As many of you probably know, my parents, my five younger siblings, my older brother and his wife, my three nieces, and I all took a family trip to Gatlinburg, TN ( a medium-sized city right in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains) to attend our annual church conferences. We stayed there nearly two weeks and had really terrific time, together. We finally arrived home early Monday morning.
We rented a large cabin out in the woods of the Smokey Mountains that was very enjoyable to stay in…
It had several large decks, a hot tub, pool table, a fireplace…(unfortunately there were no swing sets at backyardplayground.net in the backyard!) But anyway, it was just a really nice place to stay in, and I was very sorry to have to leave to come home.
I loved cooking in the adorable little kitchen 🙂
All thirteen of us were able to fit around the large dining table!
We arrived home early Monday morning after a nearly 24-hour drive. (ugh) Since then, every minute has been a flurry of unpacking, cleaning, and trying to get back to our everyday lives again. (My family and I are all kind of depressed that it’s over) So I apologize for the lack of activity on the blog, things will be getting back to normal very soon!
Anyway, moving on….Let’s get these pictures rolling!
The town of Gatlinburg, itself was a really fun place: The main street was lined with so many shops and boutiques. The girls and I had a really fun time window-shopping in a bunch of different stores…
My sister-in-law, Jessica trying out the merchandise 😉
We devoted an entire afternoon to purse shopping and all the girls got new purses. I even found a cute little kitchen supply store, where I bought several neat little kitchen gadgets including this awesome avocado bowl and this rustic cutting board….
We also went on a very fun Sky Lift…After driving past it a couple times we agreed that we should give it a try. It was so much fun! It took us up a very steep mountain, and then at the top, we had a spectacular view of the Great Smokey Mountains.
I rode the lift with my younger brother, Michael and managed to take pics of my little sisters who were ahead of us, and my older brother and my nieces who were behind us. *not easy to do! I was kind of freaked out being so high up!*
On a tip from a church friend, my mom and I walked to this adorable village setting in Gatlinburg and found a quaint little spice store, where we got several packs of fun and different spices. My mom and I had a fun time smelling all the different spices and picking out some cool kinds of seasonings, including some smoked paprika. (my favorite!)
My entire family AND friends from our church also visited Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokeys. Everyone agreed that that was one of the best parts of our whole trip. They had many sea-life exhibits and lots of fun activities that we took part in. Including petting a manta ray, visiting with penguins, and holding horseshoe crabs!
*that was one of Rachel’s favorite parts!*
My niece, Maddie loved going in a little compartment that made it appear that she was in the tank with the fish!
My favorite part was an underground chamber where the sea tanks were above us and we could see sharks, sea turtles, and lots of other fish swimming above us.
It was extremely cool. Loved it!
Our church had a family picnic in a huge park. We all went and had a very fun time together…The kids had a blast running around! And the adults had fun umm watching? ha-ha.
I got tired just watching them! 😀
My sister-in-law, Jessica and my mom holding my 6-month niece, Lilly.
After full days spent walking around in the city, we would be extremely tired when we finally got back to the cabin! We would tiredly fix dinner together, send the little kids off to bed, and then either play a board game, together, play a game of pool, or go relax in the hot tub!
left to right: My brother, Michael. Me.
left to right: My brother, Michael. Myself. My brother, Daniel. And his wife, Jessica.
We all had a blast, together! 😀
Here’s a few more pics just to give you a better “picture” of our trip.
Left to right: My 3-year old sister, Rachel; and my 2-year old niece, Josie.
These two little ones got into quite a bit of trouble together! In the picture above, we were out to eat in a restaurant and these little stinkers were concocting some kind of “plan” while the rest of us were busy eating. 🙂
Don’t even ask me what they were talking about here!
This little girl (my youngest niece!) is nearly 6 months old, already! Nearly everyone in our family spent a good part of the vacation hanging out with Miss Lilly 🙂
*sigh* Just adore those blue eyes and all that hair!
My almost-5 year-old niece, Madison is one of my more sane nieces, but she does have her very silly moments!
(We were all kind of bored that day!)
…..Some of us went a little too far…:D
Josie and Rachel both apparently felt that they needed to be “decorated”.
…Some of us decided to climb the mountains outside our cabin…(No, I did not even try this, and had no desire to!)
Although our cabin was right in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains and we were definitely in bear-country, we did NOT see any bears, much to the younger kids disappointment and much to my relief! BUT we did see some mother bear tracks!
And a bear-den….Which we did NOT let the kids explore even though they had the crazy notion to even ask!
We had fun times going out to eat as a family 🙂
I took this picture right after Little Miss Josie “accidentally” spilled her water all over my lap. I could tell she was pretty proud of herself 😮
We all had a wonderful time, together and can’t wait until next time!