Sep 25
Kieran First Day Of Middle School

Kieran about to walk out the door to catch the bus.

The Summer has come to an end.  How can that be?!  I’ve got pictures from our Labor Day vacation in Ludington to post, but I thought I’d get the boys first day of school pictures up first.  It’s only two weeks since they started.  That’s not so bad for me.

I can hardly believe that Kieran is now a Middle Schooler! He has been really happy with the change of schools.  He’s meeting new people that came from the other elementary schools, he’s got a good groups of teachers, and he’s got many more options in the cafeteria for lunch!  He’s already been placed into the advanced Language Arts and Math classes.

It has been a little weird around the house in the morning.  Up until this year nobody else has been awake when I’m leaving for work.  Because the Middle School bus is much earlier than the ones for elementary school, Kieran and Linda are now up with me.  It’s nice to have the company, even if it’s only for a few minutes before I go out the door.

Declan and Owen First Day of Kindergarten Outfits

Declan and Owen got all buttoned down for their first day of Kindergarten





At the same time that Kieran is starting a new school, Declan and Owen are starting school for the first time!  They are now in Kindergarten.  Even after a couple of weeks, I still can’t believe that.

The first day of Kindergarten was only an hour long.  Linda and I took them to school to meet their teacher and get to know their classroom.  They went from station to station on a scavenger hunt.  It was fun, and I enjoyed getting to see things too.

The second day was the first time that they rode the bus.  Their bus comes about an hour and a half after Kieran’s.  I went in to work late so I could go with them to the bus for the first time.  They were very excited!  It was a nice day outside too.  After we got them on the bus and it pulled away, Linda and I were both amazed that this day had come.  They aren’t old enough for this already are they?!

Declan and Owen First Day of Kindergarten Backpacks

The boys and their new backpacks are ready to go

It was a little hard for the two of them to adjust to their new schedule.  They are full day kindergarteners.  So they are getting up earlier than they used to, and spending quite a lot of time away from home five days a week.  There have been a few emotional moments as they get used to things, but I think they’re doing fine.  During the first week both of them said they wished school wasn’t full day, but I haven’t heard that much lately.

Declan and Owen With Their Lockers

Those last two stars say Declan and Owen

So new schools all around this year.  So far so good.  Happy learning guys!

Sep 13

Our big Summer vacation was a trip down to Tennessee to spend a week with Grandpa Harrie. It was the first time in Tennessee for Declan and Owen. Everybody had a great time. Amazingly, nothing got broken in Grandpa’s house!

Family in Tennessee

We made sure to get a picture with Grandpa before the week was over. Amazing that everybody smiled!

Owen's Power Dance at Grandpa's

Owen and Declan spent a lot of time doing dances like this. They were having fun!

We didn’t go on the trip with any plans as to what we would do while we were there. That’s pretty typical for us. Trying to stick to a schedule just seems like work. Where’s the vacation in that?

Grandpa’s house is a short walk away from a place called the Custard Cabin. It’s pretty good stuff. Since the weather was extremely hot while we were there we thought it would be great to walk up there in the evening when it started to cool off.

Walking the Custard Cabin 1

There's a big valley followed by a big hill in the road out of the neighborhood.

Walking to Custard Cabin 2

Walk up the big hill, turn left, and just a short way up the main road is that big cone calling you toward it.

Declan and Owen's Custard

They have a table just the right size for Declan and Owen out on the porch.

Kieran's Custard

Kieran sat with us at the porch counter.

One day we stopped at a road side stand selling peaches. The peaches were very good, but the reason I mention it is that the woman running the stand asked us “Have you been to the tree house?” Huh? What tree house? She told us there was a local minister that was building a huge tree house because God told him to. She said it’s open for people to climb though for no charge. When we got back to Grandpa’s house we looked it up on the Internet. It looked really impressive so we decided to check it out the next day. It’s called The Minister’s Tree House. Here are some pictures.

Minister's Tree House - The Chapel

There's a chapel inside where they hold church services some Sundays.

Minister's Tree House - The Main Stairway

This is the main stairway that spirals all the way up to the top. That's 10 levels up. Other stairs are located on various levels.

Minister's Tree House - The Walkway

Most of the structure has walkways around the various levels like this one.

Minister's Tree House - Looking Down at Owen & Mom

Declan and I were not all the way to the top, but we were looking down at Owen and his Mom.

Minister's Tree House - Family at the Top

If you look real close you can see Linda, Kieran, Declan, and Owen looking out from the top floor window.

Minister's Tree House - Closeup on Family at the Top

Add a little zoom and you can see them all looking down at me.

Minister's Tree House - View Through the Trees

I tried to capture the whole thing, but it's hard to see it through the trees from this side.

Minister's Tree House - View From The Front

When you go around to the front (or is it the back) you can stand back and really get blown away by the size of this tree house.

If you get the chance to visit Crossville, it’s worth a stop at the tree house. You’ll be impressed.

They recently opened a brand new public library in Crossville. We like libraries so, of course, we had to check it out. It’s a really nice place.

Crossville Library

The new Crossville Public Library

You can sit out on that balcony and read in a rocking chair. At least if it’s cooler than it was when we were there. The children’s department has a round area where they’ve setup former carousel animals and carts and things that the kids thought was great.

Crossville Library Carousel Declan

Declan on the carousel pig

Crossville Library Carousel Owen

Owen on the carousel horse

Cumberland Mountain State Park isn’t too far from Grandpa’s house so we decided to go hiking one day.

Cumberland Mountain State Park Byrd Lake

This is the lake created by the bridge/dam in the park.

Cumberland Mountain State Park Bridge

This is the bridge/dam that creates the lake.

Cumberland Mountain State Park - Hiking 1

Setting out on our hike.

Cumberland Mountain State Park - Hiking 2

The boys stopping at the stream on the trail.

Cumberland Mountain State Park - Hiking Cable Bridge

There's a cable bridge at the far end of the trail that we hiked. The twins were a little freaked out by this.

Cumberland Mountain State Park - Hiking Rock Outcropping

There were several of these large overhanging rock formations along the trail. The Tennessee rocks are just amazing.

We have cousins that live closer to Nashville and we decided that we needed to get over to visit them on this trip. We spent the day with them and their new baby. It’s the third girl for them.

Visiting Sarah and Justin - Linda and Makenzie

Linda got her baby fix with Makenzie

Visiting Sarah and Justin - Kieran and Makenzie

Kieran wanted to hold Makenzie as much as possible

Visiting Sarah and Justin - Proud Parents

Had to get a shot of the proud parents with the new little one

We had a lot of fun on our trip. The drive there and back got a little long at times, but everybody survived. Grandpa was happy to have us and it sure was nice getting to see him for an extended time. Hopefully t won’t be so long before the next trip!

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