Wednesday, November 16

home sweet home in f l o r i d a!!

We're here!!
Ben & I began our road trip home to my parents house from Knoxville yesterday afternoon and finally made it to Orlando just shy of midnight. Once you've moved away from home, "coming home" is always soo soo wonderfully sweet! We will spend Thanksgiving here, plus 11 other days here! Vacation hasn't sounded this sweet in a while. 

Tuesday, November 8

ohhhhhh, happy day.

happy birthday to you. 
happy birthday to you.
happy birthday DEAR HOT HUSBAND. 
happy birthday to you. 

this post is for my man. today he is a big boy at the full age of t w e n t y - f o u r.  ahh! (i got him by a little over two months!) we're spending his birthday in seattle, which is appropriate since the next several of his birthdays will most likely be spent here. 

in celebration of the birthday boy, here are some fun photos! enjoy!

..he's irresistible! 

Sunday, November 6

seattle's sunshine

We are visiting Seattle for a couple weeks so Ben can get some work/training done for his new job and so we can look for housing. So often we're told that Seattle (well, the whole state of Washington) is, "So horrible during the winter because it rains every single day", but we have yet to witness that. I'm sure it will come, though! At least, some rain!
I didn't bring my camera cord so I can't yet upload photos from this trip but here are some from our September trip out here, to the beautiful state of Washington! 
Mt Rainer from our plane window
the farmers market

street performers

the original Starbucks at Pikes Place

my hot man whale watching in Puget Sound

Seattle Aquarium 

more street performers

Alaskan cruise ship docked at Puget Sound (taken from our hotel balcony)

sweet abygail taylor 

Snoqualmie Falls

me with all our luggage!

The Space Needle
the famous Duck Tours
The Public Market (scene from the movie Sleepless in Seattle)
fresh seafood @ the market

a crazy (chewed) bubble gum wall

Puget Sound

Boeing Flight Museum 
giant sunflowers in a courtyard 
ducks hanging out at the winery 
 Chateau Ste Michele winery

Tuesday, November 1

camping @the creeper!

I successfully survived my very first camping experience, and I really enjoyed it, too! Our Virginia Creeper family weekend was a total blast. The scenery was gorgeous & the leaves were incredibly bright & vibrant.  It was the perfect introduction to fall!
We arrived to the campground on Friday evening. We got our tent set up, our air mattress blown up, and our things unpacked & organized just before night fell. Then, we all enjoyed mom's scrumptious chili, along with stories & s'mores around the campfire. The kids- David, Nicole & Sam, all joined us just in time for grub! The evening was chilly and windy- the temperature was in the high 30s-low 40s. It was a great evening, filled with lots of laughter & (attempts of) scary story telling! I managed to sleep pretty well that evening, besides waking up around 3a.m. with a full bladder and extreme chills. But, after repositioning/covering myself and convincing myself that I could wait till morning to use the restroom, i nuzzled up to Ben and dozed off.
Saturday morning came. As I awoke, I was quickly reminded that I still had to use the restroom... I gathered my toiletries and walked briskly off to the restrooms/showers. The showers were very warm, which was a wonderful surprise, however they were also very full of spiders -daddy longlegs spiders! (I HATE SPIDERS!) So, needless to say, that shower wasn't exactly relaxing, and it probably won the record of the fastest shower I have ever taken. I arrived back to our campsite to the inviting & alluring scent of freshly brewed coffee, cooked sausage and bacon, scrambled eggs, and biscuits and gravy. Breakfast was delicious around the fire with all the family. Soon after breakfast was over, we all packed up, loaded the cars with bikes, and set out for our 17 mile bicycle ride through The Virginia Creeper trails. What a fun experience!!
The trails were crazy crowded, probably because of the beautiful fall weather. But the ride was incredible & the views were breathtaking. We stopped about halfway at a little ice cream & snack shop on the trail to catch our breath and carb-up on some yummy snacks. We had three babies on the bike trip & they all did awesome! Next year we all hope to ride the entire (34 miles) trail.
We spent one more night camping, and for me it was the better night. Ben & I somehow managed to snag an electric blanket from mom & dad's camper, so this night our tent was super cozy & warm!

Here's some favorite snapshots from the trip! 
just arriving & unpacking 

setting the tent up
our first camping trip together!

ready to roll! 

sweet libby with her uncle ben

leaving for the bike ride

the gorgeous fall leaves!

just hanging out 

sweet little annebell 
our littlest camper!

our tent (left) david & sam's tent (right)

The Virginia Creeper