Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our Trip to Tennessee

What a gorgeous day to travel to Chattanooga for the day! The weather could not have been more perfect for our trip. Katie was set up with her DVD player and toys. We decided to stop at a rest area by Nickajack River to stretch our legs and take a potty break. Who should we run into but Doug's cousins, Brenda & Eddie. I stepped out of the stall and there was Brenda waiting to use the bathroom. What a surprise! She said her and Eddie were headed to Gatlinburg for a few days, like they do every year, and just decided to stop off for a bathroom break. They couldn't have picked a better week to go to Gatlinburg because it's suppose to be beautiful all weekend and next week with the temps in the lower 70s.

When we got back on the road and got Katie settled down watching "Snow White," I asked Doug if we could stop off at Lookout Mountain. We haven't been there in years and you have to stop off at Lookout Mountain. He didn't see where that would be a problem. I wasn't paying too close attention as to where he was going. The next thing I know we are winding around a mountain. We must already be at Lookout Mountain, but the roads didn't look familiar. The next thing I know, we are at Ruby Falls parking lot and some guy motions us to turn right into their parking area. Where were we going, I was wondering. After driving a complete circle around the Ruby Falls parking lot, we agreed the continue driving up the road. We found the Lookout Mountain Incline, which Doug was familiar with. I still had no idea where we were and I was trying to describe to him what small National Park/Parking in order to see and take pictures off Lookout Mountain. Well, we accidentally ended up at "Point Park," which is an old Civil War era Military park. They had old model canons displayed here and there and in the middle of the park overlooking the mountain was a huge monument of both a Union and Confederate soldiers. The scenery was breath taking. There were quite a few people in the park with the same idea we had. A group of women with their children were having a picnic on the grass by the monument, while catching up with the latest gossip. I saw a couple of Dads playing ball with their boys. The rest of the visitors were like us, taking pictures of their kids and reading the historical markers. There were a few small gift shops along with the visitor center surrounding this military park, but it was mostly residential. The residential housing wasn't your basic mansions, some where more like compounds with spectacular views. Seriously, there were a couple of houses that looked like two houses joined together, they were so big. Doug and I wondered if the residential folks used the incline during the Winter or bad weather months in order to get off the mountain.

We got to downtown Chattanooga in time to find us some lunch. Doug wanted to try this pizza place called "Lupis," but we had the hardest time finding it. When we finally found it, we parked the car and headed over there. Hello, we walked right by "Mellow Mushroom." Well, why try a pizza place that you're not too familiar with when you have a "Mellow Mushroom" right in front of your face. I love their house special pizza. It was so nice outside, so we thought it would be a good idea to eat outside. Plus, I didn't see where we could fit the stroller any where inside the restaurant without parking it by the door or outside. As we were waiting for our food, here came a "Southern Belle" lady all dressed up and passing out brochures for boat rides on the "Southern Belle." Katie kept looking at her. I had to take a picture of the Southern Belle and she didn't seem to mind. Katie ate a half piece of pizza and was ready to go see the shark. We finally got to the Tennessee Aquarium in time to have to wait forever and a day just to get a couple tickets. Ugh!!!! I guess after the line of people stretched all the way outside, they decided to bring a second clerk out to take people's money. I was so afraid Katie wouldn't be able to see everything because we got there so late. Unfortunately, we didn't see any divers dressed up as mermaid or any other character, but seeing Katie's face when she saw these sea creatures in real life was enough for me. She seemed to have had a great time. She was wild! If I had to guess, I would say her favorite creatures were as follows: Shark (definitely the shark), Penguins, Clown Fish, River Otters, Stingrays, snakes and alligators. I thought she would like the turtles and sea horses, but she really didn't seem too interested. I guess they were going too slow for her. In the Jelly Fish Exhibit, in the middle of the room, there were four long tubes that reached from the ceiling to the floor. These tubes were full of Jelly Fish and the tubes would change different colors, I'm sure from colored light bulbs. Katie seemed to like that because of the different colors, I don't think it's because of the Jelly Fish. I couldn't get over this huge crab called a "Giant Spider Crab." I'd never seen such a huge crab like that before. Wow! You can see the excitement on my face from the pictures (on website). I was talking to the lady (also in the picture) about how big it was. We were laughing because we just got through talking about wanting those crab legs on a plate. Her little boy liked the idea too because he added "with lots and lots of melted butter." I would have to say the shark exhibit with the other reef dwellers was probably Katie's favorite because that's all she talked about. I loved that they had a bubble like area where the children could climb up and look up through the tank. It's like they are in the water with the fish themselves. Katie loved it! In the sea horse exhibit, they had a tank with Clown Fish and the other fish on "Finding Nemo." What kind of fish was "Dory"? Anyway, that was the other fish in the tank with the Clown Fish. I told Katie, "look there's Dory and Nemo." She got so excited that she had to hug the tank. I wished Doug could have gotten a picture of it, but I don't think he saw her. Right off the bat, Katie picked up a stuffed Clown Fish in the gift shop. She kept going over to the rubber snakes and plastic creatures like sharks, salamanders, frogs, etc. I tried to direct to something like a cute cuddly otter or penguin. She liked the penguin as well, but she kept going back to the snakes & sharks. We found some what of a cute stuffed shark, but she found a rubber (ugly) shark that she had to have. By this time, she was tired and cranky. So, Daddy took her out of the store and walked her around outside while I got her some prizes to remind her of her experience. I did get the Clown Fish and Shark, but I got a Penguin and Doug really liked this T-shirt. The shirt is pink with a cute fish on the front all dressed up and on top it says "Princess." They didn't have a 2T in this shirt, so we got a 3T. She should be able to wear it next Summer/Fall.

We had to stop by the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Neither I nor Doug could get over the lack of business the Choo Choo was bringing in. I hope it was just because it was Friday and maybe they are really slow during the week. I took a few pictures of their rose garden. Poor Katiebug fell asleep soon after we left the aquarium, so she missed most of the Choo Choo. I mean, she was awake but out of it. If you know what I mean. I did go into a gift shop and purchase her a train whistle. She likes to whistle. It's still a little big for her, but I blow it for her. I could have bought a smaller one, but I didn't want to run the risk of her running around the house with the small whistle in her mouth and trip and fall with it in her mouth.

What an exciting day? Katie did get in a good nap coming home and we stopped off at a Cracker Barrel for Supper. I think we got home around 9:00 and we were so tired. You can see all the rest of our little trip pictures on our photosite.

I've been shopping for a Christmas outfit/dress for Katie to wear during our family photos that I'm going to schedule sometime in November. I've bid on several dresses from eBay and have lost them because I just can't force myself to spend more than $40 on a dress, she might wear very few times. I've been keeping my eyes open at Belk and Dillards because they are beginning to stock their Christmas outfits. Well, I'm not looking anymore! Peggy and Millard bought Katie this adorable little corduroy outfit from a local shop. The shirt & pants are red corduroy material. The shirt is sleeveless and ties up on the shoulders. I'm planning on taking the shirt up to Monograms Plus and having a "K" monogrammed on the front of the shirt. There is a ruffle (white with polka dots) around the bottom of the shirt and pants legs. It is so adorable! I believe this is the outfit we're going to dress Katie up in for our First Family Christmas Portrait. I'm so excited! Now, what will Doug and I wear?

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