polka dots

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Our Last Day

We spent our last day in Tennessee at the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.
 Seahorses are most fascinating to me.

 A dragon seahorse.

 Wes and a horseshoe crab

 This was fun.  This aquarium had all the fish that were in the movie Nemo!  Every child there was looking for Marlin, Dory, Nemo, etc.  How clever!

I really enjoyed watching these jellyfish.......glad I didn't have to get near them....but they were so graceful.

This was a huge aquarium that you could also walk underneath and watch the fish, sharks, turtles, swim over you.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

While in Tennessee, we took several trips into the Smoky Mountain National Park.  I really believe this is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  

 The "smoke" hung really low on the first day we were there.

A view when the "smoke" is gone.

The Little Pigeon River by a picnic grounds.  We had several picnics while we were there that week.

 Pictures just can't capture the beauty of it all.

The Appalachian Trail spans 2150 miles from Georgia to Maine across 14 states.  We met two hikers who were hiking it and they expected to complete it in Maine by October.  They started in Georgia......this was April.....they expected to end in Maine, in October.  That is dedication.

Just imagine having a picnic beside this. 

Parrot Mountain and Gardens

One of the most fun things Wes and I have ever had the opportunity to do is to go to Parrot Mountain and Gardens. A really neat Christian couple own the bird sanctuary (which is on top of a very high mountain!).  They just want to share with folks God's beautiful creation of the Smokeys and provide a place for abused and neglected birds.  They also are working to reintroduce extinct birds back into their original habitat.  We could have spent hours and hours there as the staff was most gracious and you were allowed to pet, hold, and feed birds to your heart's content.

 I love Cockatoos.  They are my most favorite of all the birds.  There were many here that I could play with!

 Very smart.....very gentle.....I was in love!

 This guy loved Wes.  He crawled all over his shoulders and then found the button on the top of his cap.  He didn't give up until he had the button......chewed on it awhile, and then spit it out.

 This was the prettiest and most gentle parrot.  Just wanted to be with you.  Quite content to just to hang.

 I would have paid almost any amount of money if they would have let me take this little guy home.  He is a rose crested cockatoo and I really wanted to make him part of our family.  Unfortunately, he wasn't for sell!

 Lowrys.  Walk into their cage and they know you have nectar for them.  We had them all over us!

 Some kind of South American Lowry.  I saw so many different kind of birds that I just couldn't keep up with all the names!

This is my favorite.  I was feeding two cockatoos sunflower seeds.  But as you can see, the McCaw didn't like being left out.  He had grabbed ahold (very gently) of my shirt and kept pulling me towards him!

If you are ever in the Pigeon Forge area, you need to visit this place.  It is amazing what the owners have done with it and how important it is to them to show off God's creations - whether it be the birds or the scenery!


Wes and I had the opportunity to rent a cabin in the Smoky Mountains last week.  We had a wonderful, relaxing time.  Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge had plenty of things for us to do if we wanted to get away from the cabin for awhile.
Our home for the week

 The view from our cabin

 The Lumberjack Feud Show.  These guys were awesome! A very entertaining show.

 Log rolling championship

 Yep, they sell moonshine in Tennessee.  I learned a very important fact....moonshine itself wasn't illegal.  However, the government wanted to tax the sell of it and the farmers didn't want to pay.  So, they began to hide their stills and work them at night.....hence the name.....moonshine.  It only became illegal during prohibition.  This stuff is evidently pretty powerful stuff.  It is sold in mason jars and it was 40-50 proof.  Which means it was 80 - 100% alcohol.  Just like the good old days. Yeah....no wonder they call it "White Lightning"!

Little Pigeon River runs through Gatlinburg.  This is just one of the beautiful scenes you can see all throughout the town.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

She's 6! Where has the time gone?

Today is Ashlynn Kate's 6th birthday.  I cannot believe she is already 6 years old.  I remember getting the call from her daddy letting us know they were on their way to the hospital.  Wes and I, along with Jim and Elaine, got in our cars and headed for College Station.....hoping to get there before she was born.  I remember sitting in the waiting room wondering what she would look like.  Would she have blonde hair....blue eyes....that cute little pug nose just like her daddy?  Or would she look like her mama, with her light brown hair, brown eyes, and beautiful smile?  It really didn't matter....she was going to be the most beautiful baby on the planet....that much I did know.

I remember the moment I saw her....held her....and told her how much I loved her.  My heart melted at that moment and it does today every time I see her.  I adore this little girl and thank the Lord every day that He chose me to be her JuJu. It is a job I treasure and look forward to our life adventures ahead of us.

So, happy birthday, Ashlynn Kate.  Your JuJu loves you more than you could possibly imagine.

Our order number was 6....quite appropriate for a 6th birthday, don't you think?

Love those eyes!

She wanted a cookie cake, like her daddy always gets for his birthday.

She is her daddy's daughter.  They both love their Legos! 

Uncle Brendon gave Ashlynn a Buc-ee Pillow Pet.  It was so soft!  I tried to talk her out of it, but nothing doing.

They were playing a piano game on the iPad and the song they were playing was "Oh Susannah".  They both started singing along with the game.  Uncle Brendon always wants to play and she loves it!