Jonny took his board exams on a Wednesday (April 11, a date I may perhaps never forget) ...
And once that awfulness was over, we packed up (to the brim!) and headed eastward! We were so pleased that Juliette's very first vacation was across her home state. Juliette's first car trip was a resounding success, as she slept the first 2 hours and 45 minutes of the 3.5 hour ride! We timed our departure with the start of her nap, but had no idea what to expect. Definitely got lucky!
Our first stop was Nashville, to see Jonathan's brother Stephen and his wife Amanda. They are about to welcome their first baby (and our first nephew!) at the end of May. We can't wait to meet him!
We also got to visit Jonathan's Daddy Ray, his first time to meet Juliette.
It was great to visit with Daddy Ray and spend several lovely afternoon hours with him under the gazebo. (Stephen and I even did a piano "duet" of sorts.)
We enjoyed visiting several new Nashville spots with Amanda & Stephen that we hadn't seen before--a vineyard right outside of town, and several fun restaurants! Juliette did absolutely great in the car and with a loosy-goosy schedule (was probably harder for Mommy to let go). We loved visiting them, and look forward to going back soon to meet their sweet boy! And a million thanks again to Stephen for taking these wonderful 8 month photos of Juliette while we were there.
From Nashville, we headed eastward, onto the Smoky Mountains and into the eastern time zone! Again, we were pleasantly surprised with Juliette's nap of 3 hours on the way (the entire Nashville to Knoxville stretch!). Unfortunately, we made a couple of stupid directional moves between Knoxville and our final destination condo outside of Gatlinburg, and added probably an extra hour onto the trip. Needless to say, by the time we stopped, we were all more than ready to get out of the car and eat!
We'd stayed at the wonderful Above Par condo on our 2008 trip, and loved it so much that we decided to stay there again! We loved being outside of town, with stunning views and cozy accommodations.
The next day, we took an obligatory walking tour around Gatlinburg the town...and... oh-no-we-didn't!
Juliette, I hope you can forgive us for this. It was just too tempting. You can always point to my ankle socks in this picture if you need a scapegoat.
Here are some photos from the rest of the trip! Other notables...Juliette got her first tooth (and bit me! eek!), we saw a snake! (below), enjoyed some short hikes, Cades Cove, and being in District 12 (ha... I really thought about that more than once while we were there).
If you follow us on instagram (@lesliejerkins and @jayjerkins), sorry for some of the repeats. All of the good ones are Jonathan's.
That hat, right? Too much.
This trip was a sweet blessing timing-wise; we hadn't seen much of Daddy right before this since he'd been studying so hard for his test, and since I work full-time, I miss a lot during Jules' weekdays also. But people...she went through SO MANY developmental milestones on this trip! And we were there to see them all first-hand! It was amazing. I'll discuss more in the 9 month post!
Sure loved traveling with these two and making some new family memories. Can't wait to go back!
p.s. Yes, I'm publishing this retroactively so that in the future, it doesn't seem like I'm such a slacker. If it's showing up funky in your Reader, my apologies.