Weekend Retreat

A couple of our friends invited a group of us to join them camping for a weekend, and having never been before, I was excited to try it out! We settled on renting a small campsite at Black Rock Mountain State Park (which we later found out was where Killing Season was filmed), and I was pleasantly surprised. There was a small cabin with a refrigerator and wood-burning stove, which was wonderful for Saturday morning breakfast. (No indoor plumbing though, darn.) We all set up camp and spent the weekend hiking and hanging out around the fire. Check out a few photos from the weekend below!


The campsite included a few of these strange, open-air buildings with built-in bunk beds to sleep 8 people each, but we opted for the privacy and semi-security of our own tents. 

Home sweet home for the weekend! Complete with a "foyer" ;)

We drove up from our campsite to the visitor's center to start our hike on the trails, and enjoyed the view from the overlook before starting off.


We started with a short trail down to see Ada-Hi Falls...

...and this is what we found. A rock wall with some trickling water, ha!

(Still as inseparable as always :))

I had the most handsome trail buddy!

It was quite a climb (especially with my bad back, thanks for being patient J!), but we made it to the summit :) We enjoyed another amazing view at the Tennessee Rock Overlook, too.

That night we cooked dinner and roasted marshmallows around the fire, and then moved the party to the cabin for an intense game of Battle of the Sexes (which is totally rigged in favor of the males, just saying).

Enzo was all fun-ed out by the end of the day.

We spent Sunday morning huddled around the fire before packing up to head out. 

We all tried to gather for a group picture (above are my favorite test shots from when I was setting up the camera! :)), but then my lens went rogue and this is what I got:

It's blurry, but I still love it. We will definitely be doing this again, you guys.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's 50th birthday! (Sorry for announcing that, mom.) To celebrate such a significant, amazing milestone and woman, I orchestrated a fun little surprise party last weekend, complete with friends and family from near and far. Thank you so much to every who came to celebrate with us; you are what made it so special! Here are a few photos:

My sister, Kayla, took mom out for a lunch date and day of shopping "for mom's birthday, just the two of them," while Kelsi, our extended family, and I drove into town and started setting up at home. Dad and Grandpa set up the new patio set (her present), and did the grocery shopping while the rest of us ran errands and got the cakes and picked up the catering and decorated the house--phew!

When they got to our street, Kayla pulled over and made mom put on a blindfold, telling her that dad had built her a present and set it up in the yard as a surprise. He led her to the back patio, where everyone was waiting (silently) in anticipation.

When she peeked out from under the blindfold and everyone yelled SURPRISE!, she immediately pulled it back down over her eyes! Ha!

Who knew Kayla could juggle? ;)

We're professionals. Just look at these forms:

Okay, so maybe Uncle Kevin is the only one who looks professional, ha! But we still had fun trying. 

Thank you, everyone, for a fun night!