Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Throwing together a post about our summer

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We are having a great summer! Our past weeks have been filled and I am loving it! We went to a theme park with my parents and sister and had a day filled with fun. I tried to find a sitter for Brady and Anne but was unsuccessful so we ended up taking them and they were great and had a blast. I am so glad we took them.

Last week we were able to take a trip with Joe's family to the Smokey Mountains. Joe and I hadn't been to the Smokies since our last trip, with his family, 9 years ago. I was pregnant with Bethany then and now we have 5 kids! Time flies by so quickly and I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am that we were able to get away from home for 6 days and 5 nights. We have never taken a trip that long before.
I was very apprehensive about how the trip would all work out, I was equally as excited as I was nervous about being away from home with 5 kids. I was worried about how I was going to have the stamina for it, how much sleep I was going to get and how we were all going to handle being in one very small room together, days on end. I worried how Brady and Anne would fair with the lack of schedules and possible lack of sleep, I worried about many aspects of how things could go. I really wanted to have the right attitude and prayed that I could just have energy to thoroughly enjoy this opportunity. I stayed awake a few nights worrying about it. After praying about it the week before, God gave me peace about it and asked me to just take it one day at a time.
The Lord abundantly blessed our time away from home! I am still in awe of how smoothly things went, how much fun we had and how much energy He gave me. Joe was even surprised at how well I managed to keep going. Our days were really packed, we were up early and swimming in the pool late at night. I can only say that it was the Lord's sustaining strength, an answer to my prayers, that allowed me to have a good attitude and eagerly take on each day.
We left a day early so that our family could stop by the Cumberland Gap National Park. Joe and Joseph have been wanting to go there for a couple of summers and it was on our way to the Smokies. We left on Sunday, drove to Cumberland Gap National Park and took in the view. Here are a few pictures from that .6 mile hike.
We walked across the Kentucky/Virginia line, really neat!
I am not a fan of heights! It took me a bit to warm up to the idea of walking out on this look out. 
The three oldest got sworn in as Junior Rangers and the girls dressed up like pioneer girls at the visitor center.
After we hiked to look out over the Cumberland Gap we hiked a longer trail to stand in the gap. That hike was a bit hotter, we had to carry Anne and then Brady and then Jenna. The girls had on flip flops and Brady had on Croc's so we had to keep stopping to get gravel out of their toes.
The boys standing in the pass.
We stayed in Middlesboro, KY that night and the next day we drove to Martin's Station in Virginia. It is a replica fort of the place Daniel Boone and others stayed in on their way to the Cumberland Gap on the Wilderness Trail.

All of us enjoyed our time at the Cumberland Gap and Martin's Station. After visiting the fort we drove to Pidgeon Forge to meet up with our family. We spent Monday to Friday in Tennessee. Joe and I both were amazed at how well all of the kids did at going with the flow. Brady and Anne both rode great in the van and in the hotel Anne would play and play in her pack 'n play until she fell asleep. Again I just can't say how surprised I was with my own energy each day, that is nothing but an answer to prayer. We all enjoyed our time with family, it was a great trip.
 We definitely had our moments of things not going so well, like when we sat out for Cades Cove and ended up sitting in traffic due to a closed road. We turned around and determined to get up early the next morning to beat the rush. We were all up at 5:45am, only to realize after we arrived at Cades Cove at 7:30 that it was closed to vehicle traffic until 10am!
We decided to drive to Clingman's Dome, not short drive, only when we got there, it was incredibly foggy!
 We decided to hike up the trail despite the fog, a very steep climb with 2 strollers but we made it!

Bethany and I chickened out on going up to the lookout. I thought I was going to be able to do it with all the fog around but the trees were swaying back and forth and I caved when Bethany begged to go down about half way up.
After we made it back down Clingman's dome we drove back to Cade's Cove and made that loop.
Joe and I were both determined to take things as they came the entire trip and when something didn't work out just accept that it wasn't supposed to happen. We were only able to achieve this goal because the Lord gave us the wisdom and strength to look beyond the moment. We both prayed that the Lord would bless our time and He certainly did. We continually found low gas prices every time we needed gas, the Lord provided a van for us to use on the trip that ran awesome, got great gas mileage and a/c worked much better than our van's. At one point, Joe's debit card fell out of my pocket when we were on a trolley ride and he saw it. The kept us safe, I ran a red light and thankfully there wasn't anyone coming!
We played in the creek a couple of times, that was a favorite for the kids.
Jenna found this heart shaped drift wood and they found all kinds of beautiful rocks.
We went to a free train museum one afternoon and we also went to Ripley's Aquarium. The aquarium was fun, but not our favorite, we had more fun doing other things outside on our own.
There was one evening that we went to a nice restaurant with Joe's family, Brady and Anne were both exhausted from all that we had done that day. It had been the morning we were up extra early, they had ridden in the van for hours and hours, we had woke them up every time they fell asleep and as we tried to sit and wait for our food they were both having break downs. Brady was hitting Anne on the head with his spoon and she was hitting him back with a fork, they were both done! Neither of them found food the least bit enticing or entertaining, a rare occurrence for our kids. They were both climbing out of their seats and pulling everything in their reach off of the table. We ended up stuffing our food down with each of them in our laps, fighting us the entire time. That was their most frazzled moment of the trip, and mine too! Surprisingly, after we left the restaurant we went to ride go-karts with the older kids in the family and Brady and Anne did really well sitting in their strollers another couple of hours!
Another highlight to the trip was the next day, again out to eat with the family and Anne's pooped out of her diaper. She was in her highchair and after smelling something I checked her diaper, it was clean! I eventually got her out of the chair and into my lap, only to realize she had pooped out of her diaper and had poop all over her legs and in a pile on the seat! We had walked over a half of a mile from the aquarium to eat so that we wouldn't have to fight traffic and pay for parking. All I had was a package of wipes and a diaper for her, thankfully I had that. I have never had anything happen to me like that before, it was pretty funny and really gross!
We left for home on Friday and ended up stopping to see Cumberland Falls, where both of our parents honeymooned. Having not been there that I can remember it was a fun add-in to our trip.
Our last stop was to see the William Whitley House, the first brick house built west of the Allegheny mountains. Daniel Boone is known to have visited there, as well as, George Rogers Clark. William Whitley built the first circular race track in west of the Alleghany mountains and had horses run counter clockwise, still the practice in the United States. This home is remarkable and beautiful, I was expecting much less.
I have a pet peeve about bloggers who post pictures from their phones instead of a "real" camera... and I confess today I am that blogger. The entire trip my camera was left packed away and I used my phone. It was part of plan to not stress and just go with the flow. Sometimes pulling out the nice camera stresses the kids out and I wanted to require less of them, {and me} less time for photo ops and more time to be present.
I have no regrets, this is where I am in life right now and once again the Lord is impressing on me to accept the simple, to be myself and to say yes, despite my insecurities. This life I live is big, it's full and everyday is packed. I don't want to miss it, I don't want to say no to it, I don't want to hinder it by allowing myself to get in the way. I was reminded via this trip that I should put so much prayer into all my days, that I should continually acknowledge that God is at work and stressing over things not going "my way" takes my heart and mind away from enjoying the moments. Frustration and irritation are always at the expense of my joy and ability to see beautiful works of God.
We were all ready for home and our beds, but I immediately miss the mountains, they are so awesome! Of course the dirty laundry and the fact that I had bills to pay and a to-do list a mile long made me want to leave again, but we have more fun stuff planned for this month, excited about July now!
Bless you if you actually read all of this! Thanks!


etownpartyshop said...

You all look like you had such a wonderful time. I love reading your stories. One day your kids will look at this and enjoy it so much. I am glad that you survived it. lol God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Loved reading about your vacation. Sounds like you had a great time with all the family. So glad it all worked out for you. This is Kateri using Angela's computer.

Miranda Rose said...

Kateri, thanks so mich for leaving me a comment! Great to hear from you. It was a great trip for sure. Hope you and Eddie are doing good!

Eleana said...

You got so much accomplished! I love the picture of the kids at Martin's Station. You have such a great eye for brilliant shots Miranda :o) You are amazing to be creating such wonderful memories for your kids. Thanks for sharing your stories and adventures, I love reading about it.

Miranda Rose said...

Thanks, Eleana! You are sweet to comment, we did get to do and see so much!! It was very fun!

SailorMoon said...

What a vacation!! Made me feel like I was there. Bless you for being such a good influence on your children.