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Ben and I met in 1996, began dating in 1999 and married in 2001. Now 20 years and 2 children later, we have returned to where our life together began. Ben works for the Federal Reserve and I have the privilege of staying home with our two precious boys.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

Tuesday was the Thanksgiving Program and Feast at school. While Caden had to miss it and Daddy nursed him at home, I went to see Ethan's performance and eat with him. He did an amazing job! For the first time ever Ethan sang the songs, did the hand motions, and was a complete gentlemen. This is the same boy that usually has the entire audience and the teachers laughing out loud because he is creating his own performance instead of following along as he should. My little Pilgrim made me so proud!
Before the program
 I see you Mommy but I'm not going to yell :-)
 Hand motions!
 After the program ended
 Cheesing it up
 One of the creations that he made for his section of the table
 His placemat
It's hard to see with the glare, but he wrote his name on the top left. Ethan has had a very difficult time with fine motor skills this year so this is a huge accomplishment!

As a way of giving thanks to our amazing Shadowbrook family, we made pumpkin bread for each of the teachers and staff. These are two loaves that we made for our little friend, Sadie, to give to her teachers. It just happened to be the only picture that I took of the bread :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weekend in Pigeon Forge...the rest of the trip and a not so happy ending

Although there are two other posts about our Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg outings, this post covers the rest of the trip. We packed A LOT into one weekend which is way more than our boys are used to and considering Caden was sick(more sick than I knew until the Monday after), the boys were troopers the whole weekend. 

After the aquarium Friday afternoon, we met Mimi and Miss Ruth, one of her "besties," for dinner. Then we headed back to our hotel for Mimi's belated birthday party. Ethan had been looking forward to Mimi's birthday party for weeks...of course what he was most looking forward to were the Gigi's cupcakes that symbolized this special occasion ;-) 
Happy Birthday Mimi!
Caden woke up at 4 a.m. with a 101 fever but then went right back to sleep. I was a little concerned but he was in good spirits by morning time. The fever had not returned so after breakfast, we headed to The Incredible Christmas Place(open year round, by the way) to check things out there.
A silly pic...
One of a hundred attempts at a posed picture.
We finally gave up.
This silly guy actually gave us the best picture!
Decorating gingerbread cookies
He's growing up so fast!
This little one is a trip!
Showing off his moves
After the visit to The Incredible Christmas Place we went on our safari adventure then traveled back into Gatlinburg to watch the candymakers pull taffy, hear some bluegrass music, and check out some of the shops there. Before dinner, we loaded into the gondola to ride up to Ober Gatlinburg and check out the top of the mountain.
Here's the view as we were riding up
Once we returned to the base of the mountain, we headed to dinner. By that time, Caden was truly starting to not feel well. We had been on the go so much that I equated it to overtired and overstimulated, though. He and I ended up returning to the car to watch a movie while everyone ate dinner. After we returned to the hotel to wind down, he perked up a little but we had a rough night and he woke up several times complaining of his mouth hurting. By then, I was thinking he had a sore throat because we had pretty much spent the entire weekend outside.

Sunday morning, the boys woke up and wanted to go swimming. Mimi had promised to take them so we came prepared and headed down to the (thankfully heated) pool.

After swimming, getting baths, and packing up, we checked out of the hotel. Before leaving town, we drove over to Kids Kountry at The Track. It was an awesome place for these two little guys! Everything was perfectly sized for them! By the time we got there, Caden had lost his spark of energy again, but still wanted to ride some of the rides in between being held.
The little Ferris Wheel
Hard to see but both boys are riding. I wish we'd taken a picture of the whole thing, it was perfectly sized for them!
Ethan flying the airplane ride
The boys riding on the train
Ethan's very first go-cart ride!
The spinning swings. Again, I wish we had a picture of the whole thing. It was perfect for them and didn't make this Mommy overly nervous :-)
Then, of course, we had to ride the token friendly rides like Thomas the Train and the kangaroo
But this bulldozer was the boys' favorite. 
This is Caden's look of concentration
Before we left, we walked over to the "big kid" side so that Daddy could take Ethan on a go-cart ride of his own. I'm not sure which one enjoyed it more!
And they're off...
The Track was our last adventure for the weekend and we grabbed some lunch and loaded up to head back home. As we were leaving Gatlinburg we captured this moment; a momma bear with her two cubs hanging out in the trees.
This little guy was asleep before we even finished lunch.
I knew that he had definitely not been his usual happy self Saturday evening and Sunday and he wasn't eating very well. Again, I thought he was coming down with a cold since we had overdone it this weekend. By the time we got home Sunday night, he was so fussy that I knew I was calling the doctor Monday morning. The next morning when he woke up I noticed what I thought was a heat rash over feet and legs and even commented that he must have gotten hot in the night. He didn't eat breakfast and said that his mouth hurt. The second we walked into the doctor's office, she took one look at him and said Hand, Foot, and Mouth. I felt awful! After researching it, I realized I had missed EVERY SINGLE warning sign. Every child that I have ever known to have had it has had a mild case with a couple of bumps but it didn't really get them down. This poor baby has it everywhere including inside his mouth and up and down his throat. Even though it is a virus and it has to run its course, we left with 2 medications to attempt to soothe him, an antiviral medication, and directions to keep him on around the clock Tylenol/Ibuprofen for at least 2 full days.
Caden has had enough ear infections to have to get tubes, too many colds to count, several stomach bugs and fever viruses, and even the flu BUT this is the absolute worst without a shadow of a doubt that we have ever had to go through. There have been so many times over the last week that I have wanted to cry seeing him in such pain. He spent 3 days walking on tip toes because his feet hurt so bad. I spent 3 days trying everything that I knew to keep him from getting dehydrated because his throat and mouth hurt so bad. He has had to be careful picking things up so that the sores on his hands do not get irritated. There have been a couple of times this past week where he has been so inconsolable that it was like the reaction he had after waking from anesthesia when he got his tubes put in. NEVER have I felt so helpless as a parent and to top it all off, on day 4 he came down with a raging cold. I can only imagine how painful it is when he coughs and completely understand where his tears are coming from. Yet there is nothing that I can do except hold him, hug him, and tell him that I love him. We are now on day 7 and he is beginning to be able to eat a few things again. We have spent the entire week sequestered at home for fear of spreading it. As highly contagious as this virus is, I can only pray that Ethan does not catch it.

Weekend in Pigeon Forge Part Two: Circle G Safari Adventures

On Saturday morning, after breakfast we headed to a nearby drive-thru Safari park and petting zoo. The boys had a great time looking at and feeding the animals from the comfort of our car! Ethan was fearless when it came to them while Caden was a little more wary of them getting too close. 

  The animals were not shy in the least and came right up to the windows looking for a treat. Thankfully, Mimi bought us 3 buckets of food!
 This is my absolute favorite picture! 
He was going to make sure he got his treat!
 After we drove through the park, we headed over to the petting zoo. They had all kinds of animals there as well, but the rabbits ended up being where the boys spent the most time.
 Before we left Ethan, Caden, and I went on a camel ride. 
Afterward, Ethan got to feed him a carrot.
 And I gave him some feed.
It was an amazing experience! I loved being able to drive through and get up close with animals that we don't usually see and take a bumpy ride on a camel's back.

Weekend in Pigeon Forge: Aquarium of the Smokies

One of the things we have most looked forward to since returning to Georgia has been taking the boys on a fall trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ben and I both grew up taking trips up there and it was nice to be able to go back and share the experience with our little family. We tried to go last year but it seemed like both boys spent the entire fall and winter sick so we never made it up there. This year, we scheduled a trip for the beginning of November and were planning to celebrate Mimi's birthday up there but it didn't work out. So, we FINALLY made it this past weekend and were able to have a belated birthday party for Mimi. We had a wonderful weekend despite Caden coming home pitifully sick.

Our first stop was the Aquarium of the Smokies on Friday afternoon before Mimi arrived, or as Ethan kept calling it "The Georgia Aquarimum." There were so many cool things to see!

 A huge shark tank!
 Trying to touch the fish :-)
 Both boys were completely enthralled
 A huge tank with a million fish!
 The underwater tunnel
 Hi scuba lady!
 Petting the horseshoe crab
 Inside one of the small tanks
 Inside the underwater children's tunnel

What a great place to visit! Whenever we drove by the rest of the weekend, Ethan asked if we could go back. The mark of a great experience!