Dentist and Everyday Life

April 2 – 5

It’s time for a visit to the kid’s dentist.


We love how they get to sit beside each other. This really helps Abbi because she’s a little nervous about the whole dentist idea. When they are first called back they get to pick out a DVD from a large collection and it plays on an overhead screen between them. That’s such a great idea to keep kids from squirming.

This was Abbi’s second trip to the dentist and I thought she was going to do fine but I looked up about halfway through and she was upset so I spent the rest of the visit sitting beside her and holding her hand.


Lilli has a head full of teeth! I think it’s also cute because you can see her little earrings on the side.


With shiny clean teeth I thought it would be a great idea to take them to Fox’s Donut Den before taking them to school. It’s become an after dentist tradition and the kids love it.


One night after work I stopped by Goodwill and they had the old Hangman game. I remember playing this when I was their age. It brought back a lot of memories but made me realize how much the world has changed. It felt a little weird to describe: If you don’t guess the word this person is killed by being hung from a rope. No pressure. Luckily Lilli has already played it at school (on paper) so it wasn’t an awkward conversation.


I believe it always storms at bedtime. Right after we put the girls to bed the thunder began so we let them lounge in the office until it passed. Olli thought it was a wonderful idea.


The girls are enjoying gymnastics and it’s fun to see the different personalities. Lilli really enjoys the technical aspects of gymnastics and she’s really good with her flips and tumbles. Abbi… just wants to be a dancer. She’s good with her little gymnastics routines but she usually wears her tu-tu. It’s fine. It’s cute. But this is the week that I decided she had outgrown her current tu-tu.


The past couple of years we’ve paid companies to mow our yard. It’s not cheap and we weren’t happy with the people we’ve been using so our neighbor said “I think between the two of us we can keep this yard mowed”. He’s an amazing neighbor. He’s 87 and he’s just bored. Sometimes he’ll mow his yard 2 or 3 times a week. Usually he’ll just mow the front yard and I’ll get the side and back and I’ll do the trimming. I always enjoy getting Ring Doorbell notifications and see him mowing.


The girls at Abbi’s school are all about fixing hair and the teachers are happy to volunteer. This day I walked up on a large makeover session on the playground.


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Easter 2018

April 1 – Easter Sunday

This Easter the kids woke up in a great mood excited to see what the Easter Bunny had brought them. The rushed down stairs carrying all of their stuffed bunnies (including the new bunnies Granny has just bought them at Cracker Barrel.


The Easter Bunny was really good to the kids this year. Lilli got a Squashmallow stuff panda (it was a huge deal at the time) candy and a magazine subscription to Girls World.


Abbi also got a Squashmallow stuffed animal, candy and a magazine.



After church we wanted to get pictures of the girls in their pretty dresses (and Squashmallows)


And we wanted to get a family picture. When Lilli was younger we used these same ears every year for a family picture. We continued it with Abbi but got out of the habit the last few years. We also always had Pippin in the Easter family photo (complete with his own set of ears)…


Olli didn’t want any part of the family photo (especially the ears) but the girls had a blast trying to put the ears on him.



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The Rest of Spring Break

From March 28 – 31…..

On Wednesday of Spring Break I worked from home while Lilli relaxed and played, and Abbi went to daycare.  We played some Twister that night, and as you can tell one person kind of plays by their own rules.


On Thursday, Lilli went to Owl’s Hill day camp with two of her friends for the day.  She LOVED it.  We’d been on a field trip there in second grade and didn’t realize they have camps, so we’ll definitely be doing more of them.  It was a wet and rainy day, but the kids didn’t care.  They spent the day cleaning up creeks, learning about animals, and all kinds of other nature and animal activities.  They are an owl preserve, and really aren’t open to the public much, so it’s fun to spend time there.  She came home muddy and happy, and did NOT want to leave.


I was off for Good Friday and Brent took the day off, too.  We decided to be local tourists and went to the Parthenon for the morning.  We’d never been, and Brent hadn’t been since high school.  I’d always been curious about what was inside, so it was a fun day to go.


Overall it was “meh”.  Seeing Athena and reading about how/why the entire Parthenon was built was more interesting than the art and collections inside it.  Athena was massive and super impressive, but it wasn’t something we’d need to see often.


I’m glad we did visit though since it is a Nashville “icon”.  But I wouldn’t send out of town guests here.


And clearly, by this point Abbi was in a Mood, so that didn’t help our experience.


Our Spring Break week was so overcast and just cloudy and cool.  They get out of school so early that Spring Break doesn’t even feel “springy”.  We did bring some bread for the ducks, geese, and pigeons – and the girls enjoyed that more than the Parthenon.  Ha! Oh well.


We had lunch at a hot dog place on West End and then went to the No Baked Cookie Dough shop – which was SO good.  And better than the Parthenon for me.  =)


When the sisters get along and play well – it’s a good, good day!


It was a really nice Saturday and we were outside mowing, doing yard work, and just enjoying the pretty day.  Abbi and Brent had run an errand and Lilli was inside when I saw Olli chasing something.  I got closer and he had found a mole! We have awful moles tearing up our yard all the time, and normally they’re just in the front yard but I guess this one had made a tunnel to the back and met up with Olli.  Olli wouldn’t let him dig down – he’d swat him back up, lick him, and put his head down on top of him.  Mostly he just wanted someone to play.  I knew the girls would love seeing him so I ran in the garage, grabbed a shovel and the lawn spreader (I didn’t see an empty bucket!) and ran to scoop him up.  After a few tries I got him right as Brent and Abbi were getting back.  Everyone found my discovery and “bucket” pretty hilarious.


The girls named him Cuddly and kept it all afternoon.  They dug worms and grubs for him and we all watched him slurp them up.  He was actually pretty cute.  They showed our neighbor who instantly asked if we were going to kill it – ha!! I don’t think he realized how much of a “pet” it had become.


Nothing better than an afternoon ride in the old truck!


A little tree climbing…..


The weather man had said that Easter would be rainy so we let them do their confetti eggs on Saturday instead.  They’re egg shells filled with confetti and they have the best time cracking them on themselves, trees, the ground, anything.  They’re really pretty and a lot better than making dyed eggs for us!


And they make for pretty pictures, too!


When we headed out that evening for errands and dinner we took Cuddly to a park a few miles away.  As much as they loved him we didn’t want him back on OUR street!  They let him go on the greenway and he immediately dug a new tunnel.  He was one very well fed mole for the day!


That night they wrote letters to the Easter Bunny.


Sweet, sweet Lilli.


And they went to sleep with visions of the Easter Bunny in their head!


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Vacation, Day 4

From March 27 –

We got up early on Tuesday to eat breakfast, pack up and get to Dollywood as it opened.  I don’t think we were the only ones who had that plan.  (This is the line for the shuttle bus that takes you up to the entrance.)


Dollywood was the number one thing everyone wanted to do on our trip.  We had such a great time at Silver Dollar City two years that we just assumed Dollywood would be as much fun since so many people in our area go there and just love it.  And we’re big Dolly fans since she donates books to all the kids up until age 5.  So we overlooked the ridiculous price of tickets and were hoping it would be worth it! We got in (using a 10% AAA discount) and got the girls measured for their ride wristbands.


We took off and found a roller coaster Lilli was tall enough for.  She was tall enough for quite a few things and lines were still pretty short.  They had a really good time on this one.  Abbi was in a good mood and we found a small little roller coaster she was tall enough for and while we waited in line the ride broke.  There was nothing else around she was big enough to do so we just waited for Brent and Lilli to finish up.


We headed to a part of the park with carnival rides so there would be something for her to do, and basically it was just your basic carnival rides.  We did the carousel and she enjoyed that.  Otherwise that area was pretty boring and really too little for her.


As we were  getting off the train that just takes you around the park was loading up to go so we ran over – we were able to get on but had to split up and we were right behind Brent and Lilli.  As soon as we raced on Abbi started throwing a fit that she didn’t want to do it.  I figured she’d get over it and as much as she loves trains that she’d end up loving it.  Boy, was I wrong.  As soon as we started moving she started crying and yelling that she was going to throw up.  The 12-13 year old boy she was sitting next to looked THRILLED and tried to give her all the space.  It was a long, long ride.  She eventually calmed down but I was so glad to get off that train.


All she wanted to do was watch these dancers.  So on the train I’d promised her as soon as we got off we’d head straight there for the next show and that calmed her down.


Their show was funny and cheesy and she loved it.


Afterwards we grabbed some lunch and walked around some more.  Lilli and I rode a coaster and then Brent and Lilli did.  There were a lot she wasn’t big enough for, and there really wasn’t much of anything for Abbi at all.   One of us spent most of the day keeping her entertained while the other two were in lines.


I eventually took Abbi to the Dolly museum and we looked at all her stuff while Brent and Lilli rode.  Overall Dollywood was a big disappointment.  I’d go back when they’re both teens and can ride all the big stuff, but at their ages it was incredibly overpriced.  This one day ended up being over 25% of our entire vacation spend – lodging and dog boarding included! It just wasn’t worth it.  It was also really crowded and made lines long for the things we did do.


We grabbed a few things in the gift shop (not this) and then got in the car to start the drive home.


I’d say one of them got vacationed!


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Vacation Day 3

From March 26-

Our original plan was to spend Monday at Dollywood, but since Abbi had passed out so early on Sunday we didn’t want to spend the million dollars Dollywood costs and have her not be able to enjoy it or be her best, so we swapped some of our planned Tuesday activities for Monday and let her sleep in a bit.

She woke up feeling a lot better and starting to eat some.  Our first stop was the Muse Children’s Museum.  We got in free with our Adventure Science membership, which was about the best part of the thing.  Overall it was all of our least favorite thing of the trip.  It was really small, super crowded with young kids, and it just didn’t have a lot to do.  And did I mention crowded with young kids??


They had a few older Science type things for older kids and Lilli pretty much camped out over there.


One of the air/butterfly things at the end.


They also closed at noon and at about 11:30 the staff spent the entire time picking up everything a child had touched about three seconds after they set it down.  So if Abbi put down her mustard to turn around and get an apple – the mustard was gone.  It was pretty ridiculous.  And afterwards I felt we all needed a good hose down with Purrell.


From there we headed towards Ijams Nature Center.  We’d wanted lunch but didn’t run across anything on the way, so we promised them heavy trail snacks and then we’d eat lunch.  We hit the Nature Center first and they loved all the turtles and other fish inside.


We talked to the host and she gave us a good trail for kids to follow so we set out for a few miles to hike next to the river.


Abbi was pretty excited to pose for pictures.


I think she keeps making these crazy faces because she can see how much we all laugh and she just loves the attention.


The walk was really pretty next to the River and all the rocks and things starting to grow and bloom.


Family snap.


The walk got into a hillier, rockier landscape.  It seemed very “East TN” to us.


Such pretty views.  From here it did level out.  I think we went about 2-3 miles on this trail.


Afterwards we let them play for a while in the outdoor kids area.  They had all kinds of natural play spaces for them to climb, play, dig and be creative.


They loved this little playhouse.


From there we all wanted Mexican food so we found a little local spot and ordered a really late lunch/early dinner.  We were all enjoying chips and queso and our food had just came when Abbi looked at me and said she needed to throw up.  So I ran her to the bathroom and she lost it all.  Sigh.  The rest of us quickly ate and went back to the room and she rested for a few hours.  Brent took Lilli to the McKays bookstore near our hotel room and they did some shopping while I relaxed with Abbi.  She napped and I watched HGTV and did Soduko.  Not a terrible way to spend an evening.


After her nap she was feeling good and we all wanted a little bit of snack so she and Brent went out to Starbucks and Krispy Kreme for some treats.  At least she was feeling better and wanted to get out.  Poor thing never even got to go swimming in the hotel pool – and I’d picked that hotel because it was one of just a few that had an indoor pool.




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Spring Breaking: Day 2.Part2

From March 25 –

We spent the majority of the day at the zoo, so it was late afternoon by the time we were leaving and too late to squeeze in any other attractions.  So we headed downtown to visit the Sunsphere.  We’d seen it many times as we drove through Knoxville headed other places and were really curious to go up inside it and see what it was all about.


It was built years ago for the Worlds Fair, and it has a nice little park below it.  Admission is free, so we were all about that! Compared to other cities it’s nowhere near as tall as the Space Needles or any of the sites in Chicago or New York, but it’s still pretty neat.  And did I mention free??


The views from the top are nice, you could see the university and downtown, and the mountains in the distance.  The angles of the sphere are also pretty neat.  There’s just not really a lot of “skyline” to see in Knoxville.


We walked all around the circle and read about Knoxville history.


Abbi wasn’t that interested in a selfie with the Sphere!


They were pretty interested in the cute playground we saw as we had walked by earlier.  We stopped there to burn off some last energy of the day since we had nowhere else to be.  There were a lot of people around playing Pokemon, which we had no idea was even still a thing.


It was nice to have such a cute little playground downtown.


Afterwards we went back to the hotel and Abbi pretty much passed out for the day.  She hadn’t eaten much because her throat still hurt so badly and she was just worn out.  So we had a hotel room picnic for dinner.  We got the girls Happy Meals (which Abbi never ate) and Brent got this fast food Indian for us.  I wish we had one of these near us! Such a fun and neat place for quick serve Indian.  It was really good.


Abbi slept on our bed pretty much the entire evening and barely ever woke up.


Brent took Lilli to swim while I stayed in the room with Abbi.  I’m not sure she ever knew Lilli made it to the pool.


After they got back to the room Lilli had water in her ear that she couldn’t get out.  We lived through her having swimmer’s ear last year and it was about the worst thing ever and she was in so much pain.  So they made trip number 85 of this “vacation” to Walgreens for drops.  I’m pretty sure by this point they knew us.  But, it’s way better than swimmer’s ear and another doctor’s visit and thankfully this Walgreens was a late night one!  Just another vacation memory in the books…..


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Spring Breaking, Day 2/Part 1

From March 25-

The next morning I set my alarm early to get up and spend some time in the gym before our day got started (which always helps me feel better!) and as I left I put my hand on Abbi’s (sleeping) forehead and could tell she was burning up.  Lilli and Brent had swapped places in the night because Abbi was feeling bad, and I hadn’t even realized it.  When I got back and they started waking up we knew she was running a temperature and she was complaining about her throat hurting.  We pretty much figured it was strep.


When the Walgreens Clinic opened Brent took her and they confirmed it.  We didn’t think she’d ever had strep before (and then later remembered she had scarlet fever once) so we weren’t sure how long it might take her to feel better.


She still said she wanted to go to the zoo, so when we got there we rented her a stroller – which she was THRILLED about.  We rarely take a stroller unless we’re going somewhere like DC or Chicago where we’re walking MILES so she was happy to get one.  We figured she could at least relax and enjoy the animals.


I had really never heard anything about the Knoxville Zoo and figured it was probably small – and we were VERY wrong about that! We got in for half admission with our Nashville Zoo membership and immediately thought their bear exhibit was better than ours since it was so easy to see!


We first started out in a newer exhibit of theirs that featured pandas – a favorite of both girls.  We were amazed how close the animals seemed!


Their monkey exhibit was so cool! All their ropes and toys were so close to us.  One monkey was right next to us the entire time eating and playing and didn’t mind us a bit.  And on a side note, it was so cold and didn’t feel a bit like “spring” break.


It was really so crazy how close the monkeys could be to us.


A side view of us with the gibbon exhibit


And the tiger was just RIGHT THERE


Because it was so cold and overcast it wasn’t at all crowded, so we had lots of space and it was easy to get pictures with the characters walking around.


And Abbi…..


This goat would not stop trying to eat my jacket!


The traditional goat selfie


For the most part we kept telling Abbi to slow down and take it easy – she really didn’t want to eat much because of her throat, but overall was up to taking on the zoo.


The stroller was a big hit for all – and a good workout for us! The zoo was so much bigger than we imagined, it had everything from the monkeys and tigers to giraffes, elephants, reptiles, rhinos, camels – basically everything!


This was how I experienced the open air bird area.


Their gorillas were so cute – we could have watched the babies play and tumble all day.


Eventually later in the day she did wear down and fell asleep, and slept for quite a while in the stroller while we looked at some indoor reptile exhibits.


Two animals who need to be caged.


We stopped in the gift shop and got a few things and then headed on our way.  It really was such a nice Zoo and despite the strep throat ended up being everyone’s favorite spot we visited on our trip.


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