It's good to go away, but it's better to come home. (Although, I could do without the kids running crazy through the house after enduring a 7-1/2-hour van ride; that isn't my favorite way to be welcomed home.) We had a lovely time of it. 2008 was the Year of Too Many Family Vacations at our house. Steve and I have decided that instead of a family vacation this summer, we are going off by ourselves this time--it's enough already.
We stayed in an uber-fine cabin in a resort called Gatlinburg Falls. Really, really nice. One of the highlights of the trip was the hot tub. We enjoyed that almost as much as the amusement park-kiddie-land thingy (the kids might argue this point). Now, for those of you who might be confused, hot tub with just a couple vs. hot tub with four kids are entirely different experiences. With kids in tow, it's more like a boiling hot, really small, incredibly crowded swimming pool. There's screaming and splashing and 'swimming' which involves pushing off from one side to the other while dragging across everyone else in the 'pool' (with lots of commentary about how mommy needs to shave because her legs are prickly. Hey, thanks. Like I haven't had enough to do already.)
The funny story about the hot tub was one night we got in twice in the same day. The swim suits hadn't quite dried out, so I suggested that the kids just get in in their birthday suits. Carter and Lily shucked out of their clothes and into the water faster than you could say 'naked babies', but E Squared informed me that there was no way in the whole universe that they were going "skinny diving" under ANY circumstances. Especially not with Carter and his Joe the Plumber in there with them.
(Yes, my son calls his program "Joe the Plumber". And yes, I know where he gets it from--he's his father's child all the way.)
Let's see...Tuesday was in the road. We got to the cabin at around 4:00-ish, checked in, and I got everyone settled and went to the grocery store (which is a program unto itself--there is a subtle art to vacation shopping for meals).
On Wednesday, we rode into town and shopped at all of the little touristy shops. We bought various junk items, hot sauce, fudge, caramel apples, books, toys, and this and that. We enjoyed driving around looking at the Christmas lights (honestly, I probably enjoyed it because I wasn't the one driving in the insane traffic). Well, we enjoyed it until the screaming started from the back about what constitutes an actual "Christmas Song" vs. just a "Song That Sounds Christmasy".
Case in point: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer isn't a true "Christmas Song" according to the Shortie Handbook because only songs about Jesus are Christmas Songs, not songs about reindeer with hazard-flashing noses. Okay then. glad we cleared that up.
On Thursday, we traveled back into Knoxville to eat Thanksgiving dinner with Steve's older brother, Big Ed and his lovely wife, Teri. We enjoyed a huge spread and played Wii for a couple of hours. Kids running to and fro, dogs running to and fro, people stuffed full of smoked turkey and ham sleeping on sofas, time with family...it was a great Thanksgiving. We got back home in time for board games and the hot tub yet again (no skinny diving this time).
Friday, we spent the day riding the Big Woody Go-Karts and various amusement park rides. Even Lily rode with me in the go-karts like a Big Girl. She squealed and screamed and yelled "Faster! Faster!" and "We're gonna win, Mommy!" at every turn. She had more fun than anyone in the entire state of Tennessee.
The house we stayed in had one of these four-in-one arcade games with Frogger, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and Ms. Pac Man. The Husband and I enjoyed this more than the kids did for sure. Took me back to Friday nights at the Putt Putt Golf in Hoover, Alabama and cruising Hoover Square with my Big Hair going and the top down on the VW with a little Violent Femmes in the tape deck. Wicked.
We Johnsons are a competitive people, but perhaps we have finally settled the Great Gaming Debate (for 2008 anyway). I decisively waxed The Husband in air hockey. Won two out of three games 10/9 and 10/9. :-) (He would argue the use of 'decisive' in that sentence, but his team lost to my team today 36-to-0 and he called that a 'close call', so you be the judge.) And as if that weren't enough fabulousness for one long weekend, we rode home to the sounds of the Crimson Tide stomping the Auburn Tigers into the field. Perfect.
All-in-all, a good Johnson Trip. Well, for most of us.