Monday, June 27, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Ok, so there wasn't any lions or tigers (well, except me) on vacation. But, we did see a bear.

Its customary that during our retreat to the mountains, that we go experience nature. JJ used to call them nature adventures. We have a day hiking book and we usually scan the book to find a hike that suits our desires.

This year we chose a fairly easy trip. It was a paved path, 1.3 miles out to a waterfall and 1.3 miles back. The elevation wasn't so high, so we gave it a try.

IMG_1852 wm

The path was crowded, of course, but we forged onward. I was excited to see the Mountain Laurel was in bloom.


We made it to our destination without any problems. I am so happy to see that JJ has become more independent. Once we hit the waterfall, he asked if he could climb about. In the past, he's usually begged one of us to go somewhere with him, so he could see what he wanted.

IMG_1872 wm

We took a rest for a while. It wasn't too hot, so we weren't too bad. I managed to get JJ to sit still for a few minutes to take some photos. Most of them didn't turn out right because it was mid-day and the sun/shadows were fierce!

IMG_1876 wm

JJ loves taking pictures with the camera as well. I'm not hesistant to hand it over because he always takes good care. Plus, its all insured! :) He was able to get at least one good of Gene and I.

IMG_1884 wm

And Gene was able to get me a new Facebook profile photo when he took this one...

IMG_1901 wm

On the way back to the car, we saw a few fellow hikers had stop to look at something. When we got close, we realized it was a bear! A mid sized black bear was roaming around the mountainside. We watched for a minute. I was hesistant to stick around because I didn't want to be attacked. Everytime I took a photo, the shutter click would make enough noise for it to look at me.

On the way back to the car, we saw a few fellow hikers had stop to look at something. When we got close, we realized it was a bear! A mid sized black bear was roaming around the mountainside. We watched for a minute. I was hesistant to stick around because I didn't want to be attacked. Everytime I took a photo, the shutter click would make enough noise for it to look at me.


Finally, the bear crossed the path and I said we needed to hail tail out of there before we were dinner. Gene finally agreed and we left the bear alone.


Buh bye Bear!

So there you have it folks. Vacation in a nutshell. Ha... I stretched it out as long as I could. Hope you enjoyed, its now back to every day life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting tired yet?

Are you tired of seeing vacation photos yet?!? I feel like that crazy uncle that makes you sit through the slide show of his trip to Wallyworld!!!!

Just a few more to go. I've been so slack about posting things, I feel good about catching up.

If we aren't playing Wiffleball, one of our favorite vacation past times is playing Putt-Putt. We've been so many times, we know which courses to play, which are worth the fee for fun ratio.

We have two favorites...

IMG_2062 wmIMG_1835

You can't go wrong at either of these two places. Old MacDonald's has three courses to choose from, and Davy Crocketts has two. We usually buy a multi-game pass so we can play several times while we are there. (Plus, the tickets are good for a year, so we know we will be back in that time, that gives us something to do when we do come back!)

Putt Putt is a very serious game


Well, at least for me its serious. The boys have fun with it. I tend to get uptight because I'm losing. Its hard when a 9 year old is beating you!


However, for once, I won! I really did win! I beat them both. And, it wasn't even a close game! Ha... take that suckers!


Ahh... putt putt really is therapuetic.

IMG_2058 wm

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What do you do when it rains?

We had plans to go see a Tennesse Smokies baseball game. I usually scope out the calendar a find a day when they are playing that provides us with some cheap entertainment. We were all set to go this year, and then it stormed.

While I understand we need the rain, I was sad to miss out on baseball. (Especially $1 Hotdog night!) Instead, we decided to hit the Pigeon Forge Community Center for some family bowling.


I had a coupon (yes, I coupon. We saved a ton of money on vacation because I scavenged for coupons and coupon books. The more money I can save, the more fun we can have!) for buy 2 games, get one free. So that meant we got to play three games!



This was also JJ's first time playing without bumpers. We didn't even realize till we were mostly done with the first game. He said it was ok to play without, he wanted to try.


We all did fairly well. Gene of course, beat us each time!


But I managed to hold me own. I was impressed at my scores. They didn't have very many light weight balls, so JJ and I were playing with something heavier than I think we would have liked.


Like that shot of me?!? JJ took that. He was tickled that it looks like I don't have a head. He laughed for a good minute about it. That's ok, I've got mad skills


I think we enjoyed ourselves as much playing bowling as we would have if we would have gone to a ball game!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Its really all about the boys

What I love about the mountain house is that it has a very large backyard. I think its suppose to be a neighborhood common area, but its hardly ever used. We love it because it gives (well, it gives the boys) a chance to do one of their favorite mountain activities... Wiffleball!

IMG_2031 wm

Several years ago, I bought a wiffleball set and took it with us. Regular baseball is hard because the space isn't as big as our yard, and they wouldn't be able to hit the balls very far. Plus, Woody is the catcher and needs a soft ball for his teeth. Wiffleball was a big success and its become a vacation staple.


This year, they even started up as soon as we got there. Once we unloaded and I hit the grocery store to stock up, the boys took to the field. They have a set of rules they made up, and they keep score. It gets very competitive.


You can see how excited JJ gets when he strikes Gene out. Can you also see I'm trying out storyboards. I have so many photos that I don't want to bog the blog down. I decided its tims I learn more about photoshop. I'll admit this is a pre-packaged storyboard from The Coffeeshop Blog. Someday I hope to be good enough to create my own.

Wiffleball is at least a daily occurance, if not more than that. They've simplified it so it doesn't take long to play a "game". Most of the time while they are playing, I'm sitting on the porch watching, or this year, in their face with the camera


Its the laughs and the smiles that make it so much fun...


And I obviously need to spend more time with photoshop. I swear JJ did not get attacked by an oompa-lumpa!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do the vacay sway

Where have I been... on vacation! It was time to make our yearly mecca to the smokey mountains. I've got a boat load of photos to share, so I'm going to do it in phases, just so it doesn't take so long to load!

I can't say how much I enjoyed getting away for a little while. Work and life have been stressful and it was good to retreat to my happy place and not be constantly reminded of my daily life. We have a plan as you go attitude about vacations. We start with a general list of things we want to do, and then we decide each morning what we care to do that day. Not many activites follow a strict schedule (unless its things like a guided fishing trip!).

We were surprised when we arrived to see this....


We had heard that a treatment plant had an accident, but it was months ago. We would have thought it was clear by now. Gene asked and called around and found out from the Pigeon Forge City officals that it was safe, they just forgot to take the signs down.

You had me concerned...

We did still take precautions. We rinsed off and we didn't swim in it. Woody was bummed that he was only able to go in the river once. We had some bad storms mid week that caused the river to rise and move swiftly. We thought he would get another chance later in the week, but alas, it rained again. (sorry Woody, but we need the rain).

That's ok, just throw me that rock...

If I can't catch it, I'll dig for it...

Ahh... pure enjoyment!

So you made it through the first of many vacation posts. Wanna know what else is in store? The boys in the river, putt putt, bowling night, and bears.

Stay tuned...

I also want to apologize for not commenting on everyone elses blog posts. I've been having some difficulty with blogger lately and it won't let me, or I have to do it anonymously. Its really been a booger and I don't know what to do about it. I feel bad because I have great things to say, it just won't let me!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Woody the Wonder Dog

Over Memorial Day weekend, Woody and the boys competed in their yearly Disc Dog competition. (We call is Frisbee, but that's a copyright term, so Disc it is!)


This is the third year the boys have done this. JJ competes in the Junior division (kids under 12) and Gene competes in the Novice. They have done fairly well the past two times. In years past we've had some awful weather situations, this year though, we were just blessed with sun and heat.

Its hot out here mama, but I'm having sooooo much fun!

I was very excited to have my parents visiting for this event. They were very patient with all the waiting that goes on. You know they can wait around all day just to see a few seconds of action because they attended so many Regattas for so long!

Every participant gets to toss the Disc in two rounds. They usually just allow the top 10 to toss again, but because they had the time and space, they allowed all participants this year to throw again. Gene was excited about this because he hadn't done very well in the first round.


JJ has some competition this year, he usually is the only kid competing. However, this year, a cute little 4 year old girl decided to toss with her dog. She was really cute and tried really hard. JJ made sure to tell her how good she did after the awards were given out.


Woody, of course was in all his glory. He loved every minute of it. He was off his game at some points. I think he gets distracted easily. He also got confused several times when he saw me on the side lines.




My mom also was able to get some great shots...

Thats her in the background on the left... thanks mom!

In the end, I think everyone had fun...


High Fives to get your game face on!

And a little something shiny for the trophy case...


We say after this event we want to do more. But, it always seems that other things get in the way (hmm.. soccer?!?!) Hopefully, this year we can keep good on our word and get to a few others.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

There are other sports

Its obvious that JJ loves soccer. But what do you do with and active kid when the season is over....



JJ's played baseball as long as he has soccer. For a while, he flip-flopped which was his favorite. He gave up fall soccer one year to play fall baseball. We've encouraged him to play as long as he enjoys it.

For me, baseball is so much harder to photograph. For the most part, the action is covered by protective fencing. I can certainly work around that, but its not ideal. Also, parents love to line their chairs up right along the fence, so if I want to get in there to get my shot, I have to stand in front of them.

There are a few away fields that offer me some great shooting options. I'm upset that for most of them, I didn't have my camera with me. But, at the last game I went to, I was able to whip out a few keepers.


He was finally able to hit the ball...


He got a triple...


He got a close one...


But, he got another good one..


It was short lived, but sports are over for the summer. We did get the call last night that JJ made the All-Star team. But, the week of the championship he is at soccer camp. JJ chose to sit out of All-stars this year. We think it was the right decision. It also gives another kid a chance to participate.