At long last (only a month overdue, but who's counting?), here are some pictures (and verbiage - you can't escape) from our ill-fated trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When we stopped at a rest stop somewhere in North Carolina, Jack and Chloë ran to go pee, and Sophia ran to climb this tree! She was pretty cute, so of course, rather than scold her, I had to grab Ye Olde Trusty Camera.
She really is a cute little tot, wide-set eyes notwithstanding. (I know the spacing of them makes her look cross-eyed at times, a fact which worried her pediatrician for a period of time... but like Chloë and the whole Down Syndrome thing, Mama knew she was all right.)
So if you've seen the email I sent out - which I've been accused of cowardice for not posting publicly, by the former friend mentioned therein - you know it wasn't a particularly terrific trip. Several people who found out she was going with me were actually quite surprised that I had asked her, but the truth is, since Rob couldn't come, I just didn't want to be alone on the drive down. I don't regret asking her, because it really showed me her true colors and helped me make a decision that had been begging to be made for ages. And truthfully, the real reason I didn't (and won't, despite her attempts to goad me) post it here for all to see is the Golden Rule: I wouldn't like all that stuff, even if true, said about me in front of anyone and everyone, and so I gave her the same regard. Scout's honor. I did say anyone could ask me for the email, though, and I mean it. Anyone.
But enough about all that, yes? I'll tell you about the trip without going back into that, as much as I possibly can.
The first day was a Friday, and we left our house early in the morning. I didn't want to be driving in an unknown area in the dark. I don't see well in the dark. Alas, I am not a cat. But Stephanie wasn't ready, so we had to stick around for a while for her to finish packing and whatnot, and then there were a multitude of stops for this, that, and the other. So a dozen hours later, we finally arrived at our resort. I can't tell you the name, because I was there to evaluate it, but I can tell you that it did not live up to our expectations. She and I both agreed that if we were actually paying for this place ourselves, we would have been highly disappointed!
I actually don't remember what's going on in this picture, but at least it gives you a glimpse at our accommodations. They weren't shabby or anything. They just weren't... amazing. Or very big. (And see those jeans on Jack? They fit great there... but now they're too small. Along with every last pair of pants in his closet. I suppose I should be grateful that he had a bit of a growth spurt for the first time in his life... but did he have do it the night before our most recent road trip to Pennsylvania?!)
That first night was mostly uneventful, other than we were all starving and it took me forever to actually order pizza. Anyway. The next day, aside from the stuff we had to do for my job, we went to the pool. Pools. There was an outdoor hot tub, pictured above, an outdoor pool, and an indoor pool and baby pool. That was nice, and so was the weather, so we went to all of them!
And Sophia continues her progress in swimming. She's no Ian Thorpe, but she gets from A to B without touching anything. I gotta get the older two treading water, at least!
Chloë's usually pretty content to dance in the water. And on land. Everywhere. Little Miss Twinkletoes!
I had pictures of both Jack and Sophia running up and down the length of the pool on the little ledge that was in there, but none of the ones of Jack turned out. Rats. So you'll be forced to look at too many of Soap, and not enough of him. ;)
Pretty self-explanatory. She's definitely got spirit, that kid!
After a while, it got too chilly to stay outside anymore, and the kids were sick of the hot tub (imagine!), so we went inside to swim. I was frozen through, so I didn't join them in the water. It does look inviting now, though...
I have a bunch of pictures of Luke and his mother playing in the pools, but I haven't sent them to her yet. I'm not in the mood to be that nice. So for now, until I delete them, they live on my hard drive. Hope it doesn't crash. Here's one of my girlies playing with him.
Eventually, before giving up swimming for the day, everyone wandered back outside to the hot tub. That sounds good right about now, now that our furnace has given up the ghost!
We were able to eat pretty cheaply during the trip, partly because of mystery shops I'd taken to feed us, partly because there was a full kitchen in our suite, and partly because I'd found a 90% off code for some Restaurant.com certificates and matched them up to a couple restaurants there in Pigeon Forge and in Gatlinburg.
Speaking of which, WOW. Both towns were a veritable spectacle of lights, everywhere you looked. Especially Pigeon Forge. I'm not "country," so I didn't quite fit in there, I'm afraid. I will say this: Whoever named Panama City Beach, Florida, the "Redneck Riviera" must not have ever been to Pigeon Forge! My word.
There were shows upon shows to see in Pigeon Forge, but the one I really wanted to take us to (Dixie Stampede) was not only out of our price range, but booked solid during our trip. So I found us a decent deal on tickets to the Comedy Barn, and we all went to that, instead. It was a good time. Funny. We laughed a great deal.
Near the end of the show, all the kids were called onstage to sing and have fun. Can you pick out my three? (Hint: they're three of the shortest!) So I'm glad we went to the show, except for a weird part at the very end where they got all serious and told everyone to accept God into their lives and say their prayers, etc. Not as big a turn-off for me as it would be for some of you, but I still found it oddly out of place. But considering where I was in the world, maybe not. I don't know.
That's all I've got for "the good side" of our TN trip!
Stay tuned, I'll post more tonight.