Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

One of the things that I love about this time of year is that there are so many fun things to do! It can be a little hectic and busy, but I always feel like it's worth it.  Adam and I have of course been thrilled to be back in Nashville so that we could do more of our favorite things with our favorite people.

Early in December, we attended the Red Tie Gala benefitting Blood:Water Mission. This is one of our favorite charities, and it was pretty fun to have a reason to get dressed up! It was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the view of the Nashville skyline was incredible. We enjoyed a delicious meal, music from one of our favorite local artists Dave Barnes, and learned more about the work the cause is doing.

A little later in the month, my mom, sister and I went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry. As someone who danced for years, I was fascinated watching the Rockettes! The live nativity at the end was pretty cool, too.

On another evening, Adam and I joined some of our friends for a Christmas dinner at Silo. We love this restaurant, and we love the company we ate with even more! We also found out they had a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, so we splurged a little bit and tried a class. It was delicious.

Since we love being a host, we invited Adam's entire family to our house for the annual family Christmas gathering (always held a weekend or two before Christmas). We planned it on a weekend that Connor was with us, so everyone was tickled to see him. A lot of these folks hadn't seen him since our wedding!

In the midst of all of this, we've of course had work and normal day-to-day life... but there's just something fun about having the spirit of Christmas woven into our days. I love sitting by our Christmas tree as I get some work done, and I've been listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. We've even been able to watch a few favorites with Connor when he's been with us. We are really look forward to actual Christmas, too, but I love all of the activities and the atmosphere leading up to the big day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Race Report: Mt. Juliet Holiday 5K

Earlier this month, Adam and I completed his 2014 resolution to run at least one race per month during the year. We ran in the Mt. Juliet Holiday 5K!

This race precedes the Mt. Juliet Christmas parade, so it has a fairly late start of 11am. We had no complaints there!  We had picked up our packets on Friday evening so that we could show up just in time to race.

It was a bit windy, but otherwise it wasn't too terribly cold. The course was pretty hilly, so I was thankful we've been logging runs in our very hilly neighborhood. We ran pretty much the whole time, but we definitely kept it at an easy pace.

We were pleased to find hot chili at the post-race food in addition to fruit, chips and cokes. Ultimately, Adam won his age group! I was so proud!

I ended up placing 4th in my age group, and I totally could have placed if Adam and I had ran separately - but this resolution wasn't about placing or times or anything like that. It was about staying active, completing each month's race, and crossing both the start and finish lines of every race together.

We have some great memories of the 12 races from this year. Some were in the bitter cold and snow in Indiana. One had us running around the Indy Speedway. Some were back in our home in TN, and several were races that I have run every year for a few years.

We're considering what we'd like to do to stay active in 2015. I'm not sure it'll be the same goal of one race per month... we're considering our first triathlon, and I'd like to do a fall marathon (and there's no talking Adam into that!). So we shall see.

We hung out at home that afternoon before going to see the Preds play that night. Sadly, they lost - but we're still thrilled with how well the Preds are doing and hope to go to a few more games in the new year.

On Sunday, we continued to show our hometown pride and went to the Titans game. Adam is a BIG Titans fan (and I always support the home team), so we bought a 2-game pack back during the pre-season. They haven't been doing so hot, so we sort of knew going into it that it would be a rough game. Honestly, I was pretty excited to see Eli Manning play for the Giants as I love the Manning family! We made it until about half time and then decided we were cold and went home to watch the sad ending on tv. Here's to hoping for a good draft pick for next year!

All in all, we had a really fun weekend to kick off our December and all of our holiday activities!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ICE! and Dancing Lights - A Christmas Tradition

Every year, one of our Christmas traditions is to spend time with Gram going to ICE! at Opryland and then driving through the Dancing Lights nearby. We decided this year that since Connor was with us for his Thanksgiving break, we'd go then so that we have more time over Christmas break for other things.

On Sunday, Gram came over so that Connor could show her all of our Christmas decorations.

He was SO excited when she told him our plans for the day, and then we hopped in the truck and headed to Opryland.  Our first stop was ICE! This year's theme is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We are always amazed at how they carve these amazing pieces of work as well as how colorful they are able to make them. Connor also especially loves the slides!

This year, they added an Ice Bar for the adults. Adam and I decided to check it out and enjoyed a tasty mix of Maker's Mark and cranberry juice.

We always make sure to get one of the photos of all of us from the outing. It's so fun to compare them each year, especially seeing how much Connor has changed.

After we finished there, we went over to the mall to visit Santa! He has a great spot in the Bass Pro Shop, and they give you free photos!  We decided to hop in one of them with him, too!

We grabbed some dinner at T. G. I. Fridays and then went over to see the Dancing Lights! One of the local campgrounds always has this light show where you drive through (rather, you barely inch through it... it takes 30 minutes), listening to music that the lights are set to through the radio. We always think it's pretty neat, and Connor loves it when he's able to watch through the sunroof. It was a really nice evening at 65 degrees, so we had all the windows down so that we could see well.

As usual, little man loved it!  It was a great day, and it was a perfect end to our Thanksgiving weekend festivities!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Decorating for Christmas!

On the day after Thanksgiving, we set to work decorating our home for Christmas. I was pretty excited since this is our first Christmas in our new home. We bought a new tree (and on sale half off!), and we picked up some other odds and ends like a wreath and some stockings. Once Connor was up, we got busy hauling everything out from the attic and finding the perfect place for everything.

Once we got everything done, I think little man was pretty pleased with how it all turned out. I know I was!

Friday evening, we were super excited to have my best friend Stephanie and her husband and son over for dinner! We haven't seen them since the day he was born last year, and we definitely haven't spent much time with them since our wedding festivities. It was so great to see them while they were in town for Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, we did the rest of our Christmas shopping and then got some of the presents wrapped up. Connor was excited to wrap the gifts he helped pick out! We also picked up a few more ornaments and got them on the tree, too.

We spent the rest of the evening curled up on the couch watching Elf! It was a perfect two days spent kicking off the Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Part 2

Little man slept in after our big night out at the Preds game, and then I took him on an afternoon date to take care of some Christmas presents for some folks. After dinner, we dropped him off for a sleepover with Gram. He was so excited to get to spend the night in her new home for the first time!

After we got back on Thanksgiving morning from the Boro Dash, Gram, Connor, Nana and Papa all came over for the day. We were really excited to host the holiday for the first time in our own home!

Adam got the turkey going first thing, and over the next few hours everyone worked on other sides.

Papa's birthday was the day before, so we were able to give him his birthday present. Connor was pretty excited to give him a picture he worked on for him before they got there, too!

We also had fun playing with Meredith's new kitten, Leo. Nana and Papa brought him over since they were cat sitting for the weekend.

Before long, it was time to eat! We were really proud of how well the turkey turned out, and the spread we enjoyed was delicious!

We relaxed for a bit after we ate until we were ready for dessert. Before long, everyone else had to head back home. All in all, it was a successful first Thanksgiving in our home!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Part 1

So earlier in November, we took Connor to his very first Nashville Predators hockey game. He loved it, and he told us he wanted to go again sometime.

When we found out that Kids Club members (something we signed him up for) would be able to go on the ice and take a shot at the game on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, it was a no brainer to get some tickets to go.

It took him a few minutes as we were all getting on our Preds gear for him to realize what we were doing, but he was so excited once he figured it out!

He must have talked 90mph for the first period of the game! It's SOOOO cute how he takes cues from us on when to cheer, when to fuss about the refs (don't worry - we keep it clean of course!) and so forth.

We definitely were having a ton of fun together even though it was a close game and we weren't sure if we would win.

After a little while, we could tell little man was getting pretty tired. He did have a busy day at school after all! Nonetheless, when they went into overtime, we explained how this was a big deal and how our opponent (the Kings) had been the Stanley Cup winners last year. He got pretty excited, and he was even more excited when we got to see a shoot out!

Ultimately, the Preds won in the shoot out, and he was just as excited as us! We made our way downstairs to get in line for the kids to go out on the ice. He definitely perked up even more when he realized what he was going to get to do! It was so cute watching him head out on the ice and take a few shots, scoring a goal on his third try!

He was still pretty excited when we got in the car and was telling us how much fun he had watching the game and shooting a goal of his own. However, within about 5 minutes he was konked out.

We let him sleep in the next morning since we kept him out a bit later.  Even though he didn't have school Wednesday, he had still gotten up on Tuesday at 6am and been at school all day... so we knew he was worn out.  It always cracks me up when I walk into his room and find him like this.

All in all, it was a super fun way to kick off his Thanksgiving break!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Race Report: Boro Dash

On Thanksgiving morning, Adam and I crossed off our November race at the Boro Dash 4-Miler in Murfreesboro!

This was our second year in a row to run this race together, and my fourth year in a row to run in it altogether. It was MUCH warmer than last year, but it was sleeting off and on while we were out there. The crazy thing is that after spending a miserable winter in Indy, our perspective on the cold has changed and it really didn't seem so bad.

The fun thing for us about this race is that it starts and finish at MTSU - the university we both attended, and where we met on Adam's very first day there in 2003.

This race is well organized so I don't have any complaints. At the same time, it's a pretty standard race and there's not really anything to highlight either.  We always enjoy running into some friends when we're out there, and we loved that the course was really flat.

Last year we ran a 41:04 on one of the coldest days I've ever raced in within the state of TN. (To note, my PR for this distance on this same course is 34:46.)  We were pleased with that between the cold and our lack of training, but we definitely hoped we could beat it this year.

We've been running somewhat regularly around our neighborhood, which is VERY hilly. I knew that going from the hills to flat would serve us well, even if we hadn't been running as much mileage as one would hope.

We felt great, and the only walk breaks we took were while drinking water. Ultimately we crossed the line in 40:05. Had I realized sooner we were going to be so close to breaking 40 minutes, I totally would have pushed Adam so we could get across the line a little faster. Nonetheless, we were pleased!

We didn't hang around long since it was starting to sleet more, and we weren't sure if the weather and roads might start getting bad. Plus, we were hosting Thanksgiving and needed to get home to get the turkey in the oven and let Gram and Connor know to head over. (He spent the night with her since we were running the race.)

All in all, it was a great start to our Thanksgiving! I love running a race on this day, and the Boro Dash is always a great one! It makes me really happy to have my husband joining me now for this tradition!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

World's Largest Treehouse

This summer, Gram came across the alleged world's largest treehouse in Crossville, TN. She's been wanting to take Connor to see it ever since, and we finally found a good Saturday to make the drive out there to check it out.

It's definitely pretty neat! He really enjoyed exploring the many, many levels. It was built by a minister and has a chapel along with a lot of cool little spots throughout. Adam even went all the way to the very top and rang the bell. We also enjoyed the big swing!

It was a pretty cold day, and there had been a little bit of snow overnight. We definitely bundled up, and we probably would have stayed a little longer if it hadn't been quite so cold. Nonetheless, we were there for about an hour or a little longer, and he definitely got to check out every nook and cranny!

Technically, this place is closed to the public due to codes and stuff, but the owner built it with the intention of letting anyone come see it who wants to and for free. There was a another family there when we were exploring who knows the owner and said it's not a problem for folks to come check it out. We're really glad we got to take Connor to see it, especially since there's always a chance the powers that be could make him tear it down!

Here are some photos from our exploration: