Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Smoky Mountain Dreams - Our Trip to Gatlinburg

I told you I would post about our trip Monday but let’s be real.  We got home Sunday evening, unpacked, watched The Walking Dead and crashed.  I sat on the bed ready to cry because I wanted to go back so bad.  We had the BEST time, rain and all.  My parents booked us rooms (and pair for ours, thank you Mom and Dad) at the historic Gatlinburg Inn.  Walking in is like walking into a time capsule.  It’s so charming and full of character.  Clearly it’s been a while since the décor was updated but I absolutely loved it.  It’s the type of place where you’d expect to turn a corner and see a ghost.  It feels more like a bed and breakfast than a regular hotel.  It was homey and comfortable with REAL KEYS!  Who does that anymore?!  Obviously I can’t say enough about it and how much I loved it.
Fun Fact: the song "Rocky Top" was written in room 388 of THIS hotel, Vol fans.
Gatlinburg Inn, hotel,
We convoyed with Kaylen and Daniel on the way up and got there at about 11:30 Thursday night.  The next morning was perfect.  Cool and a little cloudy.  We walked to Breakfast at Pancake Pantry and then crammed in the car to drive to Cades Cove.  Cades Cove was beautiful as always and we saw 16 deer and a few turkey.  (Is the plural form of turkey still turkey?  Whatever.)  It started raining while we were there and didn’t stop for the next 24 hours.  That night we ate at The Peddler, a nice restaurant on the river.  Everyone at the table had steak and we split a chocolate brownie confection for dessert.
gatlinburg, cades cove, deer, smoky mountains
After dinner we loaded back up in the car and went to Pigeon Forge’s Hollywood Wax Museum.  Hilarity ensued:
That was just day one.  Moving on.  Saturday morning it was still misting so I bought a black beanie and looked like a small criminal.  Maybe a girl who shoplifts Essie nail polish, but not quite someone who robs banks.  We walked around town and shopped and sampled all the food.  It was perfection even if it was lightly drizzling.  We played the obligatory round of indoor putt-putt at the place that’s been there ever since I can remember.  After golfing (Dad won, followed by Kaylen and I in a tie, followed by Daniel then Chris in case you were wondering) it finally stopped raining and we went back to the room to freshen up.  
This is where the story takes a turn.  I took off my beanie in my parents room and my heart stopped when I realized I was missing an earring.  Missing a diamond stud earring that my parents got me for my 16th birthday that has not left the second hole in my ear since I got pierced at 17.  PANIC.  We searched the room, searched the hallway, searched mine and Chris’s room, searched the elevator and searched the hotel lobby.  Nothing.  We walked back down to the golf place slowly scanning the sidewalk the entire time.  Dad walked through the entire 18 hole putt-putt course and I roamed through a couple of stores I had walked into.  Nothing.  It took everything I had not to cry and didn’t until Chris pulled me up off my hands and knees from the sidewalk and just hugged me.  It’s killing right this second knowing MY diamond earring is somewhere on that parkway as we speak.
Ugh.  Moving on from that sad detour.  Like I said, it quit raining during our round of golf.  Next was the chair lift.  We hit it right around sunset and it was gorgeous up top. 
Gatlinburg, chair lift, smoky mountains
After the chairlift was Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner.  I had tilapia on top of spinach on top of mashed potatoes with a lobster butter sauce.  Just go ahead and kill me now.  After the sunset it got FRIGID in a hurry so Kaylen and I got coffee and we walked around for a little while longer before calling it quits.
The next morning it was gorgeous, because it naturally always is the day you leave.  We packed up and got ready to go, but not before Kaylen and I got a few last shots in the hotel.
the shining, creepy hotel, grady twins
I just couldn’t resist.
We ate our last breakfast (strawberry crepes for me) at Log Cabin and headed home.
Earring tragedy aside, it was a really great trip.  It’s my favorite place in the world and I’m so thankful I got to go and experience it with my nearest and dearest.  This Thanksgiving, that’s what I’m most thankful for.  A family that genuinely loves each other and likes doing things together.  
Gatlinburg, family, smoky mountains national park
Have a WONDERUL Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - Gatlinburg, Cofffee, and Mouthbreathers

one. We had a BLAST on our long weekend trip to Gatlinburg and can't wait to post about it tomorrow.  I could've sat and cried after getting home Sunday night because I already wanted to go back!  Two days just really isn't enough.

two.  I have got to hit the Christmas shopping hard and heavy now.  After all my talk about starting early I've waiting until the week of Thanksgiving.  This should be fun.

three. WALKING DEAD SPOILERS BELOW!  I knew the Governor wasn’t a changed man.  Chris almost fell for it.  He had just got out of his mouth “maybe the governor is turning over a new leaf” and then BAM he clobbers whats-his-face with a golf club and feeds him to walkers.  I want him DEAD.

four. I have this.

five. Did anyone see Catching Fire this weekend???  Kaylen and are making a date this week for it!!  So excited!!

six. This is unbelievably true.

seven.  Yall, I almost came home from our trip with a Thomas Kinkade canvas of Cinderella's castle. This one to be exact.  Almost.  But not quite.  I WANT that in my house. Where, I don't know.  I just know I must have it.

eight. I didn't watch the AMA's but I checked out the red carpet arrivals.  I have to say, I was digging Kesha's look.  First time I've ever seen her not looking like she just crawled out of a dumpster.  Kudos to her.

nine. I'm still doing my no caffeine thing on the weekdays but on weekends....

ten. Basically.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boys Behing the Blog Part 6

It's that time of the month again!  (I just heard that in my head.)  I mean it's time to link up with Steph and Mal for Boys Behind the Blog!

Boys Behind the Blog button

1. Who is your favorite band/musician?  Disturbed.
2. What was your first CD/tape?  Godsmack's Awake.
3. Who was your first concert?  Billy Ray Cyrus. [He hung his head when he answered this one.]
4. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?  Cranberry Sauce.
5. Finish the sentence: I am thankful for...  Football, wrestling, craft beer, video games, wife and family. [Not in that order...hopefully.]

boys behind the blog thanksgiving
Our frist Thanksgiving together after he was deployed for two in a row.
Yall, we leave for Gatlinburg after work TODAY.  I'm so terribly excited!  Fannie Farkle's, Bubba Gump Shrimp, The Peddler and Pancake Pantry are all calling my name!  See you next week for what should be an epic Why My Weekend was Awesome.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - Birthday Gifts, The Govenor and Lizards in Boots

one. Saturday while Chris was gone I got the bright idea to clean the shower and take one simultaneously.  After scrubbing two walls, I thought my heart would beat out of my chest and nearly passed out.  That's what I get for trying to kill two birds with one sponge.

two. I got my hair cut like Rachel's finally!  Don't you love when you find a hair dresser who does you right EVERY SINGLE TIME?

three.  I told you I had a pretty cool gift for Chris for his birthday.  The family and I got him a flag pole for the front yard with the US flag and the Marine flag under it.  Dad poured the concrete Tuesday and put the rest up while Chris was in the shower getting ready for his birthday dinner.  He was so surpirised!  Look at that smile:

four. I never thought I would but I find myself wanting some printed leggings.

five.  Everyone is posting super cute pictures of their Christmas decorations.  This will be the first time decorating the house for Christmas!  I've got to get on this when we get back from our trip.

six. At our church we're having an At The Movies series where they show clips from blockbusters and Pastor Chris pulls biblical truths from them.  This week the sermon was based on The Impossible.  Oh my stars.  Just the few scenes that we saw gripped an iron first around my soul and squeezed out all my tears.  Not even kidding.

seven. WALKING DEAD SPOILERS BELOWSooo it was the govenor show Sunday night.  Not digging it.  I don't care what he's been up to or anything about his personal growth to being a  better human being.  It's NOT going to make me sympathetic toward him and I still just want Rick to kill him.

eight.  TWO DAYS until Gatlinburg!

nine.  File this under random.

ten.  Watch this.  Could watch this on repeat for hours.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

My Favorite Things to Do in Gatlinburg

We have exactly SIX DAYS until we’re loaded up and headed to Gatlinburg for a long weekend.  I’ve blabbered about my favorite place in the world many a time before but please allow me to do it again.  Gatlinburg is very special for me.  My family used to make a trip there every winter when I was a kid.  It’s where Chris and I spent our first day as boyfriend/girlfriend on a church trip when I was fourteen.  It’s where we honeymooned and also where we spent our first anniversary.  I would choose Gatlinburg over the beach any day of the week.  Not only do I love it for its sentiment but there’s so much to do there it’s impossible to be bored.

If you find yourself looking a for a new weekend destination and you’re in the southeast, you might want to give Gatlinburg a try and while you’re in town there are a few things you simply MUST do (just because I said so):

 photo MyFavoriteThingstodoinGatlinburg_zpsaa9e213a.jpg

Ride the Chairlift
This is usually one of our first stops and it’s a Gatlinburg icon.  If you’re scared of heights (like my Chris) don’t fret too much.  You’re usually only about 8-10 feet off the ground during the ascent.  But even if you’re deathly afraid of being off the ground and suspended in air over a mountain side, the view from up top is breathtaking and worth the terror.
gatlinburg chairlift through the years, things to do in gatlinburg
2008 on our one year anniversary trip/2012 on a family trip
Eat at the Log Cabin
Another Gatlinburg staple.  Every time I smell ham it makes me want some Log Cabin breakfast.

Ride the Tram
Remember I said if you’re scared of heights you’ll be fine on the chairlift?  Not the same story here.  The tram takes you across 2 miles of mountain up to the ski resort Ober Gatlinburg.  Chris has never had the opportunity to do this but it probably wouldn’t be pretty.

Go on a Ghost Tour
We’ve been on two and enjoyed both.  The first tour guide we had wore a cape and carried a cane and WALKED INTO TRAFFIC, STOPPING ONCOMING CARS WITH HIS CANE.  Both guided us around Gatlinburg at night showing us places that were supposedly haunted and told us the history behind them.   If you like a good ghost story you should definitely check one of these out.

Drive through Cades Cove
Cades Cove is an 11 mile loop that has some of the most beautiful mountain scenery you can imagine.  We’ve been there and have seen dozens and dozens of deer and then again we’ve been and only seen one flippin turkey.  If you’re really lucky you’ll see a bear.  Even if you don’t see a thing it makes a pretty backdrop for pictures:
Cades Cove family pictures, things to do in gatlinburg
See?  Pretty picture.
 Visit the Aquarium
My favorite thing!  It doesn’t get old for me.  This is the prettiest aquarium I’ve been to and the 340 ft. long under water tunnel in itself is worth the trip.

Get fudge
I mean obviously.

Above everything else I just mentioned, my most favorite thing to do is walk down the strip just taking in the air and enjoying just being there.  And bonus points for all of my nearest and dearest being there.

Speaking of nearest and dearest, Wednesday was Chris's birthday and tonight we're taking him to eat at a restaurant of his choosing.  It just so happens he has incredible taste and chose Firebirds.  Please excuse me while I stuff myself with wood grilled salmon until I burst.  Even more exciting than that?  The navy top and red pointy toe flats I bought to wear.  Even more exciting than THAT??  The gift I got him that I hope he likes.

Have an awesome weekend!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - PB&J, Obamacare and Dinosaur Fan

Hey kiddies!  It's that day of the week again so give me ten random things that are on your mind and link up for Ten on Tuesday!
Ten on Tuesday link up

one. After biting my nails all Saturday, Bama beat LSU 38-17.  Sorry, tigers.  In 60 minutes of play time we asserted our dominance (in the second half anyway) and found a new internet sensation in the LSU dinosaur fan:

LSU Dinosaur Fan, LSU vs. Bama
I won't even tell you what my dad said when we saw this live.
two. Someone very special has a birthday tomorrow.  Someone very special also had a minor panic attack two weeks ago when he realized he was turning 27 tomorrow.

three. I have been on a big peanut butter and jelly sandwich kick.  I've had a lean cuisine in the freezer at work since Wednesday that's gone untouched.  What am I thankful for this November?  A place of work that keeps the kitchen stocked with peanut butter, jelly, and bread.

four. I have a hair appointment Thursday.  I can't decide if I'm actually going to ask her CUT cut it or just trim it.  I've been pinning hairstyles I like on the shorter side (well for me anyway) but gosh I am such a wuss.

five. Chris found this for me.  It's too perfect.  For me AND Gus:
Fat cat, Diet cat

six. Ladies, just because a male compliments you doesn't mean he's trying to sleep with you.  Say thanks and move on.

seven. Yesterday was Veterans Day and to celebrate Chris took off and met me at work and we walked to lunch at The Bright Star, a nice local restaurant.  We NEVER get to have lunch together so it was really nice to see him in the middle of the day.

eight. I've been keeping up with the news about the Obamacare disaster.  They said fewer than 50,000 people have signed up.  That means OVER twice as many people were in Bryant Denny Stadium Saturday than have signed up for Obamacare in the entire country.
Obama is not amused, Obamacare distaster, obama is not happy

nine. One week and two days until Gatlinburg!

ten.  Been rocking it for years now.
Pale vs. Porcelain, ecard

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

From the Halls of Montezuma

I mentioned before that I work with a lot of older men.  There’s one man, Mr. Clarence, that is a former Marine like Chris.  The ringtone on his cellphone is the Marine Corps Hymn.  It’s just a dinky, little ringtone but every time I hear it ring in the office I smile.  I guess if you’ve never been a Marine or loved a Marine in one way or another, that little tune doesn’t mean much.  But It means the world to me.  Every time I hear it, I see the span of five years when the Marine Corps was our life:

I see that first glimpse I got of Chris at Parris Island and how he looked so different from the kid I knew in high school.
I see all the care packages stuffed with slim jims, cards, and confetti (yes, confetti) that I sent him while he was deployed.
I see the buses pulling up to headquarters the night he came home.
I see the honor guard at our wedding.
I see us sitting on the couch filling out his will and him packing his bags.
I see him standing on the street in the dark watching me drive away the night he deployed again.
I see me curled up in ball crying, sleeping with his t-shirt that same night.
I see all the ceremony and tradition at the Marine Corps Ball.
I see me opening my Christmas gifts with him on the satellite phone half a world away on the second Christmas he missed.
I see every single one of the amazing friends we had at Lejeune.
I see Chris throwing his boots over the wires and us loading all of our earthly processions into a Uhaul headed home for good.

Marine Corps Birthday, Marine Collage, Veterans day
It was by no stretch an easy five years.  But I wouldn't trade it for the world.  If I were any more proud of him my heart may explode.
Happy 238th birthday, Marines and Happy Veterans Day.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Don't Ever Take This Away From Me

Friday night Chris and I went out to eat with my parents, Kaylen and her longtime boyfriend, Daniel.  Chris had gotten the urge to try somewhere new so we went a couple of towns over to Dixie Fish Company.  It was a really pretty place that's open and bright and looks like it should be sitting on a bay somewhere overlooking the water.  We were stuck placed at a picnic style table right beside the live band so after the sweet cornbread was passed around it got kind of hard to hear.  (OK, we had to yell at each other the rest of the night.)  The food was pretty good and everybody sampled everybody else's.  I got the appetizer crab dip for my meal so there was plenty for me to share.

Better than the food was the company.  I have an immediate family that actually enjoys spending time together.  I sat between Chris and Daddy and their football talk.  We were jokingly teasing Mother for ordering a glass of wine.  You have to understand, we're all what I like to call "recovering southern baptists" and southern baptists do. not. drink.  Daniel (all 6 foot, 260 pounds of him) was trying to eat whatever was on Kaylen's plate.  We were strategizing where we would eat when we take our trip to Gatlinburg in a couple of weeks.  Chris tried a new beer and explained to everyone that it's a good thing that it's foggy.  Kaylen and I were swaying and bobbing our heads awkwardly to the jazzy music.  Dad grabbed another spoonful of my entree and said "I don't know why I only eat crab dip when I'm with you" and smiled at me.

I looked around the table and tried really hard not to let my eyes well up because I'm so completely happy.  Then I think to myself surely it can't always be this way.  No one is this lucky.  There's got to be something around the corner to smash this happy bubble I'm in because things just can't be this good for one person.  Then I just stop and pray silently, please God, let things be this way always.  Don't ever take this away from me.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - The Last Minute, Christmas Shopping and Dodging Your Friends

one.  I can't lie.  I went to sleep last night at 8 o'clock (that makes me sound incredibly old) WITHOUT doing my ten.  Soooo here I am at 6:30 doing it. 

two. Did you see pictures of Kelly Clarkson's dress??  Swoon.  If I could have another wedding THAT would be what mine would look like.  Or something like it.

three. The sister and I went on an impromptu shopping trip yesterday and stocked up on sweaters for our trip.  It's only a three day trip but whatever.  I forgot how much I LOVE sweaters!  So comfy!

four. WALKING DEAD SPOILERS BELOW! So Rick went boss and banished Carol.  Whatcha think?  I'm leaning toward Rick did the right thing.  If he told the group what Carol did A) Tyrese would kill Carol and B) It would split the group in half.

five. PERFECT.  "Born to Shop. Forced to Cook."  [On a side note, why in the hades are some of my pictures uploading dark?  Anyone else using blogger have this problem?]
six. Speaking of shopping, guess who's already started on Christmas shopping.  THIS GIRL.  I'm so proud.  Obviously.

seven.  What is the opposite of writer's block?  Writer's vomit or something?  I think I've had it this week.

eight. So Chris Brown slugged a guy and is in trouble again.  Anyone shocked?  Anyone?  This guy is just a street thug.

nine. 16 days until Gatlinburg!!

ten. This boy cracks me up.  We've all been there:

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Monday, November 4, 2013

We Can Do It!

Did everyone have a fun Halloween?? I’ve been loving looking at everyone’s pictures.

Wednesday night I decided it would be a good idea to start putting my costume together. I had it all in my closet.  That's the looks I was going for this year: cheap easy.  I was up and at my parent’s house at 6:15 Thursday morning for Kaylen to do my hair and make-up. After our trial run the night before I decided it was just too flippin difficult to do a styled ponytail and thick eyeliner. God bless Kaylen.

I think she did a good job styling Rosie the Riveter!
Rosie the Riveter costume, Halloween, we can do it, easy costumes

It was my first Halloween at the new job and I wasn’t disappointed!  We had a witch, a black cat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, a minion and my favorite, Uncle Fester complete with light bulb in the mouth. What was cute was that the owners dressed up as a king and queen.  In the kitchen we had Halloween cookies and cupcakes and someone left a big bowl of candy on my desk for everyone.  I love it when people get in the spirit!
We didn’t have one single trick-or-treater.  But I didn’t really expect to.  It was supposed to be raining all night and most of the churches in town did their trunk-or-treats or fall festivals or whatever the night before.
It’s such a shame because I thought our yard looked nice and spooky with our floating ghosts:
halloween yard decorations, ghosts
I threw away our pumpkin Friday morning (the poor thing was collapsing in on itself) and put away my sparkly cat and the rest of my décor at work.  Le sigh.
Oh well.  On to the next.  I’m going to make a Target/Michaels trip soon to get some more Thanksgiving-y stuff.  There’s always something to decorate for!

I said that I had the essentials for my costume in my closet (the bandana came from Wal-Mart).  I wasn't lying!  The Halloween Costume That's Already in Your Closet.

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