Our Kids' Blog

January Birthday Weekend Getaway

February 26th, 2013 by Mommy


We went to Gatlinburg to celebrate Emily’s birthday. Some of Emily’s favorite things include staying in hotels and swimming, and we were able to make both of these happen. The weather was amazing for January and we enjoyed being outside despite a few rain showers that moved through. In addition to swimming, we played putt-putt, visited the aquarium, rode the trolley, walked the strip, shopped, discovered our way through a mirror maze, and rode the skylift. Emily loved discovering that the hotel had hot chocolate and cookies every night. The trip was fun and it was a delight to share the time with Emily and Julia.


Our little swimmers before they made their big leap in. The water was a bit cold so once we got out we didn’t want to get back in.


Daddy was a great sport and swam with the girls until Julia’s lips turned blue.


During the break in the rain shower we got a game of putt-putt in. The girls wanted us to take turns in the order we played. We only got one ball stuck and didn’t lose any of them. We consider this progress with our young golfers. The rules were treated as suggestions and more than once the hole was bracketed with feet to give a sense of success.


Despite our rule bending both girls successfully made hole-in-ones all on their own. This is Julia celebrating her successful hole-in-one. Quite proud! She hit the ball without looking and was holding the putter backwards, but gravity and some good luck was in her favor on the hole. Emily was not to be out done and made a hole-in-one on a later hole.


The six-year-old has some game and some attitude. Funny!


This was how we traveled this weekend. When Julia got tired of walking we gave her a push. Not a bad plan because one afternoon she gave out and slept for over an hour while Emily kept exploring.


Emily’s first visit to the aquarium had a similar photo to this one, but the fish was bigger than she was. She has now grown longer than the fish!


Dude!! We found Crush!


Mama and her birthday girl!


The girls love the fish bowl and Emily still fits in there. I think the only reason they looked at the camera was that the fish swam away.


While Julia napped Robby took Emily up to the top of the mountain on the skylift. Emily was so brave and the heights didn’t faze her in the least.


Checking out! Emily took charge of all of her and Julia’s clothes and special things. Mama loves the efficiency of giving the stuffed animals a ride on the backpack with a view.


What is a birthday without celebrating it with ice cream for dinner? We did offer other food later, but up to this point it was dinner. Yum! We had enough fun we might do this every year.

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Back to the Aquarium

February 22nd, 2012 by Mommy

We went back to visit the Aquarium this time with Daddy. We had to show him all of our favorite spots. Emily was excited to see the Garden Eel. We had learned about them just that week and the idea of getting to see one was cool. It is such a different visit with two parents. The kids get more freedom to pick the thing they want to look out without having to stick with the other kid. They seemed to enjoy their freedom and in the interactive section they were rarely together.


A serious Emily in the fish tank. She did look at the camera though.


Julia had so much fun looking at the fish in the tank she couldn’t stand still for a photo.



Julia giving her "cheesy" smile.



Mama has not crawled down the observation tube before and it was fun. We visited in the later afternoon and again the penguins were settled in for the night. We read all the arm bands we could see. It was fun to have a name for the different penguins.

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January 11th, 2012 by Mommy


We planned a family trip to visit the Aquarium in Gatlinburg while Daddy had some time off. As life does not always go to plan, he was sick and unable to join us girls on the trip. We went on and made the most of our day without Daddy. The girls took naps in the car on the way. After they woke up, we ventured inside to see all the fish.

Emily was very intent on getting down to an interactive area and hardly looked at the fish exhibits on the way. Julia seemed interested in looking at most things for a few minutes each. Once we got to the lower level, the girls chose to ride through the sea tunnel and watch the fish. The moving floor was a huge hit with the girls. Both girls seemed to really watch the different fish and sharks around us.

Then the girls played in the interactive area for quite a while. They were very busy and just turned knobs, flipped switches, slid windows, and ducked in and out of a dark room to their hearts content. In the past we have visited and attended a preschool program, and Emily was curious why we weren’t seeing Jessica and doing a craft.

When we were finally done in the play area, we ventured into a new part of the exhibit about sharks. And then caught a ray feeding while we had a snack. After the excitement of the play area, the girls were most looking forward to seeing the penguin habitat. They have several tunnels to crawl thru and observe the penguins. The girls were a bit disappointed to find the penguins not active and hanging out in the warmer room of the habitat. The idea that it was near the penguin’s bedtime was too hard for them to grasp.

The last treat of the aquarium was Mama allowing the girls stay in the gift shop for a long time checking out all the fun trinkets and books. Normally the stay in the shop is brief, but for a treat we stayed a bit longer.

We went out for dinner on the way home and enjoyed warm bread with dipping oil and pasta. The only thing that could have made the day more perfect was to have Daddy with us. We decided that in about a month we might try the day visit again taking him with us.


Chris the scuba-diver and fish feeder. When he ran out of food to feed the fish he did a few tricks to entertain us. We caught two of his feedings, one with the Rays and the other in the Reef tank.


Emily checking out the penguin habitat. They loved climbing thru the tunnel.


The girls checking out a shark overhead. They found a lot of sharks to watch in this tank.


Julia peeking up at the penguin habitat. I think she was as excited to be able to look back and see Mama as to see the penguins.

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Our Little Sea Squirts

May 19th, 2011 by Mommy

Our local aquarium has a preschooler program once a month. We try to go once a year to one with our friends. We just got back from one of these programs. This year the class we attended had only our kids in it. The girls didn’t seem to mind the specialized attention. The class was about coral and the animals found in it. They got to color a seahorse craft, hear a story about a clown fish, have a snack, and touch a live starfish. It was fun. After the class we spent time exploring the aquarium. We caught two dive shows and while it was fun to watch the feeding it was really hard to understand the commentary that went with it. I asked the three of the four girls what their favorite thing to do in the aquarium was. Elena said touching the starfish and Emily and Julia both loved the penguin tunnel.

Some other fun things from the day –

  • I had told Julia the night before what we were going to do, but told her it was a secret and not to tell Emily. In the morning I asked her if she had told Emily, she put her finger to her lips and said “shhhhh”. She had kept the secret.
  • The girls loved loving on McKenzie and Kenzie seemed to like the attention.
  • The glass floor in the penguin area and tunnel took some getting used to for Julia. She didn’t want to walk on it at first. Then she had to master crawling on it. She loved standing above a swimming area and watching them swim by.
  • Watching the little girls watch the Nemo fish tank. They tried to grab the very recognizable Nemo and Dory fish.
  • Going shopping after the aquarium with a bunch of little girls.


Emily touching the starfish. A lot of times she chickens out of things like this when she actually has to do it, but this time she even asked to do it a second (brief) time.


Julia touching the starfish. She was so excited to get to do this like the other girls.


Ms. Jessica teaching the Sea Squirt class.


Little girls discovering the “Nemo” fish tank. I love Maeve’s face of delight.


Big girl friends hanging out in the fish tank.


Julia watching the penguins swimming with McKenzie and Ms. Heather.

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August 24th, 2010 by Mommy

We spent one morning of our vacation at the aquarium in Gatlinburg. The girls were interested in looking at the fish in the tanks for a few minutes each tank. The tunnel was fun to move us along and also give us the vantage point of seeing the bottom of animals. Emily wasn’t sure she liked seeing the teeth on the sharks, but the sea turtle was pretty cool. Neither of the girls were brave enough to touch the hermit crab, but both seemed to enjoy crawling into the small fish tank cubbies. Julia loved being able to move around and explore. They even looked at the camera a few times and gave us smiles, cheesy ones sometimes. When we left the aquarium the girls were tired, but they got to bounce in an inflatable bounce room. I don’t think they would have ever come out except for being thirsty.

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Too Short

December 12th, 2009 by Mommy



I just thought these were funny. The diving gear was staged for a kid to pose behind and look like they were in the gear. Even with the step behind the gear it just wasn’t enough for either girl.

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