We celebrated eight years (and almost two weeks of being a family of four!) with a little road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Thanks to our friend Jodi, we were able to decide to go at the very last minute when Jodi's cabin was not booked for the week.

It's about a 3-4 hour drive, and we figured we'd take it easy, go slow, and be willing to abandon the plans if things weren't going well. It turned out to be a really lovely few days, and both Hamish and Fauntleroy did beautifully. 

We drove up on Monday and took it easy that evening, enjoying the cabin and the snacks we had packed. Hamish tried to nap late that afternoon in the cabin's loft, but the lure of the open railing to peep down at us was too much for her. So that night we made a pallet for her in our bedroom and Fauntleroy slept in the pack n play. 

On Tuesday--our anniversary--we went to the swimming beach at Douglas Lake, near the dam. Hamish and Daddy enjoyed swimming in the lake--especially when a group of ducks joined them! Fauntleroy joined them for a minute, trying out his baby spa floatie that Auntie Germaine sent from Singapore.

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We tried it again in the warm Jacuzzi tub (more Singaporean-baby-spa anyway) and he was even more relaxed and happy (and naked).


After a nap for everyone Tuesday afternoon--lovely anniversary gift!!--we drove into Dandridge for our anniversary dinner. We ate at Angelo's at the Point, and Hamish took our formal anniversary portrait:


On Wednesday, we drove into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We entered at the Pigeon Forge entrance and headed for Laurel Falls. It's a pretty easy hike--2 miles round trip--and paved, but of course we were carrying some dead weight.


Here's Kyle toting everyone, but we ended up with Fauntleroy in my arms and Kyle doing Hamish-wrangling most of the time. She walked part of the way, but also did a good bit of riding.

The highlight of the uphill trek was definitley the bear sighting--a mama with two tiny babies, awfully close! I was nervous because mama bears are skittish around their babies, of course, and neither of our babies are dependably quiet. But she seemed completely unperturbed. We watched kind of dumbfounded for a short bit before Kyle scooped Hamish and we tiptoed away. Not long enough for me to get a camera. 

At the top of the hike we played at the falls, enjoying a nice cool breeze and a snack for Fauntleroy.



The hike back went faster as it was downhill and Hamish rode the whole way. 

After the hike, we cleaned everyone up, got water, and settled everyone down for a mountain-drive nap. We drove further into the Park to Cade's Cove, and enjoyed a peaceful loop while everyone slept. 

We stopped for a hot dog and ice cream once everyone woke up at the Cade's Cove campground, and then ended our day with some mountain stream playing.




On Thursday we drove home with no stops! Hooray! All in all a wonderful first trip as a family of four, and a wonderful celebration of eight blessed years!