Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tree Huggers

Last night, after enjoying the beautiful upper-60s temps on a patio outside, gorging on hamburgers, fries, and tots at The Pharmacy, I got inspired for our family to spend today outside hiking--both to enjoy the beautiful weather and hopefully burn off some of those calories. For the past eight years, we've pretty much constantly had a baby or toddler in tow, so we really never felt like we could have a successful hiking excursion. I thought now was a good time to try--our youngest is three (old enough to know how to listen) and our oldest is eight (if we wait too much longer we'll miss that window of interest from him).
   One of the things that has kept us from taking a hiking trip yet has simply been not knowing where to go. One of my favorite trails is the Stone Door, but with bluffs like the one pictured below, there's no chance we are taking Hayes yet.

So, I downloaded 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Nashville to my iPad last night, and this morning Todd and I scrolled through the book to figure out which one we wanted to try today. We picked the Old Stone Fort Archeological Park in Manchester, TN. We liked the idea that this trail had waterfalls, an easy and forested trail, and was short (only 1.4 miles).

It was beautiful! The first part of the trail was a wide path through forest alongside a grassy area. It was easy to walk, clear views to see the kids up ahead of us, and a great introduction to hiking for Hayes.


We had a bit of stress on the middle part as the trail goes along the edge of a bluff probably 200-300 feet high. The view down was gorgeous, but Hayes was so excited that we were a little anxious he would tumble off the edge.

(This is a pretty steep drop off here.)

For the last section, we stayed down low and walked along the river. There were three waterfalls (two were overlooks and one we could get down close to the water). At one point we found the stone ruins of an old building and the kids enjoyed imagining what it must have once been.

We sat on a log at the end and had a snack before going back up to the "museum" at the beginning and end of the trail.

The guides were very nice and helpful, told us a bit of the history of the area--an Indian tribe once lived on the grassy flat area up above the middle of the curve of the river. They built a wall there two thousand years ago (when Jesus walked the earth, people!), and we enjoyed imagining their life on this field, trying to keep little ones from tumbling over the cliffs, finding food, building shelter, etc. As we were leaving, one of the guides was heading up to the roof of the museum (it was built into the side of a hill overlooking the river) to do storytelling about the ancient Indian tribes.

We'll definitely plan to go back here some day, and I'd highly recommend it for your kids. The trip took us about an hour from Franklin to get there. One tip: avoid traveling Hwy 96 to Murfreesboro in May. We got stuck in the Tennessee Renaissance Festival traffic and it was a bear on the way back.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sophisticated Stalling

Annie's bedtime stall tactic is to be sweet and say goodnight, then wait till I'm at the door to ask for "one more . . ." Usually it's another kiss, another hug, or another tuck into bed. Sometimes she wants water or a trip to the bathroom. Lately, she's been asking me random questions, and tonight they took a meaning-of-life turn.

"Goodnight, Annie"
"Mommy, I just need to ask you . . . when did people come up with the idea of having twins?"

"Ok, goodnight, Annie"
"Mommy, I have a question. How did God get to be a King if He was never born?"

"Honey, last time. Goodnight."
"Yes, sweetie?"
"Sometimes I feel like I'm not real and this whole world is just pretend. Why did God make me feel that way? Will I feel that way when I'm a grownup?"

After a quick explanation of 2 Corinthians 5:5-15, I tucked her into bed one last time, put baby doll Emily into her own crib, gave her one more kiss, and finally, finally snuck out. Ah, bedtime. I know one day I'll miss this . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being Fed

The sermon series Scott Sauls has been preaching lately at Christ Presbyterian Church has been fresh and true, really challenging me on a lot of levels. I thought I'd put some highlights and links up here so you can listen if you like!

Last week's sermon was titled "Thoughful Truth Telling," and in it he covered Acts 17:16-34, where Paul is speaking to the men at the Acropolis about the truth of the gospel. Scott says that when Paul quotes the secular poetry of the day to these men, it would be as if a Christian were to quote the Koran, or Nietzche . . . or Glee. We are stewards of God's truth, so what is there to be scared of in the culture today? The Bible doesn't aim to be culturally relevant, but it affirms what is good and critiques what is broken in people. We must put ourselves under that authority, then go out into the world and get to know people, talk to them where they are. I'm just scratching the surface here. I took three pages of notes. I highly recommend you listen to it! Good stuff.

You can listen to "Thoughtful Truth Telling" here.

This Sunday's sermon was titled "Gospel Politics" and was based on Mark 15:1-5 in which Jesus is sent to be crucified and Barabbas is released to the people. Scott talked about Jesus's purposeful ambiguity when it came to politics in his day, and Jesus's constant refrain that his "kingdom is not of this world." The quote that really hit home to me was, "If I find myself feeling more solidarity with people who share my political platform but not my faith than I do with people who share my faith but not my political platform, then I am rendering unto Caesar what is God's and unto God what is Caesar's." It's a mouthful out of context, but the meaning is—If you're a Christian Democrat, and you feel more comfortable with non-Christian Democrats than you do with Christian Republicans, you've got a problem with your priorities. You need to remind yourself that God's kingdom is not of this world.

Listen to "Gospel Politics" here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Your Bedside Table

I once saw someone post the contents of their bedside table, and I think that's a fun exercise . . . especially if everyone shares theirs as well! So here's mine at the moment:

a glass of ice water

my phone, charging

my bite guard for sleeping at night--I'm a tooth grinder

small lamp, turned on

Ironweed by William Kennedy--just finished, haven't put away yet

my Bible & a pen

Les Miserables, unabridged, by Victor Hugo. I'm about 50 pages in.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. 128 pages in.

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Next month's pick for Book Club.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It's been recommended but I haven't started it yet. (see above)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Read This: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I just finished this book and it was the first can't-put-it-down read I've had in a while. I first heard about it on NPR when Maureen Corrigan reviewed it. The story is somewhat reminiscent of Middlesex in its sweeping narrative and reminds me also of A Visit From the Goon Squad in its unusual, non-linear structure. I love being transported through time from 1960s Italy to "recently" in Hollywood. The characters are honest and flawed and romantic, but not hopelessly so. The story is satisfying in every way, and I highly, highly recommend this book.

Pasquale Tursi owns The Hotel Adequate View in Porta Vergona, Italy, in 1962. He dreams of fulfilling his father's dream--to turn the hotel into a high-end resort destination for American celebrities. He chips away at a seaside tennis court and imagines the Kennedys vacationing there. Then, one day, a beautiful American actress arrives at the port and takes a room at his hotel. She's has a role in the disastrous production of Cleopatra starring Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Pasquale is captivated by her, but she's dying.

Recently, in Hollywood, California, Claire is struggling in her dream job as assistant to Michael Deane, famed movie producer. He got his start in publicity back in the '60s on the film Cleopatra, and now he's producing profitable but terrible reality shows. She can't find a good story in his slush piles to save her life, and ultimately she decides her fate will lie in whether or not she hears one, just one good story. It's Friday, and the ghosts in Deane's closets come to his office to give their movie pitches. That's when she meets a seventy-year-old Italian man who's looking for an old Hollywood starlet.

The story flips back and forth from here, and it is done with masterful precision. Walter describes the scenery with humor and clarity, and his relationships are moving and--dare I say it--inspirational? Ultimately, the story is about "bridging the gap between intentions and desires," and I love the choices his characters make. I think you'll feel content, if not a bit emotional, with the ending--as his characters seem to do.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where Am I?

Good evening, folks. I'm off Facebook for a while. So if you're looking for me there, don't fear that I unfriended you. I'm just running out of margin in my life, and Facebook needed to go. I read this in a book, and I think it really is true: "With Facebook’s promise that you’ll feel more connected comes the need to be on it all the time. How can you be connected if you aren’t current?" (David Thomas)

So, I may start posting here a bit more. Maybe not. We'll see. 

And hey, the Etues are getting ready to start doing a little fundraising. That's worth sharing. On September 1 we're going to be running in the third annual Joe P Rally Run at Centennial Park in Nashville. We'd love for everyone to come on out to raise money for pediatric cancer research in honor of our sweet friend Joseph Peabody who passed away four years ago this August. His story is here. We love his family and we loved him, and we hope no one else has to go through what they did. One way we can work toward that is to raise this money so the really smart doctors out there who get grants from the Rally Foundation can use this money to find a CURE. So, if you want to donate, you know where to find us.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Kind Word . . .

So, today I received a very kind apology from Mr. Kirby at the BP station, so I've removed my former post. Glad to know we all can just get along . . .

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oh, Annie

Today I ran errands all over the city--from Brentwood, down past downtown Franklin, over to Bellevue, across town to Berry Hill, back to Franklin, then down to downtown Franklin again, then up to Brentwood, on into Green Hills, up to Hillsboro Village, and, finally, back home. I bet you're tired just reading that; I'm worn out. And Annie and Hayes were with me the whole time. They were surprisingly good, and Hayes only threw a fit once. It was while we waited in a super-long line at the County Clerk's office, and it prompted an office worker in the back to come pull me out of line and help me immediately. Well timed, my little man.

All that car time made for some interesting moments with Annie, and I wanted to record them before I forget. She was pretty funny.

As we were driving past a farm in Franklin, she leaned over to Hayes in her sweetest voice, "That's a farm, Hayes. That's where they grow chickens . . . so they can kill 'em up and we can eat 'em." Ever the pragmatist.

She kept asking to go to a kids' store so she could buy something with her dollars. She had them in her purse, which she had dropped a couple times in our errands and had gone back to pick up. I glanced back at her in the rearview mirror and her "dollar" looked a little funny. I nicely demanded she give it to me, and she did reluctantly. She had stuffed in her little satin play purse two $100 bills off my dresser--Todd's birthday gift--and was carrying them around with her all day. It's not everyday that I entrust a four-year-old with $200 in cold, hard cash.

Adele came on the radio and Annie belted out, "Boomer has it! Mmmm. Boomer has it! Mmmm."

And darn it, wouldn't you know I can't remember that last thing that was so funny. Oh well. Too tired and waited too long to write it down. Hopefully I'll remember and add it.

Grey lost another tooth today. It was his first time to lose one at school. They sang the "Something Different" song to him and he got to put a sticker on the tooth chart. Let's see if the tooth fairy can remember to bring him some money tonight. His note says "anything but a dollar." Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Busy Day

It's been a busy morning at our little house today.

First we bathed a pack of wild animals.

Then we did some city planning.
(Notice the 3 dollhouses and the car garage all set up together!)
We catered an Easter party for 17.
And we watched some twins being born!

Life as a stay-at-home mom is pretty fun. Now . . . off to work while the kids play at Grama's house!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get Your Nose Out of that Book!

This post is basically just for me to remember, but I'm loving Grey's new passion for reading. During the day he's all basketball and video games and board games and rough housing, but in the evenings he's all about reading. We put him to bed two hours ago, and he just came down a few minutes ago saying, "Mommy, I have to read this to you . . . it's so amazing, and it's all true!" He was reading The Magic Treehouse series that his Aunt Tiffany gave him for Christmas, and the characters in the book end up on the moon. He was reading me the part about how you weigh less when you're on the moon than you do when you're on earth. He thought it was crazy fun!

He's totally got me wrapped around his little finger with the reading. He asked if he could stay up and read "so he wouldn't bother Annie," because he "just might accidentally start reading out loud if it gets really exciting." And I totally let him. Even though it's 9:00 and he has chess club at 7:00 tomorrow morning.

He read me the end of that chapter, taking a break to sigh and say, "This book is really hard." But he loves it--laughs at the story, is amazed by the facts, and can't put it down. I had to take it out of his hands. I hope this love for books lasts the rest of his life!