Tag Archive: twins

Stepping Up in Competition

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We went to Birmingham last weekend for a swim meet. Last November we went to Knoxville for a meet, but this year Excel shifted attendance to the BSL… 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

Soft Serve

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I remember dipping low in the backseat of my Dad’s little Nissan truck sometime in the 1980s; I was seated in a sideways jump seat, trying to hide… 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

There’s still plenty of summer left

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning as I swam at 5am it took the sun just a while longer to rise. The summer is beginning to feel the slow pinch of time.… Continue reading

Our Life: A Smiling Skeleton with a Lightsaber

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy texted me the picture of you wearing the skeleton suit and wielding Darth Vader’s (your favorite character) light saber a few days ago. To the uninitiated such… Continue reading

2015 Y Tri at Old Hickory Lake

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, After a year’s hiatus my hometown race The Old Hickory Lake Triathlon returned – now called the Y Tri at Old Hickory Lake.  Going home to race in… 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

New Years Day 2015

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This photograph expresses our year better than I can with too many words. I get lost in it when I stare at it – in the blending of… Continue reading

Both ends of the cute spectrum

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I found you feeding your breakfast to Pluto a few mornings ago, Kate. I couldn’t help but to sneak a picture. We both laughed as I mimicked the… Continue reading

Perseverance and hollowing out the stone

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had to walk. Somewhere around mile 18 during my 22 mile training run yesterday I started feeling bad. Really bad. I was suffering from nausea. My hands were… Continue reading

Happy 6th Birthday Max and Kate!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve told people often over the years that I never really saw God in my life until I first saw you Izzy. I believed long before that, but… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Homework is hard when you’re 5 and when you’re 10. We sit down at the table after cleaning the dinner dishes off and go through your homework. Actually… Continue reading

The beach, faith, and inbetween

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The trick to leaving the beach is to pretend it’s not there – that without you – it ceases to exist. At least until you come back to… Continue reading

Of Monsters and rainy southern summer nights

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We went to the tractor pull Friday night, Max. You girls stayed home with Mommy – which it turns out meant going shopping and for milkshakes. You and… Continue reading

Seadragon of the Year

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You scooted over closer to me, shuffled your feet on the concrete floor, took a sip of the Sprite can, and hid behind it nervously. “I didn’t get… Continue reading

Freedom and the Art of Riding Without Training Wheels

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I watched you ride off, across the empty parking lot – through the waves of heat. You gave me a quick glance as you turned to come back,… 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

Graduation day: slow down, because time won’t.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I forgot to set the alarm on my phone last night. It normally startles me awake each morning at 5:00am. I woke up on my own at 5:04 in a… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I drew a line in the dirt with my foot. Dug my toe in. Then swept across it again with other foot – brushing the earth even. Standing… Continue reading

Tee ball, Mules, and Chris LeDoux

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, After church on Sunday I helped you change into some “play clothes”, Max. I noticed that all of your blue jeans, excluding one pair, have holes in both… Continue reading

How to make friends and influence kids at Chick-fil-a

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I met you and Mommy for lunch at Chick-Fila today, Kate. Izzy was at school. Max was at mothers day out, but you got to spend the day… Continue reading

Rumpled. Exhausted. Wrinkled: Hyperbole and Parenting

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sometimes I think the hardest thing in life is getting a 5 year old dressed. Maybe that’s hyperbole. I don’t know. I’ve been through a lot of stuff… Continue reading

Chipotle Spaghetti

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, He used to walk in the front door – a smile on his face, his shirt and suit still freshly pressed, no dark circles under his eyes. She… Continue reading

Scratches, Bruises, and Boys

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy has never let me forget it. Occasionally she’ll just bring it up. Other times we’re reminded by the photos. Back in 1999 I was still wrestling regularly… 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  

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

Ever heard of Cambodia?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Saturday we went to Nana and Papaw’s church for a block party. You played in the bounce houses, climbed the rock wall, ate from Nashville food trucks, and… 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 flat stone sinking into the deep

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Your feet almost reach the foot-board of your bed now, Izzy. I don’t know why I noticed this recently. But as I passed by your room while gathering… 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


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

No ones keeping score

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning I walked down to the beach alone.  I sat in the sand, digging my toes in, feeling the coolness of it’s depth – before the heat… 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

Ahead of What?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate I worked my way through it. The first big overdistance training weekend of my 20 week training cycle. I’ve done  a few rides in excess of race distance… Continue reading

Clarity and Trust in the Texas hill country: part 1

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Carolyn Horton handed me a pistol. “It’s scatter shot,” she said. “So you don’t need to have good aim, just point and shoot.” She walked back up the… 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

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

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

Monster Trucks, ear plugs, and the voice of God

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, When it started we were stunned. I wondered how loud it might really be, assuming that from our vantage point the noise would be manageable. It rattled our… 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 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

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

How my little girl plans to make sad people happy: Part 2

PART 1 Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I wrote to you a few weeks ago about your sticker club, Izzy. You’ve continued collecting stickers and putting them in notebooks. I find them all… 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 Halloween!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You asked me to draw you a zombie. I sketched this guy out for you at the kitchen table a few nights ago. Part zombie, part Frankenstein. Just… Continue reading

Watching your child compete

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It was your first real gymnastics meet, Izzy. You had been nervous for a week leading up to the meet. “What if I don’t do well on the… 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

A walk with my son

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Here’s something I wrote after taking Max and our dog for a walk on Sunday: ************** We went for a walk me and you and the dog. You… 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

Just part of it

Dear Max, I was awake. I rested there on my side, watching you sleeping fitfully. Shallow breathes. And each drawing gaps between your ribs. Retracting. We’ve been down this road before. The fear… 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

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

Why we dream big by the ocean: First day or Last?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We just spent a week in SeaGrove, FL. More than any other trip we’ve taken I made time to spend quiet hours alone or with just Mommy on the beach.… 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

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

The Ken Coleman Show interview

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I did my first radio interview on Saturday. I was on the Ken Coleman Show where Ken and I talked about balancing parenting and pursuing your dreams with… 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

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

How surf films changed my life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’ve been de-cluttering the house a little. Less stuff will give us freedom. And freedom has become the thing that mommy and I desire most in our life… Continue reading

Why every kid should be a swim team kid

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I failed out of swim lessons. I’ve never even heard of a kid failing swim lessons, but your nana swears that I did when we lived in Belgium. Apparently… 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

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

Vacation before and after photos

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’re still on vacation and you kids are having a blast! I wanted to take just a second and show you your daily progression: Before beach, pool, cookies,… 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