Vacation Part 1; The Mother Lode

Holy moly, that vacation I would definitely consider a mother lode. There was so much to do we honestly didn’t get to do all we wanted but the days were full. It was tough explaining to the kids the difference between adult pace and their pace. Between the three adults we each have some physical ailment that tends to slow us down. The most severe being the kids’ dad having a staph infection in his leg. So, literally, we were paced and required some down time. The downtime however didn’t keep us from having a good time and enjoying good company.

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We started with a day of rest after travel, three planes and 12+ hours and running on a little more than an hour of sleep (for me and the hubby, Yay packing last minute ><) We managed to get Christmas shopping, Christmas projects and a few meet ups with friends done all before heading out of town again for the Christmas weekend.  Kids wanted to do a ‘project’ as it has been our holiday tradition. Last year we made cinnamon dough ornaments and painted them for family. This year they wanted to make snow globes.

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We headed out to one of our favorite craft stores to scope out supplies for Mason Jar DIY snow globes, luckily found everything we needed and per usual spent a little more than we intended but it was worth it in the end with the fun that was had. The older two are still learning what the Christmas season is all about. At least why we as a family celebrate it. They are still young and still tend to worry “What about me?” and “But, I want…” While working on the globes we made a point to create the ‘gifts’ first. Then Bella put together Eli’s while he was out of the room then Bella left the room while Eli put hers together. And on a side note, as littles working on such a project we used E6000 glue instead of a hot glue gun to keep our figures in place and at the seams (make sure it’s a well ventilated area).

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After all the fun of crafts and visiting with a couple old friends we headed out for Sevierville, TN. We even brought along a little Charley Brown Christmas Tree to help keep the holiday mood. On Christmas day we celebrated (after the opening of gifts) by heading out and taking advantage of the Ripley’s Aquarium. We had plenty planned for the weekend, a whole list of things to do but only managed to get through a small portion. The aquarium was the biggest highlight. All three kiddos had a blast. From admiring the beauty of the variety of creatures to see, watching divers feed the fish and stingrays, petting stingrays and horseshoe crabs, and checking out the adorable penguin exhibit. Eli has been on a kick about learning more on sharks and he was pretty impressed by the tunnel that took us underneath the shark aquarium and getting to see ‘a real live shark’. Like most boys he has been very interested in dinosaurs and being able to see and touch the horse shoe crabs and knowing that it’s a creature that has been around since before dinosaurs… the smiles kept coming making the adventure very much worth it.

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The next big attraction we got to take advantage of was the indoor waterpark located in our resort. While the restaurant wasn’t all that grand the other available amenities were pretty awesome. I was able to introduce the kiddos to one of my all-time favorite experiences, the wave pool. Seriously, I could spend all day in a wave pool and forget the rest of the park (except maybe a lazy river). The park had one attraction that let the kids simulate body surfing. And while it took longer to sign the release form and wait in line than it did for the experience, it turned out to be well worth the time spent to get there.




Then came time to head back to middle Tennessee and wind down before our trip to Washington. I will mention that for all the plane and car rides and dreading the travel with a six-month old who’s travel experience never lasted more than a half hour to pick up ‘Daddy’ and home, our little Sugarbutt did amazing. He slept through all of the turbulence and one rough landing. When he was awake he was batting his long blonde lashes at the flight attendants or finding the nearest woman to flirt with or peeking through seats to see what the persons around us had going on. The only times we really had a fussy little one was near the end of our last flights and towards the end when he was tired of being in his car seat. There was a little fussing when we’d get off a plane and get to our car, I believe it was more that he knew he was in a moving vehicle without a seat and didn’t think he needed one in the car. But it never lasted long.

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During our time in Tennessee we also discovered Plum Organics puree pouches. Our God Daughter often has the puree pouches, so they were not a big surprise to us. We did happen to catch them on sale and decided to try a couple to see how our little man would handle it with his new found love of ‘real food’. They were a hit! I loved that they were organic and had no extra sugars added and were certified organic not just a label slapped on. Oliver loved that he could feed himself (at least he thought so). We both loved that it was less mess while traveling than baby food containers. Realizing we found a hit we went back to take advantage of the sale to bring home with us. (Prices in Juneau aren’t always parent friendly) You can imagine how excited I was to find that a variety pack of 18 of these pouches were available for subscription on Amazon. The price per pouch locally vs. Amazon price averaged just over 30 cents cheaper. Not huge savings now, but with free shipping and the big picture of the long run, totally worth it.




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Back track back to the vacation… breathe… My absolute favorite part of the trip was seeing how much my three babies came together. How much love they shared for each other. When Bell read to Oliver. When Eli wanted to hold and help Oliver bounce. The teamwork they put forth to help clean up when need be (not always the case, but when it happens embrace it!). Some of the best times were the down times and simply watching. I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. Its moments like these that take the fear out of the thought to move. Knowing being closer would benefit them all.

Leaving is always the hardest during these visits. I always cry myself back to the airport. Its these moments that put a lot of worries of life in perspective and inspire to make each day count.

All my love,

Amanda