Dale Hollow Trip 2014

Sunday we got back from our annual camping trip to Dale Hollow Lake. I have never missed a year going since I was born, so this year made 31 years…kind of mind boggling to me. Every year is great, and this year was no exception. Because Jake works for himself now and makes his own schedule, we were able to go for 2 whole weeks-longer than we ever had before. And the funny thing is, I think we all would have been perfectly happy staying even longer. Willow Grove (the campground we always stay at) really is like a second home to me.

The weather was great for our trip. It did rain a few days, and we had a couple of days of really cool weather, but the rest of the days were warm and sunny-perfect lake days. Camping is great, because we do a whole lot of nothing-but our days always seem so full, without enough hours. For the most part, we would wake up, eat breakfast, be lazy around the campground and let the kids ride bikes, pack lunches, and head out on our boat to spend the day on an island, swimming and reading and just generally hanging out until we were ready for dinner. Then we would head back over to the campground, eat, and let the kids ride bikes and play outside until it got too dark.

A lot of nights, Jake and I would play cards with Nana, Shshr, and Justin while the kids hung out and watched a movie or played a game on the iPad (bedtimes are WAY not observed while we are camping!) A couple of nights we got ice cream at the dock, and one night we had a Frozen movie night at the pavilion (Andy brought his projector). We had fires a couple of nights, and roasted marshmallows.

One day before everyone got there, Josie, Jake, Jack, and I went into Cookeville to go antiquing (and found an awesome counter for our kitchen) and visit Walmart. We let the kids pick lunch (Chick-Fil-A, of course!) and made a day of it. Shshr brought a tube, and the kiddos went tubing for the very first time. Josie made Jack go before she would go, of course, but they both ended up loving it and having a blast. Jack is definitely the more adventurous one of our duo! On our first full day of camping, before everyone else got there, we decided to kayak over to Goat Island instead of taking our big boat out. It was such a fun adventure for the kids! Josie rode in my kayak, and Jack in Jacob’s. We packed our lunch, and when we got there the kids swam their hearts out. We discovered a tire swing on the island, and hiked up in the woods. That day was one of my favorite camping days this time, and a memory I will not forget quickly. 🙂

I’m glad we had some time just as a family of four before everyone else got there-that is something that has never happened, and I think it was a good thing for us. The kiddos, of course, were ecstatic when our family started getting there, though. Katie Ann and Josie and Jack and Wyatt were inseparable the whole trip. The kids spent several nights with Shshr and Nana, and night with Grammy and Pappy. We are so blessed to have such wonderful family, and to get to take vacations together, and to just be together so much. We weren’t all there at the same time, but at some points, pretty much my whole family came to the lake.

Well, I know y’all are just here for the pictures-and I have so many good ones!

First, some pictures of our day kayaking to Goat Island:

At Mitchell Creek boat dock:

Rainy day activities….

Lane’s first day on the island:

Tubing for the first time! Jack went first, with Shshr, and then Josie decided it was safe enough for her. 🙂 Pappy pulled them behind the duck boat.

Island time:


(These two were inseparable, the whole trip.)

We celebrated Josh’s birthday with cake and ice cream at the boat dock-Happy Birthday, cuz!

More island time-Josie spent SO long several days this trip, trying to catch fish with a net. She was determined! She never caught one with a net, but finally did with her pole (with Pappy’s help, of course).


This may be one of my all time favorite pictures….

We saw beautiful sunsets, and had fun card nights with Nana. The stars were AMAZING at night-Jake and I saw THREE shooting stars! I’ve not even seen that many in my lifetime, and we saw three within 5 days!

One day we all went to Sunset Marina to eat lunch. The kids were enthralled by these ducks that would literally eat food out of your hand!

The kids even rode the tube all by themselves, behind our boat, and Jake took Beth and Shshr on a fun ride….

We celebrated Alec’s birthday at the dock, too, this time with pizza and duck hunting cake. 🙂

Mrs. Laurie brought stuff for all the kids to tie dye shirts-they were so excited, and the shirts turned out great!

I was so glad my brother and his wife got to come up for the weekend-I don’t get to see them nearly enough!-

We couldn’t convince Jack to kneeboard behind a regular boat, but he let Jake pull him all around with the kayak….

My two cuties….

Kyle got Katie Ann super high!

Pappy taught Jack to spit sunflower seeds…I’m not sure this was a great idea….

Friday night we went to the dock for icecream and to hear a band play-bands play every weekend there now-pretty cool!

On our last Saturday, we got up, just us four and drove to Wisdom Boat Dock to eat breakfast (we went to Sulfur first, but apparently they don’t serve breakfast anymore). It was a GREAT breakfast, and the kids were in silly moods…

We had a great last day…Lots of time on the island just hanging out and soaking up the sun. Jake took all the little boys on a kayak adventure, which they loved. 🙂

Saturday night Shshr wanted to send off some cool paper lanterns she had gotten as a birthday gift. It took a few tries, but we finally got one to fly-it was really cool!

It was such a wonderful trip. The kids are finally to ages that it is not a ton of work, and they are able to enjoy every minute. When we got back to reality, it was weird 1. to not be outside all the time 2. not to be surrounded with people all the time 3. to be separated for more than an hour at a time-we had gotten used being together all day! It was a wonderful vacation-I can’t wait until next year!

So, we just got back last night from a 14 day camping trip to my favorite place on the planet! It was glorious, and I have lots of pictures and stories to tell, but the Internet at our place is moving at snail pace tonight, so they will have to wait. 🙁 It will be worth the wait, I promise! 🙂

4th of July-the rest of the pictures

After a mishap with my camera, I finally got the rest of the 4th of July photos downloaded and edited, I just realized I never actually posted them! So just for my memory’s sake, here are a few more of my favorites from the 4th…

My sweeties in their cute matching outfits Ta made!

In the morning, we went to Greenbrier and walked with Ta and Tommy to watch the local parade. The kids always love it, and it was super long this year because it is a voting year, so they were happy. 🙂

Walking to the parade…

Waiting for the parade to start!

Our friend Mr. Claude!

Josie loved seeing all these people she knew in the parade. 🙂

After the parade was over, we picked some blackberries so Ta could make a cobbler….

Josie helped me make my red, white, and blue strawberries I always take to Mrs. Laurie’s.

Cousins 🙂

It was a great day 🙂

6 years old

I finally got around to taking Josie’s 6 year old pictures. I have learned, with my kids, to never spend more than about 15 minutes taking pictures, because normally the best pictures are the first few anyways. This girl is FULL of personality, sass, and prissiness, and it always shines through in her pictures. 🙂 Here’s a few of my faves……

And have I mentioned that she is looking ENTIRELY way too old?


More gardening…..put up 4 quarts bags if crowder peas (with Mama Judy’s help!) and canned 10 jars of dill pickles. We also planted our fall garden-planted our second crop of corn, sunflowers in place of the squash that was done, and pumpkins. I’ll also replant lettuce when it gets cooler. We are making the most of our garden this year-or trying to, anyways!

3 years, 5 months

Dear Jack,

I don’t know what to say to you, except, you are a hoot right now. You make us laugh every.single.day. and your dimple has funny ways of keeping you out of trouble sometimes. You are mischievous and full of fun and your personality is for sure bigger than you. We are soaking up summer and enjoying every minute. This month…..

-You had your first official “lessons”-swim lesson with Mrs. Pam. You were SO thrilled that it was finally your turn to get to do something, instead of just watching. You did SO good. You were not afraid, and did anything Mrs. Pam told you to do. By the end of the second day, you were already swimming with the kickboard all by yourself down the pool. We were so proud of you!

-We got to keep Lane a few days, and you were so excited-you really love your cousin, and he really loves you. You even put on puppet shows for him-and he watched every minute!

  • We had a play date with Isaac Henry-ya’ll are such sweet buddies, and you always have a blast together.

-We celebrate Fourth of July and went to the parade. You were absolutely amazed at all the motorcycles and race cars. You had a great time playing with Wyatt at Mrs. Laurie’s, too.

-You are going to play soccer this fall, and you are SO excited- you have worn your shin guards every day since I brought them home, and you ask me every.single.day. if it is time for soccer practice.

  • I love how you talk…I don’t want to correct anything you say incorrectly, because I know it will go away on its own soon enough. You still say “my” instead of “I”; you always make “mine” plural- “This is mines”; you’ve recently started using “The other day”, but you don’t use it in correct context- “ Da odder day, when my was a baby…..”; and you’ve recently started using the word “exactly”, which is just funny- “Dat is exactly what I’m talking about!” One of my very favorite things you say is the name of your favorite cereal- “Honey Bunchy bunchy ah boats” = Honey Bunches of Oats

  • You finally are eating well, consistently. I think you may even actually grow soon! Some of your favorite things are Honey Bunches of Oats, pistachios, corn on the cob, sausage, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, chocolate donuts, biscuits, “bwananas” (bananas), grapes, spaghetti noodles with butter…

-You started taking showers this month! In fact, you generally prefer them over baths.

  • Some of your other favorite things are: swinging-you LOVE your daddy to push you “way up high!”; Josie; Legos; riding your bike, scooter, big wheel, basically anything that has wheels; race cars; monster trucks; going to Grammy and Pappy’s; “helping” us with anything; anything that is the color “dreen” or “tamaflauge”; playing ball; dressing up; feeding Bert; and pretending- you have become a BIG pretender this month.

-Some of your dislikes: anybody but Mommy doing stuff for you, taking naps, not getting milk ALL the time

Little boy, I love you, and you absolutely light up our lives. You are so funny and sweet, and I cannot imagine our lives without you.

Love,

Mommy