OK the drive up was uneventful. The girls did wonderful. Salem really liked having a DVD in the car! :) We stopped at a REALLY nice LaQuinta on the way up and ate supper at Cracker Barrell.
The next day the girls were more tired of the car but did well. We got to Gatlinburg around 5ish. The girls were SO glad to get out of the car. When Kay and I were unpacking we got warned by a driver passing by that he had just seen a bear!
Well that night was pretty laid back. Everyone else had pizza and I ate a salad and we went to bed at a decent hour.
The next morning we got up and went on a 1.3 mile hike to Laurel Falls in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Before we left they did see the bear! I will be posting a pic of it. It was right out in front of our chalet! No joke. Anyway - It was a paved hike and supposed to be the easiest but it was hard. I am sure we were quite a sight. There were 11 adults and 13 kiddos on the hike and we had 6 strollers. Too funny! The waterfall was pretty when we got up there.
That afternoon we rested and I went into Pigeon Forge to get food for me and Salem. I didn't want to go off my diet.
The 3rd morning we went to the Ripley's Believe it or Not Aquarium in Gatlinburg. The kids loved it! Salem was in awe of the sting rays and got to touch one. She didn't like the shark lagoon at all but I think that's because the aquarium was in a dark area and went all around us on both sides and above us. She got hurt pretty bad by a kid (accident) who was spinning a ships wheel (she got too close) so by that time she was finished. We got a few souveniers and headed home.
Afterwards Salem took a nap and a friend and I went to the scrapbook superstore in Pigeon Forge! That place was phenomenal. The one in Lewisville was bigger by square foot but this stuff had WAY more product! Brian thought it was weird that I came home with scrapbooking stuff rather than a Gatlinburg souvenir for me!
We also did a art project with the kids. It was quite hysterical. We had all these adults and kids around the kitchen table and we were putting their thumbprints on a new shirt for each kid. The shirts turned out cute but BOY were the kids mad. Well the ones under 3 mainly. Salem was mad cause I wouldn't let her lick the paint off her thumb! :)
That night after dinner we went down into Gatlinburg to walk the town. We took a trolley to the top and walked all the way down. We got souvenirs and Salem went to Wacky Bear (like Build a Bear) and I got Brian some homemade orange slices (he loves those) and they had some YUMMY homemade sugarfree almond bark!
That was a long night. We got up early the next morning and cleaned and packed and were on the road by 10:30. We had a DISASTROUS trip home. Ugh it was terrible. It was horrible. First off we forgot to lock down the luggage carrier and someone waved us over on they Gatlinburg Bypass and scared us to death. Thankfully we didn't lose anything and to top it off the locks were still laying on top of the van! Every place we seemed to stop to eat at was packed with bus loads of people. Plus we found out that there doesn't seem to be a single changing table in any gas station from Tennessee to Texas.
It started raining right before we got to Jackson. A very heavy rain. So we started to looking for a hotel. After being turned away at 4 hotels because they were booked we decided to eat dinner and drive on. The girls were all very tired of being in the car. We went into a very crowded El Chico and the waitress gave us our check as soon as she gave us our food. I guess she wanted rid of us? We then drove on to Memphis and again went to about 5 hotels before finally finding a hotel. We ended up at a Days Inn and had to pay $88 dollars! We went up to our room to find the halls/elevator had no AC and smelled of curry and sausage. The carpet/floor/mattresses were all filthy - the bathroom floors were actually sticky. Then it began to pour and all the girls were ready for bed so we decided to make the best of it. Upon checking out I managed to get the room down to $49 which made us a bit happier. The hotel was much worse than we could ever describe. Lots of bad people hanging around etc.
The last day of the trip we just had three girls that were very tired of being in the car and lots of traffic. I wanted to go on home Sat night but Salem was melting down quick so we stayed at my friends and came home Sunday!
My house was actually clean for the most part. I was REALLY suprised. I think he had a couple of youth help him. The bathroom was messy and the litterbox hadn't been cleaned out but dishes were done, trash taken out and the carpet vacummed! I guess I scared him by my reaction last year!
Now it's off to crop pics and I will be back to post them in a different entry. It was SUCH a blast.October 11, 2006 - 2006-10-11
Back from Vacation - 2006-07-18
July 3, 2006 - 2006-07-04
Parenting is Hard - 2006-06-30
Update June 23, 2006 - 2006-06-23