Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Incline Railway...

We went on a homeschool co-op field trip yesterday to the Incline Railway in Chattanooga. I was terrified and didn't want to go but Ben promised to hold my hand. :) It turned out to be a wonderful trip. I actually enjoyed myself. After hearing the tram man explain the safety features, I was able to relax and enjoy my ride.
This is a photo taken from the bottom of the track. You can see how steep the grade is when you get close to the top of the mountain! Below it you see a photo taken from the top of the mountain as one of the cars is descending. Then a photo from the inside of the car as we were going down. Try to notice how you can see the valley at the bottom out of the top of the car. That is because we are almost at a vertical position. They designed the car so that you don't feel it as much. The car actually sits at an angle.
Here is a photo of Ben looking through the view meter at the top of the mountain. He kept pointing out all of the things he could see. He saw some "red big trucks" on the Interstate and was very excited about that! Then a photo of my tired kids (and my cranky daughter) on the ride down.

Some interesting facts about the Incline Railway from their official site:
"Following the Civil War, development on Lookout Mountain was minimal. The four-hour trip up Whiteside Pike, a toll road, discouraged many people, and the two-dollar toll discouraged the rest. However, many people were interested in visiting the peak, in part due to the romanticized "Battle Above the Clouds" that occurred on the mountain during The Civil War.

During the railroad boom of the 1880's, speculators decided to develop a hotel on the mountaintop serviced by a narrow gauge railroad that would run up the mountain. A second, broad-gauge line and an earlier incline were also competing for passengers.

On November 16, 1895 the railroad known today simply as "The Incline" opened, rising up the steepest part of Lookout Mountain. Built by John Crass and the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway Company this technical marvel boasted an incline of 72.7% at one point, making it the steepest passenger Incline in the world. Literally millions of residents and tourists have taken this ride up to the top of Lookout Mountain. By 1900 the success of this railway closed down all of its competitors.

Originally the cars were made of wood and powered by huge coal-burning steam engines. Electric power was used after 1911, and it now uses two 100 horsepower motors.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The kids colored Easter Eggs (and ate some, as you can see from Natalie's mouth!). Then we hid eggs outside for them to hunt. They loved their Easter baskets this morning. Natalie got some "bam-baids", which thrilled her. Ben got some Mad Libs books. He loves making silly stories with the books and has no idea that he is learning at the same time!

Here is a new "belly shot". I am 21 weeks today. I feel the baby move often but no one can feel it from the outside yet.

I have lots of photos to share this week! Yesterday we picked up mamaw and took a day trip to Pigeon Forge, up in the Smokey Mountains. We fed the ducks at the Old Mill. One of them came right up and ate out of Shawn's hand!

We also took the kids to a Chuck E. Cheese Hell type of pizza place where they played games and won prizes.

However, the highlight of the day was when the "boys" got to ride in a real monster truck! Ben said it was a "dream come true".

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baseball time again...

And so it begins...

Tonight was the first baseball practice for both kids. Natalie's was at 5:30 and Ben's at 6:30. They were adorable dressed in the baseball uniforms, ready to head off to the field.

Natalie threw in the towel a bit early and refused to bat, but in her defense she only had a thirty minute nap today so after a day at home school co-op and then baseball practice, she was exhausted. She and her team were so cute out on the field. You don't realize how little they are until you see them all out there together trying to play ball.

Ben has really improved this year! When he and daddy practice in the backyard he prides himself on hitting the ball out of the yard and into the road behind the house. If he hits the ball that far at the ball field he is going to be hitting some home runs this year!
Natalie had a potty accident at the field and the only change of clothes I had in the van was a dress. Unfortunately, I didn't include shoes when packing the change of clothes so she ended up wearing a flower dress with her black cleats. It was a pretty interesting sight to behold. I got a photo of her when we got home, asleep from a long day...all curled up in her dress and cleats.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Our Weekend...

For the most part we had a pretty uneventful week. We seem to be "under the weather" again but that has been more the norm than the unusual this winter.
We had a light snow Saturday morning and the kids got bundled up and went outside to play before it stopped.

Then today Natalie helped daddy change Um-bah's oil. I don't know weather they got more oil in the car or into her!

After the chores we got all of the baseball stuff out of the building and got it organized for the upcoming Little League season. The kids and daddy played some ball while I watched. Ben hit more than he missed! Natalie was a bit tired as she didn't get a good nap today so she was a bit cranky, as you can see from the photo!

Monday, March 3, 2008

We had a family day yesterday. We took the kids to the Ocoee River Park and then went to get ice cream. We had a great time! I've included some photos and will try to get more up soon.
The first two are of the kids and I and then a new belly shot.
This is one of Shawn and the kids throwing rocks in the river and then one of Shawn trying to ride Ben's scooter.

Ben took his scooter and tried it out for the first time. Natalie took her tricycle. She got very upset when Ben tried to ride her tricycle. She actually chased him and tried to pull him off! Notice that in the photo of the sign, you can see her under it, holding on to the tricycle with all of her might.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Off to church...

Our friend's daughter was baptised on Saturday and we attended the celebration. We are becoming more knowledgeable about the Orthodox church but this was the first baptism that we have attended. I found it to be very interesting. It was also cool that it was basically the same baptism that the church did two thousand years ago...from what I understand, very little has changed in way of how the services are done.

As for news on the "home front", we found out last week that the baby is a girl! We are all excited. The kids both wanted a girl. I was honestly ok either way but I am thrilled to have another baby girl. This pregnancy seems to be going by quickly. I am 18 weeks today. I guess when you have two other kids to care for, you don't have as much time to sit and focus on the pregnancy!

The kids are growing and learning each day. This morning they were in the bed with us, playing with Lego blocks. I started putting them together in a pattern of red, blue, red, blue. I would ask Natalie which color came next and she got it right every time! Then I added another color to the pattern and she still would choose the correct block to hand to me. I was impressed that she got the concept at her age.

Then Ben found an old tape measure and started measuring everything in sight, which lead to an impromptu math lesson. He already understood the concept of an inch and that it takes twelve inches to equal a foot so it was basically a review. But he enjoyed himself. We found a math page in an old workbook and worked on estimating and then actually measuring objects to see how close our estimates of measurement were. Natalie even got into it. She ran around the house finding things for Ben to measure!

Ben got his cast off on Friday and his arm had healed nicely. He was able to play in the last basketball game of the year. His basketball photos should be back soon and I will be giving them out/mailing them out to everyone.

Here is a photo of Ben and Natalie and their friend Elias at the baptism.