Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Fun with CJ!

Earlier in October, we planned a super fun weekend to enjoy some fall and Halloween festivities with Connor!

We started out with the fall festival in our neighborhood. It's so fun to be in a community where there is stuff like this available to residents. We quickly determined that if we were childless, it wouldn't be something we'd necessarily care about... but since we had Connor for the weekend of the event, we found it to be awesome for kids.

He had a blast playing with us in the inflatables...

He also got to check out some local police vehicles and fire truck...

And there were a few festive photo opportunities...

Later that day, we took him to Ghouls at Grassmere (the Nashville Zoo)! We got a membership here for the year, and we've already found it to be a great way to spend some time together as a family. Connor absolutely LOVES Halloween, and it was fun to take him to this event.  He has decided to be a grim reaper for Halloween, so we gave some of his costume a test run.

Family photo once we got to the zoo...

Playing some Carn-Evil games...

Riding the Scary-Go-Round...

There were a LOT of fun activities for kids at this event. He got to go trick or treating at about 20 booths, played about 10 different games, saw volunteers dressed up as his favorite super heroes, checked out the Monster Lab (where he got to touch silly stuff that was supposed to be scary stuff - he got a big kick out of it!), and walk through the Frightening Farm (a silly little haunted farm scene that he thought was super neat!)

Also that same weekend, we celebrated my mom's birthday with a special dinner at her favorite restaurant. Connor hadn't seen Nana and Papa for a few weeks (or Meredith) so he was excited to spend some time with them.

We have a new routine with CJ now that we're home, and it involves us taking him to school on some mornings. He had a special week at school where they got to have dress up days, and on one particular day he could wear a hat. He was pretty excited about wearing the Thor hat he picked out on hat day!

After all of the fun and excitement of the weekend, Adam and I planned a special date night, too! We had yet to go out to dinner for his birthday (which was back in early September!), and when we found a Groupon to The Melting Pot we decided it was time to make it happen. Adam had never been before other than one time we went and did just dessert there, so it was fun to go and have the experience together!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nashville Sports Fans

Adam and I both are born and bred Tennesseans. Whether our TN sports teams win or lose, we are incredibly loyal to them - so we're thrilled to be home and able to watch some of the local teams play!

Soon after returning to Nashville, we went to the Titans v. Cowboys game. Never mind that it was a terrible game and we lost - it was just fun to be back in the stadium.

A little later in the month, we got some free tickets to one of the Nashville Predators pre-season games. We went a bit early and met up with a staff member we met at the Preds Day we went to at the zoo to chat a bit, and he let us in to see the arena before anyone was in there - pretty neat seeing it empty!

I was pretty excited to wear my jersey for the first time! We got these for free a year and a half ago when we opened accounts with Fifth Third before moving to Indy, but we had yet to be able to go to a game to wear them to!

I love all the theatrics of a hockey game - from the team skating out through Gnash's mouth, to the music, to the super loud horn when the Preds score and the Tim McGraw song that plays.

What's really crazy is that this was the first time we'd ever gone to a Preds game together! They lost, but it was pre-season and clear that all of the rookies were playing. And we still had fun, so who cares?!

The night was still a bit young, so we walked over to Printer's Alley for a pint at Fleet Street Pub. We hadn't been there since we went the night we took our bridal portraits downtown... we stopped in that night, me still in my wedding gown, for a brew after several hours of smiling for photos all around town. We chatted a bit with some out of towners who were sitting nearby, and we laughed over how badly Tom Brady was playing in the Monday night game against the Chiefs before heading out.

On the way back to the car, we saw the sushi shop near the alley had closed. This place was known for being sort of like the soup place in the Seinfield episode about the soup nazi... Neither of us are big on sushi so we'd never been, but we heard that the abruptness of how one ordered there was sort of a fun experience. For us, it's just crazy to keep seeing all the things that have changed during the year and 8 months we weren't living here!

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!