Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


A birthday and lots of waterfalls

Monday after Easter was Adam's birthday and we decided to ship Landon off to daycare, per his usual schedule, and spend the day exploring some place new in the area, just the two of us. There wasn't too much birthday festivities since we celebrated over the weekend. Birthdays get a little more mellow the older you get, but just having a day to do whatever he wanted, just the two of us, was a birthday present even for me. After a lazy morning and his favorite breakfast we headed off to Burgess Falls State Park to hike around.


Due to time limitations we chose a short 1 mile walk to the overlook at the falls. The area is beautiful and full of lush greenery, creeks, and many waterfalls. There's even the remnants of an cable bridge for anyone daring enough. Just kidding.

The short hike along the river is dotted with small waterfalls and rapids which terminates at the overlook of an impressive 130 foot waterfall in a massive gorge.  

I don't think either of us were prepared for how beautiful the waterfall and surrounding gorge were. After spending a few minutes at the top we decided to hike down the steep path to the bottom of the waterfall to get a closer look. I loved the scraggly trees that grew on the waters edge.

At the base of the waterfall, I enjoyed watching the water plummet off the top of the waterfall and feeling the mist on my face. I think I could have watched that water cascading down the rocks for hours. It was peaceful and mesmerizing.

 And while I was lost in trance the birthday boy did what he enjoys most...

Always looking for something to photograph, this waterfall didn't disappoint.

Unfortunately, our time at Burgess Falls wasn't as long as we would have liked. In order to pick up Landon from daycare we hauled butt to get back to the car and drive 1.5 hours back home. Completely worthwhile and someplace we will definitely be visiting again, it put us in the mood for more exploring. Once our shortened work week was over we decided to spend the following Saturday visiting another area park for some more waterfalls and a little hiking. This time though we loaded up the entire family and headed to Rock Island State Park. Not too far from Burgess Falls, both state parks share their water from the same originating source, but couldn't be more different in scenery. 

Lacking the lush greenery of Burgess, Rock Island State Park is aptly named as there are millions of rocks everywhere. Big ones, little ones, jagged ones, slick ones, you name it. All hiking paths are littered with hundreds of rocks in your pathway. And while this might not sounds like it would make for very enjoyable hiking, it does if you are a three year old boy. He rocked those rocks all day long and a blast doing it!!!

Landon completely shocked both of us with his hiking skills. He was up and down the rocks better than any of us and never lost his stamina. Last Fall, he was complaining after a 2 mile walk and this was our first time out hiking with him since then. I know we hiked well over 2 miles this time and despite falling and bumping into several rocks he never complained or whined. He worked so hard he actually busted through his tennis shoes so Sunday we went out and bought him a new pair as well as his first pair of hiking boots. He also learned all about Daddy's camel pack and thoroughly enjoyed getting water from it throughout the day. I think we might have to get him one of his own because it looks like we have a little nature boy on our hands.

The only one of us who may have liked Rock Island more than Landon was Kaiser. We brought his water wubba and he had a blast playing fetch in the water and running through the creeks. The rocks proved a little hard for him to maneuver, but he loved it none the less. Some hiking shoes might be in this pups future too.

We spent several hours hiking to different areas, playing in and around the water and enjoying the scenery. Our last hike of the day was a short one to the largest waterfall in the park. It was the end of the afternoon and the sun was starting to set. Landon, Kaiser and I played on the nearby rocks, talked about the falls and enjoyed the scenery while Daddy took a few pictures (shocking, I know).

Different than Burgess Falls, this waterfall is not from a river source, but from water being pushed out of the earth and literally just comes pouring out of the ground in this particular area. We even managed to get a family picture although Kaiser chose not to cooperate.

While I personally enjoyed the waterfall at Burgess over Rock Island, both state parks were very worthwhile day trips and I know we will be back to both again. Landon liked the waterfalls so much that he has continually asked when we can go back. Hopefully, soon, because there is nothing I'd rather do than the spend the day outside, enjoying nature with my boys.


Easter Weekend, continued.

We spent the weekend at my Dad's farm and so Sunday although our favorite church is in downtown Louisville we decided to go with him to church out in the country. Due to a shortage of Priest in the area there is only one service at his church which causes this little country church to be so crowded on holidays that they hold Mass in the old school's gymnasium. It's a little disappointing to not celebrate Easter Mass in beautifully decorated church, but it was nice to get to be able to go to church with Dad. And despite the lack of a holy presence in the building itself, Easter Mass is an emotional Mass for me. After I got of the hospital from my medical ordeal (I'm still not sure what to call it) someone from our parish called me to talk. I told her that I was strong enough now and would be able to attend Easter at the Cathedral. She was so excited and exclaimed it was a personal Resurrection for me to be able to attending Easter as my first after since leaving the hospital. She was right. I will never forget when I walked up to our priest at communion the gigantic smile that crossed his face as he said "Angela, the body of Christ". It was emotional then and is still emotional for me now. I know that Easter isn't about me, it's about Christ, but every year during Easter Mass I think back to three years ago. I recall everything that happened, all the darkness, sadness and pain and then I think of the triumph of my overcoming and the peace that I finally felt in Mass that day. Although it wasn't the end of my journey to recovery it was definitely a defining moment solidified the end and rebirth much in the same way we celebrate the rebirth Christ. I feel a special connection at Easter and it's something I cherish every year.
Moving on, we managed to get one Easter family picture this year.

I was lazy and recycled Landon's Easter outfit from last year. Last year it was a little big and I knew he wouldn't last long in dress clothes so I figured I might as well just let him wear it one last time. It was good for our family picture.
After Church family came over and we had an Easter dinner. Dad cooked a lamb leg on the grill and despite not normally caring for lamb, it was actually pretty good. My Dad on the other hand, LOVES lamb. That's the Croatian in him. He's got a glimmer in eye just preparing it.

After dinner Landon had another Easter Egg hunt which he loved just as much as the one the day before.

 At the end of the hunt was his Easter basket and an obligatory picture despite the sun in his eyes.

Instead of a bunch of candy we focused on getting him fun little toys mostly geared to playing outside. Since Christmas and his birthday come back to back in the middle of winter this was a good time to get him a few things he wouldn't have been able to play with then. Target $1 bins are gold mines and there I found a paper airplane kit, sidewalk chalk, game of catch with a suction ball and two paddles, ninja turtle socks and a water gun. I also got him some army men, a tank, bubble bath, a hat, sunglasses and a few little treats. Little man's been needing a hat, but since he wasn't with me when I got it of course it was too small. Also, his sunglasses which were cute to look at, look horrible on him.

He looks bug eyed and I can't stand it. We will have to find something else. On the other hand, almost everything else was a big hit. The two biggest hits were the army men and the water gun. When I say the army men were a hit, I don't just mean with Landon either. Papa took them over right away and taught Landon all about the art of war.

And after Landon fought the battle against Papa's men, won, and grew tired of the army men Daddy and Papa "played" with them on their own debating logistics, accuracy and outcomes. Boys will always be boys.

The water gun, the other wildly popular Easter gift was a small little $0.99 gun perfect for a three year old.

But once again Papa decided to get in on the action and bring out the big guns which broke out in an all out water gun war. There's a lack of pictures due to me being involved as well.

Somehow Landon ended the fight with the biggest gun of all.

Growing up there were many epic water gun fights at our house. I can't remember how many times my Dad and brother and sometimes friends would run around the house, even inside the house, spraying each other and having a blast. It was really fun being able to do the same with my own Son. The water guns my Dad still has are a little old now and even water gun technology has greatly increased in the last 15-20 years. Looking at Target the other day I think I'm going to invest in a mack daddy so next time I can have the upper hand.
Despite all the fun we decided to return home Sunday night so we could celebrate Adam's birthday on Monday in Nashville.

I've realized one upside from living away from family is that the time you do have together is even more cherished than it ever was before. It's by no means better than living nearby, but every time we visit it's a constant weekend of fun, family and love. Easter this year was a great combination of all three. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Oh and since Landon has been around for four Easters now I thought it would be neat to compare each year. The first year unfortunately we have no pictures, but heres an Easter picture of him at 1 and 2 years old. My how they grow!


Easter Weekend

Oh Easter, what a wonderful holiday you are and for so many reasons. The celebration of the Risen Christ makes for a special Mass on Easter Sunday. After many solemn weeks, it is finally a time of celebration and the entire Mass is representative of that. While Midnight Mass is my favorite Mass of the year, the events leading up to the celebration of Easter make it very anticipated and wonderful. The Holy Week before Easter gives way to many wonderful Masses, with my favorite being the Chrism Mass which brings priests to receive their Holy Orders. While I didn't make time for the Holy Week Masses this year, it's impossible not to feel the energy in the air leading up to Easter Sunday.

Since Easter was late this year, it took place the day before Adam's birthday. I was already taking off for Adam's birthday on Monday, so I decided to take off the Friday before as well and make a long weekend. We wanted to go to Louisville that weekend so we could spend time with our families and a long weekend makes the trip much easier. Friday, we spent the morning running errands and the afternoon with our favorite Noni. That evening we met up with friends for a yummy dinner at Olive Garden.

Saturday we got up early to see the cutest seven year old we know playing baseball.

And since Landon adores his big cousin, he wants to play baseball now too. Naturally. Taylor was in the car once telling me what he wanted to be when he grew up. He asked me what Landon wanted to be and so I said I wasn't sure, but he should ask Landon. He looked over at Landon and said "Landon, what do you want to be when you grow up?" Without a second of thought Landon replied, "I want to be cha-cha when I grow up." Cha-cha is Landon's random nickname for Taylor (we have no idea where he got it) and I truly believe that right now Landon wants to be Taylor when he grows up. It's adorable how much he loves him. Can you tell?

After the game we headed to my Mom's house for an AMAZING Easter dinner. Adam's family joined
us and we celebrated Adam's birthday as well. After we were done eating the boys went on an Easter Egg hunt.

As part of their Easter baskets from Nana, they each got a can of silly string. It seemed like it would be a good idea, but Landon had no idea what it was and didn't really like the stuff shooting out at him. At least his Daddy was kind enough to document it all. Here's the play by play exactly as it went first Landon isn't sure how to work the can. Taylor right away starts shooting him.

Then Landon realizes he's getting shot with something. He doesn't know what it is, but it keeps coming.

More of it starts getting on him and still unsure he begins to run away.

But it's still coming at him and impeding him running away so he begins to scream

In sheer terror he runs away, screaming and trying get it off of him. Taylor in pursuit.

Luckily for him, Nana was nice enough to show him how to spray his own can. He never learned to enjoy getting sprayed, but the way it played it out was more entertaining for the adults.

I meant to get everything together for a group picture, but completely forgot. Adam did however manage a picture of the two boys.

Landon had so much fun that within a few minutes of getting in the car that night he finally got his much needed nap. In lieu of candy, Grandma had gotten him a buzz lightyear toy. Why? Because he asked for one last time he saw her. So spoiled. Good thing too since buzz propped his head up in the car. He was out.

Since we packed so much into this four day weekend and this post is already long enough. More Easter fun to come in the next post...