10 Summer Bucket List-Worthy Activities

Things to Do Thursday

About a week ago I stumbled across Project Light to Life and her post 10 Summer Bucket List-Worthy Activities. It is an amazing list of things to do for an enjoyable and memorable summer! A few of the activities I have already done previously or do often (like horseback riding, geocaching, hiking, and para-sailing), but this is a great place to start and it suggests some awesome ideas that I would have never thought of doing!

A few of the ones that I definitely want to do before the end of summer:

  1. fruit picking
  2. explore caves
  3. start a “nice things jar”
  4. wine tasting

I wouldn’t mind finding an indoor trampoline park to do sometime as well. How awesome would that be??

Do you have a summer activities bucket list??

Share some of those ideas with me!!

Our 1st Mom & Daughter Road Trip

Untitled design-4This past weekend we found our selves on a spur of the moment road trip to Mobile, AL. My best friend from college’s father had passed away and I made the drive to spend time with her and her family. Trevor had to work, so my daughter and I loaded up and we headed out Friday morning (yes, on the 4th of July. Love and friendship know no holiday) at 4:45 a.m. and headed for Mobile. We arrived around 10 a.m., stayed all weekend, and headed home Sunday morning around 11 a.m. It was good to see her and a family that I love dearly, but I truly hated the circumstances. Her entire family, even relatives I had never met before, made my daughter and I perfectly at home. The first night we stayed with her aunt and uncle because they had a daughter the same age as mine. Then the second night we stayed at my friends to get a full nights rest before driving back. We just hung out with the family and went with their queues on the comfort and healing process. I am truly thankful I was able to be there for her! Saturday there were a few hours when the family just needed to take care of some things, so my daughter and I made the 30 minute drive over to Dauphin Island and got in some much needed Mom and Daughter time. It was definitely not what we had foreseen for our holiday weekend, but with the given circumstances I would not have wanted to spend it any other way.

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4:45 a.m. Friday getting ready to leave the driveway.

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Excited that we get to spend a little quality time together on our first road trip!

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FINALLY went back to sleep. She stayed awake from the time we got in the car until almost Montgomery!!

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She was awake by the time we got to Mobile, and was excited about the bridges. πŸ™‚

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She finally got to meet my best friend’s “little sister”. She enjoyed their entire family! She now has a pepaw and second mimi and a few more aunts and uncles πŸ˜‰

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My best friend’s younger cousins. She said they were her best friends.

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We were still able to celebrate a little with her family.(Check out those shoes. We can travel 5.5 hours from home and my child will still manage to find the dress up diva shoes to play in.)

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Saturday we did give them a little time to take care of things and headed over to Dauphin Island. She LOVES the ocean and beach. I also think I found the spot for our family vacation next summer! I had never been either.

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Sand, sun, ocean, and cheetos. What more could a girl need? πŸ˜‰

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Of course we went hunting for sea shells, too.

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She has got this figured out!!

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We stopped in Prattville for gas and lunch on our way home Sunday. She proceeded to roll her window down and let me know she likes for the wind to blow in her hair. Ha! (I locked the windows after that πŸ˜‰ )

 

I hope you spent your holiday weekend with your loved ones and had a great time!

 

Things to Do North Alabama

Things to Do Thursday

It is Thursday and the weekend is in sight! Just hang in there. πŸ˜‰ As you are looking forward to the weekend and the rest of summer, check out the list I have compiled below that includes many things to do across North and Central Alabama! I see day trip plans in our future!!

Things to Do – North Alabama!

AL Constitution Village – Huntsville, AL
Alabama Center of Military History & Veterans Memorial Museum – Huntsville, AL
Alabama Music Hall of Fame – Muscle Shoals, AL
Ave Maria Grotto – Cullman, AL
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Zoo – Birmingham, AL
Blount County Covered Bridges – Blount County, AL
Carnegie Visual Arts Center – Decatur, AL
Cathedral Caverns – Woodville, AL
Cook’s Natural Science Museum – Decatur, AL (Check out our trip here.)
Coondog Cemetery – Tuscumbia, AL
Desoto Caverns – Childersburg, AL
Dismals Canyon – Phil Campbell, AL
Early Works Museum – Huntsville, AL
Guntersville Museum – Guntersville, AL
Hartselle Depot Days (September) – Hartselle, AL
Helen Keller Birth Place – Tuscumbia, AL
Historic Huntsville Depot – Huntsville, AL
Jesse Owens Museum – Oakville, AL
LaGrange College Site – Leighton, AL
Little River Canyon – Mentone, AL
Lookout Mountain – Fort Payne, AL
McWane Science Center – Birmingham, AL
Mentone Wedding Chapel – Mentone, AL
Mule Day (September) – Winfield, AL
Noccalula Falls Park – Gadsden, AL
North Alabama Agriplex – Cullman, AL
Oakville Indian Mounds – Oakville, AL
Pickwick Belle – Decatur, AL
Pond Spring (Gen. Joe Wheeler Home) – Courtland, AL
Rattle Snake Saloon and 7 Springs Lodge – Tuscumbia, AL
Rickwood Caverns – Warrior, AL
Ruffner Mountain – Birmingham, AL
Sci-Quest – Hunstville, AL
Splash Adventure Water Park – Bessemer, AL
Stevenson RR Depot Museum – Stevenson, AL
Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention (October) – Athens, AL

U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville, AL (Check out our recent visit with Girls Scouts here.)
Watermelon Festival (August) – Russelville, AL

Have you ever visited any of these?? Have some suggestions that I can add to the list?

Share them below!

I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

My {Latest} Favorite Hobby – Kayaking

Trevor had recently took up kayaking with some friends when he has “guy time” and I was iffy about it. For some reason if you’ve never been kayaking, everyone wants to scare you with how easy it is to flip and alligators, etc. I got tempted and tried it out in his parent’s pond on Memorial Day weekend… it is NOT scary and I do not know why people love to freak others out about such a fun activity! You would think this was paddle boarding an ocean current or something! (I’ve never done that either, so it might actually be fun and easy. Just setting an example here.)

I paddled around for at least 30 minutes that day! When Trevor saw how much I loved it, he ended up getting himself a new blue kayak and giving me his yellow one. We got the chance to go for a couple of hours a few weekends ago, and I am in love! I have many hobbies that I mostly never have time to do often, but this is one that I definitely want us to commit to doing many times throughout the end of summer! (Summer weather doesn’t end here until like the end of October. πŸ˜‰ )

We’ve only been to “New City Lake” here in out hometown, but I am ready to make a plan to Kayak all across North Alabama!! I think it would be boring to kayak the same location over and over. I want to find all of the little lakes and places that aren’t super popular. Like here, no one visits the city lake except for the locals. I want to find those places. I have already started researching!! πŸ˜€

kayaking 4I’m so thankful to be from Alabama the Beautiful!!

 

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kayaking 2He fished, but I wasn’t up for that yet. I wanted to enjoy just kayaking for my first time.

 

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Have Kayaking ideas that are in North/Central Alabama, northern Mississippi or southern Tennessee???

PLEASE SEND THEM TO US!!

{NEWEST} Children’s Clothing Store with AMAZING Prices!!

HELLO FRIDAY!!

Are you as happy as I am that the weekend is here?? Well to add a little more joy to your happy day… I have some awesome news to share!!

A friend of mine has opened a new children’s boutique. It is very upscale clothing for VERY discounted pricing. And no worries… you don’t have to live in my area to shop! It is online based and everything ships next day! How awesome is that?? You should check them out… C&J Cutie Couture. If you decide to order… be prepared to have a PayPal account! You can also check them out on Instagram.

Below are the summer outfits currently in stock. (PS… isn’t that model adorable. I sure think so. πŸ˜‰ )

NOTE: Sizes offered are 12 months – 4T and are based upon availability.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the exact photo on her site.

 

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Again, please patronize this amazing store or share with someone who might be interested!! I’m excited to finally find someone offering clothes at reasonable prices for children who only play in them!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

Free Natural Science Museum in North AL

This past weekend we made a spontaneous decision to take our daughter to the Cook’s Natural Science Museum in Decatur, AL. Admission is free and it is an amazing place to take children ranging 3 and up. (And I love Free Activities.) Spring of 2015 it will be moving to a new, larger location in Downtown Decatur. So be sure and check the website for updates if you decide to visit!

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Cook’s Natural Science Museum

Of course, because the museum is owned by the company/family that owns Cook’s Pest Control, there definitely had to be bugs near the front entrance. πŸ˜‰

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Most of the gigantic bugs have origins in other countries. THANK GOODNESS!

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This was our favorite set of bugs HAHA! The blue butterflies were a winner.

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This thing could give me nightmares.

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Moth. Large moth.

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A City Wildlife Habitat.

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Next was a walk through of ocean and beach science. Seashells of EVERY shape, color size.

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Pelican. (And a pirate ship steering wheel. Khloe wished she could be on a pirate ship πŸ˜‰ )

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Porcupine Fish

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The Snout of a saw fish. I cannot imagine the size of the fish on the other end!

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This is always my favorite part in every natural science museum: the rocks, minerals, stones, etc.

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Of course, we had to examine each one of these.

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Now, how often do you get a change to hold a meteorite?

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Here is the said meteorite. It weighed around 20 lbs.

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We loved the “glittery” rocks. πŸ™‚

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Again, my favorite part.

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We found Swiper the Fox!! πŸ˜‰

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She wanted to stand next to the baby bear.

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I love how realistic it all appeared!

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River/ Pond natural habitat. Possibly Dad’s Favorite part.

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I wish I had a video of Khloe’s reaction when she walked around the corner to this. LOL

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A “torcupan” AKA Porcupine. πŸ˜€

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This could almost freak you out as realistic as it appears. Khloe loved to inform us that she knew it was a rattlesnake, but she hates snakes, “yuck!”

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This is an ELEPHANT LEG BONE.

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This was the closest Khloe would get to the Alligator. Haha!

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Full shot of the Alligator.

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Had never seen an Ostrich egg before. Wow.

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Bald Eagle. Magnificent.

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Eagle.

I did miss getting pictures of many of the other fowl. Turkeys, Swans, Canadian Geese, ducks of EVERY kind, hawks, and more. These are definitely not pictures of every single animal in the museum. We easily spent over an hour there. Khloe did not want to leave and would have circled through a few more times if we had let her. We bribed her with ice cream, though, and she was happy to go to the car. πŸ˜‰

If you live in North Alabama or find yourself passing through, this is a must visit attraction. The current location is free, so make sure you check the website before heading out to make sure the have not moved locations yet.

It was a Mom and Daughter Kind of Day

Β Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!! πŸ™‚

A few weeks ago we received news about the dreaded “F” word at work (a.k.a. Furlough). Thankfully, I can break mine apart instead of taking it all at once. I decided to take mine for 5 Wednesdays and keep my daughter home from the Summer Program at her school. Save money when not making money AND spend extra time with my daughter than I usually get. It was a win-win! Last week was our first Mom and Daughter Day. I don’t think it could have been more perfect!

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We started breakfast with pancakes. They were requested to be purple and with sprinkles. So that is what we had. πŸ˜‰

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I have to admit, she had a pretty cute idea even though I was skeptical at first.

Β Then we watched a few cartoons. (Some Paw Patrol, Team Umi Zoomi, and Dora).

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After about an hour of TV I cut it off and we commenced to a little arts and crafts time! She loves it. Here we made a caterpillar. We also made a Father’s Day craft for dad… but that is for a later post.

 

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Here she did a little free painting and decided this was for Daddy. Together they decided it was “the Earf.” (Earth)

 

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About noon we headed to the Splash Pad in town. Look out world here we come. πŸ˜‰ I do not know how she is such a diva, but it is adorable.

 

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She played on the playground a while before actually hitting the water and sprinklers.

 

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While we were at the splash pad, I saw a girl I graduated with and she had her daughter with her, who is a few months younger than mine. They had never seen each other before, but as you can see in this picture… you would never imagine they didn’t know each other. It was sweet!!

 

We headed home around 3 and played dress up for a while until Dad came home from work. We played Dr. with her Doc McStuffins set and outfit and then all cleaned up for church. We ended the evening by attending Wednesday night service at our church and picking up some fast food on our way home.

It was a pretty perfect day for this Mama! πŸ™‚

 

Have you ever had to take a furlough? Did you decide to make the best of it with your kids? If so, what activities did you plan out that we might could take advantage of??

EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp – Summer 2014

This past weekend, I took my girls to a one night “EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp” in Anniston, Alabama at Camp Cottaquilla.

The girls chose to use their Girl Scout Cookie Sales money to attend a one night camp. We left on Friday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. and headed home Saturday afternoon around 4. To them it was the greatest trip EVER, and that is what mattered!

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Entrance to the Camp

Out of my 4 girls, none of them had ever stayed away from home on a trip like this. So when we pulled in to the gate they were jumping up and down.

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This is the lodge at the front of camp. It houses dining and offices.

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This was our first view. The lake/pond, boat house, flag pole and pool.

After check in we dropped our bags off and headed to the lodge for dinner. They served pizza and drinks. The girls learned some songs and were given an assignment to create a skit that had to do with camp. Hilarious. After that we were given about 30 minutes to get our cabins settled and then we went to the campfire area where the girls sang songs and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

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This is where all of the troops come together for the campfire, girl scout songs, and s’mores.

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This is pretty much what all of the cabins looked like.

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Inside of the cabins. We literally FROZE. Who knew it was going to get into the 40’s in May in Alabama!? They held about 6 cots and some walking space.

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This was the bath house for “Four Winds” set of cabins and “Deep Woods” cabins.

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Cabins

Saturday morning it rained. My girls went fishing, canoeing, and pedal boating. In the rain and never cared. Before lunch they also got to do archery. By then it had stopped raining and that was a lot of the girls’ favorite part.

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My young cousin and a camp counselor at the archery range.

After lunch our troop went on a Fairy Hike and a Nature Hike. The fairy hike took them throughout the entire camp and they learned about the 3 fairies that live at Camp Cottaquilla. It is a really cute story and if you have the opportunity to take your girls, I definitely suggest taking them!! The EZ Camp was one night and was just enough for the age of the girls in my troop. Our Junior troop consists of ages 9-11. The other troops there were Daisies and Brownies (K-3rd grade.) I think it was perfect for the maturity levels and ages. They offer week long camps but I think that most appropriate for the older end of Juniors and above.

Have you ever been to a Girl Scout Camp with your troop? What was your experience like?

Mother’s Day 2014

I hope all of the wonderful mothers out there had a fabulous Mother’s Day this year. We had a real laid back style weekend and it was perfect. Saturday we got up and just headed to ride around and do whatever. We ended up eating at Buffalo Wild Wings and window shopping around Academy for a while. Isn’t that real lady like? Sounds like Father’s Day to me. Ha! Maybe that’s why he loves me so much. (; Then I laid around outside and got some sun. Whoa, where do days like that come from? I wish I could pull the “it’s Mother’s Day weekend” excuse more than once a year.

Sunday we woke up and had eggs, breakfast potatoes, and mango. (YUM!) And of course that was my breakfast decision, the other troopers would have been good with cereal and toaster strudels. We were rushing around talking about getting ready for church when Man of the House suddenly decided, hey how about I take you hiking. Huh? I was getting ready for church. Then I thought about how it would be nice to spend a little time off the grid with them so we switched clothing gears, psyched our daughter out about the waterfall, and off we went. It was the best time.

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FIRST WE WENT TO BRUSHY LAKE. IT IS A CAMP GROUNDS AREA WITH A LARGE FISHING DOCK, SHORT HIKING TRAIL, AND MAN MADE WATERFALL. THERE WERE NAMES ALL OVER THE DOCK FROM YEARS PAST, SO HEY WHY NOT JOIN IN. LOOK FOR US NEXT TIME YOU GO (;

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WATERFALL AT BRUSHY LAKE. THIS PICTURE SUMS UP TWO THINGS: MY CHILD’S PERSONALITY AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP.

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ON A HIKING TRAIL AT BRUSHY LAKE. USED OUR DAUGHTER AS OUR PHOTOGRAPHER.

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IF YOU CROSS OVER THE FENCE BY THE WATERFALL AND HEAD UP INTO THE WOODS, THERE IS A TRAIL THAT LEADS YOU TO THIS. HERE DADDY IS TEACHING THE FIRST EVER ROCK SKIPPING LESSON. (;

There wasn’t much more hiking available at Brushy Lake, it is more for camping and picnics. So after about an hour we moved on to the other side of the mountain to the Sipsey Picnic area. It has miles and miles of hiking trails, natural waterfalls, and caves. FYI all state park caves are closed at this time to prevent some disease in bats?

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Sipsey River Entrance

 

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THE FIRST WATERFALL THAT WE CAME ACROSS. I SWEAR WHEN I WAS A CHILD IT FLOWED HARDER THAN THAT. OR MAYBE IT IS ALL PERSPECTIVE.

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SHE WANTED TO SEE THE WATERFALL, BUT NOT GET TOO CLOSE…

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IN EVERY PICTURE. WHY. HAHA HERE WE ARE STANDING INSIDE A “CAVE” ON THE SIDE OF A ROCK WALL. SHE KEPT SAYING WE WERE ON AN ADVENTURE.

 

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BY BIRTH AND FOR LEGAL PURPOSES, MY DAUGHTER AND I ARE BOTH REGISTERED NATIVE AMERICAN ECHOTA CHEROKEE INDIANS. SHE MAY LOOK A LOT LESS LIKE AN INDIAN THAN I DO, BUT I KNOW ONE THING, THIS CHILD CAN MOVE THROUGH SOME TRAILS AND WOODS! AS YOU CAN SEE, THE TRAILS WERE MERELY THERE FROM YEARS OF BEING WALKED, NOT PAVED LIKE THE ONES AT BRUSHY LAKE. WE STRUGGLED TO KEEP UP WITH HER THE SECOND HALF OF THE HIKE AT SIPSEY. SO I TAUGHT HER TO SAY “I’M A NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN.” IT COMES OUT “I’M A NA-MERICAN INDIAN” HAHA!

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THIS IS A RANDOM WATERFALL THAT WE FOUND ABOUT 2 MILES IN. WE TURNED AROUND ABOUT THIS TIME. THE CAVES WERE CLOSED AND LITTLE MISS ADVENTUROUS WOULD HAVE PROBABLY SAW IT AS ANOTHER ADVENTURE TO GO ON. NO ONE WANTS TO FIGHT A STURDY 3 YEAR OLD OUT OF THE WOODS AND DEPRIVE HER OF AN ADVENTURE. HA!

 

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THIS WAS THE LAST PICTURE I TOOK OF THE DAY AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT IT IS ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITES. WE WERE HEADED BACK OUT OF THE SIPSEY TRAILS AND LIL MISS NA-MERICAN INDIAN HAD FINALLY GOTTEN TIRED. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND IT WAS NICE TO BE ALONE WITH MY FAMILY IN THE QUIET. JUST US. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ME.

It was an unplanned Mother’s Day. And it put us behind schedule for visiting with our own mother’s and grandmother’s but it was totally worth it. At our last stop of the day, my maternal grandmother brushed it aside when I tried to apologize for it being so late and tell her how our plans had changed and she said, “well, you’re grown now and this was your Mother’s Day too. You can do whatever you want.” Hm. Now I know where parts of my personality come from…

How was Mother’s Day for you this year? Whether it was planned out, busy, spontaneous, or uneventful, I hope that it was perfect for you!

 

And while typing this, I realize I knocked another item off of my Birthday Bucket List: to go hiking. Even better! (;