So - over 2 years ago some awesome friends of ours (The Bensons) moved away to Tennessee. Mindy Benson was my roommate at Snow College for 2 years. There's something about living with someone and knowing all their quirks that helps you get real close. By some twist of fate, our husbands also get along fantastically. If you could see us hang out, you might think we're more family than friends.
Anyway, we've been trying to get out to see them since they moved - waiting for the right availability of time and money to get out there. Well, Jason had a few weeks off school and also had gotten a couple deals in, so we thought, hey, lets try. It was such short notice, I didn't think we'd get tickets. I did find some cheap ones, but by the time Jason got home to decide on it with me, they were gone. We had pretty much given up hope, after checking Priceline almost every day and making numerous bids. So, last Tuesday, I put in the typical bid & walked away. When I came back it said that our price had been accepted - and it was for the next day! So, you can imagine that it was a pretty crazy couple days getting everything ready to stay in Tennessee for a full week.
Since they were the bid-get-what-you-get tickets, the times were not fun. We flew out of SLC @ 2:30 on the 22nd and after a 3-hour-layover in Chicago (they actually had a really awesome Children's Museum there), we arrived in Charlotte, NC just after midnight. Brent met us there & off we went to Johnson City, TN. We got to their home about 3:30am and after getting the kids adjusted and the bags in, we got a few hours of sleep.
The ensuing 7 days were full of fun and memories. Some highlights include:
- Playing games (UNO, Phase 10, Scategories Cranium, charades, etc) EVERY night till 1 or 2 in the morning
- Eating like 2 gallons of their halloween candy.
- The Hands-On Museum with the kids
- Date night when we went out to eat at FATZ (yes, that is why there's an overweight problem down south) and tried fried green tomatoes for the first time and Brent decided to "splurge" and get some lemonade (of the pink persuasion :) - we also went and played a hilarious game of miniature bowling (we decided to try some variations to regular bowling - backwards, eyes closed, spin around 3 times, left-handed etc - Jason & Mindy almost inflicted collatoral damage on the eyes-closed version) - girls won! (hey guys- you still owe us!)
- Going to Pidgeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Spent about 3 hours at Ripley's Aquarium there - it was fun, huge, and amazing! Then we walked the streets in the freezing cold and got some shirts at a shop. There are some amazing things to see there!
- Going to their ward - watching Zach in his primary program, sitting by a woman who was an investigator. Lots of sweet people in their ward. McKinley went w/ Zach to his primary party.
- Driving up to a lookout point by Asheville & seeing the gorgeous fall colors.
- Jason, Brent & McKinley went to the Bristol Motor Speedway to check it out.
- Going to the Lollypop shop and reading the history of that store.
- Carving pumpkins.
- McKinley & Zach finally had a sleepover after about 4 tries.
- Staying up and talking about the economy.
- Fun to watch and play with their 5-year-old Zach, 10-month-old Sienna, and their dog, Trixie
- McKinley & Zach playing with his toads
- Games in the car to keep entertained on the long drives (especially Gatlinburg) - I SPY, WHO AM I?, ONE WORD MEMORY, and NAME THAT TUNE
- Watching Brent's "I'll go" line in the award-winning Brokeback... I mean Handcart movie :)
- Driving to Hickory & barely making it to the car rental place. Eating at O'Charly's.
- McKinley & Zach's kisses good-bye.
- Staying at "roach motel" that night - all sleeping in the same bed - waking up @ 5am the next morning for our flight.
Thanks for hosting us Bensons. Love you guys - We miss ya!
P.S. Brent - did you notice that your "check engine" light is on?