Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Pics & Gooey Pumpkins

While we were in Pigeon Forge, we decided to take advantage of all the really cute and festive decorations placed all over town.

Uh huh,......We're from Texas

Best friends.  Really. :)

How's that, for using a camera with a timer!  HA!

Parker is SO excited about carving his pumpkin.  He was just plain giddy!

The tops are off, and it's time to dig in!

Hannah is a little grossed out. hee, hee :)

Parker was proclaiming his disgust, and asking daddy to dig out the "yucky!"

My five 'head-less horsemen.'   Aren't they adorable?!


Friday, September 28, 2012

A "Kornfusing" Korn Maze!!

Last Saturday, after we finished the really painful wonderful hike; 'Chimney Tops', we thought we would spend the next few hours of our day getting lost running around in a couple of corn mazes.

Who doesn't want to bury their kids in a corn tub?!

Or send them SOARING in the sky on a jumping pillow?!

Or even speeding down a HUGE tube, for who knows what this thing is!?

Yeah, it was fun. :)

Just a swingin'.......

If you look inside this tube, you can see one of the girls' feet.  They were both inside, while Zach swung.

There were also cute rabbits, sheep, goats, chickens and a pig to admire.

Here is an entrance to some of the fun stuff and a couple of mazes.

This is what it looked like inside of the maze.  We were wondering around forevaaaa......

 I'll admit it.  The girls and I got lost inside the ENORMOUS corn maze, trying to conquer the scavenger hunt.  It was a little scary.  You can't even stand on your tippy toes to see civilization!  It just kept going and going and going...... (I thought about suggesting to the owners, that they need to put a cow bell around the visitor's necks, just in case they want to give up.  Then they could get rescued. :)

Well, we eventually got out and won our treasured magnet for our prize.  Whew!

The whole farm was so clean and well manicured.  Even the bathrooms were adorable.
These outside sinks are old wash tubs.  :)

My little pumpkins. :)

At the end of our day, we went on a nice little hay ride to a cute little pumpkin patch.

We all picked our special pumpkin from the patch. :)

It is so funny to me that my OLDEST son picked the SMALLEST pumpkin he could find!

Here they are!  Aren't they SO cute!?

It was a LONG day, but DEFINITELY a FUN one. :)

It is times like this, when I wish I had a bathtub.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chimney Tops Trail - "No Pain, No Gain!"

Our last hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was BRUTAL!

It is TWO MILES UP!  And  I mean, UP!

At first, you are tricked into thinking it is so peaceful and beautiful and quaint.

I love suspension bridges.

But then, the ground starts moving vertically.  And doesn't stop.....

Until you reach the tippy-top of Chimney Tops Trail.

Just breath-taking.

Todd and Tanner went to the absolute top edge of the mountain!  They took these pics for me, because I am a BIG wimp.  I was doing good just getting to the 'normal' spot, of the top of the mountain! :)

I was SO very proud of us ALL!  We did it!
This is definitely, the most difficult hike we have done since we hit the road.  Or ever.......

I was so sore........  For days..........  Literally.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clingmans Dome

Heading to the border of North Carolina, in the Great Smoky Mountains, we went to the 3rd highest point, east of the Mississippi.  At 6,643 feet, it is the highest point in the Smokys'.

Up, up, up, we climbed, a half mile VERTICAL walk way, to the dome.

Can you say, "I feel the burn!?"  It was a work out!

We also noticed this sweet, little guy eating an acorn.

This is part of the walk way to the tower.

The view was so beautiful.  This picture just doesn't do it justice, that is for sure!

Here, if you look at the clouds on the left, they were moving in  pretty quick.  They were at eye-level, which was so cool. ;)

On a clear day, you can see a hundred miles away.  I love all the shades of blue, too.

 There is a European beetle eating up the forest.  You can see its damage from these dead trees.

It looks as if you can just scoop up that cloud!  Dye it pink, and call it 'cotton-candy!'


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Tanner!!

Well.  How else would a FIFTEEN year old wake up in the morning?!

But, seriously, Tanner turned fifteen recently, and I am STILL in shock.  How can this happen!?

Hannah wrote a sweet song for him. :)

Emily made him some kind of chop-stick-weapon-looking-thingy. :)

He had his FIRST shave!  Just CRAZY!  My boy is shaving!!

Uh.  Yep.  We ALL wanted to watch!  hee, hee :)

All he wanted was money.....such a teenager!  So he took me on a date to the outlet mall, loaded up on some really handsome clothes, and fed me at Subway.  YUM!

For his birthday menu, he chose:

Breakfast: Lucky Charms Cereal and Cinnamon Poptarts, with orange juice (sooo healthy)

Lunch: Pizza and fruit salad, with Dr. Pepper

Dinner:  Fried chicken and bacon.  Yes.  You read that right!  He loves junky-fatty-foods.  (I threw in some more fruit salad, so I wouldn't feel so guilty!)

Good thing I decide what my family eats, and not my teenager, right? HA!

Tanner, we love you so much.  You are such a fun-loving, 'tough' teddy bear. :)
You have such a great work ethic, and I can't wait to see how the Lord leads you in your future!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Rainy Days

I recently had someone ask me, "What do you do on a rainy day?"  Normally, this may not seem like a 'problem' but when there are SEVEN people living in 300 square feet, it is an IMPORTANT question.

If we are in an area that has a history/science museum, then we take advantage of the indoor facilities, and spend the day there, learning and playing till our heart's content.  But, if there is not one, then we have to get creative at home, and get into 'Survival Mode!'

Tanner is taking guitar lessons online, so that is not only giving him something to do on rainy days, but EVERYDAY!  He loves it!  He is also earning a music credit this year for his High School requirements. :)  The girls ALWAYS come up with some kind of creative, art project or just a way to get the table REALLY messy......  :)

Big brother Zach is the BEST at occupying Parker.  :)  He will help him build Bionicles, Legos, or create a Star Wars reenactment to last for hours!  YEAH!  Sometimes, the girls are so impressed by what they are playing, that they will also join in on the fun.

Next thing we know, it is lunch or dinner time, and then the rainy day is gone.  What is hard, is when it lasts for days and days on end!  UG!

That is just plain AWFUL.

Can you say, INSANE?


BUT.  We survive, and get through it, like any other challenge in life.  :)  The Lord is SO good, to stretch us in ways that grow us, and help us to persevere.  It is for my good.......It is for my good......It is for good.......


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Date!

Every family has traditions or things they try to make as a priority.  One of ours is Daddy-Daughter-Dates.  :)  Todd will take one of his daughters out for dinner, or a walk in the park, or even get a ice cream cone.  It is a special time with each of his girls, to share with them his encouragement, love and support.

I also take out the boys.  We have done these type of 'dates' ever since they started walking.  REALLY!
I remember a date with Tanner, when he was about 2 years old, and all he wanted to do was go to the toy section of Walmart!  HA!   I LOVE this special time, and I pray that as they get older, and even have families of their own, that they will continue this tradition.

A couple of weeks ago, Todd took Hannah and Emily on a VERY special date.  They both adore horses, and talk about them, draw them and play with them often, so when Todd took them horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains, it was a HUGE deal!

Sugarlands Riding Stables was such a great company.  They even let the girls pick the color or 'kind' of horse that they wanted to ride on.  For an entire hour, my girls had a little piece of Heaven with their dad.


Thursday, September 20, 2012


In Pigeon Forge, TN., there is a really fun, really wonderful amusement park!  Dollywood was so great!

Tanner and Zach have been washing cars, trucks and RV's to earn money while we are on the road.  It has been SUCH an awesome experience for them.  They are earning good money, too!

Well, one day, Zach washed someone's car and they not only gave him $15, BUT......get this..... they gave him 4 tickets to Dollywood!  FREE tickets!  That is worth over $200!  FREE!

We were SO pumped!  We hugged our neighbor for their generosity.  She smiled and explained how her and her husband have been 'working' part time at the Splash Center next to Dollywood for the summer, and they receive all kinds of different 'perks.'  :)  She thought we would enjoy the tickets.  :)

I love nice people.  :)

I tried the tea cups with Parker, and decided that I don't like to feel like I need to throw up....
I guess the boys think it's cool......

Parker felt like such a big boy on this mini-rollercoaster.

He was laughing out loud on this bee ride!

I was laughing out loud at Todd on the bee ride!

Here is Dolly's retired tour bus.  It is a couple feet longer than our toy-hauler, but does not have slides.  Still, she had a pretty sweet set up.  :)

This is the bedroom inside the tour bus.

This is her vanity in the bus, too.
I couldn't help but imagine Dolly getting all fancy for one her shows.

This is the new ride at Dollywood; the Wild Eagle.  This ride has already won awards for the best new rollercoaster in America.  It was truly scary, fun, thrilling and mind blowing all at the same time!

For lunch, we brought a picnic and had a little tail-gating party in the parking lot.  Have you ever seen the prices of the food in amusement parks today?!  CRAZY!  We grilled up some jalapeno and cheese hot dogs and some traditional hot dogs, throw in some chips and drinks, and we were all happy.  :)

Another great thing about Dollywood, is if you go one day after 3:00, you can go again on another day, ALL DAY!  So we were able to go for almost 2 days worth, and only had to buy 3 tickets!