Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Break Part 2

If you missed Part 1 you can go read it here.  Otherwise let's get on with what else we did on our Tennessee adventure.

The kids really wanted to visit Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg.   If you haven't been there I would highly recommend it.  I would also highly recommend you print or find coupons before you go.  This is NOT a cheap place to visit.  But it is really neat!  They have a glass tunnel that you walk through (or ride the moving sidewalk) and at times its hard to see the glass and it looks like the sharks are just swimming overhead.  VERY cool!!

Mr. D also got to hold a horseshoe crab.  He was very excited to see it up close and personal.  I touched it and the other 2 didn't want anything to do with it.  It was a very odd creature. But kind of neat at the same time. 

This picture and the next one sum up how Miss V felt about the aquarium.  Like I said in the previous blog she wasn't feeling well the whole trip and I have a feeling at this point her fever was coming back and she was pretty much over the crowd of people and being there.  So these are how she felt! 

"I'm going to stand there but I'm NOT happy about it!" - from the mind of Miss V.

We got to see so many cool sea creatures here but one of my favorites was this sea turtle.  I don't think this picture does him justice of how big he is! He was huge and so majestic!  He just glides through the water. Mr. J and I had the pleasure of snorkeling with one in Mexico on our honeymoon so it was neat to see one again in person. 

The next day we decided the weather was going to be perfect for hiking. Before we left home I had looked up a few different hikes and talked to a few different people and the hike to Laurel Falls seemed to be the perfect beginners trail for the kids.  Although this hike was 1.25 miles to the falls and obviously 1.25 miles back out it was paved and fairly flat the whole way up.  This was a great easy trail.  Lots of places to stop and look over the edge.  The signs that say "Caution people have died here" didn't put Mr. J at ease or the sheer drop off on the side but I wasn't too worried.  We warned the kids about getting close to the edge and asked them to stay on the inside.  We did see people with strollers going up this trail.  I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone! Here is a GREAT website for hiking in the smokeys and about the falls.

The falls! It was even more beautiful in person!

My girly and I at the falls! Even though she didn't feel great she was a trooper and hiked all the way up!! 

You crossed this bridge to see the falls.  But this little pool also had a waterfall coming off of it! So beautiful!

This pictures makes me happy in a way I can't explain. When Mr. J & I met I was the ultimate girly girl.  The thought of hiking or not wearing makeup and heels was just outrageous. And now (almost) 12 years later? I run long distance for fun! In these pictures I hadn't done my hair and have my absolute bare minimum make up on (mascara only). I was EXCITED to hike and I wanted to do more! I looked at some trails that were labeled "Technical" and I wanted to do them! I'm so thankful that Mr. J has loved me through the process of becoming the person that I am.  And maybe pushing & challenging me a little along the way. I still absolutely LOVE heels and make up and dressing up.  But there is a completely different love and feeling of freedom for things like this. I can't wait to hike again! 

Thank you to the lady that took this picture for us!  Come to find out she was from our hometown! It is a very small world!  Travel 9 hours from home to find someone doing the same!

After our hike to the falls it was lunch time.  We stopped at the local rangers station (which I would HIGHLY recommend!)  to ask where a great spot to eat was and he pointed us in the direction of Chimney picnic area. The actual picnic area itself was nothing too special.  Nice picnic tables and places to park but what made this THE place to stop was the river that ran beside it.  It was beautiful but what was even better was that you could jump around and play on the giant rocks! The rocks were big enough and close enough together that even the kids could get out there with us and explore!

The loves of my life!

We are on a rock nearly in the middle of the river with a waterfall behind us!  How's THAT for romance?

As you can imagine we took a TON of pictures.  But this one is one of my favorites.  It shows me just how far I have come. I only got nervous and anxious one time when Mr. D was jumping to a rather far away rock (thank goodness he made it!).  But I jumped rocks, I climbed around and looked at the water.  If you would have told me I would do this a few years ago I would have laughed at you!  My anxiety would have never let me get anywhere CLOSE to the edge of the river let alone go jumping around on the rocks. I still deal with anxiety don't get me wrong. But for some reason God has answered my prayers and taken so much of it away. I sat on this rock, scooted as far forward as I could, and took a picture. Those are rapids going down to a waterfall.  And you know what?  I wasn't scared!  I wasn't anxious!  I wanted to stay there all day and play! Another picture that makes me so happy and proud of myself. 

On our way to Clingmans dome we passed in North Carolina.  You sort of snake back and forth across the boarder several times.  But this little look out and pull off had this awesome sign! That means that on our spring break we went through 5 states! I'm pretty excited about that!

And to finish up the day we went to Clingmans Dome. We were told it was a half mile paved trail up to the dome and that the views would be amazing! Well they didn't lie AT ALL!  The views were to die for!  What they didn't say was that the half mile paved trail was basically UP the whole time. And poor Miss V was NOT feeling well so I'll give you 1 guess who got to carry 40 extra pounds up and down? It's ok though!  It was worth the sweat and stopping every .10 of a mile to sit down to rest.  The views were AMAZING!  I could make an entire separate post on the views and pictures we took up there.  The dome was just awesome!  Another place I would highly recommend!  As we went down the trail there was one couple who were walking slowly and looking like it was a trek for them.  They asked me if it was worth it.  I said YES!!!  I said it's a hike but use the benches to rest and get up there!  You will NOT regret it!

Even though Miss V's smile is fake the rest of us are SUPER happy to be up here. I'm so thankful for this vacation and the time together as a family.  God is growing our family together to be closer and stronger. This vacation is one that we will all look back on and treasure.  Something tells me this isn't our last trip to Tennessee!  I have a feeling we will go back many times.  I'd love to go down with just Mr. J and do lots of hiking but we will see!  Right now I'm just savoring the way our family is and how blessed I feel to have spent this time with them. 

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break 2015 part 1

Hello my loves!  I have been under the weather for awhile and then we went on Spring Break! I wanted to show you what we did while we were away.  If you don't already you should follow me on Instagram so you can see my pictures and I always post when I've posted a new blog.  So go find me at LoveLacey365 and follow me! We don't take many family vacation so we decided to get away and enjoy some nice weather and gorgeous scenery.  We decided to rent a cabin in Pigeon Forge Tennessee! It's about an 8 hour drive from our house which isn't bad.  The kids are great travelers! Miss V likes to sleep, Mr. D like to color or play his Dsi, and Mr. S played his Dsi the entire time! I think we could have driven for days and we wouldn't hear from him. We only stopped once which I think is great.  So here is a little bit of our trip!

I always get very excited to see the first mountains! Obviously we don't have mountains where we live in Indiana.  Geez we barely have hills near us! So I'm always like a kid in a candy store when I see the first big mountains.  I LOVE the mountains.  I don't know why but they are so peaceful and calming and majestic to me. They definitely call to me! 

Like I mentioned we stayed in a cabin near Pigeon Forge. Mr. J and I had the BIGGEST bed!  I love the log frame beds but with the canopy and the king size I was in heaven. And the pillows . . . OH MY GOODNESS the pillows!! If I wasn't fighting a cough & illness I think I would have slept like a log!

Our cabin was called the Chocolate Moose for good reason. First of all there was this guy! He looks down on you while you eat breakfast & watch tv.  He really was so cute! We loved him! Also all over this cabin were moose! Moose furniture, stuffed animals, pictures the whole nine yards. It was fun trying to find all the moose and talk about what they were doing. Really cute small cabin just perfect for the 5 of us. 

This was my porch swing.  Every morning after breakfast I would take a blanket and my coffee outside and sit here.  Some times for 10 minutes and some times for an hr. The cabin is situated deep in the woods so there were lots of birds that loved to sing to me. I would just sit and listen to the birds and pray and just generally be thankful that we were able to get away as a family. 

Here was our nightly routine! After supper the kids would get their bathing suits on and go play in the hot tub for awhile. It was a great way for them to get out any extra energy and Mr. J and I would sit at the table on the deck and watch them. It was so fun! Then after the kids would go to bed, Mr. J and I would go and soak in the hot tub. We could see so many stars and hear the waterfall that was behind the cabin.  It was a great way to relax and reconnect. We had some great talks out there about life and goals and just everything under the stars! 

We stopped at the boot outlet and bought the kids each a pair of cowboy boots.  These are Miss V's boots.  They have silver hearts and chains and they are BRIGHT pink.  She was in heaven in these and when she put on a skirt with them . . . watch out world! She is like a glam cowgirl!

We are also lucky enough to have family that live in Knoxville which is about an hours drive from Pigeon Forge. We are also lucky enough that our family has family that has a cave on their property.  This is a fully natural and dark cave. The only light that gets in is the flashlights you bring. It's so neat to see a cave that isn't commercialized with lights or ropes or anything. It's a gorgeous cave that I could spend all day in exploring. Most of the areas are very tall and open which is great for me. But there are areas that you could squeeze through and explore if you want but I'm not into squeezing into anywhere and we definitely weren't dressed for muddy spelunking. So we stuck to the main areas and had a blast!

This is the opening to the cave.  You can see it's basically just like God made it! 

The boys & I having survived the cave!

Also on the same land is a farm with cows & donkeys & this sweet creek that the kids spent at least an hour playing in. It was so fun to see the kids be kids outside. They were throwing rocks and sticks in the creek. They came out muddy and wet but had so much fun. The water was crystal clear because it comes from an underground river in the cave! 

These are the donkey girls. A mother and daughter pair of donkeys that live on the farm. They love to follow you around and beg for dog bones.  They are really funny and soft! We had a great time feeding them and then they would silently follow you. They reminded me of the ghosts in Super Mario Brothers. If you turned your back they would come closer to you but if you turned around to face them they would stop and look around like "What? We weren't doing anything!" Too funny! 

Just another shot of the creek! It is so peaceful out there! I could have spent my entire vacation just sitting by this creek!

I couldn't resist this fence post and the field it was in. It was just perfect!

And a picture down the road. Just the most peaceful place I've been in a long long time.  This was most of Monday for us just spend with family.  We went out to dinner at a place called Calhoun's which is like a BBQ and everything else place.  It was pretty good but the company was better.  It was so great to see family that we don't see nearly enough!  Love them so much!  We are so blessed to have family we can visit and their family who treat us like family!  These people are the definition of Southern Hospitality! At one point they actually said to us "Whatever you want you can have and if we don't have it we will make it or do our best." They are just the sweetest people and was like being at grandma & grandpa's for our kids! What a great day! 

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Post Workout Routine

I thought I would take you through my post workout routine. It can be a bit different depending on the time of way I workout and what I have going on. But for the most part this is how my post workouts go!

First thing I do post workout is be thankful that it's over! After that I take my selfie! I gotta prove that worked out.  Did I mention that it usually takes me 10 pictures to get the "perfect" selfie? Yep!  I take some funny ones, serious ones, and all different angles.  Here is the "my booty is on FIRE" selfie. 

Next up is my post workout shake/smoothie. I like to get protein & water in my system ASAP!  So here is what I use!  First I start with about a half a cup of this berry blend from Costco.  I would highly recommend it if you haven't tried it before.  It is great for snacks or shakes or anything else you want to use it for.  The kids ask to have bowls of it, frozen, for snack and I've often done the same.  But I mostly use it in shakes and I love it!

Then I put in a scoop of protein powder.  This is the one I prefer.  It is a plant based protein shake.  I am by no means a vegetarian but I love the way this tastes and how it treats my body.  I would definitely recommend it!  They also have a vanilla chai flavor if you are just going to drink it with water that is AMAZING!  You can find it HERE or at a local health food store.  I actually get mine at Earth Fare. 

I have to blend mine in two batches because I use the little ninja chopper.  I also throw in a banana as you can see.  So I throw all of those things in with some water and blend away. 

I pour my mixture into a quart jar and put on a lid. I also need a straw so I throw one of those in.  It's not hard to make or rocket science.  That's just how I make mine. After I make my shake I take my shower and get on with life! That's pretty much how my post workout routine goes.  How about you?  Do you do the same thing each time? Do you have things that you HAVE to do post workout?

Love, Lacey

Friday, March 20, 2015

3 Words a picture - 3/20/15

I have been super sick this week and busy with work so I thought I would do the ol' 3 words a picture post.  Hope you enjoy!!

Drink this cider!

Seriously!  If you can find Vandermill "Totally Roasted" . . . BUY IT!!  It's not cheap I'll warn you now but it's like buying a cheaper bottle of wine.  It has a light crisp flavor and this one has a hint of sweetness and almost cinnamon. I told Mr. J it reminds me a bit of the German roasted almonds you buy.  Definitely worth the money!

Not my birthday!

I ran into a local store to grab a gluten free beer for a recipe and she didn't ask for my id.  I was really kind of upset at first but then I looked at my receipt! That is not even close to the year of my birth. That made my whole night!

Corned Beef Dinner

Like a good Irish girl I made Corned beef and cabbage! This is what I needed the gluten free beer for. I did taste it, it was ok. I used to be a dark beer drinker (see Guinness or New Castle) so this beer I chose was light like a miller lite. Not exactly my cup of tea but it was ok. The corned beef on the other hand . . . YUM!

St. Paddy's Fun

I also took this crazy picture on St. Paddy's day.  I was subbing that day and wore this adorable headband.  

First of Spring

As you can obviously tell by the snow, today was the first day of spring!  THANKFULLY we only got a dusting and it melted quickly!  I'm SO ready for warmer weather!

Running store danger

I ended up at our local running store and was talking to a friend who works there about trail shoes.  The more we talked and I tried on that more excited I got about running trails again.  Well lucky me, all trail shoes were on sale, I got a frequent buyer discount, & I had a gift card.  I walked out with new trail shoes for not much at all and $0 out of my pocket!  It was an all around good day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Random Ramble

I have been feeling so uninspired lately to write.  I feel like I used to have so much to say and some pretty pressing things but lately life has just been flying by.  Between the kids in school, trying to keep up with the endless laundry, dishes, & house cleaning, serving at church, & trying to get in shape it seems like I never have time to really just think.  So I thought I would just post some fun random pictures.  And see what comes out of my mind! Oh dear!

The other day I posted about going to a local coffee shop in an old house.  I said to Mr. J, HEY! Take my picture.  So this was my best pose and he said "Are you going to blog that?"  Or actually he says B-(like the letter) then log.  He thinks he's so funny!  

This was my best "artsy" picture from the coffee shop.  They had couches and different tables and chairs.  But for some reason this old radio with the cute plant and old style folding chair spoke to me.  And look at those floors!!  Seriously!!  They were AMAZING!!  I kind of want to go back just to take pictures of the woodwork and flooring.  I can't even explain how gorgeous this house was. Old radios like this make me wonder who had it in their house? What programs did they listen to? Was it a family and they gathered around it each night to listen to the news? Did the kids sit down after school and listen to their favorite program, ala "A Christmas Story" and little orphan Annie? And those AMAZING floors, who has walked on those floors?  How many babies took their first steps there? Did anyone get married there? What's the story?

So let's talk about the elephant in the room for a min. My messy house.  It's not the end of the world, it's not hoarders status but like I said, some times you just don't have time to pick up before you take a quick OOTD (outfit of the day) picture before running out the door to dinner! But other than that!  Here is my OOTD from my birthday dinner.  The shoes are from JLo (Khols) and are at least 9 years old! The jeans are Vera Wang (Khols) they are the skinny style.  The top is Apt 9 (Khols) I just got this so if you are looking for a cute silky blouse go now!  The necklace is from ebay and the clutch is by Candies and I found it at a thrift store for a few bucks!  I loved this outfit.  I felt sophisticated and sexy all in one.  I always say my style icons are Jackie Kennedy Onassis & Audrey Hepburn.  I think I channeled a little of each in this one. 

After my birthday dinner Mr. J and I hit up a local bar.  It was nothing fancy, in fact we were probably over dressed but the music between the band sets was good, good drink specials, & so much people watching.  I love people watching.  I love to try to figure out the relationships between people and just generally watch.  I come by this honestly.  My grandmother used to love for us to go to the mall so she could sit and people watch.  My mom and I people watch all the time. One of my best friends is a people watcher too.  We love talking about the people around us and what we think their story is.  I'm not sure we ever get it right but it's fun. 

And lastly I got a birthday card from my daddy.  My mom had sent one to me in the mail but my dad felt like he needed to send his baby girl a special one I guess.  I do book work for my dad's business. I'm the only employee but shh don't tell anyone.  I kind of like being employee of the year! Although the Christmas parties aren't very big. I'm so thankful I can help my dad out, work from home, and have a little extra play money. Plus seeing the words "Love, Dad" never gets old.

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Super Fun Birthday!

As you may or may not know, yesterday was my birthday!! Make sure you follow me on instagram (LoveLacey365) so you can keep up on all my fun day to day things!!!! Usually Mr. J & I go out to dinner on the weekend and call it good.  But this year he had some vacation days he didn't plan on using and asked if I had any ideas.  Well after a family vacation was planned, I said what if you took my birthday off and we just spent the day together.  So that's what we did!  There was an antique store about an hr and a half from our house that I have wanted to check out so we loaded up early in the morning and went for it.  A HUGE thanks to my mom (who I hope reads my blog) for helping out with the kids! We couldn't have done it without you!

At the antique store we found an amazing table!  I took some pictures so that I could recreate the table with our 'need of update' kitchen table.  It's hard to tell in this picture but the top is a grey/brown type color.  And the bottom is an off white.  SO gorgeous! We found lots of fun things and had a good time. 

Next up I was starving (that is not surprising!) so we started to check out local restaurants. When visiting a city we love to try to find local places to eat.  You know those little hole in the walls tend to be the best! Well when I looked at the map I found a place called "Slappy's rib shack".  We HAD to go! I said we could at least drive by and see what it looked like since it was kind of on the outskirts of town.  Well it was a little tiny building (no seating inside) with 2 HUGE smokers out front with smoke pouring out.  We both said THAT'S IT! We went in and Slappy himself helped us order, was very very nice & helpful, and can I just say that there is no picture of the food for one reason.  It was SO good and I was SO hungry that it was gone before I thought of a picture.  I"M SORRY!  But if you are ever in Rochester, IN RUN do not walk to Slappy's! I personally liked the pulled pork better than the ribs (and yes we ordered both) but they had so many amazing choices.  They even had fries that had pulled pork & nacho cheese on them.  OH goodness!

After lunch we walked around Big R which is like a tractor/farm supply store.  They had baby chicks and ducks in so I was in heaven just watching them and dreaming of the day we can get our own chickens.  After Big R, I spotted a winery on the map! I HAD to go!  So we stopped at Schnabeltier and did a wine tasting!  They make their own wine and cheese to go with it.  The girl in the shop (sorry I didn't get your name) was SUPER friendly and told us lots about the winery and the wines and how they came up with the unusual name and mascot! I ended up buying a bottle of wine to bring home and got to keep that adorable tasting glass! Love to find these little gems!

After the winery we had NO plans and a long drive home.  Most of the drive was through the country which led to lots of fun talks and just general enjoyment of being together and the amazing sunshine!  Soon we found ourselves pretty close to the next town so I started to look to see what was there.  Not much to be honest but they did have a local coffee shop (another favorite of mine) so we swung in.  Can I just say how AMAZING the house was? I literally walked through the downstairs (which was the sitting area of the coffee shop) saying "Oh my gosh!", "Oh look at that!", "OH how beautiful".  I wish I could have gotten a picture to show you how amazing the woodwork and walls and just the general beauty of this old house!  If you ever find your self in North Manchester, IN go directly to KenapocoMocha!  The lady that works there was very very sweet and the coffee was AMAZING!  

We stopped a few more places on the way home.  Nothing too exciting just general pop in and wander around types before getting Chipotle and heading home.  I had the best day with Mr. J and felt so special that he took the whole day to spend with me.  It was a great birthday!

Love, Lacey