Wednesday, October 21, 2020

2020 Mountain Trip - Days 3, 4, & 5

Continuing where we left off, here’s part two of our trip to the mountains!  If you missed the first part, you can see it here.

Friday, October 9 (Day 210 of Quarantine)

Friday morning, we woke up to rain from Hurricane Delta that was blowing in from the gulf.  We had planned to go to Anna Ruby Falls in the morning, and after a quick check of the radar, we thought we should be good to go ahead and proceed with our original plans.  We ate the rest of our store-bought donuts, got ready, and hit the road! 

The only way to get there is the scenic route through the mountains, so the roads are very hilly and winding, and we got to see thousands upon thousands of leaves in gorgeous fall colors.  Typically, when we go to the mountains, the leaves are just starting to turn, but this year, due to an early fall here in the south, a lot of the leaves were already well on their way to the reds and oranges and golds of fall.  The drive was beautiful.

We arrived at Anna Ruby Falls around 11 AM, which a little later than we had intended, and there were a lot more people there than we had anticipated.  When we first started on the path to the falls, I was worried it was going to be too crowded, but everyone dispersed as we all fell into our own comfortable paces. 

The hike to the falls is a half a mile, and it’s all uphill, some portions being pretty steep, but it’s a really easy hike since it’s paved, and it’s a gorgeous one, too.  A lot of the leaves had already started changing there as well, and many of them were floating down like snowflakes in the breeze, so it was very picturesque.  I’d love to be able to go during fall peak one year, because I’m sure it’s just stunning. 

We observed the waterfalls for a bit, and then had a very enjoyable walk back down, and then we stopped in the gift shop on the way out to let each of the kids grab a small souvenir.  The gift shop only allowed six people inside at a time and masks were required, so everything was very safe.  Jacob picked out a stuffed wolf and Olivia chose a stuffed deer, and I grabbed a picture frame for our travel gallery wall, and we were on our way!







Anna Ruby Falls is just outside of Helen, GA, and any other year, we would have just driven to Helen to have lunch, but because of the pandemic, we are being extra careful, so we opted not to go to Helen.  Helen is very small and very crowded, especially in October since they celebrate Oktoberfest, so we knew it probably wouldn’t be the best idea. 

Instead, we had brought along some sandwiches, chips, and fruit, and we stopped at one of the picnic grounds on the mountain to have lunch.  The rain held off, the air was cool and crisp, and it was a fall wonderland out there… the absolute PERFECT day and place for our first family picnic ever.  Can y’all believe that?!  Our family has never gone on a picnic before.  We have, of course, eaten outside countless times at restaurants and on our back porch, but we’d never had an actual picnic together prior to this trip. 


After our picnic, our original plan was to go gem grubbing.  We go to the same place every year in Cleveland, GA, which isn’t too far from Anna Ruby Falls and Helen.  We made the drive over only to discover that they are closed indefinitely due to Covid.  Womp womp. 

Fortunately, there are gem grubbing places all over in North Georgia, and we were able to find another one just outside of Helen.  This one was indoors, however, and they put a few random gemstones in each big bucket with sand, which makes them super easy to find, so it all felt very contrived.  The place where we normally go, they give you a huge bucket filled with rocks and sand, and you have to sift through all of the rocks to find the gemstones.  It’s a lot harder to do it that way, so it takes longer, but it feels way more authentic.

The kids didn’t seem to mind, but they flew through their buckets super fast, and then wanted to do another bucket.  Haha.  We decided to let them each get an additional bucket, and Jacob chose to do a bucket of fossils instead of gemstones.  He enjoyed that even more than the gemstones, so I have a feeling he’s going to want to go back to this same place from now on since our original place doesn’t offer the fossil buckets. 




Once the kids had depleted their second buckets, we loaded up in the car to make the long drive back to the house.  On the way home, we stopped at an overlook at one of the highest peaks of the mountains to snap a couple of pictures, and it was cold and windy!





On the way into town, we stopped by Ingles to pick up a frozen pizza for Saturday night so we wouldn’t have to leave the house, and we couldn’t believe how many people were blatantly disobeying the mask mandate.  There were people everywhere in there without any masks in sight. 

After we left Ingles, we swung by Zaxby’s to pick up dinner for the evening.  I’m telling y’all, the food options around Blueridge aren’t ideal when you can’t dine-in.  Haha.

After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening out in the back yard.  The rain continued to hold off, so B built a fire and we made s’mores.  Just as we were heading in for the night, the rain from Hurricane Delta started to come down, and it pretty much didn’t stop for the rest of our trip… all of our outdoor activities were well-timed!!








That evening, I meditated and tidied up while the kids got their showers, and then we all piled on the big couches in the basement to watch Pets United on Netflix.  The kids liked it, but B and I were not impressed with that one at all… it’s basically a cheap knockoff of Secret Life of Pets, minus a plot, and minus the loveable characters.  Don’t waste your time with that one.  Lol.

After the kids were in the bed, B and I watched some more of Schitt’s Creek and then we called it a night, too.

Saturday, October 10 (Day 211 of Quarantine)

Saturday, we had planned to stay at the house all day, and that was a good thing since it rained most of the day.  We ate cereal that we had brought along for the trip, we watched ESPN College GameDay, and I got in a dance workout while B and the kids tried to fish in the creek behind the house.  Spoiler alert, they didn’t catch anything.  Haha.  B knew they probably wouldn’t, but the kids (especially Olivia) were dying to try, so he took them out there during one of the short breaks in the rain.  Just being out there with their fishing poles seemed to satisfy them even though there were no fish, so we called it a win!


For lunch, we made some sandwiches and the rest of the mini corndogs, and then we watched the Florida vs. Texas A&M game down in the basement while the kids played pool.  During the game, we started on the 500 piece puzzle that was in the games cabinet, and we ended up getting the whole thing done just as the Georgia vs. Tennessee game started.  We are notorious for starting big puzzles on our mountain trips and never finishing them, so we shocked ourselves, actually completing one, for once. 



We all took another outdoor break to stretch our legs just before the Georgia game started, and then we settled in with some beers while we watched.  





We had brought along our Roku, so we were watching our local CBS station back home for the game, when our local news cut in for a tornado alert.  The worst of Hurricane Delta was hitting back home and causing some tornadoes in our area, so we had to watch the game via split-screen for nearly two hours so the meteorologists could keep everyone informed.

One of the tornadoes was in the same area of town as our neighborhood, so I started feeling very anxious.  My brother and sister-in-law who always monitor tornado activity (my brother used to watch the movie Twister over and over and over when he was little and has always been obsessed with them), were messaging back and forth with me and my parents and other brother to keep us informed, and eventually everything passed without incident.  Whew!

At halftime, I popped the frozen pizza in the oven and prepared all of the sides while B texted my mother-in-law to ask her to put on Maui’s Georgia jersey for us.  We were losing at halftime, and we needed to turn things around, so it was Maui’s good luck jersey to the rescue!  Lol.  #ItsNotWeirdIfItWorks  She sent us these pictures of her and it made me miss her soooo much!



We ended up winning the game, and then after that game, we watched Alabama vs. Ole Miss… what a crazy game that was!  It was basically a college football all day kind of day, and we enjoyed every single second of it!

Sunday, October 11 (Day 212 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning, we had cereal at the house, got ready, packed up the car, and hit the road as early as we could.  We swung by Starbucks on the way to grab a latte for me and cake pops for the kids, and the next several hours were spent driving in the pouring rain and fog.


Oh my word, the weather could not have been much worse on the way home, and I was a nervous wreck the whole time.  Fortunately, we made it home safely just in time for a late-ish lunch, and the rest of the day was spent unpacking, putting everything away, washing clothes, and getting caught up on all the things.  We phoned it in for dinner and got Mexican from our favorite place, and just like that, our long mountain weekend was over!

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Our Week - The One with Quarantine, Week 31 (Voting and Olivia’s Broken Elbow)

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This past week was eventful so let’s get straight to the recap!

Monday, October 12 (Day 213 of Quarantine)

Monday, after I dropped the kids at school, I went straight to Publix to load up on groceries.  I shop bi-weekly, and I had skipped an extra week since we were on vacation, so we were desperately in need of lots of stuff.

The rest of the day was spent in my office on my computer catching up on all things blogging – editing pictures, writing and formatting posts, and getting caught up on emails.  I was well ahead of the game before we left for vacation, but by the time we got back, I was pretty much behind again.  Funny how that happens!

We had nothing to do that evening, so I cooked dinner and the kids put on a “dance show” for Brian and me after dinner, which basically meant that they had a dance party. 


Tuesday, October 13 (Day 214 of Quarantine)

Tuesday morning, I had my annual checkup with my midwife, and everything checked out well.  She put in my order for my annual mammogram so I’ll be getting that done soon, too.  Here’s your reminder ladies – get your mammograms!!

My appointments with her are usually verrrry long.  She’s everyone’s favorite in town, so she stays fully booked, and I’m usually there for at least 2-3 hours, mostly waiting.  Somehow, I was in and out in one hour this time, and nearly 30 of those minutes she spent with me!  I’m thinking they must not be booking as many appointments right now because of Covid, maybe to keep the waiting rooms at a lower capacity, but whatever the reason, I was really happy about it! 

After my appointment, I headed to Fresh Market to grab our chicken for the next few weeks.  They have chicken deeply discounted every Tuesday so it’s worth the trip even though I don’t buy much else there.  I did snag some super cute Halloween treats to give to the kids on Halloween night, though.  ;o)

The rest of the day was spent in my office on Amazon, perusing Amazon Prime deals since it was the first of two Amazon Prime Days.  The last few years, I’ve purchased lots of Christmas gifts on Amazon Prime Day, and this year was no exception.  You can really find some fantastic stuff, and based on what I’ve seen these last few years, the Amazon Prime Day deals are every bit as good (or better) than Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. 


Tuesday evening, Jacob had a baseball game against (probably) the best team in his league.  They whooped us the first two times we played them earlier this season, but Tuesday evening, we kept it close, ultimately losing 15-13.  The worst part about the loss was that we were actually winning for most of the game, by six runs at one point, but we had a couple of bad innings with no runs scored and we let them overtake us.  Booooo.

Jacob did really well, though… he was consistent as always with three singles and one run scored, and he threw two kids out at first.  He batted a fourth time and hit a hard line drive, but the shortstop caught it.  Waaaahhhh.  It was a great game, though.


Wednesday, October 14 (Day 215 of Quarantine)

Wednesday morning, after slacking off for a couple of weeks, I got in a 2.5 mile run and I ended up having my best time since I started running again a few months ago. 


The rest of the day was spent seeking out Amazon Prime Day deals while also squeezing in some work, and then I got in the car line a little earlier than usual to get Olivia to ballet in time.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here on the blog, but this year she is taking ballet, tap, and jazz, so her class is a little longer.

Now that we’re not allowed to go into dance class with her, and because B is working from home, I’ve started running Jacob all the way back home before her class so he doesn’t have to sit in the car for an hour and a half.  That way, he can have his snack and do his homework, and I have some peace and quiet in the car to read or catch up on emails.  It’s a pretty long haul getting back home and then getting back to ballet in time, but right now that’s what makes the most sense, even though it does require extra driving. 

The rest of the evening was spent at home doing the usual things because we didn’t have anything else going on.  We did Facetime with my brother for my niece's birthday, though.  The kids spent the majority of the time making silly faces to make Tucker and Chyler laugh.  Haha.



Thursday, October 15 (Day 216 of Quarantine)

Thursday, I intended to work out, but since it was the only morning I was going to have completely free all week, I skipped it, and spent all day working in my office instead.  I watched Notting Hill Thursday afternoon while I worked, and my gosh, I love that movie.  I have been having an absolute blast watching all of the old 90’s romcoms these last few weeks… they are just so comforting.

Thursday evening, Jacob had another baseball game, and all of the grandparents plus my uncle came to cheer him on, so I had to snap a picture.  We all spread our chairs far apart, and a few opted to wear masks, so we were able to spend some time together while being safe.

Jacob’s team lost 17-10 because our boys really struggled at bat (lots of strikeouts), but Jacob was as consistent as he always is, getting one single, one double, one run, and he threw a kid out at first.  He did get a third hit, but was thrown out at first base.  No strikeouts, though!




Friday, October 16 (Day 217 of Quarantine)

Friday morning, I dropped the kids at school and came back home for about an hour, and then B and I headed to the polls to vote.  Early voting started in our city on Monday, and we’d heard that the lines were nightmarishly long the first few days, so we wanted to wait until they died down a bit before going. 

The city had just opened a new polling place Friday morning, and we thought that it might be better to go there since a lot of people probably weren’t aware that it had opened, and WE WERE RIGHT.  Oh my word, that was the fastest voting experience of my whole life!  B and I were literally in and out in just nine minutes.  NINE MINUTES, Y’ALL.  And the majority of that time was spent doing the actual voting… there were no lines whatsoever.  It felt AMAZING to cast my vote, and now the countdown is on to see who wins.  I’ve spent more time than ever praying about this election, and I’m eager to see how it turns out. 


B and I decided to swing by the tag office afterward so I could fill out the paperwork to get my license plate transferred to my new vehicle, but the line wrapped around the building so we decided we’d go try again a different day. 

When we arrived back home, we had a ton of packages because all of our Prime Day purchases had started rolling in... it was like Christmas Day!


Friday evening, we picked up takeout from our favorite local pub, and then we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood.  The kids came home from school wired, so we wanted them to burn off some of that energy, plus we wanted to take them to see some of the Halloween decorations around the neighborhood. 

Just as we were about halfway through our walk, we heard Olivia scream bloody murder, like one of the worst screams I’ve ever heard from her, and I turned around and saw her sprawled out on the sidewalk.  B and I were a couple of steps ahead of her and Jacob, so we had no idea what had happened, but Jacob told us that she had tripped and fallen on the sidewalk. 

Unfortunately, that part of the sidewalk is on a hill, and it’s pretty steep, so she fell a lot harder than she would have if the ground had been level.  She landed on her knee and elbow and she was all scraped up, so we thought that’s why she was crying so hard.  Her scream was so loud that one of our neighbors came running out of her house to make sure everything was okay.

She was able to make the rest of the walk back home (about a half of a mile), but she cried the whole way, bless her heart.  She almost always recovers very quickly from things like that, so I started to worry when we reached our house and she was still crying.

I noticed that she held her right arm still the whole way home, and when I asked her to move it for me when we got home, she got hysterical and refused.  She had scraped her elbow and shoulder, so at first, we assumed it was just the scrape that hurt, but after 30 minutes went by and she was still refusing to move her arm, I had a gut feeling that something serious was wrong.  The crook of her elbow had also started turning reddish, so that was another indicator that something wasn’t right.

I immediately called my aunt, who is a nurse, and I told her what had happened to get her opinion.  She told me that she didn’t think it was badly broken, otherwise Olivia would have been constantly screaming in pain, but she said it could be cracked or dislocated, or just very badly bruised, of course. 

This was one of those moments where I truly didn’t know what to do as a parent.  Do we assume it’s nothing serious and just ice it and keep her home to avoid spending four hours at the emergency room?  Do we err on the side of caution and take her to the ER and run the risk of being exposed to Covid?  Nobody wants to go to the emergency room right now with a pandemic going on, and nobody wants their child to be at the hospital all night if it’s not necessary.  Ugh. 

My mind and heart were screaming to just keep her at home, but my gut kept telling me we better take her to the ER just to be safe, and after talking it over, B and I decided to take her.  I gathered up face masks and hand wipes and snacks for them, and then B and Olivia headed out the door a little after 7 o’clock.  I was thankful that he took her, so she and I didn’t have to be out alone at night, but it killed me to not be there with her.  They did send us some pictures, though.  :o)



Jacob played video games and I tried to read for a bit to pass the time, and then he and I spent some time snuggling on the couch looking at the Amazon Holiday Toy book that had arrived in the mail.  We were talking about Olivia’s fall, and I mentioned that I felt bad for suggesting we go on a walk since it caused her to fall, and Jacob said, “Aw, Mommy, it’s not your fault,” and he snuggled up to me.  It just made me melt.  Sweet boy.


Thankfully, we have a pediatric emergency room in town, so Brian and Olivia were able to go there, and it wasn’t as busy as the other emergency rooms in town.  B kept me updated the whole time they were gone, and everything went lightning fast for an ER visit until they had to wait on the results from her x-ray.  By that time, she’d been triaged and x-rayed, and B said she didn’t even complain about any pain the whole time, so I assumed she was going to get a clean bill of health and be sent on her way. 

Wrong.  It is 2020, after all. 

Her diagnosis was a “closed nondisplaced supracondylar fracture of the distal end of her right femur” AKA a small fracture in her elbow.  The fracture was, in fact, so small, that it couldn’t be seen on the x-ray.  The only reason the doctor knew there was one there was because she had something called a “fat pad” AKA a small sac of fluid on her bone, and those are usually only present when there is a fracture. 

The doc put her in a full splint from fingers to shoulder and told us to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon a week later to go from there.  He said that it’s possible by then that the fat pad could be gone, and they could remove the splint altogether, but if the fat pad is still there, she’ll have to have a full cast for a few weeks.  Sigh.

She arrived back at home around 10:45 in great spirits, and I wish y’all could have seen her sauntering in with her little pink splint.  She is SO proud of that thing and she is loving all of the extra attention.


We got her changed into her PJs very carefully and then sent both of them to bed.  Side note, I’ve never had a cast or had to care for anyone with one before, so I had no clue what I was doing.  It is really hard to put on and take off clothes with a cast on… what do you do about long sleeves?!  Not wear them, I guess??  Just something I’ve never had to think about before.  Haha. 

Saturday, October 17 (Day 218 of Quarantine)

Saturday morning, Olivia woke up in great spirits again and she was completely unbothered by her current situation.  She told me she had slept great and that she wasn’t in any pain, so we went about our usual Saturday morning routine.  I made some pumpkin shaped waffles with our new pumpkin waffle maker and the kids were so excited about them!  They are so much fun, and that waffle iron is so easy to use!  It's sold out right now, but here's the link in case it comes back in stock.


After breakfast, we all headed outside because it was a gorgeous day, and B and I spent the rest of the morning doing our semi-annual back porch clean-off and mowing.  B hung the TV outside, so we were able to watch College GameDay while we worked, and we finished up just in time to eat a late lunch.

By lunchtime, the novelty had started to wear off of the splint, and Olivia was starting to get irritated with it because she couldn’t scratch her arm when it itched and also because it was making her arm sweaty.  She also hates the sling because it’s uncomfortable.  She really doesn’t complain much, though, and she’s been a real trooper throughout this whole ordeal, but I could tell it was already starting to take its toll on her.

At lunchtime, she said her elbow was starting to hurt, so we gave her some Ibuprofen to help with the pain.  The medicine seemed to work, and she was fine for the rest of the day.  I helped her get a bath later in the afternoon, and she enjoyed that way too much.  She’s been taking showers for a couple of years now, so she hadn’t had a bath in ages, but apparently it was just what she needed.  And now I’m worried she’s going to always want to take baths now instead.  Haha.

Friday evening, we picked up pizza from our favorite local place, and then after dinner, we watched the Georgia vs. Alabama game.  We were up for the first half of the game and ended up losing in the second half.  Sigh. 

During the game, I got a phone call from a an orthopaedic surgeon here in town, offering his services to us for Olivia’s elbow.  He and his family go to our church and their kids are at school with our kids, and they’re friends with my parents, so my mom had reached out to his wife to ask for their recommendations.  Elbows just so happen to be his specialty, so instead of offering a recommendation, he just told us to bring Olivia to see him first thing Monday morning, and to not even worry about making an appointment.  It was so kind of him to do that, and we were very grateful that he offered so we didn’t have to wait a whole week like the ER doctor had said.

Sunday, October 18 (Day 219 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning was cinnamon rolls and church, and I planned out the week ahead.  We had a light lunch at home, and then headed to my parents’ house to give them their 24 bottles of TJs Two Buck Chuck that we had picked up.  Lol.  My momma and daddy gave the kids some special Halloween masks and we stayed in their back yard (socially distanced) for a bit to chat.  Olivia was excited because she found a four-leaf clover!  I couldn't believe how quickly she found it!



When we left their house, we headed to a temporary pumpkin patch that was set up in an area of town fairly close to our house.  We used to have a huge pumpkin patch here in town when the kids were small and it was one of my favorite things ever to do, but they closed a few years back and we were heartbroken.  We’ve not really ever known where to go since then, so we’ve just been getting our pumpkins at Publix which isn’t very fall-ish.

I was excited to see that this one was set up like a farmer’s market and it was really cute.  It was small, but it allowed us to have that fall experience which is the most important thing overall.  ;o)  We picked out a great big one to carve, along with three smaller ones to sit on the front porch with the big one.




Afterward, we grabbed some gourmet shaved ice since they were set up next to the pumpkin patch.  B and I aren’t huge fans of shaved ice, but the kids love it, so they were excited. 




The rest of the afternoon was spent working while the kids played video games, and then I made my momma’s famous baked ziti for dinner.  It’s one of our favorites of hers and B had specifically requested it, and it hit the spot for sure!  We hadn’t had it in a long time.

Since our plans to watch a movie were canceled unexpectedly Friday evening, we decided to watch something Sunday evening instead.  We didn’t have enough time to watch a full movie since it was a school night, but we let the kids watch Toy Story of Terror, which is an October tradition.  It’s the cutest!

And that was a wrap on our week!