Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dirt: Boston Was Amazing and Hard to Describe

There are no words to describe going to Boston to watch my oldest daughter compete in the Head of the Charles. The emotions were high then entire time, both for her and for me.

 I was trying to be the calm in the teenage storm that is junior year with an added once in a lifetime sporting event. But I was also there as MOMMMA...the obsessed super fan. I was with a few other MOMMAS, each of us obsessed in our own way. (And one little sister).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dirt: Happy 30 Days of School

Fall is almost here and I am a little sad. I love the sunshine daydreams of summer and don't mind the sweat that goes along with  them. However, it is nice to wake up and go for a run and not be sweating before I leave the block.

We are in the throes of what I like to call "the real deal". High school is no joke, where my girls go to school  or anywhere, really. Homework takes forever to finish. Parties are planned, dances are danced (one this weekend) and lives are lived on the spur of the moment.

A video posted by GPS Rowing (@gps_rowing) on
My girls are both on the varsity crew team, which means 7 practices a week. That's right 7. Next week, they ramp up to 9. Practice starts at 6 am and these girls go hard all day long, getting home at 6 or 6:30 pm, eat dinner and then do homework and start all over again.

Last spring's team
I'm tired. They are tired.

Babies are exhausting, but teenagers are worse. At least they drive.

Happy first month of school to all you tired parents out there!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Taking it to 11!

I am a girl on a mission this weekend. Both of my kids are off doing teenage things and Steve is off doing man things. So, I am going to do Tanya things. That means clean my bathroom, buy new sheets and...paint  my bedroom.

The bedroom has been coming for about 6 years. We had it painted spur of the moment with some paint we had leftover from another project. So, it's white. At first I really liked it. White bedding, white walls, very soothing. Now, it is boring. I  need to punch it up a little and take it to 11. 

So, between now and tomorrow when I go buy paint, I have to decide what color to paint my very huge room (think  300 square feet).  I have had charcoal in my head for a long time. but now I am leaning towards the lighter grey that is throughout my house. 


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dirt: I'm On A Mission...

Since I am back...I am going to go for two this morning. I am in the throes of reinvention in many parts of  my life. My closet is getting ripped to shreds and sent to donations. My house is getting cleaned top to bottom (so neglected) and my habits are getting a freshening up.

I tend to be a creature of habit. Routine is my friend and my comfort. However, I feel the need for a little shaking up. I took several weeks off and gave myself a break from working out to look into what I really want to be doing. Barre was great and a stress relief, but I am bored. Running has been off the table for me due to my knees,but I  have slowly headed back out and while I am struggling, I am enjoying being out there again.

teenagers do this to a person

My house has been a mess all summer. Kids at home tend to keep it that way and working 40 hours a week does not make it a top priority for cleaning. But, I have cobwebs, dirty windows, sticky floors and the "pass over" style is not really working.
my bedroom inspiration via

So, I am on a mission to reinvent myself, my house and my habit. Are you ever like that...getting a bee in your bonnet to shake things up?

Dirt: The Itch

School has started and my break is officially over! I took an unintentional break from blogging all summer long. I missed it, but it was a much  needed creative hiatus. Work is in front of a computer all day long and when I get home, I do not really want to sit in front of a different computer, even to exercise my creativity.

We painted over the graffiti wall

However, the itch has been really strong, so...here I am.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whatever: Mia's First Communion

I was thrilled to celebrate my niece's first communion last weekend in Ohio with my sister and her husband. They put on a great party afterwards and it was totally worth the 15 hours in the car in a 48 hour weekend!

I love that my family gathers for the "important things". We celebrate each other and our successes. Milestones are big and first communion is one of the biggest. My niece does not get it now, but when she is an adult, she will look back and realize the significance of the occasion.

We are on the whirlwind end of  year countdown that occurs every single year. Graduation from 8th grade also know as  "the move across the lawn" and May Day are two GPS traditions coming up for us. Finals, field trips, games and regattas are still on the books to get us  to summer.  I have spent the last few days finalizing summer plans and summer jobs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whatever: April Favorite Photos

A few of my favorite photos from April...


  Steve and I each went with a girl last weekend. He went to east to watch our oldest set a school record as stroke in crew...I went north to watch our baby come alive in a sport she really loves. 
We both missed a great day, but thanks to technology...kept up with the goings on.

Life is really wonderful right now.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dirt: The List...April

The list...

The list gets skipped here and there, but I love making and keeping up with it...in  my head!

Easter...5 years ago!

April...The List! 

  • Get the piano tuned- back seat
  • Start piano lesssons (Me!) -back seat! 
  • Read 55 books including the Ken Follet Century Books- Have read 16 including one Ken Follet Century Book! 
  • Cook one new ethnicity meal a week: Going okay... Greek this week! 
  • Hike 50 hikes: 7! 
  • Redo my kitchen and bathroom floors (learn to tile!): Nope 
  • Take the popcorn ceiling down in my living room:Nope
  • Paint the downstairs ceilings: Nope
  • Take girls on dates: Going well 
  • Read the Bible: going okay
  • Start phase II of landscape plan: Delaney and I have started our plan
  • Purge, purge, purge! :Going well.
  • Say YES! :  Still saying yes! Ask me to do something! 
  • Exercise 5 days a week; 20 workouts last month! Two already this month! 

Dirt: Our Baby is 14!

14! We are in denial that our baby is 14, but it has come and gone and we survived.

Ellie is stylish and fashionable. Literally the funniest person in the room, no matter what.  Kind and cool, her current loves are summer camp, Eno hammocks and rocking dad's old sweatshirts. My favorite thing about her is that she is eternally hanging out with "one of my best friends". All of her friends are considered "best". 

Sign from her 7th birthday! Makes an appearance every year! 

She is asked for art supplies and bikinis for her birthday. We obliged.  And they came days later in the mail! (Of course!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gratituesday: March is Marching

Here it is ...Tuesday again and nearly the middle of March.  Steve and I had a night away on Saturday and it was glorious. I took one photo and one video of the band we saw (Steve's current favorite, Houndmouth) and that was all. No social media blitz, just us. We walked in a  beautiful park with hundreds of other folks happy for warm weather, walked to dinner, walked to breakfast and really just hung out, just being together.


Tonight I am taking him to see one of my all time favorite bands, Modest Mouse. Such a treat to see two bands I really like in a span of four days. Spring has sprung and with it, live music again.

March 10 Gratituesday List
  • Parents who will hang with our girls while we go recharge our marriage
  • Friends who send MMs  with our photos on them as gifts
  • Sunshine on Sunday (I have a sunburned  nose)
  • Answered prayers in the middle of the night
  • Daughters home from traveling safely
  • Pure Barre challenge. 20 in 31 days. I am on number 7 in 8 days. 
  • Sisters who create workout videos so I can not go to the gym
  • Family to miss!  So lucky to have a large family on both sides that we keep up with on social media

    Girl cousins

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Gratituesday: Exercise and Yeast

Gratituesday started as a plan for me to be present in my thankfulness for my blessings. The little things in life that make me happy or a better person. I am easily bogged down by negativity of others and my own self talk. This is a way for me to "count my blessings" as my ever chipper Grandmomma used to say.

 Gratituesday List
  • Nutritional yeast. I have used it to ween off grains by adding it to last night's salmon cakes, this past weekend's waffles, today's frittta...
  • Saying "yes" to reading to 4th graders. They all clapped when I finished. I was on cloud 9! 
  • Juicing. Not delicious, but I feel amazing after. 
  • Steve drinking the juice with gusto. 
  • Steve challenging Travis to 100 burpee challenge and me jumping on the bandwagon. Goodbye bingo jigglers! Today is day 43.
  • Pure Barre for offering a 20 in 31 challenge. I'm sore already.
  • Modest Mouse in Chattanooga. Getting me through my winter-no-music- festival-doldrums! 
  • Sophomore year, for not being junior year. 
  • 8th grade, for not being kindergarten. 
  • Chattanooga Library, for feeding my obsession! 
  • March, for reminding me May is almost here.

Cooking: Aging and Yes!

Having come to the realization that I am going to actually age (GASP!), I have decided to make some changes in my life. Yes I, ...the sufferer of Peter Pan  Syndrome, have acknowledged that I will not always be able to bounce back and have started really and truly, aging.

It hit me recently, I might be middle aged. Which only means I have lived half my life with just as much to go.  But, what did strike me is that I better start taking better care of myself this second half. So, I have weened myself for the most part off sugary things. I am in the process of "less grains".  Daily juicing is almost a habit (two weeks in and if I skip it, I miss it). Workouts better planned.

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The cute cup and straw make me feel like it is a sassy drink

The other side of that aging coin is that "later" is here. I read a great blog by one of my dear friends cool sister. She is smart and full of life, the type of woman I strive to be, but never seem to actually be.  She started an "I Never" list of experiences.  Her log of what she did "new" inspired me to have a year of "yes". Simple in concept, but not in practice, for me.  I am a lot a little controlling, shy and a little introverted.  The unknown is hard for me. New situations take a lot of energy.  "Yes" is hard.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dirt: Hump Day Winter Hate

The weather is awful. Cold, damp and threatening snow. 
We have had two weeks of this. I am a southerner and I loathe cold, damp and snow. 

So on that note...Happy Wednesday! 
We can make it. We can make it. Say it with me...We can make it. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gratituesday: The Desert in Winter

Gratituesday during Lent can be a time of reflection. The girls and I attended church Sunday and the message was one of hope. Everyone wanders the desert at some point of our lives. We also all are loved by God and only have to look up to hear Him say so.

I am grateful for a time of reflection.  Winter can be a desert. Lack of sun and interaction that being outdoors brings can make us all a little cranky.

This week's Gratituesday List

  • Only 13 more days until day light savings. Hallelujah!
  • Hot  tea and a television show is almost the same as going out used to be. Almost.
  • Freezer chili  on high school curriculum nights.  
  • A wool sock connection is like gold. I happen to have one. 
  • Attending a clothing swap with a ton of 30 somethings. Totally fun. 
  •  A great church in my neighborhood that the girls and I love. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gratituesday: Wine, Exercise and Bookclub

Gratituesday is  back! I have slowly gotten back into my blogging routine. Lots of thoughts rambling around in this head of mine. Harder to put them on the screen. However, I feel better when I do, calmer in the brain area.

Gratitude is something I try to instill in my children as well as in myself. Being a grateful person is hard sometimes. I get caught up in the fairness of things, perceived or real. I live a pretty great life of my own choosing. My kids are amazingly healthy and full of life. My husband loves me and is doing a job he loves. Pretty great, right?

Here is this week's gratituesday list.

Cooking: Presidential Menu

The gals of Galentines Day

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dirt: A Smack to the Head

Oh snap! I had an epiphany on the trails today.  A realization that a prayer had been answered and I didn't really acknowledge it. Sort of like I had forgotten to write that 'Thank You" note...to God.

Fast dogs and faster husband

 This is why I hit the trails. Today, I literally hit them, with my feet. Steve invited me for a trail run. I have not been running at all, so I was by myself most of the run. Which was fine.  I took my time and ran nearly the entire hour. I don't listen to music when I trail run because I am listening for wildlife. Snakes, bears, wolves, barracudas... so I end up being in my head. Being outdoors is a form of meditation for me.

Sandwiched rock

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dirt: Kick Winter to the Curb

I love how most blogs right now are kind of on hiatus. Winter is boring, people!

We cook, we eat. We work and exercise. We are boring. I got offered a ticket to hear a band that I love last night and turned it down. Partly because I had the beginning of what I now know is a virus and partly because it is winter and I am exhausted.

I am ready for these pasty legs to see some sunshine. To eat my lunch outdoors and to open all the windows of my house to fresh air.

Today, the Belle and I are both home sick. I worked some, but I really slept most of the day. It was a rough one. Headache, chills, stomach yuck. And it is winter. BLAH!  I have had tea, naps, more tea, a waffle and now I am ready for bed. And some sunshine.

I can't complain too much. My girlfriend in Maine has was looks like 17 feet of snow. My sister has snow. My life is good because I have no snow. But I do have winter and I for one am ready for it to be over! Bring on the beach! Bring on the heat! Bring on Summer!

Time to kick winter to the curb!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Whatever: Februrary The List

Here it is already, the first day of February. That weird month of president birthdays, Valentines days and cold weather.  I always associate February with cold. Even growing up in Texas, it seemed February was the "real winter". Now it is that month that is full of holiday breaks (kids), chocolate (me) and being cold.

My parents celebrate an anniversary this month. The loonies got married on Leap Day. So weird. Just like them. Happy anniversary month, Mom and Dad! I love you and the weirdness that makes you both so awesome.


I am working on my list this year, keeping it in mind when I plan meals, workout, plan for the future... I love lists and this is a good one this year. A doable one, for sure.

February 2015 THE LIST 

  • Get the piano tuned : I'm on the list for the tuner to call. Apparently they are in high demand this time of year.
  • Start piano lessons (Me!): See above
  • Read 55 books including the Ken Follet Century Books : I have read 7 books so far this year! Truly a record!
  • Cook one new ethnicity meal a week: So far, Thai, Italian and Mexican. Turns out, I don't need new ethnicity, just new recipes.
  • Hike 50 hikes :Three hikes so far. Prentice Cooper, Sunset Rock and Point Park. Total: 11 miles
  • Redo my kitchen and bathroom floors (learn to tile!): Later this year.
  • Take the popcorn ceiling down in my living room:Later this year
  • Paint the downstairs ceilings:Later this year
  • Take girls on dates: They are busier than me!
  • Read the Bible : Not a page
  • Start phase II of landscape plan: Starting planning.
  • Purge, purge, purge! : Three bags already left. Working on books next
  • Say YES!  Joined a bookclub AND a running group.
  • Exercise 5 days a week. So far so good! Yesterday, twice!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dirt: The College Recruiters Always Ring Twice

Our mailbox, like the mailboxes of all households with sophomores, is getting inundated with school advertisements. "Come here" they all say , "We are the perfect school for you! "  One of them may be the right school for our girl. She is gravitating towards engineering and an urban school with a crew team.

We laugh at the now monotonous onslaught of schools  that girlfriend has no interest in or anyone has ever heard of. Schools that sound fancy, but are really not. I laugh at her responses to me. ( Me: "New York seems less scary than New Orleans." Her: "Good, I am going to New Orleans!")

Via Flickr

I play it cool, but a little piece of me twinges every time I see the envelope. I remember those days of looking and dreaming...what would it be like, I wondered.  Nothing like I could have imagined.  I could not wait to get out of dodge and only came back for one summer. Hopefully I can entice her with more summers than that.

I am reading a book about a mother who bonks her head and loses 10 years of her memory. That is how I feel sometimes when I look at where we are in the stage of raising kids. They are closer to grown up than babies. While I do not under any circumstances want to return to babies and toddlers, I am a little overwhelmed. How are they teenagers when I am just barely out of my teens  myself.

I love the conversations I have with my girls. They are  interesting and smart. By proxy, I feel smarter and more interesting. Life is funny in how you age and your kids age and for awhile, it seems you are getting closer and closer on the timeline.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cooking: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...keep that momma moving...Rawhide!

 Days fly by, don't they? Hours may drag, but days fly.  I feel a little ground hoggish this time of year. Eat, sleep, drive kids, work, repeat.   The short amount of daylight during  winter days makes it seem as if our days are short as well. The sun showed it's face finally here for more than five minutes this past week and I was at least able to be outside. I am jealous of my best friend whom I see park every morning to go run as I am off to work.  I miss morning runs.

This week was a good week for working out. I ran once, hit the barre twice and lifted weights one day as well. Yesterday, a friend and I took a 4 mile  hike, which was a therapy session for us both.  She is dealing with a divorce and I just vented about  my need to find things that are more my own. The hike was challenging enough that we felt it, but still easy and we both enjoyed just being  outside.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cooking: Middle School is On Its Way Out!

This is the year things end. Middle school things that is. Last middle school swim championship, last middle school swim season, last middle school dances.... I am nostalgic for some of these  things. Middle school still sounds little kid to me. This will be the last year I have a little kid. I am happy for the growth and maturity that comes in the next stage in our lives, but for a few moments, I am nostalgic for the middle school years. They have been great learning experiences for us all.

This weekend we watched Ellie swim in her last middle school championship meet. She took time off both of her races and was part of a pretty great relay team. The best part of the whole day was watching her cheer her team with all of her heart. She loves being on a team and their 6th win (her second as part of the team) was a big deal for these girls. They went in nervous, worked hard and came out a winning team.


This weekend was a huge "Ellie weekend".  School dance, championship, talent show tryouts and cotillion just to name a few of the many things she did. Life is busy in middle school, that is for sure. Good thing we still have a full semester left to enjoy all the business of  middle school.

Casa Swann still in middle school Menu
  •  Chicken ragu/ stuffed bell peppers/ creamed spinach
  • swim meet  (Freezer pork soup/tomato soup)
  • Veggie bowls
  • Grilled chicken thighs/ Mexican baked sweet potatoes

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading: Century Trilogy

I am two thirds of the way through my third book of the year. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett is literally a heavy book coming in at over 1,000 pages. I could get a workout reading the hardback version.  Luckily, I am reading it on my beloved Kindle, so I am not exhausted from holding the darn thing.And when I fall asleep holding, I don't end up with a black eye!

I started reading it based on the recommendation by my best friend, husband and mother-in-law, three of the biggest readers I know. Varied in what they read, I felt that if all three liked it enough to recommend it, then I too would enjoy reading the series.

 Fall of Giants - US

My husband was the clincher with his statement that it reminded him of Downton Abbey. I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey, being one of the few who did not cheat and find it online before it was premiered  in the USA two weeks ago.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Cooking: A little Cat Stevens

My daughters have gotten into Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) after Delaney and I heard him being interviewed on the way home from choir practice. She was so intrigued by his voice and that he gave up being famous and singing for his faith.

I have to say, I love Cat Stevens and always have. As a child, my mom loved him and so I knew all the words to his popular songs. Just like every other child of the 70's, I know all the songs to Morning Has Broken and Peace Train. But one that I did not know and that I now love, is  "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out..." I love this song. The lyrics are so peppy and wonderful. Very Cat Stevens typical.  I think it is awesome that my daughters can be found sitting around the kitchen table, doing homework, singing along to Cat Stevens. It is almost like a Wes Anderson scene, except we are not color coordinated enough.

This week, if you are sad or need a pick me up, give Cat Stevens a little listen. Also, if you want to read a cool blog about ear worm songs and get a little musical history, read my girl Nikki's blog, Mommy Mixtapes.

Sing Out for your Supper

  • Baked chicken legs, green beans, quinoa and power greens salad, baked sweet potato (for me)
  • Fritatta (swim meet)
  • Asian Shrimp and broccoli with  black bean noodles
  •  Smoked turkey thighs, creamed spinach, sauteed squash
  • Dinner out (dance, date, date)
  • Chili

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Whatever: My Favorite Christmas Day Photos

First full week of work of the new year checked off! First week of working out 5 days, checked as well. I was going to hike my first hike of the new year today, but it is 24 degrees outdoors with a very stiff breeze. So, instead I am going to clean my house, sort through pictures and work on taxes. Lucky me. I am sorting through the roughly 1,000 pictures I took during  December and want to share my favorites from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Trying out my tripod

My favorite thing is that he wore this red shirt to church. With a green sweater. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reading: An Inspired Walk

I am sure you all have either heard of, read or seen Wild *. This book seems to be everywhere and with the Reese Witherspoon movie out in theaters, I am sure millions of people will see Cheryl Strayed's story.  I love Reese, she is from my hometown and is my hair crush. However, I wanted to read the actual words written by the girl who walked the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) alone.


I am a fan of hiking. After a brief hiatus when the kids were whiny and made for a very painful  hike, I am back. Steve and I hiked a lot this fall and the girls were up for several long hikes as well. However, I am a ninny. I am afraid. Yes, I truly am afraid of hiking by myself. Mostly because I have read too many books about girls getting attacked.  The wild animals don't scare me. The wild people do.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dirt: The 2015 List

Happy New Year! Steve  and I were talking last night about  how we cannot believe it is 2015! Seems we were just waiting for the Y2k bug to wipe us all out!

Christmas was one of our best this year, despite having a sick kid throughout  most of break. Poor kid.  We set no expectations and actually did more things and had a better time than when we do. Tree got purchased, decorated and enjoyed. Cookies were made several times and enjoyed. We watched all our favorite movies, went ice skating, did a puzzle,  saw friends, ate our favorite meals and drank our favorite drinks (hot cocoa, wine, coffee and Moscow Mules). We saw our extended family some, but really spent a lot of quality time as a foursome.