Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
We started ours a little bit early by going to Zoo Boo! here in town.

The pictures are a little dark, but hopefully you enjoy seeing our Itsy Bitsy Spider aka Micah.

Mommy and Itsy.
Daddy & Itsy.
It was so full of people, Itsy had a hard time concentrating on Mommy & Daddy for his photos.
But what else do you expect out of an eleven month old?
YES, yesterday was his eleven month birthday!!

Everything else was so much more interesting that photo taking.
That or he was more interested in sucking his fingers...
Grabbing the straw off decorated animals...

Fighting with Mommy over taking a picture sans two fingers...
Trying to eat hay or mums...
I hear mums are quite delectable...
(He actually tried to eat the mums, but thankfully I grabbed them from his clutches just in time!)
Either way, our little Itsy had a good time at the zoo!
(Thanks, Beau for letting us borrow your costume!)
Happy Halloween, y'all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All access to a pirate party.

Today, we went to our annual (well, at least fourth annual for Hannah) Beauchamp family birthday party. It's super hard to believe that Hannah was born four years ago now, and Beau's already two! At any rate, each year we enjoy some time with our special friends, the Beauchamps. (Short background: our husbands have been friends since 2001! Tami and I met through our then boyfriends turned fiances turned husbands. We were all married a month apart, and we were neighbors for about five years! Needless to say, we love this special family!)

Since both kids were born in October, Tami does a joint birthday party for Hannah and Beau. This year's theme was all about pirates and mermaids, and we had all access to this pirate (get it: private--pirate--ok, bad joke) party! Mr. C works night shift all week long and then keeps Micah all day long, so usually Saturdays are spent just the two of us because Daddy needs to sleep. He tried to wake up for the party, but he was still asleep so Micah and I headed out to "the country" to enjoy our fabulous friends. Here are some of the pictures I took of the day.

Anna Marie, Jamie (Len's sister), and Beau

"Uncle Lenny" with Micah
I had specific instructions not to put this photo on facebook. So I'm not.
Nobody said I couldn't put it on the blog, though!

These two pictures made Mr. C laugh so hard and wish he woke up in time. (Not kidding, Mr. C laughed at these two for about five minutes. So I had to share.)

Tami & Len cracking up about their crazy pirate get ups complete with fake mustache and pirate hat as Tami tried to kiss Len.
And here is why they were laughing so hard, but I love this picture!! =)
Micah spent most of the party like this--on the lamb from his Mommy!

There was some merriment from a mermaid opening her presents and playing "Pin the Tail on the Mermaid" for some entertainment.
More pictures of adults acting ridiculous by wearing children's party accessories...
Incredible cake eating...
Two sets of present openings because the kids snuck their presents outside and opened them up under the swing set in the backyard.

That story also had Mr. C laughing for about five minutes wishing he could have seen all I described.
A great time was had by all, and we're so thankful for our friends the Beauchamps!

Our Saturday.

Every Saturday is Micah and Mommy day. This isn't because Daddy doesn't love us, but after Daddy has stayed up all day watching his son after working all night long for an entire week...he crashes. So unless we have to, we don't make big plans on Saturday. Usually Daddy comes home from work between ten and eleven in the morning, takes a shower, and goes to sleep until about five in the afternoon. In some ways, I hate it because I never feel like we have a "family day" where we can all hang out. Our family day ends up being on Sunday since Mr. C is actually feeling like a human. In other ways, it is nice to have some undivided Micah time. He and I spend the day running errands, cleaning the house, playing, laughing, and spending quality time together.

This Saturday seemed like a good diaper and pjs day. So that is what we did. Micah stayed in his diaper most of the day (very Southern redneck of me) while I was in my pajamas until it was time to leave for Hannah and Beau's party.

He enjoyed looking out the window at his dog brother and sister...
He has started making these ridiculously funny faces that I happen to catch on film every once and a while.
Then he spent the morning playing with socks.
Yes, socks.
This has become his favorite thing recently, and he makes a beeline for the laundry to play with some socks. Don't ask me why. He loves them.
Then it was time to get into the cabinet full of Tupperware to bang on the floor.
Mr. C and I have joked that his Christmas should consist of socks, Rubbermaid bowls, and wooden spoons this year.
He just loves getting into this cabinet.

It's kind of hard to see, but he has his friend right beside him. Cop Cop joined us for the day of playing with kitchen cabinets.

I just love playing with my mommy's kitchen things!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Family vacation day 6 and 7.

Are you getting tired of our family vacation posts about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains yet?? Well, rest assured, this is the last day to post anything mountain related until our next trip to the mountains (which with me can't be over two years apart.) I'm so sad! We leave in the morning, and then the day after tomorrow it is back to work. How did it pass by so quickly?

Well, we had a few things on the agenda for today:

1. See a bear.
2. Go to Cade's Cove.
3. Get some more "Christmas card" quality photo possibilities.
4. Hike to a falls of some sort with the baby.

Would you like to guess which of those things on the list got accomplished??

I'd like to think that we checked off numbers 1-3!! Yes!! We saw bears!! And I did use the plural word because there were three bear sightings for our family today!!!! Ahhhhh!!! (Background info to new blog readers: I'm an avid mountain lover. I have spent several summers in Montana. I absolutely love bears, and I just make it my goal to see one on every major National Park trip if I can!)

Here's the bad news.

I did not get one. Stinkin. Picture. Of. A. Bear.


Well, we set out from the cabin at our leisurely ten o'clock in the morning for Cade's Cove. It is a fairly famous locale in GSMNP (Great Smoky Mountain National Park) known for being one of the first permanent settlements over into Tennessee. Or something history buffish like that. There are several original cabins and churches you can visit on an eleven mile road or "cove" that sits in a beautiful valley nestled between the mountains.

Blah, blah, blah.

My reason for going? I had heard many a tale of active bears this season in the Cade's Cove area. Boy, active is an understatement of the century.

So we're driving along this beautiful river on our way to Cade's Cove. See exhibit A--

The river.
We decide to get out to take pictures of the river, cascades, and the waterfalls. See exhibit B:

Flowing water pictures.

See Exhibit C:

Mommy entertaining baby as Daddy takes more pictures.
See Exhibit D:

Me in the water with the baby.
See Exhibit---oh, wait. NO BEAR PICTURE.

Here's what happened. We were driving down the road, when we see some cars stop in the dead center of the road. Now, if you are not into the National Park scene, let me clue you in. If you see everybody stopped in the middle of the road--DON'T HONK! THERE IS SOME KIND OF GREAT ANIMAL TO SEE.

Sure enough, Mr. C goes, "Look!! It's a bear!!"

There in the middle of the river I had just been frolicking in above, was a black bear fishing on the side of the road!! It was GSMNP heaven, my friends!

Me: "Oh! Get your camera! Where's your camera? Get the camera!"

Mr. C: "I think it is back there."

Me: "Back where??"

Mr. C: "Um, back there."

Me: "We have to take a piiiiicccctuuuurrree! It will be a great blog post!" (Freaking out.)

Mr. C: "We have to move, traffic is backing up."

Me, fumbling around in the backseat. "WHERE IS IT?!?! PULL OVER!!"

Mr. C pulls over and gets out Mack Daddy Super Zoom Lens.

Me, handing Mr. C the finally found camera: "Go back and get the picture! Just don't get charged at by a bear or eaten or killed. I don't want to be a widow."

Mr. C gets out of the car, walks back towards the bear (yeah, we're dumb...whatever you'd do it, too), gets camera ready to aim for our bear in the stream pictures...


The bear runs off into the woods.

Mr. C returns to the car.

Me: "Please tell me you got the shot before the honk."

Mr. C shakes his head.

Me: "NOOOOO!!!!" Then I proceed to throw a hissy fit saying mean illogical things towards Stupid Honking Man over not getting my bear picture. You see, we were the third people to see this bear. We would have had a golden shot because no one else knew about the bear yet. Oh, I was so mad!!

Instead, I get to show you some deer we saw upon entrance to Cade's Cove.
Who apparently couldn't do anything but look directly at us.
Isn't that all the luck?
But before we actually got to Cade's Cove...guess what we saw again? Oh, yes my friends. Another bear. Only this time the bear was high up in the tree, millions of people were swarming and pulled over to view the bear, Park Rangers were yelling at people to "not stop in the road", and I sent Mr. C with his camera (yes, again!) only to not have a lens able to see the bear because by this point he was too far up the tree. Mr. C said the bear looked like "a squirrel" he was so little. Oh, well. Onto Cade's Cove.
At least we saw some turkeys. I mean, who doesn't think your Smoky Mountain trip is complete without a picture of these guys??

Can you feel my pain?
When I finally got over the fact that I would never have my Smoky Mountain bear episode documented on film, I decided to at least document my cute ten month old. So we got out of car, let him have some fun playing in the open field below the mountains, and take pictures. I think we got some cute ones!



Then, in an effort to find "Christmas card worthy" photos, I posed with Micah.
Our family posed together.
We took pictures of the gorgeous (albeit bearless, nope, not bitter) scenery.
We found a tree stump to take Micah's pictures. (His shirt says, "You moost be joking" with a picture of a moose head in honor of our mountain adventures.)
Mr. C took some candids of nature.

This pic hasn't been photoshopped yet, but I think when it is lightened up it will be really cute of our little butterball. :)
By this point, my idea to go to Cade's Cove had turned into an all day affair. Who knew that an eleven mile loop could take four hours? Oh, yes it can! Especially if the car in front of you is going somewhere between 2-5 miles per hour taking pictures out of their sunroof the entire time.

Micah got in some good sleep, though. We pulled over, and while he slept played around with the camera some more.

Me in the middle of Cade's Cove.
My man in the middle of Cade's Cove.
Aren't we cute?
Ninety seven hours later, we were finally leaving traffic congested Cade's Cove with a vow never to go back during peak holiday season. By this point, it was four in the afternoon. That didn't leave us enough time for a hike, so we headed back to our cabin leaving all the beautiful fall foliage behind--oh! And another bear sighting on the way out also blocked by park rangers. We didn't even bother trying to get a photo this time. We just kept driving.
Day seven (Saturday--today) was spent shopping and enjoying our last day being lazy at the cabin. No pictures were taken, but...

We will miss this place! It was a wonderful week!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Family vacation day 5.

So here is what our view looked like this morning from the cabin:
Notice (zoom lens), the faint "dusting" of snow we thought we saw in the distance.
Is it true? Could all that rain we got yesterday actually have been snow in the higher elevations? Hmmm, we wondered.
It was kind of hard to tell because the glorious clouds had parted with some sun. And anyway, you get the idea. We decided to leave the cabin to get some pancakes for breakfast and explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park again.



So this handsome happy fellow with his impressive talent and camera, a cute baby, and I went to explore the park.

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As you can see by his crazy, wild was super windy!
Also note the fall colors at the lower elevations. You are about to see what we discovered after talking to a friendly man at the ranger station who advised us to "quickly move to the top of the mountain before the snow was gone."

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And, up, up, up we drove.
Clearly, what we had seen from our cabin was indeed snow. What was even more crazy was to watch the beautiful fall colors literally evaporate into a line of Narnia Winter Wonderland. It was just amazing. Here's the line of the fall from the winter:
Isn't that crazy? How the temperature line just stops like that?
On the way, Mr. C took some other photos as we drove up the mountain. This is a fun shot of a log, and I like all the details in it.
Here's a river flowing beside the road with fresh mountain water.
Fall colors as we approach the top of the mountain.
Stopping for a family photo op with a friendly man from Florida taking our photo. I really like how this photo turned out. (In fact, I liked most of today's photos except for how "heavy" I looked in my fourteen layers.

Another shot of the snow line.

Mommy & baby.
Daddy & baby.
Getting closer to the snow...

Winter wonderland!
Getting out for a photo op and Newfound Gap (near Clingman's Dome).
Family photo op #87 for the day. I wish Micah had been looking, but you can't make somebody retake your photo over and over again that you don't know.
The view from Newfound Gap.

Look at the clouds in the background! That would be snow at the top!!
My absolute favorite picture of the day.
We actually set a tripod up for this shot. (Mr. C set it up while baby and I sat in the warm car.) Mr. C told me to get out for the shot. I jumped out with Micah. We hit the timer. Mr. C jumped in, and we took it in one take! And Micah was looking!

The Lord knew a small child couldn't be out in that cold!
This was at Clingman's Dome.
Coming back down the mountain we took some more photos in the snow leaving Micah snug as a bug in his car seat in the car.
Mr. C in the snow (without a coat!).
Me and frozen water fall.
Our view heading down.

Back at our cabin relaxing after a fun day playing in the snow!
The rest of the day was spent eating, grilling out, playing with Micah, and heading back to Gburg for a nighttime photo-op of the city's lights at nights.