My Boys

My Boys

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shurtliff Vacation Part 2

We had a more relaxing day. I slept in until 7:45, which I can’t recall the last time I slept so late. Because there was a Krispy Kreme close by, and they are a favorite of mine and Kara's, we decided to have donuts for breakfast. Later that morning, we left around 10am for a 3-mile hike. Getting to the trail head proved more difficult than it should have been, and we had to either cross a small stream or walk on a busy road with little shoulder. We opted for the stream. My first attempt crossing while holding Austin, led to me slipping on a rock and getting the right side of my body wet from the waist down. After several more attempts from others proving futile (too many kids), Matt walked in the water and carried all the kids across one by one. Matt was wearing flip flops, and one of them broke in the process, so he went on the hike barefoot. We picked a hike that was close, short, and led to a waterfall. Upon further research, we discovered that the hike actually didn’t lead to a waterfall. So about 1 mile in, we turned around because we were hot, sweaty, and several kids were complaining. We relaxed the rest of the day with games and foosball. Lindsey made fajitas for dinner.

All the cousins minus Claire

Trying to cross the stream

Matt hiking barefoot

Hanging out at the cabin


We got an early start and went to WonderWorks, also known as the upside down museum. They had so many cool science exhibits, and the kids loved it! Some favorite activities: rock climbing, laser tag, ropes course, laying on a bed of nails, XD theater experience, large bubbles, and several other exciting exhibits. We left there at 1:30, went home for lunch, and then had a relaxing afternoon and foosball tournament. In the championship game, Caleb and Kari faced off against Jared and Samantha. It was a close battle but Jared and Sam pulled out the win. Matt and I did hamburgers and hot dogs that night for dinner.

Hurricane shack

Carter and Caleb rock climbing

Austin playing with a large version of Lite-Brites

Bryson laying on a bed of nails

Austin the astronaut

Bryson the astronaut

Foosball fun

We loaded up, cleaned up and left by 8:30. We took an hour stop for dinner to break up the monotony of driving and were scheduled to be home by 11:30 pm. About an hour after dinner, we learned there was a bad accident up ahead, so we took a slow detour that was slightly faster than waiting in the traffic. We didn’t end up getting home until 12:15 am.

Overall, it was such a fun trip! My boys loved waking up to cousins to play with, and I loved the escape from normal routines and a chance to spend time with my family.

Shurtliff Vacation Part 1

For our Shurtliff family vacation this year, we opted to head to a part of the country that we haven't seen before and also has cooler weather. We ended up in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 

Love this picture!

High points of the trip:
  •         Staying up late the first night and talking
  •         Game time—we played One Night Werewolf the most
  •         Dollywood amusement park and Splash Country waterpark were a lot of fun
  •         WonderWorks Science museum
  •         Caleb orchestrated a foosball tournament
  •         No one got sick!
  •         No one got lost, and we were all kept safe.

Low points of the trip:
  •           The drive—between bathroom stops and Austin crying off and on, it was rough. We opted to drive straight through on the way home instead of breaking it up in two days. Though it made for a long day, it was nice to get it done and over with. Plus the kids were mostly asleep by 9pm.
  •          The squeaky bed. It was awful! Both Matt and I were scared to make any movements throughout the night in order not to wake up each other or Austin, who slept in our room in a pack n’ play.

View from our cabin

Our cabin was 3 stories with 3 bedrooms on the top floor plus an open area with some arcade games, the main floor had the dining area + master bedroom, and the bottom floor had 4 bedrooms--two with queen beds and 2 with bunk beds. All the kids minus toddlers/babies slept on the bottom floor.

We missed Ariane and Zane’s family this year, who couldn’t join us last-minute because they drove to Florida to adopt their newest member of their family: Benson William.

However, Lindsey decided on a whim to join us. Because everything was so up in the air about where they would be living this summer for Derrick’s internship, they didn’t plan on coming this year. Lindsey changed her mind the morning of, packed, and decided to come with just the kids. Derrick helped her drive a large portion, then rented a car and went back.

Everyone arrived around 5:30 pm (check-in was at 4). Kara and Clayton make BBQ pork sandwiches. There was a big debate about who should get which room. Every room had a king bed and was very spacious, so in the end it didn’t seem to matter who got which room. However, we failed to perform the “squeaky bed test” and thus slept uncomfortably for the rest of the week. We stayed up that night playing Code Names and then talking until 1:30 am (which was only 12:30 Texas time). I love being together with my family!

We spent a full day at Dollywood. We left at 9:30 in the morning and didn’t get home until 7:30 pm. It was a really fun amusement park with plenty to do to fill the day. We didn’t stop for any of the shows, and still didn’t get all the rides done in one day. (Taking turns riding rides and an hour lightning delay contributed to that.) We got pizza for dinner that night and had an earlier night after such a long day.

Bryson's favorite ride: Fire Chaser Express
This was a pretty fast rollercoaster that went backwards for half of the ride. He is becoming more brave!

Austin's first ride!

Bryson was so excited about this one: Shooting Star

On Wednesday, we went to Splash Country at Dollywood. This water park is very comparable to the one near our home except it has more options that are 36” so Bryson could do more rides.  (He is 41 1/2" and most rides are 42".) We were there from 10-3 and then finished up the day at Dollywood catching a few rides we had missed the first time. The amusement park was less crowded than on Monday, and we were able to ride a lot of rides in the 3 hours we were there. We had a late dinner of spaghetti that night and played many rounds of One Night Werewolf.

Morgan and Austin hanging out together

Austin loves Novalee

Back at Dollywood on the River Rampage

From this picture you can tell that it had been a long day! We were headed out and Bryson wasn't happy about it.

Kara sacrificed and took Austin home with her after Splash Country so that he and Novalee could take naps back at the cabin. It was so nice of her. After they woke up, they had a lot of fun playing with each other.