Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Festival at the Monastery

Tim and several of our guy friends chaperoned a youth group retreat this weekend.  I convinced my friend Ashley (whose husband was also a chaperone) to accompany Matthan and me to the fall festival at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.  

Matthan was VERY excited to see his "Ms. Ashley".  The first thing Matthan noticed was a bunch of kiddie pools with rubber duckies in them.  One of those "pick a ducky, get a prize" things.

The boy loves water, so of course he gravitated towards this fountain.  I had to make sure that he didn't fall in while attempting to reach the water.

There were several venders with crafts and handmade items.  Ashley and I share an affinity for used books, and Matthan, well, he just loves books.  While we perused, Matthan promptly found a Matthan-sized book and sat down to "read".

His face made me laugh

The festival included a kids area with face painting, petting zoo, puppet show, etc.  The petting zoo included goats, a llama, a pig, fan-tailed pigeons, an armadillo, and a miniature donkey. 

We've never been this close to an armadillo before

We sat down for the bird show, and two minutes later decided the show was not going to hold our attention, much less Matthan's.  But we turned around, and to Matthan's great excitement, there were HUGE bubbles.  Somebody did a happy dance.

I think he was excited ;)

We grabbed some lunch and plopped down to eat by the "ducky pools".  While we ate, Matthan ran around the pools picking up the ducks and throwing them back in to splash, while occasionally returning for some food.

I had been keeping my eye on Matthan while I ate.  I turned my back for just a minute, and when I turned back around, Matthan had climbed into the ducky pool.  I sprinted across the little lawn to pull my now wet child out of the pool.  

Letting my boy sun dry

I had some spare clothes with us, but I didn't have extra shoes.  I put his socks on the handles of the stroller and his shoes on the top shade of the stroller to dry.  We perused the gift shop and then headed over to the church (see picture at the top of this post).  The church is beautiful.  The inside is white marble (?  I think it's marble) with blue and purple stained glass windows which creates a beautiful "under water" effect.  Matthan was so sweet and quiet while we spent a few peaceful moments in the church.

One hour past nap time

Then we headed down to the lake, at which time I realized that Matthan's shoes were missing.  We had to back track and search our steps before we finally found the shoes scattered along the path we had traveled to the church.  After a quick trip to the lake...because there were geese...taller than Matthan... and they looked hungry... we headed home.  Matthan didn't make it out of the parking lot before his head drooped to sleep.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Special Computer Feature and Tickle Monster (7 Quick Takes)

Happy Friday everyone!!!  It's...

Four blog posts in one week?  You all are getting spoiled.  Don't get use to it because it is feast or famine over here...mostly famine.

If you missed our camping saga, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


The Hubs while making the bed:  "I wish I was two feet tall so that I could flop into a pile of covers."

...five minutes later...

"Why is flopping so satisfying? The age old question..."

Matthan went with me to get the oil in the car changed.  They have a kids play room.  It's approximately an 8x10 foot room painted entirely bright orange and has about five toys that I'm sure someone was going to take to Goodwill.  It gives me a headache.

On the plus side, I now know what it would be like to be trapped in a traffic cone.

I discovered an extra feature on our computer this week, courtesy of Matthan.  The ethernet port doubles as the cheerio port.  Saves snacks for later.

When you have a 2-yr-old

I made it to an Asian food market this week, and I had fun showing Matthan the live fish and lobster tanks as wells as crabs climbing all over each other.  There were so many things that I had never seen or heard of, or knew what to do with.  Matthan was fascinated by a lime.

Sometimes cooking dinner is an adventure.  Sometimes it's a challenge to keep Matthan entertained.  I'm not always thrilled with his choice of entertainment.

Mommy always wins in the end...

Taken down by tickling

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Family Camping ~ Part 3 (phfr)

And we continue with Part 3 of the camping saga, {pretty, happy, funny, real} style.

round button chicken


We could not have asked for better weather this weekend and I just love waterfalls.  So my "pretty" is Part 1 of our Family Camping saga.  Click on the picture to read more about our hike in Part 1.

Click on picture to read Part 1


I would definitely have to say the "real" of the trip was my probably unreasonable high expectations for the trip which were disappointed several times.  I also didn't realize how much work chasing a two-year-old was going to be when our camping trips have usually been relaxing, slower-paced ones; not to mention we were coming off a week of several very late nights, so sleep deprivation probably had something to do with my lack of patience and energy.  So if you want to see cute pictures of animals and read about how much my expectations set me up for disappointment, go read the details of Part 2.  It includes me being able to spit on my neighbor (but didn't) and has been updated with pictures of me learning how to milk a cow.

Click on picture for Part 2

{Happy and Funny}

I have to say that Matthan slept really well in the tent.  He started fussing around 4am because he had kicked his blankets off and it was cold.  He quieted as soon as I covered him up and slept til 7am (not bad).  Our plan was to pack up and go for a quick hike before grabbing lunch on our way home.  This meant that I had to find entertainment for Matthan while Tim packed up all of the gear.  Our camping neighbors were playing in the stream that bordered one side of our site and Matthan wanted to join.

After he walked around for a while with the kids next to us, he went for the (almost) full immersion route...

...I'm pretty sure he spent at least an hour in the water.

"Plunking" rocks

Playing with mud

He needs a haircut 

"wash hands"

We finally pulled him out of the stream, which was timely, because I think that a few more minutes would have turned him into a Matthan popsicle.  I got him all changed and cozy.

Watching the trout and ducks

There was a tiny lake (i.e. glorified large puddle) that was stocked with trout.  Tim said it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.  We just had fun watching the ducks.

There were a couple of waterfalls to hike to and we were told that the coolest one was a five minute walk.  So we started up a path...that quickly turned into an 8inch wide, 55 degree angle, heart attack high intensity cardio workout.  So, you know, five minutes if you're a professional athlete.  So we tossed Matthan into the backpack, not wanting him to fall off of the narrow path, and continued to climb to the waterfall.  The path landed us near the top of the waterfall, and we did not have it in us to climb down to the bottom, because we'd then have to climb back up.  So a quick "that's a neat waterfall...ok, let's go get lunch" and we headed back to the car trying not to fall down the crazy path to our death.  

We stopped in Helen for lunch.

Completely unrelated, but does anyone else find it amusing that the Oktoberfest parade is not in October?  

We were eating lunch when I saw this sign that said "The City of Helen is a Nose Sensitive Area..." and I made the comment that I thought it was funny and that I wasn't sure what to think of a sign like this.  Tim just gave me a funny look. 

Thirty minutes later as we were leaving I snapped a picture to send to my sister, and finally Tim said, "You do know that it says "NOISE sensitive area"."    


I do now.

We stopped at a creamery, that I had heard was good, on the way home, and I felt a little guilty eating ice-cream while Matthan was sleeping in his carseat.  But then he woke up and I gave him the last couple bites.  The smile on his face was priceless... like a kid in a candy shop...or a kid...eating know.

Go visit the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} themed posts.

Bonus Video

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Family Camping ~ Part 2

...If you missed Part 1, go here.

The subtitle of Part 2 is "Great Expectations...severly disappointed".  

After our morning hike and late lunch, we headed to Enota where we would be camping.  According to their website, "Enota is a non-profit conservation facility committed to preserving our beautiful land [...]" that is located in North Georgia near Brasstown Bald.  Along with campsites, they list an organic farm and an animal farm.  

This is where the trip went downhill for me due to my high expectations.  All of the places that we have camped at thus far were a little more "in the woods" with at least a little bit of space between campsites where I couldn't distinguish the lyrics to the music that others were playing.  The introvert in me cringed when I saw the campsites were separated by a log, and that my neighbor was spitting distance from me.  

Except our "neighbor" ended up being in our campsite, as he says he was told to just pick a spot, which happened to be the spot designated to us.  So we made friends with hippie-ish-photography-dad-with-two-little-kids, and set up camp next to them...much to my anxiety of course, because I just knew that someone was going to roll up and tell us that we were in their designated spot and we'd have to move all of our stuff.  They didn't and we didn't.

Commandeering mommy's pillow

While Tim set up camp, I chased Matthan around and tried to keep him from running out in the road that created the back border of our campsite, which of course is what he wanted to do.

After we (and by we, I mean Tim) got home set up for us, we headed to the farm tour for which we were already late.  I have to preface this with, I was REALLY excited about the animal farm and the organic farm.  That was a big part of me wanting to go to this place.  I love animals and as terrible as I am at it, I'm super interested in gardening, specifically organic gardening.

Pic taken by Matthan

So we were late heading out to the tour...and the map they gave us told us one way to the animal farm and the signs on the grounds told us another, so we parked our car and went with the map.  This landed us taking a very unintentional hike on a winding, narrow, hilly path that landed us on the wrong side of the farm gate which meant we had to cross a cold stream to get to where we needed to go.  I was wearing sandals.  And, of course, where we were was a bit farther than a stone's throw from where we parked our car.  We realized, had we gone another 30 feet or so from our car in the direction of the sign, we would have seen the animal farm and saved ourselves the hike.

End of the "trail"

So after going around our elbow to get to our thumb, we came up to a building of some sort, with no signs anywhere to help us figure out if we were in the right place, and we figured we had missed the tour.  I heard voices from a small structure and saw a mom, two kids, and a staff member come out.  Figuring maybe we could catch the tail end of the tour, I waited as they approached, and then after the young man with the staff shirt on barely acknowledged us, I made small talk to figure out, yes, we had missed the tour, but I could follow them to the garden to pick stuff to feed the bunnies.

So the animal farm consisted of a couple pastures and the organic farm turned out to be (in my opinion) a glorified garden with sickly looking plants.  Tim said maybe they were between growing seasons.  I had such high expectations...and I was so disappointed.  

And Mr.-Awkward-Staff-Member-lacking-basic-social-skills-much-less-tour-guide-skills did offer to let us watch him milk a cow.  So I did learn how to milk a cow, and I made nice with the young staff man because he said I got the milking down in one try and it had taken him an hour to learn to do that.  Matthan loved the cow which totally surprised me, and he even tried to milk her. 

Then Andre (Mr. Staff Man) did take us to see the miniature ponies and another cow who was really cute, and did explain that the ducks had afros because it was mating season (see below).  So we got somewhat of a tour after all.  Then I asked about the hay ride and he said he'd be doing it that evening and to look for the truck and trailer with hay.  Which was a good thing, because again, no helpful signs anywhere.  So we killed time by picking swiss chard from the garden and feeding it to the bunnies.

Can you see his little "afro" on the back of his head?

Then the time for the hay ride came and went and a few minutes later we see Andre and another staff member coming to hook up the trailer.  There was no one else around, and I have to admit, that I was wondering if everyone else knew better.  We hopped onto the trailer, which had loose hay strewn about with the only compacted part being round and rolled about to the point which I thought I was going to lose Matthan off of the side, so I finally sat in the loose hay.

Feeding the bunnies

I had kind of thought that the hay ride was going to be tour of the grounds which meant missing the previous farm tour would work out ok, but no, sadly, there was none of this.  Only Andre sitting awkwardly in the back with us.  And then they stopped by the campsites and called out for people to join the hay ride which meant we could have just hung out at our campsite until the hay ride instead of over by the hay trailer, but you know...whatever.  I thought we'd get to see parts of the facility that we hadn't gotten to see, like more gardens or more pastures, but the hay ride was just a ride around the grounds which we had already walked through because it wasn't that big and there wasn't more to see. 

This bunny was about the size of Matthan...only slightly exaggerating

After Tim made dinner (and I kept Matthan out of the road), I read Matthan stories by the light of my headlamp and put him to bed in the tent with no fussing because he was exhausted, and enjoyed some much needed downtime by the fire and drowned my disappointments with some peppermint tea and vented to Tim about my disappointed expectations and how next time (if there is one) I will have low to no expectations and therefore be happy with whatever happens.  Just call me Mrs. Flexible Content and Easy-Going {choke, cough...yeah right}.