The Undem Family Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains

Our first official family adventure away from home started May 19th, just five days after Carolynn Rose turned one. We traveled to eastern Tennessee and the foothills of the Smoky Mountains for six days.

The Undem Family Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains

During our stay we visited Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg. To say that we had the best time would be an understatement. During our stay we partnered up with the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, The Island in Pigeon Forge, and Mobile Brochure for Ripley’s Adventures including the Ripley’s Aquarium, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Exhibit, and the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. I am linking all those separate blogs below for you to travel alongside us and to help convince you to book your next trip down to the Smoky Mountains.

Our last two days we spent time slowing down and enjoying our hosted stay at Wilderness at the Smokies and Soaky Mountain, the new outdoor waterpark and we got lots of sun and even more great memories while there.

A few traveling tips with a one year old:

  • Bring lots of their favorite snacks
  • When possible, travel with others so the one year old can pass from adult-to-adult
  • Schedule flights during nap times or at least calmer times
  • Bring busy books and other small toys that can be clipped with a pacifier clip to keep them entertained
  • Keep the stroller with you and check it AT THE GATE of the flight
  • Bring a blanket to cover the stroller in the airport to help with naps
  • Get to the gate ahead of time and allow time for your child to run and wear themselves out so they feel less cooped up while on the flight
  • Bring a stuffed animal and/or blanket your child likes to cuddle with, this may make them more comfortable on the flight

Things to know about flying with a one year old:

  • Check your airline, but car seats and strollers can check for free
  • Milk can be brought through security but does need to be tested or inspected
  • Children’s snacks can also go through security but will be checked/tested
  • Diaper bags are allowed in addition to carry on and personal items
  • You will need to collapse the stroller when going through security and on the plane
  • The changing tables on the flights are TINY, if the plane even has one, so try to plan diaper changes ahead (if/when possible–obviously on long flights this isn’t feasible and kids of course have minds of their own)
  • You are able to board ahead of your boarding group with kids under the age of two to allow time to get settled

At the end of the day, remember that traveling is exhausting and trying for adults as well as kids, and if your child has a tough day they aren’t acting out to make you frustrated or look bad, but because they have big emotions and haven’t learned how to regulate or express them well, yet.

Being prepared helped so much on the flights down, but on the way back we definitely had a rough day from Carolynn having a sore bottom from a diaper rash, to waking her up at 3am our time, to trying to reign in all of her energy for a three and half hour flight. We had to learn to work well under stress together and push through tears (some from both baby and nearly some from mom and dad) to make the best of a stressful journey home. Having extended family there to help was invaluable, but of course that isn’t always an option for everyone.

Click here to see all the fun things to do at The Island, Pigeon Forge.

Follow this link to check out our partnership with The Department of Tourism in Pigeon Forge and see just a handful of the hundreds of family activities available in Pigeon Forge.

Splash along with our family at Wilderness at the Smokies and Soaky Mountain, here.

Lastly, hop on over to Gatlinburg with us to experience all that Ripley’s has to offer–from the Aquarium, to the Believe it or Not! exhibit, and the Haunted Adventures.

We hope you have almost as much fun following along with us as we did going down there, and you plan your trip to eastern Tennessee with your family as soon as possible.

Last Minute Easter Basket Ideas

Its someBUNNYs first easter… you see what I did there?

Carolynn Rose is almost 11 months old, so no candy in her basket but I did want to share a bit of what she is getting this weekend to give you any last minute basket ideas. So many people had said that Easter snuck up on them this year, and if you are one of them hopefully this gives you some inspiration to go grab what you need.

Carolynn’s basket includes:

Bunny-rope basket

Flamingo hoodie towel

Cute, first real hair brush

Wooden pacifier clip

Rainbow teething toy

Socks

Easter books

And some cute new onesies for the spring!!

My parents always hid our Easter baskets in our house, one time I even found a basket in the shower hanging from the shower head. It was always a fun little activity Easter morning in addition to attending church with my grandparents.

Once she’s a little bit older we would throw some chocolate and jelly beans in there, too!

Tell me in the comments below if your family has any fun easter traditions!

Some blogger friends and I are teaming up to share some fun Easter Basket ideas! Follow our blog links for more inspiration!

Kimmy
Nicole
Ally
Lexie
Amy

Date Night At Home

How to have the best date night at home:

… grab your spouse and have a date.

Just kidding, but also I’m not. While I’m going to give you a few date ideas and share a date idea we brought to life- your perfect date night is just that– YOURS.

One of the most important things when it comes to an at home date night is to set expectations and communicate what you want out of the date. These expectations make the night special and keep you in the “date” mood so it doesn’t become a night just like any other.

Date Night Ideas

Here are just a few of my favorite date nights we have done since spending more time at home

A Few Tips

  • Dress up, or dress down for a comfy date, but most importantly change for it. This helps set a date mindset
  • Put away electronic devices, and focus on your significant other, be present
  • Do something outside of your normal “night in”
  • Take turns planning it.
    • My husband and I rotate months so one night a month we have a designated date night, and we take turns planning or coming up with the ideas

Our Date Night

One of my favorite date nights since COVID started was our night in, date night with our little family. It was one of our last special items we did before we said our goodbye to our sweet German shepherd, Nikita.

Using an air mattress and random sheets and blankets from around the house we created our fort, and added some rope lights to set the mood
Dad and all the girls had to test it out

Honestly, the date was so easy and simple and after my daughter went to bed my husband and I stayed up and watched a few movies and had some snacks snuggled up.

What’s next?

Talk with your SO and plan your next great, at home date night and check out my friends blogs for some more great tips and ideas!

Laura

Kimmy

Tara

Jamiee

Jessica

Alexandra

Dealing With Uncertainty

Hey guys.

This has really been weighing on my heart, so please hear me out.

I see both sides of the arguments here with COVID 19, I see people not wanting to lose their freedoms and I see people concerned about government overreach.

I see Healthcare workers struggling, and family’s losing loved ones. I see people struggling for weeks or even months with lasting after effects of having the coronavirus.

I see Christians calling names and nonbelievers being compassionate.

I see Christians helping people, and nonbelievers attacking others.

Everyone’s emotions have run high, and people can be both intentionally and unintentionally hurtful.

People are sick of being scared, but also scared of being sick. I fall firmly in both categories.

You guys, having a baby two months into a pandemic (whether you believe its real or not) has been single handedly one of the scariest experiences of my life.

Keeping a newborn safe and healthy is already tough enough, and now all us new moms have a new virus added to the list of all the things I DONT want my daughter exposed to.

I don’t have a set point here, I just wanted to share my point of view, and it’s that people can be wonderful in times of need and people can be really harmful, too.

Remember us who are just trying to get through life as a new mom, trying to keep our babies from getting sick, and stay sane during an insane time. These uncertain times are hard on everyone, and we can all benefit from trying to walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

Be kind to those around you, and stay healthy ✌



Love Story

If you haven’t already heard the story of how Shane and I got to where we are now, then be prepared to get hit right in the feels.

When Shane and I were kids, we met at church camp.

I know, I know, cheesy.

We became BEST FRIENDS where I firmly kept him for 7 or so years… poor guy.

After 7 years, I realized that my life was so, so much better with him in it and began driving to Fargo, where he was attending college to see him more and more. We went out on our first date at Red Lobster,–classy, I know–and he used his plasma donation card to pay (I joke it was blood money, he’s not impressed).

After some tough conversations, Shane decided to move to Dickinson to continue our relationship, and wrestle for DSU.

Fast forward a few months, Shane doesn’t find school to be a good fit and begins working full time, and we buy a house-winter of 2015.

January of 2017 Shane tied a cute little box to Nikita, our rescue German Shepherd dog’s collar and sent her to me to propose.

Low quality photo, high quality memory

September 1st, 2018 we said our I Do’s with a big party of all our friends and family.

Photo creds: Krystal Kester
Photo creds: Taylor Dawn Photography

And I’ve been a little MIA from the blogging world because we welcomed the newest Undem on May 14th, 2020 🥰

Carolynn Rose 🌹