Two weeks ago, the kids and I were waking up together in the same room. When we walked into the kitchen we were surrounded by some of those we love most. Out the window were the woods. We were in the mountains.
I didn't even realize how much I missed the mountains until I was driving into Maryville and could see the mountains in the distance. It took my breath away. Cliche, I know, but it's true.
My aunt and uncle have a brand spankin' new cabin in Townsend and we were lucky enough to get to use it to celebrate my mom's birthday. In attendance were Kristin, Weston & Wade; Grammy & Uncle Sam; Katy & Lyla (Van had guys weekend with his dad); and me and my kiddos. Talk about a party! We had so much fun just hanging around. And, well, let's face it-stuffing our faces!! Weston and Drew had a great time "exploring" in the woods behind the house. Drew declared that next time he was bringing his "noculars" so he could see more stuff. Saturday night we had Grammy's party. Katy made an amazing ocean cake, complete with white chocolate lollipops on top. I might have had one. Or four. Somehow, even though it was Grammy's party, the kids ended up with tons of loot! They loved sitting on Grammy's lap and helping her blow out candles. Mom's birthday present is an all-expenses paid trip to the beach with all of us later this year. Which, I mean a trip to the beach is a great gift. It might lose a few points given that the masses will be there!
On Sunday, Katy and I decided to brave the redneck element and headed over to Gatlinburg to take Drew and Lyla to the Aquarium. I'm so glad we decided to go! The kids did a super job even though it was lunch/nap time. I mean, they were amazingly good! Emily did great, too. The aquarium has all kinds of different things to look at. Drew and Lyla made quick work of getting through there! They did not stop and linger at any exhibit for long. Turns out they are both TERRIFIED of sting rays and really want nothing to do with them. I'm pretty sure this stems from a trip we made to Opry Mills once. We took all the kids to Stingray Bay and thought it would be so fun for them to get to feed the stingrays. Wrong! The first time one of those suckers slid up alongside the tank and poked its' weird head out of the water much mayhem and freaking out ensued. Apparently, they haven't forgotten.
Which brings me to the great ironic moment of our day. As with most family attractions these days, in order to exit the Aquarium, you must go through the gift shop. I already told Drew he could pick out a prize and he went in convinced he could find something with Buzz Lightyear on it. Imagine his dismay when nearly everything in the store had something to do with fish. It was an agonizing decision to say the least. And what was his final choice?? A Steve Irwin talking action figure. You know, the "Crocodile Hunter"? Who knew such a thing existed?? And for the low, low price of $4.99. I guess he felt that a talking action figure was as close as he was going to get to Buzz. Little does he know the utter tragedy that lies behind his action figure. Don't think the irony of the sting ray phobia was lost on me either. We talked all about Steve Irwin (leaving out the tragic death story...for now) and outside, after our visit, Steve Irwin saved Lyla from her distress many times. (Pausing to mention that you should have seen the ring Lyla picked out for her prize. It was huge. And blingalicious!)
Turns out Drew did know who Steve Irwin was. He had been watching a Wiggles video in the car that we checked out from the library. One of the previews was for a Wiggly Safari and the tour guide was none other than...Steve Irwin!
I'm sure Steve would be just fine jumping off benches and shouting "To Infinity and Beyond!"