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 you may like visiting other lands via the internet, and some of you may find it intensely boring and/or highly obnoxious. Whichever person you are, I understand.

At the beginning of October, we took our third annual trip to see Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. My Dad is a tech inspector for the IMSA series of races, and the closest they come to us is Atlanta. Noah is destined to be my father’s automobile apprentice, so I always take him to the races to stoke the fires of his future car genius.

The first year, Noah and I met a friend and her son there. The second year, Noah and I went with my sister-in-law and cousin Eli. Although I’ve enjoyed the Mommy/Son dates immensely, this year was the first year that Petit Le Mans didn’t coincide with a home football game, so we were able to take Chris along. He also had a work meeting in Atlanta on Friday, so we just extended our trip one day on the front side to accommodate.

(Ali, who finds races about as thrilling as being surprised by a pile of dog poop on your bedroom floor, opted to stay in town with my Mom.)

We started off the trip by eating a hotel breakfast with Chris,


Then while he was at his meeting, Noah and I walked a quarter of a mile for Second Breakfast at Starbucks. Because until you’ve had a chocolate cake pop and iced coffee, can you really call it breakfast? We thought not.


Along the way, we got to pass the “Batwing Building” that Chris spent many hours detailing its intricate roof veil, and where many years ago, Chris and I had one of our grandest adventures lying our way out onto – and then getting locked out onto – the roof. Everyone should get locked out onto a skyscraper roof once in their lives.


Because we’d gotten to our hotel late the night before and Noah was in no mood to settle down as he was sleeping in the same room as us, he took the opportunity to get a very rare car nap on the way to the races. Proving once and for all that there is no need to let go of an iPad for a nap.


This was our first time to arrive early enough to go by the racetrack on Friday during qualifying, so there were many more opportunities for up close looks at cars,



Racing stickers to be applied to jackets,


(Some of which I didn’t bother reading before applying),


Helmets to be found and applied,


And miniature drivers to be created.


Also, there were trailers to fix,



Car loading to be supervised,



Victories to be claimed,


And racing dreams to be realized.


(When Dad put him in there, he totally dropped him about a foot into the car. Then said “I didn’t realize how low it would be!”)

(It should be noted again that Dad is the Technical Inspector.)


We went back on Saturday for the actual race, but it pretty much rained all weekend. Those poor drivers. It was a mess.


And it was all Hurricane Joaquin’s fault.


Thanks, Joaquin.


But it was still fascinating that the show went on, and they drove those cars for nearly 9 hours before calling the race.


We did NOT, however, stay for all nine hours.

But it was still a trip of happiness and bliss – if also a bit moist.


And it was fun to bring Daddy along,


even though it will always be a Mommy/Son trip.

Three Years of Road Atlanta

Epic Camping: The Ups.

Everyone should go tent camping.


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 or can’t handle your kids waking up at sunrise.

As I said, EVERYONE should go tent camping.

It really is a lovely experience, and an investment in getting to know nature.


But more about that in the next post.

Our camping trip consisted of myself, my two children, my sister-in-law, her three children, and my parents.

(Don’t ever go camping without grandparents.)

Chris was in Dallas at the season opener football game, and my brother had to work, so the lack of Daddies just made it all the more adventurous.


The five cousins in attendance were:

Ali, 8:


Eli, 7:


Tessa, 6:


Noah, 4:MG_2068.jpg

And Andi, 4:MG_1895.jpg

Clearly, one of the benefits of the trip for me was getting to play with my new camera.MG_2045.jpg

It was even better to have kids around that weren’t my own, because mine might be a little tired of posing for photographs.


But other people’s kids! They’re like fresh meat for my photographical needs!MG_2034.jpg

…Until you try to get them all in a group shot. Because that will never ever ever be successful.


But this is about camping, not photography.

The trip was full of playing in hammocks,


Sword fights,


Glow sticks day and night,MG_2030.jpg



Feeding, chasing, and yelling at the ducks,MG_2074.jpg

Tents accidentally and ridiculously too big,



Pedal Boating,


Perfect reflections,


And a long hike.

The five mile hike, only for myself and the two oldest kids, included nature counts and a very intricate points system that kept changing in an endless string of excited conversation.

Butterflies are worth one point. Butterflies are worth two points. Frogs are worth two points. Frogs are worth 300 points! I see three frogs so that’s 5,000 points! If you see an Alligator it’s worth 500 points but only if he doesn’t eat you. If he eats you then you get zero points. Because you’re dead.

But points aside, we did find 22 frogs.

At least 10 of which Eli picked up,


And exactly three of which peed on him – including this shirt-soaking gusher.


I apologized for the frog’s bad manners, but he told me “Oh it’s okay. I get peed on by frogs all the time.”

Our hike led us to the dam,


Where Ali placed her own form of rebellious graffiti – she wrote her name on a large leaf and left it behind, with the explanation “I’ll be famous now! Because people will see this and know my name!”


So that’s how you get famous, people. In case you were wondering.

And then there was the sunset. THE sunset. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.


The reflections were perfect, and the ducks were amenable to make beautiful synchronized swimming patterns.


The skies morphed so many times over that 43 minutes that I could only capture all of its beauty by making a video. If you’ve never quite understood my obsession with sunsets, this should explain it.

So clearly, it was a beautiful trip. And everyone should go camping. EVERYONE.


Be sure and remember I said that when you read tomorrow’s post. Because we’ll both need the reminder.

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 the full moon were a blissful start to the trip.


The next morning, we set out for a long day at the beach (after spending the required amount of hours sunscreening the little people and then distracting said little people with silly selfies so they didn’t lose patience with how long it took to sunscreen all the big people.)


We lugged our five tons (per child) of beach equipment with us, and staked our claim on the lovely and largely uninhabited beach.


I decided that before I got wet, I wanted to get some pictures of the kids. So I pulled out my camera, which immediately became covered in a fine mist from the thick humidity. And it proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that it would not be cameraing. At all.

I took it back to the house to put it in a dry time out, then headed back out to the beach – old-fashioned style, no camera.

I mean, I did have my phone, but something about not having my “real” camera made me just…let it go.

Not immediately, of course. I was pretty mad at the camera/worried about it/determined to fix it that evening, but that was not to be. It was cooked. But I somehow accepted the fact that this was not meant to be a properly photographed trip and settled into the most bizarre decade-old lifestyle where I simply enjoyed the vacation for myself – and shared the moments almost exclusively with the people I was with.

…I let my Twitter and Facebook feed go.

…I took very few pictures on my phone.

…I tweeted or Facebooked once a day or less.

…I didn’t take any notes for future blog posts.

And in five days of constant fun and beautiful scenery, I only put up six Instagram photos.

I just enjoyed the trip for what it was….a really, really great trip.

Bizarre, right?

And I really liked it that way.


But I captured a few moments…

The children, as always, had the most blissful five days of their year, paired with their best friends in their favorite spot.


And this year, we added a huge upgrade for everyone – we brought our babysitter, Sarah, with us.


(Yes, Noah WAS excited as well, especially since he’s insistent that he’s going to marry Sarah one day.)

The kids got an extra playmate, Sarah got to do what she wanted all day (which ended up sometimes including the kids – lucky them), and then she kept the kids at night so the parents could go out for a lovely dinner with no over-tired beach-burned children to whine throughout our entrees.



It was perfection.


On all of our previous trips with our friends, we have gone to our sandy white Alabama beaches, but Isle of Palms was a fun variety, as we had the super hard Atlantic sand to make the best sand castles,


(Even though it totally looks like mud when photographed),


And the added benefit of the fun sights and activities in Charleston.



Charleston is absolutely one of my favorite southern cities – the history and colors and beaches and atmosphere are all eloquently unique and fantastic.


….And all of it is surrounded by the most beautiful marsh waters, adding a sense of calm and elevated beauty to the entire area.


But other than the above ridiculously choppy narrative, I have no further tales or quotes or silliness to share with you – because I just completely vacated,


Almost as thoroughly as the children.


And it was fantastic.


Just as it should be.