A Visit From Family

“Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all of their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them.”     The Audubon Nature Preschool

Haydyn and I enjoy playing in the cold water in the Park.

My family arrived a week ago, and we met them in Maryville, where we all ate lunch and picked up a few things while in town. Little Tyler was excited to go to the mountains where Aunt NoNo and Uncle Wes live. Haydyn had just started walking a couple of weeks before and perfected her abilities while here! Tuesday was spent with them all getting rested up after the long drive here, and later that afternoon, we went to a lovely, quiet little spot along the river in the Smokies, not far from where we live. The kids really enjoyed playing in the water, splashing and throwing rocks. Of course the grownups had their share of fun as well, while wading and skipping rocks. Anytime I got my rock to skip two times, I thought I was really something, and told my brother Marshall to pay attention to my mastery of the sport . . . Ha! Then because brothers and sisters will always be such, after being splashed with the intensely cold water by my “loving” brother, I retaliated, and we were once again little kids going at it! That evening, we met our neighbor friends, Paul and Norma, for supper at Pizza Hut, where everyone, especially the kids and me, enjoyed our yummy pizza! After returning home, we took a relaxing, leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. The highlight of our little journey was getting to feed Cocoa, the resident horse, carrots! I love feeding and petting him as much as he enjoys it himself! He quite liked little Haydyn, even tasting her hair at one point during our visit with him.

My Mom, Tyler, Wes and Marshall enjoying one of the picnics in our “tree house”.

Wednesday was spent going to Gatlinburg to visit the aquarium. After enjoying a nice lunch at No Way Jose’s, we headed to the Aquarium of the Smokies. Unfortunately, there were about five million other people that had the same idea. So after dropping all of us off, Wes spent the next hour trying to locate a parking space. Watching the beautiful and mesmerizing Jellyfish are always my favorite part of visiting there, but I think Tyler really enjoyed watching the sharks swim overhead. I must admit we were all greatly disappointed that one could hardly even get close enough to the tanks to view the fish, because there was such an overwhelming amount of people there. We were all quite happy to leave the chaos of the crowds behind, and head back to our peaceful little slice of heaven! Thursday we went into Cades Cove, and enjoyed a picnic by the stream. Driving around the Cove that afternoon, we saw Deer, Turkeys, and several Black Bears, and Tyler got to visit one of the old barns there. He and Haydyn also both got to pet several pelts that one of the park rangers had there on display. Upon completing the loop road and eating our tasty ice cream cones, we then enjoyed the nice drive out of the Cove along Rich Mountain Road to return home.

Tyler and Aunt NoNo feel the very soft fur of a Cougar while in the park.

Friday morning, we headed up the lovely Foothills Parkway, to walk up to Look Rock Tower, to see the damage from the recent tornado we had. Once up there, one could really see where the tornado had touched down and practically “ate” every tree, where it made contact, forming large brown patches along the mountain tops and sides. Haydyn found this entire experience quite relaxing, and enjoyed it by taking a nap on the way back down. That evening, we grilled out in secret garden, where the hit of the evening was the yummy grilled corn, and delicious s’mores! Tyler had been hearing about Aunt NoNo’s s’mores, and was excited to try one, deciding that he liked it quite well! By the end, most all of us had melted chocolate adorning our faces!

Tyler enjoys one of aunt NoNo’s yummy s’mores!

Saturday started off with breakfast in the “tree house”, while watching all of my bird and squirrel friends that came to visit us and enjoy their breakfast treats. Then after lunch Haydyn, Tyler and I enjoyed a refreshing soak in my small plastic pool. A couple of hours passed while we played with the sea creatures, and made rain with a plastic sieve. They both loved it when I made it rain on them, squealing with delight, and then Tyler would make it rain on me! After grilling out again that evening, while my Mom and Haydyn took a little walk, my Dad, Marshall and I went on a bike ride around Townsend. We rode to the one end, where we stopped on the pedestrian bridge and watched the fish and even two kayakers pass underneath the bridge in the river below. Leaving there, we headed over and visited with friends Fred and Barb for a bit, while listening to some music being played nearby. With the darkness of night quickly approaching, we decided it was time to start the ride home.

Everyone heads up the ramp leading to Look Rock Tower.

Before we knew it, the week had already passed, and after enjoying my homemade baked ziti for lunch, they began the journey home later that afternoon. Lots of memories were made and Tyler got to see NoNo’s mountains without snow!

Newsletter update:  For those of you who just received our printed newsletter in the mail, please note that we will be giving a formal presentation in conjunction with our miniature exhibition at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center on Thursday, September 15th in the evening.  We will also do an informal talk on the 17th.  Specific information will updated on the website.

Until next time     ~     Rachelle  🙂

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