Saturday, October 31, 2015

So Long Fantasy and Hello Halloween!!

This morning we managed to rouse ourselves and get ready to leave our home for the last week. We boarded our bus for the airport (and sat in the front seats) and were soon checking our bags for our trip home. We had a safe, smooth flight home, just in time for Halloween - my favorite holiday (not - not ever).

Everley and Lindley dressed up as minions, along with Sam and Lynnette. Maribeth and Mathieu dressed up in their skeleton pajamas. Or so I heard, since they decided to trick or treat in another neighborhood. Steve took charge of greeting the trick or treaters at our house, so I managed to ignore the whole thing for this year - happy me!!

Oh well, I need to go change the clocks anyway. Tonight is Daylight Savings Time - or whatever. Maybe we were saving it this summer. I think this is the time we get extra sleep. Whatever - I like it about as much as I like Halloween. At least they both came together this year!!

Lynnette and Lindley's Halloween costumes - if you don't know who they are, go watch "Despicable Me 2"!
Thankful today for: safe, smooth ride home; chatting with new neighbor and his little boy; mild Halloween evening

Friday, October 30, 2015

Castaway Cay

Today was a beautiful day to be at Castaway Cay. The weather was sunny with a few clouds, and it wasn't too hot. Everley and I left the ship and headed straight to the family beach to find our spot. We found one with an umbrella under some palm trees, thinking it would be shaded. It was - for a bit. It really didn't matter, since Everley's plan was to spend as much time as possible in the water. Maribeth joined us as we were staking our claim on our chairs. After an hour in the water, we all went to eat lunch. Then Maribeth headed back to the ship for some quiet, cool nap time and Everley and I stayed on the beach. It's the most time I've spent on the family beach and in the ocean since our first Disney cruise in 2000. We had a lot of fun and eventually I persuaded Everley to go back onboard. We found Maribeth in the room, and she and Everley then went to the pool - I think Everley is part fish!

Anyhow, we had our last dinner in Animator's Palate and said our goodbyes to our servers. It had been a great cruise!!

Goofy was our first stop.

And then Minnie. Who liked Everley's swimsuit - maybe because Minnie is on it!

Two really cool chicks!

A brief visit to the chairs - most of the time was spend in the sand and/or the ocean!

When one buries herself in the sand, a shower is in order before lunch.

Being flexible helps ...

Yum!!  Cookout at Cookies!!
Thankful today for: a beautiful day at Castaway Cay; fun in the ocean with Everley and chatting with other cruisers; delicious lunch at Cookies; showtime in Animator's

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sea Day!! Again!!

I have to say that I love sea days. Sure, port days are nice when everyone is off the ship and I stay on, but I love moving on the water. Today the water was so smooth, it was like glass. Truly beautiful!

Maribeth and I planned to brunch at Palo this morning, but Everley got up and decided that not only was she not going to the kids club, but that she and Maribeth were going to spend the morning in the room. No problem - Amanda was more than happy to bring me all the food for brunch! I did manage to eat in moderation (for Palo, anyway), and left quite content.

The rest of the day was spent napping, reading, and going to the pool, until it was time for Everley's Bippity Boppity Boop. For those of you who are uninformed, this is where your kids can go to the beauty salon and get all princess-ed up. We weren't sure how she was going to take this - but as it turned out, she LOVED it!!  Afterwards, she and Maribeth went to the Princess Tea Party and had a great time. We decided to skip dinner in the main dining room and just eat at the quick service places around the ship.  Tomorrow is our last day, and it's at Castaway Cay!!

On the way to get Everley booped, we saw Captain Hook.
Everley was not impressed ...

Everley choosing her hairstyle. Bonita is the booper.

Of course Everley choose the poofy hairstyle.
And then needed to get the Merida dress after seeing another girl get one.
Here she is getting her nails done. Makeup is next.
Everley has made her wish, and Bonita is sprinkling fairy dust to make it come true!

The first time Everley saw herself - I think she was pretty pleased!!

Everley seeing Bonita again at the tea party!
We love Bonita!!  Maybe next time we'll get the matching shoes ...

Sunset on the smooth seas.

Hard to believe that we were moving!!
Thankful today for: Amanda and Palo brunch; Bonita and Bippity Boppity; beautiful ocean and sunset

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 4 - St. Thomas

Today we docked in St. Thomas. We get cell service here, so I got to chat with Steve early this morning (he's in Fresno, so who knows what the time difference was). Anyhow, he seems to be having as much fun golfing as I am doing nothing. It was another quiet day as most of the cruisers got off the boat and we didn't. We swam and ate and read, and I watched the movie "Ant Man," which I will say was okay. And that's how today went - another great day in port!!

Beautiful St. Thomas!

A little lunch after swimming in the pool.

The only way to properly eat a Mickey Bar!

Princess Tiana meets Baby Princess Tiana. And Everley!!
Introducing Baby Princess Tiana to the Mouse himself!!
Thankful today for: quiet day in port; swimming and eating with Everley; Princess Tiana meeting Baby Tiana

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 3 - St. Maarten

Today we arrived in St. Maarten. We didn't have any plans to go ashore or any excursions planned, so we just stayed on the ship and enjoyed the quiet. I actually got in the adult pool and hot tub this morning and pretty much had both to myself. So far I've read 3 books on this cruise - a biography about a love affair between Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, a story about a fictional old lady named Harriet Chance, and a book about some 20-something video blogger. None of these books have been great - but at least I've read something. Now I'm starting the book, "The Martian" which is the book the movie of the same name is about - you know, the one with Matt Damon.

Anyhow, today has been pretty quiet. Tonight Everley returned to the kids club while Maribeth and I dined at Palo, which is much more preferable to my idea of fancy eats. We were very well fed and attended to by Amanda, who also served the Bridesmaids Reunion back in August. Tonight was also pirate night and fireworks, but by the time the fireworks went off, I was pretty much asleep. But isn't that what one does on a cruise?

Thankful today for: quiet day on the ship while every one else was off the ship; alone time in the hot tub and pool; reading actual books; Palo dinner with Maribeth and Amanda

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 2 - Another Sea Day!

Today on our agenda was brunch at Remy - the fancy schmancy eating establishment across from Palo. The cuisine is French, as evidenced by the naming of the restaurant, which is named for a certain little chef mouse of French descent. I've eaten here a few times over the years. This time Maribeth wanted to eat brunch there, since she hadn't before, so I agreed. Luckily Everley took to the kids clubs, so a few hours spent there while we fine dined, was not going to be a problem.

Maribeth and I put on our fancy duds (well, fancy to us) and headed to the fancy eatin' place. We checked in and were directed to wait at the bar until the rest of our eating cohorts arrived. There was an interesting little incident when one woman and two men arrived (they were a group). Apparently the woman had on a pair of flip flop-like shoes. She was asked to go change them, as they were inappropriate for brunch. She was confused, because she said (out loud for everyone to hear) that since they were leather, she thought the shoes would be acceptable. They were not, so she went back to her cabin and changed shoes - and her entire outfit. Luckily me and Maribeth had on our fancy shoes, so we were okay (and the shoe police did give our shoes the once-over as he left).

Anyhow, once everyone had been pronounced fit to eat, the group of 10 of us were herded into the restaurant. First we were told a little bit of the theme of the restaurant and then shown two bottles of super-expensive wine. Which I will never drink for a variety of reasons. Next we were taken into the wine and cheese or something room where everyone was given a glass of champagne and a plate of shaved meat. Which we were supposed to drink and eat while we got a lecture on champagne. And the different kinds of champagnes we could taste if we wanted to fork over an additional $30. We didn't. Once we were all champagne educated, each group was led to their individual tables. We got to eat in the fancy back dining room. Although maybe we were out there so the nice folks wouldn't see us. Whatever ..

Anyhow, out waiter Jacques Cousteau (or whatever it was - he spoke with a French accent and I barely understand English) started bringing out the courses. I think there were five of them. Each of them was lovely and fancy. And pretty much wasted on me, as I would be just as excited to see a plate with a hot dog and French fries (it's all French to me). Eventually we finished and paid the man and left - our fancy dining experience in the books.

We picked up Everley and spent the rest of the day having fun around the ship. Tomorrow we arrive in St Maarten!

Some people get breakfast in bed. And others keep on a-sleepin'!!
Thankful today for: Everley having fun in kids club; brunch at Remy with MB; other people's stories;

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 1 - Sea Day!

Today we had a lot on our agenda. First up was the character breakfast (back after a hiatus) with the Disney Junior characters. After that it was the Castaway Club reception, followed by family crafts of making door hangers. By then it was time for lunch and then a little down time in the room before seeing the Princesses and Anna and Elsa. Everley had some fun in the kids club and before we knew it, dinner time! Then Everley wanted to play in the kids club some more (face painting and a Pluto Pajama Party were on the menu), so Maribeth and I watched “Jurassic World” and “Terminator Genisys”, both movies which needed a lot of discussion and explanation, which Maribeth was not interested in providing. Anyhoo, eventually Everley decided to leave the kids club, and it was time for bed. Tomorrow is another sea day!!
Princess Sofia is a good way to start breakfast!

Jake telling Everley a secret.

Doc McStuffins!!

And then there's the Mouse himself!

Introducing Minnie to Baby Tiana.

And a photo of all three!

Little girl, big goblet - of apple juice!

Making a Halloween door hanger
Thankful today for: fun character breakfast with Disney Junior; Everley having fun in the kids club; Castaway Cay treats; making door hangers with Everley

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Embarkation Day!!

This morning we got up and ate breakfast and headed for the bus (conveniently located at the airport). Along with the 60 billion other cruisers who are on our cruise. Including the family behind us, well make that three families with a total of 92 children, all of whom are crazy-excited and none of whom get along with the others. No matter – we’re going on a Disney cruise!

We finally arrive at the port, and see a strange sight – two Disney ships in port!! For those of who cruise Disney, you know what a rare sight that it. For one thing, all Disney ships going out of Port Canaveral are staggered so that only one ship goes out on a particular day. And if two ships were trying to leave on the same day, that would mean trying to load 8000 people on boats. And just trying to load 4000 on one day is a big enough undertaking – as we would soon find out. Anyhow, the mystery was solved when we found out that the Dream (the other larger, newer ship) had just returned from drydock and would be sailing again on Monday.

We got off the boat and joined the rest of the world checking in. Eventually we made it on the boat, into our room to dump off our stuff, and down to lunch. Then Everley and Maribeth checked out the kids club while I examined the details of our room – like the couch and the bed. We attended the mandatory life boat drill (our muster station is inside the big theater, which I guess is a good/bad thing if the ship actually goes down) and then looked around until dinner. The best thing about dinner is that we have a table to ourselves – no awkward conversations with complete strangers.

After dinner, we shopped around a bit, Maribeth and Everley returned to the kids club, and I returned to the room for some more room inspection. Eventually we all ended up in bed for a great nights sleep – the boat was doing a bit of rocking and soon lulled me to sleep. Bon Voyage!!

The Dream on the left and the Fantasy on the right
Everley gets her steak cut up - while watching Crush talk to her!
And then finishes off with a Mickey bar - no help needed for that!!

Thankful today for: great bus ride to the port; seeing both the Dream and the Fantasy in port; great dining servers; seeing Amanda from Palo (our pal from the August cruise); great room and staff; a great night’s sleep!!

Friday, October 23, 2015


That would be my number on my boarding pass. Because I didn't choose early bird check in. Which means not only do I board after all the pre-boards and the 60 A's, but also after all the families that have kids under four years old. Oh, and after Bs 1-30.

So how did that translate in today's flight? I walked down the aisle, foolishly looking for a window seat. Once I could clearly see that I was nearly to the rear bathroom, I decided to take the first available seat - a middle between a woman at the window and a man on the aisle. The man had nothing to say. The woman had plenty to say - to her toddler who was sitting behind her with the dad or grandpa or some other family member. The toddler was not in favor of sitting down or staying on the plane - at some point the mom said, "You can not get off the plane because you will fall down through the sky to the ground." Yeah, I like hearing things like that.

Anyhow, the flight started off wavy - not really bumpy but more like side to side. Or maybe it's because we were in the back. Whatever - I was in the middle in the back with a toddler who wanted off the plane. Eventually God found us some smooth air and I read four magazines and the flight went fast. We landed in Orlando and I checked into our hotel. Maribeth and Everley arrive later tonight - tomorrow we board the ship!!
Thankful today for: finishing tasks at home before leaving; Molly bringing lunch and taking me to the airport; curbside bag check since inside check was a mess; TSA Pre; quesadillas for dinner 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not With The Underwear Again!!!

Yes children, it's time to count the underwear. Because I'm going out of town. Yes, again.

This time, it's not my fault. Really. I didn't officially commit to the trip until a few weeks ago. Maribeth, Mathieu, and Everley had planned this cruise. Except Mathieu decided he needed to take a trip to get some things from where he used to live. And Maribeth has only a limited time remaining before she can't cruise. And Everley needed a big sister cruise. So the cruise was planned, but Mathieu was not going to be able to make it. And guess who was first on the alternate list?

Yes, that would be me. And so it's time to count the underwear and see if my cruisewear is clean (which mostly consists of casual pants and shirts). We leave tomorrow for Orlando, where we'll get on a bus for Port Canaveral.

Hey, I'm just trying to do my part and help out - because I'm just that kind of thoughtful person!
Thankful today for: Everley and Lindley time; chicken pie at Molly's getting the suitcase packed; planning for Christmas lights at Dolly's

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I don't actually seek out magazines to subscribe. I think I get Redbook because it went with a Disney race registration. I get Good Housekeeping for some unknown reason. I get Family Circle because I actually subscribed because it was about a quarter an issue. And I subscribe to Reader's Digest because I actually like reading it.

But it's all those "women's" magazines that get me going. I mean, what the heck is going on in them? Here's generally what I find:

  1. Fashion. Which, if you've ever seen me in person, you know fashion and I are not on speaking terms. Unless it's ten years after the fashion was hip - now it's time for me to sport the look. Anyhow, the fashion in some of these magazines are (a) things I could never fit in to, regardless of how large they could make it, and (b) don't apply to my slovenly and slothful lifestyle. So there go about one-third of the magazine pages.
  2. Beauty. Apparently there are about a zillion beauty products that I should be using. To look young and beautiful. I just don't understand how I can afford all those beauty products AND a stylish wardrobe too.
  3. Women. Who are my age. But look like my daughter's age. And the name of the article is, "This is what 50 looks like." But it doesn't look like me. Ever. Maybe if I had used all the beauty products and wore the stylish clothes
  4. Decorating. The house, for holidays, for whatever. In other words, paint everything in the room blue. Or pink. Or yellow. Or make Halloween decorations for your house, for your cake, for your meal. Since this would take a lot of effort, and my best decorating is in dust, I have to pass on these pages.
  5. Cooking. What? Once I get past three ingredients, I pass on those, too. Yes, they look yummy. But I don't know what some of those ingredients are. And again, it looks hard and time-consuming.
  6. Weight Loss. Maybe if I would read and comprehend and apply instead of eating, it might help. But there are so many different ways to eat (or not eat) and exercise (from anywhere to 10 seconds to 19 hours) that I can't keep track of it all (and I have the folder to torn-out pages to prove it).
So what would I really like to see in a "women's" magazine?
  1. Fashion - here's what regular women are really wearing. Don't they look cool? 
  2. Beauty - here's the basics - eye wrinkles are not necessarily bad. Neither are any wrinkles. Lets just talk about what really makes a woman beautiful - what's inside.
  3. Women - here's what 50 really looks like. And here's that 50-year-old woman's story. It's a whole lot more than what she looks like on the outside.
  4. Decorating - here's what a real house actually looks like - and why. Why is the couch scratched up and why doesn't that woman care?
  5. Cooking - something simple, or maybe something to help those of us who aren't big fans of cooking.
  6. Weight Loss - I need something to deal with my fat brain before I tackle my other fat. Something simple, something basic. And I need to see women who are focusing on something more than weight loss.
Sure, maybe those things are in these magazines, but they're few and far between. But those are the stories I want to read - because they're real. And for me, real is what matters.

Thankful today for: slipcover that works on the upstairs couch; shortening the curtains; Everley morning time

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wait - I Thought Yesterday Was Monday ...

Okay, so I had several things to do today. But one of them was not the gastrointestinal issues that I woke up with. I mean, like I said - I had several things to do. Making sure a bathroom was nearby was not on the list.

I'm not sure what the issue was. I didn't feel like throwing up - well, maybe once. I just needed to be near a potty for immediate use (I sure hope you are getting the picture - I cannot delve into the details any further). Anyhow, as I said yesterday, I am on Everley bus duty in the mornings, and I managed to hold things together to get to her house. Luckily she was still asleep and stayed asleep long enough for me to handle things until it was time to get her to school (without any unfortunate incidents, I might add).

Once that was accomplished, I returned to my house for a little time in the reading room until my next mission, a Home Depot trip with Lynnette. She needed a big piece of plywood for a headboard project she is about to undertake. Actually, she needed a bigger standard piece of plywood cut into the exact dimensions for her headboard. I met her in the lumber section and we decided on what kind/size/width/depth/whatever plywood she would choose for her project. We then sought someone who would operate the big Home Depot saw to cut the plywood. Were there any Home Depot Cast Members walking about? Of course not. They were hiding behind the insulation rolls, waiting for the time when we don't need their help and ask us about remodeling our kitchen. But I digress ...

We finally see someone with orange (or maybe a nametag on) and ask about getting someone to use the big saw. And Dude tells us that he's just with the trades (or something - basically he don't really work there) but he would get somebody to help us. We waited awhile and then decide to just get the mammoth piece of plywood and haul it to the big saw. And if my toilet two-step started up, I would be using the big saw myself.

But as we were trying to haul the plywood to the saw, some genuine Home Depot Dude came up and took the plywood to the saw. He then consulted with two of his co-horts and apparently got voted to use the big saw. Lynnette was supervising this, as I was going after saw horses (not requested, but I insisted they were needed for the project). Eventually the wood was cut and put on the cart. Lynnette headed to paint and I headed to check out, where I dropped one of her cans of paint and bent the top. But since paint did not spill out, I deemed it okay and proceeded to check out.

I had Steve's big tank-car (hence the reason for the Home Depot run) and headed out to load the supplies. Luckily some dude offered to help load the car, possibly because I looked ridiculous trying to do it myself. He also asked what I was going to do with the plywood. While I could have said many things, I said I was making a headboard. He said he was sure it would be lovely and we parted ways. Meanwhile, Lynnette had made her paint purchases and got in her car. We headed to her house where we unloaded all the supplies and I left.

Because I had to take Steve's tank-car to the dealership to get a checkup. Because it has 210,000 miles on it and Steve's out of town and he asked me to take it in and I said yes. So I pull into the Smoyota fix-it place where all the bays are empty. I get out of the car and Crochety Old Dude asked who is supposed to be helping me. I told him I guess Internet Man because that's how I made the appointment (actually I didn't say that - I said Corky or Curtis or whoever was first on the list). Crochety started yelling across the way to some other dude who refused to answer until about the fifth time his name was called (did I mention NOBODY had a car pulled in needing help?). Anyhow, Deaf Dude decided to help me. We then got into a deep discussion about why I was there with the car. Because usually Steve takes the car to a different Smoyota dealer, and according to their records, the car hadn't been in since 100000 miles. And apparently Smoyota doesn't keep all records on the same VIN number together. When I told Deaf Dude about the other place, he said he could look at that place's records, all the while muttering, "I just don't know what he wants us to do." At that point, I didn't care if he took the bleepin' car in the back and washed the windshield and brought it back out - just take the stupid car before I have to start screaming, "WHERE'S THE BATHROOM??"

Anyhow, he asks if I'm going to wait for the car. I say, "An oil change and tire rotation shouldn't take long, should it? I'll wait." Deafy says it shouldn't and so I go wait in the waiting area. Which was not a smart move, because the car has 210,000 miles on it - certainly something is wrong. I wait in the stupid waiting area (are you sensing my mood yet) with other people who are probably wondering why I couldn't have at least put on clean clothes to come to the fancy dealership. I check my email, facebook, watch the stupid news channel on the stupid television and play about 900 games of solitaire on my phone. Eventually Young Dude comes out and says the water was all out of the water pump (or something like it) and it may be the end of the world, because water pumps on Sequoia Tank-Cars are super expensive. He says he can do a $60 mammogram or some such diagnostic on it and will be able to tell me. I ask how long will that take, and he says a couple of hours and I say I want to go home and he says he will tell the shuttle people.

Sooooo, 30 minutes later, I go to the "Please Pay Here" desk and ask where the $$%^^@ is the @@#%^# shuttle? Some old fancy retired dude had just walked in behind the desk and they ask him if he can take me home, which he does, where I go back to the reading room and then to my bed. For the rest of the afternoon. Until Young Dude calls and says, "Uh, it twern't the water pump but some clamps that twern't clamped on good. Come get yo car." Which I did.

And then I returned to the safety of my hearth and home. And toilet. Because that's what today was sorta about ...
Thankful today for: quality time with Everley, Lynnette, Toyota people, and toilets

Monday, October 19, 2015

And We're Back ...

After a swell weekend at Dolly's, life begins again at LaLa's. Lindley's fall break continued into today, so she spent the day with me - lazing around and doing nothing. This week I'm also on early morning Everley bus duty. So today I got the pleasure of being around both girls! By the time Lynnette arrived to pick up Lindley, she (that would be Lindley not Lynnette) had had a bath and a trip to pick up KB from the airport. Which leads me to that story ...

KB had spent the weekend in Texas visiting family and was due back today. I volunteered to pick her up at the airport, because that's what we do. She texted me and told me she would be getting in at 4:05pm. I looked at the SW schedule and took note of the flight. It had a stop in New Orleans, which I thought was odd, but then decided it was probably a good deal and that's why KB chose it. And so Lindley and I headed to the airport to pick up KB. I looked on Flight Aware and saw that her plane had landed.

Except that I didn't hear from KB. I got no texts saying she had landed, or if she had a checked bag, or where she wanted to be picked up. I texted her, but got no response. So I called her, but she didn't answer. I circled the airport a couple of times, but no KB. So I called her again and left a message. Still no answer. So I circled a few more times and waited some more in the cell lot. I wondered what was going on - and of course I had several scenarios:

  1. KB was dead or severely injured and on her way to another location like the hospital
  2. KB's phone was dead and she couldn't receive and/or answer my messages/calls.
  3. KB left her phone in Texas.
  4. KB lost her phone.
  5. Because KB's phone was dead, even if she used somebody else's phone, she could not call/text me because she doesn't know my phone number (as I do not know hers, since all I do to call/text her is click on her name).
  6. Several, if not all, of the above were true, and she had waited long enough and was in an Uber headed to her house, if she wasn't there already.
Finally at 4:45 I texted MB and asked her how long I should wait. She suggested waiting five more minutes. Luckily Lindley had fallen asleep at some point on the ride to the airport, so she was asleep most of the time. Except for maybe the final 10 minutes of the excursion. When she started wondering what the heck was going on.

Anyhow, just about the time I was going to leave and give up (and due to God's perfect timing), I get a text from KB saying that she had landed and was taxiing to the jetway. But how? Her flight had landed 45 minutes ago? Like Lindley, I started wondering what the heck was going on.

And then I checked the ENTIRE flight schedule. Apparently there were two flights from Houston that landed at 4:05 - one with a stop and one nonstop. And KB was on the nonstop. That was late. And so the moral of this story is to get the flight number next time. And maybe make sure that we memorize each other's phone numbers ...
Thankful today for: a day with Lindley; picking up KB at the airport

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bye Dolly!!

Today it was time for everyone to leave and return home. Adam and Molly were headed to the Tail of the Dragon - a road in North Carolina with 318 curves in 11 miles (Adam drives a Miata, so this appealed to him). Sam and Lindley headed home in their car and Everley and I loaded up the van for our ride home (after a little playground time before we left).

Everley and I had a nice drive home. We stopped for lunch at McDonalds, where the manager gave Everley a free ice cream cone - before we ordered lunch. After that, we stopped once more for a potty break/gasoline fill up, and soon were back in Nashville.

It was a great weekend in Pigeon Forge. The leaves were beginning to change, and the weather was just a little bit cool. But it was a great time to have fun and be with family - well, the parts that were there on certain days. All in all, a great time at Dolly's place!!

Free ice cream!! At least until you have to go potty, then it's time to toss it.

Minion Happy Meals buckets!! This will be very handy for this Halloween, since that is our costume of choice!
Thankful today for: everyone's eventual safe arrive back in Nashville; nice manager and minion bucket at McDonald's

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dollywood - Day 3

Today we would introduce Molly and Adam to Dollywood. Once everyone was up, we all boarded the trolley and headed to the park. Once there, we secured the "Pass the Line" thingy for Adam and Molly so they could pass the lines and we parted ways. Sam and I took the girls to the playgrounds and let them dip candles (one of the things kids can do here) and headed back to the hotel for lunch. Molly and Adam stayed to ride all the coasters and things.

Yesterday we tried to eat dinner around 6pm after Molly and Adam got in. However, it was also the exact moment that Dollywood closed for the night, as the wait for where we wanted to eat was ninety minutes. We ended up back at the hotel, eating food at the quick service place. Today we had a better plan - we would all go out to eat around 4pm. Our goal was the Paula Dean restaurant, which is at "The Island" which is a dining/shopping area. Adam and Molly got back to the hotel around 3:30pm and we headed to the restaurant - only to find out the wait for 2 hours. So much for Paula. We shopped around a bit and Sam found us a place to eat. Afterwards, there was a ferris wheel ride, and then back to the hotel for some late-night swimming. Another great day in Pigeon Forge!!

Pork skins - ok. Ranch flavored pork skins - I don't think so.

More playground fun at Dream More.

Baby owl at Dollywood!

Nice posture - and then she told me, "NO PICTURES!!"

We actually got into a restaurant - after only 15 minutes - and managed to get a selfie with the selfie stick!

Ferris Wheel fun - somebody had to stay on the ground to take pictures!

Somebody wanted a warm fuzzy blanket to sleep with - and my jacket seemed to fit the bill!
Thankful today for: Dollywood fun; finally eating at a restaurant and having pimento cheese and huge potato skins; ferris wheel fun

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dollywod - Day 2

Today would be Sam's first time at Dollywood - and learning about the differences between Dollywood and Disney World. We compared the two and came up with the following:
     *Median age is much older at Dollywood.
     *Percentage of children (at least on the week day) is much smaller
     *People using ECVs actually have medical reasons (like old age) for using them
     *The pace is much less frenzied here

There are a lot of other differences, and they all go to a relaxed day at the park. There are five roller coasters (not that I will ever ride them) and some other thrill-type rides (or so I heard) but there are also small playgrounds and kiddie rides. This time at Dollywood is the National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration. That means there are several venues with gospel groups and lots of kiosks with craftspeople selling their wares. The weather was great - a little cool - and it made for a great day.

Fun at the playground at Dream More
Sam's first trolley ride to Dollywood!!

Lots of fun pumpkins - so maybe everybody didn't want a photo made ...

Today was face-painting day.
And a tiger is born!!
Thankful today for: Sam's initial visit to Dollywood; lunch at Backstage and fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese; Maribeth and Mathieu's safe travel home; Adam and Molly's safe travel to Pigeon Forge; dinner plans gone awry

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dollywood - Day 1

Since Sam wasn't going to arrive until after lunch, we decided to go ahead and go to Dollywood this morning. One of the great things about staying at Dream More is the trolley that takes you from the hotel to the gates of Dollywood. And if you're a big fan of Daniel Tiger, riding the trolley is even more special!  We got everyone and the stroller onboard, and soon we were walking through the turnstiles of Dollywood!

Breakfast - and new Dream More sweatshirts
Trolley time!!

Handprint animals - instead of face painting
Waterfall sitting - there a lot of places to sit a spell here ...
One chose a zebra ...
While the other chose a blinged-out horse
The duckie ride - the operator sings the song as the kids go around.
And then the buzzy bee ride - with some random boy.
Part 2 - another random boy
We stopped for lunch at Aunt Granny's and headed back to the hotel to wait for Sam. The rest of the day was spent at the pool - it's inside but not exactly heated.  It was a great first day at Dollywood!!
Thankful today for: Dollywood fun and ladies on the kiddie rides; lunch with Maribeth and Mathieu and Lindley and Everley; Sam's safe travel to Dream More; evening pool fun