Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Halloween : Kidsfest 2014

For Halloween this year, we decided to check out Kidsfest - a festival that was hosted by the city of Woodstock, GA. The small town apparently puts on lots of different activities throughout the year, but this seemed like a good place to start for a couple of reasons. 1. Canon is kind of prone to nightmares and Halloween is a prime time to cultivate some new ones. 2. We don't really know our neighbors and weren't sure if they even participated in trick or treating since there aren't very many children on the street. Kidsfest though? Seemed like a safe bet.

We couldn't have been more right. Thor seemed to enjoy it as well. Oh yeah...meet Thor. Perfect Asgardian hair and all.

I laughed so hard that I was crying as I watched him try to "bob" for apples. Seriously, I wish I had take a video. He could not get it.

Thor doesn't crawl in large bubbles. Nay, he runs them over with his sheer will and might.

I am not sure who won the costume contest, but Bumblebee definitely should have. His blue eyes even glowed.

There is nothing that Thor can't do. Except bob for apples. And this jumping pumpkin.

He spent more time falling off of it than actually jumping. Fun times.

Archery was definitely in his skill set though.

As was strength building...

...and whatever this would be called.

I think it is safe to say that this superhero had one heckuva time.

I bet he's glad he came down from Asgard for this one night.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Halloween : Pumpkin Patch Photo Shoot

The week following trunk or treat, I felt the tremendous need to take Canon back to the pumpkin patch at the church for the obligatory pumpkin-patch-pictures-of-fall photo shoot. It was a longing so great that I was determined to go. No matter what. 

No matter that he had been at school all day. No matter that he didn't want to take pictures. Oh, he was doing it. I NEEDED it to happen. No, I am not selfish at all. Or crazy.

Because he didn't want to take pictures, we got ridiculous shots. I had to practically beg him to look at me and smile. Or just sit still for a moment.

As you can see, I got a whole lot of "geez Mom I really don't want to be doing this" stupid smiles and eyes not really looking at me. But just look at those freckles. I die. #sorryghostthatwascruel

I let him lead the way for the most part, which in hind sight probably wasn't the best idea for pictures. For instance, he went with the "I'm Mr. Pumpkin head. Gimme some candy!" pose. Can anyone name that reference? I am not certain I would have gone that route.

He also decided he would make friends with the scarecrows because...Canon.

Can you spot the human kiddo? He was "blending in".

All in all, it was definitely not the best photo shoot we have ever had, but we had fun. And at least he has pictures with some dang pumpkins. #momforthewin

Another successful fall photo shoot in the books. Because I have priorities, man.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween : Trunk or Treat

It seems really weird to start posting about Halloween with Thanksgiving right around the corner, but we just had too much fun at Halloween festivities to pass them over in my little corner of the internet. So it begins...

The first activity that we participated in was a trunk or treat at our church. Along with the usual visit-each-car-trunk-for-candy thing, they had blow-up slides and jump houses, face painting, and even a chili cook-off. Man, that's a lot of hyphens.

Of course, the first activity that Canon wanted to try was the really tall slide. I tried to reason with him and explain that the slide was exceptionally high for him, but he would hear nothing of it...until he reached the top and then couldn't get down. He stayed up there for several minutes contemplating a way down...

...and finally decided on coming down the way he went up. The kid to his left just could not wait his turn which made Canon's descent that much harder.

The church also had a pumpkin patch, which helped to raise money for their youth program. Of course, Thor had to scope the scene to see how it fared.

Last, but definitely not least, we simply had to get his face painted. What is it about face painting that makes it a must-do?!

While I'll admit that his eyes look a little odd {I mean, what is he looking at?!}, he is still hands-down the cutest Thor/Spiderman that has ever been.

Oh, but there is so much more Halloween to experience. You know you want it. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Seventh Anniversary Celebration : Cloudland Canyon - Day 3

Our last morning was a mixture of feeling settled in to a new routine, coupled with the rush of trying to get packed up and out of the site by 11 am. We tried to manage our time efficiently so we could relax when it was most important. For example, while Craig was packing up some of our supplies, I was making pancakes. #priorities

Another hit in the "better-on-an-open-flame" meal arena.

In the midst of packing up, I ran across this guy staring at us curiously.

He turned to run away as soon as I got close enough to shoot him, though. I guess he didn't want to go home with us. #asif

Packing everything early meant that we had a little time to relax and enjoy our coffee in the hammock. This was a gift from Craig's dad for his birthday the week before and it couldn't have come at a better time. It was the perfect addition to our trip.

This could not have been a more perfect "first camping trip" for me. The weather proved inexplicably beautiful - just the right amount of cool - but not cold - and zero rain. Of course, the best part about it was spending time with my guy. Anniversary trip or not, it was a romantic way for us to spend some quality time together - without being "romantic". #wedontdomushy

Monday, November 10, 2014

Seventh Anniversary Celebration : Cloudland Canyon - Day 2 Evening

Our first stop after our 8.5 mile day was to the convenience station for some fresh water and a bathroom break. This building, though very modest (hello, campgrounds!), boasted amazingly clean facilities and two shower stalls in both the men's and women's bathrooms for those that felt the need to wash. It also was home to clean, potable, glorious water. (FYI: I have always thought that 'potable' was pronounced 'poe-table' instead of 'paht-able'.  'Paht-able makes waaaaay more sense. #themoreyouknow) We filled up our bottles to go hiking everyday from this well, cooked with it, and cleaned our dishes with it. It was definitely an invaluable resource.

After that, though, we headed straight to our camp to change clothes and get comfortable. Craig had the grand idea to soothe our feet with an ice bath, courtesy of the creek running behind our camp site.

It may have worked but it was so. freakin'. cold. that mine stayed basically only long enough to take the picture. #anythingfortheshotiguess

Fun fact : on two separate family hikes, I have gathered huge yellow acorns. I had every intention of taking a picture with Canon holding them. However, before I got around to taking the shot, they turned brown. Both times.

I was determined to take the picture, this time with Craig's hands. It didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned, but hey, at least I took it this time!

With our feet rehabbed, we got to work building a fire and cooking our meal.

Before we left, we researched different meals that were easy to make but weren't "camping food". In short, we wanted to eat good without spending hours in prep time. Craig saw the idea of make crescent rolls over the fire by wrapping them over a stick - and we love our crescent rolls - so we tested it out.

They got a little charred in some spots, but I can't tell you how good they were. This whole meal of steak, veggies, and bread was to-die-for. Cooking over an open fire produces deliciousness. Who knew?!

Mah man.

As the night before, I tried to get a "lit tent" shot. As silly as it sounds, it was at the top of my must-take shots while camping. This night, though, I tried a different take on it, getting the fire in the foreground. I can foresee this being the one of those traditional shots that we take during every camping trip.

This was our last night camping so we really tried to soak in the feeling of being in the middle of nature, seeing millions of stars through the break in the trees above our site, and basking in the stillness of it all.

I will bring you the recap of our last morning tomorrow so come back to see how we spent our last day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Seventh Anniversary Celebration : Cloudland Canyon - Day 2 Hiking

After my first night sleeping in a tent, I half expected to wake up sore and moody. Instead, I awoke to this site and it was glorious.

Craig had gotten up before me because, duh, so he had already made coffee and brought me a cup in our handy dandy stainless steel camping mugs. I felt totally legit. Like a real camper. And man, that coffee was good. Apparently there is just something about a drinking a hot cup o' joe outside in the crisp morning air. Or maybe I just really needed caffeine.

After getting dressed and ready to go, we began our trek for the day. We had decided to hike down into the canyon and see the water falls that we had heard so much about. We started out on the West Rim Loop Trail, the same as the day before. Following the trail map and the trail markers, we took it south to ensure that we didn't follow the trail up the mountain as before. However, about 1 mile into the hike Craig said that it didn't feel as though we were going south. Now, how he felt that I don't know, but we decided to check the map again to see where we went wrong. Sure enough, we had gone the wrong way. Nevermind the fact that we had gone the opposite way from the day before.

We decided to take a closer look at the trail marker and found that we had just fallen trap to something that apparently many others had before us as well. Thus the "correction" on the sign. Whomever marked this trail didn't pay much attention to their compass when they were sticking on the arrow. Many thanks for the extra 2 mile warm-up before our strenuous day ahead. No, really.

The West Rim Loop Trail took us up the mountain for overhead views of the canyon again and we took advantage of the fact that there weren't many others around. I set up my tripod to get a shot of the two of us.

From the West Rim Loop Trail, we ventured onto the Waterfalls Trail. It connected to our final destination, but proved to be entertaining in it's own right. This blaze states :

Random Fact : 27 million years ago a "T-Rex" slashed this tree with his claws.

Looks pretty plausible to me. What do you think?

Since we hadn't taken a shower {roughing it and all}, Craig decided to rinse off in the previous week's rain water.

One of the boasting features on this trail is this huge "hanging rock". I see a tortoise head or a triceratops sans horns in this thing.

For perspective. See, it's huge.

Right before the hanging rock began the 1,200 stair steps that we climbed down. No big deal going down really, but we knew we had to go back up later. I was already not looking forward to it.

We took in the glory of Hemlock Falls, where I took several moments to shoot it. I then asked an older couple who were trying to take a 'selfie' if they wanted a picture taken of them. I positioned the camera to include all of the fall colors, the waterfall, and of course them in the frame {landscape}, but was then told by the gentleman that "no, you need to turn the camera the other way" {portrait mode}. They got a shot of themselves from the waist up with a tree trunk behind them and a little of the waterfall showing for good measure. Hehehe, whatever you want, man.

We continued on our track to Sitton's Gulch Trail by crossing this completely unnerving bridge. It may look beautiful from this angle, but trust me the metal grade walkway that moves when people walk across it freaked me out. Let's not forget that the reason it exists is so you won't fall over the waterfall below.

After the death-defying journey across the bridge, we found a quiet place to lunch on some huge boulders in the middle of the river.


Taking the trail a little farther brought us to a ton of gorgeous spots to stop and admire the beauty of God's artwork.

Of course, we also monkeyed around a bit. I slay myself.

We also found nature's own little cup holder. How convenient is that?!

Again with the hair head washing. I tell ya, the boy is obsessed.

Heading back up the stairs and with the end in sight, I was unsure as to whether my heart was going to explode out of my chest at that moment. Those steps were no joke. I seriously almost died. Ok, maybe not completely seriously...but seriously.

Only after completing the aforementioned trails did we find these warning signs. Would've been good to know prior to starting that trek. Nah, we would have done it anyway.

On the way back to the camp site, our legs were beginning to tire and I found more reasons to stop to rest mine. Like finding entrances to fairy lands...

...Or pops of color amidst the browns.

 By the time we made it back to camp, we were tired and felt like our legs were made of jello. All said, we hiked 8.5 miles that day. To say that we were tired was an understatement, but it was a good tired. A sense of accomplishment goes a long way in boosting spirits. After changing clothes we settled in for the evening. I will tell you all about it next time!