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Category — World Travels

Will’s 5 Year Old Trip: Gatlinburg


One of the things we would like to do with each of our children is take them on special trips by themselves when they are 5, 10 & 15 years old. The plan is when you are 5 you get to pick anywhere in the state, 10 anywhere in the country and 15 anywhere in the world. For Will’s 5 year old trip he picked Gatlinburg so he could try ice skating and snow tubing.

photo(34) - CopyWe took Will on his 5 year old trip back in January and he was SO excited! It was special to have the one on one time with him but he missed Thomas and Thomas did not understand why Will wasn’t going to Honey’s house with him.

photo(35) - CopyThe kid is crazy. We made a pit stop at a McD’s and had to get a snack of a chocolate milkshake and french fries.


photo(36) - CopyWe stayed at the Park Vista in Gatlinburg and it was a really nice place to stay.


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Will’s absolute favorite part of the whole trip was the awesome indoor swimming pool with 2 water slides at the hotel! He would have been perfectly content to do nothing else except swim the entire weekend.

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photo(37) - CopyThe first afternoon we jumped on the bed, ate pizza, saw The Avengers on the “strip” and played Lego’s.

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photo(49) - CopyOn Saturday we spent the day at Ober Gatlinburg, made a quick stop at the outlet mall and ate dinner with Mimi, PawPaw, Kalah, Joel & Joel’s parents at the Apple Barn. Will won a bunch of tickets at the arcade and picked out paper airplanes (one for him and one for Thomas), a baseball fan and candy.

Before the trip, all Will talked about was trying to ice skate but then he decided that he didn’t want to try it, and then changed his mind again. He and Bill got out on the ice, made it one time around the rink and they were finished. Will yelled up at me, “Mommy, this is not fun at all!”

Finally, it was time to snow tube! Will (and Bill) enjoyed this the most. It was fun to watch them slide down the hill and worth the wait to see how much fun they had doing it!


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photo(77)The last morning we ate donuts, went swimming (of course!) and took a few pictures before heading home. We had such a good time and can’t wait to continue this tradition with the rest of the boys. We also have to learn what is in the United States and what isn’t since Will either wants to go to Mexico or China for his 10 year old trip :)

May 2, 2014   2 Comments

Mom Monday: NYC

Because Bill is so nice to me, I got to spend most of last week in New York City! {And because our parents are so crazy nice to keep the boys! They’re probably still recuperating.} Bill was going for a work related conference and I got to have fun.

We left early Tuesday morning and got into the city around noon. We stayed on the Lower East Side since it was near the conference in SoHo and because it was one of the hotels we could find that wasn’t more than the per diem. I loved staying in a neighborhood that I was not familiar with! If you visit NYC often I would recommend staying in different places all around the city because you get to know and see so many different things!

Our first stop was lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen.It was established in 1888 and is known for their pastrami sandwiches and their slogon “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army.” It’s also been in movies such as When Harry Met Sally  and the walls are lined with pictures of celebrities.

After checking into the hotel, getting dressed up and grabbing a quick slice of pizza we headed to Broadway to see Peter and the Star Catcher. We had gotten our tickets from TKTS booth after lunch and if you want to see a “play” and not a musical then you can get in the “play only” line. We got there right when they opened and were 3rd in line. We would have been about 300th in the musical line! Bill had not heard about the play but I had and knew it had won several Tony awards. We both ended up being pleasantly surprised at how great it was. It was the back story of how Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Neverland came to be. I would recommend it!

On Wednesday we played tourist – since we were! We started with brunch at Max Brenner. It is seriously so good. We both had Tutti Frutti Waffles which are topped with fresh fruit, ice cream, a tube of melted chocolate and chocolate wafer melts. So good!

After brunch, we walked from Union Square to the west side and walked the High Line. The High Line is a fairly newly opened park that is elevated above the city streets. It is an old railroad line that has been converted to a walk way with green space. The colors of the trees and flowers were so beautiful. It would be a great place to escape to for  few hours if you live in the city. One of the first questions our friend James (4 years old) asked us is if we had been to the High Line. We were glad we were able to tell him yes!

After the High Line we walked to Penn Station and then took the subway downtown to the World Trade Center. We didn’t realize that you needed tickets to see the memorial so we just looked around and saw the new World Trade Center tower. It is SO tall.

Bill’s conference started Wednesday night at 6 so we ate an early dinner at Hi Thai. {We ate so early for NYC that we were almost able to order the lunch special!} Both of our meals were very good. Can you tell that my favorite part about NYC is the food?!?!?!

Bill was at his conference all day Thursday so I had to day to myself! I treated myself to a salted caramel mocha and sat in City Hall Park to start the day.

This is probably completely nerdy but I went on a tour of City Hall. It was very interesting and full of history. I learned a lot of NYC and American history and the most interesting thing I saw was a writing desk that was used by George Washington when he was President. The inside of the building was beautiful!

After City Hall, I walked towards Chinatown. I explored several streets in Chinatown and it was literally like being in a different country. It was fun to see all the different restaurant, markets and sidewalk produce. I passed several seafood markets that were completely open to the sidewalk and had shrimp, fish, lobsters, octopus and what looked like stingray {I could be completely wrong} in shallow tables and surrounded in ice.

The purpose of my Chinatown meandering was to find the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I tried two different flavors: Black Sesame and Red Bean. They were interesting – not overly sweet but still a dessert. And yes, I did eat dessert before lunch!

After Chinatown I made my way back to the Lower East Side and browsed the Tenement Museum shop for awhile and then headed to lunch at The Meatball Shop.

This isn’t a very pretty picture but I ordered plain beef meatballs with spicy meat sauce and mozzarella cheese on a bun. Again, you really can’t go wrong with any kind of food in NYC! Since I was on vacation I took an afternoon nap and then we enjoyed dinner with the Sholes.

Bill went back to the conference Friday until lunch and I meandered down city streets that had my favorite stores like West Elm and the Container Store, enjoyed some coffee and live music in Washington Square. After lunch we walked across Central Park South and down 5th to Rockefeller Center then it was time to pick up our luggage and head to the airport. A great vacation!

October 29, 2012   2 Comments

Weekend Update

We spent the weekend in Nashville and had so much fun. We drove up after Will’s soccer game Saturday morning and went to Mark & Melina’s wedding. It was such a beautiful ceremony and they got a standing ovation when the new couple was introduced. Such fun!

Saturday evening we met some friends at the park to play. I’m so glad so many friends were able to come at such short notice. Will & Thomas had a blast!

We are always happy for an excuse to go back to ClearView – it’s “home” in a lot of ways. We have so many good friends there, the boys were dedicated there and where the preacher has been at your baby shower and offered to write down the gifts!

We were able to eat Sunday lunch with a whole gang of people and it was just so good to be with them! We need to make more “just because” visits!


September 24, 2012   2 Comments

The Beach

The boys and I spent last week in Orange Beach with Honey & Papa. We had a great time but were ready to come home and see Daddy!


July 17, 2012   4 Comments

More NYC Fun

June 29, 2012   1 Comment

DollyWood’s Splash Country

This past weekend we put our season passes to use again and spent the weekend in Pigeon Forge. We were hoping for a better experience than last time and it definitely was. We drove up Saturday morning and ate lunch before getting to the park. When we got there the traffic was horrible and backed up forever before you turn into the parking lot. {Bill might have done something illegal and if not illegal than unethical so we didn’t wait in traffic for an hour just to get to the parking lot! He’s my hero.} We parked in overflow parking which was right near the gate to Splash Country. I noticed that there was NO line at the Splash Country ticket booth and told my Mom she should buy her pass there since it was sure to be crowded at DollyWood. SO glad we decided to do that. The lady working there said that DW was absolutely crazy crowded but that Splash Country had a steady stream of people coming but not crowded. We had our swimsuits in the car so we got them and went to Splash Country for the day! Best decision ever. {We went to DollyWood Sunday and had a great time – the best part was riding Wild Eagle – it did not disappoint.}

I didn’t take any pictures – so just pretend this is us!! Will has finally reached 36 inches and is tall enough to ride several of the “big” rides. Oh my word – it is so much fun! He is able to ride both of their big tube rides where all 3 of us (Will, Bill & me) rode together. He laughed and squealed the whole time. He is also tall enough to ride 2 of the slides where you sit in a double tube – Will up front & one adult in the back. I was afraid he would be afraid of the enclosed tunnel but again he squealed in delight the entire ride.

It was so much fun to ride the “big” rides with him – he wasn’t afraid at all. And speaking of not being afraid, Thomas crawled {because he still refuses to walk} in water up to his neck in the kid play areas! Thomas also loved going down the kid slides with whoever was willing to take him.

It was a great weekend!

May 22, 2012   2 Comments


Bill’s parents {Nonny & PawPaw} have owned a camper in Townsend for a few years and we have been able to visit it a couple of times. Since we live so close now we thought it would be fun to go up to DollyWood and stay in the camper a few times this year. It ended up being not the best weekend due to boys who didn’t go to sleep until after 10 pm and a VERY crowded Dollywood. Looking back it was quite comical at how ridiculous things went but now we have a few things that we know to do different next time. {I only had my phone so the pictures aren’t the greatest!} We ended the weekend by driving through Cade’s Cove and we saw 3 bears, 3 deers and tons of turkeys.

PepperAnn, Will & all his Disney pals.

Thomas is so excited about his first trip to the camper!

It was so crowded and we only got to ride 3 rides. The first ride was the antique cars – Thomas got to drive one all by himself.

Will talked about riding the Ferris Wheel for a week before we got there. He loved every second of it! Bill said that he kept saying “Whee! Whee!”

And I stuffed myself into a little pig so Thomas could ride it!

Thomas thought the camper was SO much fun – so much that he didn’t ever want to go to sleep! He thought the bathtub was pretty fun too.

May 4, 2012   2 Comments

Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is my favorite park for “big kids” because it has some of the best rides but it also had a lot of things that Will really enjoyed.

Mom, Dad & I rode the Rock N Roller Coaster – it’s one of my favorite roller coasters ever. And I must mention that Disney’s “single rider line” has to be the greatest thing ever invented.

We got to the park when it opened and went straight to the Toy Story ride (we only had to wait about 10 minutes and when we got off the estimated wait was 45!)

Will thought he was one cool dude in his Toy Story glasses.

Of course, one of Will’s favorite parts was the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” playground and it was pretty fun!

Both boys enjoyed sitting on the giant ant and Will had everyone climbing a “spider web” made of ropes over and over again. Bill and Will did it at least 10 times and Bill admitted that it was pretty fun.

Early in the week my Dad sat beside a 13 year old girl on a roller coaster and she told him to to make this face when they took the picture, of course, he continued posing like a 13 year old girl for the rest of the week.

We (Mom, Dad & I) also rode the Tower of Terror – again, a lot of fun! {Plus, I was pretty impressed with this picture that I took!}

Both boys also enjoyed the Disney Junior: Live On Stage show that included: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, Handy Manny & Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Will just sat, stared and bit his fingers the whole show so I wasn’t sure if he like it but he talks about it all. the. time. now. So, I think it was a hit!

We had such a great time at Disney World! Will keeps talking about what we’re going to do when we go back and has already started saving some spending money. We stayed at the Pop Century resort and it had a great food court, nice pools {that many people were swimming in} and efficient, clean rooms.

Walt Disney World: 2012

Magic Kingdom     Dinner with Pooh     Animal Kingdom     Donald’s Safari Breakfast     Epcot     Chef Mickey’s     Hollywood Studios

March 28, 2012   Comments Off on Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios