Surprise road trip

Yesterday was absolutely perfect.

I woke to Jason climbing into bed telling me he had a surprise for me.

His internal alarm clock still wakes him up before 5 a.m. So yesterday, while I was still asleep, he ran up to the store and bought some supplies to change the oil in his car. On his way home, he stopped by Dunkin Donuts and bought our favorite tasty treat, blueberry donuts.

It was the perfect treat to get the day started. While he went to the shop to change his oil, I jumped in the shower and got ready for our day.

I was excited to spend the day with Jason.

Although Jason is no longer working two jobs, he’s still working really long days, six days a week. Those days sometimes start as early as 4:30 a.m., which means we are both in bed pretty early the night before.

The nice part about this new job is he now has every Sunday off. Lately we have just hung out at home, doing yard work, or being lazy, so he could catch up on his sleep.

Yesterday, being lazy was not the case.

I knew about some of our plans, but he surprised me with a road trip.

We started off the day by going to a flea market that was kind of disappointing.

Ever since Saturday afternoon I have really been in the Christmas spirit. Jason called me Saturday morning asking me to meet him at the store. We picked out stockings for us and our three animals, as well as more Christmas lights for the tree because our puppy destroyed one set.

Yeah, Christmas decorations!

After he headed back to work, I decided to keep the momentum going and drove to another store in search of some soft ornaments that I could hang on the bottom of the Christmas tree. The cats broke a few of our ornaments since putting up the tree, which meant all the breakable ornaments slowly got hung higher, leaving the bottom pretty empty.

I had success at the second store and found four soft ornaments. The best surprise was when I got to the register and one of the ornaments was free.

When Jason got home later that afternoon, he suggested that we check out the flea market Sunday morning. That maybe they would have some homemade Christmas ornaments that we could put on the tree.

Although we did not find any ornaments, we were able to catch up with some of our friends that have a stand at the market.

While we were walking around the market, Jason asked me if I wanted to go to Gatlinburg and shop for some Christmas decorations there.

I love when Jason is spontaneous. I love when we take surprise road trips.

After going back home to do some research of shops in Gatlinburg, we hit the road.

Of course on our way to Gatlinburg, we took a small detour to a place he has been telling me about. Jason took me to a cute little apple orchard in Cosby, Tennessee called Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant. It’s one of the places he delivers such items as produce and nuts to a few times a week.

We walked into the candy store and our mouths dropped open. Jason bought us a  small box full of homemade chocolates with an assortment of nuts in them. While savoring the delicious taste we walked through the store next door. As soon as Jason opened the door for us, a delicious aroma of apples filled my nose.

With a box of half eaten chocolates in our hand, we decided to hit the road again.

One of the many things I love about our surprise road trips is the conversations and nonstop laughter that fills the car. He’s always doing something or saying something to make me laugh.

Now, we were getting closer to Gatlinburg, closer to the store we wanted to check out, Santa’s Claus-et.

It took a couple wrong turns before we found the store because it was no longer located in the same place the internet told us before leaving home.

The store was adorable and full of Christmas ornaments and figurines of every size to add to your Christmas cheer.

Yesterday, as Jason and I were talking about Christmas decorations, I told him every year I wanted to buy something new, so we could build our collection for the holidays. Right now all we have is ornaments.

So before leaving, we decided we would collect a different Santa Claus every year.

This is the first of our collection . . .

IMG_2690 I felt like a little girl after we chose this cute Santa Claus. We were adding to our Christmas tradition.

Now that the Christmas spirit completely took hold of me, we decided to head to downtown Gatlinburg. This area is definitely touristy with an array of t-shirt shops, fudge shops and any other little trinket you could think of.

My favorite part about walking downtown was looking at the buildings. I really liked the brick structures. The downtown area was also decorated for the Christmas holiday.

Before leaving Gatlinburg, we had some dinner, which was needed after all of our sweets.

Although it was nice walking around downtown, experiencing the atmosphere and walking into some of the shops, we both shared the same thought. We have definitely become outdoors people. We would have rather hiked in the mountains, then shop the strip.

Once the weather warms up we will most likely take a trip back to Gatlinburg to enjoy the scenery, in the outdoors, in the way it was indeed to be, in nature.

I can only imagine the hiking and the waterfalls.

Yesterday was a perfect day. Full of laughter. Full of new memories, all with my best friend and love of my life.

Yesterday was spot on. It was a day we both needed. A day we both needed together away from the house, away from our daily grind.

I truly have found my soul mate, my pefect match.

Loved by all

This past weekend we took Lucy on her first real road trip to Maryland to visit with my brother’s family and celebrate his oldest son’s 3rd birthday.

20140509_135432This poor pup had a hard time as soon as we started our journey. We made it a few miles down the road and she got sick. Jason and I stopped at a Walgreens to get some supplies to clean up the mess. As he went inside to grab some paper towels from the bathroom, I took Lucy for a little walk in the grassy areas giving her yet another opportunity to go to the bathroom. After she went and the mess was cleaned we were on our way again.

Unfortunately after we kept on driving gaining some distance in Virginia, this poor thing got sick again. Thankfully an exit was approaching that had a Wal-Mart and Petco. Jason went into Wal-Mart and bought some paper towels this time, in case we needed them again, and I sat on the curb next to the car trying to get Lucy to drink some water. Jason cleaned up the mess yet again. We drove over to Petco and purchased some medicine that said it would help the car sickness. Of course the pills were huge, and with Lucy still being a puppy, we had to break it down and put it in water to make it easier for her to chew.

After another bathroom break, the three of us got in the car and we were on our way again. This time Lucy remained up front close to us as the shaking subsided. I don’t know if she ever actually fell asleep the entire 8 plus hours we ended up being in the car, but she curled up either on Jason’s lap with her head in the middle of our two seats or on my lap.

The medicine seemed to help, it mellowed her out and she never got sick on our journey again. What should have been a six and a half hour drive to Maryland, turned a lot longer due to our longer stops at rest areas. We both wanted to make sure she had a chance to eat and drink, and well, just get out of the car for a little bit.

When we finally arrived at Tom’s place, after sitting in awful traffic outside of D.C. for a while, we were instantly greeted by my brother. Lucy happy to be out of the car, greeted Tom with her friendly licks before Caleb spotted that his daddy was home.

Lucy and Caleb became instant friends. They started chasing each other . . . it was a sight that made me smile as this little three-year old and a four-month old puppy ran through the thick green grass.

When the running stopped Lucy and Caleb gave me the perfect photo opportunity. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and snapped away as my nephew and puppy shared an incredibly sweet moment. With the numerous pictures I took this weekend, this remained my absolute favorite.

Caleb and LucyThis picture pretty much sums up our two days in Maryland . . . After this moment Caleb and Lucy were always close to each other.

As the night went on, Tom put his two sons to bed and Jason and I remained on the porch with his wife’s best friend’s boyfriend talking about dogs and life in general.

After a while Tom reappeared and asked if he could borrow Lucy for a while.

Of course I said sure. Tom put Lucy in bed with Caleb. By this point, I’m sure Lucy was waiting for a moment like this, a quite time where she could get some sleep after her exhausting little day. So, what did this little pup do, curled up with my nephew and helped put him to sleep.

You never know how puppies, well dogs in general, are going to act around kids. My little Lucy was such an angel.

Throughout the two days we spent in Maryland, Lucy was the topic of everyone’s conversation. It was so much fun hearing how well-behaved and cute she was by Lisa’s family. She loved everyone and soaked up all the attention she could get, which really was not that hard. I heard from numerous people that they wanted to take her home.

I’m so glad Jason made this trip happen. Although it was an exhausting ride there and back, he made it happen.

I got to spend two days with my adorable nephews and little brother, as well as catch up with Lisa and her family.

This weekend also showed me why I love Jason so much. He has shown me time and time again that he will do just about anything for me to make me happy. Well this weekend was no exception. His patience with Lucy was amazing to see as we tried to make her as comfortable as we could on the car ride to Maryland and home.

Whenever we make trips, Jason 99.9 pecent of the time drives the entire distance, which he did again this trip on the way to and from Maryland.

We didn’t leave Maryland until almost 9 p.m. Saturday night because Jason wanted to make sure I got to spend time with my family. With that said, we didn’t arrive back home until after 4 Sunday morning. This incredible man then got up and went to work before 10 a.m. that morning.

The entire time we were visiting with my brother, Jason was hard to find. He was constantly in the kitchen helping prepare the party’s meals, at the grill cooking the hamburgers and hotdogs, making popcorn and cotton candy or cutting up the cake after we sang Happy Birthday to Caleb. Jason was also quick to help move that or clean up this the entire day. I love that he helps when we are at family functions.

Since we brought Lucy, I wasn’t in the mix of all the preparing because I wanted to keep her out of the kitchen. So every chance I had I helped with the boys, which was easy. Caleb and I walked Lucy, played with Lucy and had some incredibly sweet conversations.

Although we came home exhausted I am so glad we made that trip. Lucy too, she slept almost the entire day on Sunday.

You don’t realize how much you truly miss family until you get to spend some quality time with them. The last time I saw Tom and his family was in October. His boys have grown so much. His son Colton just turned a year old and has such a sweet personality. He eventually warmed up to me, as we both made each other smile.

This trip filled a gap that I didn’t know was growing. May 1 marked a year since we moved to Tennessee. Although we had the opportunity to see Tom and his family in October, as well as my mom and younger sister, I miss the rest of my family something fierce.

I’m truly fortunate to have a man who understands how incredibly important family is to me . . . and will do anything to make sure I get to spend some quality time with them when we can make it happen.

 

Spontaneity

One of the many things that attracts me to Jason is his spontaneity.

The cherry blossom trees are starting to bloom around our house.

The cherry trees are starting to bloom around our house.

Monday afternoon while Jason was at work, I sent him a text telling him he had to get me out of the house on Tuesday, his day off. That’s one of the many beauties about being a freelance writer, I can take time off whenever I choose, as long as I hit my deadlines on time. With this said, it’s going to be hard to ever go back to a job where I have to clock in and out.

So, yesterday after waking up and doing a phone interview, setting up an in person interview for Thursday, the day was ours.

Yesterday was beyond perfect. We woke laughing, which carried on throughout the day. There was a lot of friendly banter going on back and forth as the morning continued. It was contagious, the laughter just kept going, everything was funny, everything made us both smile. I absolutely love days like that, which are quite often in our house.

Jason started searching the internet for things to do. He found a waterfall to visit along the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we got dressed, hopped in the car and were on our way. It wasn’t until we reached North Carolina that Jason revealed all of our plans for the day. After stopping at the waterfall, we were going to take the Blue Ridge Parkway into Asheville, a city that I have been wanting to see in North Carolina.

IMG_1389As we were driving, my mind continued to wander. I love this journey we started now almost five years ago. Yesterday marked one month until we arrived in Tennessee. It’s really hard to fathom that as of May 1 it has been a year since we moved to Tennessee from Southwest Florida. I remember that last month, it was insane. Jason was working nonstop, I was working nonstop, all while fitting in as much time with friends and family before we left. I remember being in awe . . . Jason’s determination to put our plan into motion completely blew me away. I remember missing him like crazy because of his insane hours, his go to work super early, come home really late, kind of hours. But now looking back on all of that, I’m so glad he did what he did to make this dream a reality, that dream of experiencing another state.

Yes, this last year has been hard as we tried to establish ourselves in a new location. Controlling our finances has often times been stressful, but Jason has managed to keep me calm, constantly reminding me of all the positive. I have learned a great deal about myself, about Jason and about us as a couple as this past year has gone by. I tell Jason often thank you for showing me another world, thank you for taking me to so many beautiful places, so many incredible sites I will cherish for a lifetime.

Is it possible to fall in love with someone a little more every day? Is it possible to love your life this much?

So, as we drove through Tennessee into the mountains of North Carolina I was beyond happy as these memories flooded my mind. One of the things I enjoy about our trips is we allow each other to get lost in our thoughts. Often times we hold conversations, but other times we both enjoy each others company in silence with the occasional “hey look at that.”

We eventually made it to the Blue Ridge Parkway and it was absolutely breathtaking. Jason mentioned that it was hard-driving the road, while enjoying all the scenery. The mountain ridges were plenty and the sky was a beautiful blue. Unfortunately our travels on this road came to abrupt stop, only a few miles before we reached the waterfall. We learned that a wind storm came through the area a few ways before closing part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as a sinkhole that is still in the process of being fixed from a few months before. This of course ended our adventure on the parkway.

We were both bummed, but our journey continued, Jason took me to Asheville. This is where the spontaneity comes in, we drove to Asheville, took a ride downtown, had lunch, well almost dinner, and then drove back home to Kingsport.

It was so out of the blue, so unexpected, and I loved every minute of it!

Our trip to Asheville turned into planning for another day trip, so we could experience more of the sites and take in the area a little more.

Throughout the drive to North Carolina and back we saw nature at work. There were so many beautiful trees showing signs of spring along the journey. The farther we drove into North Carolina the deeper the pink flowers became on the trees. I could only sit there in awe as a smile spread across my face as I took in its beauty.

I’ve experienced every season now and I have to admit, I don’t know if I could live in a state again that didn’t show the seasons. Although I grew up in Illinois, I don’t remember the seasons as vividly as I do now since I was a young girl. I loved growing up in Florida. I loved having the beaches only minutes away and experiencing the nice warm weather almost year round. Now as an adult I have come to appreciate the changing of the seasons. I am much more in-tuned to nature and love experiencing how it changes from the summer, to fall, to winter and then to the spring. This is how I experienced my first seasons.

Here are a few more pictures of the beauty right outside our front door.

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