Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

An annual tradition

Originally uploaded by mattdantodd.

Ten years ago, when they started doing the Speedway in Lights at the Speedway, I thought to myself, “Wow! That’s a really hick thing to do. Come on, Bertha! Let’s load up the kids and go to that thar racin’ track and look at the purty lights.” It just didn’t make sense.

I held on to that mental image until our first Christmas back in Tennessee. I think it was milestogo that informed me that it really is worth the trip up there and it really is worth the wait. The displays are amazing.

She was right.

So, we now have a Christmas tradition for as long as we’re living in upper East Tennessee. All of the proceeds go to charity, which is a great thing. And we didn’t even have to wait in line that long this time. Must be the advantage of going on a weeknight. Here are some highlights from our third trip to the Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Click here to see them purty lights

Corn Maze

Corn Maze
Originally uploaded by mattdantodd.

We visited the Beck Mountain corn maze/pumpkin patch yesterday with Frank & Miki and company. Since we went last year too, I guess this place has become a family tradition.

The maze was pretty good. The hayride was even better because of the spectacular views.

As we were about to leave, the owners announced they were going to let the kids chase some pigs. We thought it would be fun to see, so we stuck around. The kids decided to join in the fun.

Here are some pictures!

Travelin’ Fool

In honor of our most recent family camping trip, and in response to ‘s recent request, I present some of my most memorable travel experiences. Here they are in no real order…

1.) Sitting in the Senate gallery as they passed the Clean Air Act of 1990.
2.) Scaling the 12,441 foot Baldy Mountain (Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico) with my Dad. We were in the middle of a cloud and I was freezing, but it was far more memorable than the times I climbed Baldy with later crews. Many Philmont experiences could be listed here – sunrise on Comanche Peak, climbing the Tooth of Time, peeing off the wing of an airplane at 10,000 feet (a plane had crashed on top of a mountain), but that first Baldy climb is probably my favorite.
3.) Watching the “Killer B’s” of the Pittsburgh Pirates play from a suite atop Three Rivers Stadium.
4.) San Diego – our honeymoon…
5.) I think I have fallen in love with Charleston, SC, after this last trip there.
6.) New York City – especially watching 1776 live on Broadway. Now that they’re gone, I do wish we hadn’t passed up the opportunity to visit the World Trade Center, but we did manage to go to the top of the Empire State Building.
7.) Gettysburgh (yeah, I’m a history nerd).

Where I’d still like to go (again, in no particular order)…
1.) I’d like to take my kids to Disney World while they’re still young enough to think of it as a magical place.
2.) Japan
3.) Jerusalem
4.) Sydney
5.) An African safari

So – where have you gone? what have you seen? and what do you have on your travel to do list?

Carter Fold

Carter Fold
Originally uploaded by mattdantodd.

As mentioned earlier, last Saturday was our first trip ever to the Carter Family Fold. After visiting, I can’t believe we never did anything like that while at Milligan! Our friends would have had a blast! Homecoming is soon. Maybe some of them will come down and we’ll drag them here.

How do you describe Carter Fold? A bluegrass-style hoedown? A mosh pit Appalachia-style?

I really don’t know, but it’s nothing like I’ve experienced anywhere else. I’m not even that comfortable dancing around people and I had a great time! More Pictures

Todds by the Water

Todds by the Water
Originally uploaded by mattdantodd.

Pictures from Aiden’s birthday party and my parents’ visit are long overdue. That will be corrected here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a picture from our impromptu visit to Lake Watauga with my folks.

Since we weren’t necessarily planning on going there, we didn’t anticipate a family picture. None of us got “dolled up” for it. I think it turned out pretty well, though. Even though you can’t really see my face.

Come to think of it, that might make this picture even better!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Thanks to the FOP, who gave us free tickets (we got two of the last four and the kids were already free) I got to go to a Cardinals game last night and saw Pujols play!

Of course, it was the Johnson City Cardinals and Albert’s little brother (I think it’s his brother), but it was still a good time. The JC Cardinals are part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system and play in the Appalachian League, which is essentially a rookie league.

We had a good time, although the kids spilled our tea – twice. We sat next to a family with a four-year-old girl named Emily. Aly and Emily really hit it off! They had a blast together. Aiden spent most of the game asking me questions about how the game is played. I never realized how complicated the game was until I tried to explain it to a five-year-old.

The Cards lost 10-2.

I can’t get the camera to upload pictures onto our computer. I’ll probably have to go out and get a card scanner. As soon as I do, I’ll post pictures from the game.