Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Family Vacation (TONS of pics)

Brian and I have been married now since 2007, we've dated on and off since 2003, so one would think that we've taken at least one vacation during that time. Granted we have gone to visit family, moved significant distances, and the like during this time, but we've never fully taken what would be considered a vacation. Most of our trips have been on the fly - have a spare dollar in our pocket and just go or they've been pared with things like court hearings - such as the first trip Brian ever made with me to Oklahoma where my ex-MIL was trying to convince the courts to let her, a multiple times over felon, system mooching, child abandoning bitch to give her custody of my son, simply because I'd moved out of state. But I digress.

Earlier this month we took an actual planned out vacation. Planning started in January, we were going to Gatlinburg, TN with 4 other families. Three families of which we're quite close with, the other family being a friend of one of the other families. Anyways, it really was great fun...after you get past the drama associated with traveling & staying in a cabin, in the woods, with no internet, while finals are due for your online classes, and there are 22 people staying in said cabin. Oh...and of those 22 people you have 10 adults - one drunk, one recovering from surgery, one antisocial, one flat out lazy/uber-politically conservative/holier than thou Christian, one who crosses lines drawn lines, a few trying to maintain peace by avoidance, and me - the Liberal who spent much of her cabin time drinking casually, so she could maintain the appearance that she was having a great time; and we had 12 children - boys aged 17, 16, 15, 13, 11, 8, & 7 and girls aged 11, 7, 6, 4, & 3. Oh, no, not the least bit of chances of things going haywire there!

To keep costs down myself and the moms of two of the families I'm close with all went grocery shopping - we'd worked for a few months to build a good menu, broke it down, price checked, and got everything under our $500 budget for the week, at least for the initial grocery trip - I think our total on that trip, if you don't count taxes or the beer, was $498 - that was food & snacks for 22 people, for 7 days, 8 planned cooked meals, sandwich meats, cereal breakfasts, cookies, chips, soda, tea, you name it....three buggies to the check out line. Of course there were extra trips to the grocery store during the week for things like milk, more sugar, more cookies, but we didn't do too badly, especially when we went through almost 3 gallons of milk, a DAY!

The dishwasher ran a MINIMUM of 5 times a day - once after each meal, once in the morning before breakfast from the dishes accumulated after the kitchen was cleaned from dinner, and again before dinner. The floors of the kitchen & dining room were swept multiple times a day. And after the 2nd day the washer & dryer never stopped unless everyone was gone or were sleeping. Everyone pitched in, at least to some degree....except for the previously mentioned lazy person...but I won't go there, afterall she only had two kids there that were older and should have been able to clean up after themselves...yea right. But I digress, again. One is a bold faced LIAR when his mom was around, because her kids are PERFECT, so he had to maintain that in front of his mom, even if there are adult witnesses to his lies, the adults became the liars "because her child would never do such a thing" and the other child was just out there, between her tantrum over having to switch rooms with an ADULT! Heaven forbid she should have to give up the only extra room with a queen bed for one with just a full sized bed! Heck, many of us had to share a room with our younger children so that they'd at least sleep at night! The boys of course all had the bunks in the game room or the couches, chairs, recliners, or floor in the living room - wherever it was they decided to sleep - they had that option.

But outside of the drama bullshit, which is what it was, just bullshit we did have some fun. We went to Obergatlinburg, where I made the solid decision to NEVER AGAIN ride on the sky lift with my charming 3year old, who is not only NOT afraid of heights, but doesn't have a healthy respect for being 100 feet in the air! Anytime our meager car would stop for someone to get off/on safety she'd sit there and bounce & wiggle and scream GOOOOOO COME ON, LETS GOOOOOOOO!!! Then it got REALLY dicey for me when she decided she did NOT want me to even touch her! It was a big fight for me to attempt to hold her hand than it was to just keep my hand on the guard and pray she didn't decide to get out of the car, at 100 feet in the air. We survived, my nerves are still on that mountain somewhere, but we did survive. Did I mention that I don't do heights terribly well? I stick by the notion that God gave me giraffe legs for a reason - that reason being that I don't have to use things like a step stool very often. Of course we rode a number of other rides, the water slides & swing being some of the favorites!

We also went to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I think that was my favorite thing to do - just walking the trails, the kids playing in the ice cold creek - I really could have spent the whole week there and had an absolute blast (and saved tons of money).

We did go to the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, there were a ton of cool things to see and all that, but really? Not worth the money. The TV show is MUCH more interesting (and free)! But the exit dumped us out into the lobby of an arcade, where Brian was able to get his Guitar Hero fix.

We went to an indoor waterpark - nothing spectacular about it, but the younger kids GREATLY enjoyed it, plus it's an indoor waterpark - very few doors in and out & the water in the deepest pool was only 3 feet deep. Strap some floaties on the non-great swimmers & let them run, splash, play, keep an eye on them, of course, but there was no great need to be consistently holding onto them, denying them a turn on a ride, making them wait for their turn - absolutely PERFECT for younger kids. No worrying about sun screen application. It was great (again, for someone like me who has a 3 year old girl & an 8 year old boy.)

There were several cool places to stop and eat at on the strip in Gatlinburg - we ended up eating at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. twice - once with the kids and again later as just a group of adults (and the older teen boys). It was pretty cool! You had little signs you'd flip up saying "Stop, Forrest, Stop" if you needed your server, or "Run, Forest, Run" if you didn't need anything. Our server also had a Forrest Gump trivia - no prize, just a chance for the guys to show off how much they knew/didn't know about Forrest Gump - I've only seen part of the movie, once. I'm the outcast of the group. OH, and the food - OMG hands down THE best shrimp I have EVER ate!

I took TONS of pictures - ones on the strip, others at the cabin, even more just out the window of the car. Sadly of the 1000+ pictures I have of the trip there's only one or two that I'm actually in, and not a single one of just the 4 of us together. I have ones of the sunrises, sunsets, moon, and even rain...I really think we need a vacation do-over. This time, without the drama.

We even found shit creek...and we still didn't have any paddles.

And there was quite a bit of daddy/daughter bonding time going on. ♥ ((She even sleeps like him, *giggle*))

No comments:

Post a Comment