Sunday, December 18, 2016

 It's December, but I wanted to go ahead and finish the post about our trip!  Don't judge me!  It was one of my bucket list trips, so I have to document it here!  We drove to Pigeon Forge, TN and went to Dollywood.  Dollywood is Dolly Parton's theme park.  It's set in the Great Smokey Mountains, which could not be more beautiful...I was blown away.  

I started loving Dolly Parton because of her roll as Truvy in Steel Magnolias, one of my favorite movies.  When I realized how many of the songs I knew that were actually written by her I started paying more attention to her music.  Now I'm a big fan.  She was raised in a tiny log cabin with her 10 (I think?) siblings.  To think of everything she's done blows me away!  She is a huge personality and I just love her. 

Dollywood has rides, a water park, a steam engine, a bald eagle sanctuary, a recreation of Dolly's Tennessee mountain home, Dolly's former tour bus, lots of shows,and my personal favorite--Chasing Rainbows.  Chasing Rainbows is a basically a Dolly Parton museum.  She has some of her awards there, information and items from her life, costumes, HANDWRITTEN LYRICS...you get the picture.  First off...when you enter the museum, you're greeted by a talking, singing DOLLY PARTON HOLOGRAM.  I was dying.  The other amazing part of the park was seeing the show, "My People".  It's a musical that includes a lot of her family members to show what life was like for the family growing up in Locust Ridge, TN.  It was so good!

Shall we kick off the photos with this gem of these cuties on the Busy Bees? Ok.


Hooray for Dollywood!

 You guys!  This pie weighs 25 pounds!

Dolly!


Looking around Dolly's old tour bus...





!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 Listening to some Dolly Parton!






This trip was amazing...my bucket list is officially shorter!  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heartsqueeze!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chimney Rock Hike

The day after James' birthday, we drove drove a couple of hours to Chimney Rock.  This was part one of a two part bucket list weekend.  We had heard about the beautiful hiking to be found at Chimney Rock, and I had an additional motive--
The last 17 minutes of this movie were filmed there.  We watched this movie a lot growing up and it is one of my all time favorites.  So!  Let's continue...

Here is the view of Chimney Rock from the ground.  Chimney Rock is the little chimney sticking out from the mountain on the left.  



To get to the top of Chimney Rock, you basically trek right up a lot of stairs.  Lucy really wanted to do them herself, she had her little hand reaching as high a she could on the hand rail and kept saying, "Ok!  I got it!"  and "Good job, Mommy!" So funny.




Seriously...how beautiful are these mountains?



 I was really glad we started the day with Chimney Rock, because the rest of the hiking was pretty level and easy for the kids to do.  After Chimney Rock we hiked to Hickory Nut Falls.  This hike was special for me because it is where The Last of the Mohecans was filmed.  

BOOM

You used to be able to hike the trail they were on, but it's no longer an option.  Hickory Nut Falls is in the film, and it was a beautiful hike.


Little Lucy and her carrots...she loves to eat them down to the ends and then grab a new one.  Weirdo:)







James looking for gold :)



It was honestly one of my favorite days.  In closing I will leave you with this clip, which Terrys quote a lot.  Too much?  Not if you're a Terry.

"YOU STAY ALIVE!"



Also this:
UNCAS FOREVER!


Friday, July 8, 2016

James boy turns 7!


James is SEVEN!!  This number feels huge!  I always feel especially emotional on James' birthday because he made us parents.  I'm going to go get the tissues...

OK!

The weekend before his birthday, we had friends over for a little Star Wars birthday party.  James is on track to love Star Wars as much as I love Harry Potter...

Now let me just start by saying that I applaud all people who are able to throw an epic party.  I really admire the organization, time management, and early preparation that it takes to pull it off. I love looking at pictures and seeing how creative people get with food, decorations, and...mostly decorations.  However, attempting to do these things myself turns me into a Momster.  I knew doing a Star Wars themed party would make it easy to fall into the Pinterest party rabbit hole, only to emerge tired and so so cranky.  I tried really hard to make it a really fun day for James, while only doing things that would keep me nice.

Behold!  My photo-editing skills!  (I have none)
I had the kids start off with some Jedi training.  They had to achieve balance by walking across our rocks, then across the Mustafar rocks.  



Next, they had to achieve speed and agility by running through hoops and ending with a trick across our mat.  Most kids did a roll, some kids did a cartwheel, some did a little jump.   







Next up: Use the force to keep these storm troopers asleep.  They just had to walk the storm troopers (hard boiled eggs) on a spoon down  to a cone and back without falling off.  James took this very seriously...


Next, I had them demonstrate bravery by going through the black hole obstacle course.  



This completed the "Jedi Training" portion, and the young Jedis moved on to missions.  First, we played pin the lightsaber on Yoda...


Next, we had to free Han Solo from carbonite.  I laminated some Han Solo printables and froze them in metal pie pans with some baking soda and water.  I gave the kids some warm vinegar water and plastic forks to chisel him out.  The vinegar and baking soda bubbles were a lot of fun for the kids, but they all went home smelling oh so strongly of vinegar...








Next, they used pool noodle lightsabers to defeat some storm troopers.  I drew storm trooper faces on a ton of balloons and Ben hung them from our fort.  I was amazed at how fast they went down.  These Jedis are NO JOKE.


Next, I told the kids they'd received a secret message from Princess Leia that they needed to decode.  I had typed out "DARTH VADER HAS KIDNAPPED ME TO TRY AND MAKE ME TELL HIM THE REBEL BASE LOCATION.  HE'S KEEPING ME AT THE FORT.  HELP ME, YOU'RE MY ONLY HOPE!"  and I numbered each word, cut them up and put them in a box.  They just had to order the words and figure out how to help Leia.



Lastly, the kids needed to defeat the Darth Vader pinata.  I had thrown a laminated Leia printable in with the candy.














Next up: snacks, cake, and gifts.  James has the cutest little friends, I'm thankful for each one of them!!  How adorable is this bunch?!?



James' cake!  Can we just take a moment to acknowledge the strong Terry personality traits in James?  Watch his face...nothing!  He's not a big fan of attention, and this video makes me laugh so hard.  






James' actual birthday was the following Friday, and I brought Krispy Kremes in for his class.  That night, the Farrells came to celebrate with us.  We saved the good stuff for this part of the day and had a big pile of Donut World donuts. Mmmmm.

The face!  Every time we sing him happy birthday!








We are so proud of the young man he is becoming!  James has the sweetest heart.  It's part of his divine nature and it's so amazing to watch it develop as he gets older.  We love this kid!!!!!!!!

At 7, James :
-LOVES reading.  
-Is Star Wars obsessed.  I hope this continues.
-Is an amazing older brother.  Jonny and Lucy have no idea how good they have it!
-Loves climbing...I need to find him a Parkour class...
-Is still a walking encyclopedia


***p.s. James and I wore matching Star Wars t shirts.  It's fine and not embarrassing for my kids at all...

...for now.