Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nashville Music is Where It's At!

There are so many reasons why we were excited to move back to Nashville this August... the best way to summarize it is that this is home. It's familiar. It's comfortable. It just feels right.

One of the details of the reasoning is the music. While Adam and I saw a few good shows while we lived in Indy, it's not like being home... music here is just second nature. You can go out downtown in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, and you'll hear good music. So finding lots of concerts to enjoy? Not a problem.

Within 2 days of being back, we were at a show at a local college of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, one of our favorite bands who are from TN. As in, they have a song called "Tennessee" that I set as my ring tone soon after we moved to Indiana.

A few short weeks later, we saw our first ever show at The Woods at Fontanel. It's a relatively new concert venue, and it didn't disappoint. We saw NeedtoBreathe, and it didn't even matter that we were sitting in the very back. The music was incredible, but the atmosphere made it a truly amazing evening. People here appreciate good music, and the vibe among the crowd at a good show is just epic.

It was sort of an unseasonably cool September day, so we bundled up in hoodies since it was an outdoor arena.

The Oh Hellos opened, and while I had never heard of them I knew I wanted to hear more before they were halfway through their set. Then, NeedtoBreathe took the stage and played an amazing list of songs. We sang along, we danced, and we just flat out enjoyed being home.

The only way this concert could have felt more like church would have been if it had been held at The Ryman. (Nashville concerts have a tendency to be like that... there is just a reverence for good music!)

It was pretty cool at the end when all of the confetti went flying! Even in the very back, it made its way to us.

My sister and her fella were at the show, so it was really fun getting to hang out with them all evening!

We've mapped out a few more concerts in the coming months, and I'm sure there will be others come up along the way. The crazy thing is that sometimes you can catch an amazing artist for free or for like $10 around here - so we're looking forward to seeing what comes up on the schedule!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wilson County Fair Fun

Back in August, we spent an evening at the Wilson County Fair. This fair is one of the best in the state (and definitely better than the TN state fair), and we were able to take Connor for the first time back in 2012... so we were excited to get to go again this year, knowing that we will be able to go every year now that we're living back in TN again!

Gram joined us as well, and we had such a fun evening eating fair food, playing games, checking out the vendor booths and riding some of the rides. Connor flat out loves these kinds of experiences! Part of our ideology on parenting is that kids need experiences - while we have no opposition to movies and video games, having both enjoyed these kinds of things growing up ourselves, we think balance is key. We want Connor to try new things and be exposed to so many types of activities whether it's riding on a boat on the lake, going roller skating or sitting on tractors at the county fair!

There was a giant fake potato, and Connor got a big kick out of it!

Daddy helped Connor play one of the games. We didn't win, but he enjoyed it!

He also got to check out a big military tank. This guy was so awesome, answering all of Connor's many questions about the vehicle.

It's only fitting this kid sit on a few tractors in his youth, even if he never has to drive one for any reason.

I love that this kid will be silly with me sometimes, like pretending like we used the outhouse!

We got him the wristband, and he rode the kid rides over and over!

Adam and me on the ferris wheel toward the end of the evening.

I don't have any sort of picture of it, but Connor rode both of the roller coaster type rides with us. I have always loved roller coasters (Adam, too!), and it's fun introducing him to them now that he is getting taller. Once he gets a few more inches on him, he should be tall enough for a lot of stuff at parks like Six Flags, and Adam and I cannot wait to take him to something like that to ride lots of rides together!

Little man fell asleep in the back seat within 5 minutes of us leaving the fair. It's always so much fun to see him having a blast at something we take him to do!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Anniversary Trip to Denver: Part 5

Monday was absolutely the best day of our trip to Denver, hands down!

We knew we wanted to see Estes Park and drive Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountain National Park when we first booked the trip. We decided to get up really early on our last day and drive to the western end and work our way back. We were in the car almost all day, and yet it felt like we were hardly in it at all.

The views were amazing, and we stopped so many times throughout the day of driving.  Seeing views like this one never gets old.

After about a 2-3 hour drive to the park entrance we wanted to find, we found the sign to snap a photo. I was thrilled there was a pole to set the camera on so we could use the self timer!

We loved stopping at all the little pull-offs to take in the views from the very beginning. This water in this little stream was so unbelievably clear and cold!

We got out for a while at one of the visitor centers to check out the gift shop and the views.

We climbed all of the way up there!

We continued along the way for several hours, stopping so many times to walk around a bit or climb up on rocks to see the amazing views. I just can't even explain how beautiful everything was and how my pictures just don't capture it!

We also found some more snow up there!

It's not an anniversary trip without a picture of yourselves kissing somewhere!

We made our way back down after about 6-7 hours of driving and exploring.

We wandered around Estes Park for a bit and had a late lunch before finding the sign for the town to take a picture.

By that time, we needed to head back to the airport to fly back. It had certainly been an amazing day in the mountains with my love, and we went home full of joy. I like to think that we're pretty good about celebrating our marriage year round, and even on the most mundane of days (cough - days we were stuck in the house because it was minus 40 with 18 inches of snow on the ground - cough cough)... but there's still just something so wonderful about being able to get away from "normal" and just connect, especially in a beautiful place like Colorado! It was an amazing first anniversary to celebrate an amazing first year of marriage!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Anniversary Trip to Denver: Part 4

On Sunday, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Golden, CO. We knew we wanted to tour the Coors Brewery - not that we really are all that into Coors, but it was sort of a "when in Rome" sort of thing.

Golden is definitely a neat little town, and we loved wandering around and exploring it a bit.

The tours at Coors are free, and we quickly found out why. It's not anything to write home about except for the "tastings" at the end. Instead of three dixie cups of beer, you get three large glasses of beer. That's definitely good business on their part, but I'd still think they'd do well to make the tour a bit more thorough than we found it to be.

We did discover they've recently started a cider beer called Smith and Forge that is delicious!

We had some lunch at a place called Bob's Atomic Burgers that was every bit as informal and delicious as it sounds. After exploring a few shops, we decided to drive toward Boulder by taking the least direct route possible. It ended up being a great decision as the drive was beautiful, and we stopped so many times along the way to check out the scenery.

We were literally driving on a one lane dirt road over a mountain at one point, and we stopped at almost every possible place to check out the views and enjoy the mountain air.

We eventually arrived in Boulder and were able to see the Flat Irons.

Everything was just so beautiful, and we had such a great time just exploring and driving around together. Some people are surprised we didn't do more hiking on this trip. It's certainly something we enjoy and would want to do if we're in the area again, but for this trip we really just wanted to enjoy hanging out together and driving the mountain back roads.

We grabbed a bite to eat and then spent the rest of the evening seeing a movie. We found an AMC and decided to try out their "fancy" experience. It didn't disappoint. Not only was there a bar in the lobby where we were able to get a big kid drink, the fancy theater had reclining leather chairs for us to sit in, the biggest screen I've ever seen and amazing surround sound. We opted to see Into the Storm, and the whole experience was just incredible! We don't have AMC in Nashville, so it was a nice little anniversary weekend treat to have such a luxury movie experience as this!

After the movie, we made our way back to Larae's to get some sleep before our last day in Colorado.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Our Anniversary Trip to Denver: Part 3

Saturday, August 9th - our first anniversary! It turns out we think alike, as we each had a card for the other to start the morning. In so many ways, we couldn't believe that a year had already passed.

After hanging out with Larae a bit more, we headed downtown for brunch. It definitely wouldn't feel like a celebration without mimosas, right?

After a delicious meal, we checked into The Oxford for the evening. Our room was gorgeous!

We wandered around downtown for a few hours before heading to the hotel spa for a couples massage. 

Y'all. This was hands down the best massage either of us had ever had in our lives. Maybe it's that we were incredibly tense as a result of buying a home and knowing we were a few weeks away from moving across 3 states for the second time in 2 years, but we both had knots that we thought would never go away. We walked out of there feeling like we were floating.

We cleaned up for dinner and then walked down the road to the Denver Chophouse, where we had an incredible meal! We both got steaks that were top notch, and we were treated to an amazing chocolate cake for dessert!

We ended the evening with cocktails in the hotel bar before getting a great night's sleep. We reminisced all day about our wedding day last year, all that the first year of marriage has brought us, and so much more. While we love to travel and sightsee, it was so perfect to use this day to just relax and splurge a little bit.  We really enjoyed the massages, the nice hotel room, dressing up for dinner, and just taking it easy away from our normal day-to-day world.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our Anniversary Trip to Denver: Part 2

On Friday, we were up early to head out on our day's adventures. We drove from Denver to Colorado Springs to ride the Cog Railway to the summit of Pike's Peak.

It was a gorgeous, warm day with a lot of sun and only a few puffs of clouds in the sky.

I can't say I've ever been on this kind of a train before, so it was pretty exciting!

The journey to the top takes about an hour and 15 minutes, and the pictures don't really do the views of the mountains any justice.

Before long, we could see Colorado Springs below us and knew we were almost to the top. Upon arrival, we were able to get out and wander around for a bit before the journey down again.

What was crazy is that it was all sunny and pretty as we neared the top, but within 3 minutes of getting off the train a cloud blew in and it was snowing! And hard! And the wind was cold! On August 8th!

Nonetheless, it was really neat being up there. It seemed sort of fitting that it snowed.

After the journey back down, we drove over to Garden of the Gods to explore. Again, my pictures just do not do the nature justice!

It actually looked like a storm was going to blow in the whole time we were out there, but fortunately it never rained or anything.

After we finished there, we explored Manitou Springs for a bit. Adam especially liked checking out the arcade with all of the old games.

We grabbed some food and then headed back home, where my friend Larae was back from a work trip. We spent the evening sipping some wine and chatting with her out on the deck before crashing after a super fun day!