Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pot Point Loop Trail

Another hike down for the Amerson family. Although, this hike was more like a walk than a hike. It was an adventure nonetheless, and we're always down for that!

There are times when I feel like we do a lot of the same hikes. No complaints really, I absolutely love our regular spots. There is an unlimited amount of hikes in our surrounding area. We want to continue to explore them all before we move again because there is no telling when that might be.

We ventured into the Prentice State Park for this hike, Pot Point Loop Trail. I'll advise you in advance, don't go on this trail after a big torrential down pour. The first half of this hike was beautiful. There were hills to actually hike up and down, get you breathing heavy, and pump up your heart rate. Cagney is a BIG fan of hills. Me, not so much.

After a couple miles of being on the trail, we came to what looked and felt like swampland. It made me feel like I was back in Louisiana. The area was dominated by trees and plants galore. There were probably hundreds of frogs croaking loudly. And the ground was completely soaked from the recent rain. It was so wet, marshy, and muddy. Of course there was no way around it. We did indeed hike the last couple of miles in soaked shoes and socks.

We have a book that we reference while we hike. It has all the details about hikes that any one person could want. It even warned us about hiking Pot Point after a heavy rain; however, we didn't read that part until after our socks were already soaked thru. Ill to the wise, read about the trail before you go on it. Surely, not during or afterwards.

The last mile or so of the trail follows along the Tennessee River. I would like to say that this was nice, but it really wasn't. The river doesn't look very clean to us; it probably isn't. Stagnant water isn't really our thing; we much prefer running water. On the other hand, Dexter doesn't care what kind of water it is. Water is water to him. He likes it all.

I was happy when Dexter was swimming in the lake. When he wasn't in the lake, he was rolling around in the mud like it was nobody's business. He's a mess sometimes. I'm just thankful we keep extra towels in the trunk.

This was definitely not one of our favorite hikes. I can't even say we'd ever do it again. I take that back, I can say it. We won't be hiking Pot Point Loop Trail again.

After our hike, Cagney and I got to talking about the point of our hikes. Obviously, we love being outside and being active. But we really love hikes that have a purpose other than that. Mostly, we've decided, we like hikes that have some sort of scenic overlook or point. We love the breath taking views. The views you can't drive to; you can only get there by foot.

Who knows where we'll end up next. I can promise you it will be some where new, and it will have a gorgeous view!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

All You Need is Love... & a Dog

I am a lucky woman to have not only one amazing Valentine, but two. My two boys are everything to me, and they make me happier than any one person could imagine. They have so much compassion and love for me that it seems unreal at times.

There is a song that Cagney likes to play around here, Sundress by Ben Kweller, to remind me of all the things he does for me. The lyrics say, "I do everything you want me to, I do everything you want me to do." He plays it as a joke, but the words are very true. He does everything for me. Sometimes when he does too many things I start to feel bad. I think to myself that I don't deserve all the things he does for me. He is great at reassuring me that I do indeed deserve him, I'm just really hard on myself.

A few years ago we started a new tradition of staying at home for Valentine's Day. It was a great decision on our part. Take out and a movie sounds much better than waiting for hours for a table at some restaurant. Every year we change it up just a bit, although it always ends in us watching a movie together. Or better yet, it ends up with everyone falling asleep on the couch. All three of us. And it never fails, Dexter is always the only one who is comfortable and sprawled out.

We celebrated Valentine's Day this year with a Couch Picnic. That's what we're calling it anyways. Cagney picked us up a pizza from our favorite place, Papa Murphy's, and I baked up a storm in the kitchen.

These chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes were to die for. They're full of chocolate, strawberries, and more chocolate. Who wouldn't love these? And we have plenty left over to last us through the weekend! If we don't eat them all tonight.

recipe courtesy of Smells Like Home
I'm the type of girl that means it when I say, "Let's not get each other gifts." However, Cagney doesn't listen. Then I am left feeling bad because I didn't get him anything. The best gifts I receive from Cagney are always the ones that revolve around Dexter and him. They are always my favorite, and they always make me cry (I think he likes to see me cry). This  year he created a video to show his love for me. It's the perfect gift. I've already watched it a million times, but that's still not enough.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chattanooga Snow Days

I forgot how nice it is to sleep in during the week. It kind of makes me feel like a kid again. Although, I am sure I slept in much later when I was younger. My younger self would say that 7 am is not sleeping in.

The city shuts down when it snows around here. It also shuts down if we think it's going to snow. Unlike cities that are used to inches of snow, we aren't prepared for this kind of weather. After our disaster two weeks ago, I'm glad they decided to close school these past couple of days. I thought I was excited two weeks ago when school let out early at noon. I was wrong. Instead of heading home to enjoy our day off, we spent four long hours in the car (a commute that normally takes us 15 minutes). I'm just happy we made it home safely that day. I know there were a lot of individuals who were not as fortunate as us.

Despite having snow days, it really hasn't snowed a whole lot. Maybe it snowed as much as they thought it would; but, I would've preferred many more inches of snow.  I want enough snow to make me feel like I'm living back in Ohio. I miss Ohio. Or maybe I just miss my friends in Ohio.

Dexter would love Ohio. He absolutely loves the snow. In fact, like water, he just can't get enough of it. He really prefers cold weather over hot any day of the week. He would stay outside all day if we let him.

I am loving these unexpected days off from work. Let's be honest, I mostly love them because I get to snuggle all day with Dexter on the couch. It's also been some much needed time to get some things done that we've been procrastinating on. We are almost caught up on homework and studying. We can never actually be caught up on it; there really is no such thing as too much studying around here. School may be closed, but our brains are still hard at work. Except for when we're outside throwing snowballs at each other.

Happy snow day to all our friends and family! We hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have. And to my family in California, I hope you're enjoying your "cold" 70 degree weather. If only we could trade places, then you'd really know what cold feels like.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Birthday Extravaganza

My birthday was on Friday, and I am now the big 3-0! I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this yet. My sister tells me it only gets better from here; she speaks from experience. Most days I still feel like I'm 21, and that's more important than my actual age. Or at least I'd like to think so.

Cagney really went out of his way to make my day very special, from sun up to sun down. Cagney made me the most delicious chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. And after eating what felt like a million pancakes (but was actually only three), I headed off to tackle that thing called a job. 

Lucky for me, I didn't have to stay at work for very long. Before Friday, I had no idea what was in store for my birthday. I knew Cagney had something planned because he asked me to take a half day off from work. Which at that point, I didn't care if we did anything at all. I was over the moon happy just knowing I'd only be at work for a few hours!

I suppose you could really say my birthday extravaganza began when I got home from work. I was fed a hearty lunch, and then we quickly drove off drove for almost two hours towards Atlanta.

I couldn't imagine what we would be doing in Atlanta. My stomach was in knots from over-thinking it. Cagney was a little too excited if you ask me, and it made me nervous. I have a HUGE fear of flying. I thought that maybe Cagney was going to make me conquer my fears. He promised me I wouldn't have to get in a plane.

And then we got off the exit, the same exit as the airport. We drove all the way towards the airport. As if I wasn't already thinking my head would explode at this point, we turned on to a side street where all of the hangers were - hangers A thru F (clearly labeled). Cagney drove way too slow past each and every one of them, and I almost cried. I clearly said I did NOT want to cry on my birthday. I was finally able to breath once we turned into the parking lot next to the airport. Crisis averted. 

Our first stop: Sky Zone - an indoor trampoline park. This place was AWESOME. We were the only two people there over the age of 10 (minus the teenage workers). I'm sure all the little kids were fine the next day. I was not on the other hand. In fact, my body still hurts two days later. I had no idea the effect jumping on a trampoline would have on my body. To be correct, it's only my trapezius muscles that hurt. I don't even remember moving my arms that much. I probably didn't. Oh, the joys of getting older.

Our next stop: Brunswick (Marietta) - an upscale bowling alley. This was not your typical bowling alley. This place sets the bar high. Gone are the days of spending 30 minutes finding the perfect ball and bowling with rock hard bucket seats. There is no need to move from your lane at this place - they bring everything right to you. I don't think we can go to any other bowling alley after visiting this one. 

Our last stop: GA Firing Line - an indoor shooting range. This was an experience. I've been wanting to go to a range for a while now but haven't got around to it. I haven't shot a gun since the weekend of our wedding. We got our targets, everything was great, and I was excited. Then we got into the range. I immediately panicked and wanted to leave. I was afraid of the noise. It was much louder than I had ever expected. After being told to "stand over there and breath," I was able to get myself together. No one better mess with me - I kicked ass.

My day was quickly coming to an end. Cagney took me to Chipotle for dinner. He had originally planned to take me to the Melting Pot (my favorite restaurant), but we weren't very hungry. I was full from all the fries and beer we had earlier at the bowling alley. It worked out perfectly in the end. We love Chipotle, but we don't eat there often because they don't have one where we live. Lame.

After everything was said and done, I was craving something sweet. That and I always have to eat dessert. I do it every night. I sure wasn't going to break that habit on my birthday. So, Cagney ended up taking me to the Melting Pot after all for some chocolate fondue. It was the perfect ending to a perfect birthday.

I told Cagney the only thing I wanted for my birthday was to be happy. I didn't want to sit around being sad that I was having yet another birthday. I had so much fun that I didn't have time to think about getting old. Thank you, Babe, for the wonderful adventures on my 30th birthday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Laurel Snow Pocket Wilderness

Happy Monday, everyone! It's a great day knowing we don't have to return to school or work today just yet.

I have been looking forward to this three-day weekend since my first day back to work on December 30th. It's rough heading back to work after the holidays. I wish I could stay at home in my leggings snuggling with Dexter all day every day. And he wishes it, too.

We've had an eventful weekend so far, and more is to come before it is over today. Saturday and Sunday went by way too fast. Then again, every weekend goes by fast. Why can't my work days go by like that? No, seriously. So, We spent Saturday hiking at Laurel Snow Pocket Wilderness. It's a trail that we had not done together yet. Cagney had previously hiked it once before with friends, but it was new territory for Dexter and I.

There were a couple of trail options with various overlooks. We chose to head out to Bryan Overlook, although we never actually made it that far. We made it to the top of Laurel Falls and found out we needed to cross a creek in order to get to the overlook. This girl was not crossing the creek in 32 degree weather. No, sir.

I was happy enough just to be outside. We stopped at the top to soak in some sun and eat a little snack. No, that's not true. That's what I did at the top. Dexter practically took a nap in the shade. Cagney did some crazy rock climbing, jumping, and whatever else he could find to make my stress level rise. We're all different, but that's what makes us great together.

We also hung out at the base of the falls a bit on our way down. Cagney, once again, was doing anything active. All the while he was also trying to get me to be brave and do the same things. Well, that's not going to happen. I am anything but brave.

Right after I made it across that miniature log without dying, I almost started crying. I had no faith that I could make it back without slipping on the frozen tree and into the freezing water. I thought for sure I was going to have to live my life out right there forever. Luckily I didn't have to. Cagney came to my rescue. Like I said before, I am anything but brave. In fact, I'm the opposite. I'm a BIG chicken.

All the meanwhile, Dexter was swimming his little heart out. We tried so very hard to keep him out of the freezing water. We managed to keep him dry most of the time, but he's unstoppable the second we turn our heads. He must have the body temperature of a harbor seal.

And to make matters worse, he felt the need to shake the freezing water off right onto his Momma. I was not pleased to say the least; however, it's hard to stay mad when Dexter's so happy.

All in all, it was a good hike and a great day. The weather was perfect. Or at least it was as nice as I could ask for considering it is winter. We later realized when we got home that Dexter had injured his paw some how. He was limping around like a sad, little puppy. I'll have you know that after resting up yesterday, Dexter is back to his normal self. He's all ready for another round of outdoor exploring!