Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Good Day Sunshine

It has been about time we had a sunny and warm day here!  We took advantage of it today and spent lots of time soaking up some vitamin D.    We played in the sandbox, went down our slide, played in the park, went on a walk with grandma and grandpa, drew with the sidewalk chalk and attempted riding a tricycle!  Busy busy day filled with fun for the boy. 
Pete looking cute in some sun
Pete drawing in the driveway. 

A Swimmingly Good Time

Think he is having a fun time?
birthday boy!
 This weekend Phil had a campout with the young men at church so I took Pete and went down to see family down in Indy.  Ben had a birthday so we went to go to his party and to hang out with Aunt Kate during her day off work.  I had a great drive down, Pete slept the entire way there and woke up as we pulled into her house so he got lucky and got to join us for ice cream and a shopping trip to Meijer.  Saturday we went to Matt and Tashina's house once we got around and played for a bit and Pete took a nap so he could be ready for dinner at Red Robin.  He had a hoot playing with Ally in the booth for dinner and he actually ate a pretty decent dinner for me.  Afterwards we went and had Ben open presents and then proceeded to Mom and Dad's hotel room to use the pool.  I'd forgotten my swimsuit so I was lucky enough to play the part of photographer.  Pete had a wonderful time playing with everyone and playing in a real pool instead of the bathtub.  Afterwards we went and had cake and ice cream and played with Ben's new toys.  Sunday morning we slept in and spent some more time with the Horn Family before hitting the road to head home.  Pete again slept most of the ride and was able to watch one show on the kindle.  It was a fun filled weekend and a nice relaxing one too after the hectic schedule of the week before. 

Lucy kicking up a storm

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Big 'Chine"

This is what Pete calls most appliances.  Meaning Big Machine!  This particular time and since then he is talking about the wheat grinder.  I was out of wheat flour for about a week and so I decided it was time to grind another can and pulled out the wheat grinder.  It is a beast but I love it, so quick and easy!  Pete also liked helping me out and seeing that mommy can use big noisy things too.

Pete investigating the grain
Making the thing quieter with the lid

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Grandpa Horn

This past Sunday saw the passing of my Grandpa Horn.  Of course while I am heartbroken and miss him I remember that he is in a far better place one without pain and suffering. 

 I was just thinking a couple weeks ago about my time growing up with grandpa around. Mostly about how Pete does many of the same things.  I remember snuggling up with him in his big old lazy boy and taking 40 winks instead of naps and thinking I had gotten away with something, about how he peeled my apples for me perfectly with his good old handy pocket knife that always held a place of honor next to his chair.  Watching the Pink Panther, Popeye, Grape Ape and all my favorite Hanna-Barbera cartoons along with a healthy dose of westerns, where the good guy always won in the end.  The high faves with in the middles, down lows and too slows.  I remember the Easter eggs stuffed with quarters and quarters all over the place after he went  to play cards.  He was always happy and thrilled with every little accomplishment and thing that I did, even if in reality it was a horrible 7th grade band concert that could truly could have lead to the removal of music from schools due to the quality for the sake of music everywhere. Or the walking stick that I carved the bark off for him.  The mushroom hunting next to the railroad tracks and the just normal conversations we had, nothing forced, nothing fake, just grandpa and his girl, together. 

Pete has gotten to partake in some of these things during the past year.  He loved to share grapes with Popo and watch tv together though the shows have changed and been taken over by Max and Ruby, Dora the Explorer and Team Umizoomi, though Pete still demanded a good western if Gene Autry was on. He changed high fave routine to faves and fist bumps.  Just the other day he got to have his first grandpa peeled apple, they were always the best, just the perfect amount of peel removed but leaving the good part intact. 

Part of me is truly sadden that Pete won't get to do all of these wonderful yet mundane things with him, but then I realize that he has his own Grandpa Horn to do these things with in my dad.  He will have his own adventures riding lawn mowers, shooting bb guns at his arch enemies the ground hogs, and snuggling.  Because my Grandpa taught his grandpa how to do it, how to be the absolute best at grandpa-ing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A New Toy

I found a slinky the other day while I was putting stuff away from Spring Break.  I thought I'd share the fun with Pete since we have stairs in our house.  I never had stairs growing up and loved it when I did get the chance occasionally to use a slinky on someone's stairs.  Pete has been in love with it and has been going up and down the stairs with it quite a lot recently, which works out well since the weather has been a bit yucky lately to allow outdoor playing, plus we didn't have playgroup this week.  This boy has had energy to burn this week and is driving me crazy with it today.  I don't know how many more "April Showers" this momma can handle, we might just have to start watching tv again!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day Five: Our Final Day

Pete driving (on popo's lap)
This was our last full day on vacation. We started out going on a hike in the Elkmont area, it was our own personal "trail of tears"  I think pretty much all of the kids had a break down while on that hike!  Afterwards Pete fell asleep immediately in the car, I don't think we made it out of the parking area before he was out!  We had a picnic lunch in the Cades Cove picnic area and let the kids throw rocks into the stream next to our table.  Today was also Pete's day for riding in the front of the car with grandma and grandpa through the cove.  No worries you go maybe 15 mph through there.  Pete had a hoot with that and wasn't too thrilled with switching back into his carseat in the back with daddy!  But vacation can't be all smiles and giggles, right? Later on in the loop we took a stroller down to a stream and some bamboo.  Lucy rode on my shoulders for the walking part, until she could get down and throw sticks in!  This is also where I ran out of space on my camera's card and didn't have any extras.  The downside of not owning a functional laptop and not realizing you don't have the type of memory card that you need for the camera.
Family picture at Elkmont

Pete hanging out the window through Cades Cove

Pete watching the van drive through a river in Cades Cove

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day Four: Something Fishy

Pete and Phil in the tunnel of fish!
This was our rainy day of the week so we took advantage of it and went and did our shopping in the morning and the aquarium in the afternoon after naps.  Stride Rite has an outlet and with Pete's wide feet I take advantage of it and buy them up.  In Gatlinburg there is the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, it costs a pretty penny but it is well worth it.  Pete loved it!  He saw lots of fish loved riding through the tunnel that takes you through the sharks and big fish schools, petting a horseshoe crab and a manna ray.  Really we could have spent lots more time than we did but it was getting to be dinner and bed time for the kiddos so we had to head out, which he wasn't happy about!  They also had a temporary exhibit of dinosaurs with big moving ones, and sand to dig in to find bones.  It was a great use of a rainy day!
The kids admiring the fish
Pete noticing a shark swimming over his head!

Pete, Phil and the T-Rex

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day Three: Up to the Highest Height

Wondering about the title?  Well Tashina beat me to let's go fly a kite so I continued on with the rest of the song, though we were the ones singing the song while we were there.  Anyway.  Day three Matt picked up some kites to fly while in the cove, mostly because they wanted to try flying dad's tiny little video camera that can clip onto things.  It didn't work out too well because our kites were too small for its weight but they might have gotten some clips from it.  Other than the problems with the flying camera it was the easiest experience with flying a kite I have ever had! We were on a hill in within Cades Cove and the wind coming up made it so you just lifted the kite to get it started no trying to have someone hold it and run or any of the normal nonsense! The menfolk went on a hike across some fields after our kite flying a picnic while the women and children went on to the mill and houses.  Josey fell asleep on the way so it was up to me and mom to take the rest of the kids so Ally could talk to the miller and get her Junior Ranger badge.  We all survived though Pete wasn't happy about daddy leaving him with so many girls! 

Pete crying about Daddy going on a hike without him.

from left to right: Pete, Ben Lucy and Ally looking into a barn

Pete snuggling up with Grandma

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day Two: Hiking to a Waterfall

Our second day was going to be one of the few days with decent temperatures and some sunshine, though we got lucky and had lots of sun.  We took advantage of it with a trip to a Spruce Flats Waterfall in the Tremont area of the Smokies.  We were quite the crew with 6 adults, 3 kiddos in backpacks and two walking on their own and later one of those having to be carried to finish it up.  It was a georgous day for the hike and ended up ditching the sweatshirts for a change!  The views were crazy good, the kids though were a bit bummed at the fact that you could see the road from most of the trail, but if you took the road you can't see the full waterfall, so it was worth it. 
Phil and Pete

The cliff climbing Calls

See I'm on vacation too!

The hiking Horn Family

Our destination.

Day one: Cades Cove and Easter Egg Hunt

Phil, Pete and Ben throwing rocks in the stream
For spring break this year we got a big cabin with my parents and my brother's family down in the Smokies.  Most of our week is spent in Cades Cove, especially this year after a landslide washed out the road to the other side of the park.  We didn't complain too much though because it is still super fun, just no elk for us this time.  Last year the kids got to play in the water a ton, this year though it was way too cold for that so we got to through sticks and rocks from the shore.  Not quite as fun but the kids still found it satisfying. We toured the cove then stuffed some eggs for a huge Easter egg hunt.  I hid them with mom in the edge of the woods while the kids zoned on a show for a few minutes until we were ready for them to come start looking.  Pete has only ever had one before and it was his very first Easter, so he wasn't quite as talented as the Horn kids that get lots of practice with the other side of their family. Pete did pretty decent but kept trying to open the eggs to see what was in them, instead of continuing to look.  He ended up with 6 of the 50 eggs.

Pete picking out a good rock for throwing

Pete and Ben investigating something in the mud

Pete stole the other kids' bags and ran after the great hunt.  Smart boy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Traveling on Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday marked the beginning of our vacation down to the Smokies.  We stopped in Batesville on the way and had a picnic Easter dinner with Phil's family at a picnic table at the high school. It was fun and gave Pete a chance to run after being trapped in the car for 4 hours!  Sky Popo was there and Pete got to play and give him some lovin' along with feed him an apple.  Pete didn't watch any shows the entire 8 hour drive down to the cabin.  I spent a lot of time working on project to keep him entertained without any shows and it paid off!  I'll post later on about what all I did.
Laughing with his Sky Popo!


Feeding Popo some apples...Poor grandpa was so tired of apples by when we left.