Last month we took a trip to Tennessee to visit Sam's sister and her family and I am finally getting around to posting about it. We had a blast. Sam's sister Rachel has 2 boys the same age as Henry and Miles (I know I am using the names again, I keep going back and forth about it all, maybe I'll change it again later) and they play and get along really well with my 3 boys so we went down to visit and let the boys all play and check out Tennessee. First off, Tennessee is beautiful. I didn't expect it to be so green and hilly like here, it looks really similar, except the trees are deciduous, which probably makes their Fall even more gorgeous. We got there on a Tuesday afternoon after a very LONG day of airplane travel. I won't go into too many details except to say we had to get up at 3:40 am to catch our plane and it all went downhill from there until we landed in Tennessee. I now have some seriously funny (funny now, not funny at the time) stories about traveling, all experienced first-hand by yours truly. Tuesday night Sam's sister Rachel had a girl's night out planned with some of her friends. We went to a little club-type place in Nashville on music-row I believe they call it. One of Rachel's friend's husband is in a band and we went to see their show.
Here are the girls. Top row, l to r: Rachel (my sister-in-law), Allie, Laura, Kathy, Amber, Jill, and Katie. Bottom row: Kendra, me, and Munni. We had a blast! The band played until after 2 in the morning and we danced the night away. The girls were so fun. It was crazy having a bunch of married mormon moms out there all dancing away (some even got hit on and swatted on the behind - that was a bit awkward to say the least), but it was the funnest way to start my trip to Nashville. (The show and the dancing that is, not the behind swatting and yes I know funnest is not a word, but "best" and "most fun" just didn't quite do it for me) The band's name is Savannah Jack and they put on a great show.
The boys spent a lot of the time playing in Rachel and Jason's backyard driving around in the jeep, (Drool! I never even got to see one of those close up as a kid)
and playing in the water feature (which included disassembling it several times, throwing every toy and book they could find in it, peeing in it, and drinking out of it - in that order unfortunately. Did I mention that there were 5 boys all playing together that week?)
A couple of times we went swimming in a community pool nearby that Rachel's friend Munni so kindly let us use her pass to.
Kincaid had a blast and is getting more and more confident in the water. Miles wasn't minding the water and sunshine combo either. I'm pretty sure he was thinking "I could get used to this."
We also went to the Nashville zoo where we had a real southern meal including catfish, crawdads, cornbread, and good old red beans and rice. We also got to see the Opryland Hotel and the Opryland mall. The Opryland hotel was amazing! If I remember correctly it was 3 separate hotels that are connected by a huge arboretum. It had a river running through it that you could take a boat tour on. It had waterfalls and gardens and I don't even know how many restaurants. While we were walking around we saw 3 separate weddings going on.
You could stay at that hotel and go nowhere else and have plenty to do, look at and eat for quite awhile without having to go anywhere else.
Here are the 5 boys in front of one of the waterfalls.
This is my nephew Jacob and I watching the water fountain. If you catch it at the right time it does "shows" where they'll play music and shoot the water to go with it, similar to the fountain in downtown Seattle; it shoots up 200 feet sometimes (at least that's the number I remember).
We took the boys for ride on the carousel in the Opryland Mall. (It is really hard to get good carousel shots, what with all the crazy lighting and movement issues)
Back at the house the boys had fun and bonded, not only with their cousins Jacob and Seth, but with their dog George, too. They would play with him, try to feed him (Kincaid would ask to give him his dog food, Henry would just share his popsicles and other treats, lick by lick, mmm... ) It helped my boys get over their fear of dogs, it was great. Here's Caid and George having a moment.
At night after the boys were down we would stay up and talk, eat, and play Settlers of Catan (watch out Sammi, Rodney, Amber, and Wes, we might even be competition now). Rachel is an awesome cook and we had so much good food. I got a few new recipes to try at home, mmm...
On our last day in Tennessee Sam took a tour of Franklin, where the battle of Franklin and some other civil war historic things took place, while Rachel and I took the boys to Pump it up. It was nice to tire them out before strapping them in for a 6 hour plane ride. Here is Seth giving Miles a ride around the room. Miles was a little less excited about this idea than Seth was.
We went back to their house and finished packing and loading up and Henry got cozy and took a nap. (yep, that's George's bed. I don't know if he was really that tired or he was just getting his last moments of George time in.)
Here are all the boys just before we left (some of them were a little worn out, as you can see). They all did so well together and had so much fun. We all did. Thank you so much Rachel and Jason for all you did to make the trip so wonderful. We had a great time. And although we may not be moving there (any time soon :), we would love to come again soon.