An {ELEVEN} Hour Drive

We took our first camping trip of the year on Easter weekend. We made the eleven hour drive, our furthest camping trip to date, to the Smoky Mountain National Park. We went five years ago with my in-laws and decided to make the same trip with them again, only we added {THREE} children this time! If you have not been to Smoky Mountain National Park, I highly recommend it. It’s absolutely beautiful. Streams & waterfalls everywhere! At every campground you just hear constant water flowing in multiple directions. It so relaxing. Now, the national park has no electric or water hook-ups, which wasn’t a problem for us five years ago sans kids, but I’ll have to admit that we were a little nervous this go round. Luckily, our fridge & furnace can run off of our propane tanks. That was all we needed, besides the occasional light here & there.

day 1morning - day 2Day 2 - waterfallIt was pretty chilly one of the days that we were there & of course that was the day that we decided to climb to the top of Clingmans Dome . . . not wise, it was about seventeen degrees cooler up there, which meant that it was 30 degrees, complete with ice on all the trees. The boys were exhausted (as you can see in the photo of Chan trying to sleep on the bench) when we finished our hike up there, so they both took naps in the warm car while we drove to the next adventure.

Day 2The Easter bunny left baskets for the kids and dropped eggs all over our campsite for an Easter egg hunt. They were allowed to endulge in some treats and then we went out hiking & exploring so more.

EasterLast dayThis was our first camping trip with Mars as a walker. We spent a lot of time chasing him back to our campsite. The natural beauty of this world is astounding! I was taken back by the most simple things, the trees, the streams, and the sheer size of the boulders. The boys just enjoyed their time outside and all of the “treats” they get while camping that they would never be able to eat at home. When we finally got home, made dinner and we told the boys that it was time to eat & Marshall headed to the door and tried to go outside. He was totally confused as to why were we spending so much time indoors.

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines

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Have Camper {WILL} Travel

We have some friends, best friends, that travel for a living . . . cool, right?!? They’ve lived in {NUMEROUS} states in the midwest and east coast over the past 4 years. They only times that we’ve seen them in these 4 years is when they come home & have a break away from their families long enough to visit us. Well, since we bought a camper, we decided, why wait on them to come home? We’ll go to them! We coordinated, loaded everything up in our truck and camper and made the 6 hour trip . . . Oh, did I forget to mention we bought a {CAMPER} . . .  we are so excited to be traveling and making family memories! I did a little sprucing up in our camper with some linens I had around the house, stole from my mom’s house & bought at estate sales, but plan to do more . . . I’ll write a blog post all about it when it’s done!

Chan-to-Mars-Blog---In-Camper-FunChan-to-Mars-Blog---Marshall-Chan-to-Mars---Geese-on-Rock-Cut-Lake Chan-to-Mars-Blog---Chandler-at-Rock-Cut-LakeMy boys are definitely made for the traveling, camping lifestyle. They love our camper and they love the fresh air and adventures even more! The weekend that worked best to meet up with our friends just so happened to be my {BIRTHDAY} weekend. We had a lot of indulgences; s’mores, brownies, chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts around the campfire. . . hey, you only turn 29 once!

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines

Sharing My {WANDERLUST}

I love sharing my {WANDERLUST} with Chandler! We always plan to take at least one family vacation per year, but it normally ends up being two vacations. I just love traveling so much, I feel as though I cannot go six months without going somewhere. Chandler has been to quite a few places for a 3 year old; Anchorage, Kenia Peninsula, Denali, Breckenridge, Viel, Golden, Denver, parts of Mississippi & Illinois, Gulf Shore, Dauphin Island, Branson and now he’s an {INTERNATIONAL} traveler by visiting Niagara Falls & Toronto.

Chan to Mars blog - Chandler at Niagara FallsChan to Mars Blog - Niagara FallsChan to Mars Blog - Niagara Falls
Chan to Mars - Chandler in Toronto Dundas Square
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Pre-baby {HOLIDAY}

We had already taken our family vacation for the year, in May, because I didn’t know how’d I’d be feeling later in my pregnancy. Well, I haven’t been feeling the best. I tire easily, I’m swollen and just overall uncomfortable . . . but, when my mom told me that she wanted to all go on vacation again before the baby arrives I couldn’t pass it up! I {LOVE} to travel & I love traveling with Chandler and allowing him to experience this {WONDERFUL} world.

We had to choose a place that didn’t require us to do much walking, had a hotel room with all of the amenities because we’d likely be spending most of our time in our room with the exception of doing one activity per day & overall a place that was {RELAXING}! We chose to go see “Water Mountains” (in Chandler’s words) in Canada.

Niagara Falls - View from Sheraton at the Falls

Getting here was no easy task. My husband wasn’t able to come because of work, so it ended up just being my mom, Chandler & myself (with Marshall in tow). I’ve traveled several times with Chandler as a “lap child” on the plane, so I thought this time would be easier with him having his own seat. It would’ve been if we were not on some of the tiniest passenger planes that I’ve ever seen! Also, we had a quick connection to catch as soon as our first plane landed. Now, when I say tiny, I mean tiny . . . on our second flight from Cleveland to Buffalo we were in the twelfth row, so I was thinking that we’d be somewhere in the middle of the plane, ummm, {NO} . . . we were in the last row! The first plane from St. Louis to Cleveland was so tight that I couldn’t even fit Chandler’s carseat through the aisles, so I had to try to lift it above my head while carrying 2-3 other carry-on bags while pregnant, while trying to keep an eye on Chandler . . . {DISASTER}. Luckily, a nice man (a father of three, so he understood) came from the back of the plane to help me out by carrying the carseat to my seat, he also helped me to get the carseat off of the plane when we landed. Needless to say I gate-checked that b$%#h on our second flight!! Once the flights were over everything went pretty smooth except that we were all tired, hungry & getting on each other’s nerves . . . a norm for traveling with my family . . . don’t let us get hungry, we get {CRAZY}!

We were relieved when we were finally on Canadian soil and on our way to get something to eat!

Shoes on street

Chandler was so excited to finally get to wear his fuzzy-lined mocs that I bought in late spring. Yes, Chandler put on his own shoes on the wrong feet & no, I didn’t notice till after dinner. Such a great memory of his childhood & my parenthood!