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First Family Vacation

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our first vacation as a family. Though I'm pretty late with the write up, I figure late is better than never. Besides, my friend recently lovingly told me that she was tired of looking at the umbrella.

For a couple of reasons, we ended up only taking a two day trip (well, we drove home the third day). We went to Pigeon Forge, TN, because the boys had never been to Dollywood, and they love amusement parks. So we set out the Wednesday of their spring break probably after 10:30. We stopped at a neat little restaurant in Hendersonville, NC called Harry & Piggy's. It's one of those mom and pop restaurants that has memorabilia literally everywhere. Nothing is better to kids.

As you can see, they even had memorabilia outside the restaurant. And rides inside (well, one ride).

We got to Dollywood a little after 3 p.m. Just a little tip, if you buy a day's ticket to Dollywood and don't enter the park until 3 p.m., you get to come back the entire next day. So, ultimately, you get a day and a half. Kenn and Josh took off ahead of Caleb and me because the first two rides we would hit, Caleb couldn't ride. So we caught up with each other after Josh & Kenn had riden the Thunderhead and Timber Tower. Caleb got to play on a little playground while we waited for the big boys to get off the Mystery Mine roller coaster.

After the boys pulled their body weight up a big pole (Lumberjack Lifts), we all finally rode something together. River Battle is a water attraction where you ride on a boat. Each passenger has a water gun of sorts to shoot at bystanders. Catch is, they also have water guns, and theirs reach farther. Also, it is a law of human nature that attacking perfect strangers with copious amounts of water is delightful and irresistible. We came off the ride soaked. Luckily, Dollywood had a family sized dryer closet that you could use for $3. It was like being surrounded with hair dryers, and it was a cool day, so the heat was quite welcome.

Kenn took the boys on the roller coaster that Caleb could actually ride (well, that wasn't a kiddie coaster). It was 6 or a little after at this point, so we headed to exit the park because we had something other plans for the evening. On the way, we stopped to watch an employee make some pottery. She was really sweet to the boys, and they walked away with a lump of clay each other. Josh made a candle holder out of his.

We grabbed a quick dinner and headed down the main strip to see Terry Evanswood, a magician, perform. He has his own theater, and for my magician husband, it was like paradise to see posters of Houdini, Blackstone, Thurston, & Kellar. The show was wonderful, and there wasn't anything I felt was inappropriate for the boys. You could take pictures during the show, and later Evanswood sat down front for everyone to go take a picture with him.

After the great show (seriously, I recommend it), we finally checked into the hotel. It was after 11 by this point, and I knew there was a Krispy Kreme right down the road. I thought the boys would be delighted with doughnuts after 11. Alas, they were closed, so we just got some snacks at a gas station, which actually had doughnuts. Even then, Josh was really excited. He said, "We went to Dollywood, saw a magic show, and now we're eating doughnuts at 11 at night!" Later, he said it was one of the best days of his life.

We went back to the hotel and slept on the HARDEST beds ever. Sincerely, I have never felt a harder mattress. Kenn and I woke up to this sweet sight though.

Even though Dollywood didn't open until 10, we ate breakfast and were in the park by 9:45. We went to see Imagine, a special show running during their Festival of Nations, which was like Cirque du Soleil. After that, we basically rode everything in the park that we wanted to ride. We even saw another little show, and both Josh & Caleb were in it!

We stayed until closing, eating lunch in the park. We rested for a bit at the hotel then ate dinner at Wendy's. Everyone was tired, so we didn't have a really late night. Next morning, we packed up, ate our free continental breakfast, checked out, and headed home.

Of course, this was the weather on the way home. The entire way home.