We’re going bananas!

February 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

My sister-in-law came in town this weekend with her kids. We took them to Zoo Atlanta (www.zooatlanta.org) on Sunday morning. It was chilly, but the animals were active, making the experience much better for the kids.

First stop: Simba, the lion.

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He was perfectly perched on the rocks and roaring up a storm. Everyone in the zoo dashed over to see him. Cousin and little mister were particularly enamored with Simba, or, maybe with each other.

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Next stop: Gorillas.

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Youngest cousin was his cute, charming self and oldest cousin, self-proclaimed picture hater, even let his dear Aunt get a photo of him.

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We ran around the zoo for a while longer and saw the leopard and tiger. On our way out, the zoo was flying an owl. We had to stand back – the owl was looking a bit irritated – but we were able to see him fly. It was pretty cool.

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We checked out the Naked Mole Rats, then the kids played on the playground for a bit.

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Pandas

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petting zoo

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carousels

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then the highlight of the day: the TRAIN!!! Or, as they are known in my house. CHOOOOOO!!!

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Lunch out at Six Feet Under was the perfect ending to our day.  The kids were exhausted, and exhilarated. We all had a blast!

Peek-a-boo…where are you?

February 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Or more to the point….where have I been? December and January were busy for us. December was full of birthdays, Christmas, then ringing in the New Year, which we happily did at home after whirlwind trips to Blairsville and Pigeon Forge.

I love Christmas with my parents. It’s filled with traditions from my childhood. Every Christmas Eve. Mom, sister and I would make a pull apart cake for Christmas morning then we’d sit down for a nice dinner. After dinner we’d all get ready for Midnight Mass then we each got to open one present. Usually we’d hang out for a bit, then drive around to look at Christmas lights, eventually ending at church so we could get a seat and enjoy the candlelight caroling.  I loved church on Christmas Eve.  The overhead lights were off and the church had a perfect amber glow from the candles.  Everyone was always smiling, and singing. I love Christmas carols – Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful…they’re beautiful and I often get teary singing them. I’m such a sucker!

Christmas morning when I was a child often came at 5 am. Way to early. My grandparents thought it was cute. My parents did not. Eventually my sister and I started to sleep in, and for a few years, our parents actually had to wake us!

We’d go downstairs, put the breakfast casserole we’d made the day before in the oven, eat cake and drink coffee. Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we opened gifts!

This year we we visited my parents for Christmas. My parents gave little mister an Elmo Live for Christmas. It was a hit with him right from the start.

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We’re big Elmo fans at the Murphy household, but from time to time,  Elmo can be a bit much. He stays in little mister’s room. We like that. A lot.

Little mister was inundated with new toys. Too many, in fact, but it’s alright for grandparents to spoil him.

One of his other favorite games over the holidays was to chase the ball with Uncle.

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It was really cute watching the two of them run around the house chasing that red ball!  Little mister thought it was the greatest game ever, and Uncle seemed to get a kick out of it too!

After a few busy days in Blairsvegas, the three of us packed up and headed to Pigeon Forge. We went through National Forest the majority of the way there, and it was beautiful.

Little mister slept, well mostly, and I even got to see an old haunt – Cherokee, NC. I spent a good bit of time there while attending camp in Cullowhee, NC. It hadn’t changed much. Brought back memories, like seeing Unto These Hills THREE times.

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Our trip to Pigeon Forge was to celebrate Boo Boo’s 60th birthday!  We stayed in a beautiful house way up on a mountain in Wear’s Valley. It was large enough to accommodate all ten of us. We celebrated Christmas with the Murphy’s and took a trip to Dollywood, as well. No trip to Pigeon Forge is complete without it! I’d never been to Pigeon Forge. It is Tennessee’s response to Daytona Beach. Loud. Bright. Neon. It was wild and not at all what I expected.

Dollywood was what I expected. Little mister had a blast!  He wasn’t quite big enough to go on a lot of the rides. He did enjoy the carousel and the train was a BIG hit! Pure joy on the train!

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A tank of gas to Pigeon Forge: $30

A ticket to Dollywood: $50

Taking little mister for his first ride on a train: Priceless

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