On Wednesday, we decided to do something a little more "relaxing." We all slept in a bit - the kids got up a bit earlier to enjoy the cable TV (my poor, deprived children who don't have cable at home! LOL).

That afternoon, we packed a picnic lunch and were off to Cades Cove in the Great Smokey Mountains. We found a picnic area beside a rushing creek, and the kids got to play in the water all day.

Owen, as always, scared me a little with how brave he was. I am always worried that he is going to hurt himself. The other kids are more respectful of their own personal limits.

Ginger spent the day splashing in the shallow areas...

....and CoCo perfected her skills in jumping off rocks.

While we were there, we met another family. A mom and her three kids - Daytona, Hurricane and some other very strange name that escapes me right now. I've been told that I attract odd people to me, and I usually don't think it's true. This family, however, was VERY odd. Within 10 minutes, I knew that the mom had been investigated by Child Protective Services on at least 3 different occasions, that her 14 year old daughter had been taking care of the younger children while mom was a work since she was 10 years old, and that her son had been taking special classes for kids with ADHD. It was all a little odd, but didn't concern me. Until Owen fell into the water. Owen said that the boy pushed him, but no one else saw what happened. I wouldn't put it past Owen to exaggerate this. In any case, Owen ended up with HUGE bruises all over he rib cage, upper thigh and knee. He was crying in typical Owen fashion (louder than a jet plane). The other boy started freaking out. He ran away from the family and just started screaming "He doesn't forgive me! It was an accident!! I don't want to be here!! He doesn't forgive me!!!!" Between the 2 of them, we attracted a great deal of attention. Owen calmed down after a few minutes, but the other little boy (Hurricane) continued to scream for at least another 30 minutes. His mom said that it was best just to ignore him. Very odd.

It all ended well, and the boys were playing again in no time.

Later, the family went for a hike. On their way back, the oldest daughter fell into the water, and she began to scream. Keeping in mind that the water was ankle deep in many places, and knee deep at it's deepest, it was odd to see such an old child respond in that way. The youngest daughter was now "stuck" on the other side of the creek with no way of getting over, and she started to scream. Mom started to scream because she was worried about her kids. It was very weird. I helped by holding their dog, but I sent Maddie, Owen, Ginger and CoCo to the car. They didn't need to see all the drama.

Regardless of the strange things that seem to happen around me, a good time was had by all.


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