Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chattanooga Post #3

Our next stop was the Imagination Museum! It was a great place that we had seen, but never actually gone to before. It will be a mainstay in our trips to the city for as long as our boys are the right age to enjoy it! It was great!

Right when you enter in the place there is a huge water play area, similar to the one at The McWane Center, but bigger. And then above that(and I mean way above) was a huge playground. And guess what! Every child had to be accompanied by an adult so we got to go in too! It was a blast from the past! And you could go up and up and up really high in the different tunnels and rope ladders. Even I loved it!

Charlie was having a good time splashing in the water because this was really the first thing he had gotten to do all day!

And, mom, there is finally a picture of me! Which I personally am uncomfortable looking at. Why is that? Oh well, at least it'll be proof to the boys one day, that yes, Mommy was there, even though it looks like dad's the one that gets to do all of the cool stuff!

Charlie got himself all wet splashing around...and I caught a cramp from staying bent down that long, but that is neither here nor there!

The last time we went to Chattanooga, Huett was almost three. Sam was a little over one and a half, and these two women had a random face-painting booth set up outside the aquarium. Huett normally did not have anything to do with strangers, but to our surprise he really wanted to get his baby face painted. At first they said he was too young, but after some convincing from Huett's aunt Shell, they agreed. We watched with bated breath as he was as still as a rock the entire time she painted his face. It was one of those cool entire face masks of face paint. He was too cute. Anyway, I tell you all of this to explain to you that ever since that trip, Huett equates the city of Chattanooga to the capital of face painting! On our way down he mentioned getting his face painted, and I told him we would try but I couldn't promise him anything. On our first day at Ruby Falls, I convinced him that no one would be painting faces because it was raining, and that seemed to satisfy him. Well, when we woke up with the sun on Wednesday, I don't think two minutes passed where this conversation didn't take place:

Huett:"Mommy (or daddy)"

Us: "What?"

Huett: "I really want to get my face painted."

Us: "We know Huett. And we promise if we find a place with face painting we will definitely stop and get yours painted."

Huett: "But it's not raining today"

Us: "We know, but the face painters might not be working today."
all while praying someone somewhere would be painting faces. I was even pondering whether or not I had anything I could use to do a makeshift face painting.

Finally, Mikey promised him that even if we didn't find "the face-paint" lady, we would stop and buy some paint and do it ourselves.


Imagine our surprise and relief when we happened upon a face-painting table inside the museum. Its intent was to allow the kids to paint their own faces with these little face painting crayons, however, I know Huett wouldn't have been satisfied with that. He wanted to be the green goblin, and this was the best that I could do! You would've thought he was painted like an alien from Avatar from the way he acted! Tantrum averted! And of course, to be like his big brother, Sam opted to be the Blue Goblin. I was so glad that we were able to get this taken care of and restore Huett's faith in the face painting mecca that is Chattanooga. And to not be circling the city looking for face paint or a Halloween store.

Once the face paint was taken care of, we ran into the trifecta of entertainment for my three sons. It's like the museum curator knew we were coming and set this particular corner of the museum up just for us. Sam is super basketball-obsessed. He shoots all day long at home and anywhere else he can find a goal.. he's really good at it too. Anyway they had this basketball goal with an air jet below it and when you threw the ball into the hoop just right, it would float. That kept him occupied for at least forty-five minutes.

Well, this exhibit was titled "Air in Motion" Ever since Huett was old enough to know the difference, we've had to drive through the second window at the bank because he loves to see the tube go from our car back inside the bank. Right next to Sam's basketball goal was a tube system. Mikey sat on one side, and Huett on the other, and they would shoot it back and forth! You could send little messages and stuff inside the tube.

He would run over to see if it had landed and he'd watch it shoot through the tube!

This is the tube you could watch it shoot through, and directly below this is where Sam's basketball goal sat!
Meanwhile, Charlie and I sat at one of the booths right next to all of that where he played with one of the puzzles they had sitting there. He also took a bottle while his brothers played, and I relaxed!

They had all sorts of dress up areas and this one was set up like a doctor's office, complete with check-in counter, ace bandages exam table, and pretend everything!

Huett wasn't really sure what to think about the x-rays. I explained it to him and I could see his wheels turning but I think it was still over his head!

Paging Dr. Hill. That has a nice ring to it!
It looks like he's about to deliver some bad news!

They had random people placed throughout the museum with different animals! Sam actually petted the snake! I was surprised. Huett didn't.

They had this huge area of like play-kitchen, play garage, tree house, play school. Inside there was a toddler and infant area. It was just perfect for Charlie and he sat there for a while as his brothers played.

"Get outta my dreams. Get into my car"

There was a whole dinosaur/fossil/archaeological section too. It had a sandpit for dusting for fossils, dress-up like a dinosaur or an explorer, and a dinosaur egg nest. Too cool! How do you get a job designing these exhibits? That's what I want to know.


Complete with dino-tail.

When you put your fingers on this hand print, it picked up your heart rate and the drum beat to your pulse. Look at Sam's little hands on top of Mikey's! So sweet!

They had a whole pretend garden complete with "seeds", "veggies", "apple trees", "orange trees", "blueberries" for picking, and a "farmer's market" to sell them at!

They had a whole campground set up with tent, cave, pretend fire.

Before we left, I had to beg Mikey to try and fit into this kayak. He wasn't even close!
As I think you can tell from these pictures, this place was right up their alley. Because we went in the afternoon, we were almost the only people there. All the school groups had come and gone that morning!
One more stop before our adventures come to an end! Pictures coming soon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chattanooga Post #2

Next stop on our Chattanooga Choo Choo was the Tennessee Aquarium. It was a beautiful day, and we arrived downtown around 10:00. We walked around the area for around forty-five minutes just soaking in the local surroundings! I love downtown Chattanooga, well at least this part of it. I've never been anywhere else in the city, but this part is great! Whoever their city planner was did a great job!

Look closely at the top of that arch and you can see Huett and Sam's little heads peeking through the rails.

Take a closer look! They were so excited about being there again! They remember going last time, and they couldn't wait to go up!

First stop, the sting ray tank! Their little arms weren't long enough to reach down to the bottom of the water to actually feel one of the sting rays but they sure did have a good time splashing around into the water!

Then into the butterfly world or whatever you want to call it. It was a little crowded because we somehow unfortunately managed to enter this side of the aquarium in the middle of an elementary school class so we didn't stop long enough to try to let them land on us like we did last time! I did, however, manage to go national geographic on the animals and take some pretty artsy fartsy pictures, which you are experiencing now!

I really like this one. They had something I can only liken to fruit shish-kabobs (not to be confused with Trish-kabobs) that hung on fishing line from the tree branches. They looked tasty to me, but I practiced some restraint and left those to the butterflies! What a pretty picture though!

These are some of the other sting rays that you were not allowed to touch! Oh, yeah! When Mikey was "touching" the sting rays we met earlier, he broke the rules and actually grabbed one. Disgusting, right? Anyway, that thing circled its body back around and bent in half so fast like it was going to bite him. It scared the bejeezus out of him. It was hilarious, and I am surprised that we didn't get kicked out of there on the spot! I kindly reminded him that Steve Irwin was killed by a sting ray!

Here is one of the macaws. At the aquarium. I don't get it, either.

This macaw said,
"What am I doing in a freakin' aquarium? I am neither fish nor amphibian! I don't belong here!"

Next, on to the penguin exhibit!

The penguins relevance, I get. Seeing that they live in and out of the Antarctic Ocean and everything. And they're totally awesome! It makes perfect sense. They are such funny creatures! They really are just like the cartoons that make fun of them! They are like weebles. They wobble but they don't fall down! And, they are deceptively fast under the water!

They boys were really excited about the tanks you could climb inside of! Lucky for them, at this point there weren't any other kids around so they got to stay in there for a while!

Sam kept posing like this all day. Not really sure why. I think it's his was of telling everyone, "Look at me, I'm the man." Duly noted, Sam.

Mikey went up ahead of us, and when we rounded the corner he was waiting inside this aquarium. The boys thought that was hilarious! Also in this section, the video of a seahorse giving birth. In the seahorse species, the male gives birth. In what I can only explain as his bellybutton are all the baby seahorses. When it's time to give birth, they shoot out into the water. Like one-hundred of them! It's like every time his muscles contract more shoot out. It's disturbing, and it must be seen. Google it.

We also ate at Cheeburger Cheeburger which is just a short walk from the aquarium. The boys really liked it, and so did we. Their food came in these little cars. Sam had a jelly sandwich and Huett just ate french fries. We had hamburgers that were yummy! And milkshakes, of course milk shakes!
Next stop...coming soon!
Charlie isn't showcased in this post because he had a major blowout that required an entire wardrobe change right after we left the restaurant and headed for the aquarium. Once that was over with he passed out and slept in his stroller almost the entire time. Rest assured that he was there!

Chattanooga Post #1

The first adventure on our trip was to Ruby Falls. Well, actually the first real adventure we had was the last-minute plans to dash away on our mini-vacation! We had mentioned it once in passing, but around 4:00 in the afternoon, we decided to go. I booked the room right after I picked the boys up from preschool and we were on the road by seven that night! Exciting, right? It really was! They were absolutely beside themselves, and honestly, so were we! We'd never done anything like this before!
Nevertheless, we arrived around 11:00 and got into our room! They were bouncing off the walls...more precisely the beds, of which we had three! That was a pleasant surprise. It had a separate room that had a "wet bar" whatever that really is. Basically a sink, mini-fridge, coffee-maker and microwave, with a couch-bed and the bathroom! Anyway, it had it's own TV which I was able to set on the "soundscapes" channel since I forgot his sound machine. Charlie slept in there. That allowed us to stay up and watch TV with Huett and Sam without bothering Charlie. What a little unexpected blessing!
So, of course we woke up with the sun the next morning and after attending a magnificent continental breakfast, which included omelets, sausage, eggs, cereal, bagels, toast, and waffles, which you got to make yourself we were off to...the pool!
Charlie's first adventure into the pool went off without a hitch! He loved it, and so did the big boys!

Now back to our first stop! We went to Ruby Falls. It was a dreary drizzly day, so going deep underground was perfect!
They were pretty excited!

Here we are in the gift shop waiting on our tours to begin!
My little excavators!

This is exactly how Mikey and Charlie spent the majority of the mile long trip to the falls and back. Charlie got toted the entire time because the cave was definitely not stroller-friendly, which was just fine with him! Mikey spent most of the walk hunched over because the cave ceilings and all of the stalactites hung down far too low for his 6'4" frame.
Can you say backache?

Sam did pretty good on the trip, however, his strength did begin to wane towards the end of the trek. Totally understandable though because it was a lot of ups and downs., and he is only three years old!

Charlie was loving all the attention he was getting from the people that were on the trail behind us because, like you saw earlier, he was looking behind us the entire time!

Huett did great, and later told us that this was his favorite part of the whole trip. Well, besides the hotel pool, of course!

I know this picture isn't very clear, but this was taken at the waterfall inside the cave, which is completely magnificent! Obviously this picture doesn't do it justice! I saw it when I was little, but I don't remember it being that impressive. Little known fact...the scientists have no idea where the water for the falls originates, but they put dye in the water so they know it drains into the Tennessee River.
Any way, I love the looks on their faces! I wish this picture were clearer!

Next stop, the Incline Railway! This was a fun little adventure too because Mikey is incredibly acrophobic, or afraid of heights. It was a little train car that went from the tip top of Lookout Mountain, straight down to the bottom! It was like a seventy degree incline. Luckily for him, it went really slow! Still, the thought of it malfunctioning and becoming a runaway train car was enough to keep it interesting!

This was a look we got to see a lot of during our trip! Utter excitement!

Atop the platform above the incline railway we attempted yet another family pic! Huett has developed a bad habit of covering his eyes every time I try to take a picture of him, even if it isn't sunny! That's what you're seeing here!

These two! Charlie loves his daddy, and I love this picture!

So there you have it, the first of our adventures in the great state of Tennessee!
More posts to come!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rub a dub dub three men in a tub!

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on here before, but Charlie used to hate his baths. Not like just a little bit, but like a ~drastic burst a blood vessel in his eye~ kinda blood curdling scream.

Of late, things have changed, and he is loving it! This bath seat that he's sitting in has been passed down through all three of my sons. It has been a god-send and well worth it's weight in gold. If I ever doubted it before, Charlie has proved it once again! He went from hating bath-time, and getting as few baths as possible(I'm embarrassed to say) to taking them quite often now.
You'd be surprised at how great I've gotten at multi-tasking from the toilet.
With the lid closed, of course, while he plays and splashes his little heart away!
Huett and Sam think it's hysterical when he splashes so crazily!

I think it's pretty hilarious too!

He won't be in his bathseat long, so I'm trying to enjoy these last first "big boy" baths!
And, Thank God, so is he!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Noccalula Falls

In mid-March, we headed to Gadsden to celebrate one of Mikey's aunt's birthdays! We ate Mexican, which was yummy, and then we headed to Noccalula Falls!
Unfortunately, we got there right as the park closed (5PM on a sunny spring Saturday?? whaaa??) I did, however, manage to snap some great pictures of the big boys as we crossed over the waterfall, and at a nearby park!

I am having a serious internal debate about whether I should spend the $$ to buy a photo editing program(that I actually understand b/c Adobe Photoshop, I don't get) b/c the one I like lets you sample what you could do, and I love what I did with these pictures! Which you couldn't see on here! It's Flickr and Picnik by the way!

When Trisha saw this picture, she said, " We are going to have to beat girls off him with a stick. What are we going to do?" I have to say I agree and am appropriately worried!

This apparatus was pretty cool! It spun around and he looked like he was flying!


Climbing the ladder.


Another feeble attempt at a decent family picture. Atleast the waterfall was flowing wonderfully!

There were people walking around behind the waterfall and all near the water's edge! We must try that next time!

This was right where the Indian princess jumped from. So tragic. The stuff of legends!

Huett was throwing rocks over the waters edge for quite a while!

He kept looking for just the right ones to throw over the edge!

All in all, we had a blast! Can't wait to go back when we can spend the whole day!
If anybody has any recommendations about the photo editing thing, I'd appreciate any insight...