Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Tennessee

This Thanksgiving, Luke & Mel Laesar invited us to join them at their home in Chattanooga, TN. They have a 3 year old named, Layton, and a 6 month old named, Kestrel, so Mel is used to crazy kid-ness. She was also very brave because we had not met in person before this trip. :) Inviting an unknown family to your home for 4 days takes some guts. THANKS MEL! Luckily, we all really enjoyed each other and had a wonderful time! Lucas & Layton were buds and got along so well, it was fun to see.

Cookies were in order before starting the 6 hour trip! Molasses Cookies....mmmmm!
Before heading all the way to the Laesar's, we made a surprise stop to stay with Bentley & Jessica Brackett in Knoxville. They live close to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and that was also on our itinerary.

Axel loved the puppy dishes.
Lucas was soooo surprised to see some of his favorite climbing friends. He was super wild and crazy and I'm sure convinced Bentley & Jessica to wait a few more years before having kids! Thank you for opening your home and feeding us, it was d-lish! (Lucas is secretly in love with Jessica but don't tell Bentley)The next morning, we were off to the Great Smoky Mts
Daddy loves any opportunity to get his camera out.
Needless-to-say, Mike has WAY better photos but I think they are still on the can't wait. :)Lucas also wanted to take a photo...
Daddy was super happy to learn that we would be near Tennessee's High Point: Clingman's Dome at 6,643ft. So, we hiked the 1 mile round trip and it was FREEZING!!
Axel was cozy.
Mommy and the boys headed up the final ramp. The ramp was built so you could see all the beautiful views which are covered by trees down below.

Daddy & Lucas at the summit.
Mommy, Lucas & Axel on the summit.
Daddy & Lucas headed back to the car. This shot makes the Smoky Mts look really smoky!
After our grand hike to the top of Clingman's Dome, we headed to the west side of the park to see Cades Cove. This took lots of's a very windy road that turns into a one-way loop which is very slow going. It was worth the drive. We saw a bear and loved seeing the big mill in action.

You can see the watermill in the back ground which is connected to a huge mill. Lucas was sooo excited because it was just like his favorite pancake book.
Lucas is truly an engineer. Here he is telling me all about how the water turns the big mill to grind wheat and corn.
Here's the gears...
and the final product...ground corn & wheat.
Our newest hiker!!
Then it was off to Chattanooga! The first day took us to Little Rock City for some bouldering. This is a great spot for kids. It's located close to their home, is on a golf course, has little to no hike and has a bunch of fun climbs for all levels.

Luke & Layton showing us how to do it.
Lucas & Daddy bouldering together.
To the top, to the top! Way to go Lucas!!
Axel was happy to sit on the blanket and look for leaves and rocks to taste.Lucas really loved bouldering, probably because everything is fairly close to the ground and requires no harness or ropes or helmet or time putting all that stuff on. Bouldering is instant fun!
After Little Rock City, we headed home to help Mel prepare for the big feast. She took most of the photos but here are a few...
Daddy cooking sweet potatoes.
Luke & Andy enjoying the apps.
Lucas & Layton at the BIG Boy Table!
Everything was so tasty!! There were 12 adults and 5 kids and a full spread of traditional and non-traditional food. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!

The rest of the weekend was full things like: arts & crafts, climbing at Tennessee Wall, climbing at Rock Fort, playing at the indoor kiddo gym, ice cream, meals including awesome cinnamon rolls and other yummy breakfast creations....and more that I can't think of. It was an action packed trip and we just had such a wonderful time.
On Saturday night, neighbors hosted a bonfire evening so we packed up the kiddos and headed over for some fun. Axel & Kestrel got cozy.
Lucas' first time on a trampoline...SOOOOO fun!!
Then bonfire time but somehow I forgot to take a photo of the actual fire.
Mel, Layton &n Kestrel getting the marshmallows ready.
Nothing better than S'mores when you're at a bonfire. Look at boys watcing that chocolate to make sure Luke sends some their way.
This was seconds before Axel's eyes closed...he was a tired out boy.
What a wonderful trip! Thank you so much for opening your home and your fridge this Thanksgiving. Your hospitality is GREATLY appreciated. To all of our family, we miss you bunches and hope your Thanksgiving was a special as ours was. Love, JMLA

Axel was all ready to drive us home:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Halloween & More

Today, I realized that at the rate I'm going, I will continue to stay a month behind forever. So, I'm getting back on the horse and posting more photos to get caught up. I have to admit, it's not fun to post things that happened a month ago. However, I will be happy looking back that it was all included.

Axel is nine months old now and quite a handful. He LOVES his Mama and makes it hard for her do get things done. Lucas on the other hand has been extremely helpful but really into activity books and crafts. This is wonderful but requires a lot of Mommy help. Tired of excuses? Life. Life has been busy and I'm glad it has been. I love our crazy schedule and all the fun things we do as a family. It is nice to relax and that's what I've been doing this week. Catching up at home and relaxing...not blogging. :)

Here's my Ten on Thursday...Enjoy!

1. Halloween at Preschool. Oh what a day and Lucas could hardly contain himself. We had to modify his costume a little to make it potty friendly and it worked perfectly. Look how scary he is...Axel wasn't too sure of Mrs. Crum's witch costume or maybe it was her eye lashes?
The whole class sang Halloween songs for about 15 minutes. They were adorable and Lucas was in Heaven. He is such a performer.I loved watching! Axel was a little freaked out by some of the "BOOs" but survived the whole thing.
2. The Old Oak Tree finally dropped her leaves and provided tons of fun for one big boy...
and COMPLETE TRAUMA for one smaller boy. Axel wanted nothing to do with the leaves or with Mommy leaving him on the blanket to rake and play with Lucas. He sobbed and sobbed. Later, he rode in the backpack while we bagged them up.
When Uncle Mark arrived, he took playing in the leaves a whole new step. We have some videos and Lucas LOVED it...and didn't get hurt either.

3. Arts & Crafts Kid. Lucas loves to cut and glue and make fun crafts. We do it almost everyday. Some days, he is happy to work alone and others it's a full on family project. It comes from finding a Halloween craft book at the local library. We've since returned that book but stocked up on Thanksgiving & Christmas craft books. I just might go crazy! :)
4. Halloween Party. We were invited to a Halloween Party but Lucas was in no mood for the camera. I gave up trying and got home to find out I didn't really capture the feel of the party which was AWESOME!!! I did get the pumpkin race photo but not the arts and crafts, candy tables, food spread or the host or her family...Thank You Charmagne. We did have a wonderful time!!!
5. Trick-or-Treating with Yoda & Darth Vader. Darth Vader had trouble seeing out of his scary mask but this didn't stop him. He went out with Daddy & Axel for the first round then Daddy headed to the airport to get the Bechtel Family. Then, he went out with Mommy & Axel. By the last house, he couldn't carry his bucket because it was too full!

6. New Cabin. Yes, we took the plunge and bought a beautiful little cabin in the Red River Gorge area. We travel there almost every weekend and were tired of the tent scene. Actually, we really got tired of camping in the rain. Funny thing, we bought a cabin and it hasn't rained for 3 weeks!

Look how cute it is...about 800 sq ft and you know what? Real Estate in Kentucky is pretty cheap after living in places like Colorado Springs.
It came all furnished which is perfect. 1 master bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 loft with 2 beds, 1 living area and a small "kitchen" area.
Is it really that bad Steve? :) You look like Lucas when he sees the camera too.
There's a smiley boy.
And what's this?! Lucas? Is that you?
And Mrs. Ellen...she always has a smile!
7. The Bechtels: Our dear friends from Lander, WY came out to stay with us for 9 days. We had so much fun with them and were so happy to have the cabin to offer them. We did lots of climbing, hiking and of course, eating...visiting...kid entertaining...sleeping! A wonderful trip!!
Mrs. Ellen & Mr. Blue Eyes Sam
Axel exploring outdoor fun like roots.
Mommy climbing.
8. As you can see, Fall is about over and only a few leaves are hanging in there. Lucas still LOVES to swing and the Red River Gorge is a perfect location for BIG SWINGS. Here we are at a cliff called the Motherload.
You can barely see him.
9. Our little climber. What you don't see here is the total meltdown after about 4 feet and the words, "IT'S TOOOO HARD!" or "IT'S VEEERRRRRYYY HARD!" It was a short climbing day.
This day went much better and he made it all the way to the top with smiles and everything.10. Nine month old Axel...a charmer for sure! We have two top teeth to join the two bottom teeth, loves to walk around pushing his Fire Truck, likes to talk "DaDaDa, BaBaBa, MaMaMa, GaGaGa", loves food (apple sauce & pears being his favorites), growing some hair, total Mama's Boy, takes short naps, still has lots of fat rolls...fat knee caps are my favorite, loves discovering new objects, does great in the car and actually takes long naps (3 hrs) in the car, likes motor boat, likes to eat ladybugs (yes, we ate one just yesterday), has no problem screaming when he wants something...
I think I'm all caught up! Hooray~!

Above Photo: Downtown Portland Oregon Bike Ride

The Danger Zone needed a little update to include not only LUCAS DANGER, but also his little brother...AXEL ADVENTURE!

Welcome to our family blog now known as:

DANGER and ADVENTURE Around Every Corner!!