Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

October was a busy month for the Moore family and the last weekend of the month about did us in. I'm still getting my bearings!

Jack dressed up as Spider-Man for his preschool party. He was pumped because his best friend from preschool was also Spider-Man.

Saturday night we went to a neighborhood party. The kids were supposed to wear costumes, but it was just too hot. Jack settled for his fireman jacket and helmet, paired with shorts and boots. Isaac wore Jack's Ninja Turtle helmet and TMNT t-shirt.

Sunday we had Friends and Family Day at our church. No costumes for this event, but we did enjoy sweating on the annual hayride (more on Friends and Family Day in a separate post).

Halloween fell on a Monday this year. The whole month of October had record highs for this area of the country. We had a scheduled dentist appointment that afternoon and we all had on shorts and sandals!

That evening, we met up with friends for what has become our annual trick-or-treating experience. This is our third year to do this, and we continue to love this tradition. Our first time trick-or-treating, it snowed. Last year it rained. This year we sweated. I guess you never know what you are going to get in the south!

Jack was Spider-Man and Isaac was a version of a Ninja Turtle (we had a cow costume for him, but it was too hot). Our friend's kids were the Dr. Pepper guy, and the Signal Mountain Cheerleaders.

We walked a little over two miles (the kids did more than that running back and forth between houses). This was the first year we didn't walk up to the doors with Jack – how is he already big enough to do this without us holding his hand?!?!?

Isaac walked up to the first two houses with Daniel's help, and then spent the rest of the night in the stroller. We thought he would fall asleep, but that was not the case!

About halfway through our evening, Jack told me his feet hurt. I asked if he wanted to ride in the stroller and go home. To which he emphatically told me "No!" So we continued, with him walking the entire way.

We finished our night at the witch's house. This is the scariest house in our friend's neighborhood. The little girls refused to get close. Jack marched right up with the big kids, and told the witch he was not scared of her as we walked away. Last year he actually negotiated with this witch about which piece of candy he wanted. He cracks us up!

This year Isaac stayed awake until we got in the car, and then he passed out. He slept all the way home and stayed asleep when I carried him inside and changed him into pajamas!

I'm sure that next year Isaac will be marching up to all of the houses too.

*Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end to get Jack's reaction to the witch.

A Look Back at Halloween's Past: 
Cow in 2012 ⎮  Cow Part 2 in 2013Optimus Prime in 2014Iron Man and Stay Puft/Fire Fighters 2015

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Family Camping at High Falls State Park

This past weekend, my siblings and our families met up at High Falls State Park in Georgia for a little family camping. 

This must be a good weekend for a family get together, because four years ago we had met in Ellijay, Georgia for a weekend in the mountains. Levi and Jack were about 1.5 (Isaac's current age) and Izzy was almost four (close to the big boy's age now). 

So much has changed in the last four years! Our only regret is that our parents don't live closer.

The older three cousins are the perfect age for camping and our campground was perfect for our needs. We had water and electricity, and our site was large and wooded with trails that led to a small river. 

The kids loved riding their bikes in the woods and exploring on their own. We had a strict rule that they couldn't go down to the water without us and that they needed to have eyes on the our tents at all times.

We were also next to a small, dry ravine that the kids explored on their own. The weather is cool enough that we weren't concerned about snakes, and allowing them to explore on their own was great for everyone.

Jack and Levi wore their fire fighter jackets and pretended to go on countless rescue missions. They found a small piece of rope in the woods that they became obsessed with – they used it to tow things, to climb things and pull each other up. 

The trail by the river also went down a steep embankment to a small piece of land that the kids discovered and called their island. They all went down and found shells on the island. Isaac even managed to get himself down the embankment.

Speaking of Isaac, he really wanted to do what the big kids did. Whether pushing his tricycle through the woods behind them or just hiking on his own with big cousin Izzy to coral him (typically with an adult close by).

We ended each night around the campfire with smores. Our kids were dirty and exhausted, but they all had a blast. Each night Jack would ask to go to bed because he was that tired! Isaac had a little trouble going to bed the first night but the second night he slept without a problem.

We spent Saturday hiking and kayaking in the state park. We all loved the High Falls Waterfall – especially our bigger kids. They explored and ran to their heart's content. 

Isaac was in need of a nap and stuck in a backpack carrier. I'm sure he would have preferred to roam, but sometimes you just need to keep the baby contained in a backpack!

It was so nice to get together with my siblings and niece and nephew. We have been missing them and I'm so glad we have managed to get together throughout the year, even though they now live in Florida.

Hiking, biking in the woods, exploring, kayaking, campfires, a whole weekend devoted to being together in the great outdoors. 

It was what I needed... though we may need to invest in cushy-ier ground pads, my back was telling me that I'm old by the end of the weekend!

I think we are all looking forward to more camping in the future, and it will only get easier as Isaac gets bigger!

Highlights of our trip

Our boys on the drive to High Falls

Biking and exploring the woods at our campsite.

Levi and Jack perfected their downhill riding. Isaac thought about trying too.

High Falls Waterfall

Kayaking at the High Falls Lake above the falls.

The wind was intense, this is me and the kids getting blown into a dock!

Having fun with cousins.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Making History: First new nuclear generating plant in the twenty-first century

For three long years, Daniel devoted most of his time to working as part of the Watts Bar Unit 2 Start Up team. This group of people worked long hours, for years on end, to help bring Unit 2 online. 

Tonight we celebrated that all of the testing is complete, and that Unit 2 is now operating commercially. 

Everyone in the room (spouses included) have sacrificed so much to get to this point. They are a special group, the first in the USA to do this in twenty years. It was good to hear their stories, and also to talk with the spouses about the difficulties we all faced in having a spouse work such long hours for years on end

Only the people who have lived through a nuclear unit start up (or been married to someone who has) can truly understand what it is like. I'm proud of Daniel and all of his co-workers. 

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm thankful he has moved on to a Dam job, but I'm proud of him for being a part of this project until the end.

"In grateful appreciation for your dedication, support, and personal commitment to the Watts Bar Unit 2 Completion Project. Daniel Moore, You're effort, interest, experience, and personal dedication to the Watts Bar Nuclear Unit 2 project was an integral part of the success of completing the milestone of being the first new nuclear plan in the twenty-first century."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pumpkin Carving 2016

Where we live it still doesn't feel like fall (we are wearing shorts most afternoons), but the leaves have finally started to change to brilliant shades of orange, yellow and red. Its one of my favorite times of the year.

Daniel and I have been married for almost 14 years, and in all of that time we have only carved one pumpkin together. We have always bought a pumpkin, and have actually gone to a pumpkin patch every year since having kids, but we haven't made the effort to carve said pumpkins.

To be fair, Daniel hasn't had a lot of time during the last two years to do extra projects like pumpkin carving. He has been at his new job for about a month, and we count our blessings daily now that he has more time to devote to family.

Before kids (and crazy job commitments), I guess we were just lazy in the decorating department. There were several years where we turned off our house lights and hid in our basement on Halloween night.

But that has changed. We are committed to holidays and all of the fun that goes along with them. Including pumpkin carving. As a friend said, now that we have started, there is no turning back.

Earlier this month, I was at the grocery store with our boys and Jack saw a display of small pumpkins and asked to get one. I said sure and we brought it home where he had the idea to paint his pumpkin. While Isaac napped, I set Jack up with the paints and then started cleaning the kitchen.

My back was turned for 5 minutes when I realized that Jack had decided to move from regular painting to finger painting and he had dumped almost all of the paint on the paper.

So I took a deep breath and helped him finish his project (note to self: I need to buy paints to replace what he used up on the pumpkin). He somehow managed to get a ton of paint on that little pumpkin – it took 3 days to fully dry!

Our pumpkin carving experience was a little smoother – we picked up our pumpkin at Old Mcdonald's Farm on Saturday and then carved the pumpkin on Sunday night after supper.

Poor Isaac did not enjoy this experience EXCEPT when he was sitting in Daniel's lap "helping" with the pumpkin, the few minutes he tried sword fighting everyone with a pool noodle, and then finally when he brought me snacks to give him. Isaac and his snacks... I'll leave it at that.

Jack turns 5 next month and he loved this activity. He didn't care to help with the guts of the pumpkin – he thought that part was too gross, but he enjoyed the rest of the process.

I had him pick a face from a Google search on my phone and then I quickly drew the face on the pumpkin and then Daniel helped Jack carve it out. Isaac got in the on the carving action a bit, but you can only let a 1.5-year-old wield a cutting tool for so long.

Jack thought it was cool to push the shapes out after they were cut, and was surprised about the candle going inside (evidently we are failing at holidays since he didn't know this).

Pumpkin carving was a bit messy but not nearly as bad as I imagined. I'm glad we carved a pumpkin this year and I'm looking forward to doing again in the future. Hopefully Isaac will have a better time next year.

Jack will probably think this is his own personal holiday activity since we told him that a carved pumpkin is called a "Jack"-o-lantern. Now we just need to get costumes for our boys. Jack says he is going to be a good super hero, but he doesn't know which one yet.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...