Friday, March 18, 2016

Smoky Mountain Scavenger Hunt

Did you know about this? And you never told me? Shame on you.

So much fun, perfect kick off to our spring break this year.

About a week prior, I had been searching for 1/2 marathons close to the Smokies, and I landed on a page listing upcoming events in that area. Sure enough, there it was: The Great Smoky Mountains Scavenger Hunt. It sounded like a perfect day of exploring one of my favorite places with my favorite people, and it was.

Here's the deal: You pay $50 to sign up your team (it's a fundraiser), but it's totally worth it. #1: so much fun. #2: they feed you dinner at the end. For our family of seven that's a bargain. #3: they also have some pretty sweet door prizes. I think we won over $50 worth of stuff after we ate. Win-win-win.

Thirty-two teams participated this year. At 3:30pm on Friday afternoon, they email you the clues, seventy-three of them. You then have until 4:30 Saturday afternoon to get as many points as you can by answering questions (things like "how many steps up to the old wonderland hotel?"), and taking specific pictures (like "a human pyramid in front of the Roosevelt memorial"). All of these things lead you all over the park, I loved that. When we visit the Smokies we tend to just go to the spot we're going, do what we planned to do, then go back home. We never stay awhile and wander around. Just explore for exploring's sake beyond our planned hike/swim/etc. So we got to visit places we'd never been before, and really get a feel for the layout of the whole thing. I loved it. Have I mentioned that already?

The kids loved it too. We could tell because the whole day they kept talking next year. When we do it next year, let's start Friday night instead of Saturday morning! Next year, let's get up early. Let's stay here overnight.

Lydia got a camera for Christmas last year and was given the honor of being our official team photographer for all of our hunt pictures. Of course, we took many others as well.

American Ninja Husband: he's 40

Scott turned 40 last year. Quite the milestone, but I'm happy to report he still seems like a spry young 20-something in attitude, good looks, and athletic prowess. Here's a perfect example: my gift to him was a day at an American Ninja Warrior training facility down in Atlanta. Since he knows a guy that also turned 40 the same day, I talked to Cally and she gave Conan the same gift. The two of them had a great day of head to head competition with salamander ladders, warp walls, and the like. I requested lots of pictures and footage. He did and it's all awesome. Unfortunately, blogger is a real stinker when it comes to video footage. So I'll leave it with, Scott did awesome. He nailed all of the feats of strength and as I watched all the videos, I felt so glad he's my husband. If he decided to dedicate some time to it, I have no doubt he'd been prime for the show. Here's a picture with their trainer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ragnar 2015

Catching up months later is totally fun to do.

The weekend before Halloween was Scott's and my fifth Ragnar. Woo boy, that's a lot of Ragnars!

The majority of our team from the past few years had moved away over the summer, so we were pretty bummed about that. Luckily, the Picketts were still in (and we found out later that Erin was pregnant for the race, little stinker didn't even tell us!), and of course Emma was all in. The happy outcome of sadly missing everyone else was that the Farragut team was in a similar predicament, so we joined forces and I got to run with Lisa again! Extra bonus: Ben got Ragnar as his birthday gift this year! He was a very speedy addition! It was great to have both Emma and Ben running with us.

I've put off blogging about it for so long because I STILL haven't made the highlight video. I let it go too long, and now it's hard to get motivated. I finally decided to go ahead and post some pictures, maybe that will get me going.

Here we go Ragnar!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trick-or-treating 2015

Of course, the kids all want to dress up as something different for trick-or-treating on the 31st.

Emma: Pirate
Ben: Ghostbuster
Josh: Darth Mahl
Lydia: Dobby
Afton: Elsa

As always, the rule is they have to put it together themselves. The only thing I helped with was Josh's face paint. Here they are:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trunk or Treat - 2015 Edition, Avatar: The Last Airbender

Have you ever seen the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender? If you haven't, change your ways right this second. Our kids started watching this series on Netflix several years ago, and after catching a few episodes with them, Scott and I started watching it ourselves after they were all in bed. It's really good, we all love it. It's not on Netflix anymore so we got the whole thing on DVD (it's only three seasons). (If you've only seen the feature film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, forget everything about it and go for the cartoon instead. I'm usually an M. Night fan, but he really botched that one.)

ANYWAY, that's who we decided to dress up as for our family theme trunk or treat costumes this year. We decided sometime in August or September I think, but it was a busy time (as it always is, amirite?). I put off and put off and put off figuring out those costumes. When there was less than a week to go I went though each of our characters and made a detailed list of what I would need to make/buy/find. It was a lot and I wasn't feeling optimistic. It was the Sunday before the trunk or treat Wednesday when I leveled with the kids. I told them I didn't think I'd have time to get our costumes done and we might need to make a last minute change to something more simple. They were understanding, and agreed we could try for Avatar again next year.

But then.

In morning prayers Monday, Afton prayed, "that we would be able to pull off our Avatar costumes."

Well, that'll do it. With new resolve I took my list to Goodwill that day, and I sincerely believe in direct answer to Afton's prayer I found every single obscure thing I needed there.

Tuesday evening Afton prayed over our dinner and added in, "And please bless that we'll be able to pull off really great Avatar costumes." And I was all like, "'Really great'? Simmer down, sister."

Wednesday I spent all day cutting felt, hot gluing things together, referring to pictures online, adding details, and ... I pulled off our Avatar costumes. I don't know if I'd call them really great, but I'm thankful for the example of Afton's faith.



Ty Lee




Sokka was too busy talking to get an individual shot of him. I'm just glad he's willing to dress up every year.