I was so excited when my husband informed me that he would be taking off the week of spring break, and that we could plan a short trip. Granted, I only had a week to pull it all together, but hey! Thank God for the internet, right?
So......we were off. Headin' for the Smoky Mountains. The kids and I had never been.....though I had seen my share of the Rockies....but I knew this was going to be different. Not only would the view be breath taking, but we would still experience southern hospitality.
And though on a vacation, we were going to have to be strategic in our planning, so as to make the best use of our limited amount of time away from home. (Planning vacations around working teenagers is not always easy....but PRAISE GOD she works, and going on vacation without her was not an option.....she will go off to college in a year and a half, but do we really need to talk about this now????)
Ahem. Sniffle. As I was saying.......
So we headed out early Monday morning.....with the plan of Dollywood after 3pm and back for a free day on Wednesday. Whew! It is definitely a good thing I've been on Weight Watchers since January, and down some pounds, because that place?? Let's just say that there are no flat surfaces to walk on. I know, I know.....it's in the Smokies, but I sort of forgot about that before I started the trek!!! And every ride had multiple flights of stairs to climb before finally getting to the point of entry.
And go ahead and be proud of me, because I was a very good sport....in spite of my increased anxiety the older I get. Or is it that I now KNOW how dangerously high I am on those coasters!!!! Regardless, they certainly take a bigger toll on you the older you are, but the reward from seeing your young children's faces when you say, "Oh, alright, I guess I'll ride it..." is priceless. Of course, so is the picture that is taken of you looking HORRIFIED as you plunge into darkness, that they want you to buy a package of for 29.95. I mean, really, wouldn't ONE picture of that be enough?? Do we really need multiple sizes to hand out to our friends?? Really?? Nope, we don't. Matter of fact? We don't need ANY of those to be used as blackmail pictures. Because in spite of my concerted efforts......my face looked the same every time, on every extreme thrill ride. And it wasn't pretty. I'm just sayin'.
Tuesday was a little more relaxed, as Dollywood was closed, and our free day would be on Wednesday. We decided to just enjoy the Smoky Mountain National Park and marvel at God's handiwork in creation. How we ever got lucky enough on our first trip to the Smokies, to run across a mama bear and her cub, is beyond me, but we did. And of course, like every other tourist who just so happened to have their telescopic lenses, tripods and cameras available on the side of the mountain, we had to hop out for a photo op as well.
That is......until Baby Bear decided to get brave and get too far away from Mama Bear. And BEING a Mama Bear, I knew what her reaction was going to be when she saw how close he was to us humans with cameras. So THIS Mama Bear got her cubs and went back to the mini-van.
Although.... my sweet husband's theory was just that we had to be able to run faster than the little old lady taking pictures.....but I wasn't taking chances. I know.....isn't he nice???
And of course, no trip would be complete without some mishap along the way.....so why was I surprised when we pulled off the side of the mountain road (and gosh those roads are scary!) to let the kids just "roll up their pants and step across the rocks" my husband says. (Now I know all of you mothers out there, who have infinite wisdom such as myself.....would know that this would not be a good idea. But this was vacation, and I was trying to be a good sport....let's not forget. )
I immediately volunteered for the role of the photographer as I was not walking down that steep embankment, or the mishap would have for SURE involved ME. And yes....it did make for some nice pictures.
Well, at least until Jack fell in. And then there were some.....well.....not so nice pictures.
He was not too happy with his siblings for laughing hysterically when it happened. Not to mention, the water was ICE cold ....and we would now be forced to come down from the mountain into Gatlinburg, and go into a cheezy tourist shop and try to find him something to wear......as our cabin was too far away and we had more exploring to do.
Personally, I think the shirt we found him fit the situation perfectly.
All in all, we had a great time. Nice, clean cabin, soothing hot tub, beautiful scenery, lots of togetherness.
I just wasn't quite prepared for the surprise that awaited us when we got home.
But that's another whole blog post.......
I'm just sayin'.