Thursday, September 3, 2015

Arkansas Family Vacation - Turning 29 in Hot Springs, AR!

On my 29th birthday, I woke up to the sound of my phone alarm going off, telling me it was 7:30 AM and time to get some uninterrupted front porch swinging time with my honey.  Wade and I went outside and rocked together, looking out over the trees and hills and pasture, listening to the birds singing, and anticipating all that the day had in store!  We thanked Jesus for the sweet blessings He has poured out on our family.. we owe the joy in our hearts and the spring in our steps to Him!!  He is our everything!!

Around 8, our precious babies began stirring and came out to rock with us..

If I can wake up to these faces every morning on all of my birthdays, that would be all the present I could ever need.

We got dressed in our hiking clothes and prepared to take on Hot Springs!

You don't expect me to sit at home, do ya??  Let's do this thing!

We parked in a big parking garage and headed out to tour downtown Hot Springs.  And this was the first touristy place that we had to stop and take a picture with..  Apparently, lots of gangsters used to hide out in these here hills. Here is Andrew with his gangsta pose, HA!!

Bathhouse Row!!

To be honest, I still don't really know what you do in these bathhouses.. I saw signs for massages, but do you really take baths, too?!  I need to look that up.  But isn't it beautiful?!

Can anyone spy Samuel??  That's right!  I'm backpacking him!

Precious Grandmonty and Poppa sent each of the kids their own money to buy Arkansas prizes.  And Savannah used some of hers to buy this manicure set.  She said it was because she "wants to be a nurse, like Daddy." ;))

We found one!!!  A hot spring in Hot Springs!!!!!

The Noble Fountain!

And that water, straight from the ground, was HOT!!

Heading into the gorgeous Hot Springs National Park!!

Natural little pools from the springs..

Feeling the water... will it be hot or cold??

It was so warm!!  I'm guessing this is why they took baths in it..??

The Grande Promenade was gorgeous..  it's a beautiful, wide, bricked trail..

"To fill the hours between soaks, spa patrons were encouraged to exercise outdoors and enjoy nature.  Thus, the Grand Promenade became an open-air extension of the bathhouse experience!"  So interesting..  and I love how nature is so healing and refreshing.  We have such a creative God and His handiwork should invoke praise and worship from us to Him..
It was so beautiful.

Overlooking downtown Hot Springs..

We found it!!  We found it!!
We found a natural hot springs water fountain!!!!!!!!
Of course, we all had to taste it!!!!  I didn't get pictures, but we all got a sip.  It was warm water that tasted like metal. Hahaa, it was NOT good.  But it has now been checked off the bucket list. ;)
Drinking hot spring water in Hot Springs = DONE.

We only got about an hour of actual trail time, before the wind picked up and it started getting COLD!

We absolutely loved what we got to see of the State Park and have decided we will need a repeat trip to finish our hike!!

We got back to the entrance of the park and snapped this picture before the whole sky fell down on us!!

The kids thought the little sprinkles were fun at first..

30 minutes later, though, and we were soaked, freezing, and starving!!  We made the best of it under our little pavilion..  We sang some songs, prayed for our little dry area not to flood, and hunkered down together.  It actually was really nice to sit and hold my babies for a little while, rubbing them down to keep them warm, and cuddling as it poured all around us.  It is one of my all-time most favorite birthday memories..

After sitting under the pavilion for half of an hour and not seeing any end to the rain in sight, we devised a plan.  There was a five star breakfast restaurant nearby, so we planned to run through downtown Hot Springs, from awning to awning, dodging the worst of the rain until we found the Pancake Shop.  We should have stopped ourselves when running with 4 kids, a camera bag, a backpack, and stroller were involved.  We. were. a. SIGHT!  Hahaha, so funny to think about how we much have looked!!  We ran for our lives in the pouring rain, crossed 4 lanes of traffic, and stumbled over each other into the Pancake House, dripping water and dropping everything but the babies in our arms.  

It was 12:30 PM and the restaurant closed in 15 minutes.  You know they were not happy with us, ha!!  Another couple fell in behind us, though, so we decided to go ahead and quickly order.  Hot chocolate and steaming coffee never tasted so good! We scarfed down the most delicious pancakes and were out of there by 1:00!  If you have any number of kids, you know what an accomplishment that was!  We compensated those workers well for staying open for us.. and cleaning up the syrupy dishes and spilled milk we left behind. :/

 It was still raining, so we made the unanimous decision to get back in the car and tour Hot Springs from our heated seats!  Ha!!  {Thank you so much, Nan and Paw, for letting us borrow your fancy car!!  Those seat warmers were a life saver this day!} ;))  We decided it was too much for us all to race through town in the pouring rain... so Wade found the biggest awning he could and got us settled in before he took off to go get the car.  Ironically, the largest awning we could find was in front of the Hot Springs Winery!!!  Hahaa, again, what a sight we must have been - one wet momma, four soaking tiny children, our leftover pancakes and hot chocolate and luggage, all posted up outside of the winery watching as everyone passed us by!!  

Hahahaaa, this still makes me laugh!!  We couldn't wait for Daddy to come save us!!

And save us he did!!!!!  We were so glad to be safe and warm and dry again!!

Instead of hiking to the top of the National Park, we ended up driving through it before we headed home!  Even though everything was covered in fog and rain, it was still so pretty!!

We also came across a doe and three baby deer in the road!!!  By the time that I got out my camera, they had all but disappeared, except for the momma, right there in the center!  The kids LOVED getting to see the deer out and about in the woods.

After our drive through the mountains, we opted to head back to our cabin and enjoy the rest of my birthday snuggled up inside as it continued to pour.
And by inside, I mean inside the hot tub. :))

We soaked in the warmth of the hot tub as we watched and listened to the cold rain fall in the trees around us.. what an unplanned, but truly wonderful experience!  We loved it!

After some down time in the cabin, which included Disney Jr for the kids and nap time for Wade and I (so lovely!!), we were able to get back outside and enjoy the cool and fresh forest around us..

Three little pirates joined us for our walk...

Fall!!  It's coming.

This cabin was centrally located and where the owners live.. Mom!  Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?!

Passing the pretty little tee pee at the end of our walk..

The Ozark Cabin.  Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Birthday dinner included Wadie's finest jambalaya and juice boxes on the back deck.. and a reminder to myself that we have GOT to get a big picnic table like this!!!!

My sillies:

Wade rode over to a local restaurant nearby and brought back birthday ice creams for us all!!

Wade and I shared a big banana split... nothing like eating bananas and sipping melting ice cream together with your honey. ;)) I am so, so thankful to God for such sweet adventures on my 29th birthday!!  It's so neat to see how life changes.. on my birthday last year, we were finding out that Baby Poole #4 was a BOY! 12 months later, our little Samuel is here vacationing with us in Arkansas!  It's amazing how quickly things change.  
One constant, though, is my gratefulness to a very wonderful God who has given me an incredible 29 years of knowing and serving Him.  There is no greater gift He could have given me.  My Wadie, my Vannie, my Brother, my Baby Grant, my Samuel... to my parents and my in-laws.. to my brother and his family and my sisters and their families.. to my nearest and dearest friends.. to my church family who mean so much.. there is no denying God's blessings when your heart's desire is to follow Him.  I am praying that the rest of my life be spent in service to Him, sacrificing all so that I can bring Him glory!!  He is worthy of all worship and praise and I seek to spend my days doing just that.


  1. Where is the picture of the ice cream sundae?!
    Grant looks so grown up standing on that ledge!!! Tell them all to stop growing so much!!!! Samuel will be 15 before I can even meet him haha!
    This trip looks so fun and aren't heated seats the best?!

  2. Lissie ! What abundant blessings upon you in these 29 years. Wow. The most important is living for Jesus and just like He said. "I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. " Belonging to Jesus is the abundant life !! Love you all , mom

  3. Imagine my surprise when I read that you are not sure what to do at the bath house... My recollection is that you take a good book and a picnic lunch.


About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.