On our second-the-last day, we got up early and made it to the Pigeon Forge Trolley!! We rode into Gatlinburg on it and the kids were absolutely amazed!!! We compared it to the trolley on "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" and the kids loved not having to buckle up!!! What a fun surprise!!
Hezzy, Kate, and Andrew just hanging with the Gatlinburg Bear!
The two that made all of this possible!! THANK YOU SO, SO VERY MUCH!!!
Exploring in one of the MANY candy shops...
Hoorayyyyy!! Welcome to Gatlinburg!
A car that's JUST Andrew's size! Perfect!!
Did I mention that poor Callie got stung by a wasp.. in the face?! Poor sweet baby had a swole-up face the last few days.. but Mom's world-famous cinnamon bread and drinks from a downtown coffee-shop helped things to start looking up!
We are a crowd everywhere that we go.. :))
You know that famous Gatlinburg taffy that they make in the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen?? The one where you can watch them make the entire candy from start to finish from the window?? It's amazing and let me tell you... the kids were AMAZED.
The bakers even came to the window and passed out Key Lime taffy samples to the cutest little tourists!
Poor Vannie had to sit in the stroller for most of our trip through downtown Gatlinburg.. even though she wasn't complaining. Haa!!
She did jump up, however, when she saw this 'horsey!!!!" She knew Grammie would love this one..
Soooo... we saw this on the sidewalk and of course all of the little children needed to stick their faces in the circle. It wasn't until later that I realized that the sign read "All Sauced Up in the Smokies..." They meant barbeque sauce though, right?! ;))
Here is Rylie:
CowLips.. as Uncle Wadie calls her! Haha!
Pops with Hezzy and Baby Kate!
Grammie and Grant matched!!!!
Andrew found a prize...
and it's still waiting for him in Tennessee! ;)
Okay, so of course we had to visit the Pancake Pantry... it was Tennesse's first pancake house and everything is still made from scratch and cooked in REAL butter. Umm, if that's not screaming "BRINKERS!" then I don't know what is! It was pancakes and sandwiches of all kinds and of course, everything looked and smelled and sounded delicious!
It was PACKED, so we had to split up... but it was fun to watch everyone and see what everyone else was ordering! (Or am I the only one who does that...??) Savannah and Brother got the "Bears in the Snow" pancakes... seriously?! How cute!!
Hahahaa, Brother clearly was loving his!
Wadie got pigs in a blanket... Pancakes wrapped around sausages! He loved it!
I, incredibly, did NOT get pancakes. There was an ad on the side of the menu stating that this sandwich... the Dutch Diplomat, had won a national award as one of the ten best sandwiches of the year!!! Of course, I had to try it!! It came with heaps of ham, turkey, cheeses, and trimmings.. along with pickled cucumbers and onions, fresh potato chips, and a three bean salad!!! Should I be embarrassed that I ordered..and ate.. more food than Wade?? Haa!! It. Was. Delicious. While I will say that I think Wade's sandwiches are PERFECTION and this one couldn't touch his, it was quite a yummy experience!!
After a wonderful time of exploring the city, we rode the trolley home and snuggled down in our cabin for our last night altogether.. Sweet Mandy even made Kurt, Kate, and me a birthday cake to celebrate with!!!
Our last morning waking up in the mountains, Pops left this note for everyone on the coffee pot. Heather had had a headache the whole day before from NOT having caffeine! So we felt there should be a giant label on the coffee that this was DECAF... and that she should begin the hunt for Tylenol early on. :))
Aunt Mandy and Callie making breakfast together!!!
We decided to lay low for our last day and spend the afternoon playing in the creek near our cabin. Since Savannah couldn't get her knee wet because of the stitches, Grammie and Pops took her, Grant, and Kate for one more ride through Cades Cove (since our last trip there had ended so abruptly!). Here are a few pictures they they sent to us! Thankfully, they had a wonderful time with NO injuries! Hooray!!
They even found horses!
Meanwhile, we waded out into the creek!!
Beautiful Mandy and Luke!
Sweet Kurtie decided that we all needed to be baptized in the creek... so he held us all down while the others DOUSED us. I tried to hide behind Heather, the camera, the fact that I'm pregnant.. all to no avail!! We simply ALL had to be held underwater for a few minutes while everyone else laughed and sprayed us! Hahahaha, it was an absolute blast! We had originally started picking up rocks and chunking them at each other, so getting held underwater was infinitely safer. ;) Here is everyone after... soaking wet, cold, and having an absolute blast!
On our way back... look what we ran into!
A WILD TURKEY!!!!!!!!!
TWO WILD TURKEYS!!!!!!! So fun!!
Minutes before the Sharbonos and Kurt and his family pulled out to start the drive back, we gathered together in the living room, as we did every night, for Bible story and family discussion about our day. We all had had SUCH a wonderful time...it was simply the best.
There was a cowboy hat there that doubled as a guest book... and here is Jen, signing our name, marking our time we had spent there.
Brinker Bash 2014
The two seconds Grant kept this on...
Locking up and heading south.
Mom and Dad, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a most wonderful week in Gatlinburg!!! What a treat it was to get away and spend time all together, hiking, shopping, cooking, playing.. IN THE MOUNTAINS!!! There was so much that I didn't get a picture of.. like going to the Moon Pie store that sold every flavor of Moon Pies possible, and the Book Warehouse that was pretty much in a basement, and the crazy packed Walmart that we visited every single day, ha!, and the platter of Chick-fil-a nuggets that were the best things we had ever had since we were starving and traumatized from Van's stitches, and the boys' games of pool, and the way Mandy washed and dried and folded everyone's laundry, and Jen's homemade rolls and Kurt's smoker with the best meats ever coming off of it everyday, and Heather's shoe that is forever lost somewhere in the Smokies, and how we discovered stairs are the greatest entertainment for 11 children in one cabin, and the bottomless cups of coffee and hot chocolate... ahhhh, you guys gave us incredible memories and we will be forever thankful!! You two are the best parents in all the world. Godly, generous, kind, wise... We all want to grow up to be just like YOU!
I love you both!!!! Thank you so, so much again!