Monday, March 28, 2011

Mom and Star Wars

First of all, C, are you Waiting for Bulgaria? Because, I was gonna tell "both" of you something! Let me know and I'll email you an answer to something you (C) asked the other day. And Waiting, did you know that my youngest brother Peter is from Bulgaria?? What agency are you using? My parents used All God's Children. I'm so excited for y'all! Such an incredible journey. I'll be praying for you guys and I'll definitely be staying updated on your blog! Thanks for sharing with us. (Okay, update, I just told Mom about you and she's reading your blog and found out that you're using All God's Children, too! She said if you have any questions at all, let her know. Email me and I'll give you her number, email, credit card info. Okay, and now she's writing you something. I cannot be held responsible for the weird things she says, okay?)

So, Mom is here with me this week, praise the Lord. The girls absolutely love to read books. We got them these miniature rocking La-Z-Boys for babies...and they'll snuggle up in them with a good book and read for like, 2 minutes, and then they'll grab another book and snuggle up and read. And eventually, they start eating the books and that's when I have to step in. I like to think they're digesting knowledge. Snicker clever. But they really love to back it on up and plop down in your lap and have you read them a book. Yesterday afternoon, Harper was intensely involved with a farm animal puzzle and I told Piper Lee to "get a book...take it to Mommajoe." She furrowed her brows, thought about it, and ran to grab her favorite book, Star Wars ABCs. Yes, we are very proud of our little fangirls. She threw the book in Mom's lap and held out her arms to be lifted up.

Mom is not a Star Wars fan. We get our love of all things sci-fi from Dad. Mom did see the very first Star Wars movie IN THE THEATER (yeah, she's ancient) with her man friend, Greg, when she was a sophomore in college...she gets a few cool points for that. I just asked her if she's seen any of the other Star Wars movies and she said, "Gosh, I really don't know." I'm taking that as a "no". All that to say, she doesn't really know a lot about the storyline, characters, etc. So, when Piper Lee brought her the Star Wars ABCs book to read...this is kind of how it went...

E is for Ewok. Awww, love the Ewok. He's soft and fuzzy. You kind of look like an Ewok. You're about the right size. Ewoks live on the forest moon of Endor. Hmmm...Endor kind of looks like a redwood forest in California.

T is for Tie Fighter. You love the Tie Fighter? (Piper Lee likes to hug and kiss everything in the book.) That's not really something you love, but okay.

U is for Ugnaught. An Ugnaught is a useful creature. Hmm...looks like a pig to me. Pigs are not useful creatures...but they taste good.

Q is for Queen Ameelda (Amidala). She has on too much make-up. She looks like a clown. That's just silly, isn't it.

W is for Wookie. Aw, we love the Wookie because he has wavy hair. He looks like a teddy bear. Aww...teddy bear Wookie. (And as we all know, Wookies would not appreciate being compared to a teddy bear as they are mighty warriors.)

Z is for Zam. Zam is a zigzagging shape-shifter...whatever that is.

The end. Well, that was a good book. Let's read something else that makes sense, huh. Barnyard Dance! This looks good!

Yes, because a story about singing and dancing animals is much more realistic than space exploration and adventure.


Soooo...confession...I'm officially a stalker. Y'all know I stalk your blogs, look through your pictures, read's a little creepy what I do. But, I've taken it a step further. I have a teensy girl crush on the wife of a friend of a friend of a friend. I don't know how, but I do happen to be friends with the husband on Facebook. I've never actually met him and I've really never actually met his wife. I'm not going to tell you her name because some of you know her and I don't want y'all telling her and then one day, I might meet her and it'd be awkward. But, she's super stylish and dresses like I want to dress. Her hair is perfect and I'm printing out pictures of her to show to my stylist next time I get a hair cut, which I have not gotten since last summer, yep. How did I get pictures? Well, I went through her husband's page, clicked on the Married To link and her profile pictures were open...Wreeh! Wreeh! Wreeh! (Pyscho music). But, no, seriously, her hair is AWESOME and I want it. In a "I want mine cut like that" kind of way, not Silence of the Lambs kind of way. Okay, creepy segment over.

I'm still trying to decide if Jim Gaffigan's comment concerning Elizabeth Taylor's death was insensitive or funny..."It's hailing the size of diamonds in NYC. Wait, did Liz Taylor die?" (It was kind of funny.) But, someone else made the comment that she was probably the last Hollywood icon and that, to me, is sad. The new icons are Kristen Stewart and Kim Kardashian and that's REALLY sad. The only movie I've ever really seen Elizabeth Taylor in was National Velvet. I've always loved that movie. I'm slightly obsessed with horses, so my parents would always get us horse movies growing up. For some reason, the two scenes I remember most are when the parents are picking up a lobster in town for dinner and it pinches the dad. And the scene where the little brother (who collects insects in jars that he hangs around his neck) is hysterical and the older sister is like, "What is your problem?" And the kid says, "An ant just stung me." And nobody is really listening to him and he says louder, "I said a stinkin' ant just stung me!" The sister finally turns around and says, "Ants don't sting, they bite." Who knows why I remember those scenes. And it's got a very young Mickey Rooney in it, too. If you have kids maybe ages 6 and up, I highly recommend it. It's a great movie!

T-minus four days (including today) until NEW FLOORS!!!!!! I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. At last, the carpet will no longer look like a crime scene. can just about see the chalk lines. It'll be finished over the weekend and I'll do a before and after post...that is, if I decide to show you how atrocious the carpet is. David brought home the wood last weekend and I was even more happy when I saw it in person. How about, there was a $100 delivery charge to bring it to our doorstep. Fine, fine, delivery charge...even though I'm paying for you to floor over half my house, you can't deliver it for free? Whatevs. But how about this...a $50 "bring in" charge. For them to BRING IN the wood and set inside the house. Whaaaaat? Now, THAT is ridiculous. So, David picked it up and brought it in himself. The wood apparently has to acclimate to its new environment. It's like a new exotic pet at the zoo. Either way, I don't care, it's going down this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. And the girls' closet is now fully stocked with non-skid socks.

When we were at the mountains, we went to one of the outlet malls in Pigeon Forge. I, of course, hit Baby Gap. I gotta say, those were not outlet prices. Bathing suits for INFANTS costing more than what I'd pay for a bathing suit for myself. Same with jeans, shirts, shoes, etc. I adore Baby Gap...but I always check their sale stuff first. And why spend all that money when your kid will grow out of it in 2.7 seconds. People are like, "Aw, enjoy their childhood. Don't worry about money." Uh, no...not when it comes to clothes. You take them to Disney World. So, I get about 90% of the girls clothes from Target. Y'all, their stuff is adorable. And addictive. I make David go the long way around the store so we can avoid the kids' clothes section, because if my eye catches something, we're stuck for an hour. Look how sweet these outfits are.

Harper wasn't upset, she just made this face. She looks like an old lady shopping at a yard sale.

Question of the day: Can your gut hang over the edge of the tub?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Rest of the Mountains...for realsies!

I take back everything I ever said about the girls not traveling well. They were AMAZING. We left at a time that was right near their nap time, so they slept for almost 2 hours just like that. When they woke up, we all stopped for lunch and then headed the rest of the way. They watched Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Praise Baby and more Sesame Street and they never made a peep. I got these little no-spill cups you put little snacks in and they love Kix, so I loaded them with Kix. It was quiet, too quiet, for a half hour or so and I turned and looked back to see them covered in Kix. So much for no-spill, huh, Nuk. Or maybe it's just my kids. They are kind of destructive and have issues with authority. But they were happily eating the Kix off their bellies, so I left them to it. The trip home was the same. Perfect angels the whole time.

The house Dad rented was amazing. It's one of those dilemmas where you want a nice cabin, but then you're out all day hiking and sight-seeing, so you don't spend a ton of time there. But, we had a great time in the cabin when we were there.

One day, we all went out hiking to Laurel's one of the few paved trails in the park, so we could take the girls in the stroller. They were kind of blasé about it, but we let them out to "hike" for a short section and that piqued their interest a little. We also went hiking on a really easy trail from the visitor center to Gatlinburg, on which the girls slept the entire time.

The rest of the time, Aunt Becky, Mamaw and Papaw kept the girls at the cabin while we went hiking. A few days, we got back early enough to hit the town and head to the outlet mall, which I'm never upset about. Aunt Becky, thank you again for driving down to help watch the girls. Love you!

Okay, pictures, finally! And I actually have some more of the girls that I'll post next week. This is like 140-something pictures and they may be out of order, but I'll tell you what's going on seeing as how I don't want to rearrange them. Blogger needs an easier way to do that. Uploading pictures makes me want to kick something. But, I do it for you. And because Mom will call throughout the day asking where the pictures are.

These first few pics are Noah's that I stole.

The trailhead for Metcalf Bottoms. I'm Met and Sara's Calf, because she's the heifer...heh heh. Actually, we didn't even hike to it. It was just in passing on another trail we were on.

This is where the national park meets Gatlinburg.

This is Porter's Creek Trail, one of my favorite hikes. The water level was the highest I've ever seen in all our trips to the Smokies, so the creeks were beautiful. You can see why they make fun of me for being the "gnome" of the family. Whatever. I say I'm normal and they're freakishly tall creeps.

Sara and her friend, Kim, were able to come up and hike for two days with us. Kim is from Cananda, as Noah spells it. We called her Maple and made fun of how she said "roof". We're actually nicer people than I'm making it sound. Kim is a sweet gal and she makes her own peanut butter...we made fun of that, too.

The siblings.

The tree zombie siblings.

Deep in the Smoky Mountains lives unimaginably horrible creatures dressed in magenta who prey on unsuspecting tourists. Also, this may or may not have been the exact place where a female hiker was attacked by a black bear a few years ago. But, I was not reenacting that.

Me and the Pipsqueak.

Cades Cove...a.k.a. Shane's Worst Nightmare. I hope all three of your kids grow up and beg you to take them to Cades Cove every year. And I'm going to pack them goodie bags filled with salt water taffy, pralines, and maple candy. Just enough sugar to make it even more awesome on the 11 mile loop.

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot...whenever you go to Cades Cove, 99.9% of the time, you'll see deer. You can't pet them or anything, but they're definitely not afraid of cars. They're always in the fields or on the side of the road, eating something. We saw several deer this time, too. But, we got to see a bear! He was up in a hill in the woods, just moseying on. That was the third time we've seen a bear in the Smokies. Most people (idiots) try to get close to take pictures thinking, "Hey, I'm on vacation. Nothing bad can happen on vacation. A bear won't eat me. These are friendly bears." No, they will eat you. So, we've always stayed in the car and admired from a distance.

Okay, these are my pictures now.

The Laurel Falls trailhead, where Mom insisted on pushing the stroller the entire time. And when people would stop to ask about the twins, they'd say something like, "Are they making you push the whole time?" And she'd reply, "They are! Nobody's even offered to help." We had no pity for her and christened her with the fitting name Martyr Mom.

More interested in Kix than hiking.

Laurel Falls

Dang! Don't step on the edge. People (idiots) stand on this ledge every year and fall. Dang. It's further than it looks.

Their new thing is "sharing," which they do very well with everyone but each other.

Me and the Hugs in front of the falls.

Mom tickling Harps with a tree. I was going to say "needles," but "tree" sounds less abusive.

A bee. Dang.

Mamaw peeing in the woods by a stream.

They made fun of my jeans...I don't know why.

Okay, so, growing up, Sara told me that a hand...just a hand...lived under my bed and he would "walk" around at night. I may have told y'all that before. But, for years, I was terrified of the "Unconnected Hand" that lived somewhere under my bed. And hiking a trail, we found his glove stuck in a tree. Just like this. Who leaves their glove, honestly.

Mamaw is the queen of finding four leaf clovers. She could find one on the moon.

Mom racing with Pipes at the house.

Harper's new thing is to squint at you. (Also, you might be wondering about the random red splotches on her cheeks from time to fights. No, it's eczema. The cold weather does it.)

Noah, David and Dad. Dang.

Log foot bridge



This is an old schoolhouse that kids attended from the 1800's until I think 1930-something.

This is a graveyard that a lot of the locals in the park (before it became a park) used. It was really sad because probably 70% of the tombstones were for infants. It got me thinking about Harper...she might not have made it without modern medicine. Very thankful for the time I live in and for doctors.

This is the Walker Sister's Cabin. I think it was 5 sisters and a few brothers...they all lived here until the last one died in the late 60's. The government established the national park before then and offered people money to relocate. The Walkers refused and the park gave them a lifetime lease and never made them move. This was out in the middle of nowhere and they were completely self-sufficient. No electricity or running water. The brothers died or moved on, but the five sisters stayed. They were WOMEN. Dang!

The trail to Grotto Falls.

This just cracks me up. Mom, you look so prissy. "Oh, I'm so delicate. Oh, my shoes. Ugh, mud. Don't let it touch me."

An old grist mill. The water runs down the shoot.

And powers the wheel below, that spins the grist wheels up in the little house above and grinds the corn to make corn meal or wheat to make flour.

This was the grist mill owner's house. You can tell who are the rich folks because they could afford to paint their house. Obviously, this wasn't the original paint, but it would have looked like this in the 1800's.


So, I was looking out the window one morning and saw all the fog/clouds, hence the name The Smoky Mountains. But, I also noted how blue the mountains always appeared, smoke or not. And I said, "They should have named them the Smoky Mountains." I meant to say, "The Blue Mountains." But nope, I couldn't recover in time and they never shut up about it the rest of the trip. "Hey, Ruth, you should name mountains ranges. The original!"

This is Porter's Creek Trail again. Dang.

There used to be a hunting/fishing resort at the trailhead...lots of wealthy people owned vacation homes here. The park gave them all lifetime leases because they were here before it became a park. The last lease ran out in, I believe, 2002. So, now they're just kind of sitting there, falling apart. Really fascinating and creepy homes that I'm sure were incredible in their day.

Aunt Mahalia's...a fine tourist destination. One with lots of chocolate.

Why...I mean, why?

Eating at the Applewood Farmhouse. Ohhhh, I ate so much food, but I'd do it again.

I don't remember the name of this trail, but there was a waterfall at the end. This was old farmland. See the stone fences still up. There were no trees, just fields with crops and livestock.

The fireplace of an old house.

Steps leading up to the house.

Another graveyard. The people in this area, and in most of the Appalachian Mountains, have a tradition where they replenish the flowers in local graveyards once a year. It's called Decoration Day.

An old crop and livestock storage building near a farmhouse.

We came up on this trap and thought, "Holy catfish, they're trying to catch a bear." We found out later it was a wild hog trap. Same difference, though, right? Ever seen Old Yeller? Dang.

The waterfall!

The tiny speck of red is Noah.

This footbridge was a lot higher and scarier than it seems from here. There's a bend in the bridge that you can't see. Mom was freaking out, as usual. "Noah, stop looking at your feet! Stop taking pictures! Noah, look at your feet so you can see where you're walking! Noah, grab the handrail! Noah, try not to grab the handrail!"

I don't know why I took this picture. I thought it looked like a Weta Workshop creature.

Sunset at the cabin.

Alum Cave Bluffs trail. This is one of my favorite hikes in the park. Ironically, there is no alum in the rock and there are no caves. So, really, it's just Bluffs trail. Halfway to the bluffs is Arch Rock...a rock that's shaped like an arch that you climb up to continue on the trail. Simple enough.

At some points, it's just walking on solid rock.

Approaching Arch Rock. Dang.

This is me telling David to give me my camera back. You may notice a pooch in my jacket. That is a baby...a baby camera. My beer belly is long gone. It moved back into my butt.

Climbing up into the arch.

A woodland elder on a rocky outcropping. Dang. Look at that elder. Gandalf?

Approaching the bluffs.

The place is's really hard to get perspective in a picture.

Looking up, water was trickling down from the top. We thought it looked like sequins falling. These are very flamboyant bluffs. Dang.

It's hard to see, but if you look on the right of the dark rocks in the foreground, there's a tiny little hole...another arch.

Back down into the dark mouth of the mountain...but we had to wait forever, but this super slow family was taking their ever-loving time climbing up.

Gatlinburg overlook

The Smoky (and Blue) Mountains. Dang.

Thanks for your comments earlier, guys! They made my day! Also, interesting fact...the last post was the second highest visited post on my blog ever. It's because I said "fart," isn't it? Tsk people are so immature.