Easter Vacation 2017 – Mentone

Every Easter, since Hayden was 6 months old, we’ve taken a family road trip with my parents.  Sometimes its just a few hours away to nearby places such as Fountainbleu, False River or Toledo Bend and sometimes its a little bit farther like Chattanooga or Gatlinburg.  Sometimes its just our family and other times its extended family.   This past Easter was probably one of our largest groups yet.  Our family along with Aunt Debbie and her family as well as Eric and Brandy took a road trip up to Mentone, Alabama.  I always wonder how my mom finds these places, but I also always trust her, because she never steers us wrong.

We stayed in a large, group cabin in Mentone – a small town in Northern Alabama, about 45 miles south of Chattanooga.  It is a beautiful little town with lots of mountains, creeks, and waterfalls to explore.  There was a small creek that ran behind the cabin where the kids had a blast playing in the freezing cold water.  There was lots of great conversations and laughs as we spent plenty of quality time together as a family.

Our first full day was spent exploring DeSoto Falls, Little River Canyon and the Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel followed by lunch at Fontana’s and egg dying while the adults went to eat at Wildflower Cafe.

Easter Sunday, we headed to Rock City in Chattanooga, for a long day of climbing and exploring.  Mom, Mandy, the girls and I stayed later for Fairy Tale Nights, which the girls loved.  There were various fairy tale characters all around Rock City that they could stop and talk to / take photos with.

It was a wonderful trip that we all very much enjoyed and I can’t wait until next year!

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Guess who’s back?!

Its been 6 years since I’ve done anything with this blog, but with all the traveling we’ve done this year, I’m really excited to start documenting our family again.  I think its so important to keep these memories fresh and make sure they are recorded for our kids in the future.  I always love going back and reading posts from years ago and laughing or reminiscing about those times in our lives; poignant memories from when the kids were babies, those times when the nights were sleepless and the days were long; when we didn’t think we’d ever make it out of the “Terrible Two’s” alive.  I know we have many, many challenges ahead of us, but I feel like we’ve come to a point in our lives where we can sit back and enjoy things a little more – the kids are a lot more independent but they still want to be around us.  How much longer will we be able to enjoy family movie nights, weekend canoe trips and 10 day road trips before the kids don’t like us anymore?

This summer was one of the best we’ve had (although I think I feel that way every year!)   We took some amazing vacations and made some wonderful, lasting memories together – I don’t want to let those feelings slip by without documenting them.  I want to be able to look back in 6 more years and remember how it feels at this moment.  I have 2 amazing kids who are kind, funny and smart.  I couldn’t ask for better children.  Yes, we’ve got our challenges for sure and things are not always easy, but I feel incredibly lucky and, as cliche’ as it is, #blessed.

So with that, its on to document the last 8 or so months … I hope you enjoy keeping up with the Heyl family!

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2011 Birthday Party

As I’m sitting here planning the kids’ party for this year, I tried to find their pics from last year and realized I’d never posted them!  I put so much time into that last party and had so much fun planning it that I jut have to post the pictures, even if it is almost a year later!

Since the kids’ birthdays are only 10 days apart, I have had their parties together sine Emelyn was born and sometimes its hard to figure out a theme for them.  Some of the ones we’ve done in the past we did Mickey and Minnie and Dr. Seuss.  This year will be a circus / carnival theme (something they agreed on, thank goodness!  I didn’t want to figure out how to combine Ninjago and princesses LOL)

There are quite a few photos so I’ll just post a gallery and describe the details!

The favors were bandanas tied with brown string with tags; inside were various camping toys (flashlight, whistle, glow stick, snack mix, etc).  The cake table was the main decoration.  Dana made the cake, which I wanted to be simple – chocolate cake covered in “dirt” with the little camping scene on top.  I made lots of s’mores treats including smore cookies, popcorn and candy.  I also made “Swamp Water” in empty Starbucks bottles.  (Those glass bottles are expensive to purchase!)  The table was decorated in burlap, fabric that coordinated with the colors, leaves and rocks, lanterns and cardboard numbers covered with moss.  The platters were spay painted brown (clear platters that I spray painted on the bottom so it wasn’t near the food)  Those were also decorated with moss.  Cardboard boxes covered in brown paper were also used to elevate food.  I also made a banner for behind the cake.

There were various activities set up around the yard which included Arts and Crafts (projects purchased from Oriental Trading – color and create a teepee or canoe and scratch leaves), obstacle course, Nature Hunt (cards with photos of items to search for, plastic bugs, leaves and rocks were scattered in yard for kids to find), S’mores station that included different flavored graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate candy which the kids “roasted” over those cans of fire that you light and put under food (I can’t think of what they are called).  Each kid was given a sash and as the activities were completed they were given a badge sticker.  At the end, they received one large sticker for their sash.  Everyone loved it and the kids had a blast!

The party was so much fun and I have no clue how I’m going to top it this year!

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