The final real stop on our way to Pennsylvania, was Nashville, Tennessee to visit one of my best friends, and my old college roommate, Pamela. I was beyond excited to get to spend a few days with her and her family. And so Sunday morning, we went to sacrament meeting, and then we checked out of the condo and hit the road. And we drove through the entire state of Alabama, from the bottom to the top. It felt like it took forever, and the road reminded me of driving in Georgia - solid trees on either side of the road, like you are driving through a tunnel. We were all bored, and at one point, I looked in the mirror to see that Arthur had snagged the bag of chips and had eaten all the rest of them. Lily had to take a picture :).
We arrived at their home in time for Sunday dinner, which was delicious, but mainly, it was good to be with such good friends. Any time Pamela and I get together, it is like no time has passed since we have seen each other, and since we have know each other for twenty years, she knows so much of my life and history. We stayed up super late talking, and it was so fun.
The next day, we went out to see some of the town with them. First, we visited the Parthenon, an amazing recreation of the original one in Greece.
Lily was so excited about it, especially because of how much she loves the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson books, and it did not disappoint. Lily was very sad to see that the museum was closed on Mondays though, but we didn't mind, especially because it was in a beautiful city park that we got to explore.
And I think the younger kids much preferred getting to play at a park, instead of going in a museum. They played and played, in spite of how crazy hot and humid it was outside.
They even had a cool old steam engine the kids could look at. Technically they weren't supposed to use it as a playground and climb on it, but it was hard to stop them :).
After the park, we went to Soulshine Pizza, a favorite of Pamela and Cliff's. It was so delicious - like really, really good. I wish they had them everywhere.
After lunch, we took the kids to the Discovery Science Center, and they loved it. Tons of things to touch, play with and experiment with, and I loved the fabulous view of the city. Nashville is a beautiful place. We even got tickets to a show at the planetarium, which all the kids loved, but all the parents used as a chance to take a nap. I just gave in and let myself sleep in the cool, dark room :).
Chasing Arthur around, even taking turns with Kevin, was exhausting, but he had a blast. Arthur especially loved the Magic School Bus, since he loves watching the show on Netflix :).
Lily and Derek's favorite parts were all the cool experiments.
They even got to simulate walking on the moon, and they had so much fun! Lily looked like she was trying to fly like Peter Pan, and Derek kept swinging himself back and forth.
After the museum, the kids were wiped out, and so were we. We got them some dinner, and then Cliff's mom, Terrie, came over to help with the kids so we could go on a double date. Our first stop was at Hattie B's, so we could get some famous "hot chicken." I didn't get my chicken hot, since I am a wimp when it comes to spice, but it was so good!
After dinner, we wandered around downtown Nashville, walking past all the Honky Tonks with live music pouring out their doors. We had two awesome finds - a Savannah Cany Kitchen - what?! Can we say Prailines? I think so :). And we found the coolest boot store - buy one pair, get two free (granted, the first pair may be $500-$600). And their boots were awesome. And as we walked and drove around, Cliff was an amazing tour guide, teaching us all about Nashville.
The next day, we were all a little beat, and so we took it easy in the morning and let the kids sit and watch TV.
I did take advantage of the fact that Pamela had a piano, so I could make the kids practice. Lexie, Pamela's adorable one year old girl, loved having them play, and so she climbed up the the bench with both Lily and Derek. It was adorable, and reminded me of when Arthur was smaller.
After a bit, Pamela and I took her kids and Lily to go see the Opryland Hotel, which was so cool. The atrium and gardens were amazing! So pretty!
I can't tell you how wonderful it was to get to spend so much time together with Pamela. It was the best! I really wanted to get a picture with her, and so I had Lily take one. Houston was super sad to be left out, so I took a couple of just him and his mom, which cheered him right up.
After our adventures there, we met Cliff and my boys at the Loveless Cafe. It is a famous cafe that is know for its amazing biscuits (they were so good!), and often have celebrities there. I overheard a waitress telling another waitress that Kevin Costner had been there the day before. I guess we just missed him - darn! The food was good Southern food, and it was another fun adventure. Derek especially loved playing with the corn hole game set up outside.
After our late lunch/early dinner, we drove to a town about a half hour away from Pamela's house, to visit one of our old friends from high school, Tim Atkinson. Kevin and I hadn't seen him since our wedding fifteen years ago, and it was so fun to talk and catch up. Derek hit it off so well with one of their boys, and was asking how soon we would get to see them again :). It really was wonderful to see Tim and his family, especially because his wife, Tammy, and I have been in touch over the internet for years, but we finally got to talk in person. She was awesome, and we all had so much fun. The visit was over way too fast.
Six years ago, when we visited Pamela, the only thing Lily remembered about the trip, was trying to catch fireflies. Because of that, she wanted to search for fireflies so badly, and so, on our last night, she was finally able to. Pamela got her a jar, and Cliff even helped her catch some. She was in heaven!
It was the perfect way to end our visit to Tennessee. It was a fabulous few days with Pamela and her family, and the last wonderful adventure before we headed off to our new home in Pennsylvania.