This trip...it's just the best thing we've done as a family, ever. Not only do we get to go to so many places and see so many new things together, but we get to see so many friends and familiar faces, family members, and those very special friends who might as well be family members.
After leaving Chris' dad's house in Illinois, we headed to the outskirts of Cincinnati to see our friend Chad, who happened to be the best man in our wedding, his wife, a redhead named Rachel (excellent taste if I may say so...), and their adorable son Titus who is just 2 months older than Foster.
And then from there, we traveled to Johnson City, TN to see Suzy, who was my matron of honor in our wedding, and her family. She's married to Tim, and they have three boys who are spaced the same as our three, just a year ahead...which gave us a fantastic photo opportunity.
We've known Chad since college, and even lived with him on the road when we were touring in an RV, doing sketch comedy across the country. Not only was he Chris' best friend, but he became like a brother to me. While in Cincinnati, Rachel organized a sitter for all the kids, and the four of us were able to go into the city for a double date. We ate dinner at Bakersfield, which not only had some incredible gourmet tacos (I recommend the fish and short rib tacos), but their guacamole was fantastic! And remember, I've lived in Arizona for the past decade, so my Mexican street food standards are pretty high.
From there we ran through the pouring rain to try the Buzzed Bowl Creamery for a nitrogen frozen dessert/beverage. If you are anywhere within driving distance of Cincinnati, this is a must try! I had the Death By Chocolate customized dessert, which was a combination of chocolate flavor, chocolate vodka, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, and a brownie...it was heavenly. What do they do? "We use the Liquid Nitrogen process to flash freeze your customized dessert in a matter of seconds." It's not only entertaining to watch, but it's absolutely delicious.
On our last day there, we took the kids to the Cincinnati Zoo, which was a blast!
I met Suzy when we were 6 years old, living on the same street in Savannah, GA. We were instant friends, and not only were we inseparable, but she was the first person to ever bring me to church. The Bennetch's were a second family to me, and still consider me their "red-headed daughter."
My girls fell in love with Suzy from the start, and it was so special to watch our kids play together while we drank coffee and got caught up on stories again. Where Chad and Rachel share our love for food, Tim and Suzy share our love for adventure. We took the kids on a hike to Blue Hole Falls on Holston Mountain, where the scenery was beautiful and the water was freezing cold.
We also got a double date night, (thanks to a very brave babysitter!) and drove to Bristol, TN for dinner, donuts, and a not-your-average-game of mini golf. Suzy had a different challenge planned for each hold we played, including putting granny style, putting backwards, sitting cross-legged, and more. We laughed the entire night, and actually scored better the crazier the challenge.
I'm so very thankful for these two families, and all the new memories we created with them this summer, to add to the countless memories we already share. I only hope the time that passes from now until next time is brief, because I miss them already.