We did a little driving around Pigeon Forge, checking out landmarks we knew from years ago. For many years this was our "go to" spot for fall break from school and even spring break. It was far enough away we felt we were really "getting away" and close enough we could drive it easily without stopping. We used to camp at "The Smokies" but the campground is no longer there. We had heard for years the property had been sold, but sadly, nothing has been done with the property. It's too bad it couldn't continue to be a viable business until the owners decided what to do with it.
We even drove on over to Gatlinburg. Nothing has really changed there. There are hundreds of shops which have all kinds of junk for sale. The real draw for me to this area is the location and the scenery. So we decided to drive up to Ober Gatlinburg. Here on top of the mountain is an ice skating rink, a mountain slide and some shops. It hasn't changed much over the years and it is probably really hopping in the winter, but during the warmer weather, there isn't much here. But NOW, they charge you $5 to park! What a ripoff. We won't be back up there. I always thought it was a lot of hype for what was there and that's when it was FREE! It was overcast when we were there, but we could still see town, but no flowers or trees had bloomed. We did spend some time at the factory shops, but didn't buy much. Terry bought some tools. . . . now what surprises me about that?
Once we left there, we traveled on to Virginia, spending another night on the road before coming into Charlottesville. Since then it's been the grandkids every day! We gave Aenea her birthday presents since her birthday was last month. She seemed to like everything and it's now probably just a memory! LOL She is the sweetest little girl. Hard to believe how she started out this life at 28 weeks gestation and 2 lb. 12 oz. She is doing great, perfectly developed and chattering a lot. She picks up words easily and although she doesn't say a lot, she communicates very well. She knows some sign language which I am learning as well. It's not hard to figure out what she wants.
Ronan is a typical almost 7 year old. We celebrated his birthday a couple days ago since we won't be here for that either. We have to be back in Indiana for Terry's doctor appointments, so his other grandparents will be here. We bought him several things including a new bike. We actually bought two. The first one was defective when we got it home. He did get to ride it a bit before we returned it. Fortunately we found a bit better bike when we went to a different store and he now has a very nice new bike which should last him several years.
We have been here a week and will leave tomorrow. It will be hard to leave the wee ones and their parents. Jocelyn is sporting a lovely purple cast on her right hand. She had a stener lesion from a fall last year. Nothing seemed to help it, so they did surgery in March. Once she gets the cast off she will have a splint and some therapy. It does handicap her a bit. She cannot drive or use her right hand for anything. Hopefully it will heal properly and she will regain full use of her thumb/hand.
We will be heading to Indiana tomorrow. It is raining here today, but I must say I prefer it over the snow they just had in the Indianapolis area. When will it stop?
The girls are doing very well. They now seem excited when we stop because they have learned it will mean all new smells and discoveries to make. There is one disappointment here in the camp at Charlottesville. This is a very wooded camp in an area of Virginia that is wooded and hilly and remote. We always had hundreds of squirrels in the park and the girls know that. There is not ONE squirrel here. My son-in-law says the decline of the squirrel population has been a topic of discussion. It was a very hard winter for them, longer and colder than normal and their food supply was depleted. They either starved or were killed on the road racing around trying to find more food. He said they seemed to be acting crazy in their quest for food and more than usual ended up dead on the road. It's strange to walk through the woods and not see one.
Today is our last day to see the kids. It is also Terry's birthday! I am so lucky to have him here with me considering his health problems that started 16 years ago. Happy Birthday to the love of my life!
Till next time. . .