29 August 2014

Nom Nom

What to do when a girlie eats your shopping list?

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26 August 2014

Littlest Book Lover

Mike and I are book lovers and we (mostly he) has spent a huge amount of hours reading to the kids to pass that love onto them. It’s working! The littlest one is a bit behind, but I do believe she is learning to love books too.

Here’s too many pictures from the past several months just to prove my point (and remember forever)…

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21 August 2014

Bryson City, Baby!

We had the joy of sharing a cabin in the Smoky Mountains with Mike’s Family a couple weeks ago. We got a bargain and it was God’s provision for us!

This is one of those what you call looooooooong posts! Oh the memories!

Mike had a master’s exam the day we needed to make the drive so I packed up, loaded up and hit the road with three kiddos by myself. No biggie (?!). I followed my in-laws most of the way down. Then my mother-in-law jumped in with me and the kids for the last two hours of the ten hour drive. She would have been happy to drive and give me a break, but at the point the stubborn in me just wanted to be able to say I did it by myself. So I DID IT BY MYSELF! I drove 10 hours with three kiddos! He he

My father-in-law stayed behind in Knoxville to wait for Mike’s flight to come in late that night.

The last bit of the drive was rather adventuros. I’m not sure I’ve ever driven in a place like this (and I’ve driven in lots of places!).

We moved from a normal road to this road…

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Drove through this creek…

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Road got smaller and turned into more of what I’d call a path!

But we’re almost there!

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Made it! I thought the drive was fun and adventurous butI think my mother-in-law had her eyes closed half the time and was just glad to be alive at the end of it. Ha!

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And here’s our view. It was  lovely.

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We spent the night settling in and then advised Mike and his Dad to not attempt the drive ‘til daylight hours. They easily agreed (I think they were pooped!) and slept in a hotel and arrived in the morning after they drove the famous Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles) through Smoky Mountain National Park on the way day.

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Hello, love!

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The kids loved exploring and playing in water toys. And yes I packed a water table. When you are on vacation with six kids age six and under a water table seemed like a pretty good idea.

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You haven’t met my newest nephew, Baby G. He’s the sweeeetest!!! His Mama had three babies in less than three years, so that makes her AMAZING (and maybe a little crazy, he he). Aahhhhh I love my sister-in-law. Here she is with her oldest, B, who only just turned 3!

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Sweet N was a little Mama to her little cousins.

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One of our favorite things was that these grew wild all around the cabin! BERRIES!!

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Hours were spent picking berries by various members of the family.

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Lots of wild black raspberries and a few red raspberries, shaped like little bowls.

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Picking berries was by far this little girlie’s favorite activity. Every day she would ask her Daddy to go pick berries with her.

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And he’d say yes cause he loves her and he loves to pick berries himself!

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This one too!

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Some people have a thing for picking berries. Other people have a thing for baking berries into delicious desserts and eating them! *raising my hand* That’s me!

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One day we explored the Island Park in downtown Bryson City. It was a perfect sized place for mini-adventurers.

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Lunch at the recommended Filling Station. I love me a good sandwich.  Italian meats on bread grilled with garlic butter? Oh dear. So so good.

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They also had really fun homemade ice cream sandwiches that we all shared outside after lunch.

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Someone always finds herself a little nook.

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Afternoon hike to the stream. Another favorite activity we did several times.

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S’more night!

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Another day we spent the day at Deep Creek Park. Which I highly recommend. If I lived anywhere near this place I would go all the time!

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First we hiked to a Juneywhank falls.

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Then to Tom Branch Falls where we got in the icy water and waded and climbed around a bit.

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We drove to a picnic area for lunch.

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Remember being a kid and how fun it was to ride in the back of a vehicle?

Yeah…

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During lunch we sent Mike and his Dad and H off to rent tubes for five of us. We had seen tons of tubers at this point and I reeeeaaaaallllly wanted to tube. The family accommodated and I was so excited!

Three adults went back with four of the kids. The other five of us tubed.

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Now I don’t have pictures of this part of the day cause we were all tubing! Mike, his Dad, myself, Sweet N and My Boy H went. Mike and I each had a kid in a tube tied tightly to our tubes.

We hiked a very long way with our tubes to start. We heard that if you hike as far as you are allowed, that the tubing is the best! So we did that and turns out that the most fun tubing for adults is a bit too adventurous for a four and a six year old. Mike and N had a big spill and H and I played it safe and did lots of walking around rapids.

By the time we got to the second half of the river though, it was perfect! So perfect! We had a blast and did it a second time too, once we learned the best place to put tubes in and start.

These next two pics I took off the internet because I just wanted to remember what it was like.

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Tubing was probably my highlight of the whole week… I just love everything about it!

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At one point Sweet N had her younger cousins sitting in a circle on the deck, showing them projects from her bag.

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Before we left, Mike, H and myself (with Lil’ A on my back) took a nearby hike straight up the side of the mountain to see this waterfall.

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This boy did AWESOME. It was a fairly strenous hike, uphill the whole way to get there. And it was hot and so humid amongst all that greenery.

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We all fell down at some point or another, but all the work and sweat felt so good to me. I praise God for our healthy and capable bodies.

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Yippee!!

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Back down. Which is trickier, footing-wise, than going up!

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H took this photo of his parents. (This was one good shot of about 10 bad ones).

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Back through the stream…

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Some berries on the way.

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Almost back!

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The Smoky Mountains have their name for a good reason.

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They look all different kinds of smoky all the time. Duh.

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This little one tried to stow-away in her cuz’s luggage.

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Classic baby hugs before the others headed back home.

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N got quite the special place in her heart for her cuz E.

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What a joy the week was!