First of all, thank you Mom and Dad for letting Jeff, Jill, and I use your points and stay at a Bluegreen Resort. The resort was beautiful, the mountain it sat upon was majestic, and the cabin was larger than our first and second apartments. It was a wonderful retreat.
The car trip took about five hours and went all right. We were lucky to have Jill sleep through most of it. We listened to a Nancy Drew mystery on CD that my mother lent us, and that passed the time quite nicely. It rained the first two days that we were there, but we were not in any of the dangers that other parts of Tennessee experienced.
Jeffrey says that in this smile she is modeling a smile that he taught her. It's kind of a fake smile, or sarcastic smile. It's definitely not her huge grin or the cute smile shown above. I'll take it though!
All was not lost though, we kept our suits on, went back to our cabin and all hopped in the jacuzzi tub. Jill had lots of fun playing with us there, but it was a little bit crowded.
deer farm and petting zoo. Since it was raining, we had the entire place to ourselves. That was kind of cool, but it had the downside that the animals were attention deprived, if you will. They were very aggressive to get food, and I doubt they usually are when they are fed all day long. It was a large petting zoo with a wide variety of animals.
It differed from other petting zoos we've been to in that two of the pens were available for us to enter. We were allowed to go in with the goats and the deer. That was really cool! We avoided the goats. There were maybe thirty of them, and they were VERY jumpy. We didn't think that would go over well with a baby. There were so many babies though. It would have been special to hold a baby goat. We did go in the deer, and they were very nice and soft. They were my favorites. Apparently after I left to get more food, they got antsy haha and started trying to eat Jeff's and Jill's clothes, so Jeff was not a fan of them.
You would think that Jill would have loved the petting zoo, because she is a little girl and little girls love animals, but alas. She was very distraught that she had to keep giving away food that she thought she should get to eat. Gross.
They had some wallabies and a kangaroo. The kangaroo seemed kind of old, but he loved visitors. He would stand up tall and clap his hands when you came to pet him. He also got a bit excited, too. He would pee. Haha. You have to be careful where you stand around him!
The most surprising to me were the camels. I had not realized how large camels can be. There were two camels there, and one was huge. HUGE! Their bodily fluids are proportionate, unfortunately. Camel snot is not delightful. Sigh. Animals!!
A first for the trip was a sad one for Jill. She got car sick for the first time. After we ate, we jumped in the car to go to the petting zoo, and it was not incredibly close to where we were staying. We decided to avoid the strip in Pigeon Forge and take a nature route that ended up being really windy around the Appalachian Mountains. Jill threw up every where. Repeatedly. I had a backup outfit for her, but it was a sundress, and that wasn't quite enough on a rainy day. It reminded me of the Las Vegas incident of '09 with Ryan outside of a In and Out. Tee hee. The throw up chunks were all over her, her car seat, and parts of the car. Sigh. We went to a dollar store to buy new clothes and some Febreeze.
"Um . . . Mom? Dad? Guys?!"
Side note: This is the outfit I picked up at the Dollar Store, both of them.
(She's wearing pajamas underneath the shirt and pants.)
The third day, it was our fourth anniversary, and the sun came out, so we decided it was time to finally tackle the Great Smokey Mountains and perhaps see a bear! We ate breakfast with gusto and vigor and then had a massive let down when we realized that our hiking backpack was sitting in our family room back in Cincinnati. Huge bummer. So, our grandiose plans of hiking to waterfalls and being out all day somewhat crashed and burned. We went back to the map to find shorter hikes and tried to decide how much we thought Jill could walk and how long we thought we could carry her. We settled on a very short hike (under a mile) that included an old cabin, barn, mill, and water shute. It was cool.
Doesn't she look like a marshmallow or the Michelin man in all her layers?
Jill seemed to enjoy herself. Even with the sun out, in the foresty shade it was not very warm during our morning hike, so Jill was layered up. Three layers. I like my girl to be warm! :) We did not see any bears, but we saw a lot of rocks, and Jill found those fascinating. I think Jeff understands a bit better why I feel daunted at simultaneously trying to garden and keep Jill from eating everything she can get her paws on.
After leaving the beautiful national park, we parked the car and walked around Gatlinburg. There were a lot of shops and restaurants and many ways to spend money. I was impressed by how cutesy and quaint a lot of the architecture was. I bet projects like that are a lot of fun for architects, designers, and landscapers. We ate a delicious lunch and played two rounds of miniature golf.
The course was amazing. It was up the side of a hill, so a lot of going up stairs was involved. It was quite a work out. Every hole included a sign with historical facts about Gatlinburg, so I felt like I learned a lot. There were even model historic buildings around it. You should really check out my facebook pictures of it to see more of its awesomeness.
We were worn out by the stairs and sunshine, so we opted to not do the mountain course and do the indoor black light course. (This was at Fort Fun.) Jill really thought the black light course was cool. It was under the sea themed, and there was a lot to keep Jill distracted from the fact that we had ditched her ball and club.
That evening we had pizza and watched Bandslam, which I loved! I was so happy to get to watch a movie that I ended up liking so much. Favorite lines:
"I think if you tried signaling people would honk less."
"They don't need to know my business."
"I really don't think it's a privacy issue."
"She's wearing a hat!!!!!"
"Do we want to rock?!"
I really liked the movie. Sorry that those probably weren't funny if you haven't seen the movie. Well, the last one isn't funny, but it is inspiring. I was so impressed. I would love to watch this movie again.
I'll include part from a review of the movie by Bob Smithouser:
"The prevailing theme is that, like a gale-force wind impacting a glider, a difficult past can either knock us out of the sky or—if we position ourselves just right—help us soar to new heights. Will, Sa5m and Charlotte are all broken to some degree. From mistakes. From a crushing disappointment. In one case, haunted by the sins of a parent. But at key moments, each of those teens manages to rise above fear and pain by unselfishly choosing to stare down personal demons for the benefit of others. The 'happy ending' isn't happy because everyone gets what they want in fairy tale fashion, but because they've grown as individuals and united as a community."
Even Jeff laughed sometimes, and he watched the whole thing with me. :)
Thursday was the fourth day, and we had to go home. It ended up being the sunniest, warmest day. Isn't that how it always seems to work?
Yup, it's upside down. Again, I included more on facebook, so you can look there.
So cool! (This building.)
I think we were in Sevierville driving along, when I said to Jeff, "your GPS is wrong. Go straight here." He's completely confused and why I would know that, since I'm not familiar with the area, but I said it with such assurance that he knew I really meant it. Haha. I was reading a huge traffic sign up ahead that he just hadn't noticed yet. It was really funny, because he was really confused about why I was so adamant that the GPS was wrong about how to get on the highway. :)
On the trip back, Jill did not sleep as much as we would have liked, but she didn't get carsick, so that's a plus! We listened to a Mary Higgins Clark mystery on CD, and again that took up the time quite nicely. I definitely recommend books on CD for long car trips.
Oh yes, I recommend all of the places at which we dined: Guarino's Italian Restaurant, Geno's Pizza, Brass Grille, and Steak 'n Shake.
And that was our trip to Tennessee.
Since I've been home, life has been back to normal. However, I've had repeated moments of "Well, it's a good thing I didn't think I was perfect, because if I did, I would be awfully disappointed right now." Sigh. I dropped a cake. A frosted cake. The glass shattered everywhere, and I was walking out the door. It was a huge mess and awful to clean up. Then the next day, I deleted a visiting teaching district on the computer at church. That caused all of the companionships in that district to come undone. I couldn't fix it, because I didn't have the most recent changes printed off, but luckily our Relief Society president has a copy, so I can fix it on Sunday. Sigh. I hate doing dumb things.
Today, Jill and I went to a live butterfly exhibit with our next door neighbor and her daughter. I'll blog about that soon. Promise. It was so cool!