Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bellican Family Vacation: Gatlinburg

In July we went with my parents and siblings to Gatlingurg, TN for a family vacation. It was a LOOOOONG drive for us, so we spent the night at my parents' house on both ends of the trip. July was a pretty rough month for our family in general. We had all four been sick (Mario was super sick over the first half of our vacation!). Our AC unit quit working at our home, and the couple of days before leaving for our trip (while trying to pack and get things ready) we were staying at a hotel. The 100+ degree heat made our home unbearable, and it was WAY hotter in the attic, so the repairman could only work on it during the evenings. Mario's company car had been rear ended, and he was in a battle with the insurance companies over who was at fault. My car was in the shop as well. It was complete chaos to say the least. So, while we were longing to "get away from it all", the being away made it harder to deal with the issues going on here. It was crazy, but we had fun on our trip anyway, and we LOOOOOOVED spending time with our family. Here are some photos of the trip--it's a long one--picture overload!!! :)

Lucas and cousin James play keyboard together at my parents' house

Lucas gets a kiss from Grandad--his great grandfather

Mario holds sweet baby Reese

Uncle Josh makes Lucas laugh

Our "cabin" in Gatlinburg--we literally drove almost straight up a mountain to get to this place! It was kinda scary, but the kids thought the steep incline was super fun! We won't mention how Papa, Aunt Michelle, and Uncle Josh got lost on the wrong mountain at 3 am, in the dark, in the pouring down rain when they came a little later...now, talk about scary!!!

the outdoor hot tub

the kitchen--already making ourselves at home!

our living area
(excuse the couch cushions--they had just been steam cleaned and were air drying!)

the bedrooms all looked similar--rustic and roomy

the game room
notice the little munchkin already trying to play the video game!!! hehe!

the theatre room

beautiful views from the back deck

our first big adventure--a trip to the aquarium

The Mammina and Payne families did this while the Bellican and Artz families did the big zip lines!

the beautiful jellyfish were mesmerizing!

the kids thought so too..."you're getting very sleepy"
um, can we take these home with us???

Anthony getting up close and personal with the sea creatures

It was very kid-friendly--one of the best (maybe THE best) aquariums we've ever been to!

the boys loved being so hands-on

the natural setting and lighting were really cool

my sister Mandy, her husband Justin, and their son James
(baby Reese is theirs too, but not pictured)

our little family
(look at Mario's eyes...you can tell he doesn't feel good)

the coolest seahorse i've ever seen

a HUGE "tunnel" of sea life
you ride the moving floor so you can take it all in

Mario comes face to face with his greatest fear--good thing they're behind glass!

the large jellyfish--simply beautiful

I love watching my kids discover God's creation!

by far the kids' favorite--the GIANT spider crabs!

oh yes, i meant GIANT!!!

that thing looks like it wants to eat Lucas for lunch!!!

back at the cabin, here's how the boys entertained themselves (and us!)
they chased each other across the deck...

they rocked in the rocking charis...

we read books
(and of course, anthony was particularly fond of "playing" the video game downstairs, but i forgot to get a picture of it!)

my sweet little love

group shot with the cousins

our next big adventure was the water park--Splash Country!

Anthony went down the slide first with Mama

Lucas went down with Dada

James went down with his daddy
We mostly stayed in this kids' area where we found some shade

After a full action-packed day, someone is looking a little sleepy!

We took Anthony on some bigger slides while Lucas sat with Meme and Papa and had a banana...

and some graham crackers...

and, well, you get the idea! this boy can eat!

here's sweet baby Reese in her swimmy suit

she slept the day away in the shade at the waterpaark

Aunt Michelle and Uncle Josh getting some relaxing in

my sister Mandy's sweet family (minus Reese again)

Here's what our family looked like by the end of the day--sleepy thumb sucker on the right and major meltdown on the left...good times!

And the adventures keep coming!

The next day we went to Ober Gatlinberg--an amusement park and ski area up in the mountains overlooking the city. It's a little "stuck in the 1960's", but we had fun. Here are Anthony and I on the chairlift.

Daddy and Lucas about to step off
(I made Mario ride with Lucas because he is so squirmy--I didn't want him to wiggle right off!)

the Payne family

Here's an idea of how steep it is--yikes--no seatbelts!

At the top we rode back down to the bottom on the alpine slides! The kids got a huge thrill out of that! Here come Mandy and James!

we caught Mario doing this quite a bit

the kids enjoyed a playground there as well

big boy Lucas tries the slide

my kids have never played in a ball pit before--they thought this was fantastic!
(of course, i tried to pretend i wasn't thinking about germs--they are only kids once, right?!)

this little train was by far the best part of the day for the boys

so cute--

it just kept chugging around this track off and on all day

love this sweet grin

engineer lucas making sure all the gears are functioning normally

last but not least there was a pretty steep water slide...we got into a little raft and down we went! this is uncle justin and james

lucas wanted to go down with uncle justin too!
i love how he was big enough to do everything that the older boys did

mario takes anthony down.

i went down with mario too, and it was suprisingly more thrilling than it looks--definitely gives good butterflies

we ended the day with a merry-go-round ride for all!

we often found the boys hanging out together "reading" books after their naps

james slept one room over from anthony, so when anthony woke up, he'd join james in his bed and read to him

little burrito baby snoozing again--isn't she beautiful?!

this is Papa's idea of babysitting--Thomas the Tank on the big screen

love how they all have their matching sippy cups with inchbug labels

big boys in their matching mickey mouse jammies--thanks, Meme!
(notice how they are all holding their loveys)

sweet baby face--he kept up with the big boys all week

Reesey-Piecey taking yet another nap!
I had to hold this baby a lot since my babies would rather be running than in my arms :)

our group shot--you should see the "out-takes"...they are hilarious!
but i think you've seen quite enough pictures here

Thanks, Meme and Papa for a wonderful trip. The best part was just seeing you and being with our families. We love you so much and can't wait until our next adventure!