Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gatlinburg

Since the kids are out on 3 week break, we took a mini vacation to Gatlinburg for a few days last week. It was so nice and relaxing, a nice change of scenery. It seems like each time we go there, we don't want to come home. We were riding up and Donnie said, "It just doesn't seem like it would ever get old, does it?" So true.

We spent Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday evening in Gatlinburg, rode the trolley, and did the tourist thing. Our biggest venture was Ober Gatlinburg where we rode an air tramway up to a ski resort. Then we rode a chair lift even further up the mountain for some awesome views and bluegrass music. Jon Tyler was sleepy and cried/screamed for the 10 minute tram ride. It was packed and hot on the tram and his screaming was, I think, the equivalent of being on an airplane with a screaming kid. Good thing I'll never see most of those people again.(hehe) Once we got over there, I got him to nap while we rode the chair lift and it was so pleasant.

Here is a view from the tram and the pictures of each kid we took at the top.








(I absolutely LOVE this pic of Corey. I think it is the best shot I've ever taken of him.)



We spent some time on Friday in Pigeon Forge and shopped at the outlets, rode the go carts and went to a FREE (!) Titanic preview exhibit. Allie has never been old enough or tall enough to ride on her own so she was ready for her first time around the track.



She did pretty good for her first race, beating out her older siblings. (I'm not really sure who won, who got lapped or wrecked, but at least here, she's in the lead)



Jon Tyler was too small to drive but he enjoyed flying the plane.


Oh, yeah, Jon Tyler got his first taste of chocolate milk at Shoney's breakfast buffet. YUM!


Our last night we walked around Gatlinburg and found some neat little "village shops" (AKA- steal your money tourist shops) where we stopped to snap some pics.


The last thing we did was ride the elevator up the Space Needle and got a night view from 407 feet up. (Yeah, a little freaky.)


It was a fun trip. Now I must finish this blog up so I can go do some online research. We are shopping for an apple farms in east Tennesse/western NC. I'll let you know if we find one. We might need some help loading the moving van. ;-)

Wordless Wednesday - Consignment Season

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Man's First Birthday! (lots of pics, too)




We celebrated Jon Tyler's first birthday Saturday with family. He is such a ham and enjoyed the attention. He probably figured that being #4 he was lucky to get any attention and would take it. He did the best job on his cake of any of his siblings, which is why I have included a bazillion photos of the cake. He was, in fact, much more impressed with cake than with presents. We read him about 2 cards and opened one present before he decided he was "done." While I realize some people love the big party thing for their kids, we are not into that. By the time we combine Jon Tyler's siblings and cousins we get 7 kids under 10, and I think that is plenty big enough. So, when Jon Tyler was done, they stepped in and helped him open his presents.

Amazingly I didn't have this terrible time with him turning one like I thought I would. I dreaded it for weeks and then it just sort of came and I was okay with that. I still can't believe it so maybe I'm just in shock. Time does fly when you're having fun, and this bunch is definitely fun!!

Testing...


Getting a first taste of icing


Diggin' in!!


Look, Ma!


A little in the hair for good measure!


YUM!


Cake Hangover


Present time!


New jammies


Checking out the goods!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The kids school held a Patriots Day ceremony to honor our heroes and to remember this day. They've done it every year and every year it moves me to tears. I was drawn back to where I was on 9/11, amazed that the student from my 4th grade class that day are now college freshmen and that the students sitting with me were preschoolers at best on that day.

Here are some of the heroes honored today. I wish you could see a "kid" on the back row in Marine dress uniform named Billy. I have known Billy since he really was a kid, a teen who volunteered helping me teach elementary aged kids on Sunday nights when he wasn't much older than them. We've been praying for Billy as a church and his standing there was quite simply an answer to those prayers. Billy just returned from his first tour in Iraq and I'm sure in all of his 20 years, he has seen more horror over there than I will ever see. This morning when Hannah woke up the first thing she said was, "Oh, man, I wish I could've invited Billy." When I watched him marching in the other heroes these school honored, I almost couldn't keep the tears at bay. His mom is and has been one of my kids' preschool teachers for years and she asked me today in carline to "pray Billy out of Afghanistan" which is where he's set to go in 13 months. So if you think about it, pray for Billy with us.



The 4th and 5th grade chorus sang "God Bless the USA." Hannah is in the front row next to the police officer.



They released balloons...



...and took a freedom walk. (Corey is in the black shirt.)

Take Time - written 9/14/01

Take time to tell you loved ones
What they mean in your life,
How they've loved you, how they've helped you,
How they've guided you through strife.

Take time to tell your neighbors
How you enjoy their company.
Take time to lend a helping hand
To a stranger who is in need.

Take time to tell a friend thank you
For the times they've been there,
For the encouragement they've given,
Or when they offered up a prayer.

Take time to tell your children
That they are God's precious treasures.
Tell them of all the joy they've brought you,
Through innocent childlike pleasures.

Take time to tell your spouse you love them
That you appreciate all they do,
That you couldn't imagine life without them.
Let them know you need them, too.

Take time to enjoy earth's beauty,
The mountains and the sea,
To enjoy the world created
By God for you and me.

Take time to reflect,
To laugh and play.
Take time to grieve,
To love and pray.

For we are not promised tomorrow.
This day could be our last.
Don't let a chance to "take time"
Slip forever into the past.


For all who perished on Sept. 11, 2001 and for those who will no longer get to "take time" with their loved ones. May we never forget.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009