Friday, September 20, 2013

Camping At Roan Mountain

We were all bummed when we weren't able to book Cataloochee and take our yearly camping trip (Cataloochee books up super fast!). So, very last minute Eric and I decided we still wanted to take the kids on a quick camping trip, and we started looking up places that were close, not expensive, and had tent sites available. Thankfully Roan Mountain had just three tent sites left, so we booked one, and some of our other regular "Cataloochee goers" booked the other two. It was perfect camping weather, and if you are ever looking for a place to visits with great views, you should try visiting the top of Roan Mountain! Absolutely beautiful!

Getting our camp site all set up, and playing in the creek at our site:

We did a little hiking while there:


We had lots of these little sweet moments:

These pictures of the view from the top just doesn't do justice to actually being there and seeing it. Amazing.
The camping crew this year. Notice how several of our regular crowd wasn't able to come. We missed them, but still had a great time! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ansley's Pocahontas Party

For months now Ansley has told us that she wanted a Rapunzel birthday party for her 5th birthday. I had pink and purple plates bought, decorating ideas going through my head, and then one night just a couple of weeks before her party I said, "You know Ansley, you have a really cute Pocahontas dress." She decided then that she would rather have a Pocahontas party, and I was excited because instantly I could start thinking of easy decorating ideas. 
We had her party at Mamaw and Papaw's (because that is where the trampoline is, and when having a party if you have a trampoline you really don't need anything else, we've learned), and one night before her party my mom and dad helped me create some simple little tee-pees for the kids to play in.  

The hollowed out log my dad made, was the perfect spot to put the food in, and for her birthday banner I made it out of little tee-pees and canoes. 

Daddy and Ansley made a sign to hang up going into "Ansley's Village", and I especially loved the Pocahontas that Ansley Kate drew right above her name! Mamaw had some cute stuffed animals in the kids camping bedroom at her house, and they were perfect to add a little wildlife to her village.

The night before the party Eric made a beautiful Pocahontas birthday cake. When I woke up the next morning, the hill on the back of the cake for some reason was falling off of the cake. Bummer. We kind of laughed about it, because at that point what else can you do. It still tasted delicious, so that is all that really matters (at least that is what we kept telling ourselves!). Ansley loved it, and she didn't even notice that by the party the entire cake was being smashed down.

To go with the cake on the cake table, I made some tee-pee cupcakes and some corn husk party favors. I am so over party favors (in case you couldn't tell- ha!) and honestly forgot about them until last minute the night before the party. 

At the party we made the kids some Indian headbands and let them pick out the feathers to put on them as well as what name they wanted written on them. We had several adorable Pocahontas', a "Bear Hunter", "Lil Bitz", "Mimi-Bear", and of course, "Birthday Princess."
Leslie and Cheyenna painted the kids faces once again since they enjoyed that so much at Elsie and Vada Belle's party, and the "rice tub" was a huge hit as always:
A few fun family shots:

A little break from playing to eat:
Fun moments with family and friends:

Time for singing "Happy Birthday" and Ansley blowing out her candles:

Present time!:

When we got home that night the kids were exhausted (and I was glad that the next day was Labor Day so they could get a little more rest), but they kept talking about how much fun they had. On our way taking Ansley to dance the next day, Ansley says, "Mommy, I had SO much fun at my Pocahontas party," and Jackson replies with, "Yeah, it was pretty epic." I love those sweet little conversations. 

Happy 5th Birthday, Ansley Kate! We love you!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday, Ansley Kate!

Today this beautiful little princess turned FIVE!    

She woke up and after being sung to and given birthday hugs, she asked if she could bake in her Easy Bake Oven. She helped daddy make some french toast, (look at us mixing it up from our usual birthday pancakes!), but she still got some whipped topping with a candle on her french toast. 
We then did our usual Sunday routine of going to church then to Great-Granny Ollie's for lunch, and then we came home and the kids hung out and played with daddy while I went to finish decorating for her Pocahontas party. Isn't it nice when their birthday falls on a day that you can actually have their party on that day? She then went to her party and had a wonderful time playing, laughing, and did a whole lot of jumping on the trampoline. (I'll post some more pictures soon of her fun Pocahontas themed party). 
By the time we got home, all four kids were exhausted, but Jackson wanted her to open one last gift from him, Elsie & Vada Belle. Then they all wanted to sleep in Jackson's room (every night they are having a "sleepover" in one of the rooms) so we were in there getting them ready for bed. While we were saying what we were thankful for before our prayers, of course we were saying how much we were thankful for our birthday girl. When it was her turn and she said her usual things (mom, dad, Jackson, Elsie, Vada Belle, our home, etc), and then she said, "I'm thankful for my fun party, and that it didn't rain." Me too, sister, me too!
At five years old Anlsey still loves anything princess, pink, dancing, playing with her sisters and brother, thinking that she is Vada Belle's second mommy, anything to do with arts and crafts, dressing up, coloring, playing with her dolls and Barbies, baking in her easy bake oven, animals and bugs of all kinds, and being mommy's little helper. When she grows up she has three different things that she says she wants to be. One is a Rockette, and for a while- as in several months- we had to watch the Rockette's Christmas Spectular every single day while her and Elsie dance and sung along to every routine. I think we all have it memorized by now. When Netflix took it off for a little while, we had to order the DVD because they were so sad it was off! If it isn't a Rockette she wants to be, then another answer is "a mermaid." I asked her how I could come visit her if she is a mermaid, and she assured me that she would be like Ariel and could get legs, too, and walk on land to see us. (Let's hope she doesn't have to make any deals with Ursula the sea witch for that to happen). ;)  For the third option- a fairy, but not just any fairy- Ansley Kate wants to be the tooth fairy! What fun career choices!!

Happy Birthday to our little princess! We love you to the moon and back, and then some more!

August 2013

August brought the last days of our summer break for this year,

but it also brought many great memories, some first, and some celebrations! I already wrote about Jackson's first day of first grade, and Ansley Kate's first day of kindergarten, but I never wrote about how hard of a time the younger two girls had adjusting to big brother and sister not being around, especially little Elsie. On the first day of school for both kids, Elsie was fine hanging out with Vada Belle, but the second Vada went to nap Elsie was asking me if we could got ahead and pick up Jackson and Ansley. She helped the day go by, by hanging out Vada, Nala Mae, the cat, and finding some not great ways to entertain herself- like sticking beads up her nose.

(Notice how she wanted to have a sign to take a picture with, like Jackson and Ansley did on their first day of school!) 

Vada Belle is getting much more interactive these days, and wants to be a part of whatever the big kids are doing the majority of the time, and it is so cute to watch her and Elsie play and entertain one another while Jackson and Ansley are gone. They both love to go to the bus stop to pick up big brother and sister, and the second they see that bus coming they get so excited and start waving.

This month we took a couple more trips to Tweetsie (where you can see Ansley loves the ferris wheel as much as I do....)

had a sleepover with Caleb, Abigail and Amelia:

went to the Mile's family reunion:

went to the Appalachian Fair to see the monster truck racing & freestyle show, UTV racing, fun exhibits, petting zoos, and a Jeremy Camp concert:

celebrated Nala turning 9 and my 31st birthday:

took advantage of all the rain we've had this summer by enjoying splashing in the mud puddles:

went on a hike to Cascade Falls:
daddy found a new pet while we was out working one day:

and enjoyed every single day: