Monday, June 20, 2016

road to nationals {wilderness & gatlinburg}

This was a special year!  Kerigan qualified to compete at the USTA Nationals for tumbling in Knoxville, TN!  It definitely wasn't a requirement that we take her.  She's only 4, and has many more years of tumbling ahead.  But we also know that it gets tougher as they get older, and not knowing how many more opportunities she would have to do this, we looked at it as a great experience for her, and an opportunity for a family vacation/road trip!
The past few summers we have taken a road trip out to South Carolina to visit my niece and her little boy.  We wanted to see them again, but our schedules just didn't coordinate this time.  Kerigan had a specific date that she competed, so we couldn't be flexible with travel dates, and Mary was going to be gone when it would have worked out for us to be there.  So we still headed that direction but decided not to continue on to SC this year. :(  
About halfway through Illinois!  Thankfully this girl is obsessed with listening to iTunes on her iPad.  And thank goodness for headphones!
We decided to call it an evening and stay in Indianapolis with our friends, whose daughter Avery was also competing at nationals!  So we had Buffalo Wild Wings and went swimming!
The kids all had so much fun together and Andrew was so glad to have some male supports!  Ha!
We played pie face in the hotel lobby!  They could have done this all night.

So much fun!
After showers the kids had fun going back and forth between hotel rooms.  These two tried to talk us into a sleepover!  But we were leaving at different times the next morning so we had to call it a night after some Shopkins fun!
Back on the road in the morning!  More iTunes!  Ha!
I had little baskets for the kids in front of them with activities.  Then every time we stopped to get gas or go to the bathroom, I got out something else for them.  This worked really well.  They loved doing color wonder, stickers, writing stories, etc.  They also had their movies and iPads.  They were very entertained the whole time and didn't even fight!  #roadtripwin
We finally arrived!
We decided to head out a little early before Kerigan's competition and check out the tourist areas of TN!  
We absolutely LOVED the Wilderness Hotel!  The minute we got there, the kids had their suits on and were ready to hit the waterpark!
There were awesome slides that our whole family could go on together!
My sweet girl in the wave pool.
We had planned to stay at the same hotel as the Polley's so the kids could continue having fun!
They all had a blast at the arcade!  We bought a pass for unlimited rides and I think they went on this about a thousand times!
My girl loved this climbing wall!
And the next thing I know I look up, and all the boys are on the ropes course!
I couldn't believe it!  This was much higher than the picture looks!
Andrew and Daddy having fun!
Andrew felt like total American Ninja Warrior!  He never wanted to get down!
It was so nice for these girls to have each other to play with too!
Little tumblers!
The next morning we woke up and hit the water park again first thing!
More slides!
Kerigan loved the slides on this play set too!
And do you see her standing under the water bucket dump??

Andrew's favorite thing was the wave pool.  He never wanted to get out.  He had a great time swimming with Avery's brothers and doing slides together too!  I put my camera away most of the time and joined the waterslide fun so I didn't get many more pictures.
Daddy and Andrew took a break together and played mini golf.  They had everything at our hotel!  It was awesome!
And while the boys golfed, my girl and I rode the lazy river.  Several times!  We had the best time!
Our view while eating lunch.
That evening we decided to explore the area and head to Gatlinburg.  This was a little scenic area we stopped at on the way.
Gatlinburg was so fun!  We rode this little cart to the top of a mountain to play mini golf!
Fun on the cart!
Then we golfed down the mountain!
The kids loved all the little tunnels and neat scenery!
This was Kerigan's first time mini golfing and she loved it!
She even got a hole in one!

Andrew played really well too and almost beat daddy!
Waiting for the cart to ride the rest of the way down!
After golfing we headed to the mountain coaster!
This was a fun little coaster that went down the mountain!  It was so fun!  And fast!
Kerigan was being silly and doing thumbs down- she really loved it!
Then we met up with the Polleys again at the arcade and wrapped up the night!
Andrew found this new laser maze he was obsessed with.  #ninjawarrior
Then he insisted on doing the ropes course again with Eli!
He has not stopped talking about this hotel and all the fun we had!
This is what they were like when it was time to check out!  Ha ha!
Leaving our room at the Wilderness!
Onto our next adventure!
We took some pictures by the little houses and things in the lobby and around the resort.
We will definitely be back!
View of the arcade and ropes course!  This place was never-ending fun.
This was a great restaurant where we ate dinner and breakfast a lot!
Until next time!
I loved these pictures I took of the kids while waiting for Daddy to get the van.

Before heading to our next activity for the day, we had to stop in downtown Sevierville to see the Dolly Parton statue.  My kids have no clue who DP is, but it was still neat to see! 

Up next... the mountains!

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