Fall Break 2016

I realize that this is basically just a, “Hey, you wanna see my vacation pictures?” kind of post, and there are only about 5 people who actually want to see my vacation pictures.  If anyone else keeps reading, it’s just to see what snarky comments I can make about a pretty normal vacation.  I am OK with this.

We have been blessed ever since Ava was a baby to take a trip with my parents somewhere every year.  I’m not sure if they would have committed to do this had they realized how many children we would have, but they are no quitters.  Almost all of the trips have been to the mountains and we are yet to drop a child down a cliff.  That’s somethin’.

We used to take the trip during the summer, but Arrow’s July birth necessitated that we wait until fall, and we loved it so much in the fall that we’ve been doing it ever since.  This year we went to Cloudland Canyon at the very tippy top westiest west corner of Georgia.  This year our trip was pretty short due to our schedule; we really only had two full days that we weren’t travelling.  So, don’t worry, the vacation slide show will be pretty short!

A side note before I get started with official trip commentary:  When we arrived Monday night, we discovered we had forgotten one tiny item: the laundry basket that contained all the clothes for ALL THREE BOYS.  Egan was wearing footy pajamas and Israel was wearing the outfit he had first put on about 36 hours before.  If ever there was a desperate clothing situation, this was it.  Instead of making a 5 hour round trip drive to retrieve the basket, Josh opted that we go to the closest affordable clothing store (Beall’s Outlet) and get what we needed.  It is thanks to that situation that our boys in the following pictures are going to look like they are straight out of a skateboarding/hipster magazine.

Day One

For our first day we stayed around the cabin and relaxed!  We took a few hikes, on which I didn’t bring my camera because we were hauling Arrow around.  (I also might have forgotten the wrap.  You won’t be surprised to hear it was near the laundry basket.)  While Arrow napped that afternoon, the big kids practiced for and performed an impromptu talent show.  In other words, it was as relaxing as a vacation is supposed to be.

This also was Ava’s birthday, so that evening Josh grilled her traditional steak dinner.  He built his best fire ever, and we had fun just hanging out behind our cabin.  We were like Parenthood without the twinkly lights!

Ava spent most of her day like this because she received the most recent Harry Potter book for her birthday.  And she read it all.  Before the end of her birthday.

It wouldn’t be Fall Break without Gramma breaking out the dulcimer for some pre-dinner music!


Josh had to get creative at candle lighting time because the lighter was dead!

Big 10 year old!  That’s a whole ‘nother blog post!

Day Two

We spent our second day at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, just a short drive over the border.  I went to the aquarium as a child but it has doubled in size since then!  This was a great experience because A) Arrow is at the most fun age to see so many fish!  B) All of our boys (and my dad!) LOVE animals, really! and C) We are studying ecology in science!

Our very first exhibit in the freshwater building was full of playful otters!  Really the coolest, most active bunch of otters I’ve ever seen!

Time for fish!

Do you wanna pet a lake sturgeon?

It was so fun to have Josh with us on this trip!  He has had a year of hard work and hasn’t gotten to go on many field trips as of late.  I think the kids had three times as much fun because he was there…I know I did!

Now on to the ocean building!  One of the first exhibits is a butterfly garden.  A little known fact is that the butterfly is my favorite animal and I am always happy in a good butterfly garden!

Egan was handed a newly hatched butterfly and we were very impressed by the stillness he exhibited to keep the butterfly around!

Time for more fishies!  (No, I didn’t get all four in front of the tank, what do you think I am, a photographer??)

Obligatory baby-with-shark photo!

We got there just in time for the Diving Show!  The way they do it is two divers go down.  One diver, Diver Rob, pictured above, talks to the eager audience about the fish in the tank.  The other diver…

…Diver Wally, keeps the sharks away from Diver Rob with PVC pipe.  Both divers are volunteers.  I post this second picture for the sole purpose of lobbying that DIVER WALLY SHOULD GET PAID.

After the aquarium, we headed back to our cabin at the canyon.  I was itching to go on a longer hike than we could with the baby, so Josh, Ava, my mom, and I headed out to hike more of the West Rim of the canyon.

The closest I’m getting to a good birthday portrait this year!

And that was pretty much it!  We had such a good time and are so appreciative that my parents carve out this quality time for us each year.


Happy Fall, y’all!



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