The Great Smoky Mountains

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One of our favorite family vacation spots!

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LOVE the mountains! I always feel so at home. They are so peaceful!

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When we go to the Smoky Mountains, we actually stay in Pigeon Forge, TN. It is a little bit of a drive to get through Gatlingburg and to the National Park, but we think It’s worth it. It is a little more out of the tourist traffic. The last few times we’ve stayed at Riverstone Resort and we love it. They have an indoor pool, lazy river, playground, and fitness room. The resort is right on a river, so there is plenty to do right there. We stayed there with my parents who got a 4 bedroom condo. All 10 of us stayed there very comfortably. We would recommend it! 🙂

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We went to one “fun park” as the kids called it. This year we went to the Nascar go cart track. They had tracks for the little kids and ones for the bigger kids. They had some rides for kids and some things for older kids. They loved it. The downside…there was nothing that the baby could do! I pretty much walked around with her while everyone else did all the rides and go carts.

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She went on that ride 5 times, I think! Just kept getting on!

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We have a couple of places that we have to eat at every trip there, Mama’s Farmhouse and The Old Mill. Both are really good, southern, home cooked type food. Things your grandma would make for Sunday dinner. Yum!!

On our trip we spent a lot of time in the mountains, swimming, relaxing and just spending time with family. We are so thankful my parents invited us to stay with them again!

We had a great trip! We’ll be back!

Fighting Waterfalls

On our last trip to Tennessee, we went hiking – as usual. We decided to take an easy hike this time, but still wanted to see some waterfalls.

We came across this beautiful waterfall.

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Doesn’t the river look calm?

I thought so too!

My dad had a great idea – as usual – to make it across the river and stand up in the waterfall to take a picture. I took a look and didn’t think the river looked very deep or strong and thought it would be doable!

Mind you… I’ve played in a few creeks in my life, hiked through miles of water, and climbed up who knows how many waterfalls. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve crossed small rivers before.

We took off our shoes and socks and set out to cross the river and take a pretty picture in the waterfall. No big deal!

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The water wasn’t even up to my knees yet and the water was freezing! No big deal! We kept going!

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I found the drop off! Now, it was really cold and my shorts were wet. Didn’t plan on that! Still kept going.

You see in the video that my sister, Elizabeth and I were really fighting just to stand up! The current of the river plus the waterfall was pushing us everywhere! It was beating us up. We were freezing. It was hard to hold up my sister. I pictured her falling and floating down the river. It was scary. We bailed.

We sat on the bank a little while and thought, we’re already wet. Lets try it again!

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Nope! Not that time either! The waterfall won.

I felt defeated. I  really thought we would make it. Maybe it’s the fact I have 3 kids to raise. Maybe I’m older and wiser. Maybe I’ve seen too many stories on the news.  I didn’t try to cross for the 3rd time. I was ok with the waterfall winning! The teenage me would have tried until I made it! Oh well! It was a blast and I’m glad I tried, but I know my limitations. I’m just not crazy anymore. I don’t need to win every challenge. I was once again humbled.

I have bruises and I was sore! It was a good fight!

 

 

Our baby girl turned ONE

My baby turned ONE last month. I can hardly believe it! It even took me a while to say that she was actually 1.  I still like to say 13 months! 🙂

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She is such a happy girl!

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So full of personality!

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Just want to KISS THOSE CHEEKS!!! 🙂

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This princess is so full of personality!

I really can’t believe how fast her first year went. I know I say it for each baby, but this one flew! It probably has a little something to do with the fact I have 2 other kids and life gets a little crazy with 3 kids 5 and under! 🙂

She is our baby! And will probably always see her as that! I just thought maybe she could stay little for a bit longer. Now, she is more like a toddler. She runs everywhere, climbs on the table, gets into EVERYTHING, and is a screamer.

She gives the BEST BABY HUGS!

We all LOVE that girl!

When I was pregnant with her, I had people tell me I was crazy for planning another baby – I have rough pregnancies, with hyperemisis, home health care, medicine pump, and frequent hospital visits. “Why would you want another baby, you already have a boy and a girl?” I couldn’t answer that. I don’t know. I just felt our family wasn’t complete.

When things got rough and I mean really rough, I questioned our sanity for having another baby. Especially when I ended up in the hospital – again – and needed to get my gallbladder out at 19 weeks! I finished up my pregnancy up with depression…. Lets just say I’m not a fan of being pregnant.

I gave birth to a perfect, healthy baby girl and it was all so worth it! Knowing how much that  little girl had been through in her first 9 months of life and how strong – she screamed like no baby I’ve ever heard – and healthy she was, I knew God had big plans for her.

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We. Were. Blessed.

I’ve learned so much by being her mom. I’ve grown so much.

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Can’t imagine life without her!

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Photos taken by ardentpapers.com