thirty by thirty update

As most of you know, I took a fun little family vacation to Tennessee and Ohio last month. While in Tennessee- which is beautiful by the way- we visited the Parthenon in Nashville, and did some go kart riding, moonshine tasting, visited the Ripley's Odditorium & the Ripley's Aquarium, visited the Smokey Mountain, and took in the sights (along with ingesting some ah-mazing food) in Gatlinburg. While in Ohio, I got to see alot of special animals. Also on that trip, I completed three more items on my thirty by thirty list! 

The first leg of our vacation was spent in Gatlinburg, TN. We stayed in a beautiful cabin in nearby Pigeon Forge, and ventured out to Gatlinburg almost each day since there was so much to do there. Gatlinburg receives more than eleven million visitors a year due to the the surrounding Smokey Mountains and gorgeous views. It's more popular in the winter, but I assure you that visiting in September was more than perfect. 

Gatlinburg is also home to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, which has been rated as one of the top aquariums in the US by Travel Channel (btw, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL is on the list too- but trust me, being an hour away from Chicago and visiting the Shedd about every other year- Ripley's is so much better. Granted they don't have a dolphin show, but they have so many aquatic animals, and a 340 ft long moving path that goes through an underwater tunnel which houses sharks, turtles, stingrays, etc. They also have some of the largest stingrays I have EVER seen.) And it was at Ripley's Aquarium where I completed numbers 13 and 22 on my list.

Number 13: Play with a penguin in Gatlinburg, TN.
The penguin that we had our penguin encounter with was named Mo Mo. She is an African Penguin- meaning that she is a warm weather penguin and the species can be found on the Southwestern coast of Africa. 

We were able to pet Mo Mo and take pictures with her. 

Number 22: Paint with a penguin. 
After our penguin encounter, we were able to paint with her. I was expecting that we were going to be able to help paint, but the trainers said that if a penguin doesn't know who you are, then they can snap, causing some injury to your fingers or hands. So they had us sit in chairs next to the painting set up, and watch. We were able to pick out our colors- I picked pink and gold, Lil Man chose green and yellow- and the trainer used Mo Mo as a big stamp. 

The end result was an 8X10 canvas full of penguin footprints. 

After spending a few days in Tennessee, we decided to trek up to Powell, Ohio for two days before heading home. While in Ohio, we visited the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is according to Trip Advisor is the number 11 traveler's choice zoo in the US. And holy wow! That place is crazy ah-mazing! Director Jack Hanna designed the animal's exhibits to mimic their natural habits and ensure that the animals are happy. And they sure were. On our visit, most of the animals were out and bathing in the sun. We were fortunate to see a koala, kiwi birds, a Komodo dragon, Humboldt penguins, two Florida Manatees, red pandas, reindeer, giraffes, a wolverine, Mexican wolves, moose and more. Yes, I just said that I saw moose. Two to be exact. 

Number 12: Meet a moose at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, OH.
When I originally put the "meet a moose" on my list, I had wanted to get all up and personal with a moose. But after some research, I found out that they can be mean. Yeah... so I am just happy that I go to see two live ones - the bigger one is a female, and the lil one is a male- at the zoo. 

The zoo itself was pretty amazing and I would recommend that everyone go visit! 

After we returned home, a week later I went to get another tattoo. Ever since loosing Duce, I have been wanting to honor his memory in some way, and my solution was to get a tattoo. On my wrist. Which was a huge step for me. 

It's no secret that I have tattoos- I just don't have them in visible places. Until last month, I was a firm believer in the t-shirt rule; meaning that if I couldn't cover it with a t-shirt, then I wasn't getting it. Well, I broke my rule... 

Number 15: Get another tattoo
A paw print in memory of my beloved Duce (his collar was royal blue)

So there you have it, four more items completed on my thirty by thirty list. I am so grateful for my family and most of all for my husband for allowing me to do all the stuff mentioned above. I was the person who chose to go to Tennessee and Ohio for vacation and he just went along with it, to make me smile. I commend him for that.

I am also grateful that my son  was able to share the experience of coming face to face with a penguin with me. It's one of those once in a lifetime things and I really truly believed that he loved it almost as much as I did, if not more. One thing that I am defiantly sure of- he loved the vacation. He keeps asking if we can go down to the cabin again. On one hand, I wouldn't mind it, but on the other hand, I doubt that my husband would want to endure the 12 hour trip back down.

My updated list

(the ones I have completed are highlighted with a date after):

1) Experience love at first sight. (completed September 2010 when my son was born)

2) Marry someone that I am deeply in love with. (completed September 2009)

3) Swim in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean Oceans.

4) Take my son on a boat ride.

5) Finish a novel (publishing not required).

6) Go to New Orleans. (completed March 2012)

7) Meet a celebrity. (Completed September 2010)

8) Find a job that pays well, and that I love.

9) Have a baby! (completed September 29... His name is Gavin)

10) Read and finish book. (completed 2013.. Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy... what can I say)

11) Go to a Chicago Cubs game (2009), Chicago Bears, and a Chicago Blackhawks game.

12) Meet a moose at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, OH. (completed September 2015)

13) Play with a Penguin in Gatlinburg, TN. (completed September 2015)

14) Go to Las Vegas and see at least one show. (completed September 2009)

15) Get another tattoo. (completed September 2015)

16) Go to Niagara Falls.

17) Take a trip to Washington DC, and visit all of the monuments and museums.

18) Obtain a passport and take a trip to Canada.

19) Go apple picking in Michigan.

20) To have a blog following of 50 within the first 6 months. (completed February 2014)

21) To buy a house.

22) Paint with a penguin. (completed September 2015)

23) Own a DSLR camera and know how to use it.

24) Get my graduate degree. (completed May 2014)

25 ) Ride an elephant. (completed May 2014)

26) See Garth Brooks in concert. (completed September 2014)

27) Celebrate five years of being married with the man I love. (completed September 2014)

28) Ride a four wheeler. (completed August 2015)

29) Meet at least one blogger friend. (competed July 2014)

30) Break my addiction to cigarettes.

*Linking up with Ember Grey
 photo jenna-sue-new-signature_zpsevkylyn6.png

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