Project 365 – Days 160 – 172 (I think!)

The Linker Family Vacation

A.K.A.

The Linkers Go to Tennessee

A.K.A.

The Linkers Pretend to be Outdoorsy People

A.K.A.

The Revival of the Point and Shoot

So, as you can see from this title, this post has a theme! Last week we were very blessed to have my parents invite us to join them for a vacation in Townsend, TN. That was a super huge blessing because we cannot afford a vacation right now! So, in the 13 pictures I have allotted to me by Project 365, I will give you some highlights of our trip!

I’m actually going to start the pictures on Tuesday. I took some before then, of course, but this is when it gets good!

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Tuesday evening, we drove the loop around Cades Cove. This is my kids sitting in the doorway of the historic Methodist Church that’s there. P1019755

This picture is to symbolize that on this trip, Ava grew up. I know that sounds crazy, and it’s hard to pin point how, but she is definitely an older preschooler now in her mannerisms. Two months ago, she would not make eye contact with the camera for anything. On this trip, every time she’d see my camera she’d strike a pose and smile. Izzy grew up, too. He started putting words together to form two word sentences. What happened to my babies???

Those first two pictures are actually the only pictures I took with my DSLR; because I’m actually sort of getting paid to take wedding pictures now, and I do not have a back-up camera, I decided not to risk dropping the DSLR in a river or banging it against a rock or…you get the idea! So we found my old Kodak Easy Share point and shoot, and all of the following pictures were taken with that! I definitely was missing my “real” camera, but it was a nice vacation to not have to lug it around, and these pics are not bad at all for 4 mega pixels!

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On Wednesday, we all hiked to Laurel Falls, the most popular waterfall in the Great Smokies. As you can see, the trail is paved, so we attempted to take the stroller… however, if you plan a trip there, if you are at all a baby wearer, I recommend doing that instead; the pavement is not smooth and pushing the stroller uphill in rough terrain is no fun. I actually ended up wearing Izzy in the wrap on the way back to keep him happy.

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Here we are at the falls! Obviously, I did not take this picture. I wish I had one that shows more of the falls, since they are a lot more impressive than this picture lets on! Izzy loved the water! Getting him away from there was quite a challenge.

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On the way back, I managed to convince my parents to take a kissing picture in front of the vista. Yeah, that pretty much rocks.

OK, on Thursday, we left Izzy with my parents and took Ava to something that we had been talking up with her for over a week: Tuckaleechee Caverns. So that she wouldn’t be scared of going underground, we talked a lot to her about it beforehand. Therefore, she would randomly ask questions like, “Are there bathrooms in the cave?” “Will we have naptime in the cave?” “How many sleepovers are we going to have in the cave?” This is why you don’t tell Ava she is going to do something unless you are absolutely, 300% sure that she is going to do it!

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She did great in the Caverns, even when they turned all the lights out to show how dark it really was!

Later on that day, we picked up Izzy and headed to the river for a picnic and wading.

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Now, as much as we love the outdoors, the fact that we live where we do and have limited funds like we do has kept us from doing much of this sort of thing since the kids were born. So I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly they acclimated to this kind of activity!

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I mean, you would never even know that Izzy’s never gone outside without a shirt his whole life!

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Once we hit the water, Izzy had one mission only: to throw as many rocks as he could. And there certainly was not a shortage of rocks!

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Ava was more eclectic in her river activities!

Friday, as I mentioned before, was our 5 year anniversary! So our parents kept the kids all day, and we had the whole day to ourself. So the first half of the day, we attempted the outdoorsy again and hiked to Abrams Falls.

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Now THAT’S a waterfall! It was an awesome hike: 5 miles roundtrip with up and downhills in both directions. I had forgotten how much I LOVE hiking! Living in Florida has a lot of perks, but mountain hiking is not one of them!

That evening, my hubby took me to Knoxville where we had a sunset/dinner riverboat ride on a paddleboat down the Tennessee River. It was a lot of fun, and we discovered we really like Knoxville!

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For this trip, I had purchased a few things for the kids I wouldn’t normally buy for them to play with in the car and at rest areas. I figured a structured car ride would be a happy car ride, and I think I was right! On our drive back on Sunday, we had a water gun fight next to a gas station:

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(He had a little trouble with the trigger!)

So that’s sort of our vacation in a nut shell. Sort of!

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