Saturday, April 2, 2011

We're Off to See the Jimmer...

We love March Madness. It is one of our favorite times of year! Kent's family even has an annual bracket competition, with the winner receiving the travelling plaque with their name added to it! We have a lot of fun watching the games and having some mad fun!

Well, for those of you who don't know, one Jimmer Fredette of the BYU Cougars has been the talk of all basketball-dom this season, and for good reason! He is the rockstar of basketball, and he helped take BYU to the Sweet 16 for the first time in like 30 years or something! The night they beat Gonzaga to make it to the Sweet 16, we were watching the game with my brother Ki and one of my best friends Krista. We were all so pumped by the excellent win, that we got to thinking, "How cool would it be to be there?!!? I wonder how much it would cost? Where are the games? New Orleans? How long of a drive would that be...wait, they actually HAVE tickets for a decent price!?!?? LET'S GO!!!!!!!!" And so, on a very spontaneous whim, we bought four tickets to the Sweet 16s and Elite 8 in New Orleans, did some rocky financial guesstimates, and planned our trip! Sadly, a couple days later, Krista had to cancel--but she did get to go see her hubby TJ pole vault for BYU AND visit her family in California! Not to mention she got to fly....good trade! 
The night the madness really started. Plus the fantastic bracket Krista and TJ printed for us!
The March Madness cookies we made one night with Krista!

So the night before we left we scrambled to find a replacement die-hard, semi-crazed Jimmer fan to join our cause. We found Kent's sister, Raelene, mother of 6! Her wonderful husband recognized the once in a lifetime fabulosity of the situation and convinced her to join us in our venture! So last Tuesday night, around 10pm, we embarked on a very long, very long, very roadtrippy roadtrip! Kent and I have made several cross country trips together, and, despite all sensibility, we LOVE them! Something about striving to keep each other awake while jamming out to classics like N'Sync, Tim McGraw, Wicked, Backstreet Boys, and EFY just makes my day. We drove about 20 hours through the night, and arrived at Kent's other sister, Natalie's house around 6 or 7 pm! Despite the long time in the car (Kent drove from 10pm-2am, I drove from 2am-6pm...both very tough shifts) then Ki drove a ton during daylight and Kent and I finished off with a couple shorter shifts, we were SO excited to see our ADORABLE nieces and nephew!!!!! Kent and I spent the evening running outside and "chasing" the girls on their bikes, and playing games with them inside. Then, in honor of old times, my brother-in-law Josh and I busted out the Rockband (last year when Natalie was pregnant with Jake and on bedrest, I spent a month with them helping take care of the girls, and Josh and I ended almost every night with hours of Expert-level Rockband!!! Loved it! We also, of course, enjoyed some one-of-a-kind Blue Bell ice cream....Yum!!! The only down side to this visit was that it was SO short! We love you Natalie and Josh and family and only wish we were closer!!!!!
Our adorable niece Ally singing her Taylor Swift, complete with her own choreography!
So Thursday morning we got up and were back on the road for another 8 hours...destination, the Big Easy! The drive was really fun...scenic and of course, musical. (Did I mention Kent and I LOVE to jam out to music when we are driving?) We got to our hotel (We stayed at a Wyndham timeshare of Raelene's, thank you!!!), checked in, painted up, and headed to the games! I painted a giant "Y" on Ki's chest, with "Jimmer 32" on his back. He, Kent, and I dyed our hair blue, and I put mine up in a sweet awesome cone! Needless to say, we were a sight and people actually asked to take pictures WITH us there...yes, even a couple Florida fans!!! The game was amazing, complete with an overtime! Sadly, we lost it in OT, with the help of some awful reffing, lopsided calls, and an all around off night on our part. But WE MADE IT TO THE SWEET SIXTEEN AND WE GOT TO SEE IT IN PERSON!!!! And thanks to Ki, we even got to ditch our nosebleed seats for a large chunk of the game and sit second row behind the Cougars!!!! Such a fun time! We stayed for the second game, which was a blowout and I really didn't pay much attention to. Ki found solace in someone's leftover fries they left on the ground behind us and declared them his "comfort food." That made my night right there. Ki was able to sell our Elite 8 tickets that night, so we decided to spend the next day in the city, and then head home. Before heading to bed that night, Ki and I went to the hotel's gym to burn off some frustration, and I ran 3 miles at 2am!!
"You got Jimmered!" The road trip crew!
"I made Kent a sign that said, "I quit my job for this!"In honor of him moving on from Craig's Cuts to teaching!!! Go Mr. Nixon!
We are big fans!
So we weren't the only die-hards from the Nixon family! Uncle Clair and his sons John, David, and Tim Nixon, our brother-in-law Josh, and us all met up at the half! We did win the prize for longest drive though!
Blue's the new blond...haven't you heard?

Friday was a fun day. We toured New Orleans and ate some good food, and enjoyed some time by the pool.    The only thing I can say is that should you ever go to New Orleans, AVOID BOURBON STREET AT ALL COSTS!!! It made the strip in Vegas seem mild, and we couldn't get out of there fast enough. After that though we did have fun running around. Kent and I even frolicked a little and did some impromptu swing dancing in public! We also took a few pics with some bums....all for the cause of fun. We got some sweet foot massages at one of those foot places that have the pictures of all your organs located in your feet. Really weird, but felt oh so good! We also were lucky enough to come across the most amazing band of these young jazz banders jamming on the street! They played nonstop for about an hour and were incredible! We also enjoyed the random drunk man dancing to the beat in the middle of the street, haha. We ended the evening with our trolley ride back to our neck of the woods, and a delicious dinner at a favorite that Kent and I had discovered last time we were in New Orleans, called Cheesecake Bistro. SO Delicious! Kent, Ki, and I went swimming that night, then headed to bed early (well, everyone but Ki, who had a boatload of homework!). We got up Saturday morning a 3am and left for our would-be 23, turned out to be 29 hour trek home. 
Skyline view atop our hotel
Posing with the silver man as he takes his smoke/beer break! He made $23,000 last year with his act!
Ki and Kent being "abstract" like the sculpture
Frolicking and whatnot in New Orleans

Music was in the air, so we took advantage. We even got cheered on by passers by!
Note the bums we are trying to impersonate? They thought WE were crazy! Haha, so fun!
View from the pillars of the Mississippi! We almost got wet!
Karate Kid...ish?
Lost in Love
Such a cool tree!
Family shot!
Amazing street Jazz band!
And a foot massage to top it all off!

Kent and I started off the drive alternating about every four hours, while Ki caught up on some missing sleep. Then Ki took a turn and we recognized his true calling in life--doing anything that requires you to stay up for insane hours with a severe lack of sleep! Ki drove for something like 9 hours on Saturday non stop and with no problems! It was amazing! Not to mention he shaved quite a bit of time off our arrival time! Things were going splendid most of the day! Around 1 or 2am on Sunday morning, we decided to take a 24 mile, 30 minute detour to see the Four Corners (we've ALWAYS wanted to go there!) The best part: when we arrived, IT WAS CLOSED! Who knew? Apparently they are only open 8am-5pm, so for any of you ever hoping to see the Four Corners, go during business hours! We just laughed, took pictures by the closed sign, and continued our journey. 
THE FOUR CORNERS!!!! After hours, Ha!

I drove for a good part of the wee hours of the morning, until about Price, UT where it started snowing pretty hard. I pulled over and had Kent switch me once the roads started getting pretty packed. As we made our way past Price along Spanish Fork Canyon, the weather got intensely worse, until it was a full on blizzardy white out!!!! It was so bad that Kent was staying on the road only by trying to stay on the rumble strip; that way we could assume we were in the middle of the road and not too close to the looming drop-off that was way too close for comfort! Finally, we decided to say a prayer. Literally as I was finishing asking Heavenly Father to please guide us to know what to do so that we could return home in safety, and saying Amen, we noticed lights reflecting in our rear view windows!

We had been the ONLY car on the road....and I mean the ONLY car! But as we closed our prayer, this truck with 4WD and better lights than us came out of nowhere (straight from Heaven!) and passed us to let us follow them. We were so relieved to have company out there, and recognized the answer to our prayer, and the tender mercy of the Lord. After only about a tenth of a mile though, the weather worsened even further and both of our vehicles were forced to stop completely. We waited for about ten minutes, but then finally decided to call 911. We were stuck in the middle of the road and didn't want to risk a plow truck not seeing us in time or something like that! 911 thanked us for making them aware of the road conditions, and just told us to be careful! Eventually, after almost an hour, we were able to inch our ways forward until we reached the summit and a gas station were several semi trucks and other vehicles were stuck as well. We waited there awhile, until a few cars started making their ways down the canyon. So we decided to just take our time and follow the tracks that had been left. Going between 5-10 miles per hour, it ended up taking us nearly 4 hours to make it the 39 miles to I-15!!!! So close, but SO far!!!!! So instead of arriving home at our original time of 4:30 am, we got home just after 8am. But, we GOT home! We were grateful for Heavenly Father's guidance and protection. And looking back, what an adventure! Having made it home safe, we really did have a fun time...what better way to end a road trip of insanity anyway, right?
Yes, THIS is some of the blizzard we were in, and that is the truck that saved us!

So, just after 8am, Sunday morning, and here was the start to my Sunday of Sundays:
I unpacked, put dinner in a crockpot, showered, and got ready. I left for my 10 and 10:30am appointments for visiting teaching, then went to my 11am Ward missionary meeting/visits. At noon I met with a girl from my Ward to practice our musical number for that day, then went to Ward Choir. At 1, Church started, and I accompanied on the piano my friend who played the oboe for the musical number. I was then asked to help teach Sharing Time in Primary for 2nd and 3rd blocks, which I did and which went well. After Church, Kent and I had Temple Recommend Interviews, then headed home in time for Kent to head back out for a Scout meeting. I finished getting dinner ready, and then did a mad dash to get the house in some kind of order, just in time for my grandparents (Oma and Opa) and Kent's Grandmother and Granddad to come over for dinner! We had a wonderful visit with them, and after they left, I'm pretty sure I collapsed. We are both still recovering from a crazy awesome week last week. Sadly, since I work at Primary Children's with kids all day, and Kent has been substitute teaching with kids all day, we inevitably got sick this week. But we are recovering and having the time of our lives still. 

So, there you have it...yet another crazy adventure to add to our Wonderful Life together! Have a wonderful General Conference weekend everyone! I LOVE Conference and hearing the inspired words of our Prophet and those who serve with him! 

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