... it's all in a day's work in the mountains! :))
We thoroughly enjoy hiking and this trip would be no exception, even if we did have 11 babies to bring with us! Here we are after walking the roads around our cabin! And look at the mountain views!! Beautiful!
Hot chocolate was one of my most favorite treats of the week!! Every night, we all got mugs loaded down with hot chocolate and whipped cream and it was heavenlyyyyy... especially when Grammie's there to sit and talk to!!
After 3 days, it was finally time.
Time to make the drive over and spend the day at the incredible Cades Cove!
You know... where everywhere you look, THIS is the view.
I don't know if you can see it.. but Brother has hay in his mouth! Hahaaa, a true mountain man!
Everyone travels in a single-file line, slowly taking it all in and making pit stops to see all the historic sites.. we came around one bend and found the line wayyyy backed up and moving so slowly. Slow enough for all the children to pile up and ride in the cab with Grammie! :))
As we drove soooo slowlyyyyy, we came to realize WHY it was so backed up! In the center tree, there is a wild MOMMA BLACK BEAR with TWO BABY CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can see one of the cubs laying on his belly with his paws hanging off the branch near the top... and the momma is the big black blob in the middle! Ha, sorry it's not better quality. All I had was my iPhone... and tennis shoes that were ready to RUN.
Savannah in the old-timey water shed... and about 15 minutes from a gigantic gash in her leg that would be holding rocks and a small twig. :((((
Heather and I were talking about how you can't protect your kids from everything. At some point, you have to turn them over to the Lord, recognizing that He is, and always was, in total control! As those words were coming out of my mouth, Savannah bit the dust. She ripped open her knee and immediately, I screamed for Wade. He knew we had to rush her to Urgent Care right away... except remember the part where I said it's a single-file road through the mountains?? That's right. After Wade carried Van half a mile to the car with Jude's shirt tied around her cut, and we cleaned and wrapped up the wound with Jen's emergency kit (Thank GOD for that!), we began what would be the 2 hour ride to an Urgent Care 30 miles away. We literally had to go 2 miles an hour with Van's leg bleeding and needing immediate medical care! There was only one word that kept coming to my mind as we drove... TRAPPED! We were trapped with no immediate escape. I sat in the backseat, nauseated and frantic, ready to start throwing bricks at all the people gazing peacefully at the mountains!!!!! WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY HERE, PEOPLE!!!!
But it's funny. The longer we sat, the more at peace I became. Not an "oh never mind, we're all good here" kind of peace... but one that told me the Lord was near. He knew it was going to happen and allowed it and therefore, I could trust that He was in it. He would see us through... I didn't throw up, Savannah slept the entire way there (can't you almost see the LITERAL hand of God here?!), and we found the Urgent Care with no problems. It did take us 2 hours to get there, which felt like forever... but the cut was on her knee. Not her eyes. Not her face. Nowhere near a vital organ. We had SO much to be thankful for. Ultimately, we spent another hour or so, holding Savannah down while the team of 3 nurse practitioners sewed her leg up.. 2 internal and 7 external stitches. Savannah was a wreck while we were there... and knowing how hard we had to have made their day, Wade and I brought them Gigi's cupcakes the next morning to show our appreciation!! Wade knows what it means to work in the medical field... and we didn't want to be one of those people that create havoc without showing at least a little gratitude for all they had done for us!! Ha!!
Anyways... this was a long story with a short message. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. Even when everything in us wants to scream, "God!! How could You let this happen?! Whyyyyy did You let this happen?!," those questions only show our lack of understanding, not His. He is the authority of life, the God of heaven and earth, all-knowing, all-powerful, and sovereign. We can trust Him. There is no other option, really. He is the only One trustworthy. He is a glorious God and we really can rejoice in all things.
Okay, nice little change in subject here, ha!! The following day, since Van needed to rest and lay low, Grammie offered to stay at home with the kids so that all the grown-ups could go shopping at the Outlet Mall in Pigeon Forge! It was so sweet to have some time to hang out with my brother and sisters, shopping and finding this little amazing place!! It's called The Chop House and it was the neatest place!! It was candlelit which made it feel fancy... but still super affordable. At least at lunch, ha!! Here is our Bacon Deviled Eggs appetizer...
A Spinach, Chicken and Cheese Pizza...
And a beautiful Turkey & Avocado sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries!! Y'all!!! Every single thing was soooo gooooood!!! And it was such a treat to get to sit quietly and eat while the kids had Grammie and Pops tied up back at home, hahaa!!
Meanwhile, all the kids went on a hiking trail and poor invalid Vannie even got to go because Sweet Uncle Nathan carried her!!
That night, the entire family (all 20 of us!!!) sat down at the Apple Barn to have dessert! It was SO FUN because it was crazy, chaotic, and involved apple fritters and apple julep! WINNING!!!! :))
Silly Brother LOVED the apple fritters!
We ordered pecan pies, apple cobblers, and chocolate cakes to share!! SO WONDERFUL!
We ended our mid-week with an appl-licious time at the Apple Barn and then headed home for coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn. (And m&ms, hummus, watermelon, ribs... ha!!! Pretty much anything that was in sight!) This was in view as we drove home and I loved it...
It was literally like we were on top of the world... and that's such a sweet feeling!
Jesus - You are the ultimate gift-giver. You are the best. Thank you for these precious, precious memories.