Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The National Lampoon's Tennessee Vacation

Sunday we arrived back from a trip that was lots of fun, but not without many Griswold elements! On the whole, however, it was a big success. The girls were fabulous sports, and we all had a wonderful time together as a family.

Here is Tamsie the weekend we were all sick, hanging out in a onesie because she made a mess of whatever outfit I had her in. I promise she was smiling right before I took this, but then she decided she didn't want to be still for a picture after all. Regardless, it's typical of a riled-up Tamsie face currently, so I'm leaving it in. :)

Meanwhile, Evie was all too eager to cheese for the camera. It's really hard to manage a picture of her these days when she's not making The Face! 

Crackers! One of their favorite toys is a cracker box that came with their grocery cart (easily amused, y'all), so they are kind of obsessed with actual crackers right now.

Evie models how to eat a cracker while wearing the bow she picks out EVERY TIME I let her pick out a bow. Apparently yellow is the new pink.

Tamsie out to eat before our trip. It is so terribly inconvenient to do dishes before you leave town, you know!
First of all, here are the reasons why we are now referring to this vacation as National Lampoon-worthy:
1) First we intended to go to South Carolina. It didn't work out, since we were all sick, so that entire leg of the trip was canceled.
2) When we arrived at our hotel in Chattanooga, the staff could not find our reservation, and everything within a 50-mile radius was sold out since it was graduation weekend at a huge university. After much effort on her part and a lot of panicking on ours, the receptionist miraculously found us a room at another hotel, which was luckily right around the corner -- so we weren't left sleeping on the sidewalk.
Friday night, once the hotel situation was straightened out, we met up with Mrs. DeeDee, Mr. Herbie, Alex and Noah for dinner at the restaurant where Alex works. Sadly, this is the only picture I was able to get (talk about BUSY -- keeping up with two 18-month olds, feeding them and feeding myself leaves little time for picture-taking!), but what a picture it is! Tamsie was crazy about Uncle Noah all weekend. She's always crazy about Uncle Noah, but this weekend she took it to a whole new level!
3) WE MISSED SEEING ALEX GRADUATE. This was the most unfortunate Griswold-ish thing of all, but it was just a total slip-up. Alex, being very generous, told us not to come until later on in the ceremony since he knew it would be hard to keep T and E entertained the whole time, and then the ceremony wound up ending way before he had anticipated. Alex had made brunch reservations for all of us at 2, and by 12 we didn't have anything scheduled to do, so we took the girls to the Creative Discovery Museum, where they ran around and had a ton of fun. (Once again, pictures are sorely lacking, since it was two of us trying to keep up with two of them in public -- and they are quite literally all over the place and trying to make a grand escape every chance they get!)
Since both were semi-stationary in this car at the museum, I tried to snap a few pictures. Evie's in the back (with the yellow bow, of course), and Tamsie's attempting to climb out from the front. Notice how wonkified their bows are -- they were playing very hard!

Now Chris is having to keep Evie from flopping out the side of the car. (Next time you see him you should compliment him on his lovely pink armband.) (It's the one the museum gave us -- he would never wear such a thing by choice!)

They stayed still about one second -- which is when I snapped this one! :) You can tell they're totally plotting their next act of mischief though!
Brunch was lots of fun, although there is no photographic evidence of it. Jennifer and Tyler were in town by then, so Chris and all his siblings were together again! :) Mr. Herbie and Mrs. DeeDee graciously treated us all to our meals, which were outstanding!
After lunch, Alex came to the van to say goodbye to the girls. Here he is with Evie. We're so, SO proud of the new UT Chattanooga alum!

If you've ever wondered why they call them the Smokey Mountains, here you go!
By the way, if you don't have kids and you ever happen to see a parent out in the rain with a small child who is smiling blissfully and staying dry under an umbrella or under a canopy in a stroller, I want you to stop for a moment and appreciate all the parent did to get everyone successfully to that point. It's not easy getting kids out and keeping them dry in the rain! However, I really can't complain. The rain provided nice white noise so the girls could fall asleep and stay asleep in the car, and it also gave them a chance to wear their cute little rain coats they never get to wear since I rarely get them out in the rain by choice! :)
4) After brunch, during the girls' typical post-lunch naptime, we headed to Nashville to stay a night in the Opryland Hotel. When we arrived, we headed to our room -- which was a conference-room type thing that didn't even have a bed -- totally not the suite we had requested! After a good bit of confusion and hijinks and crying from T and E (who were now separated from their snack food and milk until we had a room the bell man could deliver it to), the management finally found us just the type of room we had reserved, and it was fabulous and very much worth the effort it took to secure it.
In the original room, Evie found this stool and kept talking about petting it! Ha! I guess it was furry!

Tamsie knows a good thing when she sees it. Christie Cookies in Opryland is amazing and is always a highlight of our stays there!

The girls' favorite feature of Opryland is the fish. Tamsie would randomly look at us and say, "Come here, fishy fishy!" which meant "Please take me to see the fish now!"

Talking about the fishies together

I know it's hard to see, but part of this hillside was painted with the TDOT logo. Not really sure why, but you know TDOT is one of T's many nicknames, so I had to try to get it!
Even though the trip turned out a lot different than we were expecting going into it, it wound up being wonderful, and everything worked out just fine. Spending time with Chris and the girls and his family was glorious, even if a lot of work and planning went into it all!

Also, I realized Saturday that it had been exactly two years since I received the news that I was having twins. I don't know if you remember or even know this part of the story, but when I went to the doctor that day, I was dreadfully afraid I would be told I was miscarrying. I showed up at church the Sunday morning leading up to the week of the appointment after having cried all morning, so I felt like a huge hypocrite sitting through prayer request time and acting like everything was OK when I was so scared it wasn't. I wound up announcing to the class that I was expecting, but that I feared something was terribly wrong. Chris and I begged for their prayers for us and the baby -- because who knew there were two?! Over this past weekend, I went back and found this message I sent out to the girls in my Sunday School class as soon as I was able to think straight after getting back from the doctor's office:

I'm sure I'm leaving people out, so please feel free to pass this along to anyone I'm missing!! So here is the deal: I'm having TWINS!!!!!! I know, what in the world?!?!? We got to see their heartbeats today. Everything is fine... except they did find a subcutaneous hemorrhage(?) around one of the twins... which they said happens sometimes and is often (usually?) fine. But regardless, they said the whole thing is rather risky, and so they will need me to come in for an ultrasound and a check-up each week. (At least I get to see those babies each week as they grow!) So please do keep those prayers coming!! Of course I was wanting an all-clear, but the doctor did say that everything is fine now; she just wants to keep an eye on things for the next several weeks. But the good news is that those two tiny hearts are beating strong, and everything seems great so far, minus that! THANK YOU SOOOOOO much for all the prayers. I really don't know how I would make it without them during this crazy stressful time! I love all of you and can't wait to see you Sunday!!!

Reading this gives me chills! God answered all of those prayers and many more. Once again, Ephesians 3:20 and 21 come to mind. He has proven with these girls that He is fully able to do "far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." When I was afraid something was wrong, I was actually pregnant all the while with two healthy little twin girls! I am just so thankful beyond words. I know I say that a lot on here, but I will never forget the palpable fear I had going in to the doctor's office that day, nor the overflowing joy when the nurse found one heartbeat -- and then a second! Talk about a defining moment! :)

Well, the girls are in their room right now. They've woken up, and now they're calling me, so I'd better go see what they want to do now! Hope everyone's having a marvelous week so far!

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