Sunday, March 1, 2009

loooooong overdue (post)...and some funnies

I am 8 days overdue from posting our family fun-filled day getaway to the Tennessee Aquarium on Saturday, February 21st. There was ups and downs. There was crazy and calm moments. There was 'take me out back and shoot me' moments. There was sweaty moments (more of that later) and crappy moments (I can't even share this story with you). And lastly, there was moments we'll never forget and sadly I'd do this ALL over again! (Lord, what is wrong with me?)

First, a few things. Before starting this one-day road trip we had to drop my DH's truck off at Firestone for a diagnostic - it's acting funny. Then we needed to put oil in my car before making the 2-hour car drive so we stopped at the auto parts store to make a purchase. During our trip Cameron lost his pacifier in the back seat and Jose wasn't cooperating in finding it so DH almost turned the car around, but Jose changed his ways. We finally get to Chattanooga and by this time it was our lunch time. Chili's it was! We had a major episode there that we just cannot discuss, and if we did, I'd have to come to your state or country and kill you. (Not really, but lets assume so for my sake.)

Mommy to the rescue and we headed off to Wal-mart for a solution. Thankfully we had GPS and found one. And wouldn't you know, I found this awesome patchwork purse in the meanwhile and I just had to get it. (I bought that wooden bird as a souvenir from the aquarium and it was fitting for the occasion. I mean, after this trip I was a little coo-coo. You know 'one flew over the coo-coo's nest'.)

After purchasing our tickets we entered into the first building. Try to understand this, it was windy that day and a little chilly. We were herded in the doorway like a bunch of cows for one. Then we were forced to stand in front of a green screen and have our photo taken. My DH asked, "Do we have to?". My question exactly! If they had known what we just went through for the last 4 hours, and I wish you all could have known to the extent that we know), you would have felt the same way. This picture was horrible, but DH bought it anyway. I looked like a rock star with my hair over half the side of my face (wind blown) and my glasses didn't have enough time to go back to being glasses. I have the kind that tint with sunlight. Chris looked like he was on drugs. Jose looked "relieved" (can't tell you why), and Cameron looks like a deer in headlights.

Continuing on...Cameron had his first (of many I'm sure) meltdowns in front of the frolicking otters, among dozens of thrill seeking families. No offense, but while wrestling to get Cameron back in his seat I felt like Cameron was Travis the chimp that was shot by the police; only we didn't shoot him. No, we stuck a bottle in his mouth to shut him up...and it worked. Whew!!! It took me and DH 5 minutes to get that boy fastened into his stroller. We were sweating something terrible afterwards and our next stop ~~~ tropical world. Yay!!! (not)

Heading east through Tennessee is breathtaking. The mountains and hills are gorgeous and relatively it's an uphill drive a lot of the way. I took photos of us driving up the mountainside. Sorry for the dirty windshield, but the mountains were to0 nice to pass up.

Up, up, up we go!

There was still ice on these cliffs. It was so pretty! But watch out for falling rocks.

The most beautiful part about driving up is that it winds several times. It's just really lovely when the mountains break apart and there is open valleys. Just stunning!

Once at the top, there are several different signs. There is a 6% grade downhill and it is dangerous if you're not careful. Trucks have to be on the right side and they go really slow.


The brown raised dirt on the side of the road is called a "Runaway Truck Ramp". No need to explain that one to you. Scary stuff.


Whew! Finally made it to the bottom and we're just about to downtown Chattanooga.

We had Chili's for lunch when we arrived in Chattanooga and this was the first time Cameron sat in a booster seat. He usually sits in a high chair. He had a great time in a big boy chair. Jose didn't have such a remarkable time at Chili's. I've promised him I wouldn't divulge his little mishap. (Just between you and me, it wasn't so 'little'--shh!)

In warmer weather the small rocks are filled with water and kids really enjoy trying to pass over them without getting wet...and of course, it never works. They get wet. Jose doesn't care though; he'll go dry or wet. Hey Mom!

DH: Jose, look! It's a meteor coming our way!
Nawwwwwwww! Hold me, Chris!
Dude in yellow back pack: Ugh, where?

Mr. Puffer fish - I was in love with this little guy!


A view of the Tennessee River from the aquarium.

My big baby! The rocking chairs were made from recycled milk cartons.

These sting rays were so cool. I have never seen any sting ray like this. They were fresh water sting ray, and I didn't know they even existed. Learn something new everyday.

We didn't know this kid, but this giant butterfly landed on his head before he was leaving. I didn't like this. I scurried out the door. I don't want that Sasquatch of a butterfly landing on me. What if it spits? LOL

These little penguins were one of my highlights. I loved this exhibit. They were popping up everywhere and then leaping back into the water. It was freezing inside this place too. Duh!

JAWS anyone!?!?

Jose being Jose. He's such a Joker!

Since no flash was allowed, I had Jose turn his camera's red light on and then I took my picture with my camera. It's an octopus if you can't tell. Imagine that thing sucking on your face!!! OMG!

Yummy - wanna come home with us Mr. Crab?

I know this is difficult to see but there was no flash photography allowed and I wanted to obey the rules and not hurt the fishes. What I'm trying to photograph are the 5 tanks of hundreds of jellyfish inside these tank tubes. The tanks changed colors every few seconds and it was really fascinating. After I took this, I felt like I was in the movie Alien. It was a bit creepy actually...and I have a fear of water. (Ahh...where's my flame thrower, honey?)

WARNING!!! Excuse me???

I took this photo of the shark and the sting ray (photo below) while underneath the giant tank they were in. It was really really neat and a first experience for all of us.

This was the quietest they had been ALL day long.

C'mon...gimme a wet fishy kiss!

What does Cameron do best??? Climb obviously!

When we were leaving, outside was a horse drawn carriage with a Dalmation, of all things, purched up on the seat. It was really cute! They stirred quite the audience from the street.

Jellyfish video below...please click to start.

Thanks for putting up with me and my family and sticking around for ALL these photos. Believe me...I could have wasted even more of your time by posting all 150, but I'll let you get back to stitching and crafting. :D Wished you could have been there! LOL LOL LOL LOL (not)


mainely stitching said...

Too funny, Julie. Reminds me of our crazy family outings. :) And what great pictures of the aquarium! Thanks for sharing!

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Looks like a great time!

Vonna said...

Chattanooga is one of our favorite vacation spots, it's 6 hours from us, so it easily navigated and a complete change in scenery. We've just planned a week's vacation starting in June and Chattanooga is the main theme, then we're stopping at Nashville and staying in the Opryland Hotel and going to Belemeade and the Hermitage for a couple of days. I love going to TN.
We've been to the aquarium before and love it too ;)