For those of you that don’t know me very well, I come from a large family. 5 brothers, and 1 sister. 9 of us total…until my siblings and I started getting married and having children of our own. Now we have grown to a family of 22, or you may as well say 24. (I’m gaining a baby niece next month, and a sister-in-law next year!)
If any of you reading this post come from a large family, I’m sure you will understand that it can be a little difficult to get everyone together for the holidays or special occasions…if for no other reason…just simply trying to coordinate everyone’s work and school schedules! In my family’s case, we live in 4 different states, so it can be really tough for all of us to get together at the same time!
With that being said, this year was a big year for my family. My parent’s celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. My dad celebrated his 60th birthday. My younger brother celebrated his 30th birthday, AND he and his wife found out that they are expecting their first baby, due next month! (Team Girl!) My youngest brother proposed to his girlfriend this year, and my oldest brother graduated from Firefighter and EMT Academy. Last but not least, my nephew turned 5! So you could say that we had lots of celebrating going on this year! Ha!
Several months ago, my siblings and I decided to plan a surprise weekend trip to the Great Smokey Mountains for my parents, with this being their 40th wedding anniversary, and my Dad’s 60th birthday. We thought about hosting a big celebratory party for them, but we knew that if we could work it out for all of us to take a weekend trip together, that they would love that so much more! It took several weeks of planning and working around everyone’s schedules, so that we could set an actual date! But we managed! We made reservations for 4 cabins in Pigeon Forge, TN called Pioneer Meadows. My parents took all 7 of us kids there several times for vacation when we were growing up…so we knew that going back to these cabins would hold sentimental value for them. We made so many great memories there as kids! Only this time, we reserved all 4 cabins instead of 1!
Speed up to date, we scheduled our trip for the weekend in November after Thanksgiving. We arrived at the cabins on a Friday evening, and we stayed through the following Monday. The cabins are nestled up a long, winding driveway on top of the mountain with a large meadow as the front yard. The cabins were built back in the 1700 and 1800’s, and they have been beautifully preserved until now! In fact, they look just as I remember them as a little girl! Their rustic charm creates such a nice atmosphere, and they all accommodated our family wonderfully! We had the entire space to ourselves!
In addition to reserving the cabins, we also planned to take my parents to the Dixie Stampede. It was their first time to go, as well as some of my other family members. It was so much fun for us to be able to go as a group! There are so many of us, that we qualified for the group discount! Ha! We made reservations to see their Christmas show. It was great!
It was the best family weekend trip. We relaxed, we enjoyed homemade meals, desserts, and hot chocolate of course! (I contributed some peanut butter fudge and brownies, as well as taco soup!) We laughed, played games, sang songs, made lots of pictures (and selfies!), we celebrated the various special occasions mentioned above, (anniversary, birthdays, etc), AND we also celebrated a late Thanksgiving/early Christmas! We enjoyed my mama reading the Christmas Story and Daddy praying before opening gifts just as we have always done in year’s past. Most importantly, our parents loved it, and we all enjoyed being together and creating new memories! The trip was perfect, and it was just what we hoped it would be…all except 2 of our family members unfortunately were not able to come last minute, due to school. We missed them so much! This trip was extra special for me, simply because this is the first family trip that we have taken since any of my siblings and I have been married. I was the first out of all 7 kids to get married, and I have been married for 11 years…so it’s been at least 11 years since we have taken a family trip all together!
Always make time for family!!