Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall in the Smokies

I know that's not a very original title for this post, but I don't care.  Because I got to go the Smokies this year in the fall!!!  I have been wanting to do that again for years, but something kept coming up to prevent it from happening.  We planned a trip this year (as in recent years), and I sat back and held my breath to see if we could finally make it happen.  The Monday before we were going to leave (on Thursday morning) Evan came home from school saying he felt sick.  Then he threw up.  I began to get worried.  He threw up one more time, but no one else got sick!!!  In our family, this seems to be a small miracle.

So, we headed to the mountains on Thursday!  We stopped over for the night outside of Nashville and made it into Chattanooga around lunchtime the next day.  We had a relaxing afternoon with some family, and then Evan and I saw some more family that night at my nephew Nathan's last high school football game.  I had never gotten to see him play football, so I was very excited that I was getting to see this game.  I was not so excited when he went down with an injury with one minute to go in the 3rd quarter.  When he didn't get up I got even less excited.  He ended being taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with a broken back.  The injury is more like broken ribs, as it is where the ribs connect to the spine that is broken.  He could move around, but was in pain.  Thankfully, he should heal in a few weeks and be back to sports (specifically, basketball).
The next morning, we had a family birthday party for Joel at a park.  Joel's birthday is fairly close to Thanksgiving so family doesn't get to visit often for his birthday.  I was excited that he got to celebrate with his cousins this year.  Of course, they couldn't all make it, but we had quite a few people there! 

We were planning on going to a trunk or treat that afternoon, but everyone was having so much fun playing in the park, that we just got some pizzas and stayed at the park longer.

We went to visit the laid up football player that afternoon, and from there some of us went trunk-or-treating.  Joel's only objection to this trip was that he wouldn't be home for trick-or-treating, but we took our costumes and got candy so that made it better.  We went to two churches and had a lot of fun.  They had games, candy, and real food, too, so the parents were pretty happy, too.

The next day we went higher into the mountains.  We hiked up a trail (about 1 mile) to visit a waterfall.  Everyone did great!  Joel got a little tired and upset toward the end, so he was carried the last little bit.

After the hike we went to my favorite mountain store - The Apple Barn!  I had an apple dumpling for the first time and it was so good!  I also bought some goodies to make my own apple goodies at home.  I can't wait to get busy with those!

We still had lots of daylight when we finished at The Apple Barn, so we headed back up the mountain to Cades Cove.  We were on the lookout for bears, but we just saw some turkeys and some deer.  Normally when we go there we see lots of does and fawns, but this time we saw several bucks.  We got pretty close to them, too.
The next day we started our trip back.  We were able to see one of my older nephews, Shane, in his college town on our way out.  We too him out to eat at Mello Mushroom, which I had heard about, but never visited.  The pizza was great and the company was, too!  I am so glad that worked out!

We spent the night in Little Rock and had a rainy drive back to our house the next day.  It was rainy, and I slept, but we were safe!  We had a great time and I am so thankful that we got to see everyone and make this trip.  It just makes me wish I lived closer to my family, though.


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