Thursday, November 20, 2014

Operation Nashville Surprise

Three weeks ago, we had a surprise trip planned for our fab five.

I have three brain cells left this week, so I'm just gonna caption the iPhone photos I took like I did as they unfolded and let them tell the story.

(Once upon a time, I lugged a BIG FAT CAMERA around with me everywhere we went. Now? Capture it with the phone. Move on.)

But, let me just say this: There is VERY LITTLE that I love more than surprising our kids with a trip to ANYWHERE. I mean, yes we could tell them in advance. Yes, that would leave time for them to get excited with us.

But, when we surprise them? THEY FLIP OUT LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE. And we get high off of that and we're in charge and it's totally self-serving, but sue us. So, Jason and I typically don't tell them about any of our vacations until we're pulling out of the driveway.

This trip to Nashville?

They were SO excited.

So. Here we go. Come with us as the week unfolded.


Jason sat the kids down in the family room this morning and told them he had to leave right away for a business trip and he'd be back on Friday. The entire room deflated. BUT then he asked them if they might wanna come with him.

For the whole week.

To Nashville.

Operation Go On Dad's Week-Long Business Trip Surprise:

Success. #herewego

Oh, hey Gatlinburg, heeeeeey. #doyouwannabuildasnowman #ONNOVEMBER1ST #WHA?

We stayed at The Park Vista and went to Waterslide Baptist for church.

Gatlinburg really is beautiful. Gorgeous scenery. Not-so-gorgeous parents. #sleepwho

"Mom, remember that time we went to Tennessee and you made us all climb on that fake bear for a picture?"

Yes, I do. Now go get me my dentures. And a glass of wine.

{After arriving in Nashville...}

I've learned so much about love from Jason.

It's a million little things and even more big things and I miss so many of them because he never expects ANY praise from me or anyone else for the quiet way that he loves us.

Today - that quiet love cut up waffles and poured milk and passed out bananas while dressed in business attire, never eating anything himself, and surrounded by people peacefully enjoying a cup of coffee before work. And then he picked up a briefcase and handed out hugs and kisses to five little faces that know not that he's made any sacrifice at all, but that he simply loves them.

On his business trip.

Just like every day before.

Downtown Nashville.

No. We're not tourists.

Why do you ask?

#meetDolly #ournewfamilypuppy

After successfully terrorizing the city for a spell, Jason took us all to Puckett's for dinner.

Fried pickles, fried green beans, sweet potato fries, chicken fried chicken - we tried it all. Tomorrow, we'll eat through a nice green leaf.

But tonight, just two Southern belles LIVIN' IT UP.

Breakfast at the golden arches.

"They're lovin' it." #imnot

Attempting to culture them with something other than Bluegrass and fried everything, we saddled up to the Frist Center for Visual Arts - an interactive art museum with over 30 stations where they could create different kinds of art.

It. was. amazing.

*Kandinsky station - "Listen to the music. Paint what you hear."

Have I ever told you that my kids aren't rule followers?

Four masterpieces. *So is their art. #hollyphotobomb

Dear hotel pool,

In the name of all that is holy and sleep-deprived, PLEASE wear them out.

While the kids and I spent the day swimming and hanging out at the hotel, Jen Hatmaker was hanging out with this guy.

Lucky girl.

President, Pool So Hard University. #myRAVENSpeepsgetit

We took them to dinner and the LEGO store one evening at Opry Mills.

(Where I did some serious financial damage because BEST.SHOPPING.EVER and Jason corralled them for me for an hour BECAUSE HE KNOWS MY LOVE LANGUAGE.)

Oh, Lincoln. There were two...princes here before you, but you - my sweet middle - are straight up joy in my heart.

These littles.

They spent all week living in a hotel.

They handled a one-hour time change PLUS the end of Daylight Savings Time like absolute rock stars. And more than anything, they heaped loads of undeserved grace on me even though I was a RAGING lunatic at times trying to manage it all.

I'm so proud of them.
For the way they love.
For the kids they are.

For giving their mama 10,000 reasons to thank God for them every day.


  1. I'm sure you hear this a lot, but I'm going to say it anyway ... I canNOT believe how much the kiddos have grown! I love all the photos, as especially the "selfie" of you with the kiddos by the pool. Made me smile from ear to ear. :-)

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