Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Break Getaway

We are back at home now from our Spring Break getaway! It was lots of fun with a side of sickness, sleeplessness, and changed plans. Ha! This trip proved to embody our "never a dull moment" motto to a T. It was exciting and adventurous, stressful and challenging. It was WILD. =)

Mostly, though, it was full of good times, special memories, and beautiful scenery. Here's a recap complete with lots of pictures.

Despite the fact that Garrison got sick at school (and then again at home) late Friday afternoon, we were able to stick to our original plan and hit the road Saturday morning around 10:45. The big boys were both feeling much better and on the mend and due to the timing of the trip and the fact that everything was already paid for, we felt we needed to try our best to make it happen. Our little men had a great trip up. GREAT. So did I! So comfy and roomy in our new ride. I'm seriously thinking I may never go back to a smaller vehicle. The mom bus has me sold... from this point forward. =)

Almost there! And ready to go out for Pops' birthday dinner. =)

Once we arrived and got settled into the condo right next door to Terrell's parents we waited out a downpour before venturing down the mountain into downtown Gatlinburg. We had a delicious dinner and fun time celebrating Pops' birthday. We had a really great first night! No sickness, no sleeplessness, no issues. Yay!!

Sunday morning we woke up to a rainy day and a slight change of plans. After getting ready and having breakfast we went down the mountain and discovered the store we had planned on visiting wasn't open yet... and we couldn't do anything outdoors because of the rain... except a quick picture of course. Because my boys are so into animals right now we just couldn't pass it up.

So we walked the streets of Gatlinburg before quickly deciding on a visit to the arcade. The big boys had so much fun! We spent the entire morning playing games, counting tickets, and picking out prizes. Even Layton got in on a game or two. It was the best solution possible to a rainy morning and change of plans.

We went back to the condo to have lunch and naptime and then got ready to head out again. Spring Break getaway so far, so good! 

The store we'd planned to visit that morning was open and the boys got to pan for gems. Kind of like panning for gold except you find gems. They loved it! They both came away with a bag full of precious stones and gems. They definitely want to go back the next time we're in Gburg. =)

We walked around a little bit and got a picture in the big rocking chair with Nana before heading to Pigeon Forge for the rest of the afternoon and evening. 

In Pigeon Forge the main thing we wanted to do was visit The Island. It's kind of similar to Pier Park in Panama City (on a smaller scale) and seems to be the perfect combo for kids and grown-ups. The boys really loved it there. They have a big water fountain that dances to music that could've entertained them for hours I think. They were completely entertained and smitten! So were we. =)

It even held Layton's attention because PURE FASCINATION. 

After watching the dancing water fountain (and the big boys dancing to the music) we decided to go eat supper at a restaurant there. But not before a picture with the big black bear. =) 

Unfortunately Terrell and his dad both started feeling kind of sick while we were there, so we had to cut our night a little short. Terrell was feeling so bad he didn't even order anything to eat and I was afraid he wouldn't be able to drive us back to the condo in Gburg. Thankfully we made it back okay and all the boys (including my sick husband) made it to bed at a decent time. Unfortunately the night went horrible. Terrell never got sick he just felt terrible all night, and our precious 3rd born decided he no longer felt safe and comfortable and like SLEEPING in the pack n play in a strange place. He was up almost all night long just wanting to be held. It was miserable.

At least we woke up to this view...
Monday morning wasn't good. =( Terrell was feeling a little better but I was feeling worse. I felt my cold symptoms coming back and I had just been up most of the night and neither one of us knew if we should stay another night or not. We didn't want to disappoint anyone (especially our biggest boy who was having the time of his life) but we didn't want to suffer through another horrible night or risk any of us feeling worse. Layton was very ill and clingy and Austin had no appetite and just wasn't himself. Mama was stressed. Big time. We were just a wonderful group to be around. Poor Nana and Pops.

We finally decided to cancel our original plans to visit the speedway/amusement park and to instead go out to lunch before making a final decision about whether we'd stay in Gatlinburg for our last night or get ready to head home. We went to Mellow Mushroom and ate out on the deck area. It was the perfect choice. Other than the fact that Austin still wasn't eating anything and just seemed off, we had a great lunch and loved people and car watching. =)

After we left Mellow Mushroom we got to hear a band playing and the big boys wanted to stop. They enjoyed it so much! We stayed and listened til the Firewater Junction took their break. =) So thankful my boys are easily entertained!

Layton clapped his hands the whole time...

And so did the big boys. (As you can see in the picture, poor Austin just wasn't up to par.)

By the time we finished listening to the band we knew we'd be pushing it to leave that day and get home at a decent hour, so we decided to risk it and stay. 

We visited the Ripley's arcade where the big boys got their picture made with Optimus Prime. It was like a dream come true. =)

Then we went back to The Island in Pigeon Forge for more of the dancing water fountain, ice cream, rides, and supper. (Or so we thought.)
Ice cream mouths!

The world's slowest carousel. Ha! The boys enjoyed it anyway. =) 

The big boys rode a fun swing with daddy. An adult had to ride with Austin. Which was a good thing because he was only all smiles at first...

He decided pretty fast he wasn't a fan of the Happy Swing. And come to find out, poor baby was sick. 
I will spare you the details that occurred Monday afternoon in the handicap bathroom stall of Dick's Last Resort restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee but it was epic in the most awful way. Austin and I were stranded in that bathroom stall 45 MINUTES while Terrell, Garrison, Layton, and my sweet mother-in-law drove all over in search of new shorts for Austin. Forget the underwear. We just need something to cover him up and get us OUT OF HERE. Gross. Yuck. Ick. From this point forward I am very, very, strongly opposed to bathrooms that are all "automatic" with no paper towels. They are not my friend and I do not support them saving the trees or whatever their purpose is.

So. We went back to the condo as fast as possible, put Austin straight in the bath, sent Terrell back down the mountain to pick up supper, and started packing up. We had a better night Monday night (not the best, not the worst) but I woke up Tuesday morning with a cough and no voice. Ahhhhhh! So frustrating. Thankfully we were able to get on the road by 9:00 and home sweet home by 2:45.

Even though we had hiccups and challenges galore on our trip, we also had tons of FUN! We laughed a lot. We made lots of memories. We enjoyed good meals. (Most of us did at least.) We took in amazing views everywhere we went. And we had some sweet quality family time. HUGE thanks to Nana and Pops for treating us to a wonderful Spring Break getaway!! I have a feeling we'll remember this trip's craziness and excitement with a smile and laugh for years to come. =)

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