Sunday, July 29, 2007

The first day...

We arrived in Chattanooga late Friday afternoon. Of course it was really too late to dive into anything "fun", but we convinced the girls that a water taxi ride would be great!

Maybe the boat ride wasn't the highlight of our trip, but we all enjoyed the scenery and some semi-quiet time together. (We can't claim complete quiet and relaxation due to little man, but what can you do?)
You can see the pointed glass roof of the Aquarium beckoning to us in the background.

Little man kept trying to climb over the rail. You can see he's got a harness on, so we really didn't have to worry all that much about him falling overboard.
I'm totally kidding! This was a railing in the middle of the boat, NOT on the edge. Hellooo! Do you think we're crazy?! And exactly where do you think I'm positioned...? In a little dingy?

The girls discover the luxury of a hot tub...

Our hotel had indoor pool and hot tub facilities and the girls could not wait to try them out!
We had barely made it back to our room after a late dinner before they started clamoring for a trip to the "pool room". So around 10 pm, off we go to explore the amenities.

Miss B quickly discovered how relaxing the hot tub can be and gladly took many opportunities to indulge. (Back and forth, from the pool to the hot tub to the pool to the hot tub...) Of course it didn't matter at all if there were one or twenty-one other people in it already...she just helped herself. She really was too cute lounging about.

Miss K saw the hot tub as an opportunity to pose for a picture. Yes, she eventually got in...but only if big sister would lift her off the step and gently lower her in. (I am so not kidding. I watched this more times than you can imagine.)

Our little hot tub princesses!

A day at the Children's Museum & the...Aquarium?

Our first full day in Chattanooga was indeed that...full.

We started out by going to the Children's Museum (not really the accurate name, but I can't remember it right now). This place had so much stuff to see and do! I actually thought it was a little overwhelming, but the girls had a blast running here to there touching everything within reach. Fortunately this is one of the few places on earth where that is allowed so I didn't need to have ongoing heart failure.

The following pictures are just a few of the highlights. If you really want to see the entire experience, just let me know and I'll be more than happy to send more pics your way. :)

One of our favorite stations in the museum was the "air blower" as the girls called it. I'm pretty sure the point wasn't to blow hair, but had something to do with the ball...

Although, Miss B did like that it looked like she was doing magic!
Hokus Pokus Turkey-bone Chokus, Grandpa!
One of the areas was all about Alice in Wonderland. I don't think the girls have ever even seen the movie all the way through, but that didn't stop them.
Steve discovered this one. You can see how "big" they grew... (I think this was Steve's favorite.)
Little man had fun peeking in the rabbit hole. I think he was just happy he finally got out of the stroller for a little while.

This sweet lady noticed me taking tons of pictures of the kids and Steve, so volunteered to take one of all of us together. At least now there's proof I was actually there too. (And do you notice the whopper of a backpack I've got on? Yep, I'll post about that later.)

The mirrors were hysterical! We all loved seeing ourselves: short, tall, squiggly, bug-eyed & big-headed, skinny (my personal fave), and as you can see below...short and fat. Although it doesn't appear by the picture that Miss K enjoyed a glimpse into ChubbyLand.

Miss B thought it was funny...come on K, lighten up. :)

As we were leaving, the girls had to climb around "just one more time". I asked them to go as high as they could. They made it most of the way before they looked down and decided they were good enough.

We left the museum and moved on to the IMAX to watch Deep Sea 3D. Let's just pics, large 3D icky deep sea life that was pretty creepy even to this adult, girls lasted about 30 minutes, little man lasted 3.
Next, we moved on to the aquarium. (I said our day was full.)
You would think since the aquarium was the main reason we went to Chattanooga, I would be posting tons of pics of our time there...unfortunately, not so much. We did have our picture taken as a family in front of their green screen. Of course, seeing as how it was one of the two that actually showed us all together and the only one of us in the aquarium (the entire reason we went to Chattanooga in the first place), we bought the whole package. So if you'd like a copy, we have extra... :)
Most of the pics I took can really only be appreciated by us because we're the only ones who can figure out what exactly is in the picture. Oh well...the girls love them and that's all that matters.
This one of Miss K touching a mantaray turned out great, though. And you wouldn't have even had to be there to figure out what it is a picture of. Yay for small miracles.

Just to sum up even without pictures to highlight...the girls LOVED the otters, the penguins, the super-huge sea turtle, the shark, and the butterfly room. That room was really cool. There were hundreds of butterflies flying all around you, and on you. We loved it!
To our already full day, we also added: playtime on the "water stairs", playtime anywhere there was water at all, having the kids profiles sketched, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Ben & Jerry's (oh my gosh! I may have to post about that individually!), another swim in the pool and hot tub, two shuttle rides, and a partridge in a pear tree.
We were so done.

Water stairs and water scared...

These are the "water stairs". These were the hit and highlight of the entire trip.
I don't actually know what their official name is, but the girls have dubbed them the water stairs and thus they will forever be known. We visited these glorious stairs everyday. The girls literally had to be begged, cajoled, bribed, and threatened in order to leave. I'm thrilled they loved them so much! Honestly, the trip was worth it just for the time spent here.

The stairs emptied into a large wading pool. The first day, the girls had on regular clothes and were "supposed" to only wade to their knees...yep, you guessed it... before it was over, one of them was completely soaked! Any guesses who?
Miss K "claims" that someone bumped into her and made her fall. Maybe so, but I've yet to see my child fall down without hysterics quickly following. And I've known her, her entire life!
So yes, Miss K was soaked and loving it! Of course, Miss B quickly tried to follow by "accidentally" getting "too close" to the water. (I am now rolling my eyes.)
The second day we came prepared. The girls wore their bathing suits under their clothes, so as soon as we finished at the aquarium, they were ready!
(You can see the girls in the lower right corner in this first pic.)

I have to admit, the water was divine...especially after a long day on your feet carrying around a backpack that weighs more than all my kids put together...but more on that later.
We tried so hard to get little man to touch the water, but not so much. One little drop was enough for him. You would think he just wasn't interested, but I think he was just flat out scared.

He spent his time on the "dry" stairs next to the water. I think he was practicing for a modeling career. (Steve doesn't seem to like that idea...) Whatever. Our little man looks precious and, boy, was he glad to be out of that stroller!

We came across more water later in the day that the girls just had to run through. For those of you familiar with downtown Chattanooga, you'll recognize that there is no shortage of water places. The girls stayed entertained most places we walked. Thank you to whoever that design genius is!!!
So anyway...we found this one place where little man actually wasn't intimidated by the water and actually braved reaching out to touch it...with toes and fingers! (safely tucked into his stroller, of course...wonder if it became his security blanket?)

Hooray for the Chattanooga water supply! The girls are now begging to live there. Steve has tried to explain to them about the commute he would have to get to work and then back home everyday, but they seem to think it would be worth it.
I'm so proud of how compassionate they are...

Our last day...

We had promised the girls we would walk across this bridge. It is the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the world. It is 3/4 mile long and extremely beautiful. The picture on the sidebar is this same bridge. I took that picture from the boat our first day in Chattanooga.

By the time we walked all the way to the bridge, we were hot and tired already, but we were committed. And we did it. We walked across the entire thing. This may not seem like much of an accomplishment to some of you, but for my tired and cranky family of was quite the doing!

This is just to prove that I actually was on the trip. And yes, that is a souvenir T-shirt I am wearing. It is tradition and I love tradition! So for those of you who don't "do" souvenir T-shirts, don't know I look cute!