Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gatlinburg, TN

How do I even begin to describe our time in Gatlinburg, TN??? I won't say too much, because I think that all of the memories are hidden very deep in my heart and no words can describe richly enough all the wonderful sights, experiences and-- most importantly-- family moments we were able to have. From the time we walked into our cabin, till the final day we stepped out to come back home, there was peace and joy and laughter and life together with my people :)... ALL my people!

Below are some pictures that just highlight some of what we did. No pictures of the Dollywood Water Park day-- we were having too much fun "ridin' the waves". And, fortunately my sister has the pictures of the "sibs' night out" in which I was coerced into karaoke. If she ever sends them my way I MIGHT post a few just so you can have a chance to laugh in your day-- good thing a picture doesn't actually offer sound!!!

Believe it or not (ha! Too much Ripley's stuff from last week!), we had our own resident bear who came to our cabin 3 times looking for food. Sadly, we think that some one before us had fed that bear-- as well as the raccoons who I'm pretty sure lived under the porch!-- and so now he has a place he tries to go. This is so bad for the bears and of course, dangerous for humans. My mom took the boys to the black bear talk at the National Park on Friday and they came home with story after story of people who make poor choices concerning these mighty creatures. Something that I knew, but was wonderful to have my boys learn this from an "official park ranger" was that any time a bear makes human contact, the bear must be put down-- even if no harm came of the interaction (of course, this is assuming that the right people find out about it and the bear can be tracked). At the point of human interaction, the bear will now continually seek human contact for food and becomes more aggressive over time. In fact, my husband just shared with me tonight that a father and his nine year old son were mauled by a bear yesterday in the National Park. I don't know the details. I will try to find the story and post a link. Very tragic.

Let's see... I said I would keep this short. HA!!! I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking :D!!

Aaahhh.... it's good to be in the Smokies!
Tony and I at the top of Mt. LeConte-- our 11 mile hike day

Kevin and Emi Jo (my younger sibs) too close to the edge!

At the top of Ober Gatlinburg-- we just conquered the alpine slide

Our destination on Friday-- Mt. LeConte-- 2800 ft. up in 5 miles

My dad and Kev one mile into hike

Are we going THROUGH a rock?? No, just under Arch Rock

My boys-- goin' to the waterfall you can walk behind

Nana and Papa are SO COOL!!

at Ripley's Aquarium-- they Love the military!! SUPER discounts!!

DAD!! GET out of our PICTURE!

Sam turned 5 in Gatlinburg, TN

One of our cabin raccoons. They think they are cats.

See what I mean?

Mom, take the picture already! We have some hiking to do!

I dunno... Lewis and Clark maybe?

Do you really wonder how I got pulled into karaoke??

Oh, and if you ever get a chance to go to Gatlinburg, you HAVE to spend some time at the Arts and Crafts Community. I found much artwork to admire-- Jim Gray and Nancie Bush in particular, beautiful pottery, blown glass, copper art, hand-sewn moccasins and a teddy bear made from a vintage chenille beadspread and buttons which made me think of babies in Ethiopia... which made me cry :). I can't wait... but I will :)

In other Team Dragovich news... we started school on Monday. Nothin' like coming home from vacation and diving right in!! We are in our "new" homeschool room and I am loving it!! I am just missing my desk (on order), curtains (on thought) and some bird paintings from Gatlinburg (on savings!). And the funnest thing that happened to us since we got home is getting to see the Coens!!!!! Amazingly, one of the families who went through the same adoption agency we are using and have had their little boy, Silas, home for 3 months now, just moved to Ft. Bragg last month!!!! It was such fun meeting Jill and being able to laugh and say, "Now we don't have to just be cyber friends! :D" That is too cool. They live 10 minutes from our house.

God is GOOD and His mercies endureth FOREVER!!!!
Grace and Peace,


jill coen said...

SO wonderful to spend time with ya'll today! Can't wait to do it again...call me!!

the Steiger's said...

we started school on Monday as well. FUN FUN FUN.

Apryl said...

Okay--I'm utterly disgusted that you and Jill live 10 minutes from each other. I'll try (really hard) to be happy for you two, but honestly, I'm just incredibly jealous. We love them! And you are fast becoming one of my dearest helps :) Actually, you've already become that. I thought I was starting school early (MONDAY, ack!!). Glad that there are some other naxi's out there too (Lenka).

I'm so happy that you had a wonderful trip to Tennessee. Love the pictures!
much love,

Jori said...

Great family fun!! What a trip and you blogged about it ~ You rock girl!!! Well, now that school is back in ... will we "see" you?
I'm with Apryl on the Jill bit ... it could be wrong for you 2 to be creating jealousy!! :):) Oh all right I am happy for you but wish SOMEONE lived in Idaho. Great job starting school (I loved the pictures you posted earlier of the new school room!)