Monday Was a Good Day

I took Monday off work, and Christopher had the day off work. I had made an appt with the financial aid and admissions people at Maryville College to sit down and really go over this stuff so we know exactly where we stand with how we're going to pay for Rhiannon to go to that school.

We got up early (for me).  I'd got to bed at 6am and got up at 9am. So, 3 hours.  I'd gotten quite a bit of sleep the day before though, so I wasn't feeling too bad. We had other plans for later in the day as well, so we'd had a pork roast in the crock pot over night and I made potato salad.  That was all put into the cooler in the trunk and I grabbed the bag of picnic stuff from last year's summer outings.

We got to the college just a little bit late for the appt at 11:30.  They had her name on the board welcoming her. I thought that was nice. We sat and talked, and got it all worked out.  There's still some loan stuff to do, including the parents PLUS loan. She'll end up leaving school after 4 years in a lot of debt, but for what we understand, that is the norm now.  Like no one seems at all upset to take on these huge student loans.  It bothers me a lot though, but maybe it will help her build a credit rating and learn how to manage money early on.  I just hope she gets a really good job from the start.

As the meeting was ending, the admissions counselor gave us free meal tickets for lunch in the main dining hall.  It is SO much nicer than the one we had when we went to college.  It's all buffet style, all you can eat while you're there.  All sorts of stuff from waffle bar, to pizza, salad, a guy carving meat. Ice cream.  Even a chocolate milk machine. It was like being at Ryans! And they even have a second dining hall that's all fast food if you're in a hurry.  Plus the coffee shop. I envy her really.  It's a wonderful school, and in a beautiful location, and they have the exact classes she needs for her career.  Good choice.

So, after a surprise free lunch, we didn't have to eat what we'd packed and decided to save it for dinner later.  We got ice for the cooler and headed off another hour's drive to ...  DOLLYWOOD!

These season passes were the best thing I've spent money on all year. They were a discounted price for buying more than 4, and we got to use their payment plan. So happy about that!

We wanted to ride all the roller coasters, but we got there at 2pm and it closed at 7pm, so we knew we'd have to let some things wait.  we hadn't planned on any shows, but everyone was raving about the Mother Africa show.  The Festival of Nations was going on. So, in the end, we didn't even ride the brand new coaster, but we'll get it next time! This was the first time Zoe had gone since she was 4 years old, and she's tall enough to ride the coasters now!  The very first one she rode was the big wooden Thunderhead. Poor thing.  It was long and fast and very jarring.  She swore off them, but I promised her the Blazing Fury would be much more friendly. So we rode it next, and she immediately wanted to go again LOL!  She and Faelyn refused to ride the Tennessee Tornado with us, but it's my favorite so the rest of us rode it anyway.  It's got tons of loops and corkscrews. Love it!  Then we caught the Mother Africa show, which was really cool.  I'm not into acrobatics shows though, and that's mainly what it was.  I just kept thinking something bad was going to happen, so I couldn't really enjoy it. They were amazing though.  If you're in the area and planning to go, I do recommend you see if if you like acrobatics.  That show ended at 6:30, so we didn't have much time left.  We headed to the Country Fair area and they all rode some flying swing thing while I watched.  I was getting really cold by then.  The high was only 50 and the sun was going down.

We had saved money by not eating lunch at the park, so we decided to have a nice hot meal at A&W and get some fresh made root beer floats to end the day. By the time I drove home, an hour and a half away, everyone was asleep, and I was fighting off sleep. Long day, but such a good one.  We were able to forget the world for a while, and just be a family.  Made some pretty great memories.

Here's some of the pics from the day...

We're already planning on going back Friday, though Rhiannon has other plans. Since we got a gold pass, we get free parking (and 20% off food and stuff). And we had bought the online package of 4 reuseable mugs for $29.99 which is half the price 4 mugs would normally be.  Fountain drink refills are only 99 cents, which is cheaper than buying a bottle of Pepsi at the store and smuggling it in lol.
The best part is that ice water refills are free, so during the summer, we'll be able to hydrate well.  I need to find a good backpack/bag to use for the park that has a place to hook on the mug when it's empty so I don't have to worry about carrying it.  I had a string pack I was using Monday with a ziplock bag in it to keep things waterproof in case there was actually any water splashing on the rides. It's basically a requirement to have a ziplock bag for stuff during the summer with all the water rides.  Your phone and wallet, etc WILL get wet otherwise.  Anyway, when we were leaving, I just tossed my camera in my bag, and my mug that had ice in it was in the bag too.  I could have sworn I took the mug out when we got home, but apparently I didn't, and my camera was wet.  Now it won't show a picture on the screen :(   So much for planning ahead hah.  Maybe it'll dry out and work again.  Who knows.  Guess we'll have to use our phones to take pics from now on. Not the end of the world.

Okay, it's Family Dinner Night, and I've got to get dinner going. Hope y'all are having a great week and not getting snowed on!