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Sunday, February 1, 2015

A night of hockey, dogs and Zambonis

I've blogged before about our decision to get a service dog for Korban. We started the process in April 2014 with a wonderful organization called Retrieving Freedom, which is located in Senatobia MS. 

On Friday the River Kings (hockey team in Olive Branch MS) honored RFI at their Hero's Night. A portion of the ticket sales went to RFI and Mr. Charles and his family was there with a table of information set up as well as some dogs! There were also some veterans with their dogs that we got to meet and hang out with.  

We were so excited that we got to go. We went to see Ole Miss and State play hockey in Tupelo for Brad's birthday and we all loved it. That was the kids' first hockey game, and this was their second. 

We had great seats too, with a good view of the action. The River Kings played (and beat!) the Pensacola Ice Flyers. 



This was Korban's reaction to the game. He loves sports and hockey is exciting. He wants to learn to skate. It was loud, especially when they scored a goal, but Korban refused to wear his noise canceling headphones. It's a toss up for him as to which is worse--loud noises or something touching his face!  But he did really well that night and I was so thankful. 

When we were at the Ole Miss/State hockey game, Korban was amazed with the Zamboni and wanted to drive one. I posted about it on Facebook, and Mr. Charles remembered. So guess what he arranged for Korban to do?!?  

That's right!
He got to ride a Zamboni!!!  

How cool is that?!?  They wanted to get one of the dogs to ride too, but there wasn't enough room. I was a little worried that Selah would feel left out and was already working on a plan to make it up to her. But after we got Korban and Brad all settled on their Zamboni, the representative from the River Kings that was helping us turned to me and Selah and said "Are y'all ready to go see the one you'll be riding?" ��

So then this happened!  

It was so much fun. Selah was a little shy at first but she got really into it and was waving at people with both hands before too long. Both kids were really amazed with how it worked to smooth the ice. Korban told me "it spit out ice!" He was so impressed.  Brad said he called it a "trumboni" because they sat right behind its big "horn" (pipe). He also liked when it dumped the ice out at the end...I never thought of what happened to the ice after if left the floor, did you?

Getting ready to go! 

A Zamboni selfie--notice Korban is covering his ears. It was sort of loud and he struggled a little but still refused the noise-canceling headphones.  He kept putting Brad's hands over his ears instead.  He was still happy though, even with the anxiety.  He wanted off but then wanted back on after it was over; he's so funny.

The only real trouble came when it was time to get off the Zamboni. And the struggle wasn't with Korban, it was ME. Let's just say I had a little issue with my dismount. We all know I'm not exactly the most graceful person, but I didn't fall. That's been done before.  No, I like to embarrass myself in new and different ways!  The Zamboni driver drove off the ice and parked and the nice man who had been helping us came over and helped Selah down. He asked me if I needed help and I said "Oh, I've got it!" And then I proceeded to prove that I did not, in fact, have it. I managed to snag my sweater dress on a pipe as I was climbing down, succeeding in pulling my sweater dress plum up my back. And then I was stuck standing there with my dress over my head because I couldn't reach up high enough to unhook it. The very nice man politely averted his eyes and released my dress for me. This is reason #941 I am thankful for leggings. ��

After I got my clothes situated, we got to visit with some sweet service dogs. 


This is Diesel--we've met him a couple of times before and he is precious. He's  a golden doodle (cross between a standard poodle and a golden retriever.) Diesel is an autism service dog. 

He's a big dog!  I love his feet. :)

Selah is amazed that he has curly hair like her. 

We got to visit with some interesting people too. :)

Photo booth fun! 

Selah took this picture. She loves to play with the camera on my phone. Not sure what she did with the lighting on this one but she's getting better! 

We had such a good time. I was a little worried about going because Korban was really tired. He has started going for PT in Tupelo 2x a week in addition to his other therapies. (He's having trouble with his muscles, particularly in his legs, so we are having to do some intensive therapy to work on that.) So we are all adjusting to a new routine, and I knew he was exhausted so I was unsure how good his behavior would be. He was whiny and loud in the van on the way there. But once we got there it was great and I was so glad we went. Even though he was tired and anxious I know he had a good time. He is still asking to go back!  He told me yesterday that he wants some "hockey shoes" so he can play hockey. I think he is looking for ice skates. Ha!  I love to hear him talk about things we've done and ask to do them again. He also asks frequently about "Mr. Charles and his doggies," when we can go see them, and if he can feed the dogs. :)

What I'm saying is, it's not always easy to go places. It can be scary to try new things because we aren't sure how Korban will react, or how others will react to him. But we've been working his entire life to stretch him (and ourselves!) out of our comfort zones bit by bit. It's been hard but most importantly it's been WORTH IT!!!  

When I was watching Korban ride that Zamboni, I was thinking about how that was a once in a lifetime experience and how blessed we are to have such good people in our lives and that we've made some many wonderful memories as a family. It was a very big "Thank You Jesus!" moment for me. 

Mr. Charles, thank you for all that you do and for caring so much about the dogs and the families you pair them with. Korban says we are coming to see you soon so have some dog treats ready! ��

This was Korban after the game, pretty much as soon as he got in his car seat. Good night! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Red and Blue Through and Through

$50 Hotel ✔️
$50 Club Level Ticket ✔️
$50 Food ✔️
$35 Gas from MS to GA ✔️
 
Getting to see my Rebels play one more time live and in person with Rebel Nation this season...

PRICELESS!

Hey there BlogNation!  It's me, the daddy of Essary 4.0, once again coming at you with a few words.

I am a life long Ole Miss Rebel.  I attended my first class there when I was 3 years old, stayed with my aunt Sarah while she was a student.  As a kid I went to as many games of any sport that my family would take me too.  Once I was able to get myself to events when I got my license at 15, there was no stopping me.  Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball (I refereed some while I attended Ole Miss), track, softball and even hockey...yes Ole Miss has hockey.  I love college sports and especially any sport from The University of Mississippi, the Flagship University.  Being actively involved is pretty cool.  There have been great moments from the past such as storming the field after wins against such teams as Florida and Alabama, great victories over rivals such as LSU and State.  My first date with Melissa was to a Vandy game in Oxford.  I plan to continue to be as involved as possible in the future.  I was active in the student rebel foundation as a student and have kept active as an alumni member in as many ways as possible beyond just the sporting events.  It's not particularly easy to be active with anything these days. To do something takes effort, whether it involves money, time or energy, whatever you want to do cost something.  If you care about something then you have to work for it, make preparations and get it done. 

Faith, Family and Friends!  For me I look at it as a triangle where my faith sits at the top point and is connected to family and friends.  Everything I do affects someone else.  It may be one of my children or one of the families that serve through my job.  Most every friend that I have is connected to me through ether work, school, sports or Church.  When I look to make preparations for something I go to extra lengths to make the best possible choices available.  The option to just go and do is not always readily available for me and my family so looking for good deals and even freebies is what works for us.  I have a pretty good knack for it, just ask those who have been along for some of the deals, but it does take lots of time and effort.  From full price tickets to see Rebel baseball in a super regional to being handed a free ticket from a head coaches wife after walking away from the Tad Pad and a sold out contest against MSU.  Just like what you see in the check list above.  I was able to make the whole trip for the Peach Bowl for less than face value of tickets.  There was the $150 game ticket, $15 Fan Fest and $50 Blue lot parking pass.  My total spending for the entire trip was around $200, give or take a few bucks.  Knowing where to look and who to ask makes a difference.  Connections in different ways help out, like having friends in high places ya know.  We all like to have fun and God enjoys us being happy right?  Should we feel guilty for having fun?  Absolutely not!  I feel that he helps to make a way for all the opportunities that I have had, even in regards to those experiences with Ole Miss.

Like I said I love Ole Miss sports and the biggest of all is football.  During high school I went to as many games as possible.  My senior year, in high school, I had student tickets but still missed a couple of games that season.  During my 6 years in college, both at Northeast and Ole Miss, I didn't hardly miss a game as had student tickets each year, one way or the other.  Those were during the Eli Manning years so there were good ones for the most part.  Once I graduated from college it became more difficult to get to the games but nonetheless I've not missed a year without making it to at least a couple of games.  For the 2012 and 2013 seasons I was able to have season tickets and even went to some away games.  I've been to several away games and to most SEC stadiums at least once.  But until the Hugh Freeze era I had never been to a Bowl game.  Now I've made it to all 3.  The first year, for the 2012 season, to the Birmingham Bowl a friend purchased me a ticket as a Christmas present that year.  I got a deal through Living Social for a hotel that 4 of us traveled together and split.  For the 2013 season I was able to start the season in Nashville with the opener as I went with Shane and some friends, by the way, I was given a free ticket just before the game for this one.  So what better way but to end the year with the team in Nashville?  So we as Essary 4.0 decided to make this our family Christmas trip.  Once again I was able to locate a great deal through Living Social for a 3 night stay in a nice hotel at a budget price.  I originally got cheap tickets for the 4 of us but the day before the bowl game I located a guy with 2 tickets in a suite for an amazing price.  Seeing as the girls were not really looking forward to the cold game I jumped on them and sold the other 4.  So now me and Korban had 2 tickets in a suite for less than I paid for the original 4 tickets.  We had a blast at the game where we ate all we could handle for free while the girls played around at the mall in Nashville.  Throughout the year Korban has talked about the bowl game and being behind the glass.

So this year the Bowl game would be in Atlanta.  We had already made plans to have our family Christmas trip in Chattanooga before Christmas, which was a very fun and relaxing trip.  So now what to do about Atlanta?  We tried to persuade different friends and family to go along with us.  Some of them said no for various reasons.  We settled on that me and Korban would go.  That was until the day to leave for the game when Korban got sick and was unable to make the trip.  I had found a great deal this time on Hotels Tonight and it was already booked so I headed out with my uncle Shane and his son Graham.

I really had a blast with the crew I was with.  Shane is a tried a true GameDay companion for sure.  Graham knows his Rebel football and seemed to enjoy the trip.  The hotel was really cool but sometimes when you get a great deal there are issues.  This was one time, they had no rooms left with two beds so we only had one.  It might have not meant much in the long run of things but as I look at it I feel that it is an example of how I truly think of others before myself.  I was just happy to be there so for the night I pulled chairs together and slept on them as it allowed my uncle and cousin to have the bed.  It was my mistake and I took responsibility.  The hotel was only a mile in a half from the Georgia Dome for the game so traffic was no problem.  We had a great parking pass just across from the Dome which was so cool.  We made our way to the Peach Bowl Fan Fest the morning of the game.  We met up with several other friends and family like usual.  There were great expectations and the game itself let us down by the outcome of the score.  It was difficult to see and hear the loud TCU crowd and tempting to leave at even halftime.  My team was just not looking good on this day and it was very ugly.  Excuses could be made and blame be labeled on individuals but it never changes anything.  The bottom line was that the better team won on this day.

So what do you do when your team is really getting embarrassed?  Well this is what I did.  It's not the first time of utilizing this strategy at a sporting event.  Being a true Ole Miss Rebel comes with its ups and unfortunately so very many downs.  When this happens the typical fan heads to their car for the journey home.  I took advantage of the opportunity to check out better seats than what I had.  We had pretty good seats to begin with but things can usually always be better.  Getting closer to the field or on the 50 yard line or even in club areas we couldn't earlier in the game.  A sports arena explorer I guess you could call me. We stuck it out till the clock hit 0:00.  From the walk through at the Fan Fest to the last note of the Pride of the South band.  Every day is a good day to be a Rebel.  Hotty Toddy!
From the corner of the end zone to the 50 yard line!


Got some freebies and goodies to take back to my little ones that missed the trip.  That's what made me think to write this post.  Out of all the fun that there was I just could not get past the fact that it's all better with them than without.  For about a month I've been looking forward to me and Korban going to this game.  The original plan was for us all to go stay a couple of days in Atlanta but that changed.  Then the day we were going to head out, Korban became sick.  Went to doctor to confirm it and got meds.  Man, I didn't want it to be true but it was. I then tried my best to beg, plead and bribe for Selah to go, to no avail. She sent me off with a picture of her so I wouldn't be alone.

Korban at the only game he made it to with me this year.  He always struggles in some way each time we go but we stretch and we push forward as he continues to improve at public events such as sporting events and concerts.  He works so very hard to enjoy actives even as can see his body working against him.  If it's sensory related or whatever it may be for my little dude, it is not easy for him.  The evidence is in the days, weeks or even months following as he continues to talk about every little detail.  He truly does enjoy getting to go and I can say that I enjoy it better with him than without.  That spirit Korban has was missed for the game.  So it's his fault we lost right?


This is Selah, my frog princess.  Like I said I tried everything I knew to get her to go but she didn't want to be the only girl.  I came to the conclusion that if she would have come to the game then those Frogs could have been better tamed by the frog princess.  So it's her fault we lost right?


Here is a representation of the best part of Me.  I am better with them than without for sure and That's a Fact Jack.  God knew what he was doing when he constructed this fabulous unit.  Melissa went to Ole Miss because of me and with it came opportunities that she excelled with.  She was the best social worker around and utilized specialized training to be even better.  She turns that heart to caring for the other precious 2 in the picture and does a fabulous job.  Selah is old enough now to participate in more Rebelette activities available and has plans to do just that in February with a girls sports clinic.  Last year she did a cheer camp and loved it but most of the events require participants to be 5 years old.  Basketball is here and we will be in Oxford on Saturday to watch the rebels and Baseball is only 43 days away.

Game face on in Oxford!  Go Rebels Go!

Through the autism, through the financial struggles, through time restraints and even at times pure exhaustion we find ourselves in the Grove or locking the Vaught or packing the Tad Pad one more time.  So until the next opportunity that presents itself I will continue to be on the lookout for great deals that allow for all my little rebels to be apart of something special and fun.  


Exactly!

It's important to me that there be more to someone and something than just the pure surface.  I love following the athletes who give back to the community or take time for the fans or best of all express and share their faith.  When a head coach does this it is even better.  The current Rebel head coach strives for passion through love for one another.  At last year's Rebel Road Show as it came to Corinth, Korban and I were in attendance.  Coach Freeze took time with Korban and made it special.  He even called Korban out as his buddy in front of the large crowd.  He has remembered us a few times since then, like when we saw him at meet the Rebels in August.  

This is what I want for my kids is to think of others and not purely themselves.  It's what I strive for in my everyday life.  I work in a field where I'll never afford season tickets in the club level but I don't have to as long as I've got the will to serve others then the opportunities for fun will present themselves.  Always have and always will.  Daily I help those who will never be able to help me and all I want is to better myself so that I can better help them.  I am about 6 months away from completing my masters degree in behavior analysis.  For example of the fun that comes along: beyond getting to take youth I work with to local activities like movies there were opportunities to take a group of special needs kids fishing and boat riding, took a group to an Atlanta Braves game and yes even had the opportunity with free tickets to take a group to an Ole Miss football game.  

Through the planning and amazing opportunities that presented themselves this past year of 2014 the Essary 4 were able to have such adventures such as Sea World and Disney in Orlando, a family wedding in South Carolina on the beach, a free trip to Branson, family memberships to Korban's favorite...the aquarium and zoo in Chattanooga, the state special needs conference and Midsouth autism conference.  It was a full year of exploring ourselves, pushing limits and most importantly learning how to better serve others.  From the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham to food pantries to making Christmas possible to numerous families in Alcorn county the opportunity to serve is always plentiful as well.  Korban compliments a stranger in a waiting room and that strikes up a conversation about why both our families are in the clinic.  Opportunities to pray for and with nurses and other medical staff in the various locations we go for  Korban's health needs.  Selah willing to bless other kids with extra toys and gifts or taking supplies and volunteering at an animal shelter.  Melissa able to make connections with other struggling autism parents and help them to put some pieces together through the sharing of our own experiences.  I am proud of my crew and look forward to all the many experiences we will have together. 

Me and mine are no band-wagoners in any sort of fashion.  Not with the teams we support or the God we serve.  We stay active with regards to both and that's what is important about Red and Blue Through and Through.  The blood in my veins and with every breath I take I want to give it my all.  

Love God, love others, nothing else matters!

Oh yeah by the way...I guess it's my fault we lost...I left my cape at home.



Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...Wait, What?

Like everybody else, we've been trying to get things ready for Christmas. This is my favorite time of year!  It's easy to get stressed out in all the hustle and bustle but I try really hard to avoid that. 

Christmas shopping for our kids is actually one of the easier parts--we do it all year long. They are still young enough that we know what they like and they aren't super picky. For example, Selah loves Barbies, and those are everywhere. When I find something on sale that I think the kids would like, I buy it and store it. We have Rubbermaid containers in the top of our closets, so I just toss the toys in there. I love Dirt Cheap, especially when they are having 80-90% off sales. I have also found that Walgreen's stocks a lot of toys before Christmas and marks them down dramatically afterwards. 

So that works out well for us. Our kids get a lot of cool stuff and overall we spend very little on it. Amazon is a favorite of ours too. We got in on some pretty good flash deals this year. Great story about that: 

Right after Thanksgiving we had placed a couple of orders on Amazon. We had found some good deals on some nice stuff that we were excited about giving to our family. One day we were all at home together and the FedEx truck pulled up outside out house. Brad was in the bedroom working on school stuff, so I was the one who got to go get the packages. The driver pulled out a HUGE box, and I got excited thinking that all of our stuff had somehow shipped all at once. The guy told me it was a little heavy but I assured him I could get it. Honestly, it wasn't as heavy as I expected, considering the size of the box. I hauled that puppy inside and straight to the bedroom so Brad and I could open it together. 

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" I sang loudly as I dumped the box on our bed. Brad opened it and we both leaned in excitedly. Peering in, we saw this: 


That's sixty rolls of Cottonelle, y'all. My ever thrifty husband found a flash sale on TOILET PAPER!  He saw the chance and he took it. And it really was a good deal. But I told Brad that if there was a government watch list for yard-rolling, we are probably on it now!  

The one exception to the easy shopping for my children was Korban this year. I spent his early Christmas's just wanting him to be able to ask for something. His communication was extremely limited, so it was a huge deal to us when he could actually tell us something that he wanted. He really isn't a picky kid at all and he doesn't ask for much, so you better believe when he says he wants something now we are going to do our best to get it. 

The week before Thanksgiving I had taken him for a therapy evaluation in Tupelo. While I was filling out papers and talking to the therapist, Korban noticed a toy sitting on the table. They turned it on so he could see it work and he was completely mesmerized. Since then, all he's talked about was getting a "machine spinner like the one at Longtown" for Christmas. What's a machine spinner, you ask? Good question!  I was trying to explain it to people so that they could help me look, browsing therapy catalogues, and Googling like it was my job but none of us were having any luck. The best way I could describe it was a circle inside a circle that lights up and spins. (Longtown had had theirs for awhile and didn't know where it was purchased from.) 

I tried to interest Korban in other things. He loves things that spin and/or light up. I tried everything from disco balls to Lava Lamps, but he wasn't having any of it. (Did you know there are lava lamp videos on YouTube?  Korban wasn't interested but I thought they were cool!)

So we were feeling a little desperate. Brad asked if I could call the therapist and ask her to text a picture to my phone so he could at least see what we were looking for. I was getting ready to do that when I somehow put the magic combination of words into the Google search bar and found what I was looking for. Behold the Machine Spinner:

Turns out some people call these "perpetual motion toys," or a "kinetic desk toy." Who would've thought it?  Here's a description:

 Did you catch the reference to the Big Bang Theory?  I'm Christmas shopping for Sheldon, y'all! 

Anyway, we were so relieved we found it and Amazon delivered it right to our door. I'm really hoping Korban is excited about it but not so excited that he tears it up or gets overstimulated. We shall see... How about you guys?  Have you had any strange gift requests that you had trouble fulfilling? If anyone needs any last-minute toilet paper, we are pretty well stocked. ;)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Korban's Pumpkin Patch Trip

The Monday after we got back from our weekend trip to Chattanooga Korban's second grade class went to the pumpkin patch. Korban LOVES a pumpkin patch. He asks about it literally all year long and will tell you "The pumpkin patch is in October!"  (Because trust me, that has been explained to him many, many times;)

They were headed to the Buffalo Park in Tupelo. They do a really cute pumpkin patch every year. When Korban was in kindergarten his class went there on a field trip, and I took him and my mom and Selah came too. That trip did not end well. Korban got really upset at the end and beat me up pretty good and screamed most of the way home. (It's an hour's drive--and I cried most of the way too!) Nothing in particular happened--his classmates were fine and his teachers were more than nice to us. That was just when his behavior was SO rough and it was worse than usual because there were more people there to witness it.  I say all that not to dwell on the past, but to look at how far we have come. We still struggle in many ways, but thankfully things are better now than then. Especially in terms of his aggression, which has always been one of our chief concerns. 

This time I let my mom pick Selah up from school so that both kids could get some one-on-one time. Selah's school was headed to a different pumpkin patch the next day, so I knew her turn was coming up. So Selah enjoyed her time with Nana and Korban and I had a really good time! 

This is the first picture I've ever taken of Korban with his regular education class. And he posed so well for it. Look at that grin! (He's looking at me, everyone else was looking at their teacher.)


Here he is with a buffalo-am I the only one who thinks he looks like he's wondering what a buffalo burger tastes like?


Riding on the tour...this was his favorite part I think. 

Here's the deal--we love Mrs. Misty. Mrs. Misty loves the Bulldogs. Korban agreed to pose with her and this MSU football but notice he's pointing at her as if to say "Look Dad, I swear this was all her idea."

There, that's better...

Here's Korban with his sweet friend Jonathan. Korban met Jonathan when they were in kindergarten together and Jonathan has always been very understanding of Korban and eager to reach out to him, which we all appreciate.
 
Korban loves to play pretty much any game that involves a ball. :)

Here's another friend--his name is Patrick. He and Korban have known each other since they were babies. Korban loved sliding and Patrick was helping him off at the end. Very sweet! 

Smiling at each other. 

Picking out a pumpkin...

Happy smiles! 

This was very funny to me--some of the kids had climbed in that tube thing and some other kids were on the outside trying to push it with no success. Korban was walking by and noticed...
So he started pushing too and it started to roll!  Ladies and gentleman, my son, The Hulk. 
Gaining momentum! 

We had a full day, and I could tell he was getting tired at the end. He wasn't wanting to go, and I was trying to ease him into it in hopes of avoiding a meltdown. Once he finally understood that his classmates were about to get back on the bus and go home, he was ready to go. We went to tell his teacher good-bye, and right as we got close one of the other teachers blew her whistle to call the students to line up. Korban hates sudden loud noises, and whistles are pretty close to the top of his "Sounds I Hate The Most" List. So she blew the whistle and Korban clamped his hands over his ears and shouted "WHAT THE FREAKIN' HECK?!?" I was mortified but all the teachers completely lost it. I was SO glad they saw the humor in it. Because really, compared to 2 years ago, that really was a minor thing, even if I would prefer he didn't shout out things like that. The teacher with the whistle apologized to him (she didn't see him coming, we were at her back) and I don't really think any of the other kids heard him. So even though I was initially embarrassed, if that's the worst thing that happened I will take it and be grateful!  

Korban and I each got a pumpkin and he was very eager to take one to Selah. They couldn't wait to carve them, so when Daddy got home, they got to work on them. 


They both like scooping the "guts" out but it makes Korban shake, which is why his face is blurred in this picture. Ha! 

Here's what his pumpkin looked like. Hotty Toddy! 






Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall Fun in Chattanooga Part 2

After a good night's sleep, we got up Saturday morning ready to roll. We had breakfast at our hotel, loaded up, and headed out. Our first stop was at a place called Audobon Acres. It's a nature center, with lots of trails for hiking. The weather was fantastic, and I love fall. So  many pretty colors!  Always makes me think of my dad. This was his favorite time of year. My first vacation was going to the Smoky Mountains with my parents and my Uncle Jude. We always went during the fall to see the foliage. 

Loved, loved, loved this picture of the kids. 




We set out walking on one of the trails...

They had a swinging bridge!  It was even fenced in. Tishomingo State Park needs to take note. I could walk across this one without hyperventilating and holding my kids in a chokehold. ;)

See, I don't even have my hands on him! 


Taking a rest 

This was called Resurrection Rock. 

They loved throwing rocks in the water. 

Selah's a Daddy's girl. Can you tell? 

This little dude is pretty fond of Daddy too. 

Korban got frustrated while we were at the water. He took a band-aid off his finger and tossed it into the water. Selah fished it out and for some reason that made him furious. So she was running with it and he was chasing her, so I intervened. Then he hit me. Not cool, but thankfully that was the only time all weekend he was aggressive. We made him sit down for awhile, and he was crying and screaming. I was worried someone would hear all the screaming coming from out in the woods and come running, thinking there was some sort of emergency. That didn't happen, which was a relief. When he calmed down, we hiked our way out of the woods and left. 

After all our hiking, they were ready for a little snack. We stopped by a cupcake shop before heading onto our next thing. 

Selah wanted something with a cherry on top. 



Korban just wanted chocolate ice cream. 

We had bought a Groupon quite awhile back to ride the Chattanooga Ducks, and we finally had our chance to redeem it. The Ducks are amphibious vehicles from WWII that they use for sight-seeing tours in land and water. 

This is the one we got to ride in, the General Bradley. We thought the name was cool!  Brad's full name is Bradley, which is his mother's maiden name. 

Korban was so excited to get to ride. I love that sweet smile! 

He was amazed when we drove out into the water. 

Selah thought it was pretty awesome too. :)

After we finished our Chattanooga Ducks tour, we headed to the Chattanooga Zoo for their Boo at the Zoo event. They had lots of games and trick-or-treating. 



Selah found a pretty mermaid. 

She got to ride a pony...

And a frog!

I didn't get many more pics because it got dark and it was also extremely crowded so we were trying to manage that. The kids did well overall and weren't in any hurry to leave but we had to head home. 

It was an exciting weekend!

(And also a little bit tiring!) 

Thankful for the happy memories!