Friday, November 7, 2014

Summer Fun In Town

Before Gardening Class
James getting ready to release ladybugs
What a busy summer we have had! It has been sort of hectic, but lots of fun too. The kids have been participating in all sorts of free local activities. From gardening classes at a historical farm to evening symphony performances in the park to bird hikes and play time at the mud park. We have been enjoying the myriad of things available to us in Nashville.

JoyAnna in her gardening hat
The Nashville Symphony has a series of free programs that they perform at local parks and we were fortunate to attend two of them. There was something so special about listening to all of those beautiful instruments singing together under the stars. James and JoyAnna were so excited to see how many instruments they could recognize, Lydia loved the lightning bugs that lit up the summer sky, and Gideon just wanted to be snuggled and nursed.

Intensely watching all of the instrumentalists take the stage and warm up

Happy to be at her first Symphony Performance!
 We also did things like "Touch A Truck Day", where a local park has all different types of community service vehicles on hand for kids to come and touch, sit in, explore and ask questions about. Each truck had long lines, so we could only pick a few. The ones the kids chose were the Police SWAT team truck, one of those huge mowers they use to bush hog the fields, they sat in a police car and a bucket loader. Once in awhile someone would "touch" the horn button. Wowzers! Was that ever loud!! Giddy was a champ and slept the whole time in the baby carrier.

On our way to "Touch a Truck!"
Lydia in the police car


We visited Old Stone Fort State Park. It sounded intriguing in the Tennessee book we borrowed from the library and we were so excited to go! When we got there we were totally disappointed. It was NOT what we were expecting at all, very hot, and the hiking trail had terrible cliffs dropping off the side of it down into a rocky river gorge. Not ideal for a bunch of little ones. It was so bad Lydia screamed hysterically until I took her off the trail and into a grassy field where we got eaten alive by mosquitoes and burnt by the sun. Ah...good times. But there was so redemption...we got lessons in how to throw an Atlatl!!! SUPER COOL!! 

Trying out the Dugout Canoe (that was full of icky rainwater, so they all had to pile to the front!)
James throwing the atlatl

JoyAnna's turn!

Beware of Trail Side Cliff!! Can anyone say Tallulah Gorge?!

SO FAR we haven't had any casualties...but beware!

Gnarly tree I found along the trail!
James and JoyAnna have participated in bug classes, bird classes, wildlife classes, plant classes, and all sort of fun things at Warner Park. Every time we go there are exciting things to see and learn. On one of our recent trips we saw hummingbirds, two new species of bird that we hadn't yet seen, a praying mantis, many stinkbugs, and a monarch butterfly that just hatched and was drying it's wings on a milkweed plant! Warner Park is also our favorite place to hike and play in the mud.

James acting like his favorite bug at the bug class at Warner Park (he's the only one with a hat on)

We also went to see Andrew and Skye Peterson at the Warden and the Wolf King book release. They performed "My Love Has Gone Across the Sea", and it was all that we expected and more! Skye sings like a bird. I'm sure her daddy is proud. James wanted to stick around to meet her, (I think he fell in love as soon as she began to sing!) and we stood in line for a very long time, but we had some diaper shortage issues that forced us to leave our place in line. (I really try, but sometimes I am terrible at keeping a well-stocked diaper bag!)

So many people showed up for this that we were some of the last people to be able to find any standing room at the back of the bookstore. There were toothy cows, fangs, gargan rockroaches, and even Pete the Sock Man was there!
Gargan Rockroach

Fearsome Toothy Cow

All We Want For Christmas Is...No Toys, Please!

Dear Friends and Family,

It's that time of year again and we are all busy shopping for Christmas gifts.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and all that jazz.  Or not.

Josh and I usually get asked about what gifts our children might enjoy for Christmas, so this year we thought we would just send a note out to help with some ideas if you were planning to send something. If not...great! Plan a visit instead!

Please. No. Toys.  

We will be moving soon and our children are up to their necks in toys already.

But...anything that we can do together as a family is a great idea!

Things like: (Click on any of the blue links below to see what we 're talking about!)

I. Gift Certificates or Tickets to do activities
2. Restaurant Gift Cards/Groupons (We love eating out as a family!)
3. For those who just prefer to give a gift that can be unwrapped, here are some ideas:
4. Or don't send anything and just come visit us in 2015!!!  (THIS IS THE BEST GIFT YOU COULD GIVE US!)

We love you and hope to see all of you sometime in the next year!!

Joshua, Heather, James, JoyAnna, Lydia and Gideon