100 Hikes.

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New year, new goals!

Leading up to the new year, I kept trying to come up with a family outdoor-related goal, much like we did in 2015 when we visited a different Georgia State Park every month.  I had a  lot of ideas, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t quite muster up the enthusiasm I had for that 2015 goal.  (And 2015 was SO good!  I wanted something equally as good!)

Then my sister, Rachel, said she was going to try to do 100 hikes with her kids this year.   And that was it!  That was exactly the right thing!  It would be awesome, because we’d be doing a lot of them together (just because, that’s what we already do), and I was really excited about it because we’ve recently moved to a new area, and it’ll be fun to explore what’s around here.

I love having goals like this, because even though we get out a lot, having a goal makes me get out when sometimes I wouldn’t.

I’m pretty excited.  You guys already know that I’m a nut for Instagram and it’s my social media channel of choice, so I’ll be documenting there, but I’m also planning to document here, too.

My (completely made-up) rules are:

  1. Both my kids have to be there, but Kevin doesn’t.  I’m hoping he’ll be there for a lot of them, but his work/travel schedules are such that it’s not possible for him to be there for all of them.
  2. We can repeat hikes, but I’ll be making an effort not to.  I’m saying this because my kids go to school, and sometimes we may have to repeat nearby hikes, or we may just want to check one out again in a different season.
  3. Pics or it didn’t happen.

So that’s all I’ve got so far, but I think that’s all I’ll need!

This week we did hike #1 with Rachel and her kids, and it was great!  Seriously, if they all go this way, we’re in for a stellar year.

We hiked the Birchmore Trail at Memorial Park here in Athens, and we all just had the best time.  And Rachel and I made it more exciting by just guessing where the trail would lead us. (We guessed right, so yay!)

This hike wasn’t very long (1.25 mi), easy for our kids to do, had lots of things to look at, and had the bonus at being at Memorial Park, which is pretty much the best park.

The trail winds by a huge stone wall at one point, and it was beautiful! (And I looked it up later, and it was built by Fred Birchmore while he was in his 70’s!  Geez, man!)

We saw four deer run just past us on this hike too!  I mean, they were close!  It was amazing.

We saw a hawk up close, Tom brought his backpack of dinosaurs and he and Gus set up an entire dino world in a creek, and Alice was like…a hiking beast!  I don’t know how to describe it!  She climbed every rock and tree she could find!  She always wanted to lead. She wanted to show the boys the best way to get out of the creek.

At one point, she was climbing around a rock, put her hand on a root and it broke, sending her crashing into the cold water.  Did she cry? No!  And then right after that, she plopped her entire foot into the water too, and then just went about exploring like nothing happened.  No complaining, nothing.

Hiking beast!  I’ve never been more proud. Ha!

It was definitely a great way to start our 2018 goal, and I’m so happy we discovered this nearby trail.  I’m exciting to see what we get to explore next!







Posted in 100 Hikes in 2018, Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Motherhood, Tom | Tagged , | 1 Comment



I just uploaded all the pictures for this Christmas recap — and oh. my. word!!

Apparently, I have a picture-taking addiction.

And a do-a-lot-at-Christmas addiction.

And a coffee addiction, but that’s not relevant here.

Christmas was awesome.  It was our first Christmas living in Athens, and we truly had a really wonderful holiday.  We were able to avoid Atlanta holiday traffic, but still venture into the city to keep up some of our traditions!  And we got to add some new Athens-area traditions to our list too.

All in all, it was an awesome Christmas, and it looked a lot like this:


Visited Santa and rode the Pink Pig at Lenox Square, per our Atlanta traditions. And this time, Hazel got to join us!  Her favorite color is pink, so it was a big hit.  And the big man in red heard all about how Tom wanted dinosaurs, and Alice wanted a scooter this year.

We also…

Went to the Athens Children’s Parade for the first time, after eating at the most amazingly decorated Chick-fil-A EVER!


Built a car at the school Santa night, ran through the Christmas lights with friends, decorated our kids with Christmas lights, got a scare from the Grinch, decorated our house, and waited in line to ride on a train through the school!

We also…

Took the girls to see The Nutcracker, got a visit and breakfast from our elf, laughed our heads off at videos of people slipping on ice, posed in front of garage doors in our pretty dresses, and visited the Georgia Museum of Art on their Family Christmas day!


Decorated Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house!

We also…

Went fishing in our Christmas jammies, trained beluga whales, hid in gigantic ornaments, felt small, and loved on a giant Christmas tree.


Hosted a class Christmas party for Alice, and hosted a Polar Express movie night at home — on the same day (!!) — which also happened to be a day that my van tire blew, and Kevin’s truck battery died. Whatever, man!  Party ALL DAY ANYWAY!

We also…

Went to the local Bear Hollow Zoo with friends to visit Santa in his workshop!


Celebrated Christmas with my parents and my sister’s family, celebrated with Kevin’s parents and his brother’s family, celebrated with my extended family and all of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side, and managed to look at neighborhood Christmas lights, too!

Then we…

Got ready for Santa, and woke up super early…

To see that…SANTA CAME!

And then we fell asleep.


Merry Christmas!

Posted in Alice, Family, Friends, Holidays, Kevin, Motherhood, Parties, Tom | Tagged | 1 Comment

A Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Party.

Rudolph Party

Our first Christmas movie night party of the month was the Charlie Brown Christmas Party which was awesome, under $10, and we all loved it!

Our latest movie night party was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!  And this time we added one more guest – bringing our total to 6 – and spent less money!

I definitely did less for this party, but it was still completely fun and everyone had a great time!  We made a craft, ate some cake, and watched the movie.


The main centerpiece of this party was the cake.  Totally got the idea off Pinterest, and I loved how it turned out!  I hoped I had some glittered scrapbook paper in my stash, but I didn’t. So, I made the antlers using stuff I did have — cardstock, gold paint, glitter, and glue.  (Once everything dried, I used Mod Podge over the top of it to seal the glitter on there, since I didn’t want everyone eating glitter. Ha!)  Once I was done making them, I just hot glued some skewers onto the back to stick in the cake.  I did already have the black gel icing that I used for the eyes. And the nose was a jawbreaker I got out of the kids’ Halloween candy.  Also, the box cake mix and icing were on sale when I bought them, bringing the grand total for this cake to…$1.50.


The reindeer head place settings I loved!  It was so easy!  And *gasp* I think I came up with it all on my own, but it’s entirely possible I saw it on Pinterest and just forgot.  Ha! Anyway, I had these plates from Dollar Tree, and I just cut out the heads from construction paper I had, and drew on them with Sharpie.  Then I drew their antlers on the Dollar Tree tablecloth.  It turned out to cute!  Total for this table setting: $2. (Plates, tablecloth.)



I set up a photo booth just for kicks at the last minute.  The props I already had — and this is the 3rd year we’ve used them!  And they’re from the Dollar Tree originally.  #win  And the red backdrop is just red wrapping paper I had taped to the wall. Total cost for me: $0


It was a simple, fun movie night for me and the kids!  And the grand total was $3.50 for me.  Woo!  I even had a little reindeer antler craft that was left over from Alice’s class party last year.  (I’m a party supply hoarder, clearly.)  Only the girls were interested in making them, but they were there!



Christmas Movie Night #2 is in the books!

Posted in Alice, Crafts, Family, Friends, Holidays, Motherhood, Parties, Tom | Leave a comment

Snow Day.


So let me get this bit of bitterness out of the way before I start — our old house, an hour from here,  got 10 inches of snow this weekend, and our new house got zero.

Strike one, new house!  Don’t make me move back to Atlanta — I will turn this car around and go right back there! Don’t think I won’t!

Okay, now let’s talk about the snow I did find! Ha!

Saturday morning, after waking up for hours to check for snow because surely we would get *some* snow — and then realizing we weren’t — I texted Rachel (who lives 20 minutes from us) at 7 a.m. to ask if she had any.  And SHE DID!  It wasn’t a lot — but it was real, actual snow, and that’s all that mattered!

I seriously raced around here like a crazy person, grabbing all the wrong things — because if there’s one thing I know about a dusting of snow in Georgia, it’s that it doesn’t last long!  Whatever, man!  We were in wrong shoes, wrong gloves, and wrong pants, but we were also PLAYING IN THE SNOW!

We got to Rachel’s and PLAYED!  We threw snowballs, we made snow angels, we built a snowman, we went sledding, we went for a hike through the woods, we caught snowflakes on our tongues — we did it all in the TWO HOURS there was snow. Ha!  It was hilarious, and awesome, and I was thrilled.

The kids were beyond excited.  They loved everything.  They really, really did.

I loved walking through the woods with the girls, and sledding with Tom when it was just the two of us.  It was just pure fun.

Georgia snow doesn’t hardly ever happen, and it really doesn’t in December.  We usually have some sort of gross icy/snow mixture in February that shuts everything down, but this…this was snow.

It was just a little bit, but it was enough.

















Posted in Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Motherhood, Tom | 6 Comments

A Charlie Brown Christmas Party.

throw a charlie brown christmas party(1)

Now that we live close to Rachel and her kids, I’ve taken advantage and invited them over every Friday in December for a Christmas movie night!  Our first movie night was Friday, December 1, and it was even better than I could’ve imagined!

Our first Christmas movie was A Charlie Brown Christmas!

I honestly had so. much. fun with this!  I pretty much just crafted everything for it, and nothing makes me happier than a ton of themed crafts.  Seriously.

And I think the kids — oh, this is for the kids, right?! — had the best time!  They played with each other, I made them a nutritious meal of hot dogs (which Tom aptly named “Snoopy dogs”and ohmygosh, I’ve never been more proud!), they gobbled up all the Charlie Brownies, were all super stoked for the craft, wore their necklaces, and watched the movie.

It was really fun, and they were so cute!

Party Details!

And here’s the stuff that make my craft-loving heart go pitter-patter!

I made the Snoopy house out of an old box, a red poster board for the roof, and construction paper.  I already had red paint to paint the box, and I didn’t even bother caring that you could still see the delivery label and all that.  Who cares!  I just taped the poster on top, drew lines with a Sharpie, and cut out “snow” and “lights” out of construction paper.  It honestly didn’t even really take very long.  It was one of those projects that I thought looked neat, but wasn’t hard!  My favorite!


I made Lucy’s psychiatric advice stand out of stuff I had around the house.  I hot glued paper straws to the bottom of a little crate I had, and taped a piece of cardboard from a box on top.  It was the perfect little platform for my Merry Christmas, Charlie Brownies!


And Charlie’s tree was also made with stuff I had already.  I had these wood shims — is that what they’re called? — I think that’s right. (They were from Lowe’s, but you could use anything — rulers!  Whatever.)  Anyway, I had them from a project I did years ago, and they popped into my mind when I was thinking about the tree.  So I used those, hot glued them together for the base. Then I used a screwdriver to kind of carve out a little dent in the top of it, so my Christmas tree branch would sit in there.  My “tree” is a literal scrap from our Christmas tree.  I squirted hot glue in the dent I made, and sat the tree in there, holding it until it dried a bit.  I then grabbed the red ball ornament off our actual tree. Ha!  The ornament made it too heavy for my stand, so I put a couple of rocks on top of the base, and covered it with a 20 cent piece of felt…I mean, Linus’s blanket! Tah-dah!


And our backdrop was a Kate and Alice original!  I already had that blue plastic tablecloth (I’m a hoarder of party supplies, remember?), so one night I just decided to paint the “snow” on there as a backdrop.  And then Alice came in and wanted to help, and we had the best time!  She was so funny, and had a real and true plan for how she wanted it to look.  She used her fingers, she used different sized paint brushes, she just…added her own touch!  And it was awesome.  I loved having her help.


For our craft with the kids, we made handprint trees!  Painting the kids’ hands is always a hit. (Except with Hazel, who hates “being dirty.”  Ha! But even she did this!)  Again, this was just all stuff I already had.


Each kid received a Linus blanket (piece of felt), and a Christmas light necklace ($1 each from Dollar Tree).


And that was it!  Fun had by all! (Especially me.)

And the best part was — it was under $10!  Woo!

Five kids, under $10.  Pretty good, right?

Okay! So here’s the cost breakdown:

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree: $0
Psychiatric Help Set-Up: $0
Linus “blankets”: pieces of felt from Michael’s 20 cents x 6 = $1.20
Snoopy’s dog house: poster board for roof from Wal-Mart 50 cents
Five Christmas light necklaces from Dollar Tree: $5
Tablecloths for table and backdrop (Dollar Tree): $2

TOTAL: $8.70

Woo-hoo!  I’m pretty proud of that total.  (And so is Kevin, I suspect. Ha!)

I had way too much fun with this one, and I can’t wait for the next!  I think $10 parties is going to be my new goal. Let’s see how I do next time…

Posted in Alice, Family, Holidays, Motherhood, Parties, Tom | 2 Comments

She’s A Beaut,Clark!


Every year there’s one Christmas movie that I watch more than the others, but it seems to change every year.

A couple of years ago, it was A Christmas Story.

Last year it was Elf.

This year it’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Or as the kids like to call it, “That crazy movie where the guy uses a chainsaw.”

Seriously, what they remember about it is that Clark uses a chainsaw to cut the roots off the tree. Ha!

One of my favorite memories as a kid was going to the Christmas tree farm with my parents to cut down our tree.  Once I was older, I realized what a simple memory that was.  But it’s true.  It was always something I looked forward to, and I’m pretty sure we all went together to do it every year until I graduated from high school.

This year, we went to a local Christmas tree farm with Rachel and co.

And it was so…warm.  Like I was dressed like it was cool, because I guess in my mind it was supposed to be, and I didn’t bother to actually…check facts.

It was close to 70 degrees or something!

But besides the weather not even giving us the feeling of the holiday, it was a really fun day with the kids running around with each other, playing games, and picking out our trees.

And as Cousin Eddie would say, “She’s a beaut, Clark!”










Posted in Alice, Family, Holidays, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom | 2 Comments

Surviving Thanksgiving.

IMG_9498You guys, we had the best Thanksgiving!

Now everything else that I will share in this blog about our Thanksgiving may seem to contradict that statement, but it doesn’t.  I swear.

We had the best Thanksgiving!  Remember that.

Thanksgiving morning we woke up early to drive down to my parents’ house.  Tom said that his throat felt weird, and I said it was probably allergies or just dry.  And then I packed everything and all the people into the van and started the drive down.

Pretty much from the beginning of the drive, Tom said he thought he had car sickness. I opened up his window and just kept going.  But once we got to Macon (about 30 minutes from my parents’ house) he kind of started really saying he wasn’t feeling well at all. So I pulled off the road with the intent of getting him some crackers from the back for him, but while I was doing that, he threw up.

Now, even though *I* had had a virus at the beginning of the week, I still thought it was car sickness with Tom.

Never underestimate the power of denial.

Poor, poor, poor Tom.

This is the fourth Thanksgiving in a row he has missed because he’s been sick.  He gets a virus on Thanksgiving every year!  Isn’t that the weirdest thing?!

So next year, NOBODY TELL HIM it’s Thanksgiving!

Anyway, the poor dude was so bummed to miss Thanksgiving.  He just stayed in the guest room with his bowl, and I just checked on him throughout the day.  And can I just say, he’s actually the best sick person I’ve ever met.


Seriously, he was always so…happy?  Is that the right word?  Optimistic?  He would throw up, and then say something like, “I think I only have 3 more throw ups left for today, and then I’ll be done!”  And you guys, he was honestly right.  I’m so thankful for this sweet boy, and so sorry he’s got some Thanksgiving curse on him!

In other non-vomit-y news, Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house with my Uncle Kelly was wonderful and we had an amazing time.  My mom outdid herself (as usual) and everything was beyond great. Thanks, Mom!




The next day Tom woke up feeling awesome!  So he ate like…4 helpings of carrot casserole for breakfast (that’s the part he was really bummed to miss out on!) and then we headed to the Museum of Aviation where they were having their visiting model train exhibit.  Tom adores this exhibit, so we were thrilled to be there while it was there!

One of the train guys was selling old Hot Wheels cars, so we bought some for the kids and headed outside to play, while Kevin walked around looking at all the planes.

And after five minutes, Alice ran over to us crying and saying there were ants on her.  Now, Alice is a fire ant magnet. For real, she is.  She kind find one anywhere and it will bite her.  She once got bit by an ant IN THE OCEAN.  And they hugely affect her (they really swell up, and she has trouble sleeping they bother her so much), so when she says there are ants on her, I take it seriously!

Assuming they were on her feet/shoes, I took those off and started brushing them away.  But she’s still super upset and saying they’re in her shirt.  So I take that off.  And they are!!  In her shirt, on her belly, on her back!  So I got scared they were in her britches and took those off too (and they were there too!) and then Tom said, “There’s one in her hair!”  Oh my gosh you guys — THEY WERE IN HER HAIR!  A bunch.  In her dark brown hair, making them hard to find.  I mean, seriously?!  Who gets fire ants in their hair!?!  Have you ever heard of such a thing?!  Oh my gosh, this poor child!  She is naked, outside a busy museum, and her mom and Grandma are shaking ants out of her hair!

My little girl got 13 bites total (feet, shoulder, hip, back, HEAD, and neck), but again, because this happens to her, I actually carry Benedryl in my purse.  So she took that right away, and then we went about our day!  Ha! She was fine the rest of the day!  Such a trooper.

That evening we went to the farm to visit and spend the night.  It was awesome.  Pretty much right away, Alice caught a HUGE catfish!  We seriously never catch them that big, because usually our lines snap.  But she got it!


And then the next day, Tom caught 3 brim, right in a row! And none of the rest of us caught any!  Ha!  He was so proud!


After fishing, we rode around on the golf cart (A LOT!) and the kids like to stop and swing on the big, round swing that hangs from a tree near the lake.  Kevin was pushing them, and I walked over to get a picture — and right when I got there and got ready to take a picture of them, the rope SNAPPED and they crashed right on the ground.

This is the picture I took when it collapsed. I call this, “Mom running.”

What?!  Poor babies!!  They both cried, because it scared them to death!  But they were both okay.  And later in the day, Alice completely forgot that happened, because she asked to go swing. Ha!

Oh my goodness. Whew!  We survived Thanksgiving.

And I am telling you, we loved it.  We honestly had the best time.  We loved being with family, and we loved being out at the farm, and we loved everything.  I think it just shows that after you’ve been a parent for awhile, you know stuff happens, and you just keep on keepin’ on!  Kids are resilient, man.

Hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving too!

Here’s hoping next year has a little less vomit, ant-filled hair, and rope breakages.






Posted in Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Holidays, Huck, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom | 4 Comments