Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday In The Mountains

Maribeth had to return to Nashville for work today, so since she's the main activity director, the day started off later than usual. Everyone got up pretty much whenever they wanted to and had breakfast at their leisure. At some point, a few decided to take a hike in the neighborhood while others decided to just sit and enjoy the view. Or watch Jeopardy. Or just rock and chit chat. Or get in some pool and hot tub action. Later on, a few decided to find the local putt-putt and laser tag, while others decided to turn in for the night. Another fun family day!

Today is a gift because: beautiful day in the mountains with beautiful weather; lots and lots of family fun; loading the minivan after swimming

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gatlinburg Goings On

On today's agenda was an aquarium visit and then meandering around Gatlinburg. By this time in the family reunion vacay, my sister Marilyn and her husband had arrived, as had Michael, my brother's other son. Steve and Sam were due to arrive later this evening.

Once again, we loaded up the minivan but headed in the opposite direction from yesterday. We parked at the aquarium and headed inside to see sharks and rays and penguins, oh my! Well, along with several school groups, that is.

We left the aquarium and headed to downtown Gatlinburg where we saw the sights and did a little people watching. The brave ones decided on a sky lift ride while others stayed below to take photos. Those who were legal managed to find the moonshine sampling while the others listened to a little music. Then everyone was treated to a little ice cream. By that time, it was time for a return to the cabin for some naptime, perhaps fueled by activity, ice cream, and a little moonshine.

Once everyone had made it back to the cabin, it was time for a big family dinner and some hot tub time before bed. Another great day in the mountains!!

Today is a gift because: family fun in Gatlinburg; lunch at Mellow Mushroom; music at the moonshine place; Maribeth, Everley, Lynnette, and Lindley riding the lift; family dinner

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Well, Hello Dolly!

I have to admit - I was only willing to go along with a trip to Dollywood because this was going to be a family reunion vacay. Being a strictly Disney person, I couldn't imagine Dollywood being anything except a glorified state fair. Okay, so maybe I underestimated Dolly - like by loads ...

I had purchased tickets for some of us via AAA, since I got a discount. The others were going to wait until we got there, so Maribeth could use her military discount via Mathieu. So this morning we loaded up the cars and headed Dollyward. Maribeth had her military voucher, so we got free parking and headed to the lots and pretty much parked where we wanted - no Disney police parking (although that might have been better than the willy-nilly system we engaged in today). We unloaded the adults, kids, and strollers and boarded the tram to the entrance.

Once we got to the ticket location, we noticed several people milling about. Soon we were approached by a woman wanting to know if we had our tickets. When we mentioned that some of our party did not, she offered to get them in free! Apparently the people had bought their tickets with some deal of getting friends in free, and it was going to expire, so they offered to get our folks in for free!  We're definitely not at Disney anymore!!

Once inside, we grabbed a map and headed for the carousel and the kids section. There are several rides for kids, and even a few that little kids can ride for themselves. We also got some little faces painted and had a bite to eat - fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese, anyone? We finished the day with a train ride, playing on the playground, and Lynnette riding some wackadoodle swing thing. By that time, it was time for our part of the group to head back to the cabin for some needed nap time.

First ride at Dollywood!!
Lindley and Lynnette are up there somewhere!

Lynnette's the one with jeans on.
Post-Dollywood Nap
So, how was my first Dollywood visit? Well, on the way out, I noticed that for only $37 plus tax, I could upgrade my ticket to a season pass. Yes, $37, which is less than I paid for today's ticket. And yes, I did upgrade and can go from now until January. And yes, I will be going (it's a 3.5 hour drive from here to there). So I just have two things to say to Dolly - you floored me with your park, and I'll be seeing you soon!!

Just wondering though, does this make me Dolly Disney now?
Today is a gift because: great parking at Dollywood; rides and food at the park; lots of family fun

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Road Trip!!

Lindley's the drummer all the way right.
Today we head for the family reunion vacay in Gatlinburg!  But first was a stop to see Lindley's spring end-of-the-year music program.  She and her fellow classmates sang and danced and drummed and jumped and rang their hearts out. Afterwards we all watched photos from this year's class activities and had snacks.  It was a great program and a lot of fun.

Once that was over, it was time to hit the road! Due to varying schedules from the male members of our side of the family, there was some discussion and planning about who was going when and how.

Before the music program, I had packed my stuff in my little Prius, then picked up Lynnette and loaded their stuff into my little Prius. We had just enough room to squeeze Lindley in. Although Maribeth was planning to leave when we did, we weren't sure about when Mathieu and Everley would get back from a trip to Starkville. We weren't sure if Mathieu would be going with us. Once the music program was over, we checked in with Maribeth, and found out that Mathieu and Everley were close to returning home, and that Matheiu wouldn't be going to Gatlinburg until tomorrow. So Lynnette, Lindley, and I went to Maribeth's, unloaded all our stuff into Maribeth's minivan, and waited for Mathieu and Everley.

The are expressions of joy not terror! Really!
Once they arrived, we changed Everley's clothes (she had fallen asleep and needed a fresh outfit for the trip), made sure everyone had a potty break, and headed out. We had packed snacks for everyone with one exception - we had forgotten to pack drinks, which necessitated our first stop about 30 minutes later. And then our second stop was about an hour later, when we needed some food for dinner, which we ordered at the drive thru and ate in the parking lot (we didn't have time to have a playground break). Being fully fed and hydrated, we managed to make the rest of the trip without stops, and eventually landed at the cabin around 9 or 10pm (depending on which time zone you prefer). My brother John, his wife Anne, and their older son David (who planned this whole thing) were already there. My niece Lucy, her husband Jonathan, and their daughter Tilly got in before midnight. And this is about half of who's coming! The rest of the crew are coming in on Thursday and Friday.

Anyhow, once we all got in, we found our rooms and turned in for the night. Tomorrow we go to Dollywood!!
Today is a gift because:  watching Lindley's music program; loading and unloading the cars; stops on the way; huge cabin and finding our rooms on the bottom floor

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time - How It Does Fly By

It's been many years since I've attended the graduation of a child of mine. Tonight I got to relive that experience as I listened to Sam speak at his high school alma mater. I got a little teary as I watched those young men and women march into the ceremony, so young and full of promise. And I couldn't help but remember how just 16 years ago, my son was one of those marching in. And I imagined how 63 years before that, my father-in-law received a diploma from the same high school

It seems as though yesterday Lindley was born, yet she will start kindergarten in the fall. In thirteen years, she will be marching to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance" as she goes to collect her high school diploma. And as I wonder where she will be and who she will be at that point, I also wonder where and who I will be.

Sixty-three, sixteen, thirteen. Just numbers in some ways and lifetimes in another. But when you really come down to it, it's only today that matters. So make the most of yours as I will of mine, because in just about a minute, it's going to be a memory. Make it a good one.
Today is a gift because: getting our Sounds shirt at the game then picking up Lindley and Lynnette, then going to Hume Fogg graduation and listening to Sam speak