"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Are we there yet?

See What had happen was....
Super Star!
Vroom Vroom!

Playing our favorite game- Buzz Word!
So, its summer and the Leviners and Dukes are headed off for a fun week in Gatlinburg, TN! We all pack our duds and are off, but not so much with a great send off.
As we're in tow to Spartanburg- going to meet up with the Dukes, my oldest niece, Courtney, calls to tell me that her dog, Roxie, has died. This was very sad for my nieces as well as my sister, but with Roxie buried we're finally ready for a fun filled week!
After dropping Sterling aka as Sterlie at his brother's house we leave Spartanburg- dog free, somewhat relaxed, and very excited for what's to come!
Most of us were pretty comfortable with our seating arragnements-(well for some of us) Rhonda in the driver's seat (Darren was on a canoeing trip with 8 high school friends and would be joining us in TN a day later), me in the passenger seat, C and K in the middle seats, and Sam- well he volunteered to sit in the very back (with hanging clothes, luggages, coolers, etc. knowing that with the wrong turn (you have to know Rhonda as a driver)- all this "stuff" could end up in his lap (this happened only once)! As soon as we pulled out of the driveway we hear a "Are we there yet", from Kelsey in the back, as she begins to sing the infamous song "99 bottles of pop on the wall"! "No, not quite" we laugh back.
So finally we're off- like most long distance trips you plan an amount of time for your arrival destination. Ours was going to take 2.5 hours of driving but we ended up in TN 6 hours later. We made it to Asheville and Rhonda thought it'd be a good idea to eat at none other then Cracker Barrel! Afterwards, I noticed that there was a Target nearby so we went there. In the Target C and K noticed a Starbucks so we went there and got a double chocolate something. Finally after two hours we're back in the car- we're only in NC mind you!
Now somewhere along this drive we became way to silly or maybe even delirious. Someone found a Mab Lib book and we played way too many in the car- we even strained our eyes to read the stories after all the parts of speech were inserted. We got a lot of laughs and even more so when C read the exit, or which I thought, and assumed the exit number was the price of gas 443. Then as we traveled I got the name of Tacklebait (I still need to ask my sweet husband about this one).
Eventually we arrive in Gatlinburg and our chalet is roomy and nice!
On Sunday we went into the city and even into the next, Pigeon Forge. We went to the aquarium in Gatlinburg and saw lots of funny as well as interesting things! We ate at Hard Rock Cafe (the first for me) and then headed out for some shopping. It was hot and we soon saw an ice cream parlor where we all got our favorite ice cream flavors. Somehow I got hooked on Pineapple Coconut icecream- RHONDA! Later we all walked down to the pool and C, K, and Sam went swimming- the pool looked very dirty to me and Rhonda so we didn't get in. We later found out the pool was converted to a salt water pool- very interesting. Rhonda was too disturbed to swim because this resort hosted fake flowers on the pool's balcony and she was wanting to get this straight right away.
Now, I'm going to "back the truck up" a little. On our arrival Rhonda found a binder in our chalet that listed all the "fun" and "happening" events! She came across a very interesting attraction, "synchronized firefiles", and a "camera" class! Well some of us were wanting to take the camera class while Rhonda wanted all of us to see these never seen before by human eyes fireflies. So from Saturday-Monday we were reminded about these amazing fireflies and how we've never seen fireflies "like this" in our entire lives. However, I do remember as a child collecting them in mason jars at my gradmother's house but okay- these must be some fireflies.
So on Monday, Rhonda wakes up with a lump in her throat and thinks now that she has some plague or even some various type of cancer. I diagnosed her with having a pill dissolve in her throat as she was swallowing it the night before. We tell her she's okay and even I remind her of this when she asks me again about the cancer thing. After playing another round of Mad Libs we go shopping, find a scrapbook store- spend lots of money, shop, venture on over to wal-mart (amazing how you always have to go to walmart on vacation as if there wasn't one from the town in which you came). Then we go eat at this nice restaurant, the Old Mill. It was very nice and tasty and I remember eating way too much food. We left the restaurant and headed on over to the restaurant store. Now I don't know about you, but everytime I go out of town I see somebody from back home. This trip was not any different. As soon as we get into the restaurant store- we see a member of Sam's family and its not a Leviner surprisingly. It's Sam's cousin, Carrol.We chat with Carrol, find some things we want to buy and then we're off to see- you got it- those famous synchronized fireflies. By this time we're all hyped up about these fireflies- thinking we're going to see what no other human being as ever seen before. But really it was an attraction site. We each paid one dollar to ride this trolley which took up deep into the woods. We rode for 15 miles, got off, and walked to where we heard someone say would be the best view to see these, did I tell you, famous fireflies. As we're waiting for it to get dark we began taking pictures of each other as to mark a spot for this adventure in our scrapbooks. We're still waiting for it to get dark when we heard this lady scream "Ian you almost stepped on it". I don't know about you but my instinct tells me theres a snake somewhere close by and famous or not I could do without seeing world famous fireflies in the mountains of TN. Upon hearing these words the men in our group decide to run to the top of where we were to check out this snake- a copperhead in fact. Kelsey and I didn't want any part of it so we ran or maybe flew would be a better word to the nearest trolley. When we reached the beginnings of the woods we were told by park rangers that we could still see the famous fireflies from right where we were. As we tried to view some type of fireflies, our party that wasn't too scared of the snake decided to come find us and join us. As it got darker we did begin to see the fireflies and yes afterall, it was amazing. They would flicker- hundreds of them at once, then stop for six to seven seconds. Then one would begin again and then the rest would join in and then it would start all over again. It was something to see!
On Tuesday, Rhonda still has the lump in her throat and by now she wants to go to the lobby so she can diagnose her problem on the computer. Anyways, we didn't take her to the lobby but instead headed for Pigeon Forge so Sam, Darren, C and K could ride go carts, etc. This was a fun day and we ended it by grilling out ribs, playing Buzz Word, and watching the newly released movie- The Bucket List. The movie was hilarious by the way. We did go to the hotel lobby to get a disgnosis for Rhonda but never google anything- it just gets too compliated and scary.
On Wednesday we went to Dollywood where we rode one thing, did some walking around, ate lunch, and then got rained out. I'm sure we played Buzz Word again- we love this game!
On Thursday night we went to Dixie Stampede, went shopping at Tanger Outlet Mall, and came home to play the now addicted game of Buzz Word. Rhonda now has no lump feeling in her throat so she dissipates the diagnosis of having cancer of the throat.
Friday, was just as fun!
Saturday, we head back to our homes with the warm and fun memories of the week (not before stopping to eat lunch at Cracker Barrel, mind you). Sam and I liked how we laughed so much and how much fun we had being with family. It reminded me of this quote by:
Emma Bombeck
"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."

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