The last weekend in February has been long awaited for my family: it was time for a Gatlinburg getaway to celebrate Mom’s birthday!
Dad began planning the trip a couple months ago, and we originally assumed Nathan wouldn’t be able to go. We got the best surprise Wednesday night when he found out he had Friday off – meaning he would be able to make it after all!
The whole gang was there. Me and Nathan met Mom and Dad in Georgetown on Thursday night where we enjoyed catching up and watching (sort of) the debate. Then we got up bright and early and took off for Nashville to meet everyone else. Dad and Nate picked up Ali and Luke from the airport while Mom and I went to see Ted’s house. It was my first time seeing it (wayyy overdue!) and it was so cool. I wish I’d been as cool as he was in college! Plus I got to hear about his awesome finance exam, which he totally aced last week. (Yay bubs!)
When everyone else arrived, the fun really started. I was so thrilled to see Ali and Luke. Even though it’s only been a couple months since we were together at Christmas, that’s a long time when it’s your best friend and you’re a plane flight away. Plus, there’s been a lot of changes over the last couple months (my job, for one…) so there was a lot to catch up on. Luckily, we had a nice three-hour drive to Gatlinburg to chat away 🙂
Mom and Dad got Oma and Paul on their way to Gatlinburg, so we all met at the cabin around dinnertime. (The cabin, called High Five, was absolutely perfect for all of us, and it had a great view of the Smokies!) Mom did an amazing job preparing food for the weekend, and the first night we had BBQ, sweet potatoes, green beans, and then cookies for dessert. Oma also brought donuts from the Donut Palace in Tullahoma – our favorite! – so we had some of those too. It was a great start and so nice being together.
After staying up late and talking, we all slept in a little on Saturday before beginning Mom’s birthday with a nice big breakfast. We made omelets in a bag (so cool and easy – great for a crowd!), and Mom also had grits, sausage, zucchini bread, and fresh fruit. It was all delicious and great fuel for a day full of fun.
We spent the morning exploring Gatlinburg. The candy shop was neat with tons of different kinds of sweets. I love when you get to see them making the stuff in the store. But my favorite part was watching Mom, Nate and Luke do a whiskey tasting. Mom told the guy pouring drinks that it was her birthday and they had so much fun with her! By the end of the tasting the whole crowd had told her happy birthday and she’d earned a nickname: P double T! We laughed so hard and had so much fun.
Then it was off to a hike! We had a picnic lunch together before braving what ended up being an icy, steep climb. Oops! It was a beautiful view at the top, but still a pretty strenuous climb for February. It made us appreciate hot showers afterward even more.
Mom’s birthday dinner was lasagna, garlic bread, winter salad (one of my favorites), and asparagus. All of it was absolutely delicious, especially when it’s followed by German chocolate cake! We all enjoyed being together, watching Mom open her presents, and playing a round of Battle of the Sexes afterward. Oma and Paul really brought the competition with that game! I think the boys ended up winning…we’ll need a rematch next time.
Sunday morning we all packed up to leave. We had a long drive back to Indy but it was so worth it getting to see everyone and be together in one place. I feel completely restored after spending time with them. Now that we’re all older and in totally different cities, it really makes you cherish weekends like this. Thanks for aving a birthday so we had an excuse to hang out, Mom! And happy birthday, too 🙂