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Dollywood!

Our good friends invited us to Dollywood on some of their guest passes last week. . .so we found the one day it wasn't supposed to rain, I found someone to work for me, and we made the 2.5 hour drive over there for a fun, fun day!!
Thomas, Stephen, Faith, Marie, Grace, Margaret, and JC

Dollywood is such a fun place.  Last year my mom gave us season passes for Christmas and we really enjoyed them but decided to take the year off this year. . .it's a really long drive for one day. . .so the kids were ecstatic to get to go once this year!!!  My favorite thing to do are the shows and, of course, on a one-day trip that didn't happen.  But there is something for every age. . .Thomas hit the roller coasters early and then talked me, and then his sister Marie, into riding them with him later in the afternoon.  Unfortunately his most favorite coaster was not in operation (Mystery Mine) but Thunderhead and the Tennessee Tornado were running.  This is just a warm-up for their big trip to Kings Island later this summer with their cousins -- that is their Christmas present from last year from their Aunt and Uncle.

This is a picture of the girls on the way into the park on the shuttle:
They are all good friends. . .2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade.  Their mom, Heidi, and I play tennis together frequently so these seven hang out together at the park while we play.
Here is a picture or Heidi and me that Thomas snapped for us at the end of the day:
The day began (for me) with Frederick's favorite ride, River Battle!  The older five went off to ride Thunderhead and the two little boys stayed behind with us to get wet :)

Then the little girls came and found us and ran on the ride too. . .
Grace, Faith, & Margaret

And look who were on the other side, shooting back at them. . .:)
Then we headed off to the Carnival area, where there is something for everyone. . .


SHOOTING STAR
BUMPER CARS
Frederick *loved* these -- probably because this is the first time he's been tall enough to drive them himself :)
SWINGS
Margaret's up there with her hands up. . .Grace beside her, Heidi & JC together in the bright blue and Thomas turned around, probably checking to make sure JC is having a good time.  This was Thomas every time he was with our group (and not off riding the "big" rides):
Thomas loved pushing him around and JC sometimes would only "let" Thomas push him -- ha!

And when Thomas wasn't around, there were plenty of others to take JC on the kiddie rides at the County Fair part of the park:
JC & Margaret
Faith & Margaret
JC and big sister Grace
Here is Marie giving a "high five" to the riders as they pass :)
I LOVE THESE BOYS!!!

Thomas didn't have anyone to go on Tennessee Tornado with him at first so I sucked it up and went. . .it was actually pretty fun!  I'm glad I did it.  Then, there was a new ride this year, Barnstormer, and I thought "why not?"  Well. . .he loved it, I hated it.  In fact, I finally had to close my eyes and just ride it out.  He wanted to go again but he had to go alone :(  Here are a few pictures:
 The ride seems to start out harmless enough, Thomas is on the end there.
 And then it starts swinging you. . .the blue (in back) and yellow begin by sitting next to one another, then split apart at the ride starts, with one swinging one way, and the other the other direction
 Yep, that's how far up it goes. . .this is the point that my eyes were closed. . .
I cropped the above picture -- there's Thomas, in the "76" shirt and hands high in the air -- that's Tom's boy!

I spent the last two hours of the day with Frederick, doing what he wanted to do. . .wet rides (I can't decide which I like less -- getting wet or being flung up into the air) and the Country Fair rides. . .we did the bumper cars two or three times (he loved getting behind me and "crashing" into my car) and I got him to do my favorite ride with me, the Scrambler :)
And here is just a cute shot of him doing Shooting Star again:
While we were off doing this, Thomas finally talked Marie into riding Tennessee Tornado with him.  He had my old cell phone with him and kept taking pictures of her getting on the ride. . .unfortunately there's really no way to get those pictures off that phone but I think it's sweet that he was so encouraging of her and that he thought to take and send the pictures.  

Thank you, Heidi, for inviting our family for a fun day, celebrating the end of the school year in great form!!!

~ Jenni

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