Monday, November 11, 2013

carving pumpkins

I realized I never posted my pictures of carving pumpkins.  James had so much fun doing this and kept yelling, "eww...goop!"

Isaac had fun too but doesn't like to touch the goop.

cute boys
On Halloween James and I got to go to the parade at the school.  It was raining all day so the parade was down the halls--a lot of sitting around waiting but fun for the kids I think.  They had a party at school and then had an early release.  When Isaac got home we went to the library and got new books and then I let the kids watch some shows after that as a Halloween treat. Unlike last year Blake got home in time to go trick or treating with us.  It poured the whole time.  We were soaked by the end!  But we got so much candy, even just in our little apartment complex with the few people passing out candy.  What fun for our little train guy and pteranadon. 

And in other news, it is finally time to announce that I am pregnant!  The kids have been asking for almost two years if we could have another baby.  Earlier this year we had a disappointing end to a pregnancy at about 11 weeks that was pretty tough on me.  I don't think I will ever forget holding a tiny, bloody umbilical cord in my hand after going through labor in my bathroom.  So our joy has been tempered with some worry this time but now I am 17 weeks and feeling the baby kick and we get to have the big ultrasound in 3 weeks!

Last Wednesday night Blake and I told the kids: "You know how we have been praying for a long time to have a baby?  Well Heavenly Father answered our prayer and we are going to have a baby!  My tummy is getting bigger!"  The kids were so excited and Isaac got a big grin and James jumped down from his chair and started jumping up and down:  "We have a baby!  We have a baby!" And Isaac got down too and they both wanted to see my tummy and if it was getting bigger and then Isaac was jumping up and down and giving me hugs and saying, "I'm so excited to have a baby! Yes!"  It was one of the funnest moments ever.  The rest of the night was all about the baby.  James kept asking, "Where is the baby?"  In my tummy.  "I want it to pop out!"  Blake asked if it was going to be a boy or girl and they both said "girl!"  I said it might be a boy, and we would love a boy too right?  But Isaac said, "No, it has to be a girl.  I will only love a girl."  When James sat on my lap to read stories that night he said, "I squish the baby, mommy?"  Sweetest!  James kissed the baby goodnight.  When I laid with Isaac in bed he said again, "I am so excited to have a baby!"

It's making me cry just writing about it.  Yay!  

our big road trip

We drove through eight states--Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas.  Plus Missouri I guess.  Although I really only consider we "visited" the states we did things in--Tennesse, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.  

Day one we drove to Nashville. We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  The kids did pretty good but we went through it pretty fast since they got bored easily.  Luckily there was some coloring.

Typical James won't smile

All done with the museum--we are bored, mom!

Then we walked a little to the Ryman Auditorium and up a street full of shops all with live music.  

We had a hard time finding Music Row where all the labels are but eventually found it.  Then we let the kids play at the Centennial Park at the playground.   

We walked over to see the Parthenon there at the park too. 

All over the park were these cool rocking benches.  You pushed your feet against the bottom platform and it made the bench rock.

Then we drove out to the Opry Mills Mall and went to dinner at the Aquarium.  The food was overpriced but it was sure cool to eat in front of a huge aquarium.  Kids liked it.  We had a reservation at a hotel close by after Blake paid a dollar to let them go around a little merry go round at the ride on toys.  James said that was his favorite, "And it goes ring around the rosies".  We also drove past the Grand Ol Opry house on our way to the hotel.

Day two we were supposed to go to the Great Smoky Mountains but the government is dumb so they were closed.  Instead we went to Chattanooga, or "chaganooda" (James-ese).  On the way there we realized Isaac had a rash on his legs--Blake thinks he got in a poisonous bush at the park.  

We hiked in Cloudland Canyon State Park.  We had a fun time hiking to two waterfalls.  

Lots of stairs.  

Isaac did a great job hiking and even James hiked down to the second waterfall by himself.  

James fell asleep in the car after that which is a big deal because my kids NEVER do that.  Actually, he fell asleep in the car ever day in the afternoon.  The roughest part of the trip was getting the kids to fall asleep in the same room and be quiet in the hotel!  They think as soon as we get in the room they can start wrestling.  

We took the kids to McDonalds to play at a playplace.  We got ice cream cones for them.  Then we went to eat as adults at Champy's Famous Fried Chicken.  I don't know if it really is famous but it was sooo good.  Then we went downtown and played at a park on the river and walked past their new aquarium.  

Day three we called the Smokes and they were open!  So we hurried to pack up and drove two hours to the Smokies.  We started at the Cades Cove Loop--driving 11 miles around scenic land.  You could stop at cabins and churches but we just stopped once at a visitors center where there were some cabins and a grist mill.  It took forever to do that because people were driving 5 mph or less.  By the end we all just wanted to get out of there!  

Then we had to drive all the way up the mountain which took another two hours maybe.  We hiked .5 miles up to Clingman's Dome--the top of old smoky.  Of course it was so foggy we couldn't see anything.  We pushed James up in the stroller.  Blake carried Isaac a little bit on his shoulders.  We all ran down--racing for Isaac. 

Then we barely made it down to the North Carolina side in time to do a three waterfall loop before dark. We drove to Atlanta that night.

Day four we spent in Atlanta.  Isaac woke up in the middle of the night and threw up.  Blake got him to the bathroom in time though.  Plus this whole time he's had diarrhea (tmi).  We went downtown and did Centennial Park.  There were some sculptures and playgrounds and fountains for the Olympics in 1996.  

This might be my favorite picture of the trip.  Who cares where we are, there are some trucks we need to stop and watch for 10 minutes.  Plus some brotherly love. 
It started to rain when we were finishing up and we went to the world's largest aquarium.  Right when we got there we went straight to the dolphin show.  The kids LOVED it.  It was hands down their favorite thing of the trip.  We spent over three hours at the aquarium seeing all the exhibits.  
My brother told us about this aquarium and told Isaac to take lots of pictures of it for him.  Isaac took him very seriously and made me take like a million pictures of every single fish. 

Moving walkway through the big tunnel.  

There was a little play area we found at the end. 
Ok, I like this picture too.  Such good buddies. 
We ended seeing a shark feeding which was pretty boring since they eat tiny fish.  Then we drove to our hotel and went swimming.  Tonight we discovered Isaac had a full body rash.  I had a travel children's benadryl so we gave him that and he slept all night and was better in the morning.  

Day five we drove to Birmingham.  We went to Kelly Ingram Park and saw some civil rights sculptures and walked to some other sites--the Civil Rights Institute, 16th street Baptist Church, the Jazz Hall of Fame.  Overall we were a little nervous with all the loafers on the street but we didn't get mugged or even talked to.  

 It was interesting reading the history of this park and how all the kids skipped school to protest here and stand up for integration. 

We drove down to a bbq place--Saw's bbq--and stuffed ourselves absolutely silly.  Their portions were huge and totally delicious.  Blake was in heaven.  Even James ate a whole rib.  Only Isaac was the party pooper and refused to eat the mac and cheese I ordered him for $3.  Of course.  He is so hard to please.  It is not a good restaurant/we are not good parents if the kids don't get lemonade.  That's all they ever want at a restaurant.   We drove through Mississippi for a few hours and finally got to Memphis around 5.  We went swimming in the hotel. 

Day six we started out at Graceland.  We felt crammed into the not so spacious mansion with tons of tours.  The kids were tired of museum and boring things but they did pretty well.  We all got headsets so Isaac liked listening to the music.  Graceland was pretty and not as ostentatious as I thought it would be.  

Then we went to Beale Street and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked past all the famous Jazz places.  

We were going to go to a fun park-- Mud Island.  You could take a train or a footbridge over the river and go to a representation of the mississippi river to splash in, etc. but it was just so cold we decided to go home.  We drove and drove and stopped in Perryville for gas and finally made it back home.  It was a crazy trip with tons of driving and sight seeing.  I was impressed with how well the kids did but next vacation we are going to relax somewhere!