Last Thursday night at 6 o’clock there was an Alyssa-shaped hole in the door at work. I was unbelievably anxious to get home, change into a tee, throw my straightener in the suitcase, pat the kitties on the head, and head north. Chris and I rode with Mom and Dad and Kaylen and Daniel caravanned behind us. I slept a couple of hours and we arrived in Gatlinburg a little after midnight local time. We tried out a new hotel this year. It wasn’t The Gatlinburg Inn but we really liked it. It still had the personality and space of an older hotel.
-The weather was pretty magical. I had been watching the forecast VERY closely and it said we were due for rain Friday evening followed by snow Saturday. Friday morning I was up and at ‘em ready to hit the strip and take full advantage of the pretty weather while it lasted. And pretty it was. The leaves were turning and the mountains were some of the most colorful I’d ever seen. While it was sunny it was just cool enough to warrant long sleeves and not much else. We did our usual chair lift ride and got a picture in our signature pose.
-We saw actual snow. It had started to rain Friday night and when we woke up the pretty snow was falling heavily. We’ve been going to Gatlinburg since I was a baby and we’ve never been lucky enough to see snow in the city. It was gorgeous! The mountains were painted white and it gave a whole new feeling to the parkway. But believe me, it was COLD. We knew it might snow but I still didn’t bring great layers. I wore jeans, socks, rain boots, gloves, a long sleeve shirt, a coat and for part of the time a rain poncho. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that cold. Chris was worried the whole time we walked that morning that I was going to slip and fall so he clucked over me and held on tight. Can’t blame him though. I’m clumsy enough as it is and I don’t have a great track record with snow and ice.
-We got Cooper more souvenirs than we got ourselves. I’ve told you before Gatlinburg is where Chris and I got together over twelve years ago and it’s where we honeymooned. So naturally we had to get CT a super cute/cheesy onesie. It says “All Because 2 People Fell in Love in Gatlinburg”. Collective awwww! He also got a generic Gatlinburg, TN heather gray sweater. Chris said we’ve really come full circle with this little city!
-I did a LOT better with all the walking than I thought I would being 30 weeks pregnant and all. Don’t get me wrong: I was dead tired at the end of each day and had to stop and rest sometimes. I think my back is slightly mad at me this week too. But I hung in there! I sure as heck didn’t want to miss anything. I was stressing myself out unnecessarily Friday morning. I was so worried about the impending rain and everything being perfect because I didn’t want ANYTHING to spoil a MOMENT of the trip. Chris and I were walking by ourselves and I nearly started to cry saying this is our LAST trip to Gatlinburg like this. Without a baby. Without having to worry about feeding times, and strollers, and diapers, and nap times. Chris, as always, calmed me down. He said, “You’re looking at it the wrong way. You know every time we pass a stroller we look in and ooh and ahh at the cute baby inside. Next year that will be US. That will be OUR baby that everyone is looking at and saying ‘look how cute he is’ and you will LOVE it.” He always knows exactly what to say to make me feel better.
We all had a blast together as usual. It's time like this with my family, walking down the strip, playing putt-putt, or just hanging out in the hotel room, that I remember just how much my cup overflows. Without a doubt another awesome [mini] vacation in the books. And here’s to next time with an addition to our little party!