Roadtrippin’: Owensboro, Kentucky

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My aunt and uncle, cousins, and their families live in Owensboro, KY — and I had never been there.

I’d never been to Kentucky at all actually, so when I realized that Owensboro was about halfway between Atlanta and Gigi’s house in Illinois, I asked my family if they could meet up with us.

And they welcomed us with open arms and it was the most fun — I’m so happy we were able to do this!

I hadn’t seen my cousins in a couple years, so it was wonderful to see them, catch up with them, and watch our kids play together!  It was so, so great.  I honestly thought it would be fun, but it was pretty much one of those perfect nights that just exceeds every expectation.

We met up with them at an awesome pizza place downtown that was right next to the most amazing park I’ve ever seen.  My cousin, Laura, had told me that this park was like…one of the top 10 parks in the country, and I believe it.  It was beautiful!

This park is along the Ohio River, has the most massive playground that connects to everything, has all of these cool creatures to climb and play on, has a splash area, lots of seating and swings, and music piped in.  Amazing!

Seeing my cousins and their kids was so fun.  Our kids’ are all pretty close in age, and they all played like they’d known each other forever!

Tom loved being chased by my cousin’s husband, Josh.  And the next morning Tom asked if Josh could come over and play with him before we left. Ha!

My cousin Lisa had a new baby girl who we got to meet, and Tom and Alice both took turns LOVING on her!  Poor girl couldn’t get a break!  But she was the most adorable little thing.

I loved catching up with my aunt and uncle, too!  It was really just the most amazing night.

The kids played on the playground until it was pretty much totally dark, and we had to make our way through the tons of kids/teens who were playing Pokemon Go everywhere!  I had never seen so many people playing that game in one place!  (Tom plays too, but we’re not serious about it and really have no idea what we’re doing. Ha!)

Watching Alice play with Gabriella and Lily, watching Tom playing with Jonah, catching up with my cousins and aunt and uncle — it was just the best.

It was just a magical night. We still talk about how much fun it was.

I’m thrilled we were able to see them, and I hope this becomes a tradition when we make our way north again.

Thank you for having us, Kentucky!  We LOVE you!

(For some reason, I have no pictures of me with my Aunt Cheryl!  Or Josh!  They were there, promise!)

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Oh, and we stopped back by the park quickly before we hit the road the next morning!  Tom really wanted to try out the splash pad before we left. He just couldn’t get enough.  Tom would like to live in Owensboro.:)

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LOVE!

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Roadtrippin’: Rock City.

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Hi, y’all!

We just returned from nine days on the road!

We drove through 11 states, stayed in seven hotels, visited two great-grandmas, saw lots of family, and had the absolute best of times.

There is no way we could’ve had a better trip.  It was truly the best.

We made memories we will have forever, and I’m so, so happy we did it!

And I learned something new about my kids: They are amazing travelers.

There was nothing they didn’t like.  They loved everything!  They loved every person! They loved every hotel swimming pool! It was like they were made for traveling.  It was great.

We truly cannot wait to do something like this again.

My plan for blogging about this was to do it day by day, but day 1 was actually so insanely full of fun, I have to divide it up.

One blog entry cannot handle it!😉

The purpose of this trip was to visit Kevin’s great-grandmas, who live in Illinois and Indiana.  But we added some other stuff along the way, to help break up the trip with things we just thought the kids would be interested in.

So that first Thursday morning, we left here around 8:45 a.m. and headed up to Rock City.

We keep meaning to take our kids up to Chattanooga for a weekend, but we just haven’t done it yet — so we thought this little stop would be a perfect break for lunch.  And I had never been to Rock City, so I was anxious to see what it was about.

Oh my gosh — it was amazing.

I can’t remember exactly, but I think we arrived around 11:30 and wanted to be back on the road by 1:30.  I’m telling you this because we totally didn’t have enough time to see everything Rock City has to offer!  But we had an absolutely amazing time. The kids LOVED it. Kevin and I LOVED it.  We just kept saying that we couldn’t wait to come back someday to explore it all more.  It was great.

It’s just like…a kids paradise.  It’s nature, and beautiful views, and neat caves, and little gnomes hidden in every nook and cranny.  There’s a Fairyland Cavern where you can see famous fairytale scenes throughout — and they are amazing!  And a Mother Goose Village that was pretty much the coolest.  It was just really, really neat.

We loved the “Fatman’s Squeeze” (Confession: I hate this name!  I posted a pic of it to my Instagram and wanted desperately not to use the name. Ha!  I think it’s gross or something.  It gives me the creeps!)  Anyway, it IS a really tight squeeze, which was just neat to walk through.  The whole place was just beautiful.

We really enjoyed everything we did there.  Definitely a great place for young kids, and the absolute greatest way to start off our road tripping adventure.  The kids had so much fun, they pretty much zonked out as soon as we got back to the car to make our way to our first overnight stop.  BEST EVER.

I’m so glad we saw Rock City!  We can’t wait to see it again!

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Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

July 4th.

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I have so. many. photos. from July 4th weekend.  (As you will soon see.)

I mean, I narrowed them down significantly, and still…so many.

But that’s what happens when you have so much fun!

We went to Mimi and Pops’ lake house on Saturday and spent the night, so we got to go out on Sunday too.  And it was an absolute blast!  The kids love being on the boat and swimming in the lake.  And we just bought Huck his own doggie life vest in an effort to get him to hang in the water with us (as opposed to barking at us from the boat in what I imagine is something like “GET OUT OF THERE NOW! YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!”)

We spent our days catching frogs, fishing, hanging out, taking impromptu naps, and just enjoying each other and the absolutely gorgeous weather! It was awesome.

On actual July 4th, Rachel and her kids came to spend the day with us.  I got this one photo of them looking all cute and patriotic.  The rest of the day they were playing hard!  It was such a fun day, and I’m so glad they were here.

Now please enjoy approximately 251 photos of us having a blast on the lake.

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Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Holidays, Huck, Kevin, Motherhood, Play, Tom, Travel | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Discovering Legoland Discovery.

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During Alice’s camp week one day, I took Tom to Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta.

Tom did not know this place existed, so he was pretty thrilled!

I had been thinking of taking him, but had heard mixed reviews.  But when I took Alice to see Pancakes, Pancakes!, there was a “buy one get one free” coupon in the program, so I took that as a sign that I should take him and see for myself!

And I’m so happy we did!  We went right when it opened at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday — and that turned out to be a great time.  There were not that many people there at that time, and that made everything awesome. (I could see how on a more crowded day/time, it would not be nearly as fun.  I think timing is everything for this place.)

Tom was so excited to see everything, he practically zoomed through all the rooms!  I had to get him to slow down to look at everything!

He got his own signature Legoland Lego, and then was off to Miniland — a room that had some famous Atlanta landmarks made entirely of Legos!  So neat!

After that, we rode the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride (we rode this twice with no wait).  We loved this!  The entire set up was really neat, and the goal is to shoot the bad guys with your laser guns to rescue the good guys and earn points. It was really fun.

Then we headed to the “main” area — which had a lot of different stuff.  It had another ride (that Tom wasn’t interested in for some reason), Earthquake tables (to see if the buildings you built could stand up to quakes), car races, a pirate ship play area, and boat racing (his most favorite thing EVER!).

Tom loved the boats.  LOVED the boats.  He hung out here for at least an hour.  He would build boats and race them down the water.  Huge hit.

I finally made him take a break to watch the 4D Lego movie with me — LOVED!  We got rained on, spit on, and snowed on, which we are apparently big fans of. Ha!

All in all, it was a great day.  It was a really fun thing to do for his “special day” and it was great to spend the day with just Tom.

While we were there, my sweet Tom mentioned that we should “bring Alice with us next time” and that “Daddy would love this place, because he loves Legos!”  Even though I know he had a great time, that child is always thinking about others.  LOVE his sweet soul.

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Posted in Motherhood, Play, Tom | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pancakes, Pancakes! Rain, Rain!

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On the last day that Tom was at Lego camp, Alice and I joined our friends Keri and Maggie for a performance of Pancakes, Pancakes! (based on an Eric Carle book) at the Alliance Theatre.

And it was beyond great!

The acting, set, and music was all so very well done — we adored it.  It was my first time going to the Alliance Theatre, but definitely won’t be my last.  So impressive, and so much fun for all of us girls!

Before and after the performance, we played at the new High Museum art installation — very awesome (and super hot) slides!  The girls absolutely loved the slides, and just running around, and playing inside.  But man — those slides were HOT!!  Oh my goodness, all the kids were kind of — picking up their legs to go down the slides without burning!  The kids loved it, though.  So fun, and so unique.  This is the second art installation we’ve gone to see, and I just love them!  Definitely worth a trip.

After playing, we walked a couple blocks to get some pizza.  The girls were way too interested in each other, and not really eating, and after awhile Alice said she was ready to go. We were parked in a different place that Keri and Maggie, so we decided we’d just go ahead and go.

And I am not kidding you when I say, approximately 30 seconds after walking out of the restaurant, it POURED.  I sort of looked up right before, and saw the rain hitting the buildings downtown — and I said something like, “I think it’s going to rain on us!” and then it just…POURED.  Poured, and poured, and so hard I thought it may hail!  Ha!  Everyone we passed, and I mean EVERYONE, was laughing and smiling because it was the craziest rain and it caught everyone off guard.  It was a great feeling of camaraderie out there, and Alice LOVED it.  We had the best time getting soaked with strangers on the street.

It was a truly great day.

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Posted in Baby Girl, Motherhood, Play | 3 Comments

Legos and Zoos.

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As summer was approaching, one of Tom’s friends asked if Tom could do a week-long Lego summer camp with him.

And then one of Alice’s friends asked if she could do a week-long Eric Carle summer camp with her.

I wasn’t really planning on signing them up for camps, because I kind of want to hog my children all the time.  But both kids were excited about doing a camp with their friends, so I signed them up!

They happened to be on different weeks — so that meant I had one week to spend with Alice while Tom was at camp, and one week to spend with Tom while Alice was at camp.

And it was awesome.

And in the end, if you can believe this, BOTH of the kids’ friends had something come up, so both my children ended up going to a camp where they knew no one.  I cannot tell you how incredibly impressed I was with the kids — they loved their camps and made new friends and it was great!  I never would’ve signed them up without the push, but I’m really glad I did.

I think both kids really loved their camp weeks, and their weeks at home.  Alice’s camp had short days, but Tom’s camp was from 9-4!  I was so nervous it would be too much for him, but he really, REALLY loved it, and I think he felt like he was a big kid.  He told me after the first day that he “didn’t want to wear shirts with designs on them, just plain shirts.”  I had no idea where that came from (95% of his shirts have designs — sharks, dinos, stuff like that) but then I noticed the bigger kids in the camp (it went up to 5th grade) didn’t wear shirts with designs!  Oh my goodness, Tom really wanted to be “big”.  After camp, he went back to his dino shirts. Whew!

On the last day of Tom’s Lego camp, they handed out awards.

(To which Tom said, “Why do people give kids awards all the time?”  Hahaha! #notimpressed)

Tom came home with the “cleaner upper” award, for being great at cleaning up at the end of the day.

Ummm…what?

I asked Tom about it, because he is the worst cleaner upper ever at home, and he told me that, “Cleaning up Legos is way easier than cleaning anything at home.”

Now you know.

On one of the days Tom was at camp, I took Alice to the zoo.  Just me and her.

It was really fun.  We only looked at the animals she really wanted to see, and we spent A LOT of time at her favorite things — the carousel, train, playground, and splash pad.  We have season passes, so we only spent a couple hours, but it was so fun to be with just my girl for the outing!  She was a happy girl.

I love these summer days. LOVE.

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Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Motherhood, Tom | 1 Comment

Helen.

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We headed out to Helen this week for a day spent tubing down the Chattahoochee River, picnicking near a creek, and hiking to see Anna Ruby Falls — all with my mom, sister, and my sister’s kiddos.

It was a great day!

We got there right around 10 a.m. (on a Wednesday) and it was the perfect time!

We were pretty much the only people there, and the only ones on the river for awhile.

That was good — because it took the two littles (Hazel and Alice) a little bit to get used to just…floating down the river.

The river was actually pretty low this time around (we also did this last year) — so getting stuck on rocks happened a bit more.  But we were wearing our river shoes, so it was “easy” for me to get out and pull us off.

I put “easy” in quotes, because although it was actually easy, I still managed to fall twice!  Ha!

The first time, I got out to pull us off the rocks in ankle-deep water, I took one step forward and basically walked off a cliff!  I went all the way down to my chest!

And that water is COLD!  Ha!  The kids (and everyone) thought it was hilarious.

We pulled over a couple times during the float to let the kids play in the sand and throw rocks.  All of the kids LOVED that part!  I really think after stopping the first time, everyone was super happy.  They just needed some breaks in there!

The whole float down the river took about 3 hours — but it was a gorgeous day, with great weather, and we all had an absolute blast!  (We also had snacks and water for the kids during the float, which they loved.)

After the float, we took the short drive over to Anna Ruby Falls.  Anna Ruby has the most beautiful picnic area in the woods.  The tables are along a pretty big creek, and there are just tons of things to explore there.  Rachel and I have now been there twice, and both times we were the only people there!  It’s beautiful!

My mom brought a picnic lunch for all of us, so we ate there, explored a bit, and then headed up to see the falls.

Anna Ruby Falls is beautiful.  It’s only about .5 mile hike up to the falls’ viewing area, and it’s paved.  It’s a really beautiful “hike” up — the kids were climbing rocks and sliding down them, Tom and Gus were finding snails, and Alice was singing “Votes for Women!” (from Mary Poppins) while hoisting a found mushroom over her head.  You know…the normal stuff.😉

The falls were awesome, the kids were kind of semi-unimpressed (it’s more fun just to chase your cousins around I guess…) and then we were off, and my crew was heading back down to enjoy some really awesome Atlanta traffic.

It was a great day, and I’m so happy we were able to do it again this summer.

I’m thinking next year, we should rent a cabin or something along the river for a couple days.  I’d really love to explore Helen more, and I already know there is so much to do around there!  #futuredreams

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(After fall!)

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And Hazel made you two awesome home videos.  You will love these movies if you are Hazel’s grandparents, cousins, parents, or aunt/uncles, and I’m sure you will agree she has a future in film.

Enjoy!

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Motherhood, Play, Tom, Travel | Tagged , | 2 Comments