Thursday, November 20, 2014

End of Summer Trip to TN

It is freezing cold let's look back to summer, when it was nice and warm and we went swimming and vacationed to TN! At the end of July/early August, we took our annual trip down to TN to visit Mama Kay and Papa. This year, like last year, Madgie and Patch rented a house close by so we were able to visit with them too. But, first stop, Mama Kay and Papa's house. After a long car ride, the kids were anxious to get their suits on and get to the lake. Maybe taking a quick break in the hammock first though....
This was Matthew's first time to the lake and his first time on the dock...he sure looks excited!
Like most things he has tried, he was pretty ambivalent about swimming in the lake.  He didn't cry or fuss, but he didn't get excited either.  Just another thing my parents are making me do...
Ben steering the canoe.
OK Dad, are we done swimming?
Belle enjoyed coming down this year and swimming in the water.  We had to push her in at first, but after a day or two she was jumping off the dock.
And she was sure to follow Ben in the canoe.
This cutie started off the week just putting her toes in the water. 
Matthew went on his first canoe ride too.
Abbey jumped right off the dock and loved relaxing in the water.
Eventually, Juliette would jump off the dock, as long as Papa was holding her hands as she jumped.  She did not want to be in the water without someone holding her hand.
Abbey though was doing crazy jumps off the dock!
This was the first summer that Ben went tubing by himself (without the boat going very slowly that is).  He really enjoyed it!
The girls love riding on the boat!

Ben tubing by himself!
Boating and swimming sure makes a little girl tired...
And there was a lot of fishing to be done too! 
Look what Ben caught!
A catfish!  We fried him up for dinner and it was actually pretty tasty!
Mama Kay and Papa with the girls on the dock.
The girls did a little fishing too.
We took Matthew to the beach and put him in a floatie.  Again, didn't cry, but didn't love it either. 
He did, however, really enjoy the swing at the playground on the beach!
Especially when big brother played with him.
Matthew went on the boat for the first time - my little boating kids - love it!
Mama Kay held him when the boat got going faster.
More fishing!
Juliette took to fishing this trip too.
Just a few cute pictures taken on the dock.

Daddy helping her fish.
While these three were fishing, Abbey was being a fish swimming in the water - she loved the swimming off the dock.
We got to eat some of Mama Kay's fresh from the garden produce...nice carrot!
Relaxing with a snack at the beach!

Playing in the sand - the girls really love going to the beach!
We played games of tic-tac-toe on the beach and had jumping contests too. 
Juliette is just happy playing in the sand though.
Matthew getting some sibling love.

And one day, Papa took us and Madgie and Patch over to the Smoky National Park for a splash hike!  Mama Kay stayed home with Matthew (thank you Mama Kay!!).  The kids before the hike - very excited!

It was a little chilly at the start, but not once we got going.
Papa leading our group.
We got to cross several streams.
Ben helping Juliette come across with the walking stick.
She didn't need his help though!
Madgie and Abbey crossing.
Keeping up with Papa and Ben.
There's some of our group!

Crossing streams

Looks like I am helping Juliette
But really she was helping me.  I was the only one to fall in the stream....twice....and I had the bruises to show for it the next day too!
She's a pro!
Then we came to a great spot for lunch by this beautiful waterfall.
How scenic!
After we ate, the kids played around for a bit in the water.

Paul was helping Ben come across and he slipped on a rock and got totally wet.  Not sure if you can see his face well in this picture, but he has a huge smile - he thought it was great!
On the other hand, this is the face of a little girl who had the opposite reaction when she fell and got all wet!
And here is how Patch reacted to falling in the water....just kidding, he didn't really fall, just pretending.  Look at his captive audience though!
After lunch it was time to head back.  At first, it looked like Paul was going to have to carry Juliette the whole way back.
But Patch jumped in and got both girls going in a race.  It was them against us and we didn't see them again until we got back to the car.  Apparently they ran most of the way.  Every now and then they would stop and walk, but then they would check to see if we were coming.  If they saw us or could hear us, they took off again!  What a great game, Patch!  It really got the girls going and made the hike back a lot easier on us!
And they're off!
That was a really fun day hiking, thanks for taking us Papa!  Back at the dock, this princess checks out the latest catches of the day.
Even I caught a fish!
More fishing.
Lake swimming kisses.
And Ben got brave this summer and tried water skiing.  He has never wanted to try before, but for some reason, got excited about it this year.  We pulled him off the dock to help him get the feel. 
He tried it behind the boat and got so close!  He almost had it, but then the skis popped off his foot and scraped it up and he didn't want to try again after that.  Unfortunately we didn't try with him until the last day, so he didn't get a chance to heal and try again.  We will see what next summer brings.
Abbey got brave on the last day too and went tubing with Daddy.  She loved it!  They went outside and wake and just had a lot of fun.  Until....she hit a bump funny and went flying off the top behind Paul.  I have never seen Paul scramble so fast to intentionally jump off the tube and get to Abbey.  She was crying and a bit scared, but when we pulled up on the boat, we all made a huge deal about how brave she was and she became pretty proud of herself after that.  She wouldn't get on the tube again though!
The last two days we went and stayed at Madgie and Patch's house and swam off their dock.
Abbey was another fish over there too.
Juliette on the dock.
Juliette wanted no part of being in the tube behind the boat (even before Abbey's flip into the lake).  She did get in with Patch for a bit though, as long as the tube was tied to the dock!
Matthew enjoying some dock time.
And Madgie made a cake for Juliette and Ginny to celebrate the end of summer birthdays!
That's right, Uncle Chris, Aunt Ginny and Brendan came down for a weekend too.  Ben and Brendan playing!
Daddy driving the golf cart down to the dock - this house had a seriously steep walk down to the dock.
Brendan is all ready to go on the boat!
At first, he was rather unsure about the boat.
But once it got going, he enjoyed it!
More beach time.
Playing in the sand with Brendan.

Brendan enjoying splashing in the lake.
And finally, Matthew interacted with the lake.  He sat on the beach and splashed the water, which he seemed to like!
And he liked grabbing the sand and eating it too...
We determined he liked the lake after all!
Ben spent his last day relaxing with a book at the beach.
We had a really great trip!  We love being at the lake, boating, going to the beach, and most importantly, visiting with family.  Thank you Mama Kay for spending a lot of time at the house while Matthew napped so we could take the big 3 out on the boat and to the beach.  Thank you all for having us - we can't wait to go back again (I am currently dreaming of the lake while watching snow flurries out my window!). 

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