Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gatlinburg, Dollywood, The Smokies...

Last week, the 15th-21st, we made the LONG drive to Gatlinburg, TN. To define long, it was a 10 hour drive one way! What may be surprising to most of you, especially the ones with children our age, is that our girls were essentially perfect the ENTIRE drive down AND back home! They were angels, which is no different than any other time, but we were especially proud of them last week being taken out of the normal routine. We had a nice and busy time. The mountains were beautiful as you can tell. This was taken on the Tennessee-North Carolina border outside of Gatlinburg.

This is the only family picture we really have, and it cracks me up. Check out Lauren's melt down. I don't think the high altitude agreed with her. This afternoon was one of the few times we had any trouble at all with them...

She was too cute looking out over the mountains. If you notice she is holding my water bottle. That is the only thing that made her happy the whole time we were there.

Daddy and his baby girls.

Does it get any cuter??

This is at Dollywood. I got a few of these out of order, but I wasn't going to repost... Daddy and Lauren were watching Ella run through the sprinklers. (see below).

See Lauren's "pacifier."

Lauren couldn't ride many rides, but she could on this one and she loved it.

Thank goodness for TV's in cars. It aided in the effort to keep the girls happy for the drive.

Our crowd at the Dixie Stampede. I wasn't supposed to take pictures in the building so this is the only one I got before I got in "trouble."

Ella on the ducks at Dollywood. She loves her pink STL Cardinal hat, and so do I!

Lauren spent a lot of the day at Dollywood hanging out in the stroller with her sippy cup. She slept 2 hours of the 7 hour day at the park, so that made some of the time pass for her.

I think Ella was telilng Lauren to sit down.

Ella loved this ride. I wasn't too sure because it was like 40 feet in the air and then dropped. She didn't hesitate at all. She thought it was great.

On the raft ride Ella got completely soaked. She took her shorts off after that and just ran around in her swimsuit which worked out well when we ran into the sprinklers...

She loved this. There was a bunch of water shooting out of little holes in this area. She ran around for nearing an hour, and we finally got tired of it.

My little beauty. She doesn't usually let me take her picture, but I did get this one and I think it's great!

Me and the girls...notice how well Ella is cooperating in this picture? :)

Daddy and the girls at 5,048 feet!

Ella loves to swim. She is not scared of it at all. She just jumps right in. She doesn't really need her floaties, but we make her wear them I think more for our sakes than hers. Water makes me a little nervous with little kids!

Notice Lauren isn't scared of the water either. She doesn't like to sit in her raft. It worked out that there was a ledge in the pool that was the perfect height for her to stand at and walk back and forth...with my help of course.

The girls lounging on our last night. We had a great place to stay thanks to my mom and dad. They are part of a time share that has wonderful accomodations. We had a mini apartment complete with bedrooms, kitchen, deck, living room and the works! As you can tell we had a busy but fun time. I am so glad we're able to go and do these things. It makes me look forward to future family vacations! Happy Summer!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July from Quincy, IL! Here is one of the pretty fireworks.

Ella and Mommy's self portrait. She was "Mommy's girl" during the evening, so I enjoyed every minute of it since Daddy is usually "it!"

The best picture we could get considering Ella doesn't like to get her picture taken right now. Lauren as you can tell doesn't mind getting attention...

Ella was cold, and so was I. Who would have imagined that you would have needed coats and blankets on the Fourth???

Ella and her Sparklers. When I was a kid the handle was like 6 inches long, and you just had enough time to write your name in the air before you got burnt by the sparkler!

Jenna Mae (Chad's cousin) and me! She is currently working in Quincy this summer before she starts school back up this fall at Mizzou!!

Lauren spent most of the evening "driving" Mammy and Papa's van...

A Little Game of Golf...

The other night we took the girls to the park to try out the Putt-Putt course. Ella doesn't quite get the hang of it, but she had fun climbing on the rocks and "wading" in the water...

Our little golfer very focused on her game...

Lauren spent the very short game enjoying her puffs...and the entertainment by her big sister.

After the game...which only lasted like 5 was hot and Ella was hungry...