CHAPTER 1: THE WEDDING
Emily was the flower girl for my cousin Matt's wedding. She was pumped. She made several new friends over the course of a couple of days and still talks about the wedding. Here is a video of the beginning and the end of the evening.
CHAPTER 2: VACATION
We took some time off the week after Mother's Day. With the store closing and lots of other changes going on in our lives right now, it was a good time to get away. We went down to Tennessee and took some time refocusing and hanging out as a family and with some friends that live down there.
We spent a little extra time in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg this trip. One of our first days there, we stopped at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant... or as Tom calls it, The Apple Barn. :-) Tom and I are both on Twitter (@tsfGodGuy and @jennihypes) and we tweeted a lot during our trip. Tom sent out a few posts while we were waiting on our yummy food!
We also killed a little bit of time while waiting for our food by playing with my camera. Check out the close-up of Snickerdoodle's beautiful eyeball!
At some point during the week (I can't remember if it was after lunch or an entirely different day -- but does it really matter in the whole scheme of things?) we went to Ripley's Aquarium. It's become another one of our standard stops when we're in the area. Here's a picture of Em looking into an aquarium tube from underneath it... or if you don't believe that, she might also be listening to angels announcing the virgin birth, or trapped in a Steven Spielberg movie.
The Ripley's Aqaurium has quite a few exhibits to be proud of.
There's the giant, Emily-sized catfish that apparently likes to have it's belly tickled.
There's a ginormous tank that you can see from above....
...that has sharks....
... and old people swimming and scootering about in it!
Then, there are the giant tubes with moving sidewalks that take you underneath the ginormous tanks so you can get an up-close-and-personal view of the sharks, turtles, stingray and other creatures lurking about in the deep water.
There are also creatures that make us want to go, "Oooooooo!"
At the end of the moving sidewalk are several other exhibits and rooms to explore. Here's another giant tank that would make a fabulous addition to our living room. Any volunteers to buy it, set it up, clean it and maintain it for us?
One of my favorite exhibits at ANY aquarium are the jellyfish. We saw these first when we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I made these guys sit still for this picture and it took about 6 takes before the smaller of the two stopped grumping it up... it was WAAAAY past nap time at this point.
Once we made it out of the darker, more peaceful part of the aquarium, someone caught their second wind and was ready to start checking out the domes that were built into the smaller aquariums.
On our way back past the giant aquarium (remember the one we wanted for our living room?), we were lucky enough to find a diver that was just finishing up feeding the fish some lettuce. That's Em's silhouette on the bottom-right working her charm to get the diver to wave at her.
There's a new penguin exhibit in the aquarium this year. It opened just a little over a month before we got there. It was pretty sweet. Here's a picture of Emily laying on the glass floor watching penguins swim back and forth between the indoor and outdoor parts of the exhibit. They also had tubes to crawl into so you could reach a dome that popped up in the middle of the penguin exhibit. Up close and personal folks. Up close and personal.
It was a good day. A long day. But a good day to snuggle up to a penguin.