Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fall Trip to the Mountains!

Every fall for as long as I can remember, I have taken a trip to the mountains. I have been visiting Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN with my parents since I was a baby. The tradition continued with Andy & I. We have taken oodles of trips up there! We've gone alone, with my parents, with my parents & grandparents and with Andy's brother. We've gone fall when we look at leaves, admire the pumpkin displays and enjoy the crisp mountain air. We've gone in the summer when we camp all week, swim at the pool and wade in the creek. We've gone in the spring to see the flowers in bloom and enjoy the moutain sunshine. We've gone in the winter to play in the snow, celebrate Valentine's day and look at Christmas lights. We've stayed in cheap hotels, expensive hotels downtown, beautiful cabins and several awesome campgrounds. It takes us about 3 & 1/2 -4 hours to get there and we couldn't love it anymore than we do!!

We have our favorite places to eat, favorite places to shop and some things we "must do" while there. One thing is our traditional ride up to the peak on the chair lift. Sometimes we ride the one from downtown Gatlinburg and other times we ride the one up at the ski lodge. This time we chose the one from downtown!

This trip was a spur of the moment trip. I had been bugging A
ndy about going for weeks and with our big cruise coming up...he kept putting me off. Last Friday night while we were eating supper and he asked me what we were doing on Saturday...I told him we were getting up and heading to the mountains for one night. I was floored when he said "Ok, what time are we leaving?" We packed a few things and were ready to go Saturday morning!!

My first nutty act of the day was that I had s
et the alarm clock the night before..messing up the time part...and my alarm ended up going of @ 5:30 instead of 6:30..YIKES!!!! It rained on us most of the way up there, making traffic around Chattanooga & Knoxville tricky. We were still there by lunch time though! The rain seemed to be holding back the crowds and we were able to walk right into the "Apple Barn Restaraunt" and get a table.

There is usually a super duper wait there and we hadn't been able to get in for years. They bring homemade, hot out of the oven apple fritters with apple butter & apple jelly and an apple julip to drink!! Yummo~ We then rode around checking out a few new dinner theaters and making plans for the evening. We decided on "Fiddler's Feast" and bought our tickets.

We made our next traditional stop at one of my FAVORITE
places...."Boyds Bear"!! It is a HUGE 4 level store that is shaped and decorated to look like a giant barn. The building itself is something to behold! Each level has sections of themed areas and bears to match. I LOVE this place!! I was shocked and saddened when nutty thing #2 of my day arrived....I realized that everything was on sale and the shelves were becoming bare...they are closing. Seems that October 29th will be there last day, what a shame!!!

We headed over to Gatlinburg then, where nutty act #3 came into play. The rain had stopped and it had turned into a beautiful late afternoon. Andy had his window down and I rolled mine down too, loosing my "UGA" flag out the window. Of course my screaming did nothing to get the flag back...Andy watched as the car behind us ran right over it...OOPS!!

We walked around Gatlinburg, wondered into a few stores...had some of the best baked pretzels in the WORLD and rode the chair lift. After a few hours it was time to find our hotel and get ready for our evening adventure. Here we go with nutty act #4. I had made reservations the night before online. When we arrived to the super nice hotel and checked in, things were fine. We opened the door to be KNOCKED over by the smoke smell, I had booked a SMOKING room! UGH!!! Neither of us could handle that all night, so I had to go and beg to be moved. There was ONE non smoking room left and luckily...she switched us right over.

We got ready for the Fiddler's Feast and were off. I've been to most of the shows up there: past & present...with either my parents or Andy. (Past, now gone: Lee Greenwood - twice / TG Shepherd / Louise Mandrell - 4 times / Archie Cambell - twice) (Present: Country Tonite - twice / Dixie Stampeded - 6 or 7 times / Black Bear Jamboree - twice / Smoky Mountain Jubilee - once / Comedy Barn - twice /Memories (impersonations)sp?-once) Black Bear & Dixie Stampede are the only two that had dinner included up until this past year.

We were excited about Fiddlers Feast. The building itself is a Beautiful log cabin looking building from the outside. We were shocked & amazed to get inside to realize once in the theater, it had a "wharehouse" sort of feel. The stage was decorated, but the rest of the building was oddly bare. The tables were super long picnic tables: chairs on the back side/benches on the front side. Thankfully, we were there in time to choose chairs. If you sit on the other side of the table on the bench, you have to turn around for the show part and lean against the table. Ugh!

They came out to explain to us how it would all work and it seemed we were rather "on our own". We had to walk literally in part of the kitchen to get a plate and have it filled in an assembly line fashion. I felt like I was in youth camp as a kid!! Not that I am above walking in line mind you...but for $40 a person, I thought they could bring my food to me?! You had to carry a plate, dessert bowl and filled drink glass all back to the table. ((I am thinking this is going to be a huge problem for the tens of thousands of senior citizen groups that tour up there and do these shows, it was trouble enough for me!!)) The food was good, not fabulous...but good. We know that these dinner shows are not 4 star dinning, they're cooking for thousands. We had a small steak, grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, corn bread and strawberry shortcake. Then you had to carry your plate back to the kitchen for drop off. The show didn't start until after dinner, which is again a little different from most dinner/shows that we've seen. When the show started, we realized the performers were some of the people who had filled our plates, refilled drinks and were now onstange. Again, odd-

The music was great. It was just the mix we've come to expect at shows in the Smoky Moutains. It's a combination show of country, bluegrass, gospel, comedy and good ole' mountain music. (Most of them have a rock n roll segment, this one doesn't) All in all we enjoyed it. It was just alot different than what we have come to expect from those and what we had in mind. We wouldn't recommend this one to anyone going up there, too many far better dinner shows to check out!!

We returned to our freezing cold room (we'd turned the air down) and were able to turn our gas fireplace on. We're such dorks!! We just wanted to try out the fireplace!!

Sunday morning the rain had returned, in buckets!! We decided to check out the complimentary breakfast instead of venturing out just yet in the rain. The variety was great and the food awesome! (Yep and free) It was strange to be up there and not at a pancake house for breakfast, but there is always next time!

Ready for my next nutty issue.... I was so ready for some serious scrapbook shopping. The BEST scrapbook store in the world is up there. "Your Scrapbook SuperStore" and their Clearance Center next door. IT'S CLOSED ON SUNDAYS~~ Ugh!! Duh, I think I remember that from a trip in the past, nothing I could do about it. We went on down to check out some of our favorite antique stores instead. We stopped at one of the two jewelry/purse outlets where I spent way too much money...but had to make up for the scrapbook store being closed! Then we made our final stops @ Cracker Barrel for lunch & the Bass Pro Shop! The bass pro up there is much bigger than the one in Atlanta, hard to imagine. It's also even more "themed" with waterfalls and more animals than the others. Great store, even for me!!

That's it...way too many details of our most recent out of town adventure.
Until next time~

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Powder Springs Day:
Andy & I grew up in Powder Springs. Although we are now proud residents of Dallas, just next door, we still love Powder Springs and it will always be home. Today was Powder Springs Day. What in the world is that you might ask.... (ok, or you might not even care)

It all starts with a 1 mile fun run & 5K, starting & ending at First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, our home church. Andy and Steve, his oldest brother, have been running in this race for years and years!! Andy has won first place in his age group for several years now, but this year...he won 3rd place over all!! It was very exciting! Here's a picture of him running through the finish line @ the time clock. Not a good picture I know, super blurry. I was in a hurry to catch him and didn't hold still, my fault!! (I'd missed a picture at the halfway point because I was busy running a stroller with my great niece over into the shrubs! OOPS!!! Hang on Layla!)

After the race there is a pancake breakfast and award ceremony. Here is Andy getting his award from another sponsor in the community, our state farm insurance agent...Katie Harris! (I know, why didn't I get in front of them while someone else took their picture, duh!)

Meanwhile, while Andy was busy running.... I was playing with our cutie pie great niece, Layla~ She's soooo funny, though in this picture she just looks like she thinks I'm nuts with my camera!

Here is Andy with his brother, who came in 2nd in his age group! (Should I mention here that he got beat ..again.. by someone pushing a running stroller. With TWO kids in it? He HATES makes him SO angry that they can pass him pushing one of those things. He was in the top 15 overall too!! He'd die if he knew I was posting that for the world to read!)After the race there is a parade, a very small parade...but parade just the same. We didn't stay for it this year. The high school band plays and all the boys & girls in every organization and sport you can imagine walk in it, cute..just not for us today. There is also a small arts & crafts show down at the park, but alas...we skipped that too-

We headed home to change & then over to the fair grounds for the "Blue Ribbon Affair", it's a little bigger arts & crafts festival. I have to say though that sadly, it's shrinking each year. Just not the same- The kettle corn alone is worth the trip over there though! Of course I made it home with a pair of bulldog earrings and another bulldog bracelet though. One can never have enough UGA stuff!! After a lemonade, walking around for awhile and a brief stop to watch the cloggers (yep, welcome to the south yall) we decided to head on home.

There you have it, life in a small town. It was followed by much more excitement...a nap & supper @ Steak & Shake!! LOL~ Thanks for coming by for a glimpse of Tanner Life! Until next time....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Day Weekend: What did you do? We weren't very exciting. I haven't had a major topic to ramble about in awhile, so I thought I'd go with a boring old summary of our holiday weekend!

I started mine off on Friday of course with errand day, what is more exciting than running errands and grocery shopping! Ugh-

Saturday we spent the afternoon with Andy's brother & sister in law eating lunch and at a health fair. It was there first time to Ted's Montana Grill and we LOVE that place! Andy had to pick up his race packet at the health fair, so off we went. There were all sorts of booths set up from sponsors, free stuff and sign ups. It was pretty big and a nice afternoon. We followed that with a trip to the movies to see "Invincible"! I totally recommend that movie to anyone!!! Who doesn't love a good & heart warming sport story? Markie Mark has come a long way since his singing days! It's a great story!! Plus I LOVE football and it's that season again! (And I missed watching the Dawgs lead the way to the first victory of the season! Though I did listen to my favorite radio voice, I LOVE Larry Munson!)

Sunday we skipped church (I know, I know, I know) in order to play golf. It was a nice morning and good to be out there. I hadn't played in about 5 months and taking off does NOTHING for your golf game! Yikes!! I didn't loose a single ball though and that's a good thing. I did knock the dickens out of a couple of trees though. I seriously need to get back into playing more again! We went to lunch, Mexican tends to be our Sunday regular. Then for some reason......Andy suggested we see "Snakes on a Plane". I'd wanted to see it, but he hates scary movies. (and hates snakes even more) I admit to keeping my eyes closed through half!! Wowie- Ick- But, it was good. Tons of suspense for sure! Samuel L. Jackson rocks! If you're not into creepy snakes and gory scenes....steer clear! Followed up with dinner at Longhorns, yummy!

Monday I was still in bed by the time Andy had ran the 10K Classic, shame on me! What support am I? He finished with the first 1,000 though out of 12,000. Not too bad, we don't know what number he was. He said it was fun and he's ready to run the half marathon next month on the Silver Comet Trail around here. We kept a low profile the rest of the day and were really pretty boring! We went for a late dinner at our new Steak and Shake, talk about excitement. ha-

Other reports: Our little friend, Emmy, who I talked about in a previous blog is doing well. She went for her first chemo treatment this week, in working to get rid of the rest of the tumor. She's going back to school as much as possible and being super strong! So far she isn't having side effects from the treatments. Continued prayers are appreciated!!

We've now wrapped up our 2nd week of school and I'm tired! It's fun to be back, but not easy to get into the routine after a lazy sumer! The kids are sweeties, though younger than any group I've ever had before. It's taking some adjustment on my part. I love them dearly though and there is never a dull moment for sure!

That's about it, all I've got- I'll try to do better next time!