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Okay, so the respite is over. My head feels clearer, I feel rested and I’m ready for life again.

Today we’re packing for a trip to my parent’s house. Amanda has been dating someone for a few months and we’re finally getting to meet him. Birmingham is a few hours closer to Lakeland than we are and my parent’s house is bigger so it works out for us all to meet there.

I can’t believe that it’s already been 3 weeks since we took our Dollywood trip. We had so.much.fun. So here are some highlights.

It was the end of August but there was some fall foliage already.

It doesn’t matter where I am or what’s happening, I often notice small details…like this fabulous bird house. I really want one.

Halle got to drive…

And Chloe got to drive…

Halle had a turkey leg that was as big as her head…

We rode the ferris wheel…

Chloe was amazed to find out that she’s not afraid of heights. I, however, am still very much afraid of heights. Which made Camp Teachittome a nerve wracking but fun experience.

It’s a climbing experience that tethers you to a steel structure, sort of zip-line like, but instead of zipping you climb. One of the Dollywood employees was very kind to talk me through the rock face part of the climb. It was terrifying and I can’t believe I did it. Once I realized that if I held onto the line tethering me to the structure I was able to do anything, no matter how terrifying. Travis said, “I can’t believe you. The higher we climbed, the braver you got.”

When we decided it was too hot to keep climbing we left and as we did, Halle started sobbing. I thought she was hurt so when I asked what was wrong she said, “All I did was go on the bridge, I didn’t do anything hard. I hate this place! I never want to see it again!” Halle and I hate to be confronted with our failures and she’s a bit dramatic about it right now. We’ll help her grow out of it. And next time I’ll try to get over my nerves more quickly so I can focus on helping her get the hang of it.

Because we’re totally going back again.

We visited Starbucks everyday and I think the girls are now big fans of black bears. The condo we stayed in had sort of a black bear theme (while still being tastefully decorated) and now we’re hooked on them.

The day we left we had a good bit of fun at IHOP. I was laughing so hard while taking these pictures  I’m surprised that nobody said anything to us.

It’s, Halle, like you’ve never seen before. If she sees these pictures, she’ll be so embarrassed. Which is why I’m hiding them from her 🙂

We had so much fun, did I say that already? We loved Dollywood and I’m really looking forward to going back again. And here are a couple of tips if you do go-

1. Check with your condo, hotel, cabin rental office to see if they offer discount tickets to any of the area attractions. Ours offered buy one get one free tickets to Dollywood.

2. If you’re just going to the Gatlinburg area and you homeschool, The Aquarium of the Smokies offers deep discounts to homeschoolers.

3. If you go to Dollywood make sure to wear (or take) shoes that can get wet. I wore a pair of rafting sandals and they worked perfectly for all of the attractions since you’re required to have a pair of shoes that strap around your ankle in order to ride some rides. Other rides you’ll just get soaked on. Literally. We walked around wet for the entire first day. Clothes that dry quickly are a great idea too.

They had a lot of new attractions and they’re mostly adventure type rides. Halle was tall enough to ride everything except the Wild Eagle but she definitely wasn’t ready to ride any of the roller coasters. Chloe put her big brave girl pants on though and rode The Wild Eagle…then decided she’s never, ever riding again. At least until next time.

Thank you all so much for letting me ramble on about my trip. I truly have the best blog friends ever. You all encouraged me so much in your comments on my last post and well, you’re good like that. I love blogging but it would be a lot less fun without you.




P.S. Please forgive typos and sentences that don’t make sense. I don’t have time to proofread today because the A/C guys are here and I have to take Daisy to the kennel…and I have to pack….and eat lunch…and go to Target…and do the dishes 🙂