Last week was Spring Break for our school system so Scarlet, Ethan, and I were all on Spring Break at the same time. With our scheduling, we split Spring Break between our two houses so that both of our families can spend time with Ethan. Scarlet and David took him to Great Wolf Lodge until Wednesday and then Andrew and I got to have him for the rest of the week.
This Spring Break was really special for me for a lot of reasons. For one, it was the first time in my life I’ve ever GONE anywhere on Spring Break. As a kid, we always took our vacations in the fall and throughout college (the first time – heh) I never had the money to go anywhere. Not only was it my first spring Break trip — it was my last official “Spring Break” since I will be graduating (for the LAST time) this May.
But, the real reason it was so special to me was because it was the first trip away that Andrew and I have taken WITH Ethan — it was our first trip as a family.
Andrew and I kind of went back and forth on where to go and whether to even go anywhere, but we finally decided we could afford a few days somewhere within driving distance. We scouted out nearby cities (within 4 hrs) and what kinds of things they had to do/see and finally settled on Gatlinburg, TN. Andrew hadn’t been there since he was a kid and I hadn’t been there since high school, so it was kind of exciting for us….it had been so long, it was almost like going somewhere we’d never been! We decided to keep it a secret and surprise Ethan.
We packed our stuff and took off early Thursday morning. The drive down seemed long, but we didn’t really care – we took our time to make rest stops and still got there before noon.
First on our agenda was to find a place to eat – a Google search later we settled on Bubba Gump‘s. We parked at our hotel and walked the half mile down to the main strip through Gatlinburg and had lunch. The food there was pretty good, and with full tummies we left to visit our first attraction.
Andrew and I had pre-bought tickets to the Ripley’s aquarium, odditorium, and mirror maze. Walking down the parkway we came to the odditorium (Believe It or Not! Museum) first. They had all kinds of cool/weird/bizarre stuff. My favorite was the weird art room which had some pictures of celebrities made out of unique things – like a picture of Eminem made from M&M’s.
I’m pretty sure Ethan would tell you the whole thing was his favorite. He really liked posing in front of the green screen and checking out the shadow/silhouette left on it after a bright flash…you can’t see the screen or shadows in my picture, but I love this “action” pic of Andrew and E.
After we left the odditorium, it started to rain, so we ducked into the Mirror Maze and tried to sort our way through it while avoiding the storm. That was a pretty cool experience…I am directionally challenged (dyslexic) and have horrible depth perception, so if it hadn’t been for the boys I would have probably been lost forever in the maze – but after several wrong turns and I think going around in circles, we made it out. It wasn’t really raining anymore so we walked down to the aquarium to finish out our day. We took our time walking through ALL of the exhibits and saw all kinds of cool stuff, including sharks and a dive show, but Ethan’s favorite was the penguins.
And we goofed around a little….
Then we wrapped up the day with a stroll through the gift shop – because it’s not a vacation unless you buy a souvenir! Ethan got a Ripley’s book about the ocean which he started reading right away.
We went out to dinner at a small, Mom and Pop‘s kind of BBQ place, then crashed at the hotel for the night. We were all exhausted from walking! The next day we got up and had breakfast at a pancake house before embarking on the day’s activities. First we stopped at the space needle and rode to the top to see the awesome view.
After spending a few minutes taking pictures and enjoying the view, we headed off to the water park. We hadn’t told Ethan what activities we had planned, and I slipped and said something about a water park the night before at dinner – so the whole morning we kept telling him that I hadn’t said water park at all, and that what I had actually said was “alligator farm”….he didn’t buy it at all! He was excited to go, and we had a great time lounging in the lazy river. Andrew and Ethan rode the water slides a couple times and I even went once! Which is unique for me because I don’t like water slides, especially not the fully enclosed ones. (*shudder*) We went to get ice cream after the park and then started the 4 hr drive back home.
It was a short trip, but we packed an amazing amount of fun into just those two days. Ethan had a pretty jam packed Spring Break with the trip with Scarlet earlier in the week, our two day foray into Gatlinburg, and then on Saturday he got to go fishing with my dad and caught 5 fish!
I have to say, I’m pretty proud of Scarlet for not freaking out about us taking Ethan 4 hours away for the first time ever – lol. I knew she’d probably be nervous about it and I promised to text/call her when we got there and when we got home, hoping it would help her feel a little better about it. But she never once acted like she was worried (even though I know she was!) and that really meant a lot to me too, knowing that I (we ) had her trust.
So all in all it was a FANTASTIC week! I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed getting to take a trip as a family… just one of those times when parenting is fun
- Spring – no. Break – yes. (ladonasmusicstudio.com)
- Spring Break… (enjoythejourney1995.wordpress.com)
- Spring Break (mizzinformation.com)