Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Very First UT Basketball Game

We decided a few months back to make a trip up to Knoxville to catch a Vols basketball game. Since football is over and baseball is right around the corner, we've been watching some basketball here lately. I have to admit, I like basketball, but it is definitely not my favorite. My love - baseball (but I think that you might have already known that). Jason and I LOVED watching the Bisons play basketball while we were at Lipscomb. Those games were some of the best! Anyways, we've watched a few games on TV this season and when I was in the hospital for 9 days this past June, the NBA playoffs were on TV. We didn't really have the luxury of our DVR in the hospital, so we were forced to watch "regular" TV. Our regular TV schedule included House Hunters, Family Feud, and when a playoff game was on, it provided some much needed entertainment. Of course, we love our Vols and love getting to visit UT any chance we can for a game.

This game was a first for all 5 of us! We had so much fun and enjoyed every minute of the game and our time away. When I came home from school on Friday, I found Jackson sound asleep in our bedroom with his backpack on ready to go. Jason said that Abby Kate and Jackson were in there talking and then just a few minutes later, Jackson was asleep on the floor. Abby Kate said that he just "kind of fell over and went to sleep like that".

When Jason and I travel, we are bound to run across a Western Sizzlin. I always thought that it was called the Western Sizzler, but the sign said "Sizzlin". He's always told me that he used to love going there as a little boy. I'm sure that the Sizzler is to him what Bonanza is to me. When I knew that we were going to be driving up early to stay the night, I got really excited with the prospect of surprising Jason with dinner at the Sizzler. Well, we ate there and we probably won't be back anytime soon! We had plenty to eat but it definitely made for some funny laughs for all of us! (Joshua thought it was especially funny that we were eating at a place called "Western Sizzlin".) And boy, was it expensive!

Later that night, we checked in to our hotel in Knoxville. All 3 kids snuggled down in bed to sleep. I guess that Jackson wanted some more space, so he moved on to the end of the bed. Joshua is not asleep yet in this picture. He is always the last one to go to sleep when we are somewhere new. He is just so afraid that he is going to miss out on something. He was miserable the next morning because he was so tired and hopefully he learned a little lesson.

We woke up Saturday morning and headed over for a great breakfast at Cracker Barrel. We don't get out for breakfast very often, but we were able to enjoy a yummy breakfast. We then visited the Campus Bookstore and stocked up on our latest Vols gear and walked on over to Thompson Boling Arena. Jackson instantly started requesting some popcorn, so Jason got the kids a box and some drinks.

I don't know how, but Jackson managed to fall asleep during all the noise and excitement of the game. I also found myself nodding off during all the fouling and free throws. :)

We finished off our time in Knoxville with a late lunch at Mellow Mushroom. We had such a fun time and we all enjoyed our very first UT basketball game!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Little Valentine's Day Love

Our Valentine's Day was full of love and fun! 3 years ago, Jason and I had plans for a Valentine's Day dinner out alone, but our plans got canceled. We fully embraced the moment and headed out to Chick Fil A for some dinner and playtime for the kids. You know, no one goes to Chick Fil A on Valentine's Day! The kids loved every minute of it and Jason and I enjoyed the quiet time when the kids were off playing. We've been going on our little family date every Valentine's Day since we started our tradition in 2009.

This year, we had plans to continue our tradition, but I received a call at school that Jackson was not feeling well. They brought him up to me and we left as soon as my sub arrived. I called our family doctor to see if we could get in for a visit. Poor Jackson has pretty much been sick since Jason and I returned back from Africa. He's had pink eye twice and little random viruses and infections here and there. We were able to be worked in late that afternoon and Jackson was ordered another antibiotic. We didn't want to share our wonderful germs, so we did something new this year. We ordered our food to go and came home to eat our dinner together.

The kids were happy to have our special day and they were even more excited when they found out that we had a little Valentine present for them. We settled down for the evening and (of course) snapped some pictures. Happy Valentine's Day!

Twin Love

Loving on Daddy

Loving on Momma

My little Valentine

Valentine's Day 2011

3 Little Valentines

We got Abby Kate a couple of books and she was so excited to snuggle up in Daddy's lap and read to him. We are SO very proud of the progress she is making with learning how to read!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fun In Gatlinburg

Our time away in the mountains was definitely the most relaxing trip we've been on in awhile. I love that Fall Break comes at just the right time. We were able to visit with our dear friends in Kingsport over the weekend and then enjoy our time together as a family for the week! I've said it many times, but I feel like we are at a very special time in our little family. This time is passing by so fast and I can hardly believe that the next round of birthdays will be here in only 4 months! We rounded out our trip in the mountains, covering the good ole classics - video games, candy stores, and go karts.

Joshua enjoyed playing video games in his Davy Crockett hat.

Enjoying a snack at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. I have fond memories of visiting the candy kitchen and watching them make taffy as a young girl. My parents always love a package of taffy from this kitchen!

Later on that afternoon, we decided to visit a go kart place. Jackson is excited about his first go kart ride!

Ready to go!

We headed on over to the "fair" side and everyone had their tickets for the night. Jackson's first stop was the airplanes. 

Joshua rode in his first go kart by himself. He was beyond ecstatic to have control of his own car!

Abby Kate was thrilled to have her own ride too!

Having fun! Their getting big!

The perfect end to our family time away in the mountains!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Great Smoky Mountains

As mentioned previously, Jason and I headed to the mountains for our Fall Break back in October. We love getting any opportunity to head up to the Smoky Mountains and relax. After spending the weekend in Kingsport, we drove on down to Gatlinburg and stayed for the next week. Our condo was incredible and the perfect place for relaxation. The kids had an absolute blast and it was so nice to do something a little different from our normal routine.

The boys on our balcony


A picture with my little guy

One day we decided to drive into the mountains and we drove up to the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line. The view was spectacular, but the temperature was SO cold! Here's a picture of Jason and the kids in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Jason and the kids

The Great Smoky Mountains

Side note: Do you see that little black speck on the left side of my pictures? This trip is where I quickly realized that I had a small speck of dust on my lens. Frustrating, but after sending it off to Canon, they quickly returned my camera and lens after giving it a good cleaning and removing the speck of dust. I do have to admit though that it was a bit hard to mail off my camera and be without it for a while!

A kind gentleman offered to take a picture of our family. We don't usually get a group shot these days, so I was happy to have one of all of us.

The Great Smoky Mountains

Our family kept driving to the top and decided to "hike" Clingmans Dome to the tower. It was SO cold being up at a higher elevation, but after beginning our climb to the top, we were quickly hot and exhausted. Somehow we managed to get all 5 of us to the top - Jackson and Abby Kate had to get a few shoulder rides along the way, but we made it. It was at that moment that I realized that I had come a long way from my surgery just 4 short months earlier! 

Clingmans Dome Tower
It was so cold up there, that there was SNOW and ICE!!! We were too hot and really enjoyed the cooler elevation!

Another gentleman asked to snap a picture of our family on our way back down.

Abby Kate was SO cold!

The Great Smoky Mountains

Jackson, Abby Kate, and Joshua hiked Clingmans Dome!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Family Retreat

A few weeks ago, we attended our church's Family Getaway to Fall Creek Falls. This was our first time to attend the getaway and what a treat it was! By far this was the most relaxing retreat that we've ever been a part of. We were able to hang out with our friends, Jon and Stacy. The kids are at the best age to play together and enjoy the company of each other. Since the kids were able to pretty much entertain themselves, we were able to enjoy some time catching up with everyone at the retreat.

We played lots of games together with the kids and also had some time to play Scrabble and Phase 10 once the kids had gone to bed. We spent some time at the playground and then went out to look at the Falls on Saturday. Our families were responsible for making lunch for the entire group at the retreat on Saturday. And later that afternoon we ventured out on a 2 mile hike through the woods. Thankfully we brought plenty of snacks, drinks, and our flashlights, because hiking through the woods with 4 adults and 5 kids certainly made for some meltdown moments along the way. The most frightening part of our hike was crossing the suspended bridge with our 2 families. It certainly made it interesting crossing back over it on our way back out of the woods in the dark!

Fun times were had by all. The kids had such a fun time and Jason and I certainly enjoyed getting to hang out with all of the families that attended the Family Getaway to Fall Creek Falls.

Jackson enjoying the sun and the swings!

Jason and Abby Kate

Abby Kate

The kids

Fall Creek Falls

Checking out the waterfalls

Jason and Jackson talking about the falls

Fall Creek Falls

Our family

At the falls

Getting ready to cross the suspended bridge! YIKES!!!

Almost there!

Jackson was so exhausted that he actually fell asleep on Jason's shoulders!

Thankfully we packed plenty of snacks, drinks and brought a flashlight along for our hike. Here's a picture of Joshua, Lawson, Jordan, and Abby Kate resting on a log.

Jackson and his hiking stick