Anderson is TWO!

Didn't I just write the One post? Here I am writing Two. What a blessing!

I'm amazed at how much he has changed, grown, learned this year. It is truly astounding to watch God's design for the human body literally take shape. He has gotten so much taller & has become so much more verbal.

Some highlights from the year:

He took swimming lessons this spring & absolutely hated it but thankfully this summer he LOVED swimming in the pool. I give all the credit to the puddle jumper!

We went on a long road trip & saw some new states he hadn't been to yet!

I weaned him this fall which was bittersweet for sure. And NOT easy.

He moved off of the baby hall at the church nursery to the sunday school hall. *tear*

He got some new cousins this year (Noah, Ava Jaymes, and Millie)!

Some of my favorite Anderson words/pharses are:

"Crackees" - crackers
"Oh cold me!" - I'm cold
"Pocko" - cup (sadly, he's learned the word cup now)
"Moush, Noshe, Cheen" - mouth, nose, chin
"Nice" - he says this after he makes a good football throw, after we do "cheers" at the table, pretty much anytime he's pleased with what's just happened. It's hilarious!
"Oh Waining?" - due to the yucky weather lately everytime I open the door he asks if it's raining.
"I dub oo" - just this week he's starting saying I love you! It's been breaking my heart that he wouldn't say it & it's still few & far between but when he does I melt on the inside!

Favorite Colors:

Green {with the exception of pink all colors are "Geen or "Not Geen" but he is quickly improving his color-recognizing skills, many thanks to Play-Doh!}

Favorite Things:

Balls {especially footballs}

His tennis shoes - seriously, he's slept in them. He LOVES them!

Kitty-Kitty - he's so obsessed with the cat. If he knows the cat is inside he'll yell, "Kitty-Kitty! Kitty-Kitty!" Also, I've recently told him, "Don't put money on the cat" {I have no idea why but he loves putting coins all over him}, "You can't sit on the cat", "Be sweet to the cat", "Don't throw the ball at the cat", "No no touch the cat food" {he loves to pick up one tiny piece of cat food & try to feed it to him}. Surprisingly, the cat has become more tolerant of him recently, maybe it's just because he's tired of running so much ;-)

Trains - anytime he sees a train or we talk about a train he says, "All Aboud {no "r" sound}" while he does his arm up & down "Choo-Choo"! It's so adorable!


2 of anything {especially 2 hats}

Mickey Mouse - he LOVES to watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse! "Watch Mickin, Mama!" He knows almost all of the characters: "Geefy" {Goofy}, "Donal" {Donald}, "Meenee", "Mickin" {Mickey}. He dances to the songs & says, "Hotdog!" I love watching him watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

Cheers - this is a fairly new favorite thing & I'm not sure how long it will last but right now he loves to do "cheers" with our cups when we are sitting at the table. I'm not sure where he learned this or if he has just seen us do it with wine glasses before & is just now able to express that he knows what it is but he really loves to do cheers. We eventually have to say, "Ok, no more cheers, it's time to eat."

Praying - this one is the most meaningful & the sweetest. He loves to pray & whenever I say, "Anderson, we need to pray." He immediately runs over, bows his head, closes his eyes & puts his little hands together. Sometimes he evens prays out loud with me & it usually goes something like this, "Nonnie, Poppa, Ganma, Anna, Uncle Aimee. AMEEN!" Also, when he lays down for a nap we pray and when he lays down for bedtime we pray & it's just a very sweet time. We kept him in the church service with us last week & when we would whisper, "It's time to pray" he would bow his head, close his eyes & put his hands together. I could feel his little eyes watch me after a few moments since he wasn't sure if we were still praying & I would show him that we were & he would assume the position again. It was so sweet & I nearly cried. The Lord shows me, through my sweet son, His faithfulness & how little moments of discipline (easy & hard) are fruitful! What a blessing!

Anderson, we couldn't love you more. You bring joy, fun & laughter to our family. Everyday is something new and learning right along with you is the best adventure! I love you, son and I'm grateful for every moment we share with you! 


In All Circumstances

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 
 I Thessalonians 5:18

It's Thanksgiving day. My brother is deployed. My toddler & I have the flu. We're missing out on family traditions and togetherness.


My mother-in-law fell down all 12 of her basement stairs and landed on her concrete floor. She's been in the TBICU at UAB.

BROKENESS...Give Thanks?

Dear family friends lost their only son in a hunting accident.

LOSS...Give Thanks?

A dear friend has a young son not much older than my son. He was just diagnosed with leukemia.

SICKNESS...Give Thanks?

The first time I read The Hiding Place I was about 9 years old. I don't remember everything I thought about the story, I just remember being impacted by it.

A few years ago I bought my own copy and re-read it. I got to the chapter where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, are leading a secret Bible study in their barracks but their barracks become infested with fleas. Corrie is so frustrated and Betsie reminds her what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says. As Betsie is praying, giving thanks to God for the fleas Corrie says, "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea." Betsie replied, " 'Give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn't say, 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."

Come to find out the fleas were Divine Protection. Because the barracks were flea-infested the guards did not want to go in, therefore allowing their Bible study to continue. Corrie writes, "My mind rushed back to our fist hour in this place. I remembered Betsie's bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for."

Am I to give thanks for these things, God?! It's not easy. It doesn't feel right. Words of thanks feel like sand filling my cheeks. It feels like my heart is being ripped out. 

But maybe that's just it. Maybe my heart of stone is being ripped out and a heart of flesh is going in.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:25-26


Ann Voskamp recently tweeted: "We will give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of who He is."

Who is He?
-"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." (Westminster Larger Catechism Q.7)

"...unchangeable in His goodness."
This doesn't feel good. But we don't give thanks because of how we feel...

God is good.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

For the Lord is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:5

Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good , for those who are called according to his purpose."

What is "good"? These things don't feel good.
What is their purpose?
What is my purpose?
-"To glorify God and enjoy him forever." (WLC Q.1)

If these things bring glory to God then dare I classify them as anything less than good?

So, despite how I feel, I give thanks. 
In all circumstances.


Anderson Says

Anderson has started talking a lot over the past month or two. It's lots of fun to hear him say new words on a daily basis and it's way fun when he puts them together in little sentences. 

Of course I find his babblings adorable so I'm basically recording them here for memory's sake.

We have this conversation all day long, every day. Well, Monday-Friday anyway:

Anderson: "DaDas a wuk? Kekes all gone?"

Me: "Yes, DaDa's at work & the cookies are all gone."

Anderson: "Dadas a wuk & kekes all gone."

We have to confirm the cookie part multiple times because as most of you know, he's a cookie monster. For a while the first thing he requested when he woke up in the morning was "kekes", for lunch: "kekes", after nap: "kekes", for dinner: "kekes", after dinner: "kekes" and even one time IN HIS SLEEP! I kid you not.

Now when he wakes up he looks at me & says, "Mama...*followed by a kiss*....Eggs! Pease!" Eggs are a much healthier breakfast option than cookies so 95% of the time we have scrambled eggs for breakfast!

*Edit: I've been writing this post for a while & he does still ask for eggs every morning so Andrew makes them for him but he also enjoys eating my berry oatmeal with me as well. The boy can eat!


The family joke right now is that Anderson is a little french boy. He puts "le" in front of a lot of words.

"OOOOO! Le Papa!"

"Le ball?"

"Le biiiiiiiiite!"

And my favorite :French phrase":

"OOOOOO! Le Punkum!"

It's pretty cute & very funny! I'll have to see if I can get a quick video of him saying his little phrases but in the meantime enjoy his adorable face photographed by the ever sweet & talented Mary Margaret Smith!


Rise & Shine!

Today's post isn't especially exciting but it's something I've been wanting to share! It's a quick, easy & healthy breakfast idea.

It's not super original but it's really been working for us lately & we've been enjoying it.

My cousin, Laura, told me a while ago about how she added flax seed to her girls' smoothies. I had once bought some chia seeds to add to my yogurt but I didn't really care for the texture. I had never heard of flax seed so I looked up the health benefits & was pleasantly surprised! Check out this article for a fun & easy-to-read break down.

I bought some flax seed from our local health food store and ground it up in our awesome Baby Bullet! I just store it in a ceramic container that has a little teaspoon on the side and I try to add it to as many recipes as I can. I add it to pancakes, I added it to homemade chicken noodle soup & I add it to our Berry Oatmeal for breakfast. 

Photo Source
I bought a large container of quick oats & add a teaspoon of flax seed & it literally cooks up in less than 5 minutes! Now, I'm not a big fan of plain oatmeal. At all. But I found this recipe for Berry Sauce. I've been making up some berry sauce and topping our oatmeal with it for a super easy, super fast & very healthy breakfast, that we actually enjoy! The berry sauce recipe makes enough to last for 4-5 days of oatmeal just depending on how liberal you are with it. Trust me, it's tasty.

Now, one of the suggestions for the berry sauce was to add it to yogurt however I do not recommend adding it to plain, greek yogurt. Yuck! Imagine if you added it to sour cream. Would that taste good? Uh, NO!

Also, another helpful hint for you, the first time I made berry sauce I poured it into my beloved Baby Bullet to puree it & it went EVERYWHERE!!! Seriously, it looked like a murder scene in the kitchen with the bright berry sauce splashed everywhere. This last time when I made it I still put it in the BB but I covered the top with a towel & that kept it from going everywhere. The sauce is really thin & there's a tiny hole at the top of the BB {& apparently most blenders} so it easily leaks out. My mom suggested covering the top in saran wrap next time & I am definitely going to try that!

Last week I bought & prepared our first ever pomegranate & it was a HUGE hit with Anderson. So I did add that to our berry sauce as well or you could just top the berry oatmeal with the pomegranate pips to add some texture if you didn't want to include it in the sauce.

So there you have it, Berry Oatmeal. What are some easy & healthy breakfast ideas that your family enjoys?

Breakfast is really a meal I struggle with so I need ideas!


Mixed Marriage

It's true I was raised an Alabama fan. Every Saturday I like to wear one of my many Alabama t-shirts along with my houndstooth earrings. I have other pieces of Tide jewelry and even houndstooth rain boots. I mean, I was born in Tuscaloosa. It's in my blood. No, really, my blood is crimson.

There's even a funny story my parents like to tell about when I was a baby & how my dad taught me to stick my tongue out & spit every time I heard the word "Auburn". I was apparently quite the rule follower and one Iron Bowl Saturday I was playing on the floor with my toys & spitting non-stop. My parents didn't understand why I was continually spitting until it clicked that the TV announcers kept saying "Auburn". They laughed and beamed with pride at their Baby Bama Fan.

Yes, I love The Tide. 

But, my BFF growing up was an Auburn fan. Somehow our friendship lasted. I suppose it should have been a sign. I was learning how to live with and love an Auburn fan on an {almost} daily basis as a child so naturally I married an Auburn fan. To this day I live with and love an Auburn fan on a daily basis. Somehow we make it work.

Iron Bowl 2005 -- College freshman! {Taken with a disposable because there was no such thing as iPhones}
Like all marriages it requires sacrificial love and this weekend I LIVED sacrificial love. For Andrew's birthday I bought him tickets to the Auburn homecoming game. I was so excited. I knew he'd love it & we were planning to make a whole day date out of it. Then he got some weird foot infection, got put in a boot half-way up his leg and a couple of prescriptions. The day date was off. 

I tried to sell the tickets. No luck. Then, I tried to give them away! I couldn't do it. Should've known, can't even give away Auburn tickets ;-) But, at the very last minute, my friend Bekah found someone who took them. 

Well, our wonderful friends, Amy & Austin, offered to take us to the Auburn game this past weekend and offered for us to stay the night with them in their gameday condo. We took them up on it but not without hesitation.

We always have a fun time when we're with Amy & Austin and I knew AW would love to go to the Auburn game but should we spend the night? The game wasn't until 6:30. Did we just want to drive home after the game? Did we want to just take Anderson with us? We had never left him over night before. 

I even texted Amy to ask if she would mind if we brought Little Man. Of course she was very gracious & said they would love it. But, we decided to leave him with his Nonnie & Papa for the 24 hours & see if we could handle it.

I laid Anderson down for his afternoon nap on Saturday & then AW & I headed down to The Plains. I was a little nervous in the car wondering if we should have just brought him but I knew he was in great hands and he would have lots of fun especially since Uncle Stephen was home for the weekend.

We arrived in Auburn, got settled in & headed out to walk around campus. It was so much fun! We ran into some friends, took some pictures around campus and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading into the stadium.

While I think orange is a hideous color and paired with blue isn't exactly flattering I was enjoying the company. It was fun just being with AW without taking turns chasing The Toddler and it was great to talk & catch up with The Dodsons.

We saw Spirit, the eagle, fly into the stadium and that was pretty awesome. The band played, the crowd cheered and the players took the field. The Tigers scored almost immediately and it was all down hill for their opponent after that.

While the game wasn't terribly exciting, the atmosphere was fun! We had great seats and half-time was very entertaining. The band performed and then they had 1,100 {1,100!} cheerleaders from different schools take the field & do a routine. You've never seen so much sparkle & pom-pom in one place!

We all shared a nice warm funnel cake while bundled up under our blankets & coats and cheered on The Tigers. {No, I didn't say any Auburn "phrases" but I did want them to win.}

After the 3rd quarter we headed out. We went back to the condo, thawed out & then headed to get Starbucks & food to-go. We.Are.WILD!

We got back in around 10:30, stayed up for about another hour snuggling in the LoveSac & chatting. Yes, a LoveSac. It's pretty much my favorite piece of furniture. It's a giant bean bag {without the beans} that has a little foot prop & neck pillow. It is so comfortable and SO BIG! 

We went to bed at 11:30 and I could barely hold my eyes open. I was hopeful this might be the best night's sleep I've had in over 2 years! I couldn't wait! But really, it wasn't any better than when we're at home. I missed my morning Toddler snuggles & kisses and couldn't wait to get back. I know, I know, we were only gone 24 hours but y'all, he's SO CUTE!

Ok, funny story about his outfit. My friend, Lyndsey, worked at Kid's Market this season. Since she got to shop early I asked her if she wouldn't mind looking for a couple of toys & a Christmas outfit for Anderson. She called me while she was shopping & said she found a cute little Christmas outfit for a good price. The other side was reversible & it was orange with a little football on it, did I want it? I said sure, it's only $9.

Later that evening she called me & said, "You're not going to believe what I did. I got home & was looking at that outfit & saw there was a name monogrammed under the football. When I turned it to that side the name is 'Anders'! So, it's close but who names their kid 'Anders'?!" 

I was cracking up! "I'll just have the 'o' & 'n' added to it & it'll be great," I said. Well, when I was looking at it I realized I would have to rip the seam, have it monogrammed & then re-stitch it. For a $9 outfit? Yeah, I totally just put him in it & let him wear it around the house.

Anyway, we had a fun night away with our friends, we survived a night away from The Toddler & our mixed marriage is also surviving, nay thriving. Roll Tide to that, y'all!


What's The Secret?

Remember this summer when I thought it would be great fun to pick blueberries and to make applesauce from scratch?

Well, apparently I forgot about that because I decided last week that it would be a great idea to make applesauce again. It being fall and all, you know. I did remember it being difficult to peel the apples but, "the apples were so tiny. I'm sure that's why it was so difficult," I reasoned.

Well, my peeled off fingernails object.

While I had high hopes of going to a semi-local apple orchard this fall when I emailed the owner asking if toddler's would enjoy it I got a strange reply back of, "...wait til next year. But come take pictures. Make memories."


I ultimately decided to wait until next year to pick apples & take pictures & make memories. Instead on my weekly shopping trip to Publix I picked up an extra bag of apples. Red ones. Shiny ones. BIG ones. All the better for peeling.

So, I began to peel. Hmmm, it wasn't quite so easy.

"Oops, there went a fingernail."

"Ouch, my hands are cramping up."

"Oh, well, at least I haven't dropped any apples in the trash this time..."

*anger & curses* "Totally just dropped an apple in the trash! I'm going in for it. Oh wait, two egg shells in there, it's a goner."

"Ok, I'll peel just 2 more apples."

Next apple, dropped in the trash.


I took my bowl of not-dropped-in-the-trash peeled apples, looked at the bits of peel scattered all over the floor & trashcan and shook my head. I checked the clock. 40 minutes. It took me 40 minutes to peel 7 apples.


I decided quick, short strokes with the peeler worked best for the apples but my goodness! No wonder cavemen & women ate "Paleo". It's not because they were health-conscious, it's because WHO HAS TIME TO PEEL APPLES??? Much less chop them, season them & cook them only to come out with 2 small jars of apple sauce!

I've decided the peeler is one of the worst kitchen utensils. It makes you think you can do things that you can't. Or maybe I just need a new vegetable peeler. Either way, do you peel fruits & vegetables often? Does it cause you bodily & mental harm? If not, WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?

Doesn't it just look menacing?


Homemade Chest Rub

With this beautiful fall weather comes lots of time outdoors!

Football games,

His first cowbell experience: LOUD!

Outside play,

Trips to the pumpkin patch, fall festivals & more! But also with the cooler weather comes sickness. Sinus issues, allergies, colds and flu. To combat these issues I made my own chest rub & it was so easy that I thought I would share!

My friends & I have been ordering all sorts of glass containers from this awesome website. The prices are excellent! Plus we all order together & split the shipping costs. I can't recommend it enough!

So one of our orders came this week & I've been pumped to make all sorts of cleaners and potions ;-)

Since Anderson has had the sniffles for weeks now due to seasonal allergies I knew I wanted to make a chest rub.

It was super-duper easy & you can definitely do this one too!


Glass container with lid
Coconut oil
10-15 drops R.C. essential oil
5-10 drops Peppermint essential oil
5-10 drops Lemon essential oil
3-5 drops Eucalyptus Blue essential oil


Warm coconut oil so that it liquifies (coconut oil has a super-low melting point so this is pretty easy. I just heated some water on the stove & stuck the glass jar that my oil is in in the pot & it melted pretty quickly)

Once it's liquid pour it into your small glass container

Let it cool for about 10 minutes (remember, it has a low melting point so it won't solidify right away)

Now add your essential oils! Stir it a bit & wait for it to solidify or stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Rub on chest!

I told you, EASY! Also, you could add extra lavender (R.C. has lavender in it) to help with sleeping. You can tweak this, add to & take away to work with whatever supplies you have on hand or whichever oils you prefer! 

Another "potion" I mixed up was an "Everything Skin Salve". Seriously, you can use this for diaper rash, facial blemishes, dry skin, ANYTHING! I've been rubbing it on just because I love the scent!


Glass container with lid
Coconut oil
10-15 drops Lavender essential oil
8-10 drops Frankincense essential oil


Melt coconut oil
Pour melted oil into container
Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes
Add essential oils, give a quick stir
Wait for it to solidify

Frankincense is one of my all-time favorite oils to smell plus it's WONDERFUL for SO many different things. Also, the wise men brought it to Jesus so it must be pretty special ;-)


Gluten-Free For Fall

Andrew & I have decided to go "gluten-free for fall". Actually, just for October but I like alliteration.

Between digestive issues & chronic migraines we figured going g-free might help. Also, we've done it before & it really wasn't all that hard plus one month isn't a lifetime commitment. If we decide it helps it will make an easier transition to already have one month under our belts. 

What we need to know is: 

What are some surprising items that contain gluten that we may not be aware of? {I know some ice creams contain wheat.}

What are some easy grab-n-go snack options? {We've gone gluten-free for 2 weeks before & snacks is where we really struggled.}

How do you eat out? Is it mostly salad options? Are there any restaurants that have g-free menus? {I know Taziki's does!}

Any encouragement or general tips you may have for us? Want to join in on the gluten-free fun? 

Follow along on my pinterest board!


Cooking School: A Toddler's Tale

Anderson & I love going to the library. There are so many wonderful books for me to comb through and he enjoys the ipads, puppets & puzzles. We went on Sunday afternoon but this time Andrew went with us! It was great because he and Anderman played together while I literally sat on the floor for an hour going through books.

I discovered some new, fun authors one of whom is Anne Rockwell. I had never heard of her but maybe you have. She's been around for a while & has written so many books!

We borrowed Apples and Pumpkins in honor of the first day of fall & Pots and Pans.

We have both enjoyed them so much that I've added them to Anderson's Amazon Wish List so that I can remember them when I'm purchasing his Christmas & birthday gifts this year. Our library has several of Rockwell's books and I can't wait to borrow more!

This morning we read a whole stack of different books, including Rockwell's and then we went to the kitchen, which I think is Anderson's favorite room. He can usually see the cats through the window, it's the "food room" and we just naturally spend a lot of time in there. He has another book that talks about the different rooms in a house & the kitchen is always his favorite one to look at.

Rockwell's Pots and Pans is a simple but beautiful picture book. It has short sentences and goes through the different items found in a kitchen. Items like a rolling pin, measuring spoons and even a wok! 

I pulled out as many of the items mentioned that we have {we don't have a butter warmer or a wok!} & let him see them & pointed to them as I re-read him the book. 

It was fun to watch him make the connections & say "Oooh!" over & over again. His favorite items were the wire whisk & the rolling pin. He took a turn "mixing" with the wire whisk in each of the different pots.

This was such an easy activity to do and my favorite part is that it is centered around a book. This makes me so excited to start Before Five in a Row with him before too long! 

Another fun activity to do would be to lay out all of the items & ask him  to show me "the wire whisk" while I point to it in the book! We might just do that when he wakes up from nap!

What are some of your favorite book-centered activities to do with pre-schoolers?


Wild Van Vacay

This summer was everything I hoped it would be!

With Anderson being old enough to play independently I was really looking forward to all of the outdoor activities he would enjoy. We won a 3-month membership to the YMCA at the beginning of June & it was wonderful!

We kicked off the summer with a family wedding! Congrats, Harkins'!

We did a lot of swimming!

We also went to the zoo alot!

We played with friends...

Met a new friend, Henry!

Went to our first Barons' game at their beautiful new park!
Played outside A LOT!
Plus we went blueberry picking, gave Anderman his 1st haircut, went to Florence and went to the lake! And to finish off the summer we went on a road trip!

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Andrew, Anderson & I went to Chattanooga.

We stayed in a great camping cabin complete with a fridge, our own very clean & updated bathroom, wifi & cable TV. Yeah, we were roughing it. But it was wonderful because we had a grill and cooked out for lunch & dinner & Anderson could be outside as much as he wanted!


Also, we had stunning views of the mountains all around us! If you look at the top of the mountain you can see Covenant College!

 We actually visited Covenant that Sunday afternoon and while I did not enjoy the seemingly-treacherous drive up the mountain, I did enjoy all of the beautiful views and the beautiful campus!

That night we had dinner at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. If you ever get the opportunity to go, don't. It was over priced and really sub-par food. Just go & walk around the gardens and see the big train. Even though we did not enjoy the food we did enjoy the sights.

Monday morning we went to the Tennessee Aquarium! I was most excited about this part of our Chattanooga trip! It was awesome! It was amazing to see all of those animals but I must say Anderson didn't love it like I thought he would. It is dark inside and all of the displays are really large & I think he felt a little overwhelmed at times. We put him in the Ergo & he enjoyed it much more than when he was in the stroller.

Here are just a very few of the animal pictures I took (you're welcome for not showing you all of them!):

That evening we went to Coolidge Park which is a really great park. It reminded me of Railroad Park here in Birmingham. It was on the river and had beautiful views, was very clean plus it had a carousel and a splash pad {which Anderson enjoyed watching others splash in more than actually splashing himself}.

Tuesday we went to Rock City and major shout-out to the Ergo because this little adventure wouldn't have been possible without it. Rock City is absolutely not stroller-friendly but we didn't expect it to be. After all it's called ROCK City.

The last time I remember being there was in the 5th grade & while it does have some beautiful views for the most part I was underwhelmed but we had fun nonetheless.

Except for in the Fairytale Caverns. That part was just freaky. If you've never been it's an underground area where they have scenes from a lot of different fairytales set up and the little gnomes are all painted with this neon/glow-in-the-dark paint and this totally creepy music is playing. I ended up running out because I couldn't stand one more second in there although it looks very inviting at the beginning {which makes the whole experience even creepier}...

We had packed a picnic lunch but AW got a migraine so we just headed back for the cabin. I took Anderson to the Creative Discovery Museum that afternoon and it was really neat! They had so much fun, hands-on things for kids to do!

My favorite part was The Little Yellow House! It was absolutely adorable!

Anderson's favorite parts were the train table & the percussion room!

The staff is wonderful; so friendly & eager to play with the children!
Thankfully Andrew was feeling better when we returned and we went back to Coolidge Park that evening!

Wednesday morning we left Chattanooga bright & early and headed for our lunch destination in Asheville, North Carolina! The drive through the Pisgah National Forest was gorgeous!

 I found a groupon for a local pizza place, Eddie Spaghetti, and it was really great! We parked in downtown Asheville & walked around for a bit and saw some fun, little shops and even made a stop at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where I enjoyed a yummy chocolate mousse!

After a couple of hours we got back in the Wild Van and headed for Raleigh! At some point Anderson protested being in the car one second longer so we pulled over to a rest stop where some girl was strumming a guitar and holding a cardboard sign asking for a ride. We were at the rest stop for about 45 minutes & she actually ended up getting a ride. It was all very strange but the toddler was happy and really that's what was most important.

We loaded back up and finished the drive to Raleigh where we stayed for the night. The next day we took our time getting ready since we were exhausted from all of the driving the day before. We enjoyed the hotel breakfast, watched lots of Disney Jr. & then headed out to see what Raleigh had to offer.

We visited the North Carolina Museum of Art & it was awesome! They have some truly amazing pieces of art & if you ever get the chance to go you absolutely MUST!

We then headed off to have lunch before getting back in the Wild Van for a few more hours to reach our final destination: Kill Devil Hills, NC!

I was so pumped about arriving in KDH because we were getting to see my brother, David, who we had not seen since Christmas!!! We arrived at the bright pink house & we were all 3 excited to be free from the Wild Van but mostly excited to see David!

My parents arrived later that night and David's girlfriend, Aimee arrived the next night. We all enjoyed a few days of togetherness and the beach! Also, it was Anderson's first beach experience and he absolutely HATED the sand. It stressed him out to have even the tiniest bit on his hands or feet so he hung out on Towel Island while we were beaching it up.

He did enjoy watching Andrew fly the kite...

And even wanted to get in on the action as long as he didn't have to stand in the sand...

He also really loved being pulled in the wagon! I'm pretty sure he thought he was King of The Beach while we pulled him along & he waved to all of his spectators...

And he definitely enjoyed hanging in the wagon under the big umbrella playing Peek-A-Boo Fridge on my phone...

He did warm up the last day & enjoyed when we went in the water & held him while the waves splashed our legs but he was most content when we were at the pool!

All in all it was a wonderful vacation. We enjoyed all of the sites, family time & we were very happy to be home after our time away! It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful summer!