Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mehaffey - Howell Christmas Event

Erin and Aaron wanted to surprise Brad and me with a Christmas gift. Weeks ago, they told us to block December 13 out on our calendar and plan on spending the day with them. Other than this, all information was under high-security lock and key. Saturday afternoon, Erin finally gave me our first official instructions, "Meet us at 5:00, and dress cute but no heels." Easy enough.

The first (yes, only the first) thing we did was enjoy dinner together at the Shogun Japanese Hibachi Grill. The food was wonderful. Even though each couple split a meal, we all had enough to fill us for a week! Even after dinner was finished, the Howell's were vigilant to let no clues leak as to what the rest of the evening contained. Eventually, we noticed that we were driving onto Briley Parkway. I happily concluded that we were going to visit the Opryland Hotel to view their incredible Christmas Light display (for free). My suspicions were confirmed as we pulled into the (free) mall parking lot. I have to admit, I was a little smug that I had solved the puzzle. But, to Erin's joy, I had successfully been fooled.

They were taking us to the ICE show of the Grinch! Wahoo!! This is an entire building filled with various ice sculptures interpreting different scenes from Dr. Suess's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The sign boldly proclaims that it is 2 Million Pounds of Fun! I immediately regretted not wearing warmer shoes or a scarf, but thank goodness, each person was provided with a blue parka at the entrance. It was literally between 6 and 9 degrees in there! I'm talking freeeeeeezing! I guess that makes sense when you have to keep all 2 million pounds of that ice frozen. We thoroughly enjoyed the many giant depictions of the classic cartoon. We even got to slide down a massive slide made entirely from ice. It was so much fun! The ice really was slippery. I tried to stand on the ice platform for this photo op so that I'd be a little closer to the Grinch's face (and Brad's) and nearly fell on my rear. But don't worry. Brad grabbed hold of my insulated parka and held me securely for the picture. In the end, we were glad that Erin took lots of pictures within the exhibit, because if we had to purchase the one organized photo from the event, we would have had to shell out an outrageous $20! See boys, it does pay to take a gazillion pictures. :) (Thanks for letting me steal your pictures, Erin!)

There was still one final event included in our Christmas gift from the Howell's. After we thawed out from ICE, we headed to their house for some relaxing activities. We all enjoyed watching the classic Rudolph, while Erin and I masterfully constructed a gingerbread house. I have to admit, it was more difficult than I thought it would be (even from a kit), but I think it turned out pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. That's one more Christmas tradition checked off the list! And it is a great decoration in my house. To top off the whole Christmas gift of an evening, Erin had one more surprise up her sleeve. She had handcrafted a photo display tray for me. It's incredible, and I can't wait to put some of our great Christmas photos of friends in it before topping it off (over the plastic sheet) with some home-made (or store-bought) Christmas treats!

Pretty much, the Howell's are the greatest friends ever, and we had the best time of all time with them on Saturday. Thanks for the great Christmas gift of an entire day filled with activities!

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