Category Archive: twins

The gentle glow, now and again

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve never been sure which holds me more captive – the gentle warming  sunrise with it’s subtle, and then sudden, burst of light or the cooling breeze and… Continue reading

A Full Life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You have strep throat Max. I’ve been home with you the last couple of days, working inbetween building legos and finding on demand episodes of Avengers Assemble and… Continue reading

Happy 7th birthday Max and Kate

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You turn 7 tomorrow, Max and Kate. I’m posting this a day early – because like back then, I couldn’t wait to meet you. Mommy made this short… Continue reading

Twin Encouragement

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I have a friend, fellow triathlete and writer who often serves as an inspiration for me. I was introduced to Bo Parrish by a mutual friend because we… Continue reading

Memorial Day 2015

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I promised you that I would eventually get back to writing to you about the day-to-day of our lives. While there isn’t always something profound about our daily… Continue reading

Driving a truck with no shirt on and running with horses

  Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, They saw me coming around the corner I guess. And by the time I reached the fence dividing them from me and the road and their open… Continue reading

Are you free? 5 lessons from Kate on how to be true to yourself.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve written to you a lot about being authentic; True to yourself even when the world doesn’t think you should. I’ve written to you about being relevant; Being… Continue reading

“Come look”

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,  Mommy ran into our room laughing this morning while I was dressing for work. “Come look,” she whispered. I love you, – Daddy  

Fall memories and delaying the endless pursuit of perfection

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We made an entire week out of celebrating your 5th birthday Max and Kate. Sunday we invited family and a few friends to come and play at Ring… Continue reading

Happy 5th birthday Max and Kate

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I sat alone in a cold empty hallway. A nurse left me sitting in a solitary chair outside a set of double doors.  “I’ll come back for you,”… Continue reading

A Saturday nap on the couch

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I don’t nap. Ever. Unless it’s dark outside and past 8pm, I can’t sleep. In order to sleep I need complete darkness, complete silence, and a full day… Continue reading

Where writing comes from

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A new friend asked me today about writing. It forced me to think about my process. The lack of such of a thing. I reflected upon it as… Continue reading

2013 Mtn. Lakes Triathlon review

Dear Izzy, Max,and Kate Ten years passes quickly. So much in my life is different in 2013 than it was in 2002 when I made my first trip to Guntersville, AL for Team… Continue reading

Tales from the dinner table: Volume 4: We break things

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It was just the three of us at home last night, Max and Kate. Mommy was teaching swimming lessons and Izzy was at church with a friend. I… Continue reading

A summer morning’s walk

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We walked down to the creek yesterday morning.  You asked to take your shoes off and walk in the shallow parts. I sat and watched from the grassy… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve never been the sort of believer who talks freely about hearing God’s voice. It always seemed so out there to me; like something people who are a… Continue reading

Freedom, joy, and High Cotton

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It’s been a hectic summer.  Odd work hours for both mommy and I, practices, bible school, always something these days. Several weeks ago we started a new family… Continue reading

Back on solid ground

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I needed some rest. Like Jimmy Buffett said, “I can’t run at this pace very long.”  So I took a week off from training. It’s rare for me… Continue reading

Carpe Diem, my son!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday Mommy got you two little ones bathed, changed, and generally cleaned up. We were leaving “in 5 minutes” to go deliver peaches. She told you not to… Continue reading

Learning to let go of control

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I woke at 4:30am  on Sunday – Father’s Day. I climbed on my bike at 5:15 and rode 43 miles. Mostly moderate-to-hard miles, feeling like the extra effort… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Barefoot silhouettes small voices in whispers beneath the trees of our front yard. Hiding our house from the world. The same house that didn’t feel like enough not so long… Continue reading

Life in the mixing bowl

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sometimes you have to go at the mixing bowl with reckless abandon. No time for keeping things clean. Making sure the time is right. The oven is the right temperature.… Continue reading

My favorite time of day

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate We’re having a blast on vacation. Each day is filled with hours on the beach, trips to the pool, sandcastles, boogie boarding, and holes dug to “all the… Continue reading

The Leap

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I get emails and messages sometimes from other moms and dads who read my letters to you here on the blog. They often thank me for sharing my… Continue reading

3 Bugs in a Rug

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I woke up at 4:30 this morning and went for a swim. I’m starting what my coach calls a “transition week,” meaning I’m shifting from a week of… Continue reading

Tales from the dinner table: Simple prayers

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It’s been awhile since I’ve shared one of our dinner conversations with you. We put a lot of importance on family dinner time. Mommy has been teaching swimming… Continue reading

Handprints: how time passes

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday I held you, tired from fighting frail after the struggle a crackling of machines. Warm from your mother’s womb Softness of God nestling against my chest and… Continue reading

Daddy, here’s a dollar

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, People don’t slow down often. I saw a guy cut across a median on the off ramp and slide 3 lanes over. That move motivated, I presume, because… Continue reading

Life is just a tire swing: Easter photos and potlucks

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had a great weekend! The sort of weekend that you hope for during the other five days of the week….filled with fun, love, and photo opps. It… Continue reading

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Grandfather sent us this picture of you fishing beside the Pedernales River in Texas, Izzy. I stared at it for a long time. Different emotions overcame me as… Continue reading

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The breezes helped me relax as I lay motionless, eyes closed, drifting back in time: a beach in Hawaii, a beach in South Carolina, Mexico, Duval Street, Bourbon… Continue reading

Quiet beautiful pictures in our hearts and minds

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Moments like this make life worth the struggles we sometimes face.  The quiet beautiful pictures we slow down to capture in our hearts and minds (and sometimes on… Continue reading

How Triathletes raise their children

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I fear you’ve seen me riding my bike trainer too often… You discovered a hole in the front yard, placed your rear wheel in the hole, steadied the… Continue reading

How to scare the bajeebers out of your kids

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’m a bad daddy. I scare my kids. But only at their request. Here you two little ones are a few nights ago after “seeing a monster” downstairs… Continue reading

Peeking into the cave

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had a rare Saturday with no training yesterday. Thanks to a quirk in my schedule I managed to get my workouts accomplished during the week, leaving me… Continue reading

How Revolution Changes Everything

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve changed. Sometimes you’ll hear that people don’t change; It’s just the circumstances around them. I’m not sure I believe that. Perhaps a little backstory is necessary if… Continue reading

Kitchen dancing: Gettin’ down to the Grateful Dead

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Another installment in our “gettin down” series: Kate, my little hippy child, we just had an extended kitchen dance session to the Grateful Dead’s “Hard to Handle.” I… Continue reading

Tales from the dinner table: candle lit dinners vs. real life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sometimes I imagine other families having dinner. For some reason it’s quiet, dimly lit, perhaps just a candle flickering on the table. Maybe there’s soft music playing. Probably… Continue reading

Happy Saturday: Gettin’ down to Frankenreiter

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We do a lot of kitchen dancing at our house. It brings laughter and joy into our home. When you’re grown with kids of your own I hope… Continue reading

The Family Friendly guide to planning your race season

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate I gather my things. I shuffle around the house in sweatpants looking for something to write with. Some years I find a pen, but I’ve used a crayon… Continue reading

The year of “OF COURSE”

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had a great Christmas. We’re fortunate to live close to family, so we make the rounds every year: Christmas Eve lunch at Aunt Lisa’s in White Bluff… Continue reading

The legend of ol’Grey Tooth

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, In the darkness, beyond shadow, and depths of night, there lived a creature known as ol’ Grey Tooth. He terrorized his sisters. And crept into his parents room… Continue reading

Tales from the dinner table: the trophy wife

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sitting around the dinner table at night is important to our family. We try to sit down everynight for dinner. Sometimes it’s a simple pizza or take out, but… Continue reading

Raising Twins: what kind of cars do clowns drive?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few nights ago I took you two little ones to Pet Smart with me to get Coco the dogs nails trimmed. Seemingly simple trips always turn into… Continue reading

The miles: how I covered 112 for preemies

* Part 2 of: 112 miles for Preemies Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I shuffled into our driveway, stepping from the road’s pavement to the crumbling aggregate rock. It’s separating, becoming gravel in… Continue reading

Three Little Birds

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You played in the leaves at Nana and Papaw’s house on Sunday. Took turns on the rope swing in the backyard. Watched several deer sneak into the yard,… Continue reading

112 miles for preemies

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, 500,000 babies are born early every year in the United States. In 2008 you were two of them, Max and Kate. You were 10 weeks early. That experience… Continue reading

Happy 4th birthday Max and Kate

Dear Max and Kate, Yesterday on my trail run I noticed the contrast between the blue of the sky and the changing fall colors of the trees. I considered how to describe the… Continue reading

Hospitals and milkshakes

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You’ve been sick since Thursday, Kate. Your fever has peaked at 104.6. Mommy and I sit and watch you rest on the couch. And at night we sit… Continue reading

Why I didn’t race: Part 2

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, CONTINUED FROM PART I Learning to be still played a big role in why I didn’t go. After 20 weeks of training I stayed home, and missed the… Continue reading

Why I didn’t race after 20 weeks of training: Part 1

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, They’re racing at Rev3 South Carolina this morning. I was supposed to be there making my 5th attempt at a sub-5:30 half ironman. But I’m not there. I… Continue reading

Family Heirlooms: Backyards and Adirondack Chairs

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Your papaw makes adirondack chairs in the driveway behind the house. He drags heavy saws and lumber out of the garage and uses his hands. He works into… Continue reading

My birthday weekend

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We celebrated my 38th birthday this weekend. I took off from work on Friday to celebrate and go for a long ride. It was difficult to get out… Continue reading

The problem with authenticity

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The problem with authenticity is that the world hates it. Most people, collectively, don’t want you to be you. They want you to be like them. That’s how… Continue reading

Parenting expert Dr. Meg Meeker on the athletic parent and raising athletic kids

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You know this by now, but Mommy and I aren’t perfect parents. Sometimes we need help. I was fortunate to be introduced to Dr. Meg Meeker several years… Continue reading

Live to Fight another day

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had a decent training session on Saturday. I met my friends Daniel and Jeff at a country market near the house at 6am to start our ride. We… Continue reading

Somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help myself. A few days ago I sat and listened to two women on the playground, about my age, talking… Continue reading

Izzy’s big day at the Vaco Kids Triathlon

Dear Izzy, Max and Kate, You did the Vaco kids tri again this year, Izzy. Our friends from Team Magic put on the race in Brentwood, TN at the Maryland Farms YMCA. We… Continue reading

Bare feet on the kitchen floor, the sound of waves, and 3rd grade

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy and I sat alone on the beach on the last day of vacation. She talked to me about the sound of waves. I’ve thought about it since,… Continue reading

How Becky Lavelle turned tragedy into hope and inspiration

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I want to introduce you to some awesome Moms and Dads as I write these letters to you. I’m doing my best to balance being a husband to… Continue reading

The best I can do is teach you why

Kate and Izzy on the path to the beach/ surf sisters Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I just got back from a run. That’s pretty normal routine even on vacation. What set this… Continue reading

The Horizon, driftwood, and triathlon

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’re back at Seagrove Beach, Florida this week. It’s our 2nd trip to the beach this summer. You kids are having a blast with your cousins. I remember… Continue reading

[Part 2] Why leading a blind athlete through a triathlon changed my life

* Continued from Part 1 Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, My alarm sounded at 4:45am on Sunday morning. I think I was already awake. I had fallen asleep thinking about swimming into darkness,… Continue reading

Our interview on Fox 17 Tennessee Mornings

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had an awesome experience today! You and I were interviewed on Fox 17’s Tennessee Mornings this morning by Nick Paranjape, Izzy. We got up early at 5am,… Continue reading

Twins: the small moments are worth all of the challenges

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve written to you often about how challenging it is raising twins. Especially twin 3 year olds. Thank goodness for you, Izzy. You’re such a big help. I… Continue reading

Triathlon and The Endless Summer

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I was tired Sunday night. I did a long ride that morning and the rest of the day was full of activities, including the VBS closing celebration at… Continue reading

A relaxing Sunday afternoon with twin 3 year olds

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday I was asked during a radio interview how I manage to be “present” for my family after getting up at 5:00am and spending 4 hours on the… Continue reading

Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This weekend I raced in Team-Magic’s Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon. It was my 3rd time to do the race. This year was different. I approached the race with uncertainty… Continue reading

Your children live by the example you set

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A lot is made in life of leadership. You’ll hear people talk about being leaders in various ways. Here are the three that come to mind immediately: Leading… Continue reading

Why showing up is just as important as finishing

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few days ago I was talking with my friend Daniel while we were riding our bikes. I spent several minutes telling him about my injured calf muscle.… Continue reading

Heard from the backseat: I want a pet!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few nights ago we were driving through town you said something that made me laugh – and illustrated the differences in you kids. You’ve all been begging… Continue reading

Don’t be afraid of your reflection

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I took this picture yesterday while I was sitting on the front porch watching you kids play. I was thinking about other things, but casually watching you play… Continue reading

Fathers Day 2012: A letter from your mommy


One Wobbly Wheel

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few nights ago a neighbor pulled into our driveway to drop off one of your friends, Izzy. As usual our yard and driveway were full of toys,… Continue reading

The first time I failed as a father

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Ok, so it wasn’t the “first time I failed”, but it felt like it. 8 years ago when you were born Izzy I swore to you that I’d… Continue reading

Starting over

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had a great vacation at Sea Grove Beach, FL.  I hope you kids never forget going on vacation with your grand parents. One day you’ll realize how… Continue reading

Starting lines and finish lines: How to be Grateful

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Here’s my confession: I haven’t run a step or biked a mile since Rev3 Knoxville two weeks ago. I’m going a little stir-crazy. I took the normal week… Continue reading

Rev3 Knoxville review: a family event

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had a big weekend in Knoxville! For the most part it went exactly as I had hoped it would. While I didn’t quite hit my time goal… Continue reading

Sneak attack

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, One of my favorite things about mommy being a stay at home mom is that she keeps me updated on the daily happenings with you kids. Sometimes it’s… Continue reading

6 ‘o’clock Medicine

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday was one of those days when nothing was particularly bad, but nothing was particularly good either. My attitude wasn’t great yesterday. I’m tired from training alot. Unfortunately… Continue reading

Twins: dispute and resolution in two pictures

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This sort of drama plays out daily in our house. A quick spat, a tantrum, and mercifully a quick resolution, accompanied by a half choke half bear hug… Continue reading

The fine line: Living a good story vs. Telling a good story

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had lunch with one of my best friends a few days ago. He’s been in the Army since graduating from the Citadel in 1997. He’s been to… Continue reading

Spring Break: Dad style

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Last week was spring break for you kids so I took off Thursday and Friday and we made a long weekend of it. It was far from the… Continue reading

A weekend at Nana and Papaw’s house

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had a great weekend. Mommy finally had her day at the spa on Saturday, so you kids and I went to Nana and Papaw’s house. You guys… Continue reading

Happy Anniversary Karen:13 years in 13 pictures

Dear Karen, Happy 13th anniversary. I love you. Here’s a recap of the first 13. We met on March 27th, 1998 in Murfreesboro, TN. 3 months later we were engaged and planned the… Continue reading

Being a dad is all I need

Dear Max, Being a dad is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ll be honest though, it’s also hard sometimes. When you and your sisters came into my life I accepted… Continue reading

9 Ways to Survive Twin 3 year olds (or How Twin 3 year old are like Gremlins)

Meet Max and Kate, my twin 3 year olds. Sure, they look cute, but if you give them :30 unsupervised seconds they’ll turn your home into a scene from (insert post apocolypse movie… Continue reading