Monday, April 6, 2015

The Lost Sea Adventure

Last weekend we slept in a cavern!
(or a cave...what's the difference?)

Before we get to that...check out my new sofas.
We had our black leather sofas for over 10 years and we finally upgraded.  
Romy (the cat with front claws) scratched the heck out of the old sofas.  For some reason he learned that if he scratched the sofa we would throw him out of the house.  Jokes on us because that's exactly what he wanted.

 Romy prefers to spend the entire day outside except for his afternoon nap from 11-3pm.
I was a little nervous leaving him locked inside for two days, fearing he would tear up the new sofas as his revenge.

So I covered them.  
(I knew I saved all of L and T's baby blankets for a reason.)

Once the sofas were covered and our bags were packed we hit the road for the Boy Scout trip to
The Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, Tennessee. (about a 3 hour drive)

Unlimited screen time the whole way there.  Lauren is getting into music (prefers top 40) so she's probably jamming to Taylor Swift or Uptown Funk.

We got there in plenty of time.  Enough time for a group picture and a flag ceremony.

The weather outside was COLD. We picked the one weekend in March that had an overnight freeze warning.
Lucky for us the Caves/Caverns have a year round temperature of a humid 58 degrees.
Ready to head down. 

We carried our sleeping gear (no tents allowed) down the 150 steps into the cavern. 

At the bottom the guides led us to our sleeping spot where we dropped our packs.  Then they took us on a two hour guided tour of the caverns.

On our tour we saw stalagmites (growing up from the ground,) stalactites (growing down from the ceiling) and also this cool "bacon formation."

For the brave and not scared of damp clay, there were the crawling tours.  Matt, Lauren, and Tyler each went on at least one cave crawl.  (Think stomach to the ground and having to move like a worm to fit through.)  I kind of liked my shirt I was wearing and didn't want to ruin it.  Also, I'm not a fan of super tight and enclosed spaces so I took the alternative (upright walking) tour which was also pretty cool.  This place is amazing with all the big and small nooks and crannies.

Below is a picture of our boat ride on the Lost Sea.  There was actually a lake down there.  This lake was stocked with fish too.  Rainbow Trout.  Many years ago they stocked the lake with the trout as an experiment to see if the fish could find the source of the water.  They couldn't and can't so now the staff must feed them daily to sustain them.  They also said that because of the lack of light down there the fish have lost 20% of their eyesight.  (insert *crying face emoji*)

With only the light from our flashlights we weren't able to take many good pictures.

 After our tour concluded we were led back to our sleeping areas and we set up camp.
We have a tarp under us, some small foam pads, my pilates mat and our sleeping bags.  Matt and my sleeping bags are on the outside and L and T's are in between.
We spent the night under the ground.
(The echo was crazy.  There were other groups staying down there with us who didn't go to bed as early as we did.  We could hear every mumbled word.  And later on every rumbling snore.  I was very happy I brought some ear plugs! 
I'm not even going to comment on the pungent smell of the Port o Potties)
All in all...
It was pretty amazing.  It was huge and awesome, a bit commercialized but definitely a unique experience.

The next morning we had breakfast in the on site snack shack.  Eggs, sausage, and biscuits.
L and T provide proof we survived the night in the cavern.

On our way home we had our second breakfast at the Dunkin' Donuts attached to the nearest gas station.
(Tyler's souvenir from the trip was a 'coon skin cap)

We had a good time (I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it) at the Lost Sea Adventure but sleeping in a cave sure takes its toll.
Luckily we had a three hour ride home to catch up on some sleep.

Friday, April 3, 2015

On to the NINES

Happy 9th Birthday Tyler!

Look at my little Baby Blue.
Looking at those blue eyes makes me want to scoop him up in my arms.

At nine years old he's a lot heavier and less compliant than he was six years ago.

To celebrate to the NINES we started off with a family party on his actual birthday.
When he came home from school he saw this extensive gift arrangement.
(I reuse gift bags and tissue paper so if some seem familiar, they most definitely are.)

As the birthday boy, Tyler got to choose whatever he wanted for dinner.
fried chicken, mac'n cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy
(Why don't they ever choose any of my many homemade dishes?)

Lauren had a softball game later that evening so we got the festivities rolling early.
After dinner we sang Happy Birthday over some fancy birthday cupcakes.

Then it was time for PRESENTS!
He's into Tanks lately thanks to this game on his iPAD so he got a couple of Lego/Mega Block tank building kits along with clothes, a football, an over the door basketball hoop and lots of birthday money.
His gifts were all to the NINES!

Afterwards, we immediately got to work on some tank building.
(Lauren went on to win her game by the way)

The Friday after his birthday we celebrated with a party at SpeedZone which is a Slot Car Racing heaven.  The boys Tyler invited from the neighborhood all rode with us to the party.  
Before we left we let them get some energy out on the trampoline.

Finally we were on our way.  Rock tried to hide from the camera but I'm just too good.  I got him!

Party Time!
Racers, start your engines.
They raced slot cars in between pizza time, cake time and present time.
It was a fun party.

Pizza Time

Pizza Time

Cake Time
(I almost forgot to snap a picture)

Present Time
(more birthday money, a Lego set, a tank and a Game Stop gift card)
He's one lucky NINE year old.

 Instead of sending the party guests home with a gift bag of candy and trinkets I bought $5 Lego car sets and a pack of gum for each guest.

After the party, the neighborhood friends stayed over to build their cars.

Tyler had fun, everyone had fun, and I'm in disbelief that my blue eyed baby is already to the NINES!