The Love of Ice Cream.

When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday with my mom’s great, big family.

It was a great way to grow up. My mom is one of 11 children, so there was always someone to play with, and there was a feeling of belonging that I just cannot imagine being equaled otherwise.  I was really loved.  And there was proof of that love all the time, but those Sundays really helped shape me, and my pride for family.

Part of the Sunday tradition — besides having the “dinner” for lunch around a great big table with the biggest lazy susan you’d ever seen, and always golf on the TV in the background — was ice cream with my PawPaw.

My PawPaw loved ice cream.  He was “in charge” of the ice cream.  I always felt like my Grandma ran the workings of the household, but when it came to ice cream I always knew that my PawPaw was the provider.

We would go into the kitchen, and we’d go to the big freezer with the huge tub of ice cream and then he’d ask, “Bowl or cone?”  He had cones stashed in a tall cabinet, but I almost always went for bowl.  Because if you got bowl — small, and cream-colored little bowls, with little black specks that reminded me of vanilla ice cream — he would put the freezing chocolate on top.  And when I was introduced to freezing chocolate syrup, I couldn’t imagine a better invention.  I really remember my Grandma first telling me about the “new freezing syrup.”  Isn’t it funny what you remember?

Ice cream with my PawPaw.  Every Sunday after dinner.  In a great big house, with a lot of people, and a million things and conversations going on — I always got that special time of picking out, and eating the ice cream with him.  Eating the ice cream with him was when we talked, and I loved that just as much as frozen syrup.

The thing that reminded me of this is — my Thomas is the same.  Every night after dinner, my oldest requests vanilla ice cream.

It’s pretty much the only sweet he eats, and it’s really one of his favorite things in the world.

So I scoop up his vanilla ice cream, into those same small, cream-colored bowls with the specks, and give Tom his favorite treat while being reminded that his love of ice cream comes from a very loving man.

And that the simple act of sharing ice cream, can create a lifetime of memories.

And I’m so thankful I have them.

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LOVE and FDR.

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Last weekend we, along with my parents and sister and her kids, spent two awesome days in cabins at FDR State Park in Pine Mountain.

I love having a trip planned for January.  LOVE.  January is kinda a bum month it seems, because the holidays are over and it’s just…kinda gray.  I love having something exciting to look forward to, and I love it even more when I’m surrounded by the people who know and love me best.  It was much needed for me, and it was truly the most wonderful time.  The kids loved it so much, they were truly sad to leave.  During our Monday morning get-ready-for-school routine, they both cried talking about wanting to go back to the cabin — proof of an amazing weekend.  (I don’t want to see them cry, but crying about loving spending time outdoors with their family kinda warms my heart! Ha!)

This weekend was also part of my birthday present to Rachel.  I want all my future birthday presents to her to all be forcing her and her family to join in on our adventures!  It felt like a present for ME, which is how I like all presents to be.  Ha!  Kidding!

So what I’m trying to say is…let’s do this every January, okay fam?

Dowdell’s Knob is my favorite.  Me and FDR — both huge Dowdell’s Knob fans. The boys had so much fun up here, and Alice considered it her own personal runway.  From here, we all hiked a short trail to see the site of a 1953 plane crash, which was interesting and something we hadn’t done before.

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We had rain and tornado warnings around 11 a.m. on Saturday, so we obviously stayed put in our cabins during that time.  It wasn’t very long before it looked like everything had died down, so Rachel, Hazel and I headed out to check out some of the overlooks.  Apparently my judgment about when weather is better is pretty poor.  We got out there and it was like…windy, cold, rainy and terrible!  It was so bad, we were laughing about how bad it was.  For instance,right before I took this picture, a tree behind me — FELL.  We heard a cracking sound, turned around, and watched a tree fall into the road.  Yep, I’m a bad judge of weather.  After this picture, we went back home until it really *did* die down.

I think the kids also feel really at home at this park.  They were always exploring!

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I’m not sure exactly what happened here.  Grandma, Alice, and Matilda decorated cupcakes for Rachel’s birthday. And then Rachel like….threw them around on her hike down to Grandma and PawPaw’s cabin?  Ha ha ha!  This makes me laugh. Anyway, here is Rachel blowing out the candles on the worst, grossest-looking set of cupcakes ever.  Happy Birthday!

We geocached so much on this trip!  We honestly had the best time doing it.  I felt like this was one of our more successful geocaching trips, and the kids really got into it this time.  A lot of bonding happens on these trips.  And a lot of excitement over treasures like — stickers, aliens, and cards.  (Alice got a playing card of someone shooting a bow and arrow?  She loves it. Ha!)

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This is how Kevin adds excitement to our trips.  A man who worked at the park came down with a backhoe to pull Kevin out of the mud.  And then after a weekend full of adventures, Matilda told me that the backhoe pulling Kevin out was the “best adventure ever!”  Ha ha!

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I’ve taken my kids to the Bigfoot Museum in North Georgia, and now Tom especially, is obsessed.  The museum has a display that shows you the types of things Bigfoots like in case you want to lure one to you — so the kids set out to do just that!  Tom put together his own set to bring, and they set it out on Saturday night.  They put out peanut butter on a stick, marbles, jingle bells, and mirror for a Bigfoot to play with.

The next morning…

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They found that one had been there!  The Bigfoot ate the peanut butter, and they could see where it had played with the things we left.  There was much excitement. (And just a little fear from Alice.)

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We had the most wonderful time, and made the best memories.  I pretty much came home and booked our next family adventure for March, and I can’t wait for it to get here!  Until next time…

Posted in Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Huck, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel, Weekly 2017 | 2 Comments

4-Year-Old Mountain Climber.

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Last Friday, I took Alice on a hike in Cartersville on the Pine Mountain Trail.

I’d never done the hike before, but the views looked awesome, and I thought the West Loop part seemed like something we could do.

So after dropping Tom off at school, and after eating her breakfast and getting ready, we set out.

Taking kids on a hike you’ve never been on can go either way.  And this hike went the totally right way.

We had the best time. Alice was a rock star.  And the hike was really, really fun.

At first Alice stopped every 5 feet or so to investigate something, or pick up a treasure to put in her backpack.  She loved every. single. thing.  Rocks, leaves, moss, sticks…everything had value to her.  She climbed rocks along the way, picked out flat rocks to sit on and eat a snack, and climbed trees as often as she could.  It honestly was the cutest, best thing!

I felt like with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I hadn’t taken the time to spend some true time with Alice on her Fridays off from school.  Lately, it had seemed, those Fridays were used for last-minute errands and such.  The whole reason I only put her in Pre-K 4-days a week was to soak up all the time before big kid school, and yet I didn’t feel like I had been taking advantage of that time lately.

This solved that. We talked, laughed, hiked, explored, and discovered new things together.  She is such a neat little person, and I just loved spending the whole day with her, without interruption.

And I could not get over how well she did.  She pretty much hiked the whole thing herself (about 2 miles).  She was in good spirits the whole time.  She never once asked if we could be done.  She just…loved it.

When we reached the top and could see the clouds and the town below, she was so proud of herself.  I told her she had climbed a mountain, and she said she couldn’t wait to tell Daddy and Tom. And then she climbed down from her rock, and began collecting more treasures — bottle caps, sticks, rocks, a pen.  She entertained herself up there for a long time.

It was a great day.  I hope I never forget the day I climbed a mountain with a 4-year-old treasure hunter.

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Not Petting Fish Is Their Fave.

On the last day of their Christmas vacation, I took Tom and Alice to the Georgia Aquarium.

I try to take them once a year, and then the rest of the year they ask to go back.  So it’s tradition!

This year was the first time that I thought to myself afterwards, “Well that was insanely easy.”

Moms, I know we don’t want our kids to grow up — but when it comes to Aquarium-going, taking a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old is where it’s at.

NO STROLLERS!  NO CRYING! NO CONSTANT SNACK HARASSMENT!  NO DIAPER CHANGES!  NO WORRYING YOUR KID IS GOING TO GET STUCK IN THAT TUBE IN THE RIVER AREA AND YOU’LL HAVE TO CROUCH DOWN AND WIGGLE IN THERE TO SAVE THEM IN FRONT OF THE VIEWING WINDOW WHERE THE OTHER MOMS ARE WATCHING YOU!

The kids had THE. BEST. time.  It was awesome.  They loved everything like they’d never seen it before.  And we just had the most wonderful day.  It was one for the memory books.  It was one of those days that felt like…the perfect day.

We had so much fun, that I was really curious what their favorite part of the day was.

Me: “What was your favorite thing we saw or did today?”

Tom: “I liked the part where we could pet the fish!”

Alice: “Me too!  I loved that part!!”

Me: “Did y’all actually touch the fish?”

Tom and Alice: “No!”

Happy Aquarium Day!

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Here she is…not touching this shark.

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We got splashed with dolphin water during the show, which was their second favorite thing.

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Posted in Alice, Motherhood, Tom, Weekly 2017 | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas In The New Year!

Hi y’all!

I’ve decided that one of my main New Year’s resolutions is…

(drumroll)

I’m going to post a blog at least once a week!

(rejoice)

It’s going to be oh-so-thrilling for us all, right?!

(crickets)

And I just want to put out there, that posting this week’s blog is taking a massive effort because I got a new computer for Christmas (yay!) and I have no idea how to work it (boo!). Lucky for my husband, I LOVE CHANGE AND TECHNOLOGY so I’m sure he’s excited I won’t be harassing him non-stop for this entire first year of new-computer-dom.

So here we go! Week ONE of 2017 — and I’m going to recap Christmas, which was filled with family, friends, adventures, and awesomeness. I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures of any of it.

(she kids)

We…decorated gingerbread houses (pre-built houses ALL THE WAY), decorated Christmas cookies, and our Elf (who never gets into mischief) visited with breakfast one day and a cool experiment one day and then just moved around all the other days.

We also…visited Santa and the Pink Pig with family, ran a 5K with friends under Christmas lights, picked out our Christmas tree moments before Tom threw up on my shoes, and saw the Christmas parade in Mimi and Pops’ town!

And then we…experienced a couple of new things!  Like visiting Santa’s toy shop at the cute Bear Hollow Zoo in Athens (THE BEST!!), and hanging out around our town’s awesome lights display (I cannot believe there is an awesome, completely amazing, FREE thing here! It’s beautiful and I love it and I could gush about it forever but I won’t.)

After all that…it was time for us to harass our families with our love, gifts, weird noses, and wine.

And then it was Christmas…and Santa came, and Alice left him a carnation along with his cookies, and Tom got a huge Transformer, and Alice got the baby of her dreams, and their cousins came over and they played all day while the adults ate snacks and drank festive drinks, and then Tom passed out in a bed of robots which is what Christmas is all about.

The End. (And Merry Christmas!)

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Posted in Alice, Family, Holidays, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Weekly 2017 | 4 Comments

Elfing Ourselves.

My kids have watched this approximately 27 times and they laugh hysterically every time. LOVE!

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Rock City Christmas.

We saw Rock City!  (Again!)

If you’ll recall, Rock City was our first stop on our road trip adventure this summer, so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to go back and see it at night all decked out for Christmas!

I’ve been doing some writing for the 365 Atlanta Family blog, and — lucky us! — this was my latest assignment.  (See my article here: Your Guide to Rock City Christmas!)

My main takeaways were:  It was wonderfully done, and super beautiful.  Everyone who worked there was really nice and helpful.  And it was really pretty cold up there!

Now, Kevin doesn’t care at all about Christmas lights (Grinch!), but he did say this was his favorite light display I’ve made him go to.  Ha!  High Praise!

It was fun, and we went on a school night (gasp!) so the kids thought it was the best thing in the whole world.

And I must tell you, I spent $20 (!!!) on this family photo they took there because Tom’s face made me laugh so hard, I just had to have it.  When I asked him about it, he said, “Well, I used my biggest smile!” LOVE.

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(They’re with Jack Frost and a Snow Queen.)

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(They’re playing in there.  They actually played in this area for a long time!)

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(View of Chattanooga from the top!)

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