Thursday, June 19, 2014

Photo Shoot

Here are some group photos I took of the kiddies last week. James is 6, JoyAnna is 4, Lydia is 2 and Gideon is 7 weeks old in these pictures.

Enjoying June in Nashville

June has been the month of fun, educational and free events in Nashville! JoyAnna took a wildlife class at Warner Park to learn how to walk quietly and observe birds and other animals. She loved it! James took an insect class there a week later and learned to identify different insects.  We usually meet friends there, play in the mud and then splash in the creek before we have a picnic and go home for naps. Here is a picture of James with his bug class…they were supposed to look like their favorite bug for the picture. You should have been there…it was hysterical! (James is the only one in a hat).
Insect Class Warner Park
We went strawberry picking in Lascassas, Tennessee. It was so much fun and the farmer was so sweet to the children. We picked a nice big basket full of gorgeous, ripe strawberries. And not the giant, mutant ones you get at the store. Perfectly sweet, tiny little strawberries…the way they ought to be. JoyAnna wore her strawberry dress…I wish I could have gotten better pictures. (I was sitting in the trunk of the van trying to take pictures with my left hand while nursing Gideon. Tricky, tricky, tricky!)
The Nashville Symphony performs FREE community concerts in June. We went to two of them. The children had never been to hear a symphony performance before, and I was surprised at how much they enjoyed it! Except for Gideon. He was angry. But I think it had more to do with being strapped into a car seat than the performance.
Lydia had us laughing so hard because she was so into the music, bobbing her head and tapping her foot whenever the music became loud and upbeat. Once it began to get dark, the lightning bugs came out and lit up the air all around. It was such a wonderful experience!

Last Friday we went to something called “Touch a Truck”. The kids got to climb in and learn about emergency and construction vehicles. For free. It was so neat. We got there towards the end and didn’t get to sit in all of the trucks, but they got to go in a SWAT Hummer, a huge tractor, and a police car. They had a few fire trucks, a police motorcycle, and some construction trucks too. Afterwards we met Daddy for lunch which made it an even more special day!

Slugs and Bugs

JoyAnna and Lydia got to go to a Slugs and Bugs mini-concert at Logos Bookstore in Nashville. Erma and I took them while Daddy and James went with Erpa over to Johnson City to pick up our van. It was so much fun!


(Can you see JoyAnna and Lydia sitting on the floor?) I got to talk to Randall Goodgame and his wife a little. They are so very sweet. Their three children were also there and sang too. I loved that they did that!

Andrew had no idea where the bunny (that he was supposed to have hidden) was hiding! :)

They were there with Jonathan Rogers who was doing a book signing for the re-release of his Wilderking Trilogy. I had never heard of him before and got to talk to him a little too.


The bookstore owners were very kind. They had a gentle old dog that JoyAnna instantly bonded with. She’s some sort of dog whisperer, I think. It is a really nice bookstore that I have been wanting to go back to.

A little while after we got back home, Josh pulled up in our van. I was so thankful that they had made it back safely and to know that whenever Gideon finally came, there would be a place for him to sit!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back To Florida

In February Josh’s company hosted a conference at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. Grandma and Grandpa met us there and picked up the kiddies to take back to their house for the weekend. It was such a wonderful time to just spend one on one, even if it was a business trip! We ate the most delicious food there and the shampoo was really nice.



When we got to Cape Coral Grandpa gave everyone tractor rides, we celebrated James’ birthday and visited with family.  Lydia fell in the parking lot and got a boo boo. Ouch! We even got to go swimming and fishing with Oma and Opa! See how the fishies follow the bread?


Josh and I took them to Lakes Park and we rented a surrey too. We sure missed doing that! A nice lady took our picture. I guess we looked like tourists.


Winter Fun in Nashville

My children had never experienced snow before moving to Nashville. How sweet it was to see their excitement the first time it snowed! By Christmas time they had seen a number of snow showers, but no accumulation to really enjoy. Even though we had a very, very cold winter there was hardly any snow. After polling the locals I’ve learned that this was an odd winter. Colder and with much less snow than normal.


Then came Christmas. We ended our Thanksgiving vacation with Josh’s family down at Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, GA. In one of the homes on the plantation property they had yarn strung up all around the children’s room. It was tradition that parents would hide a present in their bedroom, tie a yarn to it, and then criss-cross the yarn around the room. In the morning each child would follow his or her yarn until the gift was found. We thought this would be a fun tradition to begin in our house, so we did. And true to his nature, Josh gave it his all. The poor kids never had a chance…


The yarn spanned two rooms of our apartment. Lydia’s was very short and simple, but she probably had the hardest time of all because she had to climb over and under James and JoyAnna’s yarn tangles. I’m not sure who had more fun…the kids, or us!

DSC00279Lydia and I sat on the couch and patiently waited while the older two kept wrapping yarn. (Notice my ugly Christmas sweater?) James loved his new slippers and K’NEX. JoyAnna just had a blast ripping wrapping paper. Daddy got a wonderfully fuzzy wool hat. And Gideon only had 4 months to go!






Saturday, June 14, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

Nathan, Yesenia & Natalie with JoyAnna, James and Lydia
Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas we spent a few days with our dear friends, The Menas. They graciously invited us to spend some of their vacation with them in the mountains of Georgia, and we very gladly accepted!

Jesus & Issel with Josh & Heather

They were renting an adorable cabin on Black Rock Mountain, very nearby The Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center. If you are ever in Northern Georgia, you should stop there and spent a few hours. You could easily spend a few hours simply talking to the people inside the museum shop, so you might as well just plan to spend the whole day. You'll be glad that you did! I've always been interested in the people of Appalachia, and this was such an amazing place to learn some of their history.

We also visited Tallulah Gorge. Josh brought me there on our honeymoon 8 years ago. It used to be a popular honeymoon location. Funny though, back in the day when newlyweds were flocking to the area, I don't believe bushwhacking was on their to-do list. Near death experiences probably weren't either. Granted, that was before there was life insurance policies.

Now, after I survived the hike down into the gorge, as well as the hike back out 8 years ago, I swore I would never do it again. That is a brutal feat. Especially for someone who is terrified of heights! By the time you are halfway down, your legs are jelly just from the physical exertion, not to mention the height, the shaking suspension bridge, and slippery steps. 

Miraculously, we all survived our hike. Even the children!

After all of that, can you believe they make you PAY for these???

8 Years and Counting

Last year, inspired by a conversation that took place on our 7th wedding anniversary, I wrote a blog post called 7 Years to Eternity that included lyrics from a song that Andrew Peterson, a fellow Nashville resident, wrote.

For my 30th birthday, my dear husband brought me to Chattanooga to see him in concert and we were fortunate enough to hear him perform that song.

Since we recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary, and I was re-reading that blog post from last year and reflecting, I thought I would post the video I took from the concert.


Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg

DSC00077We spent last Thanksgiving in an amazing cabin in Gatlinburg with Josh’s parents, his siblings and their spouses and our nieces. All in all there were 10 adults plus 5 children, every one of them under the age of 5! It was chaotic, but so much fun!


It snowed!! I think it was the first snow that our kids really got to experience since our move. We were very excited! Everyone bundled up and ran outside to have snowball fights and build snowmen. DSC00041DSC00057DSC00070DSC00056DSC00058







Josh worked so hard to roll up enough snow for a snowman. Once he had rolled up two balls for the bottom two portions of the snowman and stacked them, he put it on the trunk of our car. While he went to roll a head, the other parts slid off of the car and smashed on the driveway. Oops. He was devastated. He spent the next 30 minutes pouting on the pavement and contemplating the meaning of his existence. Poor thing.


Tennessee is such a beautiful state! The mountains there in Gatlinburg are just incredible. We drove up into them one day and the snow and ice were beautiful.









We visited Cade’s Cove. It is a driving tour. Lydia got to drive.There were deer grazing in a field. Josh was thinking out loud that if he only had his bow and arrow he could make the shot from where we were parked. He said, “That, my children, is food.” And Lydia promptly pointed and said, “Food!” Quite comical. It was only appropriate then for us to head downtown to the Jerky Store and pick up some venison jerky. Mmm good! (In case you were wondering, it was a very cold day!)







We visited The Christmas Place, The Apple Barn (you must go there and have some apple cider donuts and hot cider!) and enjoyed some snuggle time with Erma and Erpa too!