Thursday, July 3, 2008

The day of firsts: warning lots of pictures

The kids visited their first National Park--Smokey Mountain National Park to be exact. It was a big day, although I'm fairly certain that they were all pretty clueless as to what we were even going to do when we told them what we were going to do. Here were some of the comments: "Will there be a pool there?" "Can we all go in?" Nathan: "Are we still in 'tucky?" Poor guy is so confused! We also had the following ping pong conversation all day: Nathan: "Where are the bears? I want to see a bear." John (freaking out): "No, I don't want to see a bear!!" Here are some pics from the day:
Our first Nat'l Park trail and certainly won't be our last. The kids wanted to walk a lot more, but we just didn't have the time.
Their first waterfall--I know it's not a real big one, but we knew they'd be impressed just the same. Notice how impressed Nathan is; he has no idea what he is suppose to be fascinated with. However, he does thing the creek in front of him would be a lot of fun!
Our family: perfect with the first take!

Cades Cove, need I say more?
The girls and the boys

Their first experience with a mountain river.

I must say, and I think I can speak for Joe, this was the highlight of our vacation. I grew up spending my summers traveling visiting this great country that we live in. I've seen all the lower 48 states and visited too many National Parks to count and I loved every minute of it (okay, so maybe I didn't enjoy driving across Kansas with it being 102 in an old Chevy Nova with no air conditioning and only one small cloud in the sky or the time I woke up in Goodland, KS (again!) with the tent floating on at least a foot of water... I could probably go on--the memories abound). Anyway, I would like to pass even just a little bit of that on to my kids and hopefully this was a good beginning. Happy July 4th eve everyone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pool fish

If the kids aren't at the lake, they want to be in the pool. They've all become like fish--well the younger three are fish with life jackets. In any case, this trip has been really good for them getting over some of their fears of the water.
This is Nathan's general expression when he is "swimming" without us. He is in deep concentration and doesn't really appreciate anyone interrupting his thoughts.

John swam in the lake last night. He said the fish are on the other side of the lake when he is in the water. I must admit that no one has bothered to correct his thinking on that.

Not really sure why she is looking so frigid in this pictures. Ashley enjoys doing jumping jacks in the pool. Yep, jumping jacks...

By the end of the afternoon Sara was doing cannon balls in the pool by herself into the 5ft depth without her floaty. Those swimming lessons have certainly paid off.

The earth declares His glory

I have never seen a moth like this--that I can remember. Although now that I type that I'm wondering if I have and just don't remember when. In any case, the kids found this one the other morning and we all were in awe. We've also found ones that look like tree bark and leaves and absolutely pure white ones.

"All heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Psalm 19:1-4

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The boat raft (seriously--what is the official name of this thing?)

Ashley has a new love. It is called a boat raft. I think--not really sure if that is the official name or not. In any case, Grandpa has a boat and in addition to skiing, this year he got a raft to pull behind it. These pictures really do not do Ashley's joy justice. I'm not sure I've ever seen her more excited to do something. And, considering she weighs pretty much nothing, when they go over some of the wakes she is airborn about 2 feet in the air squealing with absolute delight. Daddy was encouraging her last night to let go and wave her hands in the air--Mommy was a little stressed over that. I think she would probably enjoy it more if I wasn't in the back of the boat screaming at her to hang on--like she can even here me. I probably just look like some crazy women riding in a boat waving her arms to her with her mouth moving. Sara enjoys it as well although she is definitely content to stay in calmer waters.
Just in case you can't see Nathan's face, he is NOT enjoying his first ride.
This one's blurry, but you get the idea.Joe and our brother-in-law buddy. This is right before Joe made one of two entertaining dismounts.
Kristen and Steve--Joe's younger sister and brother.

The cabin

Our cabin set next to the lake. It would have set closer to the lake except that where we are at in TN is in a drought. Well, I'm not sure if it is officially called a drought, but the water on the lake is down about 5 feet. Here is a shot off the back deck of our cabin:

Here are the kids enjoying a snack on our front steps. It is a little blurry as I had just brought the camera out from the cold air conditioning into the steamy air.

Nathan wants to make sure that you know that pool is behind me (the one taking the picture).

You may have noticed in the previous two pictures that John looks a little banged up. He took a tumble down the back deck steps. He probably would have been a little less banged up, but he was carrying his moose and deer and took the fall for them--he didn't catch himself at all.

The ducks

One of the favorite evening past times while in TN at the lake was feeding the ducks before bed. There were several different feeding philosophies among the children. One was feed all the fish on the way to the ducks (Nathan), another was to dole out the bread one very careful crumb at a time and in the process make sure that it is all distributed equally and fairly among the ducks--this includes chastisement of the ducks that appear to be too greedy (Ashley--she even spoke duck in the chastisement, completely with quaking), and then John and Sara had the philosophy of tossing it to the ducks and seeing how many could catch the bread mid-air and then stand in wonder at how much bread Ashley had left.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cove

Since I don't scrapbook, this is a way that I keep family memories. So you will have to bear with me as the next few posts as I will be including pictures from our vacation.

We started vacation by picking up Nathan and Sara in Indianapolis. They had been visiting with Grandpa and Grandma Snow. Then we traveled to Caryville, TN where Grandma and Grandpa Horn were vacationing with all the aunts and uncles and cousins from that side. We dropped all the kids off there and then Joe and I traveled to Ashville, NC to The Cove. It took us 5 hours instead of 2 hours as we had hopes of reliving part of our honeymoon by visiting Gatlinburg and the Smokey Mountain National Park. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances (traffic, mountain roads, traffic, and did I mention a huge traffic jam in Pigeon Forge) we saw the mountains out our van window as Joe was driving and getting car sick. Yep, he got sick even though he was the one driving. So we arrived at The Cove and the above picture is looking off the back balcony of the training center. Unfortunately this is the only picture I got taken while we were there. It was a really, really full schedule. But I would encourage anyone to go visit The Cove at some point. Fabulous food, great scenery, and awesome speakers. Just don't go for class training...


In case you haven't checked out my sister's blog lately, I thought I'd share a picture of my new nephew with you. For those of you who may not know my sister she currently lives in Georgia with her husband Chris and three children: Luke (2--one month to the day older than my Nathan; Hannah 18 mths; and Drew 12 days) Yep, her kids are closer together than mine if that is possible. Anyway, I say she currently lives in GA because her husband is in the Air Force. They are set to move in two weeks to Wichita. They should be there about 4 years, but you never know since it is the military. I don't see her much and so since we were in the area (if you call five hours away "the area") Joe and I went to visit their family and meet our new nephew. My parents were also there. So this was a very rare event. I don't remember the last time all the adults in my family were together. It's been at least two years. So here's a pic of Drew and I:
If you do check out my sister's blog and you think Joe looks tired in the picture it is because he is. We had just been to The Cove (the Billy Graham training center) in Ashville, NC for some pretty intensive training in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). A fancy way to say we learned how to help people out who were in a crisis. Anyway, it was a rather exhausting few days of training and then we drove to my sister's. Be assured he is currently catching up on his sleep. I also want to share with you pictures of my niece and other nephew on that side, but my camera broke while we were there (good timing, huh?!). So once I get some of the pictures from my parents or sister, I'll pass them on to you.