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Ava Elisabeth: July 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Boone, Day 4: The Bike Ride…


Saturday was our last full day in Boone and we didn't have any set plans, so after breakfast (which by the way, my grandmother went to too much trouble to fix breakfast for us, we kept telling her cereal would be perfectly fine, she just wouldn't believe us!) we discussed our options. My parents insisted that I had been down the Virginia Creeper Trail years back and I insisted I didn't remember anything about it. Of course, since I'm telling the story, we all know how it ends, right? You got it! I had not been down the trail, apparently I was already married and she was thinking it was me, when really, it was Stacey...darn sisters! ;) We had thought about taking Ava last year we just didnt' have the time, so after talking and making a phone call to see about time and rentals, we all made a beeline to get ready. We left Grammy's and traveled through Tennessee to get to Virginia.  We used the company called Blue Blaze bike rentals and the guy was super nice and made everything easy. We were all fitted for our bikes and had them loaded up and we hopped in the shuttle.



The trail is an old rail bed and 34 miles long, but we were only doing a portion of it- the portion that is mostly downhill. They shuttled us up to Whitetop Station, the highest point on the trail and boy were those roads winding roads! Luckily I do better climbing mountains than coming down out of them! Ava and Trevor had these little tag-along bikes that hooked to the back of an adult bike. Brody decided to ride a bike on his own. The portion of the trail we were doing would be 18 miles from Whitetop Station back down to the bike rental shop in Damascus.


Ava was super excited to ride on the tag along, until they started going- then it became D R A M A! Have mercy on our souls because the child cried for the first 3 miles of the trail!



We stopped at Green Cove Station for a photo op and to check and see how everyone was doing. Everyone, except for Ava (and subsequently her 2 parents) were doing great! So Ava and I had a little pow-wow about how it was only going to be miserable if she didn't change her attitude, then I sent her off to play on the playground to hopefully get her to where she was enjoying herself. When it came time to hop back on the bikes and continue on, she started to cry before we even made it over to the bike and I reminded her that she can either have fun or be miserable, it was her choice, but I would choose to have fun. Only by the grace of God did I make it through her thick skull, because she didn't cry getting on the bike and within a matter of minutes she was back to her happy, fun loving self and we didn't have any problems the rest of the trip- actually it fueled her drive to want to ride a bike without training wheels. \


Adam took a video of her riding behind him as they were pedaling down the trail and she thought it was the coolest thing ever- she kept wanting to watch it. I also have to say these tag-alongs were the neat too- she could pedal to her heart's content but it didn't' matter if she did or didn't- but she thought she was doing something! Actually when we were going down the trail and Adam stopped pedaling (and started coasting) she flipped out and said 'Pedal, Daddy, pedal!!' while her little legs were going 90 mph trying to keep them going- haha!


The entire trail crosses over 47 trestles, so it was neat to cross over the water so many times.




Lunch break...we didn't really stop, and by stop I mean get off our bikes and actually take a break, except for one time, we found a campsite along the river and we decided to stop and eat some snacks. And give the kids a break- but they were all having so much fun.


On the way down, we passed a crowd of people standing near the bank and realized someone had fallen down off the side of the trail, so dad pedaled fast and hurried ahead of us to go get help. Luckily it happened only a few miles outside of town. We didn't stick around to see what happened, so I hope she was ok. Mom also had to go to the bathroom, and there obviously aren't many restrooms along the way, so we hurried back into town.


The last few miles of the trial, as you were coming back into town, it flattened out and we all had to work a little harder. You know, you wouldn't want to say you went on an 18 mile bike ride and not work at least some of the distance! There is a little ice cream place right as you are coming into town, we said next time we will plan to go earlier in the day so we have more time to enjoy the town and bikes.


With dad speeding ahead and with mom needing to use the restroom, we made it back a few minutes before Jason, Jenny, and the boys, so Dad and Ava went over to a caboose next to the shop and found Virginia Creeper- fitting since we were on the Virginia Creeper! :) The bike ride was really fun and beautiful as we pedaled along rivers and through valleys and the weather the entire trip was just unbelievable, of course it helps we were coming from 90+ degree days in Florida.


We all made it back and quickly freshened up/cleaned up and got ready to go out to eat. My Aunt Ann and Uncle Scott had been at a wedding that was a short distance away so they decided to come for a quick visit. We all went to eat at Sagebrush (of course, where else would we go?)


It was Jason's birthday (and Father's Day for all the dads, AND Aunt Ann and Dad's birthday on the 22nd) so we had lots to celebrate. Grammy and Big Papa had them bring dessert out for Dad, Aunt Ann, and Jason and gave Jason this killer Apron. I'm still waiting to see a picture with him wearing it while grilling...better yet, he can just invite us over and grill for us then we can see it in person!! ;)


After dinner we all went to walk through a park on the campus of App State. And this happened...are they not just the sweetest! (for the moment)







One of the times we were riding around Boone I had mentioned that they have these tunnels that students can use to cross under the road- to avoid the traffic and Brody desperately wanted to go walk through one, so we did him one better and we walked through 2! The things kids think are so neat, right?! Forget the 18 mile bike ride- we will go walk through tunnels!


On our way back to Grammy's car, which we all - all 11 piled in!, we passed this pond where these ducks came running up to us! I'm sure they were hunting some food and we didn't have any, but B, T, and A thought it was so funny! Next time I'll remember to carry a pack of crackers.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Boone, Day 3 (part b)


While we had the kids at Tweetsie, the guys went golfing (doesn't seem fair does it?) so we didn't plan to eat dinner with them. We decided to go down to Blowing Rock to eat and then over to the park in Blowing Rock and let the kids play. They had a great time and it was so nice outside we didn't mind sitting there watching them.


We eventually decided to go walk down the streets and find some ice cream. We knew where the ice cream was, but we used the 'find' as a ploy to walk around and look in all the windows of the shops ;) It kept the kids from asking us every step about ice cream. Before leaving the park area, we had them get together for a picture...the following pictures are what I deal with each time I ask Ava to take a picture...oh my at the poses!


I especially love this one! Haha!



I finally succumbed to the fact that this was the best I was going to get..haha!


We finally :) made it to Kilwins to get some ice cream- it took us forever to decide what we wanted, but it was worth all the contemplating since it was yum-0! I don't know if anyone knows this or not, but my dad loves ice cream. He has a bowl every night- its his weakness! So no one was surprised when the guys came walking up out of nowhere to get ice cream! I had mentioned in a text to Adam we were getting ice cream after dinner and apparently he let it slip to dad and well...he heard ice cream so he headed south! It was a nice evening, the guys had a good time golfing (of course), and everyone went back home happy-happy since they had just had ice cream!


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Monday, July 15, 2013

Boone, Day 3


Friday morning we decided to take the kids to Tweetsie Railroad. This little amusement park is only open during the Summer and early Fall so many of the times we are up in Boone, we aren't able to go. Since Ava had her little buddies with her, we thought this would be the perfect time to go, and they are all at the perfect age to enjoy this park.


We started off on the train. They were all excited to ride and Ava wanted absolutely nothing to do with me (go figure!), but since I planned my seat just right, it wasn't long before all 3 were over on my side of the train! :)


They cowboys had a gun fight with outlaws and then later they had a fight with the Indians. Brody didn't much care for the gun fights- I don't think he knew what to do, but the other 2 were just eating it up! The Indians and Cowboys even came on the train.


After the train ride, they insisted on visiting the jail.


We asked them what they wanted to do and they all decided on mining for gems, so we headed up to miner's mountain. In order to get there you can either take the shuttle bus or you can ride the chair lift. Well obviously we opted for the chair lift. Gigi was Brody's partner that day (and yes, its like 9:30 and mom has her box of popcorn!)


We only bought 1 bucket of sand to split between all of them- which worked out perfect! We showed them how to do it and then they got to have fun looking for gems :)


They were all very serious about finding different ones and lining them up.


It was fun and well worth the $5 we each paid.


After bagging up their gems, I had shocker moment of the day #1- Ava wanted to ride the scrambler- and not the mini scrambler like they have at the fair- the big time scrambler. AND she wanted to ride it with Brody. You know, I wasn't quite ready for my baby to ride a big ride by herself, so I was pretty anxious the entire ride. Jenny rode with Trevor in the one behind them.


She was all smiles at the beginning, and Jenny was yelling at Brody to make sure he took good care of her. However, this ride was quite possibly the longest ride I have ever watched. Jenny even started saying as she swung by, 'Is this ride ever going to end?!'


So needless to say, by the end of the ride, Ava's face wasn't smiling anymore, but she didn't cry and we both survived her first time riding a 'big kid' ride without an adult. I figured we wouldn't have to worry about another 'big kid' ride the rest of the day.


We decided to visit the petting zoo and boy was it entertaining. They had all kinds of animals, and even these Emu's, which were quite possibly the funniest thing we saw. It would stick its head up and out, I was afraid to get too close and I ended up leaving some food on the fence- but even that was tricky because this animal was quick and its head would be down by the ground and pop up above the fence before you knew it! We had a good laugh watching me try to feed it!




They had some goats that were walking around and the kids had fun petting them. Ava still hadn't fed one (as in hold her hand out and let it eat from her hand) and I was determined to make the child do it.



The first time she got close, but jerked it away at the last minute.


Second time, same thing...


Third time, same thing, only this time she didn't get nearly as close and she was crying. Yes, I'm that mother that is going to force her child, kicking and screaming to do something. It's called helping them grow and by this time I just wasn't going to let her walk away scared. My Mom and Grammy both had to walk away- they couldn't handle it. So we had a little chat and I threatened to end her fun at Tweetsie and guess what?!


5th times a charm! haha! She did it and she was glad she did it. Poor goat, he was probably tired of Ava teasing him with the food, I'm sure he was glad to finally get some! haha!


After finally feeding the goat, she was fine and happy and excited that she actually did it (see Gigi?!) and we finished walking the loop around the petting zoo.


We headed to do a couple more-my-speed rides before heading back down the mountain.


Thankfully Tweetsie wasn't crowded it all and we didn't have to wait in any lines. And the weather was absolutely perfect! It might have even been a tad on the cool side since everywhere we stopped, we preferred to stand/sit in the sun!





We rode the chair lift back down the mountain (one of their favorite parts of the day was riding this thing up and down the mountain)



At the bottom there were more rides to be ridden.


Brody and Ava wanted to ride the Ferris wheel but Gigi didn't think they should go by themselves, so she invited herself to join them. I think Ava was a little bummed she wasn't riding it alone with Brody (which I'm not sure if I should be concerned about that or not... :) ) Trevor wasn't tall enough to ride, so he rode the airplanes over and over and over again. There wasn't ever a line, so he didn't even have to get off!

We took the cars out for a spin. Grammy rode with Ava


Trevor drove me around


And Jenny's chauffeur was Brody.

It was a short track, but I definitely liked it better than Disney's. They only had the outside lane bumpers so the kids were driving more than what they can at Disney. They all did pretty well!



Shocker of the Day #2- Ava wanted to ride the tilt-a-whirl. They did this again without an adult. She had last ridden the tilt-a-whirl when Jason was riding with them at the fair and she wasn't super crazy about it. Of course, that ride was pretty long and they spun a lot, so I was very surprised she wanted to ride this. Again, she started out smiling....


But then this face happened.... and I thought- oh no!


Jenny snapped an even better shot of 'the face' haha!


However, when she made it off, she eventually gave us a thumbs-up. It was a shaky, hesitant thumbs-up but it was a thumbs-up nonetheless.


It wasn't until she was out of the car did the smile start to creep across her face.


Then we finally got a bigger smile and a better thumbs up!


These two... words could never describe!



Ava wanted to watch a show, so we had a few minutes to kill before it started. The kids found horses and a stagecoach and they were all three constantly climbing over the horses or into the stagecoach.



Shocker-of-the-Day #3.  Ava wanted to watch the cloggers (did you think that was a lost art? Well its alive at Tweetsie!) and when they asked for volunteers to come up on stage, guess who volunteered?! My girl! I've said it before- she is a different person when she is dancing!


She got up there and danced with the girls and thought she was something else!


Afterwards they posed for pictures and the boys didn't want anything to do with them (I'm sure Jason is saying Hallelujah right now). Ava on the other hand, thought it was absolutely divine!

Everyone was getting pretty tired at that point and we were going to go out to eat in Blowing Rock so we decided to head back to Grammy's to freshen up and get Big Papa. Before we left, Ava wanted to ride the train one more time. The boys wanted to ride another ride, so Jenny took them while we rode the train. I think it moved about 10 feet down the track and Ava was out! She was tired! After the train ride, the boys and Jenny were waiting on us and we headed out, and I think its safe to say everyone had a good time!

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Ava Elisabeth: July 2013

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Ava Elisabeth

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