Dollywood & Pigeon Forge 2014

10/16/2014

Every fall Jason plays a series of concerts at Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge with Guy Penrod. Everyone brings their families and we have a big time exploring the amusement park, watching concerts, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and eating lots of yummy food. If you know anything about my experience of pregnancy so far you know I was most excited about the food! Ali was most excited about the rides and the concerts. She’s a huge fan of her Daddy and of Guy. We went to one of the three concerts each of the three days and spent the rest of the time playing, eating and sleeping. Ali took a nap in the van each afternoon (praise the Lord!) and we even snuck in a little time to swim in the hotel pool one evening. One of the biggest highlights for me was getting to meet up with my foster mama friend Nicole who lives in nearby Knoxville. We were able to get some extra tickets for her and her girls for the park one day. Her youngest is the same age as Ali. The girls hit it off and danced together through a concert (Guy even came off stage to talk to them during the concert, which Ali is still talking about!) and rode all of the kiddie rides together. I can’t show photos of her face or share her name but I did get lots of photos of them together. Ali’s favorite ride was the little roller coaster that she called “the pretend train.” As always it was a wonderful time and I came home completely exhausted.

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Visit to Erie, PA

09/12/2013

We took Ali up to Erie to visit the place we grew up, met, fell in love, got married and started our lives as a couple. We had the special opportunity to introduce her to her great-grandmother who she is named after. We were also blessed to spend time with other family and friends that we rarely get to see. My mom traveled up and back with us but stayed with her sister’s family for the weekend.

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The 9 hour drive was 11 hrs one way and 12 hrs the other way with a potty training toddler sick with a cold, road construction and traffic jams. But, all-in-all, she’s a great traveler. We got bored a few times.

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Jason’s and my first apartment was the second story of this house. It was so drafty the first winter (our last winter in PA!) that we almost froze to death.

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I love that we could see Lake Erie from so many places as we were driving around.

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The house I grew up in from age 9 (when we moved to Erie) until I got married at 18. Too many memories to list them all here but lots of pictures before school dances, Jason picking me up for dates, our first kiss, him asking my dad for permission to marry me, the garage sale before we moved where we sold off all our snow shovels, boots and salt bags.

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Asbury Woods Nature Center

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I used to volunteer at this nature center on Saturday mornings taking care of the animals. It’s changed so much it was hardly recognizable–in a good way.

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I have so many wonderful memories in these woods, exploring and biking with my best friend Michele when we were kids. It was special to walk through the trails with my family this time. These woods are one of my top two places I miss in Erie. I wish we could have hiked all the way to Buttermilk Falls but it didn’t work out this time.

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The Grandfather Tree. Red Oak est. 150 years old.

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Honey stick! My elementary school was right across the street so we took field trips to this nature center often and always bought a $0.25 honey stick on the way out.

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Ali with her cousin Aiden at Cheddars.

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Connie’s Ice Cream – we all got their turtle ice cream – best turtle ice cream in the world, I say.

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One of my best friends from high school, Chrissy, prepared an amazing picnic lunch for us to eat at the beach (with Wegmans food and Art’s cookies!) This is Ali with Kaitlyn.

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Another one of my best friends from high school, Sarah

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This beach is the number one place I miss in Erie. So many memories here with family, friends, Jason…playing in the sand, sun tanning, picnics and birthday parties, gorgeous sunsets.

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The water was too cold for our little Nashville girl’s feet

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Approximately where Jason asked me to marry him and I said yes…11 years ago!

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I’m so thankful that I got to see these women and watch our daughters play together on the same beach we spent so much time at when we were kids. Sarah and Jessica, me and Ali, Chrissy and Kaitlyn.

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Froyo with these two, who refused to pose for my photo… Dave and Emily!

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We drove past the house were Jason lived as a little boy on Poplar Street.

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Look a dirt road! We also drove past the house were Jason lived in middle school and high school our in Wattsburg but couldn’t get a good look at it through the brush.

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