Friday, April 15, 2011

Camping for Daddy's Birthday

We have a tradition of going camping for Devon's birthday every year.  This year we were in the middle of our fundraising for the marathon, so we had to put it off a few weeks.  Devon spent many hours researching the perfect place.  I was getting a little annoyed at how long it was taking him to decide because we have never camped anywhere in Tennessee, so wherever we went was going to be a new experience.  I have to admit I was wrong and I am so glad he spent the time researching!  We ended up at Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.  It was awesome!  There was so much to do and it was just beautiful!

We drove over on Tuesday morning.  The girls were hungry when we arrived, so I made them some lunch while Devon started unloading our stuff.
When the girls were done with lunch they decided to help Daddy put the tent up.  I know he appreciated the help:-)
Three of the best pole holders I've ever seen!

About five minutes after the tent was up Cadence decided to get comfy.  She was in her pajamas and barefoot anytime we were at the campsite. 
We walked over to the playground.  Story and Cadence were a little leery of the geese.
We checked out the water.
On our way back to camp we saw this little guy.  Lyric thought about catching him, but we just decided to watch him for awhile.
We decided our first stop would be Woodlands Nature Station.  This place was awesome!  They had a little area inside for the kiddos.  It had puzzles, coloring pages and different items from nature to see and touch.
There were all kinds of stuffed animals to look at.  Cadence really didn't understand why none of them were moving.

The "backyard" of the nature center is home to many different animals.  All of the animals are there because they couldn't survive in nature.  They were either injured, orphaned or lost a fear of humans.   We were about to go outside to see all of the animals when we were stopped be a trainer.  She was going out to feed the bobcat and invited us to come.  The girls were mesmerized.
We were able to ask questions and she told us all about the bobcat.  Cadence whispered in my ear, "This is amazing!"
After the feeding the girls (and I) were able to feel a bobcat hide.  It was SO soft!
We walked around and checked out all the animals.  They had quite a few different owls.
The red tail hawk was beautiful.

The wolves were cool to see. 
We really LOVED this place, but it made me sad to see the animals in fences or many of the birds with a leash on their legs.  The bobcat we met had been there for 17 years because she was orphaned as a baby.  I wondered if the animals would have been better off letting nature take its course.  Most of them would not have survived without the help of the nature center, but would death have been better for them than the life they have?  I don't know?  For some reason the birds really got to me because an eagle is born to be soaring high in the sky not in a fence.
When we left the nature center we headed to the Elk and Bison Prairie.
On our way, Devon spotted three eagles flying.  He almost wrecked the car to pull over on the side of the road so he could get out and see them!  I thought it was really cute the way he was acting, but the girls thought he was nuts!  Lyric said he looked like a five year old who had just spotted a toy in the sky, "Toy! Toy!"
He thinks it was two juveniles and an adult.
When this one landed he decided to get the video camera to capture it.
I had to get a picture of him filming it because he was so cute!  I wish the camera could have captured his excitement.  We haven't watched his video yet, but maybe we will be able to hear the excitement in his voice:-)
Driving through to see the bison and elk was an awesome experience.  We saw these elk lounging in the shade.  We all thought they looked so big just laying there.

Until a few minutes later we saw the bison.  They were huge!

Lyric and Story liked them, but they were a little nervous about them charging our car.

We saw a few and we thought that was all we might see, so we spent a lot of time watching them and taking pictures.  A few minutes later we drove up to this huge herd.  I think we counted 26!
They were so close to the car you could practically reach our and touch them.
If you happen to be near Land Between the Lakes, this place is totally work the five bucks to drive through!
When we arrived back at camp everyone helped to build the fire.  Yes, Cadence is back in her pajamas and barefoot.
The ground didn't bother her.  She helped Daddy gather small sticks for the fire.

Daddy had a little trouble getting the fire going.  He received lots of advice from all of us girls--all of whom have never built a fire:-)
There wasn't much wind, so he had to do a lot of blowing.
Patiently waiting...

Story and I cuddled up to keep warm while we waited on the fire.
Cadence used the binoculars to look at the moon.
Once the fire was going the weenie roasting began!
Cadence decided to try hers before it was roasted.

Daddy helped her get it cooked.

I saw somewhere on the internet an idea to use peeps to make smores-YUM! 
It was pretty cold that night, but we all got a pretty good nights sleep.
The girls had some hot chocolate when they woke up.
We were told about a good trail for the kiddos near the nature center.
We had to walk across this to get to the trail.
Lyric and I walked out ahead to scope it out.  We went back to walk with Story.  I'm not sure what Story is saying, but I would be willing to guess she is telling Lyric and I how to do it.
They held hands as they crossed.  Too sweet!
Lyric just had to chase the poor geese!

These poor guys were doing their best to get away from us.  They eventually flew away.

To entertain the kiddos while we're hiking we invent scavenger hunts.  Story found this heart shaped leaf.

Story didn't need sisters help on the way back.

Lyric spotted some tadpoles and HAD to catch them.
She tried for awhile with her hands, but wasn't having much luck.  We decided Cadence's bug catchers would work better.

She caught a few, examined them and set them free.

We had a picnic lunch and then headed to The Homeplace, a working history farm.
Seeing everyone dressed in period clothing and walking through the farm was really cool.

The girls liked watching the sheep graze.
Lyric thought the tobacco hanging was interesting.
My favorite part by far was the dress up area!  I LOVED seeing the girls in period clothing!  It made me think of Little House on the Prairie.
Mary, Laura and Baby Carrie in the flesh.
This picture of Story had a real affect on me.  In July, on her diagnosis anniversary I'll write more about it.
They had boy clothes too.  I tried to convince all three girls to try them out.  Cadence reluctantly gave in to me:-)
I am so so glad she did!  She was precious!
We went to the planetarium before heading back to our campsite.
Daddy had a much easier time starting our fire this night.  Yes, Cadence is back in her pajamas and barefoot.
We got the weenies out a little prematurely.  So they posed for pictures while the fire was heating up.

Finally, time for roasting.
Yum! At least that is what they said, I didn't have one.
Hot dog on the head.
More smores.
We had another cold, but good night.  When we woke up the next morning we packed it up and headed home.  We all had a great time!  It was so nice being able to do something so normal that we did before cancer!

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