Vacations are a way to decompress, to take a break from your hectic day-to-day life, and to make cherished memories with loved ones. We recently took a family vacation to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a wonderful way to spend a few days with my family. This trip was a timely reprieve as I was beginning to feel a little burnt out and exhausted. I will be doing a future post on work/life balance, but it is something I have been struggling with lately, so this break was desperately needed.

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The beautiful scenery was a relaxing change of pace. The mountains, pine trees, and crisp air breathed new life into my husband and me. It allowed us a chance to appreciate our surroundings. Being in nature always makes us feel at peace and centered again.

Spending time with my family was heartwarming as well. We have not seen my family for a few months so I was beginning to feel a little homesick. Additionally, growing up my family used to take annual vacations to Tennessee but I had not been in many years, so this trip held a special significance to me. It brought up a lot of memories of my childhood and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia around every twist and turn.

My family loved seeing my newly formed baby bump and doted over me constantly throughout the trip. I am not a fan of being the center of attention (I’ll do a post on this later too), but it was nice to see their excitement when the baby kicked, to debate name choices, and to shop for baby outfits with them.

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I’m slowly seeing less and less of my feet!

We enjoyed a lot of fun activities such as visiting the Alcatraz museum, shopping at the Island and the outlet malls, seeing the Hatfield & McCoy dinner show, and spending a day in the Great Smokey Mountains.

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We spent our last day renting Jeeps from Smoky Mountain Jeep Rentals and had a blast driving them through the mountains. We took in the scenery, hiked a bit, and even tackled the Dragon’s Tail!

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Check out my video of our Jeep expedition into the Great Smoky Mountains below!

I must say though that some of my favorite memories were the ones where all my family were just hanging out at the cabin. We played pool, watched movies, and just sat up all night talking. It was a great experience that left us all feeling more connected.

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Heading back to the “real world”, I want to touch briefly on the downside of vacations. Family vacations are always packed full of activities and you are constantly on the go. Doing this is fun and leads to many lasting memories, but it can wear someone out, especially if you’re 23 weeks pregnant like me! Coming home and jumping straight back into work and school has taken it out of me. I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

We are taking at least one more vacation before the baby comes, maybe two – stay tuned for those later!

How are you all vacationing this year? Are you going anywhere exciting? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!