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Chattanooga: Day Two

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Last Sunday was a day we have been waiting and dreaming for for quite a while. Our trip to the Tennessee Valley Railroad to take a ride on Thomas. It was the "Day Out with Thomas" event where Thomas travels around the country. We knew our Thomas loving little boy would have a blast.

We were up early because we had tickets for the first ride of the day. Which on a Sunday was at 10:00 am. Looking back this was the best possible decision for a number of reasons. First it was much cooler in the morning and by the time we were leaving after lunch it was getting really hot. Second it was much less crowded earlier in the day. And third we had more time to take pictures in front of Thomas before our ride because he was sitting there waiting for us instead of being out on the tracks.

So photos with Thomas were the first order of business when we arrived about 45 minutes before our scheduled ride. Then we meandered around a little bit and Perry enjoyed the super awesome bubble machine that was pumping out bubbles by the thousands. Bubbles are such a life saver when it comes to entertaining toddlers.

Before we knew it it was time to board one of Thomas' coaches for our 30 minute ride to no where. We were in car 4. I tried to do all kinds of googling ahead of time about which car is best to book and I never really found any good advice. And the reason being it really makes no difference. They are all the same. The tickets are all general admission within your car. We were pretty far back in line to get on but had no trouble getting seats together. P actually had two seats to crawl around on. 

The ride was simple and fun. Everyone yelled "all aboard" and the conductor came around and punched your tickets. Perry had fun looking out the window and naming the things we passed...road, tree, house, pond.

After the ride we went to go try to meet Sir Topham Hatt but his line had just been cut off for the hour so we went and grabbed a bite to eat at the concession stand. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is huge and has a whole indoor concession area and seating. 

Then Andrew went to go stand in the Sir Topham Hatt line while P and I did a little more walking around. Perry got his first tattoo. A temporary one of course. He had lots of trains to choose from for his tattoo and he picked Salty. He was so proud of his Salty on his hand the rest of the day and was then very confused as to where it went after his bath later that night.  He kept saying "where did Salty go?"

Let's get real. Sir Topham Hatt in person is pretty scary looking, large and emotionless. Perry loved the idea of meeting him but when it actually came time to run up and meet him he froze right in his tracks. In my arms he was ok getting within two feet of the guy. It was still very cool though. How many kids can say they have met the controller of the Sodor railways himself.

Before we headed out Perry got some lessons in mini golf, because you just can't go to a railroad without playing golf. And we checked out the gift shop and Perry brought home Henry for his train table collection, the only one of the main Thomas engines we were missing.

We headed out early afternoon right as things were getting really hot and really crowded. And made the 1.5 hour trek back home. Perry was one happy kid and loved our train weekend adventure (note his Salty hand tattoo). Mom and Dad might have enjoyed it a little bit too.

Chattanooga: Day One

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
This weekend we went on a little family adventure to Chattanooga. The impetus for the trip was to go to the Day Out With Thomas at the Tennessee Valley Railroad on Sunday morning. We decided to to up on Saturday and spend the night at the Choo Choo Hotel to make a whole fun train themed weekend.

Perry woke up Saturday morning not feeling great so we just hung around the hotel once we made it to Chattanooga. Thankfully there were trains to look at and play on right outside our hotel room door. Oh and not to mention our hotel room was a vintage train car itself. So fun.

We did venture out two blocks for dinner at Urban Stack, a local trendy burger joint. It was yummy and it was a perfect night for sitting outside on the patio. Perry was already feeling better by this point and happily ate and played and was back to acting like his goofy self. Case end point.

We got back to the room early and called it a night because we had big plans for day two in Chattanooga.

Random phone pictures

Monday, April 27, 2015
Periodically it is good to go back and look at all the pictures on your phone that you took but didn't really fit with any particular event and have gotten neglected from the blog. Poor pictures would never see the light of day except for a "random picture" post where they feel right at home.

Last week we enrolled the 200th family into our developmental delay genome sequencing protocol. And as promised when we hit 200, I brought in cake...well cupcakes...for the clinic staff. Crazy to think we have seen 200 families. That is a lot of people and a lot of blood draws. Half way there. There is still plenty of work to be done.

Perry and I had a mother-son mall date one night and P tried on cowboy hats. Was sure to send a picture to his daddy at work so he could be so proud. lol.

In this warm weather bathtime is a nightly ritual. P loves it though. We take the opportunity to keep working on our letters and numbers.

This kid. How did he get so big. Put him in a polo and club shorts and he suddenly looks like such a big kid. He smiles and laughs so much. Love him so. 

One day this last week I met up with the boys after work in Big Spring Park for a little walk and then dinner downtown at Sam and Gregs. I love when Perry sees me after work and comes running down the street to greet me with a smile and a hug. Sweetest kid ever.

Pre-School Cheesing, volume 1

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Last Monday I was dropping P off at school like normal and when I got him out of the car he said he wanted to "say cheese." Well this momma never turns down a kid who wants his picture made so we stopped outside of preschool for a photo. But first he needed his sunglasses. Never mind it was grey and rainy outside. It was 75 and sunny in his mind. Not a bad place for a Monday morning.

Then on Tuesday dropping him off he asked to say cheese again. Thus has begun a little tradition of getting a picture outside of preschool in the mornings when mommy drops him off. Score one for mommy. We will see how long he will let me keep this up. But it is a fun way to capture his cute outfits that he will soon outgrow. I am sure the day is soon approaching that he will neither let me dress him or let me take constant pictures. But until then...say cheese!

Ready, Set, Rover

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Last weekend was the annual NASA Lunar Rover Challenge (previously known as the Great Moonbuggy Race). I have so many great memories of volunteering at the races growing up and it's been fun sharing it with Perry the last three years.

P and I had a super early morning on Saturday. Out of the house at 5:45 am early. P was such a trooper and made no complaints about the early wake up. We worked obstacle 8 all morning along with a couple other people. They had the obstacle well staffed because it was a new obstacle this year that required significant maintenance. It was sand and had to be put back together each time a rover raced by.

Perry had the perfect outfit for the day (a hand me down from cousin Ben). I made him repeat "no mud" after me a few times to convince him to stay out of the dirt and his white shirt clean. Which he did for the most part. Pretty sure we all left with a good layer of martian moon dust all over us though.

Obstacle 8 was in a great area of the course where you could see several other obstacles and there was lots of space next to it for us to sit and watch and let kids run around. We found some friends that had come to watch the action too. Jay and his team at work had actually built the obstacle so he came to watch rovers go through it and help keep it in tip top shape.

Perry loved helping shovel the sand. It was like a giant sandbox.

I am also very happy to report that I did not forget to take or apply sunscreen and we avoided a repeat of the great sun incident of moonbuggy races 2013. It was a successful and fun morning all the way around. Perry was so good and didn't complain or misbehave one bit. We were both ready for a good nap come 2 pm though for sure. And a bath.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The rest of last weekend

Friday, April 17, 2015
It has taken all week to blog about last weekend. But that is just the way it goes. Helps that there really has not been all that much interesting going on this week for blog material anyway. Other than hosting 125 biology teachers for a two day training session at work that is. Speaking of work, we had a party last Friday to celebrate the millionth download of our iCell app. It has been so neat to watch this app change and develop over the years and watch it gain traction in recognition. To celebrate we had cake. Lots of cake. With an iPad and 3D cell on top because that is how we party.

Friday night was spent at the ball park watching Ben play coach pitch. He did great fielding balls in the outfield and even got to play catcher some. P napped until like 6:30 so we grabbed some CFA take out to eat in the stands. P loved watching the boys "hit the balls" and playing in the stands himself with Kate, Matt and Emily. We taught him to yell "Go Ben!"

Sunday I went down to Birmingham for my sweet friend Meredith's baby shower. She is expecting a little girl in just a little over a month. We are so excited for her and Elliott and can't wait to watch them start the adventure of parenthood. It was so nice to see Mere and catch up with several other DG sisters. 

Other perk of a Birmingham trip is a little bit of shopping at the Summit thrown in before driving home. Got to make the trip worth it right? JK are worth the trip all on your own.

Little boy and his bowtie

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Saturday was the BFF's birthday. Adrienne asked if we would join her and Chad for dinner and dessert to celebrate. We said of course but that P would have to come with us. Good think they are pretty smitten with him and were more than happy to have a two year old tag along for the party.

I figured if P was going to be at a fancy adult dinner he ought to dress the part. So baby bowtie it was. He looked so cute and dapper in his tiny vineyard vines neckwear. And he loved it and kept it on all night with no complaint. He was mostly a perfect gentleman the whole night. Maybe that bowtie has special powers because the last resort of watching TV on the iPhone was barely needed.

We started out with dinner at PF Chang's. It was a prom night in Huntsville so there were lots of teenagers all over Bridgestreet in pretty dresses and suits. It made for stellar people watching.

P with the birthday girl

Check out those group selfie skills!

After dinner we walked down to the Melting Pot for dessert fondue. We got two kinds of chocolate between all of us and shared. Well except Chad who was being good and had a salad...which meant more chocolate for the rest of us. Perry was happy to take one for the team and eat his share.

Love these people

It is safe to say that Perry was full of chocolate and wired by the end of the night. It was bedtime but we let him burn off a little energy running (literally running) around Bridgestreet for a while. It was such a fun night of celebration and lots of laughing with sweet friends. Happy Birthday Adrienne! We love you!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Manners for the win

Friday, April 10, 2015
Some days you wake up feeling like you can take on the world and it is going to be a great day. And then you realize your day didn't get the memo it was supposed to be great. Yesterday was one of those days. Thursday started out awesome. P and I got out of the house on time; maybe even a smidgen early. I drop him off at preschool and he happily trots into class, but not before smiling happily for a picture in his "the best" crewcuts graphic tee. He took Mickey to school because well you just pick your battles with a two year old.

I head to Starbucks on my way to clinic and they give me a free "kindness" granola bar along with my iced latte.  Little did I know I would desperately need that later on. I remember thinking to myself this is going to be a great day.

The next 8 hours were a blur. I was in clinic and things were just extra busy and complicated. We were running behind schedule all day long and besides quick bites of the previously mentioned granola bar I didn't eat anything until we wrapped up with patients at 4:30. Then when I go to pick up Perry at preschool he took one look at me and started crying and not wanting to leave. That just warms a momma's heart right up. lol. I am choosing to just be thankful that he loves playing at school. But he was in a terrible mood. I had already decided we would go to Sam and Greg's for dinner and gelato since the weather was beautiful and we had no evening plans. But he cried and whined all the way there and the whole dinner experience was not looking good.

But then it turns out that there was a group of several families getting together to eat outside at Sam and Gregs too, with lots of little boys, and they had ingeniously brought sidewalk chalk for the kids to play with. Perry was invited to play with them and he had a blast running around and and drawing with chalk. That cheered him right up. I tried to get bites of food in him in between the playing and I enjoyed a little time to sit and decompress from work. Once P had enough drive by bites of pizza and chicken and fries it was time for gelato, or ice cream as he calls it.

He said he wanted the "white" ice cream so classic vanilla it was. And I thought good call...that will wash out well. Because lets face it there is no way that isn't going to be messy.

The evening ended with a walk down the square back to the car. While we were walking P looked up at me and said all on his own:

"Thank you mommy for the ice cream."

And my heart melted and the stress of a hard day kind of fell away. You are very welcome P. You can brighten any day with your fun loving spirit and those manners. Thank you for using your manners and giving us a sweet moment to end the day on.

He Is Risen: Easter 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015
Easter Sunday looked a little different from most years because Andrew had to work. We were able to go to church together as a family though first. I was up super early to go to work hospitality for the 8:00 service.  Got to see this precious friend and her smiling face bright and early at the early service.

Church was packed and there were lots of logistical considerations of handling the huge number of people attending Rivertree on Easter. So a good problem to have. Even the 8:00 service which is usually pretty quiet was nearly full. The streamed the service both in the normal overflow room and in the Treehouse next door. We went over to the Treehouse for worship and listen to Ross on the big screen.

When I left home in the morning no one else at my house was dressed for the day so we had to get our family Easter picture at church before Andrew headed off to work. Perry was squirrelly and just wanted to run around in the grass, so this is as good as it got.

After church me and P picked up take out from Nothing but Noodles and took it over to eat Easter lunch with Grandma. We ate and and had a great time playing in the house and in the yard for a long time. Literally until P was so tired he could hardly walk straight.

We came home and both took a good Sunday afternoon nap. It was a beautiful and fun Easter Sunday celebrating our risen Savior.

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