Friday, October 31, 2008

1st UT Football Game!!!

I used to enjoy going to UT football games growing up. We didn't go that often, so when we did it was a special event. I have always thought that Caroline would enjoy going to a game, but I have not thought that spending a load of cash on the chance that Caroline would sit still (not to mention have fun and pay attention) for 3+ hours was a very safe bet. However, the Vols are not doing so hot this year (driving demand and price of tickets down) and "I too, like to live dangerously." I let Beth have a much needed night to herself and Grandpa (my dad) and I devised a plan to take her to her first game - UT vs Miss. St.

Let me just say, I couldn't have asked for it to go any smoother - it was perfect. We thought it was going to be cold, but it turned out not to be so bone-chilling (in fact we didn't use hardly any of the complete extra bag of warm clothes we toted with us!) Caroline could not believe how many people there were. I snapped this picture when we first walked in and you can see the shock she was going through.

Grandpa had a friend that hooked us up with 2 tickets that were really great and we were able to get a 3rd ticket from a scalper on the way in that was in the same section as us. The stadium was by no means crowded and so we had plenty of room. Here is a screenshot from my iPhone showing the ariel view of where we sat.

One of Caroline's favorite parts was seeing the band play at half time (don't know where she would get that from!) Here she is clapping along.

She also loved meeting Smokey, even though I think it was actually Smokey Jr. I didn't get a picture of this but she kept saying all night, "I shake Smokey's hand. That Smokey...He's silly, Daddy!"

Here is Caroline and Grandpa at watching the game intently.

She did such a good job at the game and was so well behaved. Everyone around us kept complementing her about how well she did. Caroline even got involved in the game by cheering-on the defense and making some noise on 3rd downs - "Go. Tennesseeeeee!!!"

On the way back home we stopped by Walmart to pick up some essentials and she wanted to push the cart.

And what can I say, sometimes when we are at Walmart without Mommy, we do stuff that we probably shouldn't.

All in all, it was one of my favorite Daddy datenights so far!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hide n Seek

While we were on our brief fall getaway that Beth blogged about yesterday, we visited our favorite store in Tanger, the Disney Outlet store. While we were there Caroline decide to play a little game of "hide n seek" She ran off and actually found a really good spot. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story...


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Fun Fall Trip!

Last week, we had two grand adventures! First, we went to Dad’s cabin overnight with Nana and BobBob. It was a blast! We started the day with lunch at Moe’s and Nana and BobBob seeing Jon’s new office for the first time. The weather was gorgeous, so from there we meandered up through Townsend, stopping at the Dancing Bear Lodge (formerly the Maple Leaf Lodge). It’s a beautiful place...where Jonathan and I thought about having our wedding... The pics below are from the lodge. We spent some lazy time at the cabin, then we headed towards the other end of Wears Valley Road for some shopping and dinner in Pigeon Forge. It was a great time! Nana and BobBob even got a Snow White scepter for Caroline at the Disney outlet to go with her Halloween costume!

She called this deer a ‘lama’. Guess we need to work on some local wildlife terminology!

What a beautiful fall day!

The next day, we woke up and packed our things. Nana had to get back home to work on her items for the upcoming Foothills Craft Guild Show/Sale. If you didn’t know, Debbie is a magnificent quilter (amongst other artistic talents). Take a second if you like to look at her work on the Foothills Craft Guild website. Click here and it will take you to information about the upcoming craft fair. It’s a great place to find unique, locally made Christmas gifts! Note the little rocking horse picture on the lefthand side. If you’ve been to our house, you’ll remember that as one of Debbie’s creations, a beautiful “Dick and Jane” quilt that hangs in our front bedroom/playroom. Then, to see Debbie’s profile, click on Member’s Search (on the left), and put in Cooper. She’ll pop up! There’s a little bio and pictures of some of her work. This Guild is a very prestigious honor, and we are so proud of Nana. Maybe one day Caroline will learn from her Nana how to create such beautiful pieces!

Ok, so back to the adventures. We then met Mimi and Pappaw at Exit 407, and we headed for Biltmore House! Again, the day was perfect, and the leaves near Asheville were really stunning. Caroline really had fun at the new farm area they’ve added to Biltmore...she got to see baby animals, hear some bluegrass/gospel music, and dress up as a little pioneer girl and play turn of the century games! It was some serious fun. Of course, we also toured the beautiful house and grounds. Caroline thought it was a we used that to our advantage and told her she had to behave like a princess while inside. For the most part, it worked!

I mean, c’mon. It doesn’t get much cuter, does it?! :)

Caroline in front of the ‘castle’

The view from the Vanderbilts’ back porch


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Festival 2008

My family is from a small town in Upper East Tennessee, called Erwin. It is a beautiful place nestled in a little valley amongst the Appalachian mountains. Every year, thousands of people converge upon Erwin for the Unicoi County Apple Festival. Many of these folks come to collect the famous Clinchfield Pottery, which can be very valuable. I had family members who worked at the pottery, and I treasure my small collection as a family heirloom. Anyway, there is the usual 'festival' stuff to do...plenty of crafters, music, food, activities for kids, and of course, apples! In fact, that was Caroline's main goal..."Get an apple...Eat it." And so she did, skin and all. I had one bite, and it had to be one of the sweetest apples I've ever tasted! Here she is taking in some clogging. The look on her face is hilarious!

If you look closely in this one, you can still see the remnants of apple and funnel cake on her face! What a sweetie.

As a really nice end to the day, we had a family reunion of sorts at my Mammaw Wilson's church. It was really great to see everyone and catch up a bit on life. I loved hearing the stories of my Great-Grandmother Masters, and the legacy that she has handed down. This picture is my dad (on the left) and his sister and brother, Lana and Terry.

Love to my whole Wilson family! We look forward to seeing you all again at Thanksgiving!


Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a Minnie Mouse Party!

For Caroline's birthday party, we had a fun cookout at Nicholas Ball Park! The kids played on the playground and we all chowed down on hot dogs, baked beans, and watermelon. The theme was Minnie Mouse, and as you'll see from the photos, it was fantastic! Special thanks go to Nana who helped with soooo many details (including the cutest polka dot tablecloths), and to Pappaw who created a'll see... Anyway, thanks to all who got to come! We had a great time.

Daddy worked long and hard on the cake. It turned out to be so cool!!

Of course, her best buds Mike-Mike and Catha (Michael and Catherine) were right by her side as she blew out the candles.

Great friends, and great times!

The adorable Mize clan! Check out Riley's busted chin! He is one brave dude.

Alex says, 'Where's my presents?'

Aunt Pam has been at 100% of Caroline's birthday parties. Since she's lives in Venezuela, that's a statistical anomaly!

Cutie patootie Maelyn!

The birthday girl concentrating hard on her masterpeice!

Grandpa was the master griller for the evening.

Have you tried the cake yet, BobBob?

Our good friends and neighbors, the McKaigs, in front of Pappaw's big project! Pappaw, it was a hit!!


Caroline's family and friends raised enough money to give 25 people in Ethiopia clean water for 20 years! Check it out, at charity: water.


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Caroline made up a new game with Mimi. This is footage of me sneaking up on them playing this new game. It's called "Popple" because it's played by throwing Daddy's old Popple toy (ok you 80's kids, remember those stuffed animals that rolled up inside themselves to make a ball?) back and forth from her crib, while jumping wildly and laughing hysterically. Since then, Pappaw and Mrs. Amy have also been chosen to play "Popple". It's hilarious!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Winnie the Pooh, Live!

For Caroline's Birthday, Mimi and Pappaw gave Caroline tickets to see Winnie the Pooh, Live! It was a blast! We did have one snag though...Daddy put Caroline in the car as we were leaving...and when Mommy went to get her out of the car at the Civic Auditorium, she had no shoes on!!! I was so upset at first, but it turned out that it didn't matter...learning to bounce like Tigger on Mommy's lap doesn't require shoes. What a hoot! When all was said and done, Caroline was thrilled to see some of her favorite characters in 'real life'. She sang and danced right along with them all as they planned a surprise birthday party for Pooh!

Exhibit A: The bare feet

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood...

After Pooh's big surprise...Happy Birthday Pooh, and Caroline!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Caroline!!!

Caroline's birthday was September 23rd! She is now two years old! She is really turning into a 'big girl' before our very eyes...talking so much and understanding so many things. (Example: One night this week, after staying with Mimi and Pappaw for a little while, she told me that Pappaw made her some peas. 'I ate peas' she proceded to say. When I said, 'Oh that's great Caroline...You ate some peas!', she looked at me with a very knowing look. She squinted up her face at me and said, 'Not real peas, Mommy...just pretend peas.' Jonathan and I looked at each other in disbelief! It took so much understanding to tell me that...the difference between pretend and real, and the knowledge that I was thinking she had really eaten peas, and the willingness to correct me on that! So funny! And, sure enough, as I was cleaning up later that night, I found the pretend peas plated up there in her little kitchen. What a smart girl!)

Ok, so back to birthday stuff. On her actual birthday, Jonathan and Caroline and I spent the whole day together. Jon took a vacation day and we headed to the Knoxville Zoo. It had been a few months since we visited, so to Caroline, everything was practically brand new. We especially enjoyed seeing the baby orangutan, George. He was learning to crawl, just like a human baby! The mother kept picking him up and sitting him down in a crawling position. Then she would give him a nudge, and he would try to go forward a little bit, then he would fall down. It was pretty interesting stuff.

After heading home for a nap, we decided to eat dinner at one of Caroline's favorite spots...Mr. Gatti's pizza!! It was a special treat! We really had fun just hanging out together and relaxing all day.

Happy Birthday little bird! We love you!

Gimmee some more pizza!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Princess is Awakened!

When Caroline put on this Snow White gown for the first time, a Princess was awakened in her heart. We all had to hold back our giggles as she glided about the room, moving regally and answering to the name 'Snow White'. We had never seen her pretend quite like this! Magic was in her eyes...


HSM 3!!!!!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sprout Studio

For Caroline's Birthday, Grandma and Grandpa got us some passes to Sprout Studio here in Knoxville. It's kind of like a big interactive/learning/fun place for little ones. We had a blast on our first visit! Grandma, Mommy, and Caroline spent several hours exploring all the things to do. We can't wait to go back and take Daddy!

Splashing in the water zone

Who's that cutie peeking out of there?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Fair

So, ok, I grew up going to the fair. I know, I know...what with the mixed smell of farm animals, vomit, and corn dogs, it's not an appealing place for many of you! Anyway, you have to understand that when you're 7, you care little about all that stuff. What you do care about is bragging rights about going on the 'kamikaze' (basically a large ride in which you are trapped in a cage spinning upside down over and over again) or the fun of hitting 'alarm' speed with music blasting on the 'himalaya'. (Wendy, what were we thinking???!!!) I guess Wendy and I have gotten older, and my inner-ear/dizziness problems have gotten the better of me, because those rides are no longer a big draw. Shocker, I know! fact, now that i think about it, perhaps those rides are the cause of my inner ear/dizziness problems!!

But here's my point, and a sweet story. Jonathan is amongst those of you who would normally not like to touch the fair with a 10 foot pole. But he did something sweet...he called in to Love 89 and won tickets so that we could take Caroline to see the farm animals. She absolutely loved it! We saw goats, cows (and a baby cow born that very day), turkeys, rabbits, and tons of other animals. She will tell you her favorite things...and I quote..."Saw big punkin' Fair. Saw bees makin' honey Fair."

Here's a little video of Caroline watching the baby chicks sliding down this big metal slide. I'm pretty sure this is in some sort of animal cruelty realm (not sure how the chicks ever eat the food which dangles out over the edge of the slide, enticing them to come up), but it's been at the fair since I can remember, and it was neat to see her reaction to those silly chicks!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Dollywood with the Engles!

Many of you know that my Aunt Pam and her husband, Ed, are missionaries in Venezuela. They have three kids...Rachel is in her sophomore year at ETSU, while Benjamin and Rebecca (aka, the twins) are in their freshman year at ETSU!! We're really excited that they will be spending at least the next few years in Tennessee! And, bonus, this is Ed and Pam's furlough year, which means they will not be going back to Venezuela until next summer. So we'll be trying to squeeze in as much time with the Engle clan as possible in the coming months! A few weeks ago, we hung out at Dollywood with them. Here are a few pictures...

Mom's two sisters, Wendy and Pam, enjoying a shady spot

All the cousins on my Mom's side (the Higgins family)...we have quite an age range!

Thanks Catherine for riding the busy bees with Caroline! She loves you and Mike-Mike so much!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Welcome Home OE!

Although she has now been home for nearly two months, we want to officially give a blog-welcome to Caroline's new friend, Olivia Eyerusalem!! Our sweet sweet friends Nathan and Karey traveled in August to Ethiopia to receive the fourth child in their family, but the first little girl! In Karey's words, 'this house needed some pink'! :) We are so excited for them, and we are praying for them every step of the way. This is a fantastic family, and we look forward to watching the boys and their new sister grow together!

The girls' first playdate.

Yum! Amy B. and I threw a shower/party at a local park for our friends before they left. What an exciting time!

The boys waiting to meet their new sister at the Knoxville airport

Check out the smiles on this proud mom and dad's faces! And check out those shades on Rusie!

We love you Nathan, Karey, Logan, Connor, Riley, and Rusie!!