Saturday, July 28, 2012

More Family Fun

At the Baughman family reunion, the Great Grandkids had a fun little water balloon "fight" the one afternoon.  

What a great week with my family!  I miss them all and can't wait until the next time we are together.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Family, lots of family

I love my family!  I love being with my family.  I even love the sometimes crazy aspects of my family. My extended family is spread out.  My paternal grandparents had 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and now 10 (with one more on the way) great grandchildren.  We live in 9 different states all over the country.  Needless to say we don't get to all be together very often.  We planned to all gather in East Tennessee this summer.  We missed 2 of my cousins and their families!!!  However, the other 19 of us had a great week of adventure together.

We all went on a hike in a National Park (it was part of Gaitlinburg, but we didn't go in the main entrance).  This was a 1 mile hike that all the kids and my Grandma hiked.  A beautiful morning in the Smoky Mountains!
The whole Baughman family present, except Aunt Anne who took the picture!

Kelsie, Joel, and Jim hiking

Eli (who is 3 months younger than Joel), Larry, and Rachel

Melanie and Tim

Kirstin, Myself, and My Mom!

A sampling of the beautiful view on our hike

Joel crossing a river on rocks

Aunt MeMe helping Joel across one of the many foot bridges.

He made it!  He did such a great job hiking.

We ate a picnic lunch in the National Park before some of the family headed back home for naps.  Then the rest of us hiked up 2.1 miles to a waterfall (and then back down 2.1 miles).

Trevor (and others) on the way up.  It really was up with this incline for the first 2 miles.  The last .1 of a mile was even more steep down to the falls.

My brother, Tim, and nephew, Trevor at the waterfall

It was just after this moment when Jim realized his phone was going for a swim.  After 3 days in rice to dry out, it revived!!! 

My Kelsie!

Cooling off in the waterfall's fresh mountain water.

That's my brother!!!  (He got ALL of the daring genes and I got NONE)

Sweaty, but enjoying the view!

Another glimpse at God's beautiful creation.

The trip down the mountain was adventurous as my Aunt fell a split her knee pretty close to the top of the mountain.  She then went into shock and passed out with Jim and I catching her.  Fortunately, my cousin, the nurse, was with us.  Her husband, the doctor, was able to put 4 stitches in my Aunt's knee after dinner.

As if that wasn't enough adventure, the next day we headed to the Pigeon River where several in the family started the day ziplining, but I wasn't up for that adventure.  However, after lunch most of us went white water rafting.  Unfortunately, I don't have any cool pictures.  Joel has the best story of the day though.  He went on a raft with his Grandpa, Great Grandma Betty, Great Aunt, and 2nd cousins (ages 3 and 6).  They went on the lower river that was calmer, while the rest of us went on the upper river to experience more rapids.  A few minutes into Joel's trip their raft went backwards into a rock.  This caused Joel to be dumped out of his raft and into the river.  He spent some time floating along until his guide Miss Melinda hoisted him up into a different raft.  Eventually, he was put back into the correct raft.  Grandpa was very concerned for him.  Joel wasn't scared a bit, though.  He was thrilled to tell us the story when we met back up with him.  

We also enjoyed time in the sandbox, local community pool, around the campfire with smores and fireworks.  I look forward to the next time we all decide to get together (and hopefully those that weren't able to join us will be able to the next time).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Peach Park

It doesn't take long being around our family (or reading the title of this blog) to realize that we have a little thing for ice cream.  On vacation, we often try to find new, interesting, unique, and amazingly yummy ice cream places and flavors.  This particular day was a lovely ice cream day.

We started the day in Loxley, Alabama where we went to a farm stand.  We had read in our ice cream book that this farm stand had homemade ice cream.  We thought that sounded like a lovely breakfast.  We were disappointed to find out it wasn't homemade, but decided to try some on top of homemade strawberry cobbler anyway.

Shortly, after lunch (and before kids were asleep for naps) we were driving down the road and saw a sign for Peach Park.  The billboard claimed that it was "1 of 51 top ice cream parlors in the country".  With that kind of a statistic how could we pass it up.  With my husband's wonderful vacation driving skills, we couldn't get off the interstate in time, so we drove 3 miles to the next exit turned around and drove the 3 miles back.  Jim doesn't just get off the interstate for any adventure.  In fact, I often have to plan the adventures and spend lots of time convincing him that it will be fun family time.  However, Peach Park (and the large picture of homemade ice cream) did not take any convincing.

Our Peach is certainly "Sweet as a Peach"
There were pictures of former princesses and queens from a local Peach Festival all around this shop.  There are some of the pictures on the left.  It was interesting to look at the pictures from random dates over the last 30ish years.

Now the good stuff... Peach Ice Cream!!!!  
I had Peach Cheesecake, Jim had Caramel Peach (with pecans), and the kids shared Peach (which happens to be one of Joel's favorite flavors anyway!)

Look at the size of the single scoop!  Kirstin is trying to grab my cone.  She, too, loves ice cream!

I now see why she was so sticky...Joel isn't even watching as he is feeding her.

I love this pic (good job, Jim!)

Kirstin is getting the "Tippy bite".  My grandparents' dog's name was Tippy.  Grandpa would often save the last bite of his ice cream cones to give to her.  So, we call the last bite the "Tippy bite".

The park had some fun things around for you to enjoy while enjoying your yummy ice cream.  They served "grill" type food too, but we just enjoyed the ice cream.

The giant peach!  Yes, Joel is contemplating how to "fly" down the raised area they were standing on for me to take their picture with the peach.

Peach Park was worth the time and distance out of our way on our long day of driving.

We ended that day with ice cream too, but I think that wasn't until we got to my cousin's house at the start of the Baughman family reunion...more to come about the last week of our vacation soon. 

Let me know if there are any wonderful ice cream places that we have to try (anywhere in the country...we travel for fabulous ice cream).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cow Appreciation Day

My family does not typically eat fast food, except we do love Chick-fil-A.  Even on long road trips we seek out alternatives to fast food and just eat it fast. :-)  However, we were thrilled when 2 Chick-fil-A restaurants opened within 10 miles of our house shortly after we moved here.  In fact, Joel and I went to the first one for the Grand Opening!

Today was cow appreciation day at Chick-fil-A.  This means that if you dressed like a cow from head to toe you got a free meal.  If you just wore a cow accessory you received a free entree.  Well, we don't have a whole lot of cow accessories or costumes around our house.  In fact, they are mostly banned.  My mom, Elsie, has a great objection to her children or grandchildren wearing cow attire.  My mom doesn't object to much, but cow clothing is a serious and sensitive subject for her.  We honor that!  Except today in the name of free Chick-fil-A.  (Yes, I called and apologized to  Mom) We were a herd of cattle.
Our little herd complete with ears, spots, and cow bells!

Joel has a hand me down raincoat and boots from our neighbor that are cow print (we didn't buy them, I promise Mom!)

Daddy cow and Baby Calf holding a stuffed Chick-fil-A cow.

I wore my cowboy boots to go with my cow attire.  I wanted to ensure a free meal, not just the entree.

Joel with the Chick-fil-A Cow (mascot!)

Joel was thrilled to get to dance with "Baby Cow" as this mascot was called.

We looked a little silly, but you know what we all got a free meal!  Our total today at Chick-fil-A was $0.00.  We ordered a Spicy Chicken Sandwich deluxe Meal (with waffle fries and drink), Chicken strip meal (with waffle fries and drink), and 2 kids meals (with a fruit cup substitute for both) all for a grand total of $0.00!!!!  I don't even know what that total should have been because we don't normally order the kids a kid's meal, but just share ours with them.  I'm guessing it would have been at least $30-40.  Anyway, be sure to stop in and enjoy Chick-fil-A the next time you have the chance.

Also, if you've never heard Tim Hawkins or his song Chick-fil-A you will want to check it out by clicking on the link.  It is sung regularly around our house. We like Tim Hawkins in general, but this is our favorite.

Since I'm promoting things here it is good to know that I'm doing it because I want to out of appreciate for the things, not because someone or an organization has asked me or paid me to write nice things.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bama Beach Babe

From NOLA we headed to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We were blessed to stay with Jim's aunt and uncle who live near there.  Jim has many fond memories of going to their house for family birthdays growing up.  It is this uncle who would grill hamburgers and make homemade ice cream (the reason for Jim's 30th birthday party theme).  We had a fabulous time swimming in their pool and enjoying their fellowship.

I haven't seen them, but I'm sure there are pictures of Jim and his younger brothers swinging on this very swing at the same age Joel is now.  Joel ran right to this swing like he knew just what to do (with Scheppy laying on the ground watching).

A little fear in his eyes as the swing tilted for the first time.

Even though both of our kids have been to the beach (Atlantic and Pacific oceans...although Kirstin slept in her carseat while viewing the Pacific), this was both of their first times at the Gulf of Mexico.  The Gulf was rough with a red flag warning.  We had heard reports of rip tides and strong undertow.  Jim and I are both seasoned beach goers and knew that meant it was not safe to go in the waters of the Gulf (especially for our sweet kiddos).  Regardless, we took advantage of the photo opportunity of their first time at the Gulf.
You can see how rough the water is here.

Joel heard us discussing the water conditions and was resistant to put his toes in the edge of the water.

Kirstin wasn't too sure about the wet sand she was sitting on, but knew we were excited so smiled.

I always have big hopes of a cute family picture to capture moments.  Joel was ready to be done with dangerous water and move onto the sand he could dig.
Since Jim grew up going to this very portion of beach, he knew a local secret.  There is spot they call "the pass" where the Gulf connects to a lagoon.  This local spot has a lovely free parking lot, bath house, sandy beach, and calm water.  This is where we positioned ourselves for beach time.
This local knew to hang out at the pass too.  I later saw this awesome bird eat his lunch...swallowed a fish whole!

Checking out the sand

Sand on her hands

Into the water...she is clapping!

Joel is happy to be in the sand digging!

This is where Joel spent most of his time at the beach.  We were also watching a hermit crab that someone had caught.  He traveled all around us until we helped him back near the water before we left

She loved splashing and crawling through the water.

After a day at Gulf Shores, we enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner at the Oyster House.  We happened to be there the night that they have a live alligator that you can hold.  

Joel is touching a real live (baby) alligator.

I can't believe my son who is scared of an inch worm is holding an alligator like it is no big deal.

Notice the sign advertising the live alligator.  It is so much more ferocious than this baby alligator with it's mouth taped shut.

We all ate yummy shrimp!  We love fresh seafood, but live in the midwest.  It was glorious to share the beach life with our family.