Monday, August 15, 2011

Visitors Galore!

July turned out to be a very very busy month with lots of visitors.  After our week in Michigan, we had a quiet weekend in TN.  The following week Adam was off to AL for work and came back on Friday to my parents, grandma and Miss Abbie visiting.  We had SO much fun.  I was so happy we were able to have everyone down, especially Abbie.  I love getting to spend time with that little munchkin – she is just growing up way too fast.

I wanted to have a little birthday party for her since I wasn’t going to be able to go up to Chip’s house for her “real” party the next weekend so I bought some Toy Story decorations and got her a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to go with her presents.  

Saturday morning we got up early and went over to the Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga.  There wasn’t hardly any information available online about the museum so I was worried it wouldn’t be fun for Abbie but I think she was the perfect age for just about everything there.  Some of the exhibits were a little overwhelming for her but she found plenty to keep herself entertained.  

Saturday afternoon we had some visitors lined up to come meet and play with Abbie.  Anne brought over her adorable twin boys.  That was the first time I’d seen the twins in about a year, they are definitely mamma’s boys!  They were cute playing with Abbie and our animals – I don’t think they knew what to make of Henderson – their dog is much smaller!  Plus, I think Anne said that was the first time they were around cats so they squealed over Mason because he was checking them out nonstop.  One of our Olin co-workers, Jason, brought his wife and 2 kids over as well.  At one point we had 5 kids under 5 at the house!  Anne and the boys had to leave but then Abbie and Jason’s kids got to play in our little pool and slip-n-slide.  Jason’s little girl, Lily, and Abbie were so cute together and played so well.  Abbie is used to being around all boys at her daycare so it was a nice change of pace for her to be around Lily.  We had tacos for dinner and then topped off the evening with Abbie’s cake – so hard to believe she is already 3!!!  Which means, it’s also been 3 years since Lauren and I took over Europe and I started working at Olin!  Wow, I’m getting old…

The following weekend brought even more visitors.  Adam’s mom, sister Ashleigh and 2 nieces (Brooklyn and Sydney) along with Henderson’s brother DUKE – Ashleigh’s dog – came to see us from Thursday-Monday.  His family usually isn’t able to stay but a night or two with us so it was good getting to spend that much time together plus we were able to get out and do some things.  Friday night we had a yummy dinner at the Chop House and then Saturday it was up bright and early for some sight-seeing (and to beat the record high temps we have been having this summer)!  First stop – Rock City. 

It worked out really well because Adam and I had been trying to figure out when we were going to go see the attractions that Chattanooga has to offer so we got to see everything with his family.  I didn’t know what to expect of Rock City.. the name makes you think of a bunch of rock formations that look like a city.. I have to say I think we were all pleasantly surprised by what it actually was/is.  It sits at the top of Lookout Mountain and from the top you can “see” 7 states!  Rock City is a maze of massive ancient rock formations and gardens with over 400 native plant species.  There are gorgeous views from pretty much every step you take along the way.  Adam and I are planning a trip back at Christmas to see how it looks decked out in Christmas lights.    

From Rock City we drove around the mountain and rode the Incline Railway.  This was probably the biggest flop of the weekend.  For all the publicity it gets it really isn't worth it, especially when you have to wait in the sun to ride the non-air conditioned cable car back up.  It's a mile long railtrack that takes you to the top/bottom of the mountain and you get to enjoy the views along the way.  The best part was getting ice cream at the bottom while we waited to go back up.

After the Incline Railway we were attemping to hit the last attraction for the day - Ruby Falls.  However, we got to the attraction and there was a very very long line out in the sun to get in... so we scratched that and put it at the top of the "to do" list for Sunday morning.

We headed back to the house, played outside with the dogs, rested, showered and headed to Cleveland for a nice dinner at the Bald Headed Bistro. 

Sunday morning we headed back to Ruby Falls in order to beat the crowd.  It's so funny to think that people are coming to where we live for summer vacation!  Ruby Falls is America's highest, largest and deepest underground waterfall.  I think the story about the discovery of the falls is one of the best stories I've heard in a while.  I won't ruin it for you.. you have to go hear it for yourself :-)

After the tour at Ruby Falls, it was back to Peppertree.  Sunday afternoon Jason's family came over again to play out in the yard, this time with Adam's nieces.  We had hamburgers and hotdogs.. and a birthday party for Henderson and Duke since their big days are coming up.  I found a dog friendly recipe for a birthday cake online and Sydney and Brooklyn helped me mix and bake it.  I was afraid after all that effort the dogs wouldn't touch it but they ate every last crumb of it.  I even have a new favorite picture of Henderson... and don't they look handome in their birthday crowns???

Decorating for the dog birthday bash

My new favorite picture of Henderson - look at the cake crumbs on his nose


Another exciting adventure we/I took on was letting Sydney and Brooklyn each make some scrapbook pages for their "own" scrapbooks.  I had already ordered some pictures from when they were here in February and then some from over the 4th in Michigan and they each ended up making 7 8x8 pages for their scrapbooks.  We had a lot of fun making them and they really enjoyed it - plus it will be something we can add to each time they come visit.  



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