Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ober Gatlinburg provides Isaac with the best birthday ever!

Today is Isaac's birthday!  He has been counting down the days.  We started the day with opening presents, which was a treat for him because usually Dad is at work and he makes us wait until he gets home in the evening.  Today, since we are on vacation and Dad is home, we got to open them right away.

After presents we loaded everyone up in the car and drove to Ober Gatlinburg for a fun day of playing.  There was something for everyone to enjoy including Piper and the only thing anyone was unhappy with was that Eli had to ride down with an adult.  We got there at a great time when hardly anyone was there so we didn't have to wait in lines or anything.  
Piper liked the Alpine Slide

Look at those pony tails!  I love them.  She is my little bug.

The boys went down these slides over and over and over

proof that she does sleep sometimes
We stayed for five hours and the kids were hungry and Piper hadn't gotten a nap and she was exhausted.  I was sad the ride wasn't longer so she could sleep in the car longer.  For dinner we stopped at Pizza hut and found a cake at a small grocery store in town.

licking all the cake from his fork

The boys wanted to swim tonight too but by the time we got home it was only 74 degrees and so we convinced them to wait until tomorrow.  Mike and Isaac played Mindcraft on the computer and then the boys played Twister.  Isaac ended his birthday with the spank train.  It was an awesome day for all of us and Eli ended the evening by saying in our family prayer, "Thanks for Isaac having a birthday so we could have so much fun today."  I agree!  I'm happy we were able to celebrate his birthday by having such a fun time together.  We loved Ober Gatlinburg!

Tuesday in Tennesee

We have internet access here but not really a good signal for our cell phones.  There is only one place where we can get any kind of signal.  It's kind of nice to be in this secluded place surrounded by trees and bugs.  Lots of bugs.  

I was telling Mike that part of being a parent means you have to pretend to like certain things and that I was going to have to pretend to like being here in Tennessee on this vacation.  The amazing thing about pretending is that if you try hard enough, the pretending becomes a sincere like, not just a pretend like.  Now, let me say, I like vacations and under other circumstances I don't think I'd even have to start pretending.  But I haven't been very happy to have moved.  When you move all the time you leave little pieces of your heart all over the county and this time a large part of my heart remains in Colorado.  I have been kind of silly and childish.  Mike told me to change the clock in the van and I told him no because my time wasn't Tennessee time and I wasn't going to officially become a Tennesseean yet.  Ha, ha.  So immature.  Anyway, he changed it for me.  We are still not adjusted to the new time change, which is two hours ahead of our Colorado time.  I am hoping we can get our bodies adjusted before school starts in a few weeks, which we should if I would stop being immature and accept that we are not going back to Colorado and that we need to live on this time...Anyway, back to the pretending thing.  For the sake of the boys I have been saying things like, "This is going to be a great adventure!" and other upbeat things like that when my head says, "Bleh.  I don't want to be here."  But, I also know that I cannot survive in a place I don't like.  I have to like where I live or that would make for a miserable existence and I am trying to let go of Colorado and give this a fair chance.  I guess a part of me feel like a traitor if I move onward and leave my Colorado behind.  That sounds ridiculous.  So, I've been trying to pretend for the sake of the boys and so that I can convince myself as well , that I will like it here.  

And being on this vacation in the mountains is definitely helping.  The last two days have been truly enjoyable and I think it has been a much-needed break.  It is so beautiful here and I believe Heavenly Father is blessing me with a tender mercy because I anticipated arriving to disgusting, muggy, sticky weather but it has been so pleasant and nice.  Still sticky but not like I know it should be and not bad.  The first day we drove to Kansas was nasty (107 degrees) and humid and we all groaned that we would have to get used to it.  But since being here it's been nice.  I think if I was hit with the yucky weather right off the bat I would have to pretend even harder!  

The bugs here are crazy.  There are so many of them.  Colorado rarely sees flies or mosquitoes.  I've already been bitten a few times and will have to buy some mosquito repellent soon.  We are staying in the middle of a forest so of course there are even more bugs than we other wise would see though.  Piper and the boys love it but the boys were really weirded out the other night when they tried to go to sleep and couldn't because the bugs outside were so loud.  

On Tuesday we went on a short hike.  Again, the weather was pretty amazing.  The kids LOVE that Tennessee has so much water.  They really are amazed at the water on every corner.  Piper's name for water is "Wy-la" and she is always looking out the window and pointing, "Wy-la!  Wy-la!"

After our hike and dinner we played games.  I'm really happy we thought to pull a few games out and not let them get packed.  So far we have played Ticket to Ride and Twister.
I can get used to slow days like Tuesday where I don't have to worry about anything but enjoying my little family.

More Photos

(These pictures are all mixed up)  The boys wanted to go to Helen Hunt Falls the last day we were in Colorado.  Our house was empty anyway so it seemed like a good day to go.  I tried to get a few more family pictures but wasn't really any more successful this time than last.  As mentioned, we also visited the grave.  Piper always likes to steal things off of other headstones and we always have to make sure we return them to the proper places.  This last time she found a dog.  It was pretty cute to watch her love on that dog.  

The drive was pretty good.  I also briefly mentioned that we made the drive in a few days.  We stopped at my sister's house and stayed the night and then stayed for breakfast and lunch.  We went to the park and played outside for a few hours.  The boys and her kids get along really well.

We stopped at hotels the following days and let the boys swim.  Mike and I didn't want to have to try and call each other on the cell phones so we bought walkie-talkies for easy communication.  That was a fun thing for the boys that took a bit of practice for them to figure out.  We only drove about six hours a day and that led to a much happy, more pleasant trip for all of us.  Piper did really well even though she usually only slept about 30 to 45 minutes each day. We split up the kids into the two cars and that also helped everyone get along well and made it easier for us to drive without having to help kids get drinks or movies or snacks etc.  

The view from our cabin

Isaac wanted to give Laila bunny ears.

Piper stole the dog off of the grave behind her

The look she gave us when we told her she had to put it back

What are they looking at?  Uncle Jess says it was probably him without a shirt on.  He..He..

Piper had awesome bed-head 

pretty cecily

silly boys with their cousin Gabe

Lindsey and Cecily

Lindsey and Cecily (Eva was in changing into "fashionable clothes")

seconds after this photo lightening and thunder crashed around us and the heavens opened and poured down rain.  It reflected how I felt

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some pictures before we moved

The last few weeks have been busy and sad for us.  We made sure to try and see all our friends before we left.  I have a lot of pictures on the other computer so I'll post those when we move into our house.  But here are a few:

Eli and Carly have been such good friends.  Carly lives up the road from us and was in Eli's church class as well as in preschool too.  We love Carly and her entire family.  

Eli and Carly have played for so many hours and get along so well.  Carly's mom and I joked that this picture would be funny if they end up getting married.  I fully intend to keep in contact with the Tuslers so we will see if Carly and Eli continue to be friends forever.

 These are typical moving pictures.  What else do you eat when your kitchen is packed up and you can't cook?  Donuts of course.
 Our friends the Van Den Berghe's came to have some FHE treats with us on the first day our stuff got packed up.  Naomi and Will were also in a church class together as well as in the same class at school.  Bre is one of my closest friends in the ward.  (She is the one that painted that amazing picture for our family).  Bre has taught me so much and is such an example to me of charity, devotion, and kindness.  We became friends when we found out both of our kids liked bones.  Then we found we had so much in common ourselves and we became fast friends.  She taught me how to swim and make spring rolls.  I love Bre!
 Piper kind of fell apart the last few weeks.  I am sure she is tired and confused.  On Tuesday I took her and the boys to the fountains by the theater so that I could get her out of the house and maybe distract her from whining.  It didn't really work but at least the boys had fun.  They have been wanting a picture with the golden Humpty Dumpty every time we are at the theater so I finally got one.
 On Wednesday the moving truck came.  It was depressing and I started crying when they took our couches.  I think once we didn't have anything to sit on it officially sunk in.  I know it's silly but having my couches gone really made me sad.
 Later that night we met some friends for ice cream at Ruzitos.  The kids love the huge cones they can get there.  Eli was in a kindergarten class with two kids from church--Jackson, his best friend, and Lauren.  She is the cute little girl in the front looking behind her.  Lauren's sister Katie is also Isaac's age and Brad, to the left of Eli in the picture, is one of Isaac's best friends (also Jack's brother).
 Will's best friend Braedyn came as well.

Eli and Jack
 Our friends the Johnson's came too!  They are moving into our house.
 We also got to see Jane Tuttle and her kids.

I somehow failed to get pictures of Amy Newby and her kids as well as Conner Holtz and his parents.  We packed that ice cream shop!

 Carly's dad Dave is a good friend of Mike's.  The Tusler's are moving to Vegas soon and I'd be really sad if we hadn't just moved ourselves.
Thursday was a horrible day.  I cried throughout the day.  Second worse 24th of July ever.  It is difficult for me to think about how horrible that day is for me and the fact that a large portion of my family and friends celebrate that day--go to parades, get work off, watch fireworks, have BBQ's.  I don't expect or want anyone to change that, it is just weird to think how I hide away and cry on the same day everyone else is laughing and chatting and being happy.  Add to that, that we were moving the next day and leaving our loved house and friends and it pretty much just sucked.

At one point I just decided we all needed to eat the ice cream cake to make us all happier.  This move has really showed me how much of an emotional eater I am and it has been quite an eye-opener.  Anyway, our neighbor asked Isaac what cake he liked when he discovered Isaac was having a birthday.  He brought us over and ice cream cake and since we had no other food in our freezer and I was sad and depressed we all sat on our floor and finished off the cake.

empty house

Thursday evening we ate dinner at our other best friends (we have a lot of best friends in Colorado Springs!) the Hinkson's.  They prepared a delicious kid/adult friendly dinner and the kids all played and had fun after a stressful day.  I had to get a picture of them with their friends.
I have more to write and more pictures to post.  It's been a few days of driving and today we get to Tennessee.  I am kind of dreading this last day of driving because that means we are there and not coming back.  I just want to delay the inevitable.  We decided to take four days to get here so we could spend some time with my sister and also, as sad as it sounds, we don't have anyone or anything waiting for us in Tennessee so why rush?  We can't get into our house for ten more days so we are just going to spend time together as a family in a vacation rental.  I'll post more pictures when we get to the rental and have some time to think and relax.