Saturday, August 31, 2013

Exploratory Trip: Soddy Blue Hole

Instead of the normal playroom play date, some warrior mamas and I took our kids on search of the Soddy Blue Hole yesterday. As a high school kid, this hike was about ten minutes. Since I forgot to calculate the toddler factor, yesterday's trip was neither a failure or success. What a doozie!

The hike is pretty flat and easy. It runs beside the creek, which has several small swimming holes along the way. At one point, we have to cross the creek (insert major toddler adventure and drama). A better term for this hike would be schlep.  We schlepped our kids over the river and through the woods to the big hole which we did go.

We had a four-year-old, two three-year-olds, and a barely two-year-old girl walking with us mamas. Oh, and Fern was on a carrier on my back. Oh, and we had floaties, towels, lunches, and other necessities in tow. 

Eventually my kind friends suggested to stop and eat lunch and reevaluate. We decided to head back. Nap time was fast approaching, and everyone was starting to lose it. 

On the way back, we passed a really stellar blue hole and Burl asked to swim. I really wanted to swim too and have a hard time saying no to adventures. Blue holes are just amazing. My friends decided to head home, so I took my kids to swim.

Let's just call this part the Magic Part. We had such a good time. We slid off of rocks into the water, threw pebbles, one kid crapped her pants, and we swam back and forth to the other side laughing the whole time. The kids loved it. They were so happy for the time that we were there. I promised myself that we would come back one more time before the summer was over. It's just so fun!

Then, from nowhere, a black cloud came over the mountain and we had to sprint out of there. As I was furiously packing up telling Burl that this was an emergency and he had to listen to everything I said (which was not how things went previously), Melissa texted and called me.
Get out! Storms a comin'! 

We made it out alive with 25% of the trip being a very good time. Before I hit the main road, both babies were fast asleep and the rain started to come. 

Again, this trip wasn't a success or a failure. But, we got to play in the woods and swim in this amazing place, so anyone would agree that we had ourselves a good ole time.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Simple Update

Besides our outdoorsy adventures, life around here is pretty quiet and calm. We are working on small little projects, letting kids watch DVDs, and filling in the gaps of life. Here it is:

The pool house of the pool where we swim every week was hit by lightening and caught on fire. Deb texted me, "Summer is officially over, the pool is unusable," so we're on the hunt for other ways to swim. Chattanooga is filled with natural blue holes, and today I took the kids on a little adventure. Details later...

John and I love our local coffee, but we don't love the prices. We get this now, then grind the beans at home. At almost half the price, it's the cheaper option. Try it out. I've seen it at Walmart and Publix.

Each of the kids are getting an upgrade on their beds and rooms. No huge before and after makeovers but a monumental transition nonetheless. Fern's in a toddler bed and Burl is getting bunk beds. He's already planning slumber parties. World, watch out!

I've finally busted out the sewing machine for some projects that I've had sitting around my house for a while. I've decided that I'm not a fan of actually ironing, pinning, cutting, and sewing. However, I'm a huge fan of doing it myself and saving money and getting what I want. Fern is absolutely fascinated with the sewing machine, and loves to sit in my lap while I do it. 

The TV is still upstairs and we have no plans of bringing it back down at this point. We didn't realize how stressful we made it on ourselves to upload things, help Burl pick out something, and get it ready. It's been nice having that break. However, it is fun to snuggle them while they watch a movie, so we watch DVDs on our computer. Last Friday, their naps were super short and I was running around like a crazy lady getting ready for our camping trip. The kids got the royal treatment: their room chairs, Toy Story, juice, and goldfish. They were in heaven.

The end of Summer is coming at me like a freight train and I am sad about that. I just love the attitude that Summer brings into our lives and makes everything extra exciting. I'm trying to make the most out of these warm, extra sunlight days. 

There's our little update. Now we are headed into this Labor Day weekend with plenty of exciting plans made and some downtime as well. Happy Labor Day, Y'all!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Canoeing With Burl

While on our camping trip, I got to take Burl canoeing on the lake at Fall Creek Falls. I'm always excited to get an opportunity to go canoeing, and including Burl on the adventure was a treat!

There was a lot of talk that went into the preparations. Basically, I just explained every way I could that canoes tip over all the time, so we have to be careful. We sat down in the boat and that boy stayed frozen. He was not going to tip that boat. 

Eventually he warmed up and I assured him that he could move. He started to move, but he did it carefully with a lot of caution. Once he relaxed, he started the talking. Oh, the talking...

"I wish I brought my fishin' pole and do some fishin"
"Mama, dis taking a long time"
"Mama, I thinkin about why there no beavers in da water"
And several questions about canoeing, which he called "anoeing"

We found one of the creeks that fed the lake (or is it lake that fed a creek?). At the source, we found a beaver dam and some very small fish. Burl was entranced. He was fascinated. I sure hope that this canoe trip made a big enough imprint to make it in his memory. The dam and fish might have sealed it for me. 

Now, I was extremely nervous taking my Iphone and DSLR camera canoeing with a toddler for the first time. John gave me 50/50 odds for tipping, which was enough for me to feel comfortable to take the risk. If we couldn't take pictures, then what's the point in canoeing in the first place? {Kiddingnotkidding}  I even gave Burl my phone to take a picture of me-he took 40 and laughed the whole time. "Put mama's face in the box" was my instruction. He eventually gave me back my phone, and told me that I should send a picture to Lauren.

After an hour and a half, he told me that he was tired and wanted to rest, so we headed back. The canoe trip was pretty easy and uneventful, and Burl was all smiles. I had fun and can't wait to take Fern when she gets older too!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our August 2013 Camping Trip

I remember having that deep craving for adventure when I was a child. Sometimes I got a fun adventure, but sometimes I lost the opportunity because of excuses. It will make a mess, we don't have time, or a simple not right now. Eventually, kids learn to not even ask. I do the same with my kids now. I give excuses because I don't want to go to the effort of making it happen, and sometimes I give them the actual reason that it can't happen. But, sometimes, the great times, I say Yes! to adventure. I might even be the author of the adventure. Those times are my favorite. Those times are the good times that stand taller in our memories. 

While I don't think we can be all dance parties, cave explores, and glitter crafts all the time, I so delight in giving the gift of excitement and adventure to John and to my children. I think that's why I loved working hard to pull off this weekend's camping trip. 

The highlights of this trip were: waking up in a tent with the babes, morning coffee outside, watching Burl and Fern make their own play and loving it (Pointing to cups, rocks, and dirt, Burl said, "Mama, this my toys."), late night talks by the fire with John, early morning hikes in PJs, swinging bridges, playgrounds, canoe trips with Burl, creekin', outdoorsy ease of style and curls that curl naturally, campsite snuggles, friendly neighbors to help with fire, and lots of exploring.

The low-lights of the trip were: fires that wouldn't catch, babies that have a hard time sleeping outside Ok, not to get all fluffy cloud, gushy happy here, but I really can't think of anymore lows from the trip. I had a list in my head, but I've forgotten all of them as I look at these pictures. I gush. It went pretty smoothly for the most part, and all the minor hiccups that happened were very minor. And I just absolutely loved it. I let go of any ideals and took everything as it came, and I give John's lead the credit for that one. We relaxed. We had fun. We enjoyed ourselves. I think it really was one of the most relaxing trips we've taken as a family.

That's what I'm loving about camping trips: there is so much that can go wrong that are out of my control. I have to let go of order and expectation, and slowly go through our time there. The stride is totally different than other trips, so I have to take it as it comes. I relax.

The campground is 20 minutes from my dad's farm, which is perfect for quick morning visits.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I mean, a great time was had!! Burl and Fern really loved the adventure. John was all about the camping trip. I relaxed deeply into the simple rhythm. Cooking, gathering, packing, organizing, then undoing it all when we get home was a lot of work. 

When I look back at the weekend and the work that went into it, the work is minimal compared to what the trip meant to us individually and to us as a family collectively. It was wonderful and I can't wait to go back and enjoy some time in the woods again.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This Week's Menu

We just got home from a weekend-long camping trip and I am feeling this really weird sensation. I asked John if he's feeling it too, and he is. We're relaxed, baby, it feels good. We're getting back into our routines for the week and I'm excited. As usual, I'm posting my menu for the upcoming week-pre-apology world for all the beans. Here's what I'm cooking:

Roast, carrots, brown rice, broccoli (Loving Jenny's roast these days!)
Jerk seasoned black beans and rice
15 bean soup
Sweet potatoes, pintos, and green beans

Friday, August 23, 2013


Let's take a look at my recent Instagram posts, pictures and videos. I've been staring at the blank page of blogging for the past two weeks, so here is a little picture into my life until I get my grove back. If you have Instagram (and I would highly recommend it), then feel free to follow me.

I rocked a celebraid the other day, and I noticed that there were three random hairs-GRAY hairs popped out to say, "You're too young for this look." Oh what joy.

My favorite little thing about this school thing is the walk to and from school. I thoroughly enjoy the slow pace and the conversation. It's so sweet.

Another favorite BIG thing about the school days is how much little Fern comes alive. I just love having my time with her. I look forward to it all week!

A while ago, I went to an after hours surprise party at the climbing gym. The owners eloped a while ago, so naturally calling them to come to the gym after they fell asleep was a good honor to them. It was a huge ordeal, but they were so sweet about it. This climbing world is a very different world than what I'm used to. It's completely different than the stay-at-home mom, church crowd that I usually hang out with. One is not better or worse, but the variety is the cool thing.

My little bro is coaching at Lipscomb and I got to meet his team one night when they stopped in Chattanooga for dinner. The kids got to see him and loved the big red and black bus. 

Little Fern fell out of her bed, so we switched her crib to a toddler bed and she can get in and out. I don't have a monitor, so I stick my phone under her door to spy on her. 

Here are some short videos from my Instagram as well. Two are from the after hours surprise party at the climbing gym, which is just wild mayhem. The other movie is from our hike to Rainbow Lake

life rearranged