is Not-Crazy-Renee’s oldest child. She and Noah are tight – so much so that they are already […]

You Can Check Out Anytime, But You Can Never Leave.

Saturday night, after a full day of snow and fun and constant parent/child interaction, I decided that certainly the kids were prepped for an early bedtime. Or at least I was prepped for them to have an early bedtime. Introverted Parenting Tip: When traveling with kids, sitting in the hotel bed in the dark listening […]

The Day of Snow.

Picking up from yesterday‘s post…So snow. Somehow, the kids decided to let Sarah and I sleep in until 9am Saturday morning (blackout curtains are straight from the Holy Spirit), but were thrilled to peek out the window when they did wake up and see the beautiful fantastic dream-come-true half-inch of snow. I presented them with gifts of […]

Stumbling Into Epic Adventure

“I’m starting to feel antsy to get out of town again – I guess that’s a good sign.” I had just told Chris that last Sunday, and it was the first time I’d even thought about leaving town since the all-too-often mentioned wreck twelve weeks ago. Sitting with my legs down for more than half an hour […]

But How Will They Be Socialized?

It’s the most legendary question that homeschoolers get asked. I remember being a kid and my parents getting asked, as a first reaction, from everyone they met who had yet to understand this radical new way to educate children. (In front of me, no less, as if they could see through my eyes a profound lack […]

The Best Worst Comments: Volume III.

Volumes I and II can be found here and here. I adore my regular readers and their lovely and encouraging comments – I seriously cherish with all my heart. But the random Googlers that find my blog and leave bizarre and angry comments also have a special place in my heart. As such, the time has come […]

Just Because It’s Friday…

“Hey Mommy. Is my butt still clean?” “You mean your bottom? Clean from what?” “My bath last night.” “I mean, probably…why?” “Well, I’ve touched it twice today with my hand and haven’t washed it.” (Holding up a finger.) “You touched your bottom with that finger?” “Oh no I touched my butt with my whole hand. […]

Re-gifting The Squirrel.

Yes – we’re back around to this. AGAIN. It’s the dead squirrel that just won’t die. It’s just that Sloppy The Squirrel was just too good of a friend to let go. And, although I did not buy my dear friend Tanya the note cards or canvas that I considered, I did create her a […]

Updates of Life and Injuries.

So, although The Great Wreck seems to come up in most blog posts to explain one facet of life or another, I haven’t really updated about the recovery process itself in a while. Mainly because it’s not my favorite thing to talk about – it gets old and it’s seriously hard work to make it […]

On Crossing the Bridge from Kid to Tween.

Dear Ali, Something about turning nine is clearly a large step – we’re entering into something new, something unknown, a completely different territory of life. Maybe it’s not that exact age for everyone, but we sense it with you. You’re growing up, figuring out who you are, becoming more self-aware of your personhood. We’ve been having lots […]

Not-Crazy-Renee and the Holiday Houseguests.

Chris’ Aunt Kitty and Uncle Leo came in town for Christmas celebrations. They were staying at our house, despite the fictional package thief that surely puts our neighborhood in the Top Ten Least Safe Places to hang out. Since the weather was ridiculously hot over Christmas and the following weekend (even bringing tornadoes and what-not), […]

How to Clean Out Siri’s Ears.

So I’m a complete idiot. As I told you yesterday, I spent a year trying to decode Siri’s ridiculous reminders – and it turns out, it was all my fault. I realized why Siri couldn’t understand me just a few hours before reader Sheri commented the solution. So Sheri, I just want you to know […]

A Year of Siri’s Helpfulness.

I don’t ask Siri for much. Or at least not for a large variety of things. My requests almost entirely consist of “What time is sunset?”, “What’s the temperature today?”, and “Remind me to…” But the reminders…they age me. I’ve watched in awe as my friends dictate giant novella text messages to Siri and she […]

24 Hours with a Five Year Old.

The following happened between the hours of 8:30am December 21 and 8:30am December 22. Monday. 8:30am: I threw clothes at him and told him to get dressed – we had to go to Physical Therapy. After a few mandatory whines about the unfairness of having to wear clothing, he disappeared into the bathroom. The next […]

How to Properly Celebrate Two-Turd-Fifteen.

When I originally blogged the above phrase on the first day of April in the blessed(ly almost over) year of Two-Turd-Fifteen, I really had no idea. Sure, we’d been pretty much constantly sick since The Unspeakable Christmas four months prior, but it was nothing compared to what would come. Some would say I asked for […]

Not-Crazy-Renee and the Neighborhood Package Thief.

Not-Crazy-Renee (my neighbor, who I introduced to you Monday) has had an intense holiday season. For one, she’s post-partum. No one should have to be post-partum over the holidays – I should know, as Noah was born on December 19. (Happy birthday, son. You might get a sweet and touching birthday blog post…at some point.) […]

The Delight of Paper.

So my neighbor Renee (of “Fall Craft During Labor!” fame) and I have been hanging out a lot – she had a baby, I had a wreck, we’re equally disabled, and so we sit and talk while our children entertain each other and her new baby sleeps on me (because we’ve bonded and all.) It’s […]

Rare Taste And The Replacement Thereof.

So I got a new Flex. It was not an easy process, as nearly everyone hates the Flex but me. And furthermore, those few that do not hate it want theirs to be painted in shades of my self-forbidden colors. I promised myself many years ago that I would never own a colorless car. Colorless […]

Strange Stuff Finds Me.

…Like when I accidentally look up at the wrong moment and witness this awkward exchange. Who knew? Dancer and Prancer greet each other just like dogs do. Alabama is an interesting place. People are very passionate about their politics, their faith, their trucks, and their dogs. But not always quite as passionate about their spelling. […]

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In the Collecting of Obscure Medical Procedures…

When I wrote my last post, I had no idea that I would find myself needing every one of those words the very next day. But first, let’s back up a bit. So for the last year and a half, I’ve worn duct plugs. It’s a really fun phrase to say over and over out […]

Properly Training Your Child to Curse.

Somewhere between last week and this week, Noah learned the word “dammit.” I really don’t think it was from me because I keep my dammits mental, under my breath, and only out loud when I’m alone without my children. Because I’m a hypocrite like that. But who knows. It could be my fault. Maybe he’s […]

The Grand State Park Tour.

We did it. A mom, 2 kids, and a Grandmother, 50 hours, 436 miles, Over 8 hours in the car, 0 bathroom breaks during said drives, 4 State Parks, 3 State Park Restaurants, 2 State Park Lodges, 3 Hikes totalling 6.7 miles, 1,438 pictures taken. And it only took me a month to actually blog about […]

On Nuts and the Blogosphere.

Like you, my inbox has gotten its usual case of severe Winter Flu. It’s a pox, really. A Plague. Every retail establishment I’ve never been interested in is sending me multiple emails a day about their Black Friday Deals and their even better Cyber Monday deals and their EVEN BETTER final sale prices and their […]

On Not Being Mostly Dead.

Being skewered, electrocuted, burned, suctioned, and scraped. It’s what saved my life, or at least what gave me my life back. Ten days ago, I couldn’t lift my arms without excruciating pain, I couldn’t pick up anything heavier than a couple pounds without my shoulders screaming at me, I had several nights where I didn’t […]

On Going Over to the Dark Side.

Disclaimer: This post contains pictures of roadkill. Not nasty bloody roadkill (I only linked to that one) – just fresh, vanilla roadkill. If you think you might be offended and feel the need to berate me tirelessly in the comments, please click here to read this post instead – it’s the Luna Lovegood to this Lord […]

Thankfulness, Prioritized.

Ali brought home a thankfulness list from church last Wednesday night and proudly presented it to me, asking me to read it in its entirety. I suppose she thought I would be relieved and happy to come in fifth on her list of thanksgivings, and I suppose I am. It’s not like I’ve gotten to […]

A Brief (or not) Summary of the Week.

Disclaimer: Don’t expect this to be too amusing. Muscle relaxers make minds mushy. Narcotic pain pills make minds even mushier. And I can’t make tragedy humorous unless I have at least a day or two away from it, and I only got one day away from it and I didn’t sit around writing. But more […]

Doctor’s Orders.

My neck injury from the wreck has been getting increasingly worse for the past week, including radiating pain down through my shoulders, arms, and hand. I’ve also gotten to experience fascinating symptoms such as burning skin, the superpower of being instantaneously heated from the inside out, tremors, and finger tingling. All of this led to a […]

The One Thing You Must Have To Road Trip With Children.

I have discovered the one and only true Holy Grail of Kid-Included Road Trips. Without this, you will surely meet your doom, as your children will find you keeled over from over-questioning, exhaustion, and lack of alone time. And they won’t dial 911 because they have no idea how to use a phone without FaceTime. […]

Fall is Calling.

The time has come for my annual trek north. North(ish), anyway. It took longer than usual this year, but Alabama is finally experiencing some crisp temperatures. Which I know is a completely relative term, what is considered crisp and all, but for us, the temperatures have finally dipped into the 50’s – maybe with a […]

On Labor, Collision, and Candy.

This won’t make a bit of sense without first reading Part One and Part Two of this soap opera. And then there was Friday. I knew it would be a whirlwind day, what with both of the children having doctor’s appointments in the morning and me having one that afternoon. So Ali and I hurried […]

What Happens After a Collision.

Continued from this post… Our ambulance arrived at the hospital and Chris was waiting for us. As they opened the doors, I was so relieved to hear his voice, although I couldn’t move my head to actually see him. The children arrived a moment later, Noah bubbling over with joy and reports of ambulance bliss. […]

The Road Is Always Greener on the Other Side.

It’s actually not, people. Staying on your side of the road is the greenest thing you can do. Because cars getting crushed and heaps of paperwork being made from Police, Paramedics, ER Docs, and Insurance companies is not green at all. And that’s without even mentioning all the plastic used in my lovely neck brace. […]

In Memoriam.

THE SPACE TOASTER, FLEXI – Age 5, of Birmingham, passed away October 28, 2015. Funeral will be at The Assembly of Towing Impound Lot at noon on Friday. Flexi will be remembered fondly by her friends and family. She had a heart for others and ultimately made the journey to the other side while sacrificing […]

On Petit Le Mans.

We’ve been traveling quite a bit this fall – a bunch of random trips all somehow congregated and decided unanimously to happen at once to make our lives extra chaotic. I’ve hardly had time to process these trips, let alone blog about them, so this week will be a bit of Callahan Travelogue. Some of […]

The Authoritative Truth Behind the Poo Emoji.

Emoji play a crucial role in my life. I have made this clear time and time again. I use them, I am opinionated about how and when they should be used, and I look forward to each and every addition to the Emoji Dictionary. For instance, this week’s updates, as best as I can tell, […]

The Revelations of Pineseptic.

The 80s were the end of a fascinating pharmaceutical era. Big pharma was just starting to take over the market, with local chains being conglomerated into national chains, and medication warnings and fear of litigation ruling the inventory. In the next decade, giant convenience-store-like pharmacies would pop up on every corner, and everything would become […]

The 2015 Trendiness Index.

Grab a calculator (okay let’s be real – pull up the calculator on your iPhone.) Be prepared to add up your trendiness. +100 if you CrossFit. It’s more than an exercise group – it’s a religion. +10 if you’re also Paleo. +20 if you actually IronTribe – because everyone knows they’re the only one that interpret […]

It Happened One Thursday.

The date was October 1, and we were trying to get out of town. Not right away, which was good as I hadn’t packed for anyone. But in the afternoon, leaving town was the plan. Ali was going to my Mom’s for the weekend, and Chris, Noah and I were going to Atlanta for the […]

Fall Fever: Spooky Encounters.

For the prequel to this post, click here. After school on Tuesday, we set out on another hike – this time to a place that I went constantly as a kid but had never taken my own kids – Tannehill Ironworks State Park. They were in love from the start. They ran in and out […]

Fall Fever: The Tale of Luna.

Every fall, as the weather shows the first signs of getting cooler, I become a little bit manic. Because Alabama falls are so magical. And so fleeting. Because if it’s cool today, it’s gonna be 90 degrees tomorrow. Then it’s gonna go straight to 40 degrees and – oops! You missed fall. And also, I […]

The 10 Stages of Schooling Double the Students.

Noah is now four years old. Last year, I sent him to 3K at a preschool – for many reasons. It was quite lovely. This year, he is doing 4K at home – for many reasons. It will be lovely. Dear God please let it be lovely. We’re four weeks in, but that first week […]

On Independent Study.

Ali has a lot of free time compared to most children her age. She’s nearly nine and in the third grade, which is prime time to be besieged with the first loads of homework. But since we homeschool, she escapes this fate. I am never one to tell people that they should homeschool, nor do […]

All the Answers: The Last Batch.

I think I’ve made it through everyone’s questions! If I missed anyone, please let me know. Kyla asked, How do you avoid angering any family with what you write? Although you are one of the most positive people out there. I send emails to a few family members, but have avoided blogging because I don’t […]

All The Answers: Staring at my Innards.

You guys have so many questions. Good questions. Piercing questions. Fun questions. Thank God not a single political question. Let’s continue where we left off yesterday, and be sure to hang around until the end of the post to see visual evidence of my shortcomings. Aadrw (Darcy) asked, Are blog conferences worth attending? It totally […]

All the Answers: Planes, Texting, Guilt, and Harry.

Here we go again. I’m really enjoying writing daily again – it’s been a while. Don’t get used to it. Unless y’all just keep asking questions endlessly, which I suppose I’ll find myself writing daily for the rest of time. Sheri asked, Have you ever travelled outside of the U.S.? Where? Yes, twice – once […]

All the Answers: Notes on Choosing a Camera.

In my recent round of Ask Me Anything, Sheri asked what kind of camera I use. Since I was planning on blogging about this soon anyway, I decided to give this question its own post. So you remember a couple of months ago at the beach, I broke my camera. Or rather, the most evil […]

All The Answers: Part One.

My eyes have finally recovered! They got worse before they got better, and then I went to the beach and exposed them to the Florida sun for four days straight. So yeah. I take care of myself like that. But your questions. THANK YOU for your questions. Seriously. They’ve been extremely therapeutic for me to […]

On Medical Leave. {And Ask Me Anything}

My eyes hurt. A lot. I’m sure it has nothing to do with posing for this picture. No really. They’ve been hurting longer than that but that picture certainly wasn’t the cure. They have been bothering me for a week and a half, and I finally forced myself to go to the eye doctor to […]

The Fruits of Laziness.

I am not the best at adulting. My office looks like The Room of Requirement, my dishes are never completely done, and the other day I looked up from bed and saw a pile of clean diapers on our dresser – and Noah has been potty-trained for at least two years. Chris joins me in […]

The Washing.

Yesterday, I took a three hour nap. I cannot recall the last time I took a nap at all – but it came with reason. Last weekend was Birmingham ArtWalk. Besides the frantic preparation all week, Artwalk itself consisted of Friday night from 6-10pm (and setup starting at noon), followed by Saturday from 10am-6pm – […]

Epic Camping: The Downs.

Read Part One and Part Two here. Yesterday, I showed you the beautiful moments of our camping trip. Today, I unweave the rest of the story. As I mentioned in my first post, Chris and I have never tent-camped with children – we used to do it pre-kids, but not since – the whole waking […]

Epic Camping: The Ups.

Everyone should go tent camping. Everyone. Unless you have children under four or you are pregnant or live in north Canada or have an aversion to bugs or can’t sleep to the sound of crickets or are addicted to your Sleep Number bed or don’t like peeing in bath houses while large spiders watch you […]

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Epic Camping: The Origins

So I went camping last weekend. This camping trip, as you will come to understand, deserves a three-part series. Part one, the origin – how it came to be that I tent camped for the first time with children. Oh and did I mention – without my husband. In part two, I will share with […]

Come See Me at ArtWalk This Weekend!

Local people! I would love to see you this weekend – so come say hey! For those of you who don’t know, I have another web site – Picture Birmingham. It is where I sell my photos of Birmingham, sunsets, and the places I travel so that I can give all the profits to The […]

The Great Questioning.

Ninety-three percent of the relationship between a mother and her children is comprised of answering questions. The same questions. Over and over and over. They never tell you that in the parenting books. Or at the hospital. “This is how you change a diaper…and here’s how you get them to latch on…and you need to […]

On Neighborliness: A Cautionary Tale.

It’s been three weeks since I may or may not have killed my new neighbor’s chicken, so maybe it’s okay to blog about now. Time heals all wounds and all. (Except for fatal ones. On poultry.) Chris and I are very dedicated to neighborliness. In our last neighborhood, we had a lot of those super […]

Little Ditty about Charles and Kathleen.

Meet Charles and Kathleen. They live in bowl wrapped in a Kid’s Menu. Luxurious by snail standards. Charles was the second new member of our household (pictured on the stick-like object). He joined our family in the early summer, when he was found washed up on the sidewalk after a recent downpour. The adoption of […]

The Fabric of America.

Ali asked me to play with her the other day. I agreed, as I was feeling a moment of Mommy Guilt over the fact that I am not the best playing-Mommy that ever was (actually I’m terrible at just sitting down and playing with my kids – I much prefer cuddling or reading or hiking […]

It’s All In My Head.

I started using the LoseIt app again last week. This seems completely unfair to me, that I need to count my calories, because I run nearly every day. I should get to eat whatever I want!! Anytime I want!! But alas. That is the kind of logic that makes one need to get back to […]

Lessons Out of Appleton.

Guest post by my Dad. To see all of his previous guest posts, click here. I was angry.  But then, I had a right to be! As I arrived at the airport and turned in my rental car, I received a text message that my 10:15 flight was delayed until 2:30. Why couldn’t they have […]

The Convenient Truth.

I have a major problem with all hotels. They think we’re stupid. Like, super stupid. Like, don’t-understand-that-when-a-Mom-says you need to take a nap because you’re sleepy actually-means I need you to take a nap because I’m temporarily tired of you stupid. My main beef with hotels is this ever-present piece of literature – a variation […]

Arranged Marriage By Stealth.

We’re not monsters – we aren’t picking our kid’s spouses for them. We actually have several potential options for each child. (But we want them to stay within those possibilities we’ve picked out for them. Which is completely reasonable.) In fact, so reasonable that Ali has agreed with us on the Number One pick we’ve […]

Test Post #3.

Sorry, I’m fresh out of donkeys. But if you see this post and feel like being my best friend forever, please let me know. I promise to end these wild and crazy experiments very soon. (My email address is rachel@graspingforobjectivity.com) (And, although I really don’t want you to see this post, it WAS fun getting […]

Infusion Lost in Translation.

My fruit-infused water obsession has grown tremendously since I last posted about it. I ordered two more water bottles, carry one with me almost all the time, and now refuse to drink Dasani or Aquafina even if it costs an impressively expensive $1.79 at the gas station. Pah. Water that tastes slightly of cucumber is […]

Second Test Post

Still testing a feature. If you see this post in a feed reader or on my blog or in any other way (Like, if you get an email with this post), then please email me at rachel@graspingforobjectivity.com to collect your prize of a brand new pet donkey!!!   (Donkey not included.)

Test Post

Testing a feature – if you see this post in any way, email me at rachel@graspingforobjectivity.com to collect your prize!! (Prize features a pet donkey. Donkey excluded.)

The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club: Bookstore Branch.

It’s been far too long since I’ve run into a member of The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club. It has saddened me, really – I’ve missed their bizarre advice and awkward statements about and to my children. I blame it on the kids for growing up: The AIBC are magnetized to babies, so once you’re through […]

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Backwards Parenting: Because Nobody’s Perfect.

I don’t blog too much about Ali anymore – after all, she’s eight and a half and has earned the right to privacy in most matters. Not sharing her stories is my decision on her behalf, as she has certainly never expressed this to me, and quite enjoys reading back through my old blog posts […]

Vacation Like it’s 2005.

We just returned from our fifth traditional summer beach trip with our friends, David, Ashley, AJ, and Tessa. We arrived Wednesday evening in Isle of Palms, South Carolina (just a few minutes outside of Charleston), got unpacked, and hurried out to the beach to enjoy the last colors of sunset. The skies, the water, and […]

How To Be a Terrible Sunsetter.

Sunsetting is an introvert’s sport. Only they can truly appreciate the long spans of time spent watching the skies…the fiddling with camera settings…the locating of the perfect angles…and the quiet admiration of the cloud iterations. It’s like fishing – but minus the fish and plus a camera. And minus the water and plus the sky. […]

The Life and Times of Busy the Bee.

Eli is my seven-year-old nephew. Eli is a fantastic kid, mind-blowing in intellect and often infuriating in adventure. He is intensely curious about the world around him and has very little impulse control. As such, there is nothing I adore more than hearing my sister-in-law Lindsay’s rundowns of his daily pursuits. Last week, those episodes […]

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Infusion-Induced Insanity.

On our last few hotel stays, Chris and I have discovered a magical commodity that hotels sometimes offer: fruit infused water. Displayed beautifully in a large dispenser with multi-colored fruits, three recent hotels have had it in the lobby, with those lovely little clear plastic cups that make everything taste better. One hotel even made […]

Apologies.

I pulled the post I published this morning because I became concerned that it could be misconstrued as mean-spirited. I didn’t mean it that way, but sometimes it’s hard to write about experiences without saying things that could be misunderstood. I never in any way want to come across mean-hearted, even if that means not having […]

The Adventures of Creep and Crack.

Up until the point in question in our home renovations, our contractor has sent out the most impressive sets of workmen, scoring Class A (or even better) on The Creep Scale. The Creep Scale, a scientific document based on surveys of ones of housewives. Class A*: This person is a stranger in your home, but […]

This is How I Feel…

This is how I feel about dyed armpit hair. This is how I feel about a Facebook invite to play Dragon City. This is how I feel about sixteen year olds wearing cut-off mom jean shorts. This is how I feel when I realize a single Facebook friend is selling Mary Kay, Rodan + Fields, […]

Under Lock and Key.

Ali spent an entire Saturday morning planning and creating an extraordinarily intricate blanket fort. Like Fort Knox itself, her construction boasted of all of the necessary building components to create the highest security possible – chairs, every blanket in the house, random objects like hammocks and toys to fill in the gaps left by the […]

The Snotty Truth: a Tonsillectomy Recovery.

I am an Adult Tonsillectomy Survivor. I know, I know – you’re probably as tired of hearing about my tonsillectomy as you are my running. I get it. But I wrote about my surgery day and never got back to writing about the recovery. Because of this gross oversight (and yes it is definitely gross in all […]

Summers are For Kids.

Our summer thus far has been the most fascinating family paradox. While Chris and I have been wrestling with it in a most epic fashion, the kids have literally had The Best Summer Of Their Lives. I had surgery = The kids got ten days of fabulous playdates with different friends every. single. day. Then […]

On Fighting Weather Fears.

In April, we experienced some pretty strong and unexpected straight-line winds in our neighborhood. Ali and I actually saw the storm in all its intensity, which was over by the time we ran down to the basement. But the memory has stuck with Ali. She’s an unemotional and severely logical kid, which is extraordinarily nice […]

22 Things Learned From a Year of Running.

Today is my One Year Runningversary. In the past 365 days, I’ve run nearly every day, totaling 1,258 miles and a calorie burn (supposedly) of 135,000. I was determined to run to fight my dysautonomia, was finally able to get motivated enough to start running by the below “before” picture, and became obsessed with running […]

Going Pro in Chick-fil-A.

The struggle is real – every single time. I coach myself. “You can do this. You were born for this.” I do a few warm-up drills. “Reach to the back seat reach to the front seat reach reach reach” I breathe deeply, attempting to tune every muscle of my body for the exertion that is […]

Slip Sliding Away.

For the past two years, my husband has been the chairman of the building committee at our Church. We’ve been building onto our current buildings to connect them all and put in an elevator – because our property is on a slope, has been built onto several times, and it was all…well, wonky. It needed […]

When the Digits Go Wrong.

The Texting society in which we all now exist has changed the appropriation of the phrase “You’ve got the wrong number.” In the past, when we actually talked on our phones, before you revealed any sort of real information about yourself, you inadvertently indicated that you’d messed up the digits. “Hi! May I please speak […]

Modeling is a Dog’s Life.

A few months ago, I shared with you the inner thoughts of indignant models. Their expressions said it all – we felt their sadness, their resentment, and their rage over what they’d been forced to wear. Two days after publishing that post, all of the model’s heads were mysteriously cropped out of the new batch […]

What’s that Sound, Volume Six: The Questioning Edition.

Noah has solidly entered the 437 Questions a Day phase. It’s high time that I get Chris’ lap counter out for a day of objectively counting them as I did for his sister. I suspect he’ll break her record by lunchtime. He sees questioning me as something akin to an eternal game Keep Off the […]

A Burning Question About Toilets.

Last week, my husband bought us a new toilet. During the process, I felt like I earned a “Low Maintenance Wife of the Year” Award: I MEAN. I don’t care whether the toilet paper rolls from the top or the bottom, and I don’t care about the geometric shape of my toilet. I’m a catch, […]

Tonsillectomy: The Procedure.

When I first posted about my upcoming tonsillectomy, I was shocked at how many of you also had experienced this lovely procedure as adults. My second shock was how many thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to them. This was not exactly, shall we say, encouraging. But I appreciated the heads up […]

Ten Types of Runners.

I’m no trailblazer when it comes to running – although I’ll take a new path for an adventure, on my normal runs, I prefer the most favorable locations. Minimized elevation changes (difficult to find in Birmingham), close to my house, running trails or sidewalks, and a clear route. As such, I pass and am passed […]

How Spiderman Wasn’t Made.

Once upon a time, a spider got trapped in my son’s underpants and attempted to eat his way out. Once upon a time was last week. I woke up Friday morning to a text and two emails from my husband, who, despite happening upon a middle-of-the-night crisis, feels strongly that all crises are best handled […]

The Shirt of Summer.

Style is extraordinarily important to Noah – in a way that it never has been for Ali. All shorts must possess six pockets – back pockets, front pockets, and cargo pockets. The cargo pockets cannot be too low on his leg or they’re tragically unacceptable. He has three pairs of sunglasses that he has with […]

On Being a Hotel Resident.

  We lived in the hotel from Saturday night until Wednesday night of last week. Although I was quite reticent at the idea of packing up and moving to a hotel room with my children on a minute’s notice during The Crisis, I must say that I got exceptionally accustomed to hotel living. In fact, […]

A True Story About Swimsuit Shopping.

There are few things as panic-inducing as getting stuck in a swimsuit in a dressing room. It should also be noted that all swimsuit dressing rooms are rigged. Their mirrors are always without a doubt the fattest mirrors ever created*, and are hung at a downward angle to make you look four foot six. The […]

On Hopes and Dreams.

A few months ago, I asked the kids a question. “Would y’all like to be on a billboard?” Ali’s eyes lit up. “YES! That would be AWESOME!!” Noah’s brow creased. “NO. They’re way too high. I might fall.” Fair enough. I had been working here and there with a local company, Alabama Outdoors, with regards […]

When Adventures Overlap.

It was day nine of my tonsillectomy recovery, two days away from being released back into normal life by my doctor. It was the day that I finally started feeling better. It’s a strange thing, anesthesia. You don’t realize how much it subtracts from your living until all of a sudden you wake up from […]

When Missionaries Fight Crocs.

This is the last installment of my Missionary Friend’s Stories, and then I’ll be back soon to tell of the adventures that have befallen our family in the past two weeks. To read the whole Missionary series, click here. I am eternally appreciative to my friend for covering for me while I was out – […]

The Baptism.

This is the fourth fantastic story in a series from my friend The Missionary. To read the whole collection so far, click here. Shortly after our arrival in the far far far away place we now call home, one of our staff members approached us and asked if he could take an hour off that […]

The Stories Missionaries Can’t Tell You: Broken.

This is a series of stories featuring very real things that happen to missionaries that just don’t fit in on the Sunday School slideshows. See the first post for an introduction to my anonymous missionary friend, along with the whole story behind missionaries and boobs. But this one is The Ultimate Story. Although I am […]

The Stories Missionaries Can’t Tell You – True Love.

This is another lovely story by my Missionary Friend. While I am recovering from my tonsillectomy, she is sharing very real things that happen to missionaries that just don’t fit well in Sunday School slideshows. If you missed her first post, you absolutely must click back and read it – because it’s not every day that you […]

The Stories That Missionaries Can’t Tell You.

While I’m recovering from my Tonsillectomy, I asked a dear friend to write a series of guest posts that just need to be shared. I guarantee that you will adore them as much as I do. My husband and I and our two kids live in a far away place. A far, far, far, far […]

Under the Knife.

If you’re reading this, I survived my surgery enough to hit “publish”. I thought about publishing it automatically, but then what if something went horribly wrong? Did I really want this to be my last blog post? Because these are the things I think about. Which is why, on Tuesday night, I was having that […]

Recordkeeping All Year Long. {Free Homeschool Templates}

Warning: Homeschool post ahead. I am not the most organized person. Based on my personality profile, I should be, but organization is the first thing that goes when life gets busy. And life has been busy since approximately…2008. However. One thing that I do stay on top of is our homeschool recordkeeping. I have several […]

On Graduating Preschool.

First and Last Day of 3K Noah is officially done with preschool, now giving him the privilege of saying that he’s done something I never did – he has gone to school outside of his home before college. I know. Quite an accomplishment. It was strange for me, being a parent in a world I’d […]

The Consignment Report.

I’m a hoarder by default. It’s not that I want to be a hoarder – I want more than anything to get rid of tons of stuff in an efficient manner and live a less cluttery life. Well, more than anything…except for using my time to do anything but that. I always have too much […]

An Appropriate Goodbye.

We’ve been inseparable for 33 and a half years. Unequivocally attached to one another, bound by each other’s decisions, moods, and words. But in one week and one day, that will end permanently. My tonsils will be cut from my body and thrown away without so much as a proper goodbye. In fact, I’ll sleep […]

The Feeling Is Not Mutual.

This post may make a lot of you tune me out forever. You may hate me, say mean things about me, and write me off as a feelingless monster. I accept this reality and understand that you have to do what you have to do. But I can’t hide my feelings any longer. I must […]

What Happens at Mom’s Running Club.

A few months ago, I launched a running club for the moms in our church community group. On a given Sunday afternoon, we congregate in a pack of 2-5 moms, where we jog, walk, run, and talk. The talking part is what we do best. We discuss our kids, our husbands (all good stuff obviously), […]

Breaking: Age Guessing Website a Conspiracy

It has been discovered today that how-old.net, the currently viral website that allows you to upload a photo and then tells you how old you look, is actually a conspiracy by multi-level-marketing behemoth Radon + Folds. Redarn + Flan is a direct sales skincare corporation that relies primarily on women who don’t mind utilizing Facebook […]