Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wonderworks and the rest!

When the kids found out that we were going to the mountains for spring break this year, the thing they most wanted to do was go to the "upside down house," aka Wonderworks.  We made sure that happened.
 

They were intrigued by the appearance of the outside for sure, but the inside is pretty neat too!
 
There are lots of different exhibits and they spent several hours enjoying over two different visits the day we went.  This tunnel at the very beginning was something else.  Mommy couldn't do it the first time, but the kids were so "proud" of me when we went back because I made it through with them. 
 
Lots of places to laugh and have fun
 
This was like playing pacman on steroids because four were playing against each other on the same screen all at once.  It was like I was sharing a piece of my childhood with them!
To JJ's delight, there was a glow in the dark ropes course, 4 stories and over 50 feet tall.
He was off to the top and we couldn't even see him for probably 30 minutes until he made it through the course and back down.  He sure did it though!  Way to go JJ!
 
Luke wanted to try and Jeff was OVER the height restriction.....so lucky me!!!  We only made it to the 2nd level because he  was we were scared!
 
One of their favorite things was the Bubble Room.



We spent a long time there, in the morning and then again when we returned that evening.
 
Wonderworks was absolutely a hit. 
The next day, we returned to see The Wonders of Magic show which was so entertaining and amazing!  We all enjoyed it so much and it was a big highlight of the trip.
 
Other highlights during our stay included a trip to the Island and a few spins around the wheel, mining for gems, swimming at the hotel pool, go karts and putt putt. 
 
So thankful for a wonderful spring break making tons of memories with 6 people I love so much!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Rock Climbing

One of the kids favorite things to do when we go to the mountains...rock climbing.  There is a fabulous area called the Chimneys picnic area.  In fact, this is one of their favorite places anywhere.


There are over 100 picnic tables, trails and the best place to climb rocks I've ever seen/known about.  There are huge rocks scattered along this part of the Little Pigeon River in this area of the National Park.  It is a great place to have a picnic and enjoy some climbing, which we did two different days on our trip.

These three are the experts

Luke is content most of the time to stay on the side and I hang with him.
He loves to find that perfect rock and throw in.
 
Sometimes, he decides to be extra brave, and gets right out there with them.
 
I just love watching them as they take all of it in and create their own adventure.
 
 

On our last day it was 80 degrees and beautiful...and so hard to pull away and leave.  JJ had gotten his whole body in the cold water , and Sydney and Luke were soaked too.  The water was freezing but that seems to have made it even more fun!   JJ was thrilled that he got to play in the water and get so totally soaked, as he was even putting his head under!.....he told Jeff that it was the "funnest day ever" and was begging to know when we could return. 
 
It was a great time and I hope we can make many more memories here in the future.
 Looking forward to our next time at this very spot!


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hiking

Last spring, we learned that our kids enjoying hiking and we do too!  We were so excited to go back to the Smoky Mountains this spring break to do some of the same, and try out some new trails.

Our first trail was on our first full day, and over 4 miles
and at the end we got this beautiful site...

It was one of the most challenging trails we've done, and that was largely due to this footbridge...
Somebody was especially afraid-but he wanted to do it-and Daddy helped him step by step.
It was scary!...but we did it, x 2!
 
Of course, anytime you are hiking, there are lots of spots to check out and rocks to climb on.
Every now and then, nature calls...
(forgive me Luke but you thought this was pretty fun).
 
JJ was pretty much the leader on each trail we did.
Sydney would stay in the back with me, and Luke was all over the place-sometimes that place was Daddy's shoulders.
 
It surprised me how many times they would climb or find a spot & say "take my picture!"


I didn't mind :)
 


 
 
Easter Sunday we repeated a hike to a favorite from last year.
Laurel Falls is breathtakingly beautiful!
In total, it is just a little over 2 miles
 
After finishing that, we met up with Nana & Buddy and took a walk to yet another waterfall!

 On the way, there was another opportunity for the daredevil to have some more fun.
 
Our last hike was on the day we headed for home at the Chimney area: it was almost the shortest
but quite possibly, the most challenging as it was more steep and rugged.


 
We are thankful for three healthy kids and special times enjoying God's creation together.


Five cheers for family hiking!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Celebrating Our Six Year Old

 
JJ had a big birthday weekend!  The fun started on his birthday (Friday) when he got to share cupcakes with his friends at school and celebrate at home with the four of us. 
 
Luke and I went to school to eat lunch with him too.
 
It was a sweet day.

 The next day, Nana, Buddy and Nanny came to visit and got to watch the boys do their swim lessons and Sydney play in her soccer game.  We were blessed with beautiful weather at the end of what had been a very rainy week.  We grilled out and they gave JJ a big birthday surprise!
He was very happy....and ready to take off !
Come on Daddy!  ...and good luck keeping up.
 Sunday afternoon it was time to party with friends.
JJ wanted to swim with his three best buddies and his brother and sister.
 
 I was glad to find a good spot in town to make that happen.
 We had his party at the Sleep Inn and had the pool and a meeting room across the hallway for the afternoon.
These five boys, and one sweet little girl, had a BIG afternoon.
They enjoyed Big Hero 6 cookie cake and ice cream.
 They swam, and played and jumped in one at a time, then together.
I enjoyed watching them so much.
 

 JJ had come up with a great plan for his party!
 JJ, you are lucky to have such great friends, and they are lucky to have you too!

Love you sweet 6 year old!
I am glad you had such a special birthday weekend, and thankful I got to be a part of it.